With record enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year, Westside was able to invest in our program over the summer, making several significant enhancements in preparation for the year ahead.
EXPANDED STUDENT SUPPORT
As the school begins to emerge from the pandemic, we know that it has been critical to increase our resources in student support, focusing on academic, social-emotional, and cultural support for our students. Westside has invested in new positions for this coming year in both academic and counseling student support.
Academic/Learning Support: Catey Roe moves into a new position as Director of Teaching and Learning. Catey oversees all academic learning support for the school, supervising our four new learning specialists, managing outside resources (speech, PT, OT, etc.), and overseeing assessment. Our expanded Learning Support Team consists of Learning Specialists: Nicole White (grades 7 & 8) and Mallary DuPlant (grades 5 & 6) in Middle School, and Meghan Harshman (grades 2-4) and Amanda Dawson (grades PS-1) in Lower School and Early Learning. This team will greatly enhance how we differentiate instruction for different learners.
Counseling & Social Emotional Learning Support: Adam Elder’s role expands as our Social and Emotional Learning program grows. Adam oversees a second full-time school counselor, Kajal Maniar, who will primarily focus on Lower School and Early Learning, teaching SEL lessons and directly supporting students. He will also continue to mentor our graduate student counseling intern, Lauren Mathews. Adam and Lauren’s focus on direct student service will shift more to Middle School students and families. Adam will continue to partner with Kalei Sabaratnam on the Ethics and Equity program in Middle School. Together, they have worked to bring more meaning and intentionality to the Middle School advisory program. This team will provide excellent new resources as we continue to focus on the health and emotional well-being of our students.
Cultural Support & Student Life: Wolfpacks are back! We are excited to re-energize many of the school’s traditions and programs that have been on hiatus. Colleen McCullagh has been a rock for Westside in how we have responded to the pandemic for the past 2.5 years. Now that we are returning to a world of re-connecting, Westside is getting more intentional about our co-curricular programs. Colleen’s new role as Director of Student Life establishes strong leadership in all school and cross-divisional activities. Colleen will champion many of our activities that help us stay connected, including assemblies, Wolfpacks (with Adam), service learning, buddy programs, and more. Her charge is to re-connect Westside, to re-establish many of these community programs that have made our school so unique in the past, and to re-imagine them so we can be stronger in the future. Colleen will continue to lead our outdoor education programs and oversee risk management for the school, which includes health and safety management.
WE HAVE A LIBRARIAN AGAIN!
We are excited to have hired an experienced and dedicated librarian, Whitney Winn. In years past, our library has been managed and supported by an amazing team of volunteers. Volunteers will continue to be essential, and now we have a professional librarian who will guide and shape the vision for our library, build our collection, and teach library classes to Early Learning and Lower School. Whitney is a lifelong bibliophile who brings over 15 years of library experience to Westside.
EXPANDED ARTS PROGRAM
We have expanded our Arts Programs for the 2022-23 school year.
Music: We are excited to welcome Maggie Smith, our new music teacher for Preschool-4th grade. She will be partnering with Carl Edwards, who will focus exclusively on Middle School. Kindergarten-6th grade students will now participate in music classes all year long, a big step-up from the half-year or trimester classes they had previously. The music department has invested in more ukuleles, marimbas, and tubano drums.
Theater: We are also excited to welcome new middle school theater teacher (and Westside alumni parent) David Koch. All middle school students will have the option to participate in full-scale productions this year, 5th & 6th grade as part of the afterschool drama club, and 7th & 8th as an elective option during the school day.
Visual Arts: This year, 5th and 6th graders will also have visual arts classes year-round with Colleen Barry. Lower School visual arts teacher Gina Griffiths will be expanding her arts program into Early Learning.
ENRICHMENT CLASSES ARE BACK
For the 2022-2023 school, in addition to offering our regular aftercare program, we are excited to relaunch our Enrichment Program! Enrichment classes are designed for Kindergarten-8th grade students and offered once a week after school. We have a wide variety of options to choose from, taught by both Westside teachers and outside vendors.
A catalog of offerings is available on our website.
WELCOME TO OUR NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL HEAD
Westside welcomes a new Middle School Head, Tuney Kanapell, who will be with us for this school year. Tuney is an experienced middle school educator in Seattle independent schools and brings amazing passion and talents to our Middle School and our leadership team. For the last four years, Tuney has served as a consultant for many schools, coaching both teachers and leaders. She has been a highly regarded coach for the Emerging Leaders program - a yearlong leadership course that several Westside staff have attended.
Tuney was in leadership at Northwest School for 20 years - 15 as their Middle School Head, three as their Assistant Head. She brings a wealth and breadth of experience and has already made a difference in how our Middle School can continue to excel. She is excited to connect with your kids and to get to know you.
NEW FACES JOINING OUR FACULTY AND STAFF
Westside welcomes new teachers and staff in all three of our divisions this year, from preschool to Middle School, from counseling to World Languages. More details on all of our new educators can be found on the staff pages of our website.
Over the summer, we have had crews from STS Construction on campus, creating five new spaces within our existing buildings. Above the lobby in the Gallery, we have created three new learning resource rooms/offices for our Student Support Team. In Lower School, we have built a new counseling office. In the Preschool Building, we have walled off the former choir loft to create a new teacher workspace. In addition, in the Gallery, our Student Support Team has been hard at work imagining and creating the new Westside Living Room, a comfortable space where students and staff can relax and connect. Next time you are in the building, we invite you to check out these beautiful new spaces.
This year marks a milestone for Westside as we will undergo a detailed re-accreditation process with the Northwest Association of Independent Schools – this is something that all NWAIS schools participate in every 8 years (or 10 after a pandemic.) Westside has spent a full year reflecting on all aspects of our program and practices. A team of experienced school leaders from across the seven states of the Association will spend 4 days on campus in early October.
EQUITY & INCLUSION SPEAKER SERIES
For the second year, Westside is proud to be a sponsoring partner in the Seattle Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series. This allows our community to learn and engage in topics around equity, inclusion, and antiracist education and action. The purpose of this series is to raise awareness, challenge ourselves, deepen understanding, and empower our communities to advance their efforts to actively recreate systems into equitable, inclusive, and antiracist institutions.
Thank you for taking the time to read all the amazing things happening at our school this year. I look forward to seeing you soon.
- Steve de Beer, Head of School