February 2022 Newsletter

Save the Date

February 11th-Friendship Party

February 14th-Professional Development Day, No School

February 24th-Westwood Iowa Wild Night

February 26th-Books and Breakfast Family Event

Week of February 28th-Conferences and Bookfair

Textbook Fees

Recently, Ankeny Community School District sent out letters to families who had not yet paid their "textbook fee" for the school year. Please click the following link to learn more and to make an online payment.


https://www.ankenyschools.org/parents/fees/

PBIS Reward Dance Party

After working hard and making great choices, we earned our PBIS reward. Each grade had the opportunity to celebrate in the gym with a glowstick dance party! Thank you to the PTO for supplying each student with glowsticks of all types for the event!

From the Library

Spring Scholastic Book Fair

Saturday Feb. 26th Books and Breakfast family event

The book fair will kick off on Saturday, February 26th with a newly named Breakfast and Books event! Families can come enjoy donut holes and juice and get the first chance to purchase books from the book fair.

Monday, February 28th - 3:30-7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 1st - 3:30-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 2nd - 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 3rd - 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Book fair homepage

Check out our book fair homepage for more information, to sign up as a volunteer and online shopping links! https://bookfairs.scholastic.com/bookfairs/cptoolkit/homepage.do?method=homepage&url=wwbookfair


Makerspace

Students have been finishing a unit focusing on coding during Media and will continue to grow their problem solving and critical thinking using our Makerspace. The Makerspace is an area where students can tinker with consumable materials to answer a question, challenge, or solve a problem.

Our Makerspace is in need of more materials. What students use most are clean items that would normally go in your recycling bin or paper products that you may have already at home. Please see that link below of items we regularly use. You are also welcome to add anything else you think might be useful! You may send them to school with your student or drop off materials at the office anytime in February. Thank you for your donations! The students always look forward to this project!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/177OVyigjvlkqBiQkNdlZJPXURuKyamfUgGNDKSAxt5Q/edit?usp=sharing

Leader in Me

For the month of February, our Leader in Me focus will be on Habit #4: Think Win-Win. Win-Win means coming to solutions that benefit both parties involved in an interaction. This could include compromising or sharing and involves decision making by all. In a Win-Win situation, neither party benefits more than the other.

From the Guidance Counselors

In February, kindergarten and first grade students will be wrapping up our self-regulation unit. We have been learning about feelings, the sensations feelings cause in our bodies, and coping skills. This month we are going to focus on choices and consequences. We will learn that the word consequence means what happens after a choice and there can be both good and bad consequences. We will talk about how making choices when we are dysregulated often leads to unhelpful choices and that using coping skills can help us to make helpful choices. Hopefully after this unit your student will have ideas of how feelings feel in their bodies, coping skills that work well for them, and how to make helpful choices at school and home.


The 2nd-5th grades just began our problem solving unit. We will learn to say the problem, think of solutions, explore consequence, and pick the best solution. We focus on how to make sure to say the problem without using "blame language," we then will practice thinking of solutions that are both safe and respectful, and thinking win win! When we explore the consequences, we discuss how there can be both good and bad consequences, we must then chose the solution that provides the best outcome for all.

From the Classroom

Kindergarten:

Kindergarten has set a new Wildly Important Goal! Our goal is for all students to be able to read all 90 kindergarten sight words by the end of the school year. Thank you for practicing sight words with your child at home to help us reach our goal! In literacy, we've been working on adding to our reading super powers. We're working with comparing larger two-digit numbers in math, and adding details to our true stories in writer's workshop. We're wrapping up a weather unit in science.

First Grade:
In the month of February, 1st Grade we will continue our work in reading with comprehension strategies such as making inferences, retelling, making predictions and more! We will also continue our work with our Silent E phonics still and add 8 new Heart Words to our growing Heart Word word bank. In Writing we will continue our work as nonfiction writers teaching others about topics we are experts on. In Science we will finish our conversations on sound and communication and in Social Studies, we will be learning about life in the past and compare it to how we live today. We will also learn and talk about diversity. In Math we will finish our conversations with shapes and start learning about Money! We will focus on coin names, values and how to count up a combination of coins. First Graders will be busy in the month of February!

Second Grade:

February will be an exciting month in 2nd grade. We will be diving into estimates and number stories in math. We will continue to solve 2 and 3 digit addition and subtraction problems as well. In reading we will be taking a closer look at what it means to read fluently and how we can make the reading voice in our heads match how the author wants it to be read. We will also look at how authors make texts interesting to read by looking for figurative (literary) language. In our phonics time we will be taking a closer look at open syllables. This month 2nd graders will also have the chance to be very opinionated and learn how to write opinion pieces with details to support their opinions. We will focus on properties of materials around us in our science time and prepare to start our next social studies unit focusing on government and how people can and have made a difference in our world and community. We will also focus on a wide variety of influential people celebrating Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March). Keep up those supported reading minutes at home as we work towards our next grade level goal.

Third Grade:

Third graders becoming an expert on an animal through group and independent research! Readers are using the expert vocabulary of their animal to grow theories about animal adaptations that help their animals live and survive in their environment.

In math, 3rd graders are building their knowledge about unit fractions and equivalent fractions. Each day students are practicing their multiplication and division facts so they know all facts between 0-100 from memory!

Fourth Grade:

Fourth graders are wrapping up a Historical Fiction unit in reading. Number the Stars was used to build background knowledge about World War II and how it affected the lives of the people in Denmark. Skills we focused on were theme, finding evidence to support the theme, summarizing the plot and determining the tone/mood of the story. The historical reading unit will help 4th graders in our next writing unit. They will be choosing a historical era and will write their own historical fiction piece. In math, we have explored line plots, adding and subtracting mixed numbers, and have just started learning extended division facts to help with the long division process. Ask your child to teach you their class's mnemonic device to remember the steps of long division. If your child is struggling with their basic multiplication facts, please work on these each night to strengthen their math fluency.

Fifth Grade:

Fifth graders will be focusing on becoming more active and critical citizens in reading, specifically understanding argument and advocacy. Students will understand that in order to be informed, we need to truly understand an issue before having an opinion, and do not just accept what they read, but think deeply enough to question what they read. In math, students will also learn strategies for multiplying and dividing fractions. In science students will finish up Unit 2, How Matter Flows Through Ecosystems. We will then start Unit 3 and learn how different earth systems affect each other. Specifically, hydrosphere and biosphere interactions, water as a valuable resource, and protecting earth's resources. Finally, in writing, students will continue their Memoir writing where they will understand and produce a theme for their lives.

Weather Related Closing/Delays

Cold weather and school cancellations are a reality in Iowa. If the decision is made to cancel school due to inclement weather, you will be notified in a number of ways. We will use our automated phone messaging system to send a message via text, we will send an email using our Blackboard messaging system, we will post a message to our district Facebook page, and we will notify the local news stations who will post it on their live school closing listings.

Cold Weather Guidelines

As the winter season draws near, the weather will take a turn for the cold. Please remember that all of our students are outside for 30 minutes a day unless the wind chill is below 0 degrees. Our younger grades are outside for up to an hour a day. Please be sure that your student wears layers and has a good pair of gloves, a hat, and a scarf or neck gaiter, and a warm coat that can be zipped or snapped shut. Once the snow arrives, our students will need snow pants, boots, and gloves in order to play in the snow. Recess can be uncomfortable if we are not dressed appropriately. Extra socks in your student's locker is very helpful. Putting your student's name on their gear is helpful as well. Please help ensure that our kids have what they need to enjoy their time outdoors.


The official resource for determining the wind chill temperature can be found here.

Winter Weather Backpack Supplies

Consider adding some of these often requested items to your student's backpack.
  • Lipbalm/Chapstick
  • Travel sized hand lotion
  • Extra pair of socks

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.

Bus Passes

A reminder that bus passes are required to get on and off the school bus in the morning and after school. If your student loses their bus pass, please contact the office at 515.965.9690. There is a $6 fee to replace it. This fee can be paid here after the fee has been assessed to your student's account.

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.


Remember that the Ankeny Community School District will continue to offer free lunch and breakfasts this year. Breakfast is served from 7:30-7:45am.

From the PTO

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

https://www.wearewestwood.org/

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.

Device Reminder

Students should not be using cell phones and/or smart watches during the school day. If a student has forgotten an item or is not feeling well, they should report this to a staff member, who will direct them to the front office or the nurse.

From the Nurse

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/