August 1, 2017
Dear Westlake Parents and Guardians:
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! We have been busy at work preparing the school and planning for a successful school year. The summer was wonderful and I’m thankful for the rest, relaxation, and time with family it afforded, however, I’m very excited to be returning to school working with students and teachers on what will be an exciting year. Please take a moment to read through the following information regarding the beginning of the school year and updates for Westlake Middle School.
Below are the important dates for the school year.
||First Day Back for Students
(6th Grade: 8:30-11:15; 7th/8th Grades: 11:30-2:15)
||Back to School Night/BBQ 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
||Labor Day – No School
||Parent Teacher Conferences 4:00 pm-7:00 pm
||Parent Teacher Conferences 4:30 pm-7:30 pm
||End of First Quarter
||Veterans’ Day – No School
||Thanksgiving Break – No School
||End of Second Quarter/End of First Semester
||Winter Break – No School
||Martin Luther King Day – No School
||Parent Teacher Conferences 9:00 am -12:00 pm & 4:00 pm-8:00 pm
||Presidents’ Day – No School
||End of Third Quarter
||Spring Break – No School
|Spring 2018- TBD
||PTO Fun Run
||8th Grade End of Year Awards Assembly/ 8th Graders Last Day
No School for 6th and 7th Graders
||6th/7th Grade End of Year Awards Assembly
No School for 8th Graders
Areas of Focus
Over the summer our instructional leadership team, which is made of up of teachers, counselors, and administrators, spent time determining what we need to focus on towards student growth and achievement as well as planning for making these actions impactful and sustainable over time. We determined we would focus on three areas:
- Enhance our capacity for professional collaboration using data
- Build on literacy strategies across all content areas
- Nurture a positive climate and culture across our school community
As we go through this school year and beyond, you will hear more and see more regarding each of these areas of focus. We are excited to partner with you and your student in this work in order to achieve student growth and success across all areas of being a Westlake Middle School student.
Changes in the Building
For those of you returning to Westlake Middle School, you will remember that last year a group of students engaged in work around the Warrior mascot and the Native American imagery associated with it. Last September, I received a petition from a group of students who wanted to discuss the removal of a tile in our entryway displaying a negative image of a Native American. The petition led to greater conversations with students, staff, and families about our mascot and other associated imagery used across our school. A taskforce was formed which was comprised of students, staff, parents, and community members. As a team we looked at survey data collected from our community regarding the mascot and associated imagery, visited another school on a similar journey with their school mascot, and, from the learning we did together, made determinations of how to proceed.
From the efforts and bravery of the students, the task force decided to take action to remove the tile in our entryway as well as the large mural in the gym. In addition, the task force determined that we would no longer use Native American imagery for our mascot at Westlake. I am proud of the work of these students to step forward for what they felt was right and pleased to see their actions resulted in a change that reflected their efforts.
Over the course of this school year we will be engaging students, families, and staff in ways that help us identify who we are as a community more clearly and come together around imagery that reflects our school community. Please consider being a part of this work and look for upcoming communication around opportunities to engage.
We are Westlake!
We are thankful you have chosen to send your student to Westlake. We look forward to working together to create the best possible environment and middle school experience for your student. Please feel free to reach out to the school with any questions. 720.972.5200 See you soon!
Dr. Rachel Heide, Principal