Welcome to the Lower School
Westmark's Lower School curriculum is designed to spark the imaginations of our youngest students in grades 2-5 . Our small class sizes allow for individualized instruction and students are offered a comprehensive academic program, with emphasis on developing reading skills. Using research-based methodologies, grades two through five receive reading instruction for two hours per day in small group settings. The goals are to develop symbol imagery, increase sight word recognition and increase speed of phonemic awareness. In addition, students develop the ability for further reading comprehension, oral language, following directions and expressive language and writing skills. Through multimodal and interactive teaching, students use the assistive technology and research tools at their fingertips to learn each day.
Before even stepping on to the to the Westmark campus in 2008, I had formed a very definitive opinion about the school. Recently relocated from New York, I saw my visit to Westmark as more of a mission than a casual tour. Back east, I had heard a great deal about Westmark from colleagues and fellow parents. They shared stories about students who had learned to read after years of failure, individualized instruction that resulted in real progress, and small class sizes in which teachers “really got their kids”. At the time, my oldest son had just been diagnosed with a learning disability and was struggling mightily at school. Each day, I struggled with what his diagnosis meant and tried to envision what his educational future would look like. I watched as my happy and laid back son became riddled with anxiety and self doubt. As a mother and educator, I felt powerless, defeated, and exhausted.
It was hard to imagine that Westmark could deliver these results.Yet, within the first five minutes of my first classroom visit, it was clear that Westmark was a place where real kids were not only learning to read, but also learning to feel good about school again. I left that day filled with a different kind of disbelief; an awe that not only did Westmark exist but was a thriving and vibrant place that embraced kids that were just like mine and inspired them to believe in their ability to succeed.
Westmark continues to be the benchmark for intensive individualized instruction that both supports and challenges each student based on their individual needs. It is the model for promoting in students the executive functioning skills and compensatory strategies necessary to succeed in college and beyond.
At Westmark, students learn that learning differently is only one part of their complex and beautifully unique identity.
Director of Lower School