Westside Family Handbook
Welcome to the 2023-2024 School Year!
The Westside Family Guide includes need-to-know information for the 2023-2024 school year as well as Westside's guidelines, policies, and procedures.
2023-2024 School Start & End Times
- Preschool: 8:45am-2:45pm
- Pre-Kindergarten–2nd grade: 8:30am-3:00pm
- 3rd-4th grade: 8:30am-3:15pm
- 5th-8th grade: 8:30 am-3:30pm
Westside School prepares students for the world by challenging them to achieve academic success and by connecting their human spirit and imagination to learning.
Westside School admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin. Westside School does not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, generation, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, race, or religion in the administration of its educational and admission policies, financial aid, and other school-administered programs.
Westside School is committed to promoting inclusiveness, diversity, and cultural competence in its education, employment practices, school community, and governance. It views inclusiveness as a fundamental value, diversity as a key element, and cultural competence as a vital skill necessary to prepare students to participate in and contribute to a global society. Westside School uses the term “diversity” broadly to encompass differences in the attributes of individuals, families, and communities.
The Westside School Community acknowledges that we are on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish People. We make this acknowledgment with gratitude and a commitment to justice for the land itself and the Duwamish People, past, present, and future. We endeavor to join them in honoring and protecting the Water, Earth, Air, and Spirit of our shared home.
Westside School is a State of Washington-approved school and an accredited member of The Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS).
- Enrollment Management Association (EMA)
- National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
- Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS)
- Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)
- Puget Sound Independent Schools (PSIS)
As members of the Westside School community, we strive to treat one another with honesty, respect, and generosity of spirit. We respect one another, our school, our community, our environment, and ourselves. We respect differences in others, including those pertaining to gender, generation, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, race, and religion, all of which contribute to the diversity of our community. We expect everyone to model appropriate behavior and to adhere to the rules stated in this handbook.
At Westside, we embrace the many dimensions that make up an individual, and we do our best to include all aspects in daily learning. We endeavor to support each individual in the development of self-awareness, establishing personal values, and understanding oneself as a part of the bigger world. We use Positive Discipline in the Classroom and Restorative Justice programs to guide our Code of Conduct.
Positive Discipline in the Classroom and gives our teachers the skills to create a respectful school climate through social-emotional learning, character education, and effective discipline. It provides lesson plans that we can integrate into our daily curriculum. The program provides the tools to develop effective class meetings and create a climate of mutual respect through teaching communication, cooperation, problem-solving, and self-regulatory skills.
Restorative Justice views conflict as causing harm to people, relationships, and the community, so a just response must address these harms and the wrongdoing. The best way to do this is to help individuals meet to discuss those harms and how to bring about a resolution. Sometimes those meetings lead to transformational changes in their lives.
At Westside School, we understand extenuating circumstances may impact the appropriateness of imposing the same consequence and intervention upon different students. When a student violates the Westside School Code of Conduct, the violation will be handled on a case-by-case basis, allowing Westside School staff the opportunity to take into account extenuating circumstances. This sensitivity may result in different students receiving different but fair consequences and/or interventions.
2023-2024 Board of Trustees
- Luis Aguilar
- Garrett Bandy
- Jason Bennett
- Hallidie Haid
- Andrew LaBadie
- Radhika Makhija
- Colleen Montoya Barbano
- Jen Pham-Corbett
- Gabe Verdugo
- Executive Committee: is made up of the Head of School, Board President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and other key stakeholders. This committee plans the Board meetings and acts as an advisory group to the Head of School.
- Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Committee: Ensures that the board leadership addresses the principles of diversity, equity, and belonging (DEB) in its decisions and practices.
- Building and Grounds Committee: oversees the growth and development of the school’s site and grounds.
- Governance Committee: manages new Trustee recruitment and onboarding, reviews and revises (as needed) governance documents and policies, facilitates the annual Board self-evaluation process, facilitates Trustee education and training, and reviews the School’s annual audit.
- Advancement Committee: oversees the annual goals for admission, fundraising, and strategic marketing and monitors all activities of the school to ensure that the school meets its goals.
- Finance Committee: ensures the long-term financial health of the school. It reviews and approves the annual budget. This committee creates the financial policies.
Board meetings are held monthly (refer to the school calendar for specific information) and are open to the public for observation; guests may not ask questions or participate in the meetings. Please contact our Board President (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions for the Board. Items may be added to an upcoming meeting agenda for review.
- ATTENDANCE & SCHOOL TIMES
- DROP OFF PROCEDURES
- PICK UP PROCEDURES
- MIDDLE SCHOOL SELF-DISMISSAL
- AUTHORIZED PICK UP LIST
Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each school day, and students who arrive late will be recorded as tardy. Students who arrive late must check in at the reception desk upon arrival.
Please call or email the school at 206.932.2511 or email email@example.com for all absences or early pick-ups from school.
2023-2024 School Times
- Preschool: 8:45am-2:45pm
- Pre-Kindergarten–2nd grade: 8:30am-3:00pm
- 3rd-4th grade: 8:30am-3:15pm
- 5th-8th grade: 8:30 am-3:30pm
Because Westside School is committed to supporting your family in being present during the school day, we will notify you if absences become excessive or disruptive to your child’s progress. The purpose of school is to learn. Students understand that they can’t do that if they are not present and ready to learn.
Sometimes family events, celebrations, and parental circumstances require children to miss school. If these planned/extended absences occur, we would like to support your child for success. If your family is requesting leave from school, the procedure is to notify the Division Head and your child’s teacher/advisor as much in advance as possible to minimize the impact of your child’s absence on school activities such as plays, sports contests, or special events which require your child’s participation. The school expects you to coordinate with teachers to provide support for learning to continue while your family is away from school.
If parents/guardians feel their child is well enough to complete homework, they may request assignments and arrange to pick them up at the reception desk at the teacher's earliest convenience.
If you know your student will be absent, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appointments, Lessons, and Other Special Events
Help your children maintain consistent attendance in school by scheduling routine medical and dental appointments, music lessons, and other special events after school hours. If your child has an appointment, please advise us via the attendance email and your child's teacher a day or two in advance so the teacher can plan for your child to leave early. Parents must go directly to the reception desk to sign their child before departing during the school day.
Personal and Vacation Time
The classroom experience at Westside School is rich in projects, group activities, and hands-on experiences that cannot be replicated when a child is absent or tardy. The classroom curriculum moves at a constant pace, and no matter how hard you and your child work to cover the content missed, there are experiences that cannot be made up. We ask parents to limit personal/vacation travel with their children during the school year to scheduled school vacation times. While travel can be educational, it is important for classroom work to be sequential and consistent. If your child will be absent due to vacation, please email email@example.com AND notify the teacher(s) in advance. Any coordination regarding missed assignments and projects must be discussed directly with the teacher/advisor.
Extended Medical Leave
If your child requires extended medical leave for illness or injury, please call or email your Division Head. Our teachers and Division Heads, in cooperation with the Head of School, want to work with your family to support your child for consistent and continued success in school – especially during stressful circumstances. Please let us know how we can help you.
Parking Areas (Morning)
- Westside School Parking Lot
- Non-school side of 104th St. SW
- 32nd Ave. SW
- Surrounding area, avoiding fire hydrants and driveways
- Preschool - Parking lot or surrounding area
Please DO NOT park in the following areas from 8:00-8:35am:
- The lane closest to school is drop off only from 8:00-8:35am
- Either side of 34th Ave. The lane closest to the school is drop off only.
- The school side of 104th St. SW.
Parking Areas (Afternoon)
- Street parking on 104th St.
- 32nd Ave SW
- Surrounding area
- Preschool - Parking lot or surrounding area
Please DO NOT park in the following areas from 2:00-4:00pm:
- Either side of 34th Ave. in front of the school.
- The school side of 104th St. SW.
Good Neighbor Policy: Please do not park on the west side of 34th Ave SW (across from the school's main entrance) under any circumstance – even if it’s just for a short time. Our neighbors use this for residential parking. We intend to be courteous, respectful neighbors. We also ask our families to be mindful of fire hydrants and driveways.
If grandparents, nannies, or other family members or friends are dropping off and/or picking up your children, please make sure they understand our procedures.
Drop Off Procedures
Preschool: All days
Pre-K: All days
1st Grade: Tuesdays
2nd Grade: Wednesdays
3rd Grade: Thursdays
4th Grade: Fridays
5th-8th Grade: All days
Drop Off Windows:
Preschool Pick Up Procedures
Pre-K-8th Pick Up Procedures
- Pre-K-2nd Grade - 3:00pm (line starts at 2:50)
- 3rd & 4th Grade - 3:15pm (line starts at 3:05)
- 5th-8th Grade - 3:30 pm (line starts at 3:20)
- Each family will receive a car placard with the names and grades of their children. Please place this on your dashboard when entering the campus for pickup.
- The pickup line starts on the east side of 34th, goes down 104th, and into the parking lot. Please join the line by turning onto 34th Ave. from 106th St.
- If you are picking up a child other than your own children, please tell the staff member present as you enter the line.
- Once on campus, you will be directed into one of two lines. 14 cars are loaded at a time (7 in lane 1 and 7 in lane 2)
- Based on your spot in line, you will end up at a specific cone color. Your children will be ready at your cone under the supervision of a Westside School staff member.
- Once all seven cars in the queue are loaded, the first car will be directed to advance and exit onto 34th Ave. The other cars in the queue will follow.
- The next seven cars will then be directed to the pick-up cones, and the process continues.
SIBLING PICK UP
Middle school students are allowed to self-dismiss and sign out a lower school sibling if they are listed on the Middle School students’ self-dismissal form. All students must check out at the Front Desk before self-dismissing and leaving campus. Families must complete the Self-Dismissal Form each school year for their student(s) to self-dismiss. Permission to self-dismiss may be revoked at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westside School is not responsible for children once they leave campus. It is up to parents and guardians to set appropriate guidelines and expectations for self-dismissing. It is up to parents and guardians to communicate their transportation schedule with their children.
Students are only allowed to leave with people who are on their authorized pick-up list. To add someone to your authorized pick-up list, email email@example.com. We must have your permission in writing.
Families will NOT be able to park in the Westside parking lot during the pickup time from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. If you wish to park and walk in the afternoon period, you must park on 32nd Ave or the surrounding area.
Note: If an emergency arises that will delay you, please contact the school immediately at 206-932-2511. If your child is not picked up by the end of the dismissal period, they will be asked to join the Extended Day Program. The Extended Day Program daily rate ($40.00 drop-in fee, plus $10.00 late registration fee) will be charged.
- ILLNESS POLICY
- COVID-19 POLICY
- SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS
- ALLERGY ACCOMODATION
- VACCINATION POLICY
- HEAD LICE
- CAMPUS SAFETY & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Health and safety preparedness is an essential part of our school life. This includes illness policies, campus safety, emergency preparedness, staff training, and more.
Our operating plans are the result of careful and collective planning by our Emergency Management Team and Educational Leadership team, with important input from our faculty, administration, staff, parents, and trustees, in consultation with members of the medical and public health community. Our plans prioritize the health and safety of our students and employees and is informed by data and recommendations from local authorities and nationally recognized best practices.
Guiding Principles in Policy Development
- The health and safety of all our people - students, families, and employees.
- Government recommendations and restrictions.
- Social and emotional health and well-being.
- Equity and inclusive accessibility.
- Relationships and relational teaching and learning.
- Developmentally appropriate approaches to teaching and learning.
- Joy, positivity, and hope.
Students should not attend school when they have a contagious disease, diarrhea, a fever (100.4 or above), have been vomiting within the last 24 hours, have yellow-green mucus discharging from their nose, or when they are in the early stages of a cold. Please send your child back to school only after they are symptom-free and have had a normal temperature for 24 hours without medication. If a student becomes sick at school, their parents/guardians or a specified person will be called to take them home.
Following state guidelines, any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 must stay out of school for a minimum of 5 days. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptoms, OR the day of the positive test, if the individual is asymptomatic. Upon return on Day 6, it is recommended that the individual wear a mask through day 10. Please report all positive cases to Colleen McCullagh and Attendance.
Those identified as a close contact should consider wearing a mask when indoors and testing frequently for the ten days after last contact. Please know that a recent exposure may not result in a positive test until after day five.
Westside will inform the community of possible exposures within a classroom, grade level, or division. Individuals, classrooms, or grade levels may be asked to mask due to exposures or case numbers in school.
If your child has special health needs, please discuss this with the teacher and the Front Desk Coordinator to create an Emergency Health Plan if needed.
The Registrar will work with the Front Desk Coordinator and Student Support Team (Director of Student Life, Director of SEL, Director of Teaching & Learning) to create a list of students with special health care needs before the start of each school year. Special Health Care Needs are defined as students with a history of:
- Severe allergies, anaphylaxis, use of epinephrine
- Asthma/use of rescue inhaler
- Heart-related illness
- Other conditions identified by guardians and school that would necessitate a specialty care plan.
If your child has food allergies, please fill out a Food Allergy Action Plan form and give it to your healthcare provider to sign before giving it to the Front Desk Coordinator. Westside School has a legal obligation to accommodate a child with an allergy.
As of the 2023-2024 school year, Westside School will be changing its food allergen policy and WILL allow peanut products on campus. There will be no school-wide restrictions on foods allowed on campus at this time.
Westside School may restrict certain foods, including peanuts and other common allergens, in classrooms where life-threatening allergies are present. If a student is so allergic that touching or being near foods made with the allergen causes a severe, life-threatening reaction, Westside will work with the family to develop an appropriate risk management plan for that student. This may include restrictions in the classroom or with students sharing common eating spaces.
If your child has food allergies, please fill out a Food Allergy Action Plan form and give it to your healthcare provider to sign before giving it to the Front Desk Coordinator. Westside School has a legal obligation to accommodate a child with an allergy.
Following state law, all students are required to be fully immunized in alignment with CDC regulations. Additionally, all students and employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical or religious exemption on file with the school. We also strongly encourage all to stay up to date on any boosters as recommended by public health or a healthcare provider.
When head lice are present at Westside School, we notify the parents and take precautions at school by keeping personal belongings separate. Westside School will do all it can to prevent the spread of lice at school. The school expects parents to be responsible for checking and treating their students.
It is very important to follow the directions on your chosen treatment and thoroughly comb your child’s hair. Regular head checks at home are essential to eliminating head lice. We recognize lice are a nuisance, but they are not considered a serious health issue.
Westside School must abide by the laws of Washington State covering the administration of oral medication to students.
Oral Medication Statute - OTC and Prescription Medications
We are required to have a written request by a health professional for all medications, including over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen. The following is an excerpt from the statute: “The statute makes no distinction between prescription and non-prescription medications. In other words, simply because a school administers an OTC medication rather than a prescription medication does not relieve the school from the obligation to get a “written, current and unexpired request” from a Licensed Health Practitioner prescribing within the scope of his or her prescriptive authority for the administration of that medication.”
Medications by Routes Other than Oral
The following is an excerpt from the statute covering non-oral medications: “Medications such as ointments, eye or ear drops, suppositories, or injections ordered by an LHP can only be administered by student family members, registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, or self-administered by the student. The administration of medications by routes other than the mouth cannot be delegated to unlicensed school staff except in an emergency.” For example, an emergency would be a student with allergies who is susceptible to a predetermined, life-endangering situation and requires an EpiPen on campus. In this case, parents and the health care provider must fill out a Food Allergy Action Plan.
If your child has to take any daily or as-needed medications while at school or on a school trip, this information must be recorded in the Medications section of the Health and Emergency Form. Please contact the Front Desk Coordinator if there are any changes or updates to this information throughout the year.
Please be as specific and clear as possible when sharing information about dosage, instructions, etc. Westside School can only accept medication for administration IN ITS ORIGINAL PACKAGING and WITH PRIOR CONSENT. If there are unexplained discrepancies between packaging and health form instructions, we will not administer the medication to your child. To store daily, as needed, or as emergency medication on campus, please bring the medication (in original packaging) to the Front Desk Coordinator). To provide daily, as needed, or as emergency medication for an overnight trip, please bring the medication (in original packaging) to your child's advisor or teacher.
Westside has comprehensive and detailed emergency procedures that are clear and well-resourced. Our Emergency Policy Handbook is available to all families and staff on our family portal. Westside School is constantly thinking about upgrades that are appropriate and necessary to improve the safety of our school while not unduly compromising the welcoming culture that is essential to our identity. Please contact Colleen McCullagh with specific questions.
Emergency Care Plan
Students with identified special health care needs will have an Emergency Care Plan developed jointly by student guardians, the Front Desk Coordinator, and the Student Support Team. The Emergency Care Plan will be confidentially stored in the Infirmary. A list of students with Emergency Care Plans and minimal information will be provided to all staff in classroom red Emergency Binders, with individual needs and plans reviewed with teachers during Student Support meetings.
Emergency drills will be held monthly at Westside School. The first few drills will be discussed with the children and will be slowly walked through so as not to frighten or upset the children. Please let us know if your child is upset by any of these drills. We practice fire, earthquake, lockout, lockdown, and shelter drills and talk about what the teachers and students do in the event of an earthquake.
Snow and Other Emergency Closures
Westside School typically (but not always) follows the closing and late-start schedule for Seattle Public Schools. In the event of a closure or delay, all families will be notified via our emergency notification system of any school schedule change. School closures that exceed the extra days built into our schedule will usually be made up during vacation time or in June.
Please make sure your email and phone numbers are updated in the Family Portal to ensure we can contact you in the case of an emergency, school closure, or delay. Information will also be available on the school’s website and social media accounts.
Student Emergency Comfort Kits
Every Westside classroom is equipped with emergency supplies in preparation for an evacuation or an emergency that requires students and staff to shelter in place. Each year, we ask each family to supply their student with an Emergency Comfort Kit, as part of our preparedness plan. These kits will provide students with personalized comfort items in the event of a major emergency such as an earthquake or severe storm. Click here for more details about Comfort Kits
- SNACK & LUNCH
- CLOTHING, PERSONAL POSESSIONS, AND LOST & FOUND
- PICTURE DAY & SCHOOL PHOTO POLICY
- TECHNOLOGY AT WESTSIDE
- ALCOHOL & DRUGS ON OR OFF CAMPUS
- STUDENT RECOMMENDATIONS
All classes offer morning snack time to students. Teachers will communicate their snack schedule and policy. We encourage you to provide your student with healthy snacks.
Families must provide an appropriate lunch and utensils for their children. Do not send any items that need to be heated, cooked, or refrigerated. Westside will also be offering hot lunch for the 2023-2024 school year. Additionally, the Westside Family Association will be hosting 15 Pizza Days throughout the year.
Snacks are provided in the Extended Day Program at no extra cost to families.
Hot Lunch Option (new for 2023-2024)
Westside is partnering with Lunch Ladies LLC to provide lunches for Preschool – 8th Grade for families interested in ordering. Find out more about Westside’s hot lunch option here.
Special occasions may be celebrated with treats at the discretion of the classroom teacher. Please check with your teacher prior to bringing in any group snacks.
Snacks and treats provided for groups should be nut free OR individually packaged with ingredients listed.
Early Learning (preschool & pre-kindergarten) classes must follow the Department of Early Learning (DEL) guidelines in preparing snack menus. The DEL recommends snacks that provide different taste experiences develop an interest in eating a variety of nourishing foods that will promote a balanced diet, and provide mid-morning nourishment. The school will provide and prepare a daily snack for early learning students.
Label all children’s coats, hats, and clothing. Send your children to school in clothes appropriate for our Pacific Northwest weather. This includes a raincoat, rain boots, a change of clothes, and closed-toe shoes with rubber bottoms and no heels. Always send a coat or sweater since students go outside every day. Clothing should be comfortable and practical for wearing while doing messy activities. On the days when children participate in physical education, it’s especially important to wear clothing that will not hamper freedom of movement and appropriate shoes. Layered clothing is a good choice.
Students should not bring candy, toys, non-academic electronic devices, or money to school - unless one of these items is specifically requested by a teacher. No guns, knives, or other weapons (play or real) are allowed under any circumstances and will be confiscated.
Personal Devices: Phones, smart watches, and all other electronic devices used for communication:
Phones may not be used in school. If brought to school, they must be off and stored in the student’s cubby or backpack during school and after-school-program hours. Personal devices such as smartwatches may be in Watch Only mode. Watch Only mode must be enabled by the parent (not by the student) via the app, during school hours and after-school-activity hours. Personal devices may only be switched out of School Mode once the student has been formally dismissed (picked up by an adult or self-dismissed from Middle School). The school has an Acceptable Use Policy which must be signed by all students in grades 3-8 - and by the parents or guardians of students in grades PS-2nd who bring a personal device to school.
Lost & Found
If your child is missing a personal item, call the front desk or at 206-932-2511, and we will work together to locate it. Lost & Found is donated regularly throughout the year. We will do our best to return labeled items to students prior to a donation.
Picture Day and School Pictures
Each year, Westside School contracts with a professional photographer, Megan Hooks, for individual and class portraits. Picture Day happens each fall and pictures will be available to view and purchase via a link emailed a few weeks after picture day.
Student Photo Policy
Westside uses photographs, videos, and images of activities, faculty, students, and families at school to communicate regularly with our internal community. In addition, we use that media publicly on our website, in publications, on social media sites, and in other marketing efforts.
Westside School assumes the right to include any student’s photo in both print and web publications unless otherwise notified by a family in writing. Our policy is to publish only the first name of any student mentioned in publications or on social media. In all cases, the use of that media is intended solely for the promotion of Westside School.
Families may request that the school not publicly publish or distribute images of their child. To do so, please send an email request to our Communications & Marketing Associate, Shoshannah Hoffman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technologies are increasingly integrated into our lives, and students should be prepared to navigate and excel using these tools. By integrating technology into the curriculum, Westside School allows children a balanced and well-rounded education.
Teachers inform students not to give out identifying information (examples are last names, work, home or school street addresses, telephone numbers, or pictures) or express anything profane. Student use of online social networking tools (including, but not limited to, posting, online chats, email, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Instant Messenger, etc.) is only allowed at school for educational purposes. Games will only be used when there is a learning purpose attached to the game.
The school has an Acceptable Use Policy which must be signed by all students in grades 3-8 - and by the parents or guardians of students in grades PS-2nd who bring a personal device to school.
The consequences of not following the Acceptable Use Policy will be the loss of internet access privilege for a period of time that is up to the discretion of the teacher, Director of Technology, and Division Head. Although students will be monitored, they are expected to act responsibly whenever given the privilege of going online. Anything not specifically outlined in the above that causes harm to any person or computer system is not the responsibility of the school.
Phones, smart watches, and all other electronic devices used for communication:
Phones may not be used in school. If brought to school, they must be off and stored in the student’s cubby or backpack during school and after-school-program hours. Personal devices such as smartwatches may be in Watch Only mode. Watch Only mode must be enabled by the parent (not by the student) via the app, during school hours and after-school-activity hours. Personal devices may only be switched out of School Mode once the student has been formally dismissed (picked up by an adult or self-dismissed from Middle School).
All school activities where students are involved shall be alcohol and drug-free. All students have the right to attend school in a safe and secure environment that is free from harmful substances. In order to protect students' health, safety, and welfare, Westside School reaffirms the traditional position of prohibiting the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and other substance-abuse drugs on campus and at all school-sponsored activities on or off-campus where students are present.
No religious belief or non-belief should be promoted by Westside School or its employees, and none should be disparaged. Westside School encourages all students and staff to appreciate and be knowledgeable about each other’s religious and cultural views. The school recognizes one of its educational goals is to advance student knowledge and appreciation of the role religion has played in the social, cultural, and historical development of civilization.
At times, a parent will request that recommendations or forms be filled out for programs or schools outside the Westside community. This may include evaluations, assessments, or school entrance information. Please allow at least one week of advance notice for teachers to complete these forms. If you are requesting copies of records, fill out the organization’s “Transfer of Records” form and submit it to the Registrar, Christie VanSkike, at email@example.com. The school sends these evaluations and records directly to the organization requesting them.
- FAMILY HUB & VERACROSS FAMILY PORTAL
- RECENT COMMUNICATIONS
- TUESDAY INSIDER NEWSLETTER
- SOLICITATION POLICY
- TEACHER COMMUNICATION
- COMMUNICATING ABOUT YOUR CHILD
- COMMUNICATION WITH ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
New for the 2023-2024 school year, the Westside's Family HUB holds important information such as recent communications and links to family resources. The Westside Family HUB is translatable into Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese and Arabic.
Families should visit the Veracross Family Portal for the following:
Tuesday of each week school is in session; families will receive the weekly Insider Newsletter via email. This publication will contain important school information, updates, and a weekly column from our Head of School. Questions about the Insider Newsletter can be directed to Communications & Marketing Associate Shoshannah Hoffman.
Neither our families nor our employees may be subject to solicitation of outside businesses nor events while on the Westside School campus without permission. We will post Westside School or Westside School Family Association (WFA) sponsored events in the weekly Insider newsletter and on social media.
Teachers will often communicate with families via email and phone calls. Early learning and lower school teachers will send weekly newsletters on Fridays. In middle school, newsletters will be sent bi-weekly and will include a summary of all subjects. It is important to read all emails from Westside School. We ask that personal communications such as birthday invitations only be sent home via the school if all the classroom students receive an invitation.
Communication is an essential element of our school community and is the foundation for a successful relationship. The success of our mission is directly related to how families understand what we do and why we engage in specific activities.
The Westside School team works hard to keep families informed about the academic and social progress of their children and related school events. Any concerns with your child's progress should be first addressed directly to the teacher. We are confident you will establish a relationship of candor and trust with our teachers, and you will be able to discuss any concerns freely.
The best way to reach out to your child’s teachers is to send them a brief email or leave a voicemail. Please allow teachers to attend to their class during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. These are times when the teacher needs to focus on the students rather than on a parent's question or concern.
The Westside Staff includes several layers of support for faculty teams and parents. If you need further support, our Division Heads are a great resource for questions about division-wide themes or persistent academic or social issues. Our Division Heads and Learning Support Team are available for questions about learning strategies and support.
Westside School has a dedicated and talented staff of administrators. Please reach out to the appropriate administration team member with your question, issue, or observation.
Laura Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Finance & Operations: Tuition billing, financial aid, facilities, and operations management.
Steve de Beer (email@example.com), Head of School: School leadership, governance, resource development, strategic direction, community relations, concerns, or commendations
Nicole Caden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Director of Advancement: Enrollment management, annual giving, major gifts, community relations, marketing initiatives.
McKenzie Craig (email@example.com) Early Learning Division Head: Program oversight for Preschool and pre-Kindergarten; parent, teacher, and student communication.
Andrew DeLappe (firstname.lastname@example.org), Business & Operations Assistant: Billing and building maintenance.
Chay Dixon (email@example.com), Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Adam Elder (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Counseling & Social & Emotional Learning: Social and emotional learning strategies, student support, and referrals.
Shoshannah Hoffman (email@example.com), Communications & Marketing Associate: Westside communications, social media, Westside Stories blog, Insider newsletter, school calendar, Family Portal.
Ted Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Admissions: Admissions events, admission process and deadlines, high school counseling, outreach.
Jessica Krueger (email@example.com) Middle School Division Head: Program oversight for grades fifth through eighth; parent, teacher, and student communication.
Michael Le (firstname.lastname@example.org) Director of Technology: Technology policies, and student devices.
Leo Lai (email@example.com), Director of Extended Day & Summer Programs: After-school care, after-school enrichment, summer programming.
Alysse Mastrude (firstname.lastname@example.org), Advancement Associate: Annual giving, spring fundraiser, community events, WFA liaison, volunteer opportunities.
Colleen McCullagh (email@example.com), Director of Student Life: Experiential education coordination and support, COVID-19 protocols and safety, emergency management.
Heather Moss (firstname.lastname@example.org) Lower School Division Head: Program oversight for grades Kindergarten through fourth; parent, teacher, and student communication.
Catey Roe (email@example.com), Director of Teaching & Learning: Middle School learning strategies, support, and referrals, additional learning support coaching.
Mike Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Athletics & Middle School P.E. Teacher: Team and league coordination, program and coaching oversight.
Christie VanSkike (email@example.com), Registrar, Assistant to the Head & Admissions: Student records, health forms, high school application support.
Westside School provides extended day care for students who need to be picked up after regular school hours. Our Extended Day Program (EDP) provides a safe, fun, and engaging environment for children. Students are given a snack, time to play outside, and choice activities. Families may choose to use this service on a regular/contracted basis (PS-8th grade) or by dropping in (K-8th grade only).
Extended Day Hours
- -Preschool/PreK until 5:00 p.m.
- -K-8th Grade until 5:30 p.m.
All students must be picked up no later than closing time. Consistent late pickups for a student may result in extended day services being terminated.
Families who register for EDP at the start of the school year will be guaranteed space for their student. Late registrations will be based on availability. Monthly payment is made in advance via autopay on the 1st of each month (for the same month of service). To make changes to a contract (cancelling, adjusting schedule), families must provide 30 days written notice (prior to next month's charge) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drop-In Aftercare (K-8 only)
Drop-in care is available and billed as one daily rate. Families should register no later than 12pm on the day of care.
Childcare on In-Service and Conference Days
Childcare may be available on select in-service and conference days.
Enrichment classes are designed for kindergarten-8th grade students and offered once a week after school.
Transition time and snack: All students enrolled in an enrichment class will have a brief transition period between their grade level dismissal and the enrichment class start time. They will be supervised and served a Westside-provided snack.
Dismissal and EDP: Students not enrolled in EDP on the day of their enrichment class are expected to be picked up at the class end time. Students who are not picked up within 10 minutes of the class end time will automatically be enrolled in EDP and asked to pay the standard drop-in fee of $42/afternoon.
Students with an EDP contract who are scheduled to attend aftercare the day of the enrichment class will be directed to their EDP space after the class is over. Pickup will be before 5:30pm and follow the same procedure as regular EDP.
Cancellations: Each class has a minimum number of students required to run. Classes cancelled by Westside School, due to low registration, will result in a 100% refund.
Withdrawals/Refunds: If circumstances change and your family needs to cancel the class, requests for refunds must be made by a specified date, which can be found on the EDP page of the website.
Westside's values extend from the classroom to the field or court -- our student athletes work together collaboratively, play fairly, exhibit the highest level of sportsmanship, and most of all, have fun. All of our sports are "no cut" sports.
Westside's Athletics Program includes soccer, cross country, basketball, volleyball, and Track & Field.
At Westside, we believe that face-to-face communication with our parents both informally and formally, is vital to the success of our students. Throughout the year, we have three formal conferences with families. One occurs before school starts to give us a chance to get to hear from our parents regarding their goals for their child’s year, as well as give us any information that may be helpful for us to know so we can better meet the needs of their child. The second conference occurs at the end of October, so we can share student work, progress, and observations with parents. Finally, we have the third conference in March. These conferences are a chance to connect one more time to articulate the learning for each child between spring and the end of the year.
Every student has a story behind their data and numbers. At Westside, we believe that it is important to provide context around each child’s learning. The narrative report card gives us a chance to share a deeper look into each student’s learning process. We can give some details as to the “why” behind scores on projects and tests.
Our teachers support their students by knowing them as individuals, helping them navigate the daily ups and downs of friendships and cooperative learning groups, challenging them academically at developmentally appropriate levels, and encouraging them to solve problems for themselves rather than solve for them. They administer quizzes, math and spelling tests, pre-tests and post-tests on numerous units of study, and so much more.
At Westside, we have measurable achievement goals for our students: we want them to become outstanding readers, impressive writers, accomplished mathematicians, and curious scientists, and to be exceptionally well-prepared for high school. Knowing how each student is doing compared to grade-level expectations is critical to us. As a result, we are very purposeful and thoughtful about the kinds of achievement tests we administer and at what age.
Twice a year, our 3rd-8th grade students take the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Growth Test. We do not administer standardized tests to students in 2nd grade or younger.
The MAP Growth test is produced by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) out of Oregon. It measures students’ knowledge in math, reading, and language usage and informs us about what our students are ready to learn next. MAP is an online assessment that adjusts to each student’s responses. It is a personalized, untimed assessment that measures performance.
Our goal in using MAP at Westside is to use it in conjunction with other forms of assessment in order to inform and set goals for each unique learner. With proper implementation twice a year, teachers can receive results with the MAP Growth tests that show what students know and what they are ready to learn. The results can then be used to help personalize lessons at the appropriate level for each student.
Homework strengthens home-school communication about student learning. The parent's role is to help children do their homework themselves – not do it for them. Talking about the assignment can help the child figure out what needs to be done. Reviewing a completed assignment with a child can also be helpful.
Westside School does not require formal homework in Preschool through first grade. The purpose of Westside School homework is to:
- Establish an opportunity for the student to become an independent learner.
- Create a homework routine at home.
- Practice skills.
- Share the nature of student work with parents.
- Enrich concepts taught during the school day.
Teachers provide practice and guidance on homework tasks before expecting students to do them at home independently. Therefore, if your child is taking an unreasonable amount of time on a homework task or feeling frustrated, stop the task and let the teacher know.
As professional educators, Westside School teaches, re-teaches, and nurtures skills, but home is where educational roots are planted. Parents should talk about achievements with their children, read with their children, and share experiences with their children. Learning together communicates that school learning is important. Disciplined effort makes worthwhile learning activities self-enforcing. Learning is the motivation for more learning. However, Westside School recognizes it is important for children to participate in family activities in addition to doing homework.
Westside Middle School utilizes Schoology to support communication between school and home regarding teaching and learning. This system is used as a tool to organize student learning into a central location. It holds information about the individual courses your child is enrolled into, assignments and their due dates for those courses, feedback and grades on formative and summative assessments. There is a central calendar for all courses, so families at home can support their child(ren) in their learning. Schoology is a new system for Westside in the 2023-24 school year. We will launch its use in late September for 7th and 8th graders and early October for 5th and 6th graders. There will be training opportunities for families to understand how to utilize the system.
Team Members Include:
- Adam Elder, Director of Counseling & SEL email@example.com
- Catey Roe, Director of Teaching & Learning firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kalei Sabaratnam, Middle School Ethics and Equity Teacher email@example.com
- Amanda Dawson, Lower School Learning Support, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meghan Harshman, Lower School Learning Support, email@example.com
- Mallary Duplant, Middle School Learning Support, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vanessa Lopez, Middle School Learning Support, email@example.com
- Kajal Maniar, School Counselor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family involvement contributes to the richness of our community and directly impacts your student’s experience at Westside School. Research shows a positive partnership between the home and the school has a powerful influence on a child’s achievement and sense of belonging at school.
All Volunteers who plan to work around students or drive on field trips must fill out the Westside’s Volunteer Form each year.
It takes a combined community to succeed and provide an excellent place of learning for our students. As such, we have the following expectations:
What You Can Expect from Us
- To further the mission of Westside School
- To provide a safe, caring environment
- To provide an invitation to be involved
- To communicate regularly with students and families
- To maintain consistent values and discipline
- To have an “open ear” at any time
What We Expect from Volunteers
- To support the Westside School’s mission
- To be an ambassador for Westside School
- To speak openly with administrators and staff
- To keep confidential information confidential
- To seek involvement in appropriate ways
- To support Westside School values and discipline
In the Classroom
The classroom teacher will give you guidelines to support the children at each level. Whenever you are in the classroom, allow the teacher to discipline the children in the class. However, if you see something that you have questions about, please confer with the teacher.
Research shows that families in search of a school for their students deeply value input from current Westside parents and guardians. The Advancement Team hosts many admission events throughout the year where the power of parent participation can make a big difference. Whether as someone ready to meet and greet prospective families or to help with event logistics, Westside appreciates your help! For more information, contact Director of Admissions Ted Holmes at email@example.com.
Westside Family Association (WFA)
All parents/guardians of Westside School students are members of the Westside School Family Association (WFA) and are invited to take an active role in WFA activities, which build community and support the mission of the school. The WFA is a great way to connect with fellow Westside families, become involved in your child’s education, learn new skills, and utilize your expertise to help create fun activities for the whole community. For more information, please contact the WFA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Respect for the confidentiality rights of students and others within the Westside School community is essential. Volunteers must understand that information based on contact with students, staff, or others at school is considered confidential and may not be used in conversation at school or outside school.
Code of Conduct
Volunteers are integral to providing a safe and enjoyable environment at Westside School and are expected to model appropriate behaviors for students. Volunteers should behave honestly and with integrity, act with care and diligence, behave and dress appropriately, and put safety first in all activities.
When visiting campus during the school day, all visitors must first sign in at the Reception Desk.
Through challenging and inspiring experiences, the Westside Experiential Program supports the school’s mission by fostering individual growth, building teamwork and leadership skills, strengthening relationships within and between students and faculty, and providing opportunities for students to develop a love for adventure. Students build CONFIDENCE, CHARACTER, and COMMUNITY through local field trips, service-learning projects, and overnight programs.
Families will be informed by teachers of trips off campus. Permissions for all field trips are given at the beginning of the year as part of intake paperwork.
- Participate in field trips as an extension of school by staying engaged, safe and following the direction of teachers/chaperones.
- Stay seated and wear a seatbelt at all times when in moving vehicles (cars, buses, trains, etc.)
- Practice LNT (Leave No Trace) by minimizing impact on surroundings and leaving spaces better that you found them.
- Keep cell phones at home or out of sight on silent mode unless specified by the teacher for a special purpose.
- Do not bring any extra money unless specified by the teacher for a special purpose.
Field Trip Chaperone & Volunteer Guidelines
If you plan to volunteer on school field trips, you must fill out Westside’s Volunteer Form. Parent volunteers do not participate on overnight programs.
All chaperones and volunteers are expected to provide proper supervision to help protect students from injury or diminish the risk of student injury through:
- Presence and attentiveness
- Be with students at all times and keep students easily in sight. Do not leave the group unless having conferred with the teacher.
- Stay alert to surroundings and activities going on during the trip.
- Be physically able to participate in the activity as needed.
- Hazard surveillance and intervention, responding appropriately to emergencies to reduce potential injury and damage. (This involves having a CPR/first aid certified staff member who is readily accessible.)
- Observing all pedestrians & location specific rules.
- Cross streets together only at the corner or in crosswalks.
- Students need to walk with the chaperone.
- Chaperones of younger children may request everyone to hold hands.
- Reporting any incidents not aligned with school values and policies to teachers.
Chaperone and Volunteer Drivers:
- Drivers must be insured with proof of coverage and have signed the Volunteer Driver Form
- Child restraint laws must be followed.
- Drivers must take children directly to their destination and return them directly back to school without any unscheduled stops.
- Each driver must have the emergency information for students in their vehicle in a sealed envelope, to be opened only in an emergency.
- In case of an emergency, the procedures are as follows:
- Secure the safety of all students in your car.
- Contact appropriate safety, medical, or police authorities at the scene (Call 911)
- Contact the school at 206-932-2511 who will follow up with the appropriate contacts and referrals.
- Stay with students at all times.
- Students must follow safe behavior expectations of drivers: If any child is disruptive when you are driving to or from a field trip, pull off to the side of the road. Sit there until everyone is seated, buckled up, and calm. As the driver, you are in charge and must have a comfortable environment for transporting students safely.
Talk to your child’s teacher for more information on their specific birthday policy.
Westside School is a nurturing school that encourages friendships and supports an inclusive environment even beyond the school building. Birthday parties outside of school are special events for all children. To respect the feelings of all children, we ask parents to remember the following when planning a child's party.
If parents are NOT going to invite all the children in the class:
- Please do not bring invitations to school.
- Talk to your children about how to handle discussions about the party at school and how feelings can be hurt during those discussions.
On one day each year, grandparents and friends of Westside students are invited to share an hour in our classrooms and to let our students show them the many things that fill their days at school. Invited guests include a grandparent or another adult, such as an aunt, an adult cousin, or an adult family friend.
Westside School has evening events where we share performances with our school community. The goal of the Westside School Performing Arts program is to develop and reinforce the love and appreciation of music and theater in every student. Theater, music, and movement instruction at Westside School is based on the belief all children are expressive and that creative expression is a primary life skill akin to walking and talking. Performing Arts education is essential to the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development of the whole child. It helps develop kids' confidence, cooperation, and coordination, and gives them a wonderful emotional outlet.
Re-enrollment and contracts are sent yearly. Fees are subject to change annually and are published separately. You may request a statement of your account by contacting our Director of Finance and Operations, Laura Anderson, at 206-631-8501 or at email@example.com
Each year, the Finance Committee conducts a competitive analysis to see how Westside School compares with other NWAIS schools of similar size and program. The Finance Committee also thoroughly reviews the school’s budget monthly. Based on this data, as well as several other factors, the Finance Committee makes a tuition recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board approves and sets tuition for the following school year in January. Parents are usually notified soon after any changes to tuition and/or fees for the upcoming year.
Automatic Withdrawal Tuition Payments
Parents and Guardians electing to pay via monthly installments must do so via monthly ACH.
Westside School reserves the right to pass on any fees the school incurs for the NSF check returned to the school.
Funds are available for disbursement to qualifying families each year. All applications for financial aid must be submitted annually for review to Clarity. All information is kept confidential. Visit our Tuition Assistance Page for more information.
Westside School is a non-profit corporation (501c(3)). Financial and in-kind donations are tax-deductible. All donors will receive a letter acknowledging their donation. If you know individuals or businesses that would like to contribute to Westside School, check with the Advancement Department for current school needs and wish lists.
Annually, the Westside School Fund engages all its supporters from October-November. Current families, alumni, trustees, teachers, and staff are all asked to participate. Regardless of the level of the gift, it is an expression of your support. Every gift counts and contributes to the important culture of philanthropy at Westside School. Pledges are due by November 30, but payments can be made up to June 30 (the end of the fiscal year).