December 2021 Newsletter

Save the Date

Food Drive: December 6th-15th

5th Grade Band Concert: December 13th

Winter Party: December 21st

No School/Winter Break: December 22nd-31st

First day back to school: January 3rd

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Dismissal Information

Westwood uses a system called Dismissly to release students who are picked up in the car lane at the end of each day by. Every student at Westwood is assigned a number that is unique to their family, these numbers have been consistent for the last several years. If you are in need of a replacement tag, please click the button below.


We ask that you post this tag and placard on your rearview mirror so staff can clearly see the numbers.


Change of Transportation

While we understand that situations may come up last minute, we ask that you notify the front office staff by 2pm of any changes to your student's dismissal plan. This allows time to notify the teacher of the student's transportation change. You may call 515.965.9690 or email the front office staff, Monique or Laura.

From the Lunchroom

Lunch menus will be available online, updated every two weeks. Please download the smartphone app, SchoolCafe and/or check the following link for available menus:


https://www.ankenyschools.org/departments/nutrition-services/menus/


The online payment system is available for families/guardians to add funds to lunch accounts, pay for school fees, etc. Click here to learn more.

Leader in Me

The focus for Westwood’s December Virtual Assembly is Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind. This habit means to set goals for each activity and task you are undertaking. That way you have a plan for how to successfully complete each task. If you know how you’d like things to turn out, you can have a clear vision as to how to accomplish your goals. We can all practice this habit not only at school, but also at home and in all of our activites.

Back Pack Program

The BackPack Program offers access to easy-to-prepare, single servings of food to school-aged children to support them over the weekend. Those students who participate receive a sack filled with kid-friendly foods every Thursday or Friday. There is no cost to participate in this program, we only ask parents to fill out a permission form yearly. All students are eligible for this program, including virtual learners.

If you and your family are interested in this program please reach out to your Westwood Social Worker, Shelby Helm at Shelby.helm@ankenyschools.org

The Ankeny Community School District has this resource available, as well as community connections to support with various needs. Please reach out to Shelby Helm with any questions.

Food Drive

Westwood Families,

Did you know that Nearly 300,000 Iowans are facing hunger – and one-third are children. The Food Bank of Iowa helps by gathering and distributing food to local agencies, food pantries, and our schools by providing Backpack Buddies for families who may need them. According to their website, the Food Bank of Iowa provides the equivalent of 15 million meals per year. This year we will be holding a food drive December 6th-15th to donate to the Food Bank of Iowa. If you are interested in helping, students and families can drop off donations at the Giving Tree in the office. Some most needed items include: proteins (canned meats and fish), canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned soup, pasta sauce, breakfast items (including cereal), and 100% fruit juice. ​

From the PTO

Please visit the Westwood PTO website to view the latest information!


https://www.wearewestwood.org


Are you interested in purchasing a 21-22 Westwood Warrior Challenge tshirt? Please click the link below to add your request.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4aada929a0f85-warrior3

From the Classrooms

Kindergarten

We’re continuing to grow as super readers! We’re tackling more challenging books, noticing patterns in our text, and using word parts to help us solve unknown words. In math, we’ve been working hard to learn all about 2D and 3D shapes! Towards the end of the month, we will be working with numbers to 100. You can support your child at home by counting by 1s, 5s, and 10s to 100. In writer’s workshop, we’re working on planning stories across pages, adding more details, and using speech bubbles to add dialogue. During science, we’ll be exploring weather and seasons. We love kindergarten!

1st Grade

In First Grade we will focus on comprehension strategies like, retelling, making connections, making predictions, making inferences, using text features in nonfictions books and asking and answering questions about what we are reading.

In phonics we will continue to practice blending and segmenting words and learn all about endings of words such as

-ank, -ink, -onk, -unk,-ang, -ing, -ong, -ung.

In Math we will continue our working with counting, problem solving and addiction and subtraction while also learning all about shapes!

In Social Studies we will focus on Culture and Traditions and in Science we will talk about objects, light and sound waves.

We will focus on Habit number 2, Begin with the End in Mind for our Leader in Me Habits.

3rd Grade

In math, third graders are exploring addition and subtraction strategies to solve equations within 1,000. We are working on being flexible, accurate and efficient mathematicians!

Third grade writers have completed their expert non-fiction books! We’re collaborating with classmates to write a brochure about one of our seven habits.

Readers in third grade are inferring characters traits by paying close attention to the way characters talk and act throughout their fiction book. We are also making predictions about what characters might do next based on the patterns of a characters behavior.

5th Grade

In December, 5th graders will continue learning about decimal place values while adding and subtracting numbers with decimals. In writing, students will finish up their nonfiction research and create a website to teach others all about their topic. These will be shared with families when completed, so be on the lookout from your child’s teacher in the new few weeks. In reading, we will spend our time learning about the complexity of nonfiction texts with a focus on main idea, summarizing skills, and context clues. In social studies we will learn about the daily life of colonists who settled in America. We will then create an advertisement to convince settlers to settle in their part of America based on the information they gathered from the climate, geography, and government of each settlement.

From the Guidance Counselors

K-1st Grade Guidance

In December, Kindergarten and first graders will continue to learn about feelings. First we will discuss how all feelings are okay and that instead of calling feelings good and bad we can call them comfortable and uncomfortable. Then we will learn how to ‘name it to tame it’ and how identifying and naming our feelings can help us to better respond to our feelings rather than letting them control us. Finally, we will explore how we experience different feelings in our bodies.

Noticing and understanding our feelings is the first step in emotion regulation. As you notice your student experiencing both big and small feelings this month, ask them to name their feelings and after the feeling passes, ask them to explain how that feeling felt in their bodies. Feelings can make us feel relaxed, hot, heavy, slow, and many other sensations. What can you and your student notice about your feelings and your body?

2nd-5th Grade Guidance

During guidance for 2nd-5th grade in the month of December, we are still focusing on talking about feelings! We have been focusing first on recognizing when we, or someone else, is having a strong emotion. We also talked about how our Amygdala is the feeling center of the brain and our Pre-frontal Cortex (PFC) controls our decision-making and helps us think things through. When we are having a strong emotion, our amygdala can take over and bypass the PFC, sending signals throughout our body to respond without thinking it through. Sometimes the way we respond can hurt others so when our Amygdala takes over it is important to calm down in order to think through how we want to respond. During our SecondStep lessons, we are learning how we can use the following steps: Stop, Name your feeling, and Calm down! This helps to make sure we do not do or say something that we might regret later. We are focusing on some different and new strategies that help us when we use our calm down steps!

Some things you can do at home to support our learning about ways to calm down,is to ask your child to walk you through our Grounding (5 senses) exercise. We practice grounding when we are having a strong emotion and it can help us to calm down and be present in the moment. First you say 5 things that you see, then notice 4 things you can feel, listen for 3 things you can hear, see if there are 2 things you can smell (or think about 2 things you like to smell, and finally notice if there is 1 thing you can taste (or think about one thing you like to taste!)

From the Nurse

Winter is headed our way. Please make sure to send winter gear with your children to school when the temperatures drop – winter coat, hat, gloves, boots and snow pants.

The Health Office has a limited supply of extra hats, gloves, scarves and coats that can be utilized when these items are forgotten or lost on occasion. The Health Office does not carry boots and snow pants to borrow, so if your student forgets them they will need to stop in the office to call home or play on the blacktop only during recess if we have snow on the ground.

Please also consider sending an extra set of clothes with your student during the winter months as supplies are limited. Students often fall in the mud or snow and clothes can get muddy and wet. If supplies don’t accommodate your child’s needs, a call will be made home for a change of clothes.

Please also note that the Health Office does not keep a supply of Tylenol or Ibuprofen for student use – all OTC meds must be provided by parents and arrive at school in their original container. We can keep them in the Health Office for the school year if necessary - you will just need to fill out a Medication Administration form and email it to the School Nurse.

If you are sending cough drops with your children please send a note or email their teacher and the school nurse so we know they have permission to take them at school. Cough drops are usually kept in the classroom and given when needed.

Chapstick does not need a note, students can keep a supply in their backpacks or desks.

For questions and concerns contact your School Nurse – Mrs. Wright michele.wright@ankenyschools.org.

From the Front Office

Attendance

  • Please contact the school if your child is ill or will not be in school for the day due to vacation or other family plans. You may call 515.965.9690 or email the front office staff, Monique or Laura, and your student's teacher.
  • If you do not notify the school of an absence, we will reach out to the primary and/or secondary contacts listed in Infinite Campus.

Appointments or Early Releases

  • Please contact the front office to inform staff of appointments that will require your student to miss out on portions of the school day.
  • Students will remain in their classes until an adult arrives the front entrance and rings the buzzer. At this point, the student will be called from their class to join the adult outside. Please allow additional time if necessary for children to gather belongings.

Infinite Campus Parent Portal

Attention all Parents and Guardians!

Please make sure you have set up and are maintaining your Infinite campus Parent Portal. This enables the district, as well as the school and teachers to communicate with you in a timely manner. Click the link below to access the Parent Portal information page.

https://www.ankenyschools.org/parents/infinite-campus/