Westridge Wildcat News

October 1, 2021

Message from the Principal

Greetings Westridge Community,

While I don’t feel new to the Westridge community, I am eager to become more connected with parents, families, and caregivers! In order to facilitate more connection, I am offering two Zoom sessions. These sessions will be informal principal chats where I can briefly present updates on our school, answer questions, and get to know you a little bit better. In addition to these Zoom chats, our amazing secretary, Jodi Steward, interviewed me. See both the Zoom details and interview below!

Principal Tea Chat:October 6 at 6 pm

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 815 1207 3786

Passcode: 719325

Principal Coffee Chat: October 15th at 9 am

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 868 0356 9575

Passcode: 974469

Interview with Jules Laaperi 10/1/21

Q: Are you originally from the Portland area?

A: I am not. I grew up in San Diego, California, where my family still lives. I left San Diego when I went to college in New York at 18. Since then, I have only returned for visits.

Q: What made you decide to move to Oregon?

A: Initially, I was drawn to Oregon because the friends I met in college all happened to be from Portland! When I was ready to leave New York, I moved to Oregon because I wanted to attend Lewis and Clark College to get my Masters in Teaching.

Q: What’s your favorite part about living in the Portland area?

A: I love the green landscape, the delicious food, the access to nature, and most importantly the people. I am so grateful for the amazing offerings of our community.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I love to read, cook and bake, go for walks and runs, and paddleboard. I also often joke that education is both my job and my hobby. I love learning and often take courses to expand my perspective and knowledge base.

Q: What is your education background?

A: Growing up I attended a K-8 school where my mother was my principal! I then went onto a performing arts high school where I studied musical theatre. After that, I attended Sarah Lawrence College for my undergraduate and studied early childhood education, psychology, and fiction writing. Most recently, I attended Lewis and Clark College to gain both my Masters in Teaching as well as my administrator's license. My next goal is to gain a doctorate degree.

Q: What made you decide to become an elementary Principal?

A: I always joke that I am in the family business of education. Both of my parents were teachers and then later became administrators. Both of my siblings are also teachers. The desire to be a principal comes from both how I was raised and my passion for education. I loved being in the classroom as both a first grade and fourth grade teacher but I had the desire to be in leadership positions.

Q: What is your greatest contribution to the schools you’ve worked in?

A:My hope is that I contribute to my school in big and small ways each day. One contribution that I am proud of is my equity work. I strive to be an antiracist educator. In my previous schools, I wrote, launched, and implemented an antiracist curriculum, led professional development, and worked on school wide initiatives to achieve equitable outcomes. While I am proud of this work, I also recognize it is ongoing and never done.

Q: What is your vision for this school year?

A: My vision for this school year can be summed up in our theme, Better Together. I want to increase collaboration student to student, student to teacher, teacher to home, and home to administrator.

Q: What accomplishments fill you with pride so far this school year?

A: First of all, I feel so proud to be part of the Westridge community. As we complete our fifth week of school, I am proud of our teachers and staff who have worked tire lessly to welcome students back for 5 full days a week for an amazing educational experience.

Q: What do you expect from students, staff and parents this year?

A: I expect that we all offer each other grace while living in gratitude. These are uncertain times and we must work together to solve problems, give grace, and express gratitude.

Q: What is one of your hidden talents (or what would students be surprised to learn about you?)

A: Although I am not necessarily talented, I love to sing! When I was a first grade teacher I would sing almost everything to my students. When at home, you can catch me belting out a song and dancing in my kitchen.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with our community?

A: I just want to express my gratitude for each of you. I have been so warmly welcomed and embraced. I cannot thank the community enough. Go Wildcats!

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Lunch Update

The rain has arrived and while we're grateful for this seasonal shift in the weather after a hot, dry summer, it means that some of the spaces students were using for lunch have been less inviting this week. Consequently, we need to begin eating indoors on rainy days. When eating indoors, students will be spaced six feet apart, instead of three. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please let Jules Laaperi or your child's teacher know and we will find a solution that works for your family.

Save the Dates!

October 4th: Virtual Back to School Night

October 6- National Walk/Bike to School Day

October 8 - Professional Day - No School

October 14- Run, Walk and Roll with Rocky the Wildcat

October 14- PTSO General Meeting

October 20th: School Picture Day

October 21- School Wide Virtual SockHop

Action Items:

Tech form:

Prepare for Rain!
  • Send your child in appropriate weather resistant coats and shoes to be prepared for rain! We eat lunch outside and go to recess outside unless extreme weather is present.

Neighborhood Notice:

There have been multiple phone calls from your neighbors about parents double parking or blocking driveways in the neighborhood cul-de-sacs and streets surrounding Westridge in the afternoon during dismissal. Please be kind to your neighbors and abide by all traffic laws. Safety is our top priority, always.

If you find it difficult to find adequate, legal parking, please come through the car line.

CogAT Screening Coming:

In order to ensure equitable opportunities, all second and third-grade students will be assessed this fall using the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) to screen for intellectual ability and eligibility for Talented and Gifted (TAG) support. This 60-minute in-classroom assessment measures reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Each area is designed to evaluate specific reasoning skills that strongly correlate to academic success. The district’s testing window for the CogAT screener will be October 11 through November 12.

Lost and Found

The Lost and Found is OVERFLOWING! Due to the amount of clothing in the Lost and Found, we will wait to donate items without names in them until the end of next week. If we have some dry days, we will pull the table out front of the school for parents to go through at arrival and dismissal. In the meantime, please tell your child to please check the Lost and Found for missing items!
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October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability in reading. People with dyslexia have trouble reading at a good pace and without mistakes. They may also have a hard time with reading comprehension, spelling, and writing. But these challenges aren’t a problem with intelligence.

Children and adults with dyslexia struggle to read fluently, spell words correctly, and memorize rote facts such as multiplication tables, among other challenges. But these difficulties have no connection to their overall intelligence. While people with dyslexia can be slow readers, they often, paradoxically, are very fast and creative thinkers with strong reasoning abilities.

Dyslexia can’t be “cured” – it is lifelong. But with appropriate instruction, an individual with dyslexia can learn to read, write, and spell and can become a highly successful individual. Reading instruction that is based upon a systematic and explicit understanding of language structure, including phonics is shown to benefit all readers, including those with dyslexia.

Get the facts on Dyslexia from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA): Fact Sheets

Video: What is Dyslexia? https://youtu.be/zafiGBrFkRM

Ways to help your child at home: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/dyslexia-strategies-you-can-try-at-home?_ul=1*jhht1b*domain_userid*YW1wLTY5YzJjRVMxUnU3YU03WDduMFdORVE

Each week in October, we will feature a message about dyslexia in this newsletter. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s learning, please contact the school principal and/or literacy specialist. Another great parent resource would be to contact your school’s Student Services Parent Advisory Committee (SSPAC) representative. Please see here to learn how to contact your school representative.

Message from our Counselor, Gary Kieser

Dear Westridge Families,

During October, through our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons, we will be introducing the character trait of Empathy. Empathy is an important skill for creating connected and kind communities and developing healthy relationships. There is a growing need for more Empathy in our world. As anxiety increases in our culture, Empathy decreases. As more hate speech incidents occur in the world, as people use empathy less, we begin to see a divided and fractured community and world.

So, we are working to develop a few key skills in order to live more empathetic lives. As a school community, we will be examining how Empathy looks, sounds, and feels. First, developing an “emotional vocabulary” to make sure we have the words to understand and describe what we are feeling personally. Second, being able to connect with others based on their feelings, even though we may not have the exact same story or perspective as someone else. Finally, we will think about how being an upstander when empathy is not being used can help support our community members and stop harmful actions.

The definition students will be learning this month for empathy is: the ability to understand and connect to the feelings of another.


Gary Kieser

Westridge Elementary School Counselor

Technology Consent/Device Damage and Loss Protection Plan

Hello LOSD Families,

Each student must have a Technology Consent form on file each year.

The District is once again offering a Device Damage and Loss Protection Plan to ease the financial obligation if your student's District Device is damaged or lost.

When you fill out the Tech Consent form, you will "accept" or "decline" participation in the Protection Plan. The cost is $20 per student, with a family maximum of $60. Participation in the program is completely optional. Fee waivers are available for those with financial need.

Click HERE to directly access the 2021-2022 Technology Consent form.

Please fill out one form per student. Payment instructions will be communicated to participating families in the coming weeks. For a complete description of the Device Damage and Loss Protection Program, please visit the District's website at https://www.losdschools.org/Page/7761

Fee waiver forms can be accessed here: https://www.losdschools.org/domain/1838 Please mail the completed form to:

Lake Oswego School District Office

c/o James Miller

PO Box 70

Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Thank you,

Computer Network Services

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Come to our new Lakeridge Middle School (4700 Jean Rd, Lake Oswego, OR 97035) to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) with Spanish teachers Teresa Sánchez and Julie Pacheco-Toye in an evening full of fun and cultural learning.

Registration is free!

Westridge Student Newspaper

Calling all journalists! After a pause due to the pandemic, we are hoping to resume work on What's Up, Westridge?, the Westridge student newspaper, written by the kids, for the kids! The Westridge student newspaper is open to writers in 5th grade. We meet twice a month (approximately 1x every other week) and publish one issue per month. Ideally we will be able to hold our introductory meeting early-mid October, and meeting times will be at lunch recess via Zoom. Questions? Please contact Stef Fogarty at svfogarty@gmail.com.

PTSO News!

Westridge Wildcats! October means we're celebrating fitness all month long.
Join us for our kick-off event next Wednesday, October 6th for National Walk & Bike to School Day! There are two FUN ways to participate!

1) Map your route out, grab some friends and enjoy the gift of movement when you bike or walk to school on Wednesday, rain or shine!

2) Join in on our coloring contest. Info and coloring sheets will be coming home with your student on Monday or Tuesday.

Participation awards and prizes will be given for all who walk or bike to school AND to those who participate in the coloring contest! Plus, walkers & bikers will be entered into a drawing for some additional prizes!

-->Our finish line this year will be at the back of the school at the playground! Stop by the tables to mark your starting location on our school-wide walk & bike map, grab your prize, drop off your coloring sheets and give high fives to Rocky the Wildcat as well as members of our local police and fire departments.

Get your Wildcat merch here!

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Student Attendance:

If your child will be absent, please email your student's teacher and copy the office at murphya@loswego.k12.or.us. Please list the date your child will be absent and any illness symptoms.

If you need to pick your child up early from school, please let the teacher and the office know ahead of time.

COVID-19 Information:

If you would like information on COVID-19 and LOSD, please click here

Chromebook or iPad Problems?

Please submit a tech request to https://losdhelp.zendesk.com/ or scan this QR code.

ODE Annual 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, and test windows.


Parents-guardians who have concerns about a student’s well-being are encouraged to reach out to their principal, and to maintain strong lines of communication and partnership between students, families, staff, and other resources.

SafeOregon is also an effective way to report a tip regarding safety threats or potential acts of violence to our students or schools.


(Students should also be aware that intentionally providing a false report is a serious offense.)

Subscribe to Lake Oswego Schools App

Stay connected to the district and your school(s) and receive urgent notifications by subscribing to the Lake Oswego Schools App.

Westridge Elementary School

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.