Dear Westwood Heights Elementary School Families and Community Members,
Wow! We our beginning our fourth year together as partners in your child’s education and I couldn’t be more excited! Our hard work and dedication to a delivering a high-quality education to our scholars continues to pay off. Despite falling short of achieving our goal of being an A-rated school by the Florida Department of Education, we have achieved a goal nearly 10 years in the making. During the 2011-2012 school year, the State started an initiative designed to provide students at the lowest performing schools in Florida with an additional hour of instruction in reading. Westwood Heights Elementary has been considered of one these schools every year since that time. Overall achievement in reading has increased significantly over the past three years, and I’m proud to share that we are off the State’s list of lowest performing schools. As such, our school hours have changed. All students will now have a traditional six-hour day, attending school from 8:15 AM to 2:15 PM.
Though we continue to show improvement in English Language Arts and by achieving the highest scores in school history in the area of Mathematics, we must remain focused on continued improvement for all scholars. In order to do this, we will continue our deliberate focus on goal-setting and monitoring the progress of each individual student to ensure that we are meeting the unique needs of all of our learners.
The focus on individual student progress will be multi-dimensional as we will examine various components that result in student achievement. One key component will be to continuously monitor academic performance; however, we will also focus on the social and emotional development of our scholars. To do this, we will focus on developing self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making with our scholars. This will help us to not only reach our academic goals, but also help to raise productive citizens in our community. We will continue to begin each day reciting our new Westwood Heights Eagle Pledge, which says:
I am a Westwood Heights Eagle.
I am a leader.
I was leader when I came in and I will be a better leader when I leave.
As a learner, I am dedicated, committed, and focused to succeed.
I cooperate with my classmates, teachers, and community members.
I am exceptional, not because I say it, but because I work hard.
I dream big, believe, and achieve.
I will graduate from high school because I always do my best.
I am an Eagle and Eagles soar above the rest!
I’m excited to share that our school will continue to be a part of the district’s SPARKS initiative. SPARKS is an acronym for Specialized Professionals Advancing Resources, Knowledge, and Skills. The SPARKS initiative is designed to provide additional wrap-around services to the schools within the Dillard and Boyd Anderson Innovation Zones to further meet the unique family, social, and emotional needs of our student population. As a part of this initiative, our school will maintain the following support personnel, in addition to maintaining the level of support we had last school year;
- Full-time School Social Worker
- Part-time School Social Work Intern
- Full-time Community Liaison
- Access to District-based Family Counselors to include evening hours
We are confident that with the addition of these specialized services and resources, we will be able successfully mitigate circumstances that exist for our scholars that hinder them from learning to their full potential.
It is my sincere hope that you enjoy the remainder of your summer break alongside family and friends. I’m looking forward to our Eagles returning to The Nest. We will host our annual Head Start Orientation and K-5 Meet and Greet events on Tuesday, August 13th from 9-10:00 AM. The first day of school for scholars is Wednesday, August 14th. As stated previously, our school hours have changed. All students, PreK-5th Grade will be from 8:15 AM-2:15 PM. Breakfast is free for all scholars and is served beginning at 7:15 AM. Scholars must be in the breakfast line no later than 7:55 AM in order to have enough time to eat and be in class on time. Scholars arriving after 7:55 AM will be offered a cold breakfast option that can be enjoyed in the classroom. For safety and security reasons, parents are not allowed in the cafeteria; however, will be allowed to walk their children to the cafeteria doors for the first week of school. “Independence Day” for scholars will be Monday, August 19th. On this day, parents must refrain from walking their children down the sidewalk leading to the cafeteria. It is essential for their development that children build and exercise their independence. Rest assured that adequate supervision is provided down the walkway to ensure scholars reach the cafeteria safely.
Finally, last school year, we transformed our school logo and motto as we continue to build an exceptional reputation within the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Public Schools as an institution of academic excellence. T-shirts with our new school logo and motto are for sale in the front office. You are encouraged to pre-order! Shirts are $10 each or 2 for $15. We also order adult sizes so you can rep our school in the community!
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat, do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can call me at 754-323-7906. You can also reach me via email by clicking here. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @WHEPrincipal as well as Westwood Heights Elementary @WHElementary for the latest news about our school.