Dear Godwin Heights Community Members, Parents, and Guardians,

I’m pleased to say that West Godwin Elementary is looking better than ever this year! Improvements over the summer months included a resurfacing of our cafeteria floor, new cafeteria tables and benches, and continued beautification of our grounds and landscaping.  These upgrades, along with the many others that we implemented with the passing of the bond in 2015, have made a very positive impact on our school culture and sense of academic pride. 

Please join me in welcoming some new faces to our West Godwin team this year:

Mrs. Christina VanderVelde (Kindergarten)

Mr. Ed Wierenga (Physical Education)

Mrs. Cindi Visco (ASD Paraprofessional)

Miss Erin Kosten (ASD Paraprofessional)

Mr. Jeff Boggs (Media Clerk)

Miss Deanna McDonald (Premier Substitute)

Each new staff member listed comes to us with ample experience, as well as a sincere dedication to education.  We welcome these individuals from other educational institutions, and some as transfers from within our own district.

Programs and events that will continue during the 2017-2018 school year include; adherence to the Fish Philosophy! and Bucket-Filling initiatives that are part of our Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports system, monthly Principal’s Coffee, March is Reading Month celebrations, and academic Family Nights for the whole family.  I encourage parents to take the time to read the West Godwin Weekly newsletter that is sent home with each student on a weekly basis.  This publication outlines the events and happenings at West Godwin, essentially helping parents to be better connected to their student’s school life.

Many times I am asked the question “Mr. Minard, how can I help my child to succeed in school?”

I answer that question with the following guidance:

Make sure that your child attends school regularly, and on time!  Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.  Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 10 or more days over the course of an entire school year. It doesn’t matter if absences are excused or unexcused. They all represent lost time in the classroom and a lost opportunity to learn.

Get involved! Ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents' confidence in their children's education. Students with involved parents or other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills, and show improved behavior.

Attend Parent and Teacher Conferences! An effective parent-teacher partnership can make a significant difference in your child’s education. Parent and Teacher Conferences occur twice in a school year; once in autumn and once in the spring.  It is important to approach each parent-teacher conference as an opportunity to refine your child’s individual learning plan and to make sure the roles of teacher, student and parents are clear, specific and designed to bring out the best in your child.

Model and reward good behavior!  A great way for parents to help children resolve conflict, deal with feelings such as anger, insecurity or frustration, and treat others with kindness is to model positive behavior.  For most children, the most important role models are their parents and caregivers, who have a regular presence in their lives.

Seek out supports and resources!  Never be afraid to reach out for help.  Our staff can offer many ways to get you and your child the supports that are needed to make the school year positive and productive.  We are professional educators and will gladly work with you to share information, resources, and other supports that will benefit your child and/or your family. 

The Godwin Heights community is a special one, and I am so honored and happy to be a part of it.  I strongly believe that great schools are a result of great teachers and great staff working together to be sure that every student succeeds, therefore my primary objective is ensuring that every student at West Godwin receives high-quality instruction from every educator.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve your families in this role! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas you would like to share.



Steve Minard—Principal, West Godwin Elementary