Words To The Wise

January 2018



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Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that the holidays are behind us and that the school year is almost half over! The second marking period will end on Friday, January 19, 2018, with report cards being distributed on Thursday, February 1, 2018.

Here’s to keeping all of those New Year’s resolutions! As we complete the second marking period, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our families for supporting Westowne Elementary and the instructional program. Students come prepared to learn and parents understand that school is extremely important and expect students to give one hundred percent. Thank you for spending time each evening to listen to daily events, assist with homework, and to encourage efforts to meet the academic challenges of each grade level.

Westowne is very fortunate to have many parent volunteers visit and assist teachers and students on a daily basis. Many volunteers complete work at home to support the instructional program and special events planned for the year. During the remaining months, the faculty, staff, and administration look forward to working with you to ensure a successful year for every student. A special thank you to the Westowne PTA for their commitment and dedication to all staff and students. It is always great to have so many supportive and involved parents. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

In an effort to ensure students refocus on instruction as quickly as possible after the break, all teachers will reinforce/reteach routines in the following areas: classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, cafeteria, and recess. I ask that all parents assist with this effort and remind students about proper behavior while in school. It is very important that classroom disruptions are kept to an absolute minimum so instructional delivery is consistent and meets all students’ needs. I have attached the Westowne Code of Conduct below to assist you if you decide to hold a conversation with your child(ren).

By reinforcing our schools high behavioral expectations at home, I hope to ensure an overall calm and safe learning environment. Thank you in advance for your support!

Code of Conduct

Effective instruction is best implemented in a structured and nurturing environment. Hence, this Code of Conduct will be instituted systemically by faculty and administration and be posted in each classroom.

The four components of the Code of Conduct will be recited daily during morning announcements:

I am Respectful

I am Responsible

I am Safe

I am Prepared



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A Vision and Hearing Technician will be visiting Westowne from February 1st through February 9th to provide vision and hearing screening for all PK 4’s, 1st, and 4th graders.

Kindergartners who were not screened in PK will also be tested.

Any student in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade who is new to BCPS will also be screened.

If your child fits the criteria listed, and, you do NOT want your child to be screened, please provide written notification to the school nurse as soon as possible, but, definitely before February 1, 2018.

Thank you for supporting the More Water Campaign!

I’ve seen many more students arriving to school with water bottles. Every student who visits the health suite during the day is drinking more water in the health suite. Ms. Johnson has been including the campaign in the morning announcements, and, teachers have been discussing the campaign with students in the classrooms. Many have reported to me that they and their family members are drinking more water at home, as well.

Keep up the great work and stay hydrated… it really does do a body good!!

Please do not send medication to school with your student.

Cough drops are medication and may be given every two hours per BCPS policy. I have cough drops in the health suite. As indicated on the orange Discretionary Medication Form that was sent home in the Summer mailing, or given to you to complete when school started, I can dispense a cough drop to your child every two hours. If your child does not care for the cough drops in the health suite, and, you’d like to provide a different brand, please put the cough drops in a Ziploc bag or envelope with your child’s name and homeroom on it, and bring it to the school nurse. I will store them with the cough drops in the health suite, and, will dispense them, as needed, to your child only.

All prescription medications must be brought to the school nurse by an adult; this includes inhalers and Epi Pens. The adult and the nurse will confirm the prescription together, count the doses provided, and sign the medication form together. Please do not send prescription medication to school with your child.

When your child is absent for illness or for an appointment, please be sure to send in a note to excuse the absence.

If your child has been seen by a doctor for illness or injury, please send in the discharge note for the health record.

If your child is scheduled for a physical or a dental visit, I’m happy to give you a physical or dental form to update your child’s health record.

Just give me a call, and I’ll send the form home in your child’s folder for the doctor/dentist to complete.

Stay hydrated and healthy!!

Nurse Martin 443-809-0023 or jmartin13@bcps.org



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The school library is in need of tissues for students with runny noses and colds. There are supply holders in the library that can only hold the cube-shaped boutique-style tissue boxes.




Thursday March 15, 2018

Mark your calendars - Thursday, March 15th will be Super Heroes Reads Day during school (super hero clothing is fine but no costumes, props or masks) and Literature Night is that evening for all Westowne families!



EPIK Kids in Action has been very busy helping others.

In December, they partnered with Westowne alum, Joey Stallings and packed comfort bags for the children at St. Agnes Hospital. The bags will surely bring smiles to the pediatric patients.

Currently the group is collecting pop tops/tabs from soda/juice cans. These pop tops will benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

If you are able to collect them, you can turn them in to any EPIK Kid, or drop them off to Mrs. Ritzes’ room in the red pod.

Thank you for your support.



The Board of Education of Baltimore County (Board) has updated the Wellness Policy and Rule 5470 in order to ensure that BCPS is committed to providing a school environment that promotes student health, well-being and ability to learn.

The revised policy and rule are consistent with the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The Board of Education acknowledges that students need access to healthy foods and physical activity, health and counseling services and the support of the school, family and community to grow, learn, and thrive.

Wellness programs and services include the following ten categories:

1. Health education
2. Physical education and physical activity
3. Health services
4. Nutrition environment and services
5. Counseling, psychological and social services
6. Social and emotional school climate
7. Physical environment
8. Employee wellness
9. Community involvement
10. Family engagement

Two components of this policy may be of interest to you.

1. Category 2. Physical education and physical activity: One of the items impacts recess for students in elementary schools.


 Each elementary school schedule will include a minimum of 20 minutes, and up to 30 minutes, of daily recess for every student.

 During recess (preferably outdoors), students will be encouraged to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity.



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Are you the parent of a child in currently in 1st through 5th grade?

The Children and Families, Schooling and Development lab at UMBC is looking for parents of elementary-aged children to complete an online survey.

We want to know what educational activities your child engages in at home, your views on the role of the home in children’s educational development and the use of educational technology.

This anonymous survey takes 15-20 minutes and can be completed entirely online.

Upon completion, if you want, you can enter to win one of five $20 Amazon gift cards. If you are interested, please use the following link: https://umbc.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9YzaID2r6exvaNT.

Please contact Dr. Susan Sonnenschein (sonnensc@umbc.edu) or Rebecca Dowling (rebe7@umbc.edu) with any questions or concerns.