Principal Page

Dear Westgate Community,Mr. Weiss and Family

Welcome back to the 2017-2018 school year! I would like to take the opportunity to invite you all to a year of growth and support as we learn and work together.  Our school is proud to announce that we have become your neighborhood leadership school!  This work began last week as teachers were trained and collaborated with each other regarding a new framework called The Leader in Me.  More information on that a little later in this letter.  With that in mind, please read all the way through; there is quite a bit of important information contained within.     

To start this year, we would like to express gratitude to our PTA for their efforts, once again, to raise funds to improve our school.  Students will return to brand new basketball courts by the playground.  Our courts were torn out, completely repaved, with added new hoops and new lines painted.  Thank you PTA!

We would also like to thank our incredibly dedicated staff, all of whom spent time in the building this summer getting us ready for your amazing children.  In particular, I would like to shout out to Joe Trujillo, our Building Engineer and his team Dan and Ken who spent countless hours cleaning, painting, moving, mowing and responding to our school’s needs.  Thank you Team Westgate! 

Last but not least, I would like to thank you, our families, for choosing and trusting the staff of Westgate Elementary to serve your children.  I recognize that in Colorado you have a right to choose where your child attends school.  I am confident in our staff’s ability to serve your students and we cannot wait to see their smiling faces on Thursday! 


As always our school is committed to fulfilling our mission and to ensuring our students’ needs are being met while they also receive the highest levels of instruction.  Ensuring this requires continuous refinement of our practices and this year parents can expect to see some great improvements in our system.

First off, Westgate is proud to announce our full participation in The Leader in Me framework.  Over the course of this school year you will hear our students coming home talking about the 7-Habits (as outlined in the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” ~Stephen Covey).  Please engage your student in these conversations and ask them to define these habits at home for you.  Parents are highly encouraged to participate and you can find your parent guide here

Second, families with students in grades 3-6 will find a new structure for instruction that includes departmentalization.  What this means is, students will have a home room teacher, but they will also take one of their core classes from each of the other 2 teachers at that grade level.  Our goal in adjusting this structure is to provide students a more intermediate experience and also to allow teachers to go deeper into their instruction.  In the older model, teachers are required to teach 5 subjects creating a significant amount of prep and plan.  This new structure will allow teachers to have less preparation and to become much stronger instructors of math, reading or writing.

Third, Westgate is embarking in Restorative Practices as a measure to support proactive discipline.  These practices have been in place for a long time and are supported by both the Colorado Department of Education and Jefferson County Schools.  Families can find more information at this link Restorative Practices in Schools.

Finally, we are implementing a new policy regarding attendance.  Please consider this policy of high importance and understand it in its totalityAll polices can be found in the Family Handbook.  Historically Westgate has called the family when a student did not arrive at school and a call was not placed to the attendance line.  On a typical day nearly two hours are spent trying to get a hold of families who have not called in.  Our employee’s should be servicing our students here at school and we hope this policy change will support that.  We will continue calling if a student is not present to ensure safety however, moving forward, if we are required to call you regarding an absence, the absence will be marked unexcused regardless of the circumstances.   This policy aligns to the truancy office expectations in our school district.  Research shows that solid attendance in school leads to higher grades and higher graduation rates and we support this belief.  Our staff intends to pursue truancy proceedings as required based on absences. 

The implementation of these practices will enhance our ability to strengthen student learning in our school and increase engagement with our community.

Please keep the following dates in mind as you plan out the rest of your summer and fall:

  • August 14th – Kindergarten Family Night 5:00pm- 6:00pm
  • August 15th – Open House 3:30pm – 6:00pm
  • August 17th – First Day of School – 9:00am
  • August 18th – Kindergarten Ice Cream Social 4:00pm-5:30pm
  • August 18th – Grill N’ Chill 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • August 21th – Solar Eclipse 11:30am
  • August 24th – Back to School Night 5:30pm – 7:15pm
  • August 25th + 28th – No School – Flex Testing – Please see communication from teachers

Please note that Westgate does plan to participate in the upcoming solar eclipse.  The school has purchased eclipse glasses in collaboration with PTA.  We would love to have volunteers at the school to help students participate appropriately.  If you would like to volunteer on August 21st, please arrive by 11:15 and sign in at the main office. 

We truly cannot wait to see your smiling faces this week and I am looking forward to all that we accomplish together in the coming school year!

See you all August 17th!

Mr. Weiss

in Spanish

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