Westridge Wildcat News

December 11, 2020

Message from the Principal

Hello Wildcat Families,

In LOSD, our mission is to be an inclusive and safe learning community with challenging opportunities that develop lifelong learners and contributing world citizens. Our teachers and staff at Westridge work hard to live up to that mission every day.

Goal number one of our strategic plan prioritizes our work around diversity, equity, and inclusion. To that end, we take seriously the charge to prepare our students to be citizens of the world. At Westridge, we believe in creating a sense of belonging and inclusion for all students and families. All of our students deserve to be seen and have their race, culture, and way of life reflected in the literature they read, and have read to them. As part of our mission, teachers are intentional about including literature in their lessons that accomplish two purposes: being a mirror and a window.

Through this lens of mirrors and windows, we will be integrating more stories about diverse characters and by diverse authors, stories that are authentic and affirming to the communities they represent. We are asking ourselves, “Do our students see themselves reflected in our classrooms and in our curriculum?” and “Are we giving our students windows into experiences, backgrounds, and cultures that are not their own?”

As we prepare our students to be citizens of the world, we want to equip them with four crucial skills: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Students will acquire these necessary skills when they interact with and learn about diverse ideas and cultures through books and discussion in their classes.

We thank parents/guardians and families for supporting our educators in their efforts to provide an equitable and rounded education to all our students. We want to also emphasize that we are always open to your input.

If you’d like to learn more about the value of Windows and Mirrors, we have included two TED Talks here for shared learning.

The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf | Grace Lin | TEDxNatick

Mirrors, Windows, & Sliding Doors | Akhand Dugar | TEDxMountainViewHighSchool

Thank you so much for being part of our learning community. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me.

All the best,

Principal Montgomery

Coffee with Kari and Gary

Our next coffee will be offered on Wednesday, December 16th from 9:00am - 9:30am. This is an informal time to just connect, ask questions, and learn together as we go through the school year. This next session, join myself and Mr. Kieser as we share strategies and tips on how to help your child (and your whole family) with managing anxiety and regulation. Bring a cup of coffee, or just call in and let's connect!

Join Zoom Meeting

ID: 89488956670
Password: 537256

‪(US) +1 929-205-6099‬

Passcode: 537256

December 16 - Last Day for Hunger Fighters Donations

LAST DAY - DECEMBER 16 - Westridge Helps Foster Kids in need: Toy Drive

Grades 4-5 Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition (Optional)

Scripps National Spelling Bee has developed an online testing platform that will allow Westridge to host an online School Spelling Bee for interested fourth and fifth grade students in January.

Our school champion will then move on to represent Westridge in the Regional Spelling Bee which also will also include online tests in lieu of in-person spelling bee events. More information on how to register for the online competition will be coming soon. In the meantime, interested 4th and 5th graders should check their email to complete the form sent by Mrs. Swanson. Good luck spellers!

Grade 3-5 Scratch Coding Club

Do you like to play computer games? Have you ever wondered how they were made? Come to our 3rd-5th grade Scratch Coding Club. We will use the Scratch website https://scratch.mit.edu/ to learn how to move a spirit and create different games. Come learn how to code in Scratch and share projects with your friends.

We will meet in Mrs. Bates Zoom Room on Fridays at 11 Am. I hope to see you there.

Mindfulness Club Starts December 14

Hello Westridge parents and students! I am excited to offer a new opportunity for social connection and skill building. Beginning December 14, I will be hosting a drop-in Mindfulness Group open to all students at the following times:

7:45-7:55 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

12:30-12:45 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

In each group, we will do a quick check-in, a short mindfulness activity and a stretch or yoga pose. You can access the group at this link, or use these instructions to access the link through your student's Clever account.

Trivia Club with Ms. Montgomery

Do you enjoy knowing all kinds of random facts about different things? You might enjoy our Wildcat Trivia Club! Each week, Ms. Montgomery will host a lunch time club where kids can hang out and enjoy lunch while we show what we know about a different theme.

Next week will be Star Wars Trivia! Join me on Thursday, December 17 from 11:30 - 12pm. Bring your lunch and have some fun sharing what you know about Star Wars!

You can find my Bitmoji in your Clever Classroom or follow the steps below OR here is my link if you want to have it handy-


May the Force Be With You!

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Counselor's Corner

Dear Westridge Families,

During the month of December, through our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons, I will be introducing the character trait of HONESTY. The definition we are using in class is: Honesty: living truthfully in your words and actions and thoughts. We will be examining how honesty looks, sounds, and feels.

Honesty is more than just truth-telling! It is about living a life that is thoughtful and clear about what we believe is good and just. It’s about making sure that what we think is kind and worthwhile lines up with what we say and what we do. Over the course of the month, we will talk about the cost of lying and what it does to our body and mind. We will connect how Honesty and Kindness are closely related traits. It’s going to be a powerful time - truly!

We have opportunities throughout each and every day where we can either choose to be truthful, or choose to be untruthful through either our words, actions or thoughts.

As we learn about the importance of Honesty, we can also understand that being Truthful isn’t always the easy choice, but it’s ALWAYS the right (expected) choice! Students will learn about integrity and the importance of being honest with ourselves!

Here are links for extension activities to explore HONESTY further as a family:

K-2 HONESTY Parent Letter (English) K-2 HONESTY Parent Letter (En Español ) 3-5 HONESTY Parent Letter (English) 3-5 HONESTY Parent Letter (En Español )

Please note: In order for your student to gain access to the weekly Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons, they must be a member of my Google Classroom. Please make sure your student is included in my classroom by using the codes listed below. Asynchronous SEL lessons will be available to students weekly. Students may complete these supplementary lessons at their convenience any time throughout the week.


Gary Kieser

School Counselor, Westridge Elementary

Westridge School Counseling Family Resources

Hello Westridge parents! Comprehensive Distance Learning has been a challenge for both parents and students. We want to provide as much assistance to you as possible, I have condensed several useful resources into the Westridge School Counseling Family Resources folder. Here you will find:

  • An archive of all Social Emotional Learning lessons from the year, organized by character trait.
  • Family activities to build connection and character
  • Tips for parent and family self-care
  • Webinars by myself and other Westridge staff.

This folder will be updated on a regular basis, so feel free to check it once in a while. If you have any questions or suggestions for useful resources, please contact me at kieserg@loswego.k12.or.us.

Gary Kieser, MA, LPC

School Counselor

Westridge Elementary School

503-534-2371, ext. 3932

LOSD Distance Learning Resources

Holiday Support

Dear Westridge families, during the holiday season, we want to ensure all students have the opportunity to have their needs met regardless of economic situation. If your family would benefit from assistance over the holidays, please contact our school counselor, Gary Kieser (kieserg@loswego.k12.or.us) or Principal Kari Montgomery (montgomk@loswego.k12.or.us). All requests are confidential.
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*LAST CHANCE!** OBOB at Westridge!


Westridge's Oregon Battle of the Books Competition is going all Virtual this year!

Each year, Westridge participates in the Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) competition for all 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. This is an optional, fun enrichment activity, and a good way to read some great books with a team of school friends.


It is now time to register your interested student. Please click the link here and fill in all parts of the registration and waiver / permission slip sections. Registrations are due by Friday, December 11th. https://tinyurl.com/wrOBOB21

What is OBOB?
The Oregon Battle of the Books is a reading and trivia competition that serves as a statewide celebration of literacy and good books. 3rd to 5th grade students form teams of three to five members, then read and study from a common list of 16 books selected by the State OBOB committee each year. Teams square off in a series of "Battles" to show off how much they have learned by answering questions about the books. Watch out if you get a question wrong -- the other team then gets a chance to steal the points! Find this year's book list here: https://www.oregonbattleofthebooks.org/2020-2021-obob-book-titles/

How does OBOB work at Westridge?
  • The OBOB competition at Westridge is funded by the PTSO, run by parent volunteers, and coordinated with Librarian Mrs. Calbreath and the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers
  • Students form teams of 3 to 5 players in the Fall and begin reading the books
  • Parent volunteers may hold voluntary virtual practice sessions with the kids in January and February
  • The battles will be held virtually during the period of time between AM and PM sessions in February and/or March via Zoom or other conferencing technology
  • In each "Battle," two teams square off and answer questions in turn. Note that only a maximum of 4 players participate in each battle round. Teams of 5 will need to set a rotation
  • The highest scoring teams in preliminary play move on to knock-out rounds to crown a school champion
  • This year's competition is open to all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students regardless of whether your child is enrolled in LO Online or the Hybrid model
  • Please look for a communication from your student's teacher for more details!

Donating to Westridge PTSO

The Westridge Elementary PTSO (Parent Teacher Student Organization) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization run by parent volunteers. Through parent and community donations, we help to fund field trips, technology, and over 30 school programs each year for the enrichment of Westridge students.

While in the midst of the ongoing COVID pandemic, we find ourselves in an especially unique position this year. Many of our community members have experienced financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. We realize that it may not be viable for your family to donate to our annual fundraiser, and thus, we are not hosting one during this academic year.

While our school year looks quite different this year, the need for resources to enrich the academic experience of each and every student is still very real. Therefore, we are still gratefully accepting donations. If you are in a position to donate and able to take advantage of your employer's corporate matching program, we encourage you to participate in giving. Your donations are incredibly valuable and allow us to support our teachers and students.

Thank you for considering donating to support our Westridge students. If you would like to donate at this time or at any time during the school year, please visit Tinyurl.com/wildcatfund.

UPDATE: 5th Grade Soup Fundraiser

Thanks to the generosity of our Westridge Friends & Family, we were collectively able to donate over 314 lbs of soup to the Oregon Food Bank! Many individuals will be the recipients of this much-needed warm food during this winter and holiday season. THANK YOU!

PTSO Fundraiser: Minted

With the holidays quickly approaching, we hope you’ll be just as excited as we are about this great discount being offered to our Westridge community! Use promo code FUNDRAISEWESTRIDGE to receive 20% off holiday cards and gifts through minted.com.

15% of your purchase amount will be donated back to Westridge PTSO!


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PTSO News - Support Westridge Through Amazon Smile

As the holiday shopping season begins, please remember that supporting Westridge is easy with the AmazonSmile app! With every eligible purchase, AmazonSmile donates 0.5% to the school - same products, same prices, no cost to you!

As every dollar helps benefit our teachers and students, please make sure you go to your account settings and select Westridge Elementary School PTSO as your charity of choice!

Tech Support:

Tech Information Sessions

LOSD hosted two Tech Information Sessions covering the “how tos'' for getting started with distance learning. The session recordings and presentations are posted on the district site under Resources/Tech Support for Families.

Tech Support Ticket

A majority of tech concerns can be resolved by submitting a Tech Support ticket -- the link is on all school and district homepages for easy access to help with passwords, log-ins, hardware fixes, etc.

Google Classroom Guardianship

By now all parents and guardians should have received an email requesting you to accept guardianship of your student's Google Classroom. If you need assistance with this request, please submit a request through the Tech Support button. Note: accepting guardianship simply gives you the option of selecting how often you would like to receive summaries (weekly, daily, or no summary) of your student's Google Classroom activity. Only student accounts have access to Google Classroom.

ODE State Assessment Notice

The Oregon Department of Education publishes an annual notice regarding state assessments in English Language Arts and Math. Please review the Annual Notice for Statewide Tests for information regarding why participation matters, an explanation of the right to opt out, testing windows, and other resources.
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Westridge Elementary

All members of our community are committed to providing a safe and inclusive learning environment that cultivates empathy, creates challenging opportunities, and fosters lifelong learning.