West High School is off to a busy start this year. As we do every year, we begin the school year with a targeted focus on 9th grade. In addition to the first day of school workshops and Carnival of Clubs on the front lawn on September 5th, we hold two other events in quick succession to help our 9th grade students become part of the West Family. On Saturday, September 9th, we held our 9th grade dance and on September 11th, we hosted hundreds of parents, students and family members for a 9th grade family night in collaboration with our PTSO. In addition to great pizza and conversation, we provided an overview of West to our new families and introduced key members of the staff. We are so grateful to the many staff, student and community members who volunteered their time to make the night successful.
Not wasting any time, we followed these events with Homecoming Spirit Week, September 10th-15th, our Homecoming Parade, Pep Assembly and Homecoming football game against La Follette (West won, 14 to 7). This was my first parade and it was a wonderful experience. I loved seeing all the kids -- the band, the sports teams, the clubs, the Homecoming court -- as well as the parents and families from the community who had come out to see the fun. In particular, it was great to see the excitement in the eyes of the kids from Randall Elementary as they lined the parade route. This was followed on Saturday, September 16th with our Homecoming Dance with over 1300 students in attendance! It was a gorgeous night, the kids looked great, and it was a safe, fun evening.
"Go To School Night" was held on September 25th, and many West parents took advantage of the opportunity to meet their child's teachers and get a sense of our curricula as they moved through their child's schedule. Once again, we are deeply grateful to students, parents, staff, teachers and our many wonderful volunteers who helped make the evening a success.
In addition, we've hosted both an ESL Family night on September 25th, and our Familias Latinas is scheduled for October 3rd. In both cases, we want our families to meet important staff, and know who they should contact with questions or concerns.
Increasing the effectiveness of our home/school communication is a central goal in West's School Improvement Plan. We will be making every effort to have a principal at each of these meetings to answer questions and provide information about the work we are doing to improve the school. This year, we have three main areas of focus: 1) the strengthening of classroom systems to provide common routines and practices across classes (so kids aren't having to experience entirely different expectations in every class), 2) the use of targeted learning strategies to support rigor in every classroom by teaching the reading and writing practices that best support that particular content, and 3) ways for every adult in the school to know how to use appropriate strategies to restore relationships when things have not gone well. This is in addition to increasing the number of students of color enrolled in AP and honors courses, implementation of the Pathways curricula in 9th grade, and increasing the number of students on-track to graduate in four years.
The work is complex but I'm enjoying the challenge.
Want to learn more? Check out our School Improvement Plan.
On a more personal level, please remember that Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Monday, November 13th (12:45 - 8:30) and Tuesday, November 21st (4:30 -- 8:30). As we have done in the past, sign-up will be on-line. Parents will receive email communication on the process with directions and link to our sigh-up sign in the next few weeks,
As a staff at West, we are committed to working together with you to help every student reach his or her potential.
Thank you for your continued to support.
Karen Boran, Ed. D.