Lower School: Grades 2–5
When young learners join Westmark School, they receive the gift of time—time to form school relationships from an early age; time to understand their strengths and needs; and time to tap into their innate curiosity and creativity.
The research on early intervention is clear. The sooner a child with learning differences (LD) is equipped with the right tools to fuel their growth, the sooner they embark on a lifelong path of self-discovery and self-advocacy.
It’s been a highlight of my decades-long career in special education to partner with Westmark families. Lower School represents a critical time in our students’ development. Together with families, our classroom teachers work as a team to care for the whole child and foster a love of learning. The start of a journey is always exciting! I am honored to be part of your journey here at Westmark.
Director of Lower School
NOW ACCEPTING INQUIRIES FOR GRADE 1
With the opening of the new Lower School Campus, Westmark School is pleased to open Grade 1 in the 2024–2025 school year. We look forward to engaging the families of rising first graders!
Reading, Language Arts, Math, and Physical Education are central to the daily academic experience in Lower School. Science and Social Studies are offered on a rotating basis throughout the school year. Instruction is carefully planned to ensure that students can access the content and concepts as outlined by the California Common Core State Standards.
Special Area Subjects
During one period a day, Lower School students complement their core studies with one of our “specials.” These additional classes extend the opportunity to express oneself and develop essential skills for the twenty-first century.
Grades and Assessments
Lower School families receive quarterly report cards that feature an extensive narrative. In lieu of traditional letter grades, the narrative summarizes what was covered that quarter in various subject areas. This narrative addresses the student’s progress, areas of need, and accommodations (and/or modifications) as needed. Goals are developed for each student based on their areas of need and are closely monitored.
Student assessment takes many forms at Westmark. Reading teachers provide information assessments to track student progress and students are assessed annually through a battery of reading assessments. Achievements in math and language arts are obtained through the Measures of Academic Progress through the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). This test is administered biannually to all students.
Homework and Conferences
In Lower School, homework is assigned differently depending on grade level. The cognitive load is heavy during the day, so striking a healthy school/home balance is important for students’ mental health. It is also crucial for students to enjoy extracurricular activities after school. Thus, Grades 2–5 students are assigned Reading homework—that is, read to oneself, listen to an adult or sibling read, or listen to an audio book—four nights a week for ten to fifteen minutes a night. As students progress through the Lower School, Math homework is assigned two to three nights a week.
Communication is an important part of our partnership with families. In addition to weekly emails home, Parent-Teacher Conferences take place at Westmark three times a year.
At the start of the school year, conferences are held so that Lower School parents and guardians can meet their student’s Homeroom teacher, learn more about the academic program for the year, discuss their child’s strengths and needs, and set goals together.
During conferences held in December and May, Lower School parents and guardians meet with their child’s Reading, Math, and Homeroom teachers to learn about their student’s academic progress during the school year.
Conferences are also a chance to discuss any changes in medication and updates to the student’s neuropsychological evaluation, among other pertinent matters.
The milestone Dedication Ceremony included an important announcement: Westmark will expand to first grade in 2024–2025.