As we all get older, we sometimes may lose our ability to appreciate the smaller but more significant situations that present themselves. Over the last few days, the excitement and youthful exuberance has been seen in many ways.
Last Saturday, my wife and I were going to have to attend and/or coach in 6 events with our daughters. While this is not the normal Saturday for us, many of the parents can relate to a challenging day like this one. After watching Mary play in her first basketball game of the day, Mary and I headed to Honey Ham. As I drove us over, I was thinking of the back to back soccer games I would be coaching for Kate’s team. That would be followed up by two more basketball games for Mary and a soccer game for Reese in Lake Travis. We placed our order and made our way to the drinks. As I was carefully picking my lemons and limes for my water, one of our WHS students exclaimed, “Hey Mr. Ramsey! Hope you are having a great day - I AM! Next week is an early release day followed by a three day weekend!” At least half the establishment cheered on this one statement of truth. It was a unique and entertaining exchange, and it was nice to see folks still appreciating a little time off.
On Monday, our German Club brought in mini-horses as part of an activity to bring some joy on campus and to possibly de-stress some of our campus students. These horses did the trick. The smiles of staff and students were sincere, huge, and contagious. The minis were here just for our lunch periods, but they made an impact for the entire day.
On Wednesday morning, it was a mess with the storms and rain. During second period, I observed Mr. Sifner’s AP Music Theory class. The class was well done, and I was feeling very positive until I walked to the sidewalk by Westbank at the exit of the PAC. Rain, and lots of it. I was reaching for my umbrella when I noticed several students who were enjoying the rain. No Umbrellas. No fancy water proof jackets. Just walking to the PAC enjoying the puddles, cool air, and rain in their faces. I decided not to reach for my umbrella and simply walk back to my office trying to enjoy a rain shower on a Wednesday morning. I may not have enjoyed this time as much as some of our students, but it was a nice moment reflecting on not whining about things we cannot control-like the rain.
We hope you enjoy the long weekend. As I was told by one of our seniors yesterday, it is April when we return. Enjoy one of the last few long weekends with your seniors for we have only 39 school days until they are official WHS graduates.
Our children enter high school making simple, daily decisions to making decisions that may impact the rest of their life in a positive or negative way. Decisions go from deciding on where to eat lunch, the cafeteria or CHAP Court, all the way to where and what I will do after I graduate high school. Along the way, decisions include: what classes do I take, when do I get my driver’s license, should I get a job, should I date, what job/jobs will I pursue, what extracurriculars should I attempt, which restaurant serves the best breakfast tacos, how do I manage social media, and when do I not need a curfew?
Our students are making many decisions in a world where things can change quickly. So the question this week is: how often do we visit with our kids about making decisions? The SEL thought for the last quarter is on decision making. While the Huffington Post article deals with all ages, it is a good read for reminders and thoughts on decision making. From my experience, I believe asking “how” a decision is made can be much more enlightening than the “why” questions. Kids are still learning from our actions and our choices, and the “how” question can be much more challenging and create more dialogue. My advice at times is to always keep on parenting. Parenting will always include questioning. But asking “how” questions about decision making can strengthen your relationship for it can remove the authoritarian tone of disappointment. Ask some questions this weekend, and enjoy the time with your kids and family. I will give you a simple warning however; your kids will return the favor and ask you “how” questions for it is less threatening and more engaging - you gotta hate it when our kids turn the tables! It’s always nice to ponder life with your family……
Man, how has spring break already arrived for our students, staff and parents? The one common theme between our students, parents and staff is how suddenly this break is upon us. The break is here, and it is definitely appreciated by all. We are officially 75% complete with the 17-18 school year. So, let’s do a little math. Our 9th graders are now 3/16 (3 of 16 quarters), or 19% completed with their WHS experience while our sophomores are 7/16, or 44% completed. Our juniors are 68.75% completed while our seniors are 15/16, or 94% completed with their Westlake High School experience. When we return from Spring Break 2018, we will have only 48 school days left! These days will include exams, STAAR Testing, AP Testing, and many activities. The spring will go very quickly and truly be over in exactly 67 calendar days. With all that being mentioned, we hope you will enjoy the next 9 days spending and relaxing with your family and friends. We know many will be relaxing at home, vacationing, making college visits and simply taking time off from our routines.
We are a campus of many traditions. One of our traditions is the Senior Panoramic that took place yesterday morning. While last year I wrote about the reflective and quiet walk down the hill after the picture, this group was definitely a little more rambunctious, less quiet and more spirited. All classes have a unique personality, and this class is doing a wonderful job at WHS as second semester seniors. We have included a video clip to show y’all the process.
We would like to wish our basketball team good luck as they head to the State Basketball Tournament for the first time in Westlake High School History! No matter where you are on Friday evening, the game will be on the CHAP App. The team will have a sendoff from the field house at 9 am on Friday morning. Feel free to stop by and wish them good luck.
The topic of safety in schools has been top of mind recently for all of us - students, staff and parents. Please join us at our PTO General Membership meeting at Noon on Friday, March 23rd where we'll focus on this issue. We will also live-stream the meeting via our Facebook page. In advance of this meeting, please go to Facebook page: Westlake High School PTO and like/follow the page. Our speakers include Deputy Brian Peals, WHS admin, and Leesa Ross, area volunteer for the Be SMART program. The Be SMART campaign was created to bring together all responsible adults to reduce suicides and the number of unintentional shootings that occur when children/teenagers/college students get a hold of an unsecured firearm.
Here are some of the key dates for the rest of the school year:
March 30th and April 30th
April 10th-English 1
April 12th-English 2
May 7th-Algebra 1
May 9th-US History
May 10th- Biology
May 7th- 18th
Have a wonderful break!
Last spring we had the opportunity to hire for an assistant principal position on our campus. With help from parents, students, staff, and the retiring administrators, we were excited to hire Mr. Chad Burnett back to Westlake High School. We wanted to give Mr. Burnett the chance to reflect on his time at WHS upon his return.
My name is Chad Burnett and I am one of the assistant principals at WHS. It has been eight years since I was a member of the staff of Westlake High School as a physics teacher and coach.
It’s great to be back working with the amazing staff and students of WHS. While a lot has stayed the thing, many things have changed. One of the wonderful things about working at Eanes is the attitude that we can always get better. Everyday teachers, students, and the administration is working to better themselves and support each other. Since my return, I have noticed a couple of shifts in our overall approach to teaching and learning that help to ensure our students are successful not only in the classroom, but in the world. First, there is now a school wide effort to not only teach students content, but support them as they make their way through everyday life. We have expanded our support staff, shifted curriculum to include social emotional learning, and we take the time to learn about every student’s situation/needs. Second, the technology usage is amazing. Our current technology not only helps student access the curriculum, it provides real time feedback to our students. We have invested in the tech, training, and support to make it impactful to our community. Finally, collaboration is happening across the board. Every day we see students working together, teachers working in PLC groups, and students providing feedback to their teachers.
I am a proud member of the staff at WHS, and look forward to learning and growing together. - Chad Burnett
Pictured below is Chad and Candice Burnett
Steve Ramsey: WHS Principal Blog
Principal's Weekly Reflections