Skip To Main Content

Principal's Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

The first snow day and snowstorm of the year helped usher in the start of March, but hopefully, spring-like weather will return soon.  The stretch between now and the end of the year goes by very quickly.  That being said, it is important for students to realize how much of a course’s final grade is still outstanding, and just how impactful doing well over the next 16 weeks can be on final grades.  Over this time, 50% of a course’s final average will be determined by the work completed by students.  Staying focused, even when the weather gets nice, asking for help, and using the numerous supports available to students both during the day and after school will help them succeed.

I had shared in a past newsletter that a good number of faculty engaged in a really informative reading on Stolen Focus by Johann Hari and we recently held our last book discussion.  I would highly recommend this book to any parent interested in or curious about our ability (or lack thereof) to sustain focus on important tasks.  Specifically, the book discusses the impact of technology on our attention and just how consequential the numerous social media applications are on us and, more specifically, our students.  I firmly believe that the negative impacts of prolonged use of social media applications can no longer be overlooked and are the greatest challenge to our student’s success.  This book’s detailed look into the algorithms at play behind the social media applications used by our students shows us how they are designed to engage and addict them to further use.  Hari quotes Aza Raskin of Silicon Valley to point out a scary reality: “It’s not that they (tech platforms) are listening and then they can do targeted ad serving.  It’s that their model of you is so accurate that it’s making predictions about you that you think are magic.”   Simply put, these programs know what will keep us hooked and searching through these applications.  It is a time for all of us to be talking with our students/children about the impacts of these platforms.  Our teachers and I have engaged students on these realities and will continue to do so, but it can never replace the power of a parent’s conversation and concern.

Technology Concerns

On the same front, recent news stories have come to light and have happened in our region of students being blackmailed for money through their social media feeds.  It’s a fairly simple tactic, but blackmailers get connected to children through social media.  They get them to connect with them digitally, put them in a compromising situation, such as sharing explicit images; they then threaten to release those images if they don’t get paid real money or cash cards.   This is a serious issue and has led to very tragic ends.  Please take some time to talk with your children about this and about connecting with anyone they don’t know online.  If you want to learn more, click on this news link from CBS news:  internet blackmail

WHS Spring Musical - March 17, 18, 19, 24, and 25.

The Westlake Players have been hard at work preparing for this year’s spring musical, The Addams Family.  Please mark your calendars for upcoming shows and come out to support the WHS Theater.

WHS College and Coffee Night - March 21

Mark your calendars for this highly informational evening hosted by the Westlake High School Counseling Department.  This event is open to parents and students in 9th -11th grade and begins at 7:00 pm in the HS Auditorium.  This is a great opportunity to hear from a variety of panelists including students about the college search and admissions process.

Art On Display - March 28

The Art Department is thrilled to announce plans for a district-wide Visual Arts Festival 2023:  "Through-Lines... Bridging the Lines of Creativity".   This is primarily a 6-12 art show at the Westlake Campus Library that will also include work from Hawthorne and Columbus (specifically 2nd and 5th-grade students).  The exhibit would showcase 2D, 3D, and digital media and include music and art activities during the opening reception on March 28 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm.  This is an incredible way to showcase the talents of so many of our students.

Congratulations! - March 4

Varsity Girls Basketball had an incredible win against Croton in the Semifinals at the County Center Monday Night!  They now will play in the finals on Saturday, March 4, back at the County Center at 5:15 pm.  Fans are certainly encouraged to attend and support our team!  Let’s Go Wildcats!

Congratulations to Isabella Mehmel on earning her Gold Award through the Girl Scouts for her project on spreading literacy through “reading on the go.” 

Safety News

You might be aware that there’s significant construction happening behind the Westlake Campus connected to the Zeiss property.  There have been instances of students walking through this construction zone to get to the Rose Hill Shopping Center.  This is extremely dangerous and a restricted area as it is private property.  Please reinforce to your child that this is not only dangerous but also trespassing and cannot occur.  The owners and construction managers have asked us to please relay this message as they do not want any child to be injured.

Spring Sports are right around the corner, and I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events!

March Events

Friday, March 10                     WHS Quarter 3 Midpoint

Wednesday, March 15            Social Studies Honor Society Induction - WHS Library @ 2:30 pm

Thursday, March 16                Half Day for Students 11:15 am dismissal (Spring Institute)

March 17,18, 24, 25                WHS Spring Musical 8:00 pm - The Addams Family

Sunday, March 19                   WHS Spring Musical 1:00 pm - The Addams Family (Senior Citizen Luncheon 12:00)

Tuesday, March 21                 WHS College and Coffee Night -Grades 9-11 --HS Auditorium @ 7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 22            Science Honor Society Induction - WHS Library @ 2:30 pm

Tuesday, March 28                 Visual Arts Festival 2023 - WHS Library 6:30-8:00 pm

Lastly, attached please find information regarding a Westlake Softball Fundraiser  Softball Fundraiser Margherita Pizza.pdf 

Dedicated to excellence,

Keith Schenker