The WES Parent Wildcat Weekly

Home of the Wildcats!

Week of February 1 - 5, 2021

Hello from Principal Holmes!

Dear Wildcat Parents,


I am so proud of our school community. Our student learners are working diligently by paying attention and participating during virtual class time and completing their assignments during their asynchronous time. It is very helpful when our learners come to class prepared for their learning each day. Thank you parents for your support of their learning and for helping them be prepared. You are instrumental in their success as you provide support for them at home. Our teachers and staff continue to provide instruction that is engaging and meaningful. Everything our students are being taught is very intentional and with a purpose. We want our student learners to be successful and become a responsible learner.


I would like to reiterate the expectations for the use of Lexia and Reflex programs. Both of these programs are researched based and will support your child's' learning. If your child is diligent and use these programs daily, this should have a positive impact on their learning. If you have any questions about either of these programs, please reach out to your child's teacher.


This month, we are trying to replenish household items in our food pantry. If you are able to make any donations, they are always greatly appreciated. See the attached flyer for more specific details.


Due to our current instructional model being 100% virtual and with the COVID restrictions in place, we need to adapt our tradition of Valentine Exchanges. Please see the additional information below.


Thank you again for partnering with us to continue making this a successful school year for our students regardless of the many challenges. Although our virtual world is not always the most ideal, our students are learning.


Have a most wonderful weekend and perhaps...enjoy some snow!


With wildcat pride and spirit,

Dianne Holmes

Principal

A Message from our Superintendent Dr. Baker

I hope that this communication finds you and your family enjoying the weekend, perhaps watching the snowfall! We have completed the first month of our second semester. I remain so proud of our students, staff, and community for continuing to work together to support learning experiences during what has been one of the most difficult phases of this crisis to date.


Below are some announcements and reminders as we look to the week ahead:


Announcements & Reminders

  • As was sent out in communications this past Wednesday, the school board voted to extend the distance/virtual learning mode for our students until March 1st.

    • What preceded this decision was a presentation from our staff and a discussion regarding new interim state guidance for reopening schools in the Commonwealth. The presentation is linked here and a reminder of how to access the archived board meetings is included later in this communication.

    • Pertinent to the discussion and aforementioned decision was the concern regarding the current and continuing impact of the virus on our staff in terms of both positive cases and required quarantining. Even since Tuesday’s meeting, we have continued to have a number of additional impacts on our staff.

    • Following an entire quarter of hybrid in-person learning where we were able to effectively implement the recommended mitigation strategies, the recent surge in cases has affected our operational capacity.

    • Though our in-person learning for prioritized learners was also paused, we are actively working to try and return this group of students back within the next two weeks. In addition, as we monitor both the impact of COVID-19 on our staffing/operations and the local health metrics, should we be able to resume additional hybrid in-person learning opportunities sooner, please know that we will recommend doing so as soon as possible.

    • The on-going challenges of this pandemic, including shifting/changing guidance, have made it extraordinarily difficult on our students, staff, and families. Thank you for continuing to reach out with feedback, both positive and constructive, to assist our division leadership in navigating this time period.

    • At the onset of this pandemic, we could not have predicted the twists and turns along the path, nor the length of time that we would be navigating these waters. Please know that as individual schools and a system, we remain vigilant to assist with academic, social, and emotional needs of our students and families. We may have access to resources that can support your child/ren and family. Please reach out to us.


  • The weather forecast notes some significant snow and ice headed our way on Sunday continuing through potentially Monday or Tuesday. While we are in a virtual setting, some families, students, and staff may wonder if there is the possibility of school closures. The simple answer is yes.

    • We may still need to implement school closure codes even though our students are virtual because our school buildings are open for teachers to access their classrooms and teaching supplies as the impact of inclement weather may create unsafe road conditions and/or power outages.

    • Additionally, some students come into our buildings to utilize internet connectivity. If we experience a significant weather event, it would not be safe for employees or students to come to our schools. Once the roads are navigable, the school weather codes may change. For example, we may be able to have an asynchronous day or possibly keep the virtual experience. Please stay tuned as we send out communications should they be necessary.


  • As a reminder, our COVID-19 Dashboard is updated weekly and can be viewed in the Return to Learn section on each school’s website or by clicking this link: SCPS COVID-19 Dashboard. Also, on our webpage is a link to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Dashboard. This site provides data and statistics regarding COVID-19 positivity rates and cases per 100,000 by locality, region, and state.


  • I want to acknowledge our partnership with Spotsylvania Emergency Management and local health district in providing the vaccination clinic at Massaponax High School this past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. In terms of our staff, over 500 were able to receive their first dose of the vaccination, added to the over 1,300 already confirmed to have received their first dose through Mary Washington HealthCare over the previous two weeks.


  • Important Budget Dates for Information & Engagement: On January 26th, the school board received the Superintendent’s Proposed FY2022 Budget. Then on January 28th, the school board engaged in a budget work session to ask questions and engage with division staff regarding the proposed budget. The budget presentation is linked here.


As a reminder, the below are upcoming budget dates:

  • Feb 01 - The Budget Public Hearing. In this step, all members of our community are invited to share their thoughts, recommendations, and feedback regarding the proposed budget.

  • Feb 03 - This date was set as a make-up date given that Monday’s scheduled meeting could be impacted by inclement weather.

  • Feb 08 - At this school board’s general monthly meeting, one of the action items will be the school board’s approval of the FY2022 budget.

  • Please see the detailed calendar here: FY 2022 Approved Critical Budget Dates

  • School Board meetings can be viewed online at https://www.regionalwebtv.com/spotsysb. Meetings are live-streamed. Recordings of each meeting may be accessed at the same link. Additionally, meetings may be viewed on cable channels: Comcast Channel 17, Cox Channel 18, and Verizon Channel 36.


We are excited to share that this week it was announced that Cedar Forest Elementary was awarded the 2021 National High-Flying School designation! Cedar Forest was one of 3 schools to receive this award across the nation based on the school’s achievement while serving a high percentage of students considered at risk. Congrats to the entire school community!


Have a great week!

Dr. S. Scott Baker

What's happening at WES?

Big picture

Valentine Exchange & Friendship Celebration

Due to our current instructional model being 100% virtual and with the COVID restrictions in place, we need to adapt our tradition of Valentine Exchanges.


  • Teachers/staff will collect Valentine Cards from students until Friday, February 4, 2021. This will allow for quarantine and re-distribution by teachers/staff.

  • Parents, please drop the signed valentines off and place in the “Valentine” Container at the main entrance.

  • Please make sure your child’s name & teacher’s name are on the bag prior to dropping them off.

  • Valentines will be ready for re-distribution and pick up by parents after 4:00 pm on Tuesday, February 9. 2021.

  • Consumable and non-consumable treats will not be permitted this year.

  • Participation is optional. If you do participate, please include all students in your classroom. Teachers will share first names of your child's classmates.

  • Homeroom teachers will communicate any more specifics through classroom communication.

  • The friendship celebration will be on Friday, February 12, 2021. Thank you for supporting a healthy and fun Valentine's Exchange!

School Counselor's Corner

This week’s mindful focus is: Hot Cocoa Breathing! We hope you all are enjoying the weekly mindfulness skills and practice. Please ask your student what mindfulness strategy they like the most so far.


For the month of February WES is taking household supply donations of: laundry detergent, dish soap, and any other household cleaning products. All donations can be dropped off in the labeled drop box located in the front of the school. Thank you for supporting our community!


5th grade families! Mrs. Elliott will be sending some information home about Rising 6th Grade Scheduling. I will be helping 5th grade students complete elective scheduling online in the month of February. More information to come.


Interested in food support? At Wilderness on Thursday’s from 12:30 pm - 2 pm our food pantry is available for you. You can also schedule an appointment with Mrs. Elliott or Mrs. Burton (school social worker). To learn more: Food Distribution


Stop by our Wilderness counseling site for resources:

Wilderness School Counseling Website


If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me. I am happy to help!

Tori Elliott

School Counselor

From Nurse Stevens

  • Contact tracing conducted by school nurses remains pivotal in preventing outbreaks and stopping the spread of Covid-19 among our staff and students. Reporting all illnesses to the school nurse has never been more important.

  • Collaboration with the health department is ongoing.

  • Reminder: We continue to follow the preferred guidance of 14-day quarantine for those exposed to Covid-19 and a 10 isolation for those who test positive for Covid-19.


Training Announcement: Stress and Stress Management in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond. Register at: https://tinyurl.com/y2tydmbm


Text Message Nurse Stevens at 540-424-4237 or E-mail: lstevens@spotsylvania.k12.va.us
Text Message Principal Holmes at 540-846-6075 or E-mail: dholmes@spotsylvania.k12.va.us

WES School Yearbook 2021- On Sale NOW!

  • Cost is $18
  • You can order it online at https://ybpay.lifetouch.com/ (School code is 12502021)
  • You can submit pictures to be considered for publishing in this year's yearbook. You may email them to Mrs. Moreyra at lmoreyra@spotsylvania.k12.va.us. Please make sure to include the student's name along with the teacher's name.
  • We do not have a delivery date or pick up details yet. Further communication about both will be sent out once we have the information.

100 Reasons Why I Love My School

This week we celebrated the 100th day of school. As a special tribute to our school and staff, I would like to share with you an activity called 100 Reasons Why I Love My School. We would like for all of our students to participate by sharing with us a reason why they love Wilderness. We will put together a little book and share it with our school community.


Use this link for your child to send in their reason.

Contact Us!

Dianne Holmes, Principal

Daniella Smith, Assistant Principal

Tori Elliott, School Counselor

Crystal Burton, School Social Worker