The Insider newsletter, January 31, 2014

Posted on Updated on

Insider header
January 31, 2014
Insider calender
January 31: Re-enrollment contracts mailed to current Westside families
Middle School Ski Trip to Snoqualmie
Spirit Wear/Pizza Day
February 6-7: Parent/Teacher Conferences, no classes for students
February 14: Spirit Wear/Pizza Day
February 17-21: Mid-Winter Break, no school
February 28: Middle School dance, “Winter Masquerade”
Insider new!
 In an effort to provide the best communication possible, the Insider newsletter will be sent on Mondays beginning February 10. Today’s Insider will be the final time you receive it on Friday.
You may have noticed we now have a blog, the Insider Online! We are continuing our efforts to improve how we communicate and relay information to our families to provide you with critical information you need and places to go to find extra information you may want. We hope to give you many ways to get updates the way you like it. The following communication tools, which are detailed further on the Insider Online, are available and we encourage you to use them in a way that best serves you and your family.
Insider newsletter (what you need to know, we’ll keep it brief)
Insider Online (what you want to know, when you want it)
Facebook (reminder and fun)
Instagram (photos)
Twitter (Facebook updates
Insider important!
Re-enrollment contracts for the 2014-2015 school year were mailed today, January 31. Contact the main office if you do not receive the contract(s). Please note there are two different contracts, one for Pre-K through fourth grade and one for fifth through eighth grade. It is important to complete the appropriate contract(s) for your student(s).
Insider lower school
Happy Super Bowl weekend! Report cards will be mailed on Monday, February 3. They are a similar format as previous years, with a narrative summary on the back. Please note a change in the value associated with your students’ progress for each content area.
4: indicates exceeding expectation
3: indicates meeting expectation
2: indicates progressing toward expectation
1: indicates no progression
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions. Lower School teachers are looking forward to chatting with you during the Parent/Teacher conferences next Thursday and Friday. In the meantime, enjoy the big game!
Ari Feeney
Lower School Division Head
Insider middle school
The Middle School dance will be on February 28, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., in the MPR. This year’s theme will be “Winter Masquerade.” Be sure to stay tuned for more details!
Just as a reminder, information and a link to sign up for Student-Led conferences were recently sent to all families of middle school students. If you did not receive the email to sign up or you have further questions, please contact me (
Marc Saks
Middle School Division Head
Insider Athletics
Congratulations to our Westside School Athletes of the Week, Aisha and Emilio! Check out the Insider Online Athletics page to see their success.
Enrichment classes for the next session beginning on March 3 are currently being finalized. New classes will include Robotics and a musical by SingOut Seattle. Online registration will be available Wednesday, February 5. Until then, be sure to register for childcare during Mid-Winter break, if applicable.
Insider community
We are looking for donations of pants for boys and girls, of all youth sizes, to be able to offer students who many need a replacement during the school day. Please drop off clean, gently used pants at the front office any time Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Thank you!
Girls on the Run is back! If your daughter is in third through fifth grade and would like to participate, sign up will start this Friday, January 31 after school. To learn more, be sure to check out the post!
Insider auction
Submit your Auction items! We still need your great ideas and donations to make this year’s auction a success! Click here to donate or submit your forms to school. Invites will be going out after our short break in February. Start thinking about babysitter plans for March 22!

Celebrating the Athletes of the Week!

Posted on

Westside School Athletes of the Week

Westside School Athletes of the Week

Congratulations to Aisha and Emilio, the Westside School Athletes of the Week! The 8th/7th girls basketball team finished a great year in style on Saturday. Westside played a triple header to start the day Saturday morning, with the 6th grade boys, 8/7 girls, and 8/7 boys playing back to back to back at the new Westside School campus. Our girls played a scrappy St. Al/John team, and put on a clinic. The team started five 8th graders (Isabele, Anna, Lily, Ella, and Lucie,) and they finished the game on the floor together. The 7th graders were mixed in the middle though, and Aisha had her best game of the year. Aisha is lightning quick, and has really been working hard and improving on her layups, but she also hit a few jumpers on Saturday, and was not afraid to shoot the ball. Aisha played good defense, ran the floor and saw the court well, and hit her shots. The team had really balanced scoring, but Aisha led the way with eight in the 36-17 win.

The Westside School 8th/7th boys basketball team followed the emotional game our girls played right before, and did not disappoint. The team has been working hard in practices and games on ball movement on offense, and applying ball pressure on defense. Both elements were on display, as they cruised to a 31-18 win over St. Pius, finishing the year with a 7-1 record, and in a tie for first place in the JV division. 8th graders Owen and John both played very good games, and John got his first bucket, which was a very exciting moment; but the standout was Emilio. He has always had good shooting form, and can knock down open shots, but in this game, he really played hard and good defense, and consistently hit the boards, which is something we’ve been working on with him all year. Emilio had eight points, and a handful of offensive rebounds. We’re looking forward to watching Emilio’s continued improvement next year! Congratulations to both Emilio and Aisha!

Break the Code computer science exploratory class visits University of Washington

Posted on

Explortatory photos Insider online Jan 31 III
On Wednesday, the Westside Middle School Break the Code computer science exploratory class visited the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering program. Highlights of the visit included the chance for students to see a soccer-playing robot and the new Kinect model in the robotics lab (and see some of the experiments they’re doing with it.)
Exploratory photos Insider online Jan 31 V
They also received a tour of the building and got a glimpse of life as a college student, including a career fair in progress. The students discovered not only are there LOTS of jobs available in the field of computer science, they tend to start with very high salaries! There were also a lot of cool, free items at the career fair which was exciting!
Exploratory photos Insider online Jan 31 IV
The day also included learning a new programming software called Scratch, and the chance to try it out. In fact, several of the students are interested in trying it in class next week!

Girls on the Run

Posted on Updated on

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is an organization designed so every girl can recognize her inner strength! The curriculum inspires girls to talk to their peers about what is important to them and encourages positive emotional, social, and physical development. Physical activity is woven in to motivate an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. Toward the end, the girls will participate in a 5K and feel confident for not only completing the run, but accomplishing their goals!

If your daughter is in third through fifth grade and would like to participate, sign up will start Friday, January 31 after school. We will be doing everything electronically, so if your daughter is interested please sign up by emailing Lorin Skinner, Westside Fourth Grade Assistant, at before February 6 with your daughter’s name and grade. It is first come, first serve – in other words, the first 15 to email Lorin will be on the team!

Practices will be held after school at Westside on Monday and Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. This spring, our coaches will be the esteemed Kindergarten assistants, Ildi Strieker and Jennifer Cortez.

If this sounds like something you or your daughter would be interested in, please email Lorin. We are going to have a great season and look forward to hearing from you! For more information: Girls on the Run.

Chinese Calligraphy & the celebration of Spring Festival

Posted on


One of the National Foreign Language Standards is Culture. An important part of Chinese Culture is celebration of the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. During the Spring Festival Chinese everywhere display auspicious Chinese characters written in attractive calligraphy. Calligraphy is one of the most respected arts in the Chinese Culture. Museums all over the world exhibit the work of  famous Chinese calligraphers.

Lucky FU Chinese Character

Well-educated Chinese, no matter what their occupation, are expected to be good calligraphers. Westside School middle school students taking Chinese have had the opportunity to improve their calligraphy skills writing lucky characters as part of their celebration of the Spring Festival. They learned about the materials and techniques of writing calligraphy. Due to their hard work writing many Chinese characters, they were able to write nice FU characters to bring them “Good Fortune” in the Year of the Horse, and deepen their understanding of this important aspect of Chinese Culture. Su-Chen Wang lao shi 王 老师


3rd graders create mini-biomes

Posted on

Mini Biomes

We had a great time creating mini-biomes this week in third grade! All of our donated two liter water bottles were put to good use as we explored what makes a biome survive in a very tangible way. Table groups created their own biomes which include terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal life. Our biomes will be living in the hallway outside of our classroom. Make sure to stop by to check out the incredible little worlds inside!

From cloud formation to fractions…see what Westside fifth graders are up to!

Posted on

Check out what’s happening in fifth grade math class lately! The students have been learning a variety of skills during the month of January, including how to add and subtract fractions from other fractions and whole numbers. They have also learned about probability and how to show the outcome of an event in fraction and percentage form. They have done a great job learning how to multiply and divide by multi-digit numbers!  Coming up in February – the chance to explore the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percents, introducing exponents and square roots, as well as continuing to master measurements as they apply to parts of a whole.

how to make a cloud cry poster

5th grade science classes have just finished a massive weather unit. In the past month students learned how different heat transfers help to fuel the water cycle, and cloud formation. Check out the photo above of some student work from this project. They have studied tornadoes and hurricanes and the reason they are so destructive. Additionally, students have learned about air pressure, air masses, fronts, and the jet stream in order to predict wind speed, direction, and why we have stormy weather in specific places.

Up next: connecting our understanding of weather to how it affects our landscapes. We will focus on erosion, deposition, and a bit of engineering/problem solving in the form of controlling different forms of erosion. Stay tuned!