Words To The Wise

October 2017


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As we begin the second month of school, the Westowne staff would like to thank the parents and community members for their support with the implementation of all programs. Both the primary and intermediate Back-to-School nights were well-attended and many positive comments were made regarding the information received on the grade level curriculum, grade level expectations, field trips, the school wide behavior management plan, and all forms of communication, including Class Dojo. This year promises to be a successful school year as the WES staff is steadfast in our commitment to provide a rigorous, engaging, and challenging instructional program that ensures success for the academic achievement and social/emotional/behavioral growth of our students.

The next couple of weeks will be busy at Westowne. Students are excited to participate our first Star Wars Reads Day! Students will have the ability to read about the Star Wars movies, space, planets, NASA, etc. Remember to wear your favorite Star Wars or space t-shirts. Moreover, Students and families will certainly enjoy Fall Fest on October 14. 2017. Please try to come out to the school from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday to enjoy the festivities. Also, The National Elementary Honor Society Toy Drive begins on October 16, 2017 and runs through Friday, October 27, 2017. If you would like to donate a new toy to benefit those in need, please feel free to send the toy into school and we will bet it to the NEHS. Finally, WES is preparing for the first annual Turkey Trot and Fall Celebration. Mr. Mele and Mr. Malecki have been working hard to prepare our third, fourth, and fifth grade students to qualify for the one mile run. Those intermediate students that are able to run the one mile course in under 8 minutes, thirty seconds will participate in the Turkey Trot on the morning of November 3, 2017. The entire student body will be able to watch the race and cheer on our runners. It should be an exciting event. We are also hoping to get a local high school marching band to perform for all of our students. After the race, we will all take part in a craft that will benefit Catonsville and the town’s holiday celebrations. We will end the half day of school with small Fall celebration parties in the classrooms. It should prove to be an enjoyable day! Please keep an eye out for the informational flyer and schedule of events.

I want to take this opportunity to thank out PTA for their support. The recent PTA movie night was well attended and very enjoyable. We also have many volunteers working in the building, supporting our students and teachers. Please remember to sign up for the WES PTA. The $8 registration fee is minimal and the benefits to students are great!



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Health Help

  • Please send your child to school with a water bottle each day. Proper hydration helps to ward off headaches, tummy aches, muscle aches, etc. Water is an essential ingredient for a healthy body!

  • Please, do not send your child to school with medication. All medication should be brought to the nurse by an adult. This includes any prescription medication, as well as cough drops. If your child prefers his/her own cough drops to those dispensed by the nurse, I can put the cough drops in an envelope with your child’s name, and he/she may come to the health suite for a cough drop as needed. Cough drops are considered a medication, therefore, I must keep them locked in the health suite until needed. Thank you for your cooperation!

  • The Baltimore County Department of Health is giving FREE Flu Shots (while supplies last!) on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at seven locations throughout Baltimore County. The closest location to Catonsville is Lansdowne Middle School. Other locations are: Towson, Dundalk, Hereford, Middle River, Pikesville, and Randallstown. For more information, call 410-887-2243 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/flushot.

  • If your child is out of school for illness, please send a note with your child when he/she returns to school. The absence will not be excused without a note from a parent or a physician.

  • If you are the parent of a student in Preschool, Prekindergarten, or Kindergarten, please provide a weather appropriate change of clothes (including underwear and socks) to be kept in your child’s classroom for emergencies, such as bathroom accidents, vomiting, spills. The clothing will be returned to you at the end of the school year.

  • Last, but not least, below are the guidelines for when to keep your child home from school for illness.

As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns. jmartin13@bcps.org or 443-809-0023.

Wishing you good health!

Guidelines for when to keep your child home from school for illness

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Emergency Drill Procedures

Emergency Drill Procedures

During the school year, students and staff members practice a series of emergency drills to ensure the safety of our WES students. These drills include monthly fire drills, two five-hundred foot evacuation drills, two lock down drills, and two severe weather drills. These drills are explained and practiced by the classroom teacher at the beginning of each school year in hopes that students understand how to perform during the drills in a safe and appropriate manner. Please see the drill explanations below so you are able to work with and explain each process to your student(s). Several of the ten fire drills are announced during the year, but many are not, allowing for evaluation of the building evacuation in a manner more consistent with a real emergency. The drill procedures provided below are in general terms and may have additional steps due to location of a classroom, student needs, etc. These drills/situations may be frightening for students, but are necessary to ensure student safety. Drills will not be announced to the public, but procedures will be practiced and explained by the classroom teachers prior to drills being completed.

Fire Drills and 500 Foot Evacuation Drills (for use when conditions are safer outside than inside):

1. Alarm will sound indicating the need to evacuate the building.

2. Students will line up to be escorted out of the building.

3. Windows and doors will be closed.

4. Students will exit the building following the classroom evacuation route. If this route is blocked, the teacher will indicate a secondary route for students to follow.

5. Students will exit the building and form a line in a pre-determined location away from the building. During a 500 foot drill, student will move at least 500 feet away from the building.

6. Students’ will stand silently, facing the building so they may hear or see others who may need assistance evacuating the building.

7. Teachers will check for injuries and complete attendance and turn in the “Emergency Attendance Sheet” to an administrator.

8. When all students are accounted for, the principal will call “all clear” and direct students and teachers to re-enter the building.

Lock Down Drills:

1. An announcement will be made over the intercom system stating, “Teachers, we are now in lockdown status.” If not a drill, 911 will be notified immediately.

2. Students will be cleared from hallways and immediately report to the nearest available classroom.

3. Students at recess will be directed to move immediately to an interior classroom unless deemed safer to remain outside.

4. Students at lunch will be directed to move immediately to the nearest classroom unless deemed safer to lock down in the cafeteria.

5. Teacher will close and lock all windows and doors.

6. Teacher will turn off lights, close window blinds, and cover interior door windows.

7. Students will be moved to an interior wall to position them away from the threat and to minimize visibility from windows and doors.

8. Student will be directed to sit on the floor and remain silent until indicated otherwise.

9. Teachers and faculty members will check for injuries, complete attendance, and utilize cell phones and/or two-way radios to communicate this information to the office. If possible, Teachers complete attendance and turn in the “Emergency Attendance Sheet” to an administrator. It is the principal’s responsibility to provide additional information to teachers.

10. Teachers and student will ignore all bells and will not allow students to leave the classroom.

11. Parents attempting to enter or exit the building during the Lockdown will be notified to remain in classrooms/office until lockdown is over.

12. When all students are accounted for and the situation deemed safe, the principal will call “all clear” and direct students and teachers to return to instruction.

Severe Weather (Safe Area) Drills (For use in severe weather emergencies such as high winds and/or severe thunderstorms):

1. An announcement will be made over the intercom system stating, “Teachers, we are now in severe weather status.”

2. The office will monitor emergency alert broadcasts.

3. Classroom teachers will close windows, doors, and blinds.

4. Occupants of portable classrooms shall move to the main building to designated safe areas. (Special areas will move to the individual classroom they are working with and fifth grade classrooms will move to cafeteria or library.)

5. Teachers will check for injuries, complete attendance and turn in the “Emergency Attendance Sheet” to an administrator. It is the principal’s responsibility to provide additional information to teachers.


For the safety of our students, parents must not drop students off in the loop in front of the building after 8:30 a.m. and/or before 4:30 p.m. This loop is reserved for for buses and deliveries during school hours.

REMINDER: The late bell rings at 9:15 a.m. If you arrive with your student after 9:15 a.m., parents need to park in the main parking lot and walk students to the office and sign them in. They will receive a late pass to give to the homeroom teacher.

If you need to conduct any business in the main office/school, please park in the parking lot and utilize the main entrance. Thank you for you understanding and assistance.

Student One-Cards

One-Card identification badge and holder

There is a $10.00 fee for staff and students who have lost or damaged their

One-Cards please remit $10.00 cash payment

Guide to Understanding Your Child’s Elementary Report Card

Parents and Guardians,

BCPS has posted a guide to help you understand your child’s elementary report card. This guide can be found at http://www.bcps.org/academics/grading/ and may be accessed directly by scanning the QR code.

Thank you!

Westowne's 1st Annual Turkey Trot Run

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EPIK KIDS IN ACTION – Wednesday’s (Dates to follow)

This is the first year that we will have it here at Westowne and I am very excited about it! Here is a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EpikHomeGroup/

The mission of the group is to teach about service to others while also building community, teaching empathy and compassion and helping others in general.

Anyone in grades 2-3 can apply, but I will only be able to take 25 kids. They will need to fill out an application and the applications will be read and picked through for 25 students.

It is possible that we will do such service projects as: creating lunches for the homeless, cards for sick children, fun activities for Hopkins…etc.. We will start small and build as we go!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or see me!

Cathy Ritzes

Prekindergarten Teacher

Westowne Elementary




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PTA's Annual Fall Fest 2017

We want all who participate to have a FUN and SAFE time so please NO COSTUMES.
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