Westwood Way

Happenings In Panther Nation - November 2021

Last week, Marla and I traveled to San Antonio to watch our fantastic Panther Band march in the UIL State Marching Band Championships. They qualified for the State Championships after finishing in fourth place at Area.

The morning the band marched, several band members visited with me about how nervous they were but were still looking forward to the opportunity to perform. As the morning progressed, the clouds began moving in, and rain showers became a reality. Shayla Skief adjusted the schedule and used a nearby parking lot to do a quick practice before heading to the Alamodome for the competition.

As our band arrived at the Alamodome and began final preparations, the sky opened up and dumped rain on the directors, students, and equipment. But with the same determination, mindset, and commitment to excellence that has become synonymous with the Westwood Marching Band, they took the field and performed at a high level. Despite marching with wet socks and shoes, our students displayed Panther Pride throughout the entire routine!

Their final ranking was not where they wanted, but they accepted it and did not complain and make excuses. I had parent after parent share with me how their child took full responsibility for the band not performing at the desired level. This attitude of ownership is a more accurate metric of champions than a final rating!!

As I reflected, I found so many applicable leadership lessons in this three-day journey of our band. I would like for you to consider the three that resonated the most with me:

  • High levels of success begin with belief. Our band program is a highly successful group, and it all is because of the belief Shayla Skief exudes! Shayla exhibited this belief when I first met her and still does this daily. She has transferred this belief to her other directors, students, and parents, and now her program has reached the State Competition level!

In reflection, no matter our role or responsibilities, we must ask: Do I believe in myself to that level? Do I believe in those around me? Do I radiate that belief in every interaction I have?

  • Success is a product of grit. On the day of the competition, our band had several distractors that could have derailed them and led to an abysmal performance. But they pushed through and finished 16th out of 25 bands. This grit or resolve doesn’t occur by chance but is developed over a period of time and events. Over the last six years, our band has encountered moments of disappointment, but Shayla has never allowed them to wallow or become comfortable in the frustration. She has consistently challenged her program to learn, grow, and rise above the setback!

The reflection for us: Do I wallow or become comfortable in setbacks? Is my passion for excellence engrained deep enough that I continue to develop grit in every disappointment? Do those around me build grit due to me modeling it daily?

  • Success occurs through collective ownership. Even though there was a disappointment after the competition, band member after band member took personal responsibility for the team performance. Individually, they believed that the whole group would have performed at a higher level if they had performed better. Again, ownership is not one of our natural responses. Shayla has taught and modeled this over time. Those around her have responded, and the program continues to find success!

As we reflect, we must ask: Do I take ownership for disappointments or challenges? Do I naturally blame my supervisor or coworkers, or do I seek personal growth when things don’t work out? Do I explore personal growth opportunities when a new or revised plan has to be implemented?

Even though reflection can be difficult, I hope this has generated quality reflection that will lead to personal growth.

Wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving!!


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School Board Update

During the November Board Meeting, the following items came before the School Board:

Dr. Katie Atkins presented an overview of the Board Learning Walks that would take place on Thursday. In the overview, Dr. Atkins discussed the focus areas during the Learning Walks and discussed the instructional core.

Kyle Johnson discussed the Year To Date budget by function and discussed the impact of the most up-to-date ADA and enrollment numbers on the current year’s revenue. Mr. Johnson concluded his presentation with a review of the Program Intent Codes.

Mr. Stanford presented a summary of the state-wide November 2021 Bond results.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of two school busses.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the budget amendment as presented.