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karen boran 2018Dear West family,

Happy October!  The trees in the courtyard are starting to change, and the shorter days remind us that the school year is truly in full swing.

September brought us the start of school with the introduction of our “Start on Time” program, which has had a dramatic and positive impact on the climate in the hallways and classrooms at West.  Many of you have stopped to talk to me about this at football games, when chaperoning dances, and at our various parent events over the past month. Thank you for your valuable feedback -- this program is working because of the overwhelming teacher, staff and student support.   

West students jumped into the school year with our Freshman Party on September 8th (think a DJ and game night in one), which must have broken the ice because I saw these same Freshman, shy early in the month but owning the dance floor during the Homecoming Dance just a few weeks later.  This year’s Homecoming included the parade, the AUD, the game against Beloit Memorial (we won!) and then the dance on Saturday. A great experience and truly brought the school together. Shout out to Mitch McGrath, Devon Peterson and Hanna Meister and the countless staff who went above and beyond for their leadership, and Deb Neff and her parent volunteers for their generous donation of their time and energy -- this year’s Homecoming truly brought the school together.

From a teaching and learning standpoint, we continue to focus our efforts on coherent systems and structures so that your students, who move between seven different classes a day, have some consistency of expectations around grading practices, late work, etc.  Our efforts in 9th grade are critical as the research from the University of Chicago’s Consortium for Chicago School Research shows that a student’s performance in 9th grade is a powerful predictor of their performance later in high school, whether they will graduate on time, their matriculation into post-secondary education and whether or not they will graduate from those programs. Here’s a handy flyer in English and Spanish to help you learn more.

In October, progress reports will be coming out on October 4th -- this is a great time to discuss with your child his or her progress and to reach out to their teachers with any questions or concerns you may have.  Now is the time to have these conversations, right? West will host five community members on Tuesday, October 9th for the Foundation for Madison Public Schools Principal for a Day -- this year, we are focusing on our partnerships with BMO Private Bank, the Geneva Campus Church, and the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Education.  Further, please remember that there is no school on Friday, October 26th for a teacher institute day.

Finally, I want to say how proud I have been regarding West students this year.  They have always been bright, funny, and likeable, but this year we have asked more of them. This year we are asking them to be in class, on time, ready to learn when the bell rings and they have exceeded our expectations.  That’s due to you, their families, who have raised such great human beings. I am so lucky to be at West.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns.

Karen Boran Signature

Karen Boran, Ed. D.