As the new year begins, we take time to reflect
on the past year. We reflect on our year, remembering both our victories and
challenges. We set goals and put plans in motion to achieve our dreams.
Specifically, for Westwood, it was a year of changes with new administrators
and teachers in new positions. It was also a year rooted in traditions such as
the school musical, the Westwood Walk, and Fifth Grade Graduation. We all
celebrated with Andrew Elias as he progressed from winning the school,
district, and regional spelling bee to representing West Geauga Local School
District in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. We welcomed another
enthusiastic, bright-eyed group of kindergartners and sent off fifth graders
with well wishes and fond memories. As an educational team, we experienced
great success with state testing; our achievement levels and performance index
is one of the highest in school history. Our students experienced personal and
academic growth. As learners, students became more independent and reflective.
They took ownership of learning, were willing to take more risks, and grew in
their ability to persevere when concepts and tasks were rigorous. As active
members of a school community, students became excited about learning and
wanted to share their learning with others.
So as our new year gets started, we celebrate and we look forward with excitement and anticipation to new opportunities and challenges. As a staff, we are beginning to set goals for the year. We are examining our instructional practices and considering the needs of our students. We always strive to be better; to meet students where they are as individuals and move them forward. We will work to prepare students for the twenty-first century with critical thinking skills and academic stamina. We will continue to focus on empowering students to map out the road to their academic success; we will set our sights on students expressing their thinking orally and through their written work. We will make student talk and collaboration a priority. We will focus on conceptual understanding instead of the memorization of rules and algorithms. So, here’s to a new school year; a year full of opportunities and possibilities; a year of working together and learning from each other; a year filled with hope, wonder, and endless opportunities to learn. May it be the best year yet.Deborah Nanney