November Issue

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Principal's Message

The WES students, parents, and community members have certainly been busy over the last several weeks. We have successfully navigated Fall Fest (thanks PTA), Halloween, Faculty Professional Development Day, and some very cold weather. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parent volunteers who have donated their time working with students in the classrooms. Your support is greatly appreciated. Also, thank you to those families that have supported the PTA fundraising efforts as these funds go directly towards instruction. We are lucky to live, work, and learn in such a supportive community!

The teachers have also been very busy finalizing grades on Engrade and entering grades and comments on student report cards. Yes, the first marking period ended on Friday, October 30, 2015 and first marking period report cards will be distributed at the end of the day on Thursday, November 12, 2015. Please take a look at the following information regarding homework and report card grades. Hopefully, this information will answer any questions you may have. As always, Thanks so much for your continued support!

Homework and Report Card Grades

Did you know that homework accounts for 10%-15% of your child’s report card grade? Students that take responsibility for completing their homework each night perform much better in school. Homework expectations reinforce the importance of learning and also aids in developing conscientious learners. Here are a few suggestions in supporting your child with homework.

  • Homework is assigned to reinforce and practice the skills or concepts taught throughout the school day. Homework also provides feedback to the teachers as to which concepts may be causing student confusion. Please provide your students with a quiet place to complete their homework independently. Upon completion, review of your child’s homework will aid him/her with correction of errors.
  • Homework should be done at the same level of quality as class work. If you think your child’s work is messy or incomplete, have them do the work over. We are trying to hold our students to a high standard and we want to strive for this standard in the completion of all work.
  • Positive work habits are being developed so your child will continue with success throughout his/her schooling. All written responses should encompass complete sentences with correct spelling and punctuation.
  • Accountability leads to success! Be sure to check your student’s homework each night. This will help you see what areas they may be struggling with. When a student knows that a parent/guardian will hold them accountable, they will do a better job completing all work.

Report cards will be distributed on Thursday, November 12, 2015. Understandably, children are excited about their first report card of the school year. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind:

  • Report cards are designed to be an official communication of academic progress between school and home. Please be sure to take the time to review this document with your student. Thoroughly reviewing this document says a great deal to children when parents take the time to share in their child’s success.
  • Try to maintain a positive outlook regarding this report. Although you are encouraged to identify goals for improvement, it is equally important to celebrate areas of success.
  • All Baltimore County elementary schools will be closed on Friday, November 13, 2015 so that parents may have a convenient opportunity to conference with teachers. Students accompanying parents to school on conference day must be supervised by parents at all times.
  • Remember that first grade students will not receive a report card at the completion of the first marking period. Instead, parents must schedule a conference with their student’s teacher.
  • All students are required to bring back their report card envelopes signed by a parent/guardian. Envelopes are expected back in school on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 or envelopes may be returned to teachers following the conference.
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AP Message

Greetings, Westowne Families!

We have started the second quarter of the school year! Teachers and staff continue to get to know your children’s strengths and areas of need so they can provide meaningful and rigorous instruction each day. Please look out for information from your classroom teacher to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, as your partnership is vital in the continued success of your child(ren).

The falling back of our clocks and the cool, crisp air reminds us that we are entering the season of giving thanks. Here at Westowne there is much to be thankful for; hard-working, responsible students, supportive parents, and dedicated teachers and staff, all working together to make Westowne the best it can be!


Ms. McBride, Assistant Principal

Special Education Parent Information Board

Thanks to the hard work of our PTA Special Education Liaisons you can take a moment to stop by and grab one of the many flyers posted on our new Special Education information board located in the front lobby. Information related to family events and special education resources are posted and available to all to take a flyer if interested.


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Family Movie Night

Westowne PTA Presents

Friday, November 6th in the gym

6:00 for pizza dinner; 6:30 show time

The original Wizard of Oz*

Join us for another pizza and movie night. See the movie that inspired the Westowne Drama Club’s upcoming performance! Bring blankets to picnic in the gym. We will have cheese and pepperoni pizza, drinks, and snacks on sale.

*Common Sense Media says this is one of the best family movies ever made but suggests it for ages 6+. Parents, please use your discretion, particularly for preschoolers.


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Please encourage your students to stop by the lost & found area if they have misplaced any items. Small things such as keys or glasses would be in the front office.
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All students have received a One-card (at no cost to the student). The card will be in a card holder and a safety lanyard that was provided. The cards are to be left in the classroom at the end of the day. If students lose their card there is a $5 replacement cost for a new One-card badge.
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To ensure a safe drop-off and pick-up of all WES car riders, the process will move from Harlem Lane to a new crushed stone Lane in the existing bus loop. The map below indicates that a new car lane will be added to the entrance of WES. Cars will then be directed to turn left on to the new drop-off and pick-up area. Staff members will continue to assist with students leaving and entering cars. Cars will then turn left into the bus loop and exit the school by making a left or right turn on Harlem Lane. This new process will begin once all new lanes and new crosswalks have been painted. We ask for your patience as we make this change. It is in the best interest of students and completed in the name of safety. Once all painting and marking have been completed, a ConnectEd message will be sent indicating the start date of the new process. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the school.

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Later this fall/winter, families of Baltimore County Public Schools’ students will receive score reports from the first administration of the new statewide assessment, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. These are the results of exams in English language arts and mathematics that students took starting in March 2015. Maryland students in grades 3-8 and some high school students took the PARCC test in two parts – the Performance-Based Assessment and the End-of-Year Exam – that used different types of questions to measure students’ knowledge and skills. The Performance-Based Assessment and End-of-Year Exam result in one score that helps educators and parents know how well students have learned the appropriate grade-level material to prepare them for the next grade and eventually for college and careers.

The PARCC exam is not an “additional” test but replaces the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) and the High School Assessments (HSAs) in Algebra 1 and English 10. It also marks a significant departure from these previous assessments. This change will produce much different test results that will give us new information about individual students and schools and their performance. The PARCC assessment measures students’ critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and writing skills, which are all essential for success in higher education and the workplace. Now students must demonstrate and explain their knowledge and understanding as opposed to simply reciting memorized facts or filling in a bubble for a correct answer. These changes mean that we cannot compare PARCC exam results to those of the MSA or HSA.

The PARCC score reports will show how a student performed on each portion of the PARCC assessment as well as the student’s overall score. This overall score will fall within one of five performance levels that indicate the extent to which a child demonstrated understanding of grade-level subject standards. Students whose scores fall within level 4 or 5 have demonstrated that they have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework. Students with level 3 scores are approaching expectations, but may need additional assistance mastering content. Students earning level 1 or 2 scores need greater supports and help to master content. The reports will also allow families to compare how their student is doing compared to others in his/her school, district, or state.

Results for schools and individual students will likely appear lower than what educators and families typically expect. The PARCC assessment sets new goals for our students using higher expectations that match the rigor and scope of the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. Lower proficiency scores do not mean that our schools are performing worse or that students are learning less or are not as capable. The change simply reflects how statewide assessments have evolved to meet higher standards that promote college and career readiness in the 21st century for all students.

There are no immediate consequences for schools or students tied to the 2015 administration. The first year of PARCC testing is serving as a baseline for test scores and will establish the performance targets for future years. Therefore, the release of the 2015 scores is taking longer because Maryland educators and their colleagues from other states needed to review students’ work to determine the performance levels. Going forward, PARCC test results will be available sooner so that they can help teachers, parents, and students inform instruction.

The PARCC exam provides an opportunity to better prepare students for the next step of their academic career at each grade level of their K-12 journey. While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, the PARCC exam will provide more accurate information about how each child is performing against the Maryland College and Career Ready standards. This information will help teachers and parents determine if students require remediation or more advanced instruction earlier in their schooling, ensuring that they graduate from high school fully prepared for the demands of college and/or careers.

For more information about the PARCC exam and other statewide assessments, please visit http://marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/parcc/index.html or http://www.parcconline.org/.


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Westowne has implemented the “Hug And Goodbye Zone” for parents and caregivers to utilize. When you enter our building, you will see a large heart on a bulletin board to your right. If you wish to walk your child into the building during morning arrival, kindly drop your child off at this location and allow them to walk to class independently. Also, if you are late to school or would like your child to have an escort, stop into the front office and a staff member will take your child to class. Thank you for following these procedures so that we may continue to provide a safe and orderly learning environment for our children.


Even though the deadline for paper orders was October 19th, you can still order Art to Remember online for several weeks beyond that date!! Go the ArttoRemember.com and enter your online code to order for your specific student. Keep checking the website to find out if online orders are still being accepted!


I'm so excited to tell you that we now take beauty care products at our recycling center! I know everyone has these items at home. We get $.02 for each piece!
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Counseling Corner

Character Education - Citizenship

What Parents Can Do At Home

Practice citizenship in action:
Model how to “stay up” on current events
Read the newspaper
Watch television news with your child(ren)
Attend community events
Have a family plan to regularly protect and conserve natural resources
Recycle, plant trees and flowers, and don’t litter
Have each family member complete the following sentence and put it where it will serve as a reminder:

“I will be a good citizen by _____________________________”

SMART goals are:


Students have learned that making

goals that are too broad, and too far

away, are most likely to be forgotten

about or given up on. By having a

SMART goal, students are focusing

on one thing at a time and trying to

make improvements to academics in

small steps. Think of it this way, anyone

can have a goal of driving across country,

but with a SMART goal you are driving

across country with a map.

With a SMART goal, students have moved from stating their goal as “I want to pass my class to “I want to get above a 70% in math class by the end of the marking period. To do this I will study with a partner for the tests, do all my homework, and ask my teacher for help. This goal is important to me because I want to get my phone back from when I had poor grades last marking period. I will meet this goal in 10 weeks and I will know I met this goal because of the grade on my report card.”

What is your SMART goal for 2015-2016 school year?

Giving Thanks From the Counseling Team

The Professional Counseling Team, here at Westowne, would like to give thanks to you parents and guardians for all your support. It has been wonderful getting to know you and your students. We enjoy the collaboration working with you in assisting our students with their academic, career and social/emotional needs.

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Westowne Elementary has been invited, as one of only 20 Baltimore County Public Schools, to pilot Community Matter’s Safe School Ambassador Program. Based on its success, Baltimore County will determine if it will roll out the program county-wide. We, at Westowne Elementary, are excited to be one of the first to initiate such a program.

The Safe School Ambassador (SSA) program empowers leader from the diverse groups within our school and equips them with nonviolent communication and intervention skills to prevent and stop bullying and meanness among their peers. SSA is focused on an “Inside-out” approach that improves the school climate. The power of student involvement reduces bullying and harassment. The program provides students with skills to stand up and speak up safely and effectively.

Studies have shown results reducing bullying, violence and social mistreatment. It improves grades, attendance, and dropout rates. It reduces administrative time on discipline and increases classroom time on task and improves school climate.

Our selected ambassadors within the 4th and 5th grades went through this professional training October 28th and 29th and they are ready, with the support of their Family Facilitators (selected staff members) to combat bullying.

Community Matters partners with over 1400 schools nationwide to implement student empowerment and school climate improvement programs, including SSA. “Safe School Ambassadors is the single most significant factor in changing our school climate this year.” Kathy Weigel, Principal, Atlantic High School, Palm Beach County, Florida.

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Congratulations, to the following classes for showing outstanding café behavior during the first quarter and filling their entire café reward chart!

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Ms. Getsinger's 4th grade class

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Mr. McCusker's 5th grade class

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Mrs. Robey's Kindergarten Class

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Ms. Durm's Kindergarten Class