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Special Edition  |  Elementary  |  Preschool  |  Barnyard  |  Upcoming Events

Back to School Night is Coming Up!

Oxnard Campus (parking and shuttle bus information)
Thursday, September 1, 2022 @ 5:00-7:00 pm
3:30PM EARLY SCHOOL CLOSURE: To prepare for the event, please pick up by 3:30 pm.
5:00-5:45 pm Preschool Classrooms (Room 1-8, 10 & 12)
6:00-7:00 pm Elementary Classrooms (Room 9 & 14-19)
5:00-7:00 pm Book Fair, Extracurricular & Specialist Booths

Collins Campus
Wednesday, September 7, 2022 @ 5:00-7:00 pm

3:30PM EARLY SCHOOL CLOSURE: To prepare for the event, please pick up by 3:30 pm.
5:00-5:45 pm Toddler & 2-3 YO Classrooms (Room 1-4)
5:00-6:00 pm 3-4 YO (Room 9)
6:00-6:45 pm 3-4 YO (Room 5, 6 & 8)
6:00-7:00 pm Pre-K (Room 7 & 10)
5:00-7:00 pm Book Fair & Extracurricular Booths

Parking Reminders | Oxnard St. Campus

Top 3 Parking Lot Tips & Reminders
  1. If you are staying for Morning Assembly or an event, please park on Oxnard St. to allow SAFE PRESCHOOL DROP OFF.
  2. 7:50-8:05 AM is the busiest time in the morning. Come early to avoid the rush (preschool families can also come after 8:05 AM).
  3. At drop off/pick up:
    1. Rolling drop off/pick up (elementary) - Entering the lot from the EAST will help you avoid crossing an already busy lane of traffic.
    2. Parking (elementary/preschool) - Entering from the WEST will help you avoid having to cross through the rolling drop off/pick up lane.

Special Edition | Seth Pozzi -  Head of School

It's Finally Here

The normal we've been waiting for!

Are you feeling it too? It’s been a magical start to the 2022-2023 school year. The smiles, laughter, and sense of normalcy are palpable at morning drop-off, at elementary assembly, in the classrooms, and all around campus. That shared joy and sense of purpose are what I treasure most about serving as Head of School. I am hopeful and optimistic that this year will be the best one yet in our school's 47-year history! 

You don’t have to look far in the media to find stories about “how kids are doing.” Last year, 80% of schools reported that the pandemic has taken a toll on student behavior and social-emotional development in addition to significant numbers of students being chronically absent.

At WHPS, we were so very fortunate to be open in person more than many schools in the state. Even so, we found that after two years that included virtual learning, staying home due to illnesses and quarantines, and social distancing, there was some ground to make up. I credit our teachers for being creative last year. Maybe we took a little more time at the beginning of first grade to reinforce social skills that we used to see fall into place by the end of kindergarten. Maybe we needed to slow the writing unit down so we could teach the kids how to do meaningful research, instead of rushing to finish by a certain date. We ended the year in a good place. Any ground left to get kids back to "pre-pan" learning expectations either happened already or is happening as we speak, and it feels good to be back on track. 

We spend every summer further enhancing our academic programs. This summer, all of our work was laser-focused on student success. Here is just a little of what we’ve been up to and are excited about:

  • We took part in wonderful summer professional development with Jennifer Serravallo, one of Columbia University’s top experts on individualized learning. Serravallo shared some amazing new tools for always knowing what to do next to maximize each student's growth.
  • We are bringing in the most current Science of Reading research to target the most critical skills for any readers that need an extra boost.
  • We developed new assessments to identify and fill in any learning gaps quickly and efficiently. 
  • STEM - Already one of our school’s greatest strengths:
    • We are launching the new 2022 Singapore Math units with even more focus on critical thinking, starting in kindergarten this year. 
    • Every elementary grade has planned exciting project-based learning that spans the full year and includes multiple field trips and opportunities for parent involvement. 
    • Our new barnyard classroom is almost complete, and we are launching even more enhancements to the Animal & Nature Studies curriculum. 
  • I’m also excited that our teachers will once again be traveling to conferences, as well as participating in on-campus professional development. I am also looking forward to resuming my visits to schools across the country and collaborating with other school leaders on innovation. 

As families may know, we start standardized testing in third grade to get a baseline for each student. While standardized testing is just one aspect of a child's learning profile, we dig into each student's scores, including any questions or topics where they did not score as well [yet]. This helps us plan and set goals at the individual student level, focusing on how to help each student achieve their personal best. The fifth-grade scores reflect that commitment over time, and despite the pandemic, the class of 2022 ended the year with a strong showing:

  • Quantitative Reasoning/Critical Thinking - 80% of students scored above to significantly above average
  • Math - 70% of students scored above to significantly above average
  • Reading - 67% of students scored above to significantly above average
  • Vocabulary - 80% of students scored above to significantly above average

Our school is known for being a pioneer in SEL. Social skills, such as goal setting, tie inextricably to academic success. This year, we moved Student-Led Conferences (SLCs) up so they can happen even earlier. This is where your child and teachers will lay out clearly defined goals and individual plans for success. Your SLC will include a lot of dialogue and digging into the details, but it should look something like this

As we enter this year full steam ahead—more than ever—our teachers are leaning into their role as warm demanders. Warm demanders:

  • Build loving, meaningful connections with every student
  • Hold the highest unwavering expectations (and accountability) for every student
  • Help every student set meaningful and achievable goals
  • Provide scaffolding and support, which may look different for each student
  • Help students see their own brilliance and reach their goals and potential

To help make all of this happen and support our students, staff, and families, we have added a number of new faculty and staff this year. Some may be familiar faces in new roles and others you may not have met yet. You can see more information about who’s who on our website and in the Family Information Handout for your child's division (Elementary, OX-Preschool, C-Preschool).

Elementary News | Melanie Henson - Elementary Principal

Project Highlights

A lot to look forward to!

The excitement of the new school year is upon us! As our elementary classrooms are getting to know each other, establishing classroom norms, and setting hopes and goals for the year, a lot of thoughtful planning has been happening. Our teachers are launching enhanced thematic studies they will focus on all year long, culminating in special projects by Open House. As part of these projects, students from fifth grade to TK will attend related field trips and have parent presentations. I am excited to preview a couple examples of these projects, and parents will learn more at Back to School Night this week.

As part of our Social Studies and Diversity-Equity & Inclusion curriculum, fourth and fifth-grade students will be taking a deep dive into immigration. The unit starts with a Family History Project, which digs deeper into each student's ancestry. How did our families end up in America? From where? Why? Students will be immersed in local immigration stories by visiting Olvera Street and the Queen Mary. They will use the knowledge they gain to create an Immigration Museum as a culminating project.

The kindergarten Humanities curriculum investigates the question: How do I learn and work with my new friends?  Kindergarten will be taking their deep dive into Community Helpers. They will visit locations where community helpers are hard at work, such as Underwood Farms. They will also be welcoming firefighters, police officers, doctors, and dentists to campus to share what they do for our community. There are many ways parents' occupations contribute to the community, and there will be many opportunities for parents (and family members) to share that with the students. Finally, our kindergarteners will construct an entire community out of recycled materials, which will become part of Open House. 

I hope families are as excited about this year as we are! We can’t wait to see where these projects take us and how much this will expand our students' learning and engagement this year.

Preschool News
Collins Campus
Robin & Joette
Oxnard Campus
Christine & Roxana
Rhythm, Ritual & Routine

At school and at home
Welcome to the start of a new school year! We know that children thrive on consistency from both parents and teachers. Already, in the first two weeks of school, preschool teachers have begun building consistency into the daily life of the classroom through rhythms, rituals, and routines.

  • Rhythm is described as a sense of feeling. A daily rhythm can invoke a sense of calmness, happiness, or home. Take a moment to breathe in and out. Have a small yoga session or have music to dance to and relieve some stress. Taking time to stop and smell the flowers will help children (and adults) appreciate the world around them. 
  • Rituals can be seen as traditions; they provide our lives with a sense of importance. They help distinguish important events in our lives, such as making a special meal on your child's birthday.
  • Routines are events that happen in your child's day (mealtime, nap time, drop off at school) around the same time and in the same way each time.
The beginning of the year is a crucial time to establish a rhythm, ritual, and routine with your child. Together, we can partner up by building a relationship between teachers and parents and fostering that consistency. The goal is for your child to feel safe and confident so they can get the most out of their precious time at school. 

Children handle changes best when they know what to expect, and a routine gives children a sense of security. Following a predictable routine allows children to build autonomy and boosts independence when handling complex life changes. Children equipped to handle changes in their routines can tackle much more significant changes when they get older. 
  • Routine aligns with our child-centered curriculum. When routines are set in place, it helps children learn how to take charge of their play. Children can make decisions on activities establishing independence for future tasks.
  • Routine and rituals will help reduce tantrums or challenges you may experience during transitions. Start your drive to school with a ritual; for example, play your child's favorite song, or begin to talk to them about what drop-off will look like. Once at school, establish a ritual for drop-off, a high five, and jump in the door or a hug and a kiss with an "I'll see you after nap!" Whatever your ritual is, make sure it's a positive experience for you and your child.

Some routines we use at school:

  • Routines (circle time, snack, outdoor play)
  • Visual reminders (class schedule)
  • Drop Off Ritual (greeting the child)

Some routines to try at home:

  • Routines (breakfast, nap, lunch, dinner)
  • Visual Reminder (use a chart or calendar)
  • Drop off Ritual (hug, kiss, wave good-bye, push)
"Our Barnyard" News | WHPS Science & Nature Center

Hello Barnyard Friends!

Everyone in the Science & Nature Center is excited about the new school year. This year, Barnyard is open for visitors all day long. Don't forget to come by and visit, and if you haven’t met Ms. Mackenzie, please drop by to say hello. She joined our team at the end of last school year and is eager to meet all the students and families.

Elementary classes quickly start their year-long studies in one of three subjects; Animal Care, Ecology, or Genetics & Evolution. In Animal Care, we discover what it takes to care for pets at home and our animals here in Our Barnyard. Ecology students delve into the intricate workings of ecosystems and how they maintain their delicate balance. Finally, we look at the diversity of life and explore the mechanics of Evolution and Natural Selection (yes, those are two separate things), and we learn how we all came from the same starting point of life.

The beginning of the year always starts with learning the rules of Our Barnyard and getting reacquainted with the animals. We use walking feet in the Barnyard and use gentle hands when interacting with the animals. After that's out of the way, preschoolers will learn how to identify what makes mammals, reptiles, and birds different from one another and how we can easily tell them apart. Ask your little one: What do all mammals have in common? What about Birds?

Lastly, I would like to mention a special project we've been working on. We have a brand new outdoor classroom being built with everything we need to teach our classes in an even more engaging way (Hint: the animals can come in and play with us). On top of that, we will be able to decorate and keep learning aids on display. We are just about done with construction and can't wait to start using it!

Wishing everyone a fantastic year full of learning and fun,

-Mr. Matthew & Mrs. Mackenzie.

Follow us on Instagram @whpschool!

Upcoming Events
Check out our Google Calendar for all upcoming events!
Sept. Collins Oxnard
School CLOSES at 3:30pm
Back to School Night
@ 5:00-7:00pm
5 Labor Day - WHPS Closed
School CLOSES at 3:30pm
Back to School Night
@ 5:00-7:00pm
PAWS Meeting @6:30-7:30pm on Zoom
12 Fall Extracurricular Classes Begin
13 PAG Meeting (in-person) @ 5-6pm  
20 Bubble Mania, Sponsored by PAG  
21-23   Fall School Pictures
5   PAWS Meeting
10 Indigenous Peoples' Day
10-11   Speech & Language Screening
11 Elementary LIVE Virtual Tour @ 10-10:45am
11 PAG Meeting Speech & Language Screening
12-13   Elementary Student-Led Conferences - NO SCHOOL (childcare available)
20 CA Great Shake Out - Earthquake Drill
20-21 Speech & Language Screening  
22 PAWS Fall Festival
28   Preschool Halloween Celebrations @ 10-11am
- - - - - 
Middle School Info. Session (for 3rd-5th grade families)@ 2-3pm
31 Halloween Celebrations @ 9:30-10:30am Elementary Halloween Parade @ 11am-12pm
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22322 Collins Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367   •   22555 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

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