Throughout my fifteen plus years in the district, there is one question that is consistently asked of me. This question has been asked by parents, opposing coaches, fellow principals, and even family.
“What makes Westlake so unique?”
My answer is what I call the "Westlake Mystique". It is the day to day interactions between our students, students to staff, and staff to staff. Our kids treat each other more positively than on most, if not almost all, campuses in Texas. Students treat each other with a level of respect that I did not see when I was at Austin High nor while I was spending time in Kingwood and Duncanville schools. It is not a perfect environment, but it is an exceptional environment.
We are just different. Our kids study in the stands between games at tournaments. Our kids are gracious to their teachers. Our kids are highly responsive to campus expectations. Our kids FaceTime into classes when they are home sick. Our teachers use technology to teach and make contact with students when they are home with the flu. Our students thank referees after games. Our students thank UIL judges after regional and state competitions. Our students constantly look for ideas on ways to reach all students through our clubs. Our students achieve at the highest levels while respecting their peers from other teams and groups. Our students pick up after themselves at breakfast and lunch. Our students even thank our assistant principals after visits about discipline and attendance.
There was an event that happened this past Monday that showed our unique student response to an event that could have led to “mayhem” at other campuses. Our electricity went out on the main campus for about twenty minutes. Our admin team went to the classrooms on our main campus to give an update as we sorted out how long the electricity may be out. As we walked into the rooms, we were once again, reminded about our unique culture. Students were using their cell phones and iPADs as light sources to keep on learning. Our students, unprompted, found a way to keep on keeping on! Discussions continued. Labs continued. We also were asked how the students could help us during this outage. We were also thanked for checking on them in their rooms. After I made the announcement that everything was back to normal, I was thanked between passing periods and during lunches for keeping us safe. That one small window is the latest example of our unique campus!
Please be sure to read the following Teacher Feature, highlighting Mrs. Jackie Compean.
It’s always a great day to be a Chaparral!
Minds in Motion
Westlake High School is lucky to have Mrs. Compean on staff. This is her 10th year in the classroom! She has 3 daughters, and spends all her spare time engaging in the joys of motherhood - driving them to sports and helping with homework. Growing up Mrs. Compean had a love of nature and human biology, and she loves sharing this passion with her students.
In the classroom her favorite thing to do is interact with her students. Her motto is: “a quiet room is a boring room”. Based on this she works hard creating engaging activities for her students where they can interact with their peers and the natural world. On an average day in Mrs. Compean’s room you will see students working in groups actively discussing biological concepts, and sharing their excitement for science.
Right before winter break 9th graders wrapped up their study of cytology, the study of cells. Mrs. Jackie Compean had students investigate cell processes in creative ways.
Video 1 (Drawing) created by
M. Szoo, R. Ireland, C. Halverson, and S. Wu.
Video 2 (Clay) created by
H. Didilake, E. Wood, D. Gourlay, and C. Bost.
Steve Ramsey: WHS Principal Blog
Principal's Weekly Reflections