August 23, 2022 Westwood News

Back to School Friendly Reminders

Welcome Back!

Dear Westwood Family,

Welcome back to a new year filled with exciting potential for creating new partnerships, strengthening old ones, and dynamic learning opportunities as we continue to focus on the health of our Westwood system in terms of ongoing staff development, instructional practices, and the student and family experience. There will be a lot of flexibility and grace needed for our continued partnership as we continue to focus on taking care of the Westwood family. One of the things that has helped me is focusing on things within my control and then choosing my weather (Habit 1: Being Proactive). We are able to choose our actions, attitudes, and moods as we seek to be proactive.

Each new school year also brings opportunities for growth in all areas of development. No matter what’s going on at Westwood, you can help your son or daughter discover the leader within and prepare for a great life of contribution and service. The absolute best way to reinforce the importance of the 7 Habits and to make sure your child lives them is to model them in your own behavior. Keep it simple and look for ways to integrate the 7 Habits into what you are already doing. Think of it not as one more thing, but as an enhanced way of doing what you are already doing. Go at a pace that works for your family. You can plunge in all at once or work at it slowly. Either way, you will see improvements as you reap the benefits of living timeless and universal principles as a family. Remember, your child possesses unique gifts and talents. Think about what these are and what you can do to nurture and develop them. I understand that time is a precious gift and many times slips away from us. Often it is not possible for you to physically be at the school. However, there are other ways to stay connected and nurture the leader in your child. Contact your child’s teacher to start learning about meaningful ways to stay connected. Westwood is a unique family and school partnership and you are your child’s first teacher. No matter what’s going on at Westwood, you can help your son or daughter discover the leader within and prepare for a great life of contribution and service.

I am also eagerly anticipating our August 18th, “Kindergarten Welcome to School Event.” This Kindergarten event is a parents only event from 3:30-4:00 p.m.


  • Drop off supplies-each teacher will have their own process for collecting supplies in the room.

  • Familiarize themselves with their classroom environment

  • Meet the teacher

  • Ease anxiety

  • Give families the opportunity to get in the building

  • Locate classroom

In addition, we will also open doors Thursday, August 18th from 4:00-6:00 p.m. for, “Meet the Teacher Night.”

  • This event is for both students and their parents.
  • We look forward to new and revitalized partnerships as we strive to strengthen the student and family experience at Westwood.

Other Important Information:

Meet Dr. Stephanie Brown

For the new members of our Westwood family we have several new staff including Dr. Stephanie Brown, in a newly developed assistant principal position.

“My name is Stephanie Brown and it is with great enthusiasm that I write this letter of introduction as the new Assistant Principal of Westwood Elementary School. I am incredibly grateful and excited to join the Westwood family! I look forward to working in partnership with the school and community as we continue to build a structure of collaborative relationships - so that all students have various opportunities to succeed!

The 2022-2023 school year will mark my twenty-fourth year in PK-16 education. For the last three years, I was a PK-12 Instructional Coach and Gifted and Talented Coordinator at I-35 Schools. Prior to that, I was the Senior Teaching and Learning Specialist at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, and in previous PK-12 school districts, I served as an Instructional Coach, Gifted and Talented teacher, Literature Coach, Language Arts teacher, and an elementary teacher. On a more personal note, my husband, Chris and I enjoy spending time with our two elementary-aged children, Brantley and Breslyn. We love exploring geocaches, visiting national parks, spending time at the lake, and being active in the community. I serve as one of the founding board members of the I-35 Youth Soccer Program and I co-developed I-35 Family STEM Nights.

I am committed to working alongside Mr. Martin and the Westwood Elementary staff as we advocate for and provide all students and families with a positive and safe educational experience. It is important to me that every child and staff member are provided the support and resources necessary to reach their fullest potential. I cannot wait to welcome Westwood Elementary students, parents, and staff back to school and to get to know each of you personally. Please know that my door is always open. I wholeheartedly welcome your input and greatly look forward to celebrating all of our wonderful successes with you throughout the upcoming year.”

New Teachers

1st grade:
  • Heather Forland (moved from 2nd grade)

2nd grade:

  • Trisha Kempton

4th grade:

  • Kelly Ugolini
  • Kelli Hall

5th grade:

  • Emily Hall (moved from 4th grade)
  • Kati Ploeger
  • Malory Smith


  • Chelsea Brinkheide

Join our Associate Team!

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Nutrition Fees and Links

Important Change:

  • Meals are NOT going to be free to all students in school year 2022-23. For 2022-23, the USDA is transitioning back to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Students that are eligible and approved for free or reduced price meals will continue to receive meals at no charge (free) or at a reduced meal price (30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch).

Meal Pricing for 2022-23 School Year

  • K-5 Breakfast: $1.95
  • K-5 Lunch: $2.90
  • Milk only: $.50

The fastest way to add money to your student's account is by utilizing the Online Payment System found here. Cash or checks may also be dropped off in the front office and will be manually added to the student account.

SchoolCafe is a website and smart phone app that gives access to school menus, shows account balances, and more. Click here to learn more about SchoolCafe and to sign up for an account.

All of this information and much more is available at the Nutrition Department website.
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New Westwood Office Email

To simplify communication efforts, there is now a general office email that can be used for general office inquiries such as to report absences and is monitored by multiple staff throughout the school day. Always include the teacher in any emails regarding absences!

Please add to your email list!

The Westwood office staff, Laura and Monique, are still able to be emailed if you have any specific questions or concerns, or you can call the Westwood office at 515.965.9690.

Bring your Photo ID!

Parents and guardians, please bring your photo ID into the office during Meet the Teacher night to have your ID scanned into Westwood's RAPTOR system by the front office staff. This will only take a moment and will expedite your entry into the school for any activities that require a visitor badge. Once your ID is scanned, it will save in the system for future visits.

Voluntary Student Accident Insurance

Our district partners with Student Assurance Services to give families the opportunity to purchase voluntary accident insurance for their student(s). When enrolled, this coverage provides financial assistance for potential out-of-pocket expenses associated with an accident. These policies may be especially helpful if you have a student-athlete, as they may provide additional coverage in the event of your student-athlete sustaining an injury. Our new student accident policy began on August 1, 2022.

Please click here for more information.

Click here to view in Spanish.

Getting Started

Information Tidbits:

  • Teacher assignments are available in Infinite Campus August 9 at 8:00 a.m. Please reach out if you are unable to access your teacher assignment.

  • Ankeny Website School Hours/Weather Related Hours

  • The Ankeny Community School District will host a back-to-school forum on Tuesday, August 9, to welcome families back to school and provide the resources to have a great year, including a breakout session with building administrators. The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at Ankeny High School, located at 1155 SW Cherry Street, with the resource fair beginning at 6 p.m. The event will not be live streamed; however, a recording of the main speaking portion will be made available for viewing after the event.

Safety and Security:

  • Parents and volunteers are invited in buildings again. You can eat lunch with your student(s). Stop in the office, get raptored in, and wait in the hallway outside the main doors for your student.
  • At arrival, parents/guardians are not able to walk students to classrooms. Please plan on saying your goodbyes and taking pictures outside before students enter the building.
  • Complete your district volunteer and background check forms at least 2 weeks prior to an event and/or volunteer opportunity.

Safety and Security Reminders

Safety and Security:

  • Parents/Guardians/Visitors must say goodbyes and take pictures outside the building. This is a district wide safety and security update. Only staff are able to walk students to classrooms.

  • We only have 2 crosswalks that can be used. First one is at the end of our parking lot where all vehicles enter for arrival and dismissal. The second is at our 4 way stop intersection on NW 9th St and NW Park Ln. The crossing area by Boulder Brook and Frog Park should have a flashing crossing beacon soon as well.

  • Once you are in the inside car lane or outside drive through lane, you will not be able to cross over.

  • Do not stop in the street and let students out.

  • Only use our 2 approved crosswalks to cross the street. Review the map for the 2 crosswalks noted in a yellow box.

  • Please review the map for directions on bus lane in yellow, inside car lane in blue, and the outside drive through lane in red for arrival and dismissal.

  • Staff will open and close car doors for the inside car lane. If parents are in the outside drive through lane and intend to park in a visitor spot, then parents must walk their student(s) across the arrival lanes.

  • 1st week is hectic for everyone and car lines can be extra long. No worries as there will NOT be tardies due to the car line August 23-27.
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No Parking NW Irvinedale and NW 9th St to NW Park Lane

  • No parking along NW Irvinedale and NW 9th St to the crosswalk intersection at NW Park Ln.
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Normal Arrival and Dismissal

    • When and where will my student be dismissed from?

      • Walkers, bikers, and bus riders will be dismissed from classrooms at 2:55. They may leave any exit closest to their route home.

      • Before school starts it is recommended that families decide a location outside of the building that siblings meet before walking home.

    • Classroom teachers will walk CAR riders to their classroom gym lines and students will listen for their name to be called to leave to the front curb for pick up.

    • Students are not allowed to skip the gym and wait outside.

    • Car Lane Pick Up Reminders:

      • New families: Students will receive a hangtag in an envelope during the first few days of school. Please clearly write your student's last name, then first name on and piece of paper and put in the front window of your vehicle.

      • Returning families: Please hang last year's hang tag with number from your rearview mirror.

      • Any family without a hang tag or lost hang tag: Write the student last name, then first name on an 8x11 piece of paper and put in front windshield or front passenger window when entering the parking lot. Then complete the form here to request a new tag.

      • The far entry is for vehicles to enter the parking lot. The middle and last entry points are ONLY for exiting.

      • When the vehicle number or student name is entered into our system, then our gym staff will call out associated students from their gym classroom line and the student(s) will walk out through the front door down the middle sidewalk and wait with staff for parents to pull up.

Regular School Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7:55-2:55 (doors open to students at 7:30)

Wednesday 8:55-2:55 (doors open to students at 8:30)


Mr. Joel Martin

Westwood Elementary Principal

Dr. Stephanie Brown

Westwood Elementary Assistant Principal

Do not reply to this e-mail. Due to the nature of this mass communication system, your message will not be returned to the sender.

Ankeny Community School District does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, military affiliation, socioeconomic status, or familial status. Inquiries or grievances may be directed to Kenneth Morris, Jr., Equity Director, 306 SW School Street, P.O. Box 189, Ankeny, IA, 50021-0189, (515) 965-9600,; or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Grimes State Office Building, Des Moines, IA, 50319-0201, (515) 281-4121; or the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 500 West Madison Street, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60661.