The concept of community at Westwood
The concept of community is a hallmark of the Westwood educational experience. It derives from our caring, supportive environment and extends into the local, and ultimately, global community.
- Classroom Community. Each classroom forms a community through its multi-age structure. Students help and serve each other throughout the year. This sense of responsibility and concern for others is typical and very much a part of the fabric of the school. Middle School students forge mentoring relationships with Upper Elementary students. Together they plan, design, and implement a Halloween Carnival for the entire school. The Upper Elementary and Middle School also host two luncheons during the year with over 75 guests in attendance. The younger students, in honor of the graduating class, host the final luncheon.
- Local Community. Westwood students enthusiastically participate in meeting needs within the local community. Service projects engage them in problem solving, help promote partnerships with local entities, and build bridges between groups to improve the quality of life for others. Preschool children have collected coloring books for local charities and hospitals. Elementary children have spent time organizing a local food pantry and cleaning fossils at a local nature preserve.
- National Community. The events of 9/11 sparked a desire to assist and our students collectively began efforts to raise funds. They decided to revive a project they had undertaken for a veteran’s celebration, making American flags from beads and safety pins. They chose not to set a price for the pins, asking for donations from parents, friends and local restaurants. In their spare time at school and at home, they feverishly made the pins and filled special orders. After hearing about the project, a local company matched donations to the 9/11 Charities and, together, they raised over $26,000. They were also able to send several thousand dollars directly to the American Red Cross. It was truly astounding to see their action plan carried out. The students learned first hand that they CAN make a difference.
- Global Community. Westwood is home to families from all over the world. To learn more about the countries that compose our community, click here. For many years, Westwood’s Upper Elementary and Middle School students have actively supported an orphanage in Uganda. They give of their own personal money and even request money be donated in lieu of birthday gifts. Donations have been used to help the orphanage become more financially self-sufficient by establishing “The Westwood Bakery” and “The Westwood Blacksmith Shop.” Our support has enabled the orphanage to purchase vitamins, soap, paper, pencils, food, towels, and books for the children, as well as to provide school tuition for many. One of our students’ most inspiring lessons derives from seeing funds donated by their own instructors used to help educate future teachers in Uganda. On one occasion, leftover money was used to buy everyone at the orphanage their first, and perhaps only, “soda pop!” Students have served in, among other things, the Young Ambassadors program in China and Australia and have been recognized in the Young Leaders Program for their service.