West High Newsletter

West High School - Sioux City, IA

March 2020

Ms. Rebecca Rieken named Head Principal for next year!

Dear West High Students, Families, and Staff,

I am excited to share with you that I will serve as the head principal of West High School beginning next school year. This summer Mrs. Tidwell will join her family in Texas as they begin a new chapter. She will leave us having established a solid foundation to achieve great things! I am honored to have this opportunity to continue on with West High as we keep moving ahead to reach our common goals.

When I began as Assistant Principal at West Middle School in 2016, I quickly developed treasured relationships with students, families, and staff. As I transitioned to West High in 2018, I was fortunate to carry on with those existing relationships, while making new ones as well. I look forward to future years of serving this amazing community of people alongside my fellow West High administrators, Mr. Koch and Mr. Pace. I want to end by wishing our students a successful end to the 2019-2020 school year, and also to extend well wishes to Mrs. Tidwell and her family!


Ms. Rebecca Rieken

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Your child’s health and well-being are very important to us. With the recently elevated discussion regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the news, we’re reaching out to you to share some information on preventive safety measures and our processes.

Keep in mind the vast majority of Americans have a low risk of exposure.

However, given recent announcements by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that Coronavirus may spread – and that cases of influenza are regularly reported – we wanted to share some additional information about steps the school district is taking as well as steps you can take to help prevent the spread of viruses. Please visit our website for timely information. This web page will be updated as new information or guidelines are provided by public health officials.

We encourage our students, staff, and families to be mindful of key preventive measures. The CDC also offers tips that can be useful in avoiding the spread of this and other illnesses.

Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to maintain a healthy learning environment.

Best Regards,

April Tidwell

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Last May, West High School applied to be considered for selection as a pilot training school for teen Mental Health First Aid. Our school was one of 35 schools in the country selected by the National Council for Behavioral Health with support from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. As a part of this pilot training, the program is being evaluated by a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

During the month of March, all 10th graders will participate in five sessions as they are trained to be teen Mental Health First Aid responders.

Students and Staff of the Month

Each month one student from each grade level and department and one staff member will be recognized for living by the WHS motto We Are WEST! (Welcoming, Engaged, Safe, Trustworthy) In February the following were recognized:
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P.A.W.S. Meeting

P.A.W.S is our parent group, similar to a PTA. Please plan to join us in the Media Center on the following dates at 6:00 PM.

This group is a way for parents to be involved with what is going on at West High!

We hope to see you there!

March 16th - Dr Gausman will be joining for his "Student of the District" presentation

April 20th

Attendance Expectations

Hallway Privileges

The best way for students to stay on track and maximize learning is to be in class every day.

If a student has a combined total of 15 tardies and/or unexcused absences within the same academic quarter, they will have restricted hallway use. Students on restriction will only be allowed to leave the classroom for restroom/personal needs with a pass given by the teacher.

Students can earn hallway privileges back by having 10 consecutive days of perfect attendance (no tardies or unexcused absences).

Tardy vs Absence

Students are marked tardy if they arrive within the first 20 minutes of class. If they arrive after the first 20 minutes they will be marked truant for that block.

Dance Eligibility

Attendance in one of the components for dance attendance eligibility. The Spring Fling in 3rd quarter (March 14) and Prom in 4th quarter (May 16) have the following requirements:

  • 90% attendance or higher
  • No truancies
  • Fewer than 7 tardies in the marking period
  • passing grades in all classes
  • No Out of School Suspensions
  • Navigator completed (if applicable)

All absences must be resolved on the day the absence occurs, or within 24 hours. If students choose to bring a guest to the dance, a request form must be approved and turned into the front office. Watch the daily announcements for ticket information as we get closer to the dates. Attendance appeals can be made with an administrator the week before the dance.

March Update from Mr. Pace and the Athletic Department

I want to take a few minutes to look back as well as ahead. We had many successes this past winter in our activities department.

Our sports teams continued to find success on the mat, the court, in the classroom and the pool. We had a set of incredible performance through our entire music department with the presentation of the Madrigal. Our band, choir and orchestra programs saw incredible opportunities for their students to present at the local Honor Performances throughout Iowa and the surrounding states. Our Choir Department was chosen to sing the National Anthem at the State Girls basketball tournament as well. Wonderful opportunities for student participation abound throughout the activities department here at West High School.

March begins practices for girls soccer, girls tennis and girls golf. Boys’ soccer and tennis start as well, so if you have interest and have not signed up for those sports please see Mr. Pace or Mrs. Miller in the athletic office with questions. If you are thinking about playing make sure you have a current physical and concussion form turned into the athletic office.

  • Girls Soccer Practice – Monday March 23
  • Girls Tennis Practice – Monday March 16
  • Girls Golf Practice – Monday March 16
  • Boys Soccer Practice – Monday March 16
  • Boys Tennis Practice – Monday March 16

I want to end with another thought this month about sportsmanship. During a game, emotions are high. The stress level is great. You may have anxiety about what’s going on similar to your son/daughter. Step back and look at the big picture, asking this question: “Am I making the sport more enjoyable or less enjoyable for my child?” Answering this question gets to the very heart of what your child wants, and that’s to have fun. Parents, are your words and actions adding to their enjoyment or taking away from it?

As always, if you have any questions please contact the athletic office at 279 - 6772, and We Are West!

WHS Activities & Athletics Calendar

Click here for all West High Activity and Athletic Schedules

After-School Tutoring & Night School

After School Tutoring is available every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the media center from 3:05-4:05 pm. The time is staffed with teachers from each of the core content areas. Students report to the media center and get support. This is a great way to catch up in a class or get help with current homework. No Sign-up required. Students may show up as needed.

Night School is also available for students that want to continue to work on their Edgenuity courses or need extra help. Tues & Thurs 3 - 7PM and Wed 3 - 5 in room 265

*Please note: nursing services are not provided during these voluntary activities

Upcoming Saturday Schools

Saturday school is another opportunity for students to get caught up on missing work, get extra help in classes that they are struggling with, or continue working on their Edgenuity courses. Our upcoming Saturday schools are:

March 28th, 8:00 AM - Noon

Food Pantry & Clothes Closet

West High's Food Pantry, "The Bear's Den," will be open March 28th 9AM - 11AM.

The pantry is open for any Westside families to get what they may need. Some clothes and toiletry items are also available.

The pantry is available by appointment throughout the month. Please contact Martez Van Buren vanburm1@live.siouxcityschools.com or your student's counselor to set up an appointment.

Upcoming ACT Dates

Wanting to sign up for the ACT?

Visit here to sign up and log in!

Future Test Dates:

April 4, 2020

April 21, 2020 (Administered to all 11th grade students at the high school; no cost to students)

June 13, 2020

New Transcript System

We have a new system in place for requesting official transcripts. We're offering this service to make ordering transcripts easier for you. It's also more efficient for your school, and will deliver your transcripts to the colleges you choose in the format they prefer.

Please visit https://www.parchment.com/u/registration/11598/account to request transcripts.

Order your 2019-2020 Yearbook Now!

Social media and technology are always changing, but yearbooks are forever. Buy your student a lasting memento that will grow in value each year of your student’s life – the 2019-20 West High yearbook.

When you buy your child a yearbook, you are buying a product that will be treasured today and for years to come.

Buy online with a credit card, debit card or PayPal at yearbookforever.com or at school with cash or check from Ms. Stephens in room 257 at West High.

Order now, so your student won’t miss out when the yearbook is distributed around October 2020, or when the class reunions start rolling around. Senior year happens once… the yearbook is forever.

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Important Reminders for the Class of 2020

April 16th – Senior Meeting during Homeroom

May 16th – Prom, Hilton Garden Inn

May 16th – 17th After-Prom

May 22nd – Last Day of School for Seniors & Graduation Practice

May 22nd – Senior Honors Assembly

May 23rd – Graduation, Tyson Events Center

Graduation for the Class of 2020

Saturday, May 23rd, 2:30pm

401 Gordon Drive

Sioux City, IA

Preparations are underway for the 2020 graduation. It is important that all seniors finish strong and complete all of the required credits.

The Tyson Events center will be hosting all three high schools on this Saturday. Information regarding pictures and other details will come on upcoming newsletters.


Immunization Information for the Class of 2021

Iowa law requires that all students entering 12th grade have a Meningococcal vaccination. The requirement is 2 doses of meningococcal (A,C,W,Y) vaccine for students in grade 12, if born after September 15, 1999; or 1 dose if received when students are 16 years of age or older are required before school starts in the fall.

The meningococcal vaccine has been required since the start of the 2017/18 school year. Meningococcal disease is a life threatening illness that is caused by bacteria that infects the brain, blood, and spinal cord. It easily spreads in crowded settings.

What does this mean for you? You will need to call your physician’s office to make an appointment. You will need to check your home records or call your physician’s office to see what your student’s status is. If you do not have insurance, you can contact the Siouxland District Health Department at 279-6119. Please send a copy of your student’s updated immunization record to the school nurse prior to the first day of school in August 2020. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.


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District and School Climate Survey

Every voice matters in Sioux City Community Schools. That’s why we need to hear from all parents and guardians. Provide feedback using our District and School Climate Survey, which is open February 4 - March 13. The survey is available in English or Spanish.

How to take the survey:

· A link will be sent to parents/guardians by email, text message, and voicemail.

· If you do not receive a link, please contact 712-224-7471 to request a link.

· Paper surveys are available for pick up at your child’s school.

· Take the survey online at your child’s school while at conferences.

The survey asks for feedback on student and academic support, safety and behavior, school leadership, and family involvement. We will use the results to better understand our students’ needs, determine our strengths, and identify opportunities for improvement.

All survey responses are strictly confidential. The District has partnered with an independent research and communications firm, K12 Insight, to administer the survey and compile the results. District employees will not know who participates or see individual responses.

If you have questions, please contact Mandie Mayo, Director of Communications, at mayoa@live.siouxcityschools.com.

2020 Census – Every Person Counts

Census Day is observed on April 1, 2020. Households begin receiving invitations to participate in the Census in mid-March. There are three ways to complete the census – online, by phone, or by mail – and the Census Bureau provides forms in 14 languages. It’s important that every household participate and that every person is counted.

What is the Census? Get the Facts.

How Census Data Is Used

The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding for public programs like schools, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. Learn More.


The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.

Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Learn More.

Census Data And The Impact on Public Schools

Public schools in Iowa will be directly impacted by the 2020 census. The 2010 census estimated there were 731,975 children in Iowa ages 0-18. Children ages 0-4 are typically undercounted, and Iowa estimates 4,726 children were not included in the census.

Iowa receives over $8 billion annually from the federal government based on population estimates from the 2010 census, including funds for Special Education Grants, the National School Breakfast & Lunch Programs, Head Start, and many other education programs vital to the success of Iowa’s children. Those 4,726 children who weren’t counted in 2010 are now in grades 6-9, and the state has lost out on millions of dollars in federal funding each year for those children’s education.

We cannot let the census become another barrier to the funding of our student’s educations. The Sioux City Community School District is asking for the help and support of all families in our district to ensure that every child is counted.

Help us make sure the students of our district receive the funding they deserve. Help us make sure all kids are counted!

Census Contact

If you have questions about the U.S. Census Bureau, contact their office directly by calling (301) 763-INFO.

Maintaining A Safe and Healthy Environment

The Sioux City Community School District is committed to providing an environment where students and staff members are treated with dignity and respect. We recognize that we are not unique, in that we experience the challenges of school and community-based bullying, yet we want to be unique in serving as a District that works to make a significant and positive difference in this arena. Please, join us in the effort to maintain a safe and healthy school environment. Visit our website, www.siouxcityschools.org/anti-bullying-harassment-hazing/, to learn more about our anti-bullying policy, view resources to help us combat bullying, or report concerns. We also welcome your feedback. Consider sharing your ideas or concerns using the Let’s Talk tool on our website.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Sioux City Community School District offers career and technical programs in the following areas: Business & Marketing, Family & Consumer Science, Health Science, and Industrial Arts, Technology, & PLTW.

The Sioux City Community School District is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. It is an unfair or discriminatory practice for any educational institution to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information (for employment), national origin, religion, age (for employment), disability, socioeconomic status (for programs), marital status (for programs), or veteran status (for employment) in its educational programs and its employment practices.

Inquiries or grievances, including Section 504 grievances and grievances under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, may be directed to Jen Gomez, Director of Student Services & Equity Education at 627 4th Street, Sioux City, IA 51101, (712) 279-6075, gomezj2@live.siouxcityschools.com. Please see District Board policies 103 and 504.4 for additional information on available grievance procedures.