Summer greetings from The Head of School

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Dear Westside Families,

I am certain you are all enjoying this beautiful Seattle Summer! It is almost August, and the start of school is six weeks away. We are checking in with our families to let you know what to expect from Westside School throughout the summer as we prepare for the opening of school in the fall. A packet, mailed to your homes in the last couple of days, has a lot of valuable information to share as a family to get you ready for learning in September!

Included in the envelope, you should find the following items:

  • A calendar summary of vacations and days in session
  • A calendar highlighting special events
  • Outdoor Education Trip information by class (Middle School Only)
  • Extended Day Contracts

Last week we sent a link via email for the back to school forms required before your child can begin school. These forms must be filled out every year. If you did not receive this link, please call the school and update your email before August 8 so we can send it to you AND you will not miss future electronic correspondence. To update your email please contact Jessica Butler in the main office by phone or email the year we try to send most information electronically.

You can expect the next batch of important information on or around August 15 from Lower School Head Arionda Feeney and /or Middle School Head, Marc Saks. This August electronic mailing will include the following:

  • Class Lists and Teacher assignments (Lower School), or Advisory assignments (Middle School)
  • Updates and biographies of new teachers joining the Westside Team
  • Descriptions of programmatic enhancements for 2014-2015
  • An updated and more detailed calendar link to all school events
  • Details and times for opening of school events
  • WPO information, lunch sign up and pizza day information and links
  • General information about the upcoming school year

Opening of School Events

On Wednesday, August 27 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., we will have a New Parent Reception (adults only, please) in the Multi-Purpose Room in the main building. If you are new to Westside School, please join us at this event to meet the Head of School, Division Heads, members of the Westside Parent Organization (WPO) and other administrators, learn about your classroom, meet other new families, and have a chance to ask any questions about our program, procedures, policies and expectations – and share yours – prior to the first day of school.

We will have our traditional afternoon of Open Classrooms on Tuesday, September 2 for all families and children. In the Lower School it will be from 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. This is a time for you to bring your children to school to see their classrooms, meet their teachers and connect with friends old and new. This is a very helpful way to prepare children for what to expect on the first day of school. You can come anytime between 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., and we will have light refreshments on the playground that afternoon. More details will be in the August 15 mailing from Arionda Feeney.

In the Middle School, it will be from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. This event is for parents and students, and will be structured as a “Curriculum Night” and Middle School Orientation event. You will hear from each teacher about course expectations and information about exploratory classes, athletics and outdoor education trips. You should plan to be here for the entire two hours. More details will be in the August 15 mailing from Marc Saks.

School starts on Wednesday, September 3. Yay! Here are the details about how we manage the traffic and drop off at Westside that may be helpful for you before the first day:

  • Middle School starts at 8:15 a.m. You can drop-off your “all grown up kids” in the South Lot between 7:45 and 8:10 a.m. Marc Saks will be available to direct them if they need help finding their classrooms. If you wish to park and walk in, you may park in the South Lot.
  • Lower School starts at 8:30 a.m. You can drop-off Lower School children who are in first through fourth grades by pulling up to the front of the building at the main entrance. Arionda Feeney will be present to greet them and help them find their classrooms. If you wish to park and walk your children into school, please do not park and leave your car in the drop-off zone. You can park in the South Lot and enter the building that way. Please do not park on the west side of 34th in front of their homes. You may be able to find additional parking on Kenyon or Holden.
  • Kindergarten starts at 8:30 a.m. The kindergarten classrooms are located in the outside portables next to the pre-kindergarten classrooms. You may park in the South Lot and walk your children into school on the first day (or any day, for that matter). After that, if you wish, you can pull up to the south gate and drop them off with the adult in charge. We will have supervision at the drop-off and pick-up areas. You will likely see me there on the first day of school!
  • Pre-kindergarten starts at 9:00 a.m. You must park in the South Lot and walk your children into school to sign them in for pre-kindergarten.
  • First Day of School Welcome Coffee – all parents, all grades – From 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Please join us for coffee and conversation in the Multi-Purpose Room of the main building on the first day of school.
  • Early Care. We will have early care available for children in grades kindergarten through eighth beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the first day of school. Children in Early Care will report to the gym. You will be receiving your sign-up information for Early and After School Care in the next few weeks.

Need Help This Summer?

Our offices are staffed over the summer. To reach any Westside employee, our email addresses are (generally) our first names and last initial Arionda Feeney, Lower School Head (PK- 4), and Marc Saks, Middle School Head (5-8) will be your primary administrative contact at school. If you have ANY questions or concerns regarding our school program, curriculum, student learning or assessments, you can reach them by email: or or by calling the school. Their offices are located right inside the front door. In this same space, you will also find Jessica E. Butler, our Front Office Receptionist and Communication Coordinator. This area is the Main Office of our school.

We have moved the Business Office to the space behind the Development Office. If you have any questions about billing or tuition payments, you can find Laura Anderson and Debbie Treen there or through their email:, or

Assistant Head of Operations and Facilities, Don Cunningham, will be on-site here at the EC Hughes Campus two to three days per week, where he will have the office off of the conference room. The remainder of the time he will be at the New Campus, where he serves as the Owner’s Representative for  Ave., because we have made a commitment to our neighbors we will not park directly in our construction project.

Nick Low has taken on the roll of coordinator of Extended Day Programs. As a developing school leader and a person who knows our children and parents, Nick will be your primary point of contact for these programs. He can be reached over the summer at

Middle School Families may have already heard from Mike Thomas, our Athletic Director and Middle School P.E. Teacher. If not, you will shortly (via email.) Mike is also here at times throughout summer, and he has been preparing practice and game schedules for the upcoming sports seasons. Please contact Mike by email at if you have questions. Also for Middle School families, the Director of Outdoor Education is Sarah Harper-Smith, Trip information is included in this packet, and you can find it online anytime via the Westside School blog at

Westside School teachers will be returning to school for a week of preparation and in-service on August 25. We have missed them! We are also very excited to see our returning families and children, and welcome new families and children, to Westside School this fall. The first day of school is my very favorite day of the year. This has not changed since I was five years old…I know this is true for many of our Westside kids as well. I cannot wait to see and share in their excitement and joy! If you have any questions along the way, please feel free to contact me or members of our staff to help you. In the meantime, enjoy the last six weeks of summer – and enjoy the quality time and amazing weather!


Kate Mulligan

Head of School