THE WESTVIEW SCHOOL | A PLACE WHERE YOU FIT
Dr. Koch opens our Summer Westview Chronicle with all the progress we've made and plans for our year of accreditation ahead.
Dr. Koch shares some key accomplishments in implementing Westview's strategic plan. 06 08
Westview adds three new members with diverse backgrounds to its board of trustees to positively impact our school's future goals.
Westview spotlights donor Betsy Goldstein, sharing the influential role she has played in the growth and legacy of The Westview School.
Demonstrating passion for both Westview and its students, Kindergarten teacher Karina Heggeness is awarded the Jane Stewart Award of Excellence.
The 2023-2024 Westview EDU schedule offers an informative and educational line-up of presenters. 10 12 14
Westview's program is enriched throughout the year with our community partnerships and local charity connections. 15
We share some of our favorite "top tips" from our oncampus therapists at The Stewart Center.
Spring at Westview was busy welcoming families to campus, gathering students together, and enriching student experiences.
Praised by colleagues as kind, caring, and a positive role model, Kenneth Choo received this year's Joel Stewart Award of Excellence.
Seven students completed Westview's middle school this year and will be transitioning to high school.
16 years of service with a can-do attitude and focus on teamwork earned Michelle Chapa the Donna Marshall Award of Excellence this year.
Friends and family of The Westview School gathered at River Oaks Country Club for the 2023 Fundraising Luncheon.
Westview loves keeping up to date on all the incredible progress our alums are making in life.
A new POW initiative with the goal to provide additional funding for specific grant requests to help improve Westview. 27 28 31
Westview alums return to school to help out, and it always is a joy to welcome them back to campus.
Thank you to all our donors for supporting Westview during this past academic school year.
our time to shine
Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023 Page-04 | Wildcat Chronicle
message from the head of schoo
Dear Westview School Community,
Each issue of the Wildcat Chronicles provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on both Westview today and our proud history and accomplishments of our students and staff.
In the last few weeks, we have been fortunate to welcome some of our former students back to campus as volunteers for summer camp Each one has done exceptional work on our behalf Hosting our alumni volunteers allowed them to give back to the school and the staff, who gave them a solid foundation, a strong sense of self, and an appreciation for others. The willingness of our former students to give their time and talents to our special school is symbolic of what we want to achieve here at Westview, and that is to build a sense of community that is everlasting.
In this edition of the Wildcat Chronicle, we celebrate our employees of the year, highlight the gracious speakers who shared their stories at the spring luncheon, and pay tribute to the enduring contributions of The Westview School’s very first PE teacher whose dedication to our school and its mission is a model for us all. We also take great pride in featuring several alum who have experienced success in the world beyond our doors.
Just as we support each student as they come through the doors, guiding and nurturing each one to make the most of their unique gifts, in the end, we know that our school is a reflection of the enduring relationships that are nurtured and the connections that are made as we support each other.
This year, The Westview School will be going through reaccreditation. As part of this process, we will review the standards and descriptions of good practice and reflect on how well we meet each standard The entire school community will be involved in this self-examination process to highlight what we are doing well and identify opportunities for growth. In the spring, a team of visiting educators will be on campus to examine every aspect of our program. In this spirit, we announce our theme for the 2023-2024 school year is Our Time to Shine
We look forward to having an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the extraordinary things we achieve when we work together and commit to one another’s success.
V S our t
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
A Spotlight on Success
In the Spring of 2021, The Westview School Board of Trustees began the process of strategic planning for the school. Consultants from Gerhsenson and Associates surveyed and interviewed all constituents, including students, families, staff, and the Board, to identify key priorities for the future In the Fall of 2021, the Board adopted a 3 to 5-year strategic plan that includes increasing our investment in Our People, Our Campus, and Our Students’ Futures. Since the plan was adopted, we have made significant progress in the three areas. Here are some of the key accomplishments in each area:
Prioritizing professional development for our staff ensures that we are highly qualified to meet the diverse needs of our students. Some of the professional development completed in the last few years includes DIR Floortime for early childhood and pre-kindergarten teachers, Reading by Design for kindergarten and elementary teachers, UT Blended Learning for middle school teachers, and Nurtured Heart, Responsive Classroom, and Capturing Kids’ Hearts for all staff. The Westview School has also provided financial support for four teachers to earn additional credentials and certifications.
In order to retain and attract world-class staff, we conducted a comprehensive review of salary and benefits to ensure that The Westview School was offering competitive packages to employees.
Our Board of Trustees was also trained by The Education Group on best practices for school governance. The Board has implemented a new committee structure that allows for more active engagement in key areas of Advancement, Finance, and Governance. The Governance Committee has successfully recruited three highly qualified new members to join the Board.
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World class facilities for our students was identified as a priority. We have done significant work inside and out, towards this goal. Installing dimmers on all lights in the 1900 building allows teachers to adapt the classroom environment to accommodate the sensory needs of students. The interior and exterior of both buildings have been repainted, the parking lots were resurfaced, and work is being done to regrade and resod the 1830 playground.
A feasibility study on vertical and horizontal expansion of The Westview School is being completed by The Education Group. The Board will review the report and make a decision on next steps in the fall.
Critical thinking, problem solving, and social skills were three of the primary needs identified during the strategic planning process. To ensure that all students have opportunities to develop these important skills, we have added new curriculum resources for early childhood and prekindergarten. New Amplify science and Fly Five social and emotional learning programs have been implemented in kindergarten through middle school.
Supporting families to ensure the best outcomes for our students’ futures has always been a top priority of The Westview School. There are several ways that we provide top notch support. Westview EDU is a free family education series. Topics are identified by families, and Westview finds speakers to address the need.
Eventually, all students are ready to transition to another school, and our admissions team and support specialists work hard to support families in finding the next school for their child. Whether it is attending an ARD meeting at their neighborhood public school or helping to identify another private school that would be a good match, our team of professionals takes great care in helping families at every step of the process.
Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Iamproudofthegreatwork thatwehavedonetowards achievingourkeymeasures ofsuccessincludedinour strategicplan.
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The Sensory System and Self-Regulation: Tips and Tools for Supporting Your Student by Lizzy Simon, OTD, OTR/L Occupational Therapist, The Stewart Center
Easing Anxiety in Social Situations by Elisabeth Dawkins, M S, LPC-Associate The Stewart Center
Online Safety by Natalie T Montfort, PhD Montfort Psychology Associates
Defining Success: Creating a Roadmap for Your Child's Future by Lindsay Carr, PhD, Clinical Psychologist
Supporting Siblings of Neurodiverse Kids by Mimi Le, M.A., LMFT, LPC Clinical Director, The Stewart Center
Creating a Climate of High Expectations by Brandi Timmons, MEd, BCBA, LBA Education Director, Social Motion Skills
Language Development: Supporting Your Child’s Processing Style by Carlie Krueger, MS, CF-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist Clinical Fellow, The Stewart Center
Navigating the Changes: A Talk on Puberty in Autism Amy K. Izuno-Garcia, PhD, NCSP Assistant Professor, Licensed Psychologist, UTHealth Houston
How to Stay Calm When Kids are Out of Control by Michael McKee, Ed.S., LSSP, NCSP Support Specialist, The Westview School
We are excited to announce our Westview EDU lineup for the 2023-2024 academic school year Westview EDU is our education series for parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the end-of-year survey that helped us fill our presentation slots with topics and presenters our community most wanted to learn about. Each presenter will be in-person in Largent Hall on Thursdays at 9:15 AM. Presentations will last for one hour. ZOOM option will be offered. Visit our website for registration details.
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Westview is proud to welcome three new members to our board of trustees. With their diverse backgrounds and expertise, we are confident that these three successful women will positively impact Westview's governance and be invaluable assets to Westview and our community. As Westview's board of trustees grow to nine members, we anticipate the dynamic group of individuals to work together to support the school's future goals
Lindsay, a neuropsychologist by training, has been in private practice for 11 years in Houston, working with children through adults. One focus of Lindsay's work is supporting young adults to launch successfully into the world. Lindsay's godson attended The Westview School for many years "It was a pleasure to watch him grow and thrive in [Westview's] inclusive and encouraging environment," said Lindsay.
Throughout her career, Michele has been motivated to develop pathways for neurodiverse individuals On a personal level, she is a caretaker for a family member with autism. "Watching neurodiverse individuals become independent transforms the world as they make their mark," said Michele.
Priya is the parent to a Westview alumna and is deeply motivated by the bright futures that lie ahead for our children. "I hope I can be an advocate as they pursue their dreams, as well as a supporter for our community that is showing the world all that our children can do," said Priya.
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Making a Difference
It seems like a bit of luck and coincidence that Betsy Goldstein ended up at The Westview School. "It was one of those things where you are trying to figure out what you want to do when you grow up," teased Betsy. "I was looking for something, and lo and behold, in a little suburban newspaper, I saw an ad for a motor teacher." Betsy made the call and met Jane Stewart. It was surprising to Betsy that they didn't already know each other. "Jane was a neighbor of mine, and our boys were friends," said Betsy.
In the fall of 1983, Betsy joined Jane Stewart and the small team at The Westview School. She became the school's first motor teacher. In those early days, one teacher, an instructional assistant, and a speech therapist were dedicated to educating eleven Westview students in a small house in Spring Branch.
By 1986, Westview had grown into a larger school on Shadyvilla Drive with twenty students and ten staff Now, Betsy was not only teaching motor skills but taking on the responsibilities of Assistant Director of Westview
lls how special of a time these years at were. "In the beginning, we were so n't know how to describe it," said e would do crazy things like cut up a n, take kids outside, and say, let's out." Betsy spoke of her early motor worked a lot on balance and muscle ing. A couple of kids took their first hool; that was pretty exciting for me."
ext 10 years, Westview continued to as the school history tells, the school l current spaces
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"We just continued to grow," said Betsy. "Each step of the way, we just thought, 'Wow, can we really handle this?'" In 1996, Westview launched a capital campaign to build a new school. Betsy and her husband, Ed, made generous contributions to the capital campaign. In the 1998 school year, Westview moved into the current campus on Kersten Drive
"We had no idea what we were building," said Betsy. "When we first started, we didn't even know what autism was. Westview just evolved into this school for kids with autism," said Betsy. "Who could have predicted it would have come to what it is now? It is such a unique and professional school, and seeing all that happen has been so exciting."
In 2006, Jane and Joel Stewart invited Betsy to join the Westview Board of Directors. Betsy served on the Board for 10 years, providing thoughtful guidance through some of the school's most formidable decisions.
Betsy retired from the Board in the fall of 2016 but continued to volunteer at Westview by helping our teachers and staff with student assessments. Betsy and her family have always been extremely generous to The Westview School.
Betsy urges parents, "You need to start [children] young. Don't wait. As a parent, you know when something is going on with your child. Deal with it. Autism does not go away." Betsy also realizes that a specialized education can be expensive. "People need to know that there is scholarship money," said Betsy. Since 2006, Betsy's family foundation, named in honor of her mother, Mrs. Pauline Altman, has benefitted countless Westview families with contributions to The Westview School Scholarship Fund
40 years of service to The etsy has played an influential rogress, and legacy of The eacher, Leader, Incredible , Mentor, Board Member, portantly, Friend
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Youwon'tfindabetterplace [thanWestview]forachildwith autism.Westviewgivesthese tobelong,andas canbetonavigate estviewreallygives olstheyneed.And, startthemyoung. Youknow,when goingon,dealwith oesnotgoaway.
JANESTEWART Award of Excellence
p ssionate person? A passionate person possesses a deep curiosity about the world around them. They are brimming with ideas, energy, and charisma. They have the ability to lead and inspire others to follow their ideas. Karina Heggeness embodies this descriptor perfectly. During six years at The Westview School, Karina has inspired, taught, and loved her students, coworkers, and Westview families, proving to be an enthusiastic, energetic, and optimistic leader who has significantly impacted our school.
Karina's passion for special education started early. Her younger brother struggled in school and bounced around from school to school with teachers and kids that didn't always understand him. "I never wanted anyone to feel out of place the way [my brother] did," said Karina
Karina attended Fordham University in the Bronx and was following a trajectory toward a career in social work. During her required fieldwork in her senior year, Karina was placed in a school for special needs. "I had to do classroom observations and visits and immediately knew I made a mistake," recalls Karina. "All I wanted to do was be in the classroom with those incredible kids from then on. I knew I had to make a career change, so I completed my Bachelor of Social Work and continued my education for a Masters in Special Education."
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In December 2016, Karina completed school and was ready to make the move back to Houston She began applying for teaching jobs, and The Westview School was one of several schools where she interviewed It was immediately apparent to Karina that Westview was indeed a unique and special place.
"I had been on two interviews before Westview where the schools didn't seem to care who they were hiring," mused Karina, "When I got to Westview for my interview, it was a completely different story." Karina recalls the interview feeling personal. "I was asked so many detailed questions about both my experience and myself," said Karina. "Westview really cared about getting to know me. I truly felt like it mattered to them who they hired," said Karina. "I accepted the job on the spot and started work the very next day "
At Westview, Karina has blossomed into a confident, self-assured person who has gained the respect and trust of her colleagues, as well as the parents of their students.
Karina's passion for her job is evident in everything she does. One colleague observed, "Karina rises to any challenge and always finds ways to make her lessons interesting, engaging, and meaningful to her students. She is the first to celebrate when a student reaches a new milestone or overcomes an obstacle."
students achieve goals."
"I truly just don't have the words to say what my students mean to me," said Karina. "They are pure magic in all that they do. Watching them grow and accomplish new things throughout the school year is a joy to witness," Karina shared. "I am just so proud of all of them. To know them is to love them."
Karina shared how honored she feels about being named Teacher of the Year and humbly gave her coworkers credit "I work with just the most amazing, passionate people," she gushed. "Every Westview Teacher deserves this award," said Karina, "I wouldn't be the teacher I am without them."
The Jane Stewart Award of Excellence is awarded yearly to a teacher who provides exemplary service to the students and the school. With great appreciation and admiration, we are delighted to award the 2022-2023 Jane Stewart Award of Excellence to Kindergarten teacher Karina Heggeness.
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Sheisfantasticatbuilding relationshipswithher studentsandfosteringtheir self-esteemgrowth.Theway Karinagenuinelyexudesso muchlove,care,and concernforherstudentsis magicaltowatch.
COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS + OUTREACH
Beyond the Classroom
NCL is mother-daughter philanthropic organization with a focus on community service, leadership development, and cultural experiences Several local Houston chapters partner with Westview, volunteering for various Westview events during the year and for our summer programming This year NCL hosted a "ball drive" to benefit our PE program and also created sensory bins for our Lower School classrooms.
Westview welcomed Music for Autism back to campus for an in-person concert this past April The Apollo Chamber Players entertained with a lively, engaging performance that delighted our audience. What a great morning of music for our community. We are so thankful for this partnership with Music for Autism and to the artists who share their time and talent with our community.
Westview partnered with Special Olympics for our Lower School Field Day Westview Special Olympics Future Stars Field Day was a happy, active, and sweaty morning on the Wildcat Track Students had a blast running, racing, and crawling through Field Day stations, ending the morning on a refreshing note with popsicles and water play on the playground.
Throughout the school year, our Upper School students participate in a pen pal program facilitated by the Junior League of Houston. This program allows our students to build relationships and practice letter writing with an authentic audience. Several times during the year, Junior League volunteers connect with their Westview pen pals face-to-face over lunch and crafts
at The Westview School has successfully created an inclusive f children with autism. Since its ome current and former Westview gs on campus. They also actively ye
Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
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THESTEWARTCENTER the year's best therapy tips
The Stewart Center at The Westview School is our on-campus therapy clinic staffed with qualified professionals ready to meet the needs of families and students at Westview and the Houston community. The Stewart Center team is always ready to go above and beyond to support a child. This year the team at The Stewart Center provided a "Top Tip of the Week" in our weekly email We are excited to share a few of our favorites here Thank you to The Stewart Center for sharing their words of wisdom with our community
Changing your language in small ways can have a major impact on your child’s development. Using effortbased praise instead of result-based praise helps to develop a growth mindset and increases resiliency. For example: Instead of saying, “Wow, you made an 'A' on your math test! You’re so smart!” you can say, “Wow, you made an 'A' on your math test! You must have worked really hard to earn that! How does it feel to know your hard work paid off?”
Autism can make learning and performing an activity more challenging, specifically because an autistic child’s brain is developing and processing information differently than neurotypical children If their brain is developing and processing differently, their response to a difficult task will most likely also be different. When a child is distressed in response to an activity, here are some questions that can pinpoint why the response is happening and support an action plan to help the child regulate and feel successful: How regulated was the child’s mind and body prior to the activity? Does the child understand the meaning of the activity? Do the child’s strengths meet the requirements of the activity? How can I change this activity to meet this child’s strengths? No matter what, it is important to let the child regulate their bodies and emotions in a different space with kindness first before coming back to the activity and trying to adapt it to the way that will support their strengths!
Language development can be pictured as a staircase. At the very bottom are the steps of regulation and engagement The middle steps are language, and the top steps are higher-level language, such as abstract language, figurative language, and reasoning or negotiating skills For a child to reach the middle steps, we first strengthen engagement and regulation through play and building a trusting relationship Ideally, these foundational skills lead to increased intrinsic motivation for the child to communicate It’s important to remember that the journey up the staircase isn’t always linear. A bad night of sleep or an unexpected change in schedule can change a child’s (or adult’s!) regulation, engagement, and motivation to communicate.
CARLIE KRUEGER, MS, CF-SLP
“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep ” This goes both ways, so whether you are promising a reward or giving a consequence, you must follow through. This is important because your words will have weight, and you will foster an environment of trust and respect However, if something out of the ordinary happens, then please give them an explanation of why it couldn’t happen as planned
MIMI LE, M.A., LMFT, LPC
P L A Y T H E R A P Y
ELISABETH DAWKINS, M.S, LPC-ASSOCIATE
O C C U P A T I O N A L T H E R A P Y
LIZZY SIMON, OTD, OTR/L
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S P E E C H L A N G U A G E P A T H O L O G Y
P S Y C H O T H E R A P Y
Celebrating SpringWESTVIEW EVENTS
Spring was a time to celebrate the growth and accomplishments of our Westview students. Our Spring calendar was packed with activities for students to showcase their smarts, talents, bravery, and school spirit, plus be celebrated by their biggest fans
CELEBRATION OF LEARNING
Under the guidance of our nurturing and supportive staff, Westview students make tremendous progress over the course of a school year Celebration of Learning gives our teachers and students a chance to showcase that growth. Westview halls were filled with joyful students sharing their very best work. Seeing and hearing families praising students for their efforts is incredibly rewarding - beautiful art portfolios and installations, design and engineering projects, a variety of research projects (group and individual), original writing, and much, much more. Some levels included live performances such as reader's theater.
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1. Buzz! Buzz! Westview's Upper School students were un-BEE-lievable in the Annual Spelling Bee. Congratulations to our winners: Third Place, Jayson - Middle School; Second Place, James - Upper El; and Spelling Bee Champion, Elias - Middle School. | 2. What a fantastic showcase of talent at Westview's Talent Show. Each performance was unique and showcased the exceptional talents of our kids. It was a delight to witness our students shine and share their gifts with a live audience. | 3. Another unforgettable, jam-packed adventure at Camp for All for our Upper School students. Fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and much, much more! Oh, what fun! | 4. It was a morning of cheers, chants, and lots of dancing to some rockin’ tunes at the Westview all-school pep rally Our students dressed out and showed up in their Westview blue with Wildcat Pride! | 5. Westview LOVES our Moms. Our students were so proud and happy to welcome their moms and special friends into the classroom to share parts of their day.
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Kind, caring, professional, patient, hardworking, and a positive role model for staff and students alike is a succinct way to summarize the praise given by colleagues when nominating Kenneth Choo as instructional assistant of the year.
It is not uncommon at The Westview School for a Westview parent to transition to a staff member. This was the case for Kenneth when he joined the staff of Westview as an Upper Elementary Instructional Assistant in 2022.
Kenneth shared that it was his wife's idea. Westview was hiring, and Kenneth and his wife had just become permanent residents of the United States. "My wife suggested applying to Westview for a job," said Kenneth, "I thought it was a good idea because, in recent years, I had felt increasingly led to find a role working with children."
Kenneth attended college and graduate school in upstate New York (Rochester), earning a bachelor's degree in economics and continuing to an MBA program concentrating in international business and management information systems.
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
specifically a special needs classroom, was where he belonged.
It was a good decision for Kenneth and Westview "What an excellent addition to the Westview family," said one colleague, "Ken works hard and quickly developed rapport with his students and colleagues."
The feeling is mutual. "Every morning when I walk into the buildings," said Kenneth, "I feel inspired, encouraged, and uplifted by seeing the people around me."
Mr. Choo, as the students call him, can often be seen helping students with their school work, engaging in outdoor activities, and creating a comfortable environment for his students to learn. He is kind and always has a warm and positive attitude
Kenneth loves many aspects of his job at Westview: "Seeing growth and maturity over time in our kids or just being able to witness how adorably cute or funny they can be!"
Working at Westview does present its share of challenges. "When a student is facing a challenge of their own, be it behavioral, social, or academic, and they are not receptive [in the moment] to my advice or assistance," Kenneth said, "It makes me sad when they refuse help because I don't like to see them stuck where they are."
Kenneth admits feeling "happy and a little awkward to have received this award "
"I feel so encouraged and grateful for the vote of confidence and support from the teachers, assistants, and staff who voted for me. It also feels a little strange to be singled out," Kenneth admits. "I see everyone contributing their unique gifts and character to this whole body of the school, every one of which I think is essential."
He had high praise for Westview. "I think Westview does an amazing job of nurturing our students," said Kenneth. "It takes the combined gifts of absolutely everyone involved to do what we do."
The Joel Stewart Award of Excellence is awarded each year to the instructional assistant who exemplifies commitment, care, loyalty, and helpfulness. Westview feels tremendous gratitude for the exemplary service provided to Westview by Kenneth. Westview is delighted to have awarded Kenneth Choo the 2022-2023 Joel Stewart Award of Excellence. Westview feels very fortunate to have such a humble, hardworking staff member supporting our school.
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Thebestpartofmyjobisto trulybeofhelptotheclassroom teacher.I'mprivilegedtowork withveryexperiencedteachers, andbeingabletocontributeto whattheydoforourstudentsis sorewardingtome.
Giving Paw Project
AUTHOR VISIT - MELANIE CHRISM
The Giving PAW Project is a new POW initiative created to provide additional funding for specific grant requests from parents, students, faculty, staf and administration of Westview. The project aim to improve the school in the following areas: Wildcat Enrichment, Student Educational Enhancement, Student Wellness, and Community Teresa Taeger, Westview Librarian, was awarded the first grant, and in May, as a cap off to Readin Month, Westview students received a visit from local author Melanie Chrismer. We are thankful t POW for finding new, creative, and enriching wa to support our school.
Ourstudentslovedhearingfrom Melanieandheradventures researchingspaceforherbooks. Wearealwayslookingfor innovativewaystoencourage readingwithourstudents,andan authorvisitwastheperfect additiontoourReadingMonth. TERESA TAEGER
Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
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Family Fun D
POW hosted its annual Family Fun Day event in April, and the event was amazing. Gorgeous weather Check! Fun and games? Check! A fantastic afternoon with our Westview community? Definite check! Much work goes into coordinating this annual event, and we cannot thank our POW volunteers enough for making it happen. Special thanks to Emily Watts, Stefanie Rugaard, and Erica Sevigny for all their efforts on this year's event. There were so many activities and games for our families to enjoy. We loved seeing all our people, past and present, turn ou for our annual event. Family Fun Day is definitely a Westview favorite and the afternoon was great!
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To quote Carter, “Tell everybody about how I’m smart, funny, and brave,” so here goes Carter is smart He is an outstanding scientist, and he keeps me humble I know when he politely disagrees or corrects me on something, he is probably right. Carter is funny. Carter and I have battled philosophical differences on various topics - such as the captive orcas at Sea World. Carter’s way of coping with this disagreement was to write and illustrate a comic book series titled “Orca Man,” a loose parody of Spiderman in which I played the titular character, bitten by a radioactive killer whale. Carter is brave. School can be tough, and sometimes Carter has gotten down on himself. He has always bounced back with resilience. In his next chapter, I hope that Carter continues to be smart, funny, and brave and that his teachers and peers love him as much as we have at Westview
- Jared Dawkins
Carter will attend high school in Spring Branch ISD.
CLASS OF 2023 Shining Stars
Westview held a Commencement Breakfast in May to celebrate students completing our Middle School curriculum. The event, held in Largent Hall, was a touching farewell for seven students and their families. Teachers and staff reminisced and shared personal stories of the growth and progress of these students during their time at Westview. These young men were described as talented, generous, and kind, with bright futures ahead What an indelible mark they have all left on our school, and we will surely miss them as they embark on the next chapter of their lives
a year, Batey has been a Every Monday in ut the amazing recipes he’s eans I’m always hungry t day He loves to tell stories s classmates when they feel peace and kindness between ent” in any group he’s in and earns Batey friends wherever he goes. His creative perspective brightens up every classroom, and I hope he continues to share his enthusiasm as he continues into high school Keep cooking, and best of luck!
- Serena Gaylor
Batey will be moving to Klein ISD for high school
What an indelible mark Dane leaves on Westview. Dane is friendly and kind. He always has a greeting and smile for teachers and friends alike. He asks questions about others’ interests and truly tries to learn more about the people around him Dane is a curious learner, and he works hard at his interests Dane has grown more and more confident as the year has progressed He advocates for himself and others. He isn’t afraid to offer his opinions and to be himself. Being his teacher has been a privilege, and I know he is bound for great things.
- Katie Hazeldine
Dane will attend Lutheran High North for high school
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Ford has such a loving, caring personality; from the start, he was a great addition to Westview The following year when I became his tutor, I got to know Ford more and really understand the way he thinks and the curiosity that continues to brew in him. I have watched him grow into an awesome young man. He came in so unsure about Westview and what to expect and is leaving with so much emotion because he wants to stay here forever One thing that I will always remember about Ford is all of his facial reactions; Ford can really express himself well this way! I know this year has been hard because of how much he loves it here, but I know Ford will love his next school, and I know that the teachers will love him too. I wish Ford all the luck at his new school He will do fantastic and love it as much as he loves Westview
- Crystal Irvin
Ford will attend high school in Spring Branch ISD.
Bryan's first year at Westview was my first year as an art teacher, and my new role had challenges. Bryan has come a long way from the early years of refusing to do art projects and treating the class as a competition. We learned together that students work best with a space for self-expression within flexible guidelines I have watched Bryan grow into a young man with confidence, a willingness to learn, and a remarkable sense of humor. He is a leader amongst his peers, a quality that will serve him greatly. He shows pride in his work. When he makes up his mind that he is capable of something, he always meets success, and as he transitions from Westview, I hope he keeps deciding that he is capable Bryan is talented, smart, and imaginative My hope for Bryan is that he stays positive, never gives up, and keeps being himself. Westview will be cheering him on!
- Kaylee Bond
During Max's first year at Westview, I got to know him very well We talked about animals, took many Just Dance dance breaks, and played games during social skills. Flash forward to the end of middle school, and not much has changed. Max and I still talk about animals, A LOT! Our Just Dance dance breaks have definitely increased in PE class, and board games have transitioned to other types of games in the gym together Max is a bright student who can always find something kind to say to a peer who may be upset. Through all the ups and downs of middle school, Max has remained true to himself - a caring friend, an animal lover and expert, and a rock climbing enthusiast! Max has been wonderful to teach during his years at Westview, and I know he will accomplish great things!
- Trevie Pearlman
Max will attend The HUB for high school.
My first impression of Matthew was that he was a curious student with many thoughts and interests. However, Matthew was not one to volunteer or share with the class but instead seemed most comfortable in the back of the class, simply observing As the year progressed, Matthew started to open up - sharing his interests and making friends I have watched big accomplishments in middle school - writing and sharing a self-penned play script, singing a song in front of the class, and playing piano in front of an audience at the talent show. Matthew accepted being challenged in new ways and learned to use his voice to speak to teachers and students with a maturity of a growing young man Matthew has so much to offer to this world, and as he transitions from Westview, I hope he always remembers how brave, smart, and totally awesome he is.
- Nelson Armstrong
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
The first face you see when entering the lobby of the 1830 building at Westview is that of Michelle Chapa, and it has been that way for the past 16 years. The 1830 building houses Westview's Upper School where Michelle works as the administrative assistant for the building. Staff, students, and families who frequent Upper School are always greeted with a warm welcome and are often charmed by Michelle's happy and friendly demeanor.
"[16 years ago] a school job was something I was actively looking for," said Michelle "I had my first two kids, and the hours and time off was what I needed for our family "
Michelle answered an ad in the Houston Chronicle, and after meeting with Jane Stewart, she knew that Westview was the place for her. "My childhood education was in small private schools," said Michelle. "So, Westview just felt right. I had no idea it would be the start of such a long career."
As part of the support staff for Westview's Upper School, Michelle is challenged by the varied tasks on a day-to-day basis. "When you walk through the door, you never know what you will get," she said.
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Michelle views her work at Westview as a team effort, and she feels a sense of pride and fulfillment in supporting the teachers and helping the kids. As a young child, Michelle dreamed of being a teacher or a nurse when she grew up. "At Westview, I get the best of both worlds," laughed Michelle, "I not only get to assist the teachers and students, but I often tag in on nursing duties too "
Michelle says the people are what make Westview great. "I love the people I work with," she shared. "But, I also love the kids and their families... many have become close friends through the years."
When asked how she felt about receiving this year's award, she said, "What an honor! I genuinely love what I do and the people I work with," Michelle said "They are not just coworkers; They are my friends, too "
Her teamwork mentality does not go unnoticed by her coworkers, and many sang her praises about how much she supports them throughout the school year.
"Michelle is ALWAYS ready and willing to help," said one coworker. "Even when stressful events occur, she remains calm and helpful."
"Michelle is smart and trustworthy and has excellent
The Donna Marshall Award of Excellence is awarded yearly to a non-instructional staff member who makes tremendous contributions to the school. We are delighted to award Michelle Chapa the 2022-2023 Donna Marshall Award of Excellence this year.
Run for Autism
Save the Date for the 13th Annual Alex's 5k for November 4, 2023. Registration is now open with early bird pricing of only $30 until September 1st.
All race profits from Alex's 5K benefit Houston-based charities that support the autistic community The Westview School is thankful to to Bayou City Road Runners (BCRR) and Milan Jamrich and Kathi Mahon who generously include Westview as an annual beneficiary of Alex's 5K proceeds. Westview is proud to be affiliated with this annual event.
Page-25| Wildcat Chronicle Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Michelleisajack-of-all-trades whoalwaysgoesaboveand beyondtoensureweallhave everythingweneedtomake thedayrunsmoothly.
TheannualFundraisingLuncheonis notonlyoneofourbestfundraisers, butalsoagreatshowcaseforour familiesandstudents.Hearing heartwarmingstoriesfromparents andgrandparentsandthenour outgoingclassis,withoutadoubt, thebestpartoftheday.
We are thankful to all those who m Westview Fundraising Luncheon our annual event goal is to raise fu the luncheon also serves as a beau with friends and families of West work Westview is doing to chang children with autism. We are so th Patel, former Westview parent, an current Westview grandmother, fo stories of how Westview has impa their children.
"Westview embraced Kishan exac
Not only that, but they saw the fu could be. Each teacher, each adm staff member celebrated every sin milestones. And there were so ma he attended Westview. As a famil longer grieving the child we thoug we were rejoicing and thanking G find our people "
Neha Patel, Pare
"The Westview School has provid necessary services required to aid him in developing his social and behavioral skills and has helped him succeed both in and out of school. Each child is uniquely different, and the staff here at Westview have been exceptional in meeting the needs of each student " Jackie
Neely, Grandparent Speaker
This year's program was centered around our 20222023 school year theme - Together We Grow. Representatives of our Westview Middle School class shared with our guests how they have grown during their time at Westview and how they have helped others to grow, and concluded the event with a musical performance led by Nelson Armstrong. Special thanks to the Burch and Christopherson families for generously underwriting this event.
Page-27 | Wildcat Chronicle Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Irvin started Westview in Lower Elementary, and after six years as a student, his family relocated internationally to Oman. Since the Fall of 2022, Irvin has attended middle school at The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) Some of his best Westview memories are video game parties, lock-ins, Camp For All, and spelling and vocabulary tests every Friday. Irvin says that Westview helped him be more organized and credits a smooth transition to TAISM, thanks to his education from Westview. He said, "I can speak to many people more fluently and have more self-confidence in talking to many boys and girls in my new school." He gives this advice to current Westview students, "If [you think] school is pretty boring, don't worry! The teachers are nice and will help you and try to make learning as fun as possible."
Patricia's best memories of Westview are fun times in Mrs Jonni's class, Family Fun Day, and, of course, her Westview teachers. She was a Westview student from 2007 to 2012 before transitioning to public school in Cy-Fair. Patricia is currently part of the PATHS program at Texas A&M, where she is studying to be a paraprofessional. At Westview, Patricia says she learned ways to be patient and develop study habits. While attending college, Patricia lives independently in College Station, uses public transportation, and makes everyday decisions for herself. She credits Westview with helping her try new things and learning that it's okay to make mistakes.
Soham attended Westview for eight years and left to complete middle school at The Branch School He attends high school at Energy Institute High School, a magnet school geared towards engineering and design. Soham has rave reviews for high school. He describes Energy as a "super fun, unique and encouraging school that encourages a sense of community, aims to make the lessons as friendly and unique as possible, and encourages students' personal growth " His favorite school activity is debate, which Soham says helps him grow, be more confident, make new friends, and be a better speaker. Soham has great memories of his time at Westview and shared that his 4th-grade year was his favorite. His best memories are weekly chess clubs with Mr. Dawkins and lockins where he would stay up late, hang with classmates, and have fun Soham said his time at Westview helped him to "grow and thrive" and realize his "strengths and weaknesses." Soham shared this with Westview students, "No goal is out of reach. If you want something, it may take a lot of time, and you might not even succeed at first, but if you have the dedication and persistence, you can achieve it."
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
PATRICIA FARMER IRVIN SOERIAWINATA
"The wonderful teachers!" is what Maya remembers most about Westview She was a student from Preschool through Kindergarten and attended Elementary School at Corpus Christi Catholic School. Some of her favorite subjects are science and math. She loves chess, tennis, and swimming. "I also love playing teacher," Maya says. Maybe she is inspired by her former teachers from Westview. Maya shared that the "great teachers and therapists at Westview helped me learn to focus and have patience." She said that Westview challenged her every day to reach her highest potential. "I used to have a hard time working in groups and being flexible," Maya said. "Westview changed that for me." Maya is proud that after leaving Westview, she was accepted into all three schools she applied to! "Westview was so personal and thorough with their guidance and support," she said. "I am thriving in school and have made all A's in all my subjects!" Maya advises current Westview students, "You can be anything you want to be! Be patient and never give up! Never let anyone tell you can't do something "
Maddy began Westview in 2011 as a preschool student. After six years, she transitioned to public school in Houston ISD, where she finished her elementary and middle school years. Maddy will be a 9th grader at Lamar High School and is excited to be enrolled in the culinary arts program there "I love making scrambled eggs," said Maddy. "I also make really good iced coffee," she said. "It's my favorite drink." Maddy also enjoys choir and music in high school. She plays guitar and has a knack for teaching herself songs on the piano. Her favorite subject in school is history because "it's like listening to stories " Maddy credits Westview with helping her gain confidence and learn how to stand up for herself. Maddy encourages students to "embrace your autism because it's part of who you are, and you are great!"
Deniz attended Westview from 2004 to 2016. He completed Westview Middle School and attended high school at Gateway Academy, where he graduated in 2020. Deniz starts his senior year at Lone Star College in Tomball this fall Some classes he is taking are Principles of Business Management, Business Principles, Academic Readiness, Career Path Exploration, and Networking & Customer Service. Part of the college program at Lonestar places Deniz in various internships. "I am indeed proud to tell you I have done 7 to 8 internships at different types of places," shared Deniz He plans to begin an internship at Honda of Tomball in the fall Deniz credits Westview for helping build a foundation and structure for learning. "They helped me succeed," said Deniz. "And, luckily, I was able to take off and create a future." Deniz has this advice for Westview students, "Work hard. This will help you get accepted into a high school or college too "
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
MAYA SALAMA DENIZ DILCI
The Westview School is an important piece of the educational journey for students of all ages While some students attend Westview for 10+ years, for others Westview is a short stop on their path to learning. Either way, every student who has attended Westview holds a special place in our history, and we love to hear about wins, successes, and the lasting effects Westview has made on our former students social and academic futures as they continue on in different programs.
John David Hall attended Westview from 2020-2022. He is heading into third grade in Spring Branch ISD. He loves recess and math. John David credits Westview with having confidence in himself, friends that he still sees, and a community that loves and cares about him!
Alexa Alonso attended Westview from 2018 to 2022. She currently attends elementary school in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Alexa's mom shared that Westview helped in every positive way possible. Alexa is able to go through a whole school day with little to zero difficulties. If it weren't for Alexa's time at Westview, she wouldn't be doing so well in public school
Bright Future Ahead
We recently heard from Trevor McGinnis, dad to Jackson, about Jackson's journey post-Westview and the plans Jackson has for his future.
Jackson first attended Westview at age 2 ½ and remained a student through 7th grade. After leaving Westview, Jackson attended Gateway Academy for his high school years, graduating in May of 2023. This summer, Jackson is at Texas A&M, attending the PATHS program. He's currently living on campus in the dorms!
The PATHS program consists of a Summer session and then a twoyear program through which, upon completion, Jackson will receive a paraprofessional certificate.
This program will guide Jackson towards a career path in education as a teacher's aide/assistant working with other children and young adults with special needs or learning disabilities
Jackson's desire to pursue this certificate was in part because he realized how many people in his life (including those at Westview) were instrumental in his development and wanted to play that same role for others.
In addition to the education Westview provided, Westview also assisted Jackson with speech and motor skills. Today, Jackson is a very confident public speaker and has a really good jump shot in basketball. Lastly, Westview, its teachers, and support staff helped Jackson find his confidence.
Everyone was so supportive of his growth and development Jackson felt very much at home while at Westview, which helped prepare him for what was to come.
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JOHN DAVID HALL ALEXA ALONSO
From Graduation to Giving Back
Westview has played a vital role in shaping the lives of so many students, and we are grateful for the continued support and dedication our alums show to our school We saw many familiar, yet all-grown-up, faces throughout the year on the Westview campus. Visits from former students always bring a sense of love and nostalgia, reminding us of the strong bond we share as members of the Westview community
In April, The HUBCaps from The HUB performed at Westview's Spring Pep Rally This talented musical group included three Westview alum What a joy to have them back on campus
Westview Summer Camp welcomed several former students as volunteers in June and July Our staff loved reconnecting with these former students, and our Westview campers enjoyed the special attention and support from former students who have walked the same path
VolunteeringatWestviewhas changedmeforthebetter.I've madefriendswithothervolunteers, andworkingwiththekidshasbeenso muchfun.I'vemadesomanygreat memoriesdoingthisprogram.It'sa greatexperience,andIwouldtotally recommendittoanyhighschooler.
Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023 KAYLAN SHELTON Page-31 | Wildcat Chronicle
David S Baum Foundation
Fred and Kem Frost
Matthew Luke Hoeg
Houston Junior Woman's Club
Denis and Jack Mayfield, III
Thomas W and Mary Ryan
THANK YOU for your support
We express our sincere gratitude for your support of The Westview School during the past academic school year It is because of wonderful donors like you, that Westview can fulfill our mission of providing outstanding educational and social opportunities for children with autism. Your financial support enables us to maintain a unique, specialized, and nurturing learning environment for our teachers and students. We eagerly anticipate the new academic year and look forward to continuing this work. The Westview staff and Board of Trustees thank you for your ongoing support
Daniel and Emily Watts
Nigel and Triny Willerton
Bayou City Road Runners/Alex's 5K
Robert and Pamela Doty
Leonna, Gary and Geoffrey Gregg
Candice Burnette and Damon Hearn
Albert & Ethel Herzstein Foundation
Paul and Dr Namieta Janssen
Ly and Christopher Newcome
Jatin Shah and Neha Patel
Dixon and Lisa Van Hofwegen
Olateju Abimbola and Akin Balogun
Joy Tober and Richard Bosco
Kimberly Hays Camp
Clay and Amanda Crook
Judy and Robert Curran
Seth and Emma Elsenbrook
Kelly and Austin Frost
Shawn and Shannon Griffiths
Matthew and Shannon Grigsby
Eric and Katie Hazeldine
Donald and Elizabeth Henderson
Vicki and John Lange
Meng Ying Yang and Robert Lin
George and Disa Lyon
Ann and Craig McDonald
Sara and Trevor McGinnis
Leslie and Todd Mogil
Susan and David Munson
Gary and Judge Lee H Rosenthal
Greg and Denise Savage
Paulo Schutz and Giovana Scherer
Manjunath and Priya Shetty
Joey and Laura Stewart
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Kathleen E. Tyrrell
Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Shahin Shirzadi and Tehmina Badar
Mary Ann Bonaccolta
Yee-Pin Lin and Spencer Chang
Vernon Dale Lockett
Bill and Cristina Moore
Michelle McGrath Neupert
Jon and Teri Shipp
James and Stacey Thompson
Jacquie and John Tugwell
Prem and Madhu Bala Bhatia
Brad and Lucinda Fleming
George and Joyce Gulliford
Dorlee and Tom Henderson
Michele Bauman Joseph
Chad and Diane Maness
Gerald and Ann Melancon
The Parish School
Erica and Scott Sevigny
Shell Matching Funds
Pat and Frank Simons
Kelly Stewart Spencer
Margaret and Donald Trexler
Linda and Val Aldred
Kim and Ross Batey
Greg and Kristyn Bell
Box Tops for Education
Bill and Wendy Bruckner
Rose Reyna Chopin
Cathy Coers Frank
Sarah Duckers and Mark Davidson
Gerald and Sandra DeSobe
Dr Steven Stewart and Amy Douglas
James and Darien Farley
Dr Harold and Sandra Fields
Elizabeth and Gavin Gretter
Darren and Sarah Haydel
Mike and Vickie Jackson
Eryn Michelle Johnson
Jeffrey and Faith Kangieser
Penny and Paul Khuri
Tarryn and Ryan Lankford
Joyce and Sandy Lobliner
Vernon Dale Lockett
Lauren Ann McCown
McKim & Creed
Elisabeth Cater Millard
Mohan and Sarbani Venugopal
Jackie and Sylvester Neely
Ralph and Jane Pittman
Kim and Scott Ramsey
Melanie and George Reeser
Christopher and Christine Reilly
Robert and Jackie Casper
Sharon and Bob Sartain
Mathew G. Schmidt
Sheldon and Olivia Reyher
Shell Matching Funds
Karen Elisabeth Shults
Tomislav and Zoe Sokec
Claire Elizabeth Stegall
Minnie Johnson Thomas
Susan and A.L. Thompson
Dr. Daniel Williamson
Thomas E. Zalewski
Carol Posey Zieben
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this report and to recognize all gifts received. If any errors or omissions have been made, please accept our sincere apologies and notify Roger Browning, Development Director at 713-973-1900 or rbrowning@westviewschool org
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Our Time to Shine | Summer 2023
Westview Kindergarten Graduates 2023