January 28, 2021
Hello, Westview families, 

Being social is a skill. Hence the name, social skills. At Westview, we recognize that the ability to socialize, understand social cues, and participate in nuanced social interactions is just as important as the academics we teach. Some of our students are interested in engaging socially but struggle with the “how-to” of social interactions. 
Many of our youngest students love to greet everyone by name. We enjoy hearing them walk down the hall, “Hi, Mrs. Mimi! Hi, Mr. John! Hi, Mrs. Jolaine.” They are quick to offer a greeting but need help learning what comes next. This is something that our staff works on every day. 
Each day as our Lower Elementary friends get out of their vehicles, staffers greet them with a “Good morning.” As their temperature is taken, and they make their way for hand sanitizer, a staffer will ask, “How are you today?” Some of our friends are so excited to come to school and head inside to class that responding to our question may not be a natural response. We repeat the question and wait; our patience and encouragement are often rewarded with a reply such as, “I am happy.”
We are intentional in our approach to teaching social skills. Direct instruction, modeling, and practice are part of the program at each grade level. Frequently, the instruction is embedded in something organic such as playing a board game. Playing games allows us to practice back-and-forth interaction, turn-taking, and how to win or lose appropriately.
Mrs. Karina’s Kindergarten students use flexibility and turn-taking to create a collaborative, digital “homemade pizza.” Being able to wait your turn patiently, accept a friend’s topping choice that might not be your own, and not eat more than your digital share of the pie is a fun and simple activity to model behavior and encourage appropriate social interaction with our younger students.
While covering recess for PreK last week, I observed Mrs. Angela coaching an interaction between two friends by saying something simple like, “I can see that you want to seesaw with Seby. Let’s ask him to play with you.” Then, Mrs. Angela suggested, “You can say, ‘Seby, can I seesaw with you?’”
As our students get a little bit older, we tackle more nuanced social skills. Good manners are something that we practice with our older students. I love what Mrs. Coleman in Middle School did just before the winter break. She presented each student with an unexpected gift such as a pack of erasers, a box of staples, or a ballpoint pen. She told the class, “Alright, everyone! Open your gifts and tell me what you think.” As you might imagine, the strange gifts elicited mixed reviews. When Mrs. Coleman asked, “Do you like your gift?” she was met with a lot of “umm... no” and “not really.” It was a real, although manufactured, teachable moment on socially appropriate responses to a non-preferred gift. 
Our ancillary teachers also contribute to teaching social skills. In PE last Friday, Ms. Trevie, with help from Mr. G., transformed a video game, Among Us, into an interactive experience for our Upper Elementary and Middle School students. The activity required students to interact in a very thoughtful and real way. In addition to exercising, the students had to read facial cues and use clear, expressive language to identify the game's imposter.
When we talk about our school's mission, we specifically use the words "unique" and "specialized," referring to the learning environment we provide our students. This unique and special environment does not just cover academics but, as evidenced above, social opportunities. Learning how to socially engage with the world outside of school is an essential component of the Westview program. Social interactions do not always come naturally to our students. However, with instruction, coaching, and opportunities to practice, we see great strides daily and are proud of your children as their ability to interact with peers and adults continues to grow and mature.

All the best,




Head of School
The Westview School
Calendar at a Glance

February 1
  • Re-enrollment Contracts Sent Out

February 4

February 11

February 15
  • Presidents' Day (No School)

March 12

March 15-19
  • Spring Break
Make The Westview School Part of Your Summer Plans
Registration is currently OPEN for Westview Champs Summer Camp, Summer Intensive Clinics and Summer Tutoring.
 
We are excited to be once again able to offer several options for students over the summer break. Visit our website to learn all the details and register your child. Need help deciding which of our programs is the best fit for your child over the summer? Contact Crystal Irvin or Trey Clark to discuss summer options.
SAVE THE DATE: The Fundraising Luncheon Goes to the Movies
Have you heard the news? The Westview School Fundraising Luncheon is going to the movies. RSVP now, and join us on Friday, March 12 at Moonstruck Drive-In Theatre located at 100 Bringhurst Street, Houston, TX. All families, children included, are welcome and encouraged to attend this free event to raise money for The Westview School. Families and friends of The Westview School can expect dinner delivered to your vehicle while viewing Disney's new release "Raya & The Last Dragon." We are so excited to be hosting this in-person but socially distanced event. We will be sharing more details in the next few weeks. If you are interested in attending, RSVP here. Official invitation to follow. 
Westview EDU: Dealing with Anxiety
The Westview School welcomes University of Houston Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences researchers on Thursday, February 4th for WestviewEDU. Our February topic is Dealing with Anxiety.

Anxiety can be crippling and affect every aspect of one’s life. Adding autism to the mix can make it even more of a challenge. Researchers with the University of Houston SPARC program will discuss ways to effectively manage anxiety and stress in your life and strategies to mitigate anxiety for your child.

Please RSVP and a ZOOM link will be emailed to you prior to the event. Have questions? Email Penelope Khuri.

Save the Date for Virtual Moms' Day
Hey, Westview Moms! Save the date for February 11. You're invited to an extra special ZOOM call to celebrate YOU! Your student's teacher will email the ZOOM link and any activity details by Monday, February 8. Moms' Day Virtual Event will be a 20-30 minute time commitment per class. If Mom can't make it, we encourage you to invite another female role model to attend. We can't wait to see our Moms online!


Please save the date and time for your Mom's Day ZOOM.
The times per grade level are listed below:
 
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM – ECD + PreK
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM – K
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Lower El
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM – Upper El 
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Middle School 
Art Studio to Open to Elementary and Middle School Students
Starting on Monday, February 1, elementary and middle school students will be attending art classes in the 1830 building art studio. Students will remain in their cohorts, they will not have contact with students from other classes, and no supplies will be shared between students and classes. Also, surface cleaning protocols will be strictly maintained between classes in the art studio. We are looking forward to allowing our students to engage more fully in Westview's art program.
Message from POW: Yearbooks On Sale NOW
Time is running out to order your yearbook and dedications! YEARBOOK SALES are happening now through January 31. The cost per book is $45. We have until the end of January to notify Balfour on how many books and how many extra pages for dedications we need.

*Buy your book ASAP! We won't be ordering many extras, order yours today to guarantee you get one. Yearbooks are for sale in the POW School Store website or on the Balfour website

*If you plan on creating a dedication for your kiddo go to the Balfour website to purchase and create it ASAP!

Thank you all so much for your support! If you have any questions or need any additional help, please message Ang Jennings.
Community Bulletin Board
Westview is Hiring!
Westview is looking to increase our substitute teacher list. Applicants for a substitute teacher at Westview must be over 18 and a high school graduate. Experience working with children is a plus. References are required. As a Westview substitute, you will primarily work as the class assistant for the day. If you or someone you know may be interested in substitute teaching on a preschool, elementary, or middle school level, please email a resume to Russell Avery.
 
Any additional questions/inquiries regarding job opportunities at The Westview School can be directed to Russell Avery.
Resources


Please refer to COVID-19 tab on The Westview School website for the most up to date information regarding our Child First Reopening Plan.


For the Kids