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Westhill High School Highlights

Westhill High School Highlights
2017-2018 Academic Year

Academic Highlights:
Of the students who graduated, 70% graduated with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation, 27% graduated with a Regents Diploma, and .6% graduated with a local diploma.  Of the 2018 graduates, 72% enrolled in a four-year college, 23% in a two-year college, and 3% are pursuing work and/or military options.

Business/Technology Department:
  • Civil Engineering and Architecture class met with King & King Architects and a structural engineer from C&S Companies, where they were given the challenge to design an Exposition Center for the NYS Fairgrounds. Students then presented their computer models to representatives from the Fairgrounds, King & King Architects and C&S Companies after touring the actual Expo Center, which was under construction.
  • The VEX Robotics team had another successful year competing in the Northern New York State Championships at OCC.
  • PoE students continued the amusement ride project, which included an online consultation and eventually presentation to Jerry Aldrich of Orlando, Florida, who visited the class in May.
  • PoE classes toured the Syracuse Center of Excellence.Students collaborated with staff from the facility for their fuel cell drag boat race.
  • Six students spent a day job shadowing at Precision Systems Manufacturing.
  • The Technology Department received another generous gift of sheet metal from Precision Systems Manufacturing.
  • The Technology Department purchased a new Bluco welding table, as well as a New Boss Laser.
  • Career & Financial Management classes use materials from Geddes Savings and Loan, which relates to banking and is an excellent resource for students.In addition, teachers are exploring two new possibilities of working with Everfi and National Grid.Both of these companies have reached out to provide complimentary financial literacy information for our students.
  • Marketing course curriculum will include more sports and entertainment marketing concepts.
  • Business Communications class will replace Office Suite.The curriculum will be designed to offer topics, such as public speaking, proper communication in the work place, obtaining a job/career, as well as using social media in a positive manner.
  • Contemporary Business class completed a food truck project, which included a final project of creating a business plan.This class also had several guest speakers.These were all small business owners in our local CNY area.
  • Contemporary Business students completed a final project, which included members of the Small Business Development Center coming in to listen to students’ final project presentations and offering feedback.
  • The current Contemporary Business class will be taught as an OCC course next year.The curriculum will be redesigned to follow current OCC course requirements.
       English Department:
  • In SUPA English, students developed and fostered a new awareness of cultural diversity by engaging in innovative, inquisitive activities that produced rigorous and authentic learning. The courses (WRT 105 and ETS 192) asked students to learn and work with new genre formats to analyze how identity intersects with cultural ideologies (such as race, class, gender and ethnicity).Students also engaged our Belgian visitors with their newfound knowledge concerning these issues.
  • OCC English students worked collaboratively to emphasize the recursive nature of writing necessary for college level success.  
  • Students in English 12 classes engaged in independent inquiry projects during the 3rd marking period, for which they had to read independently chosen texts, write research proposals, prepare annotated bibliographies, and construct a final product to be shared with their classmates. The focus in this project was to give students a chance to study a topic and text of their own choosing, and to experiment with ways to manage one’s own learning. They practice reading a set of syllabi and planning to manage their time for long-term assignments.
  • Students in English 11AP classes investigated the nature of language and how it is used to construct arguments.  This past year, in addition to considering a wide array of highly relevant social issues, they investigated their own news consumption.  They evaluated their choices and whether their current news “diet” was meeting their needs.  
  • Staff attended several tech courses and implemented new ideas, such as using Canva and to design online posters.
  • ELA teachers worked on reinventing our summer reading program to make it more meaningful for our students. We hope to promote an appreciation of diverse perspectives with 9-12 school-wide summer reading that will allow for collaborative work to facilitate persistent, curious, and self-disciplined learners.
  • Students in 9th grade English class investigated various social issues and considered the immediate impact on their own environment, as well as the way the issues impact the nation and the world. Students worked collaboratively, investigating various sides of the issues, discussing points of interest with peers, debating in class, and equally important, listening to the viewpoints of their classmates.
  • English 9R and 10R classes continued to sharpen their argumentative writing skills. They were exposed to a variety of current, controversial topics from articles using the New York Times Scholastic Upfront Magazine. Students worked on writing, revising and presenting information to their peers.
  • Students in English 9H class analyzed, assessed, and developed their own powerful arguments on self-selected and relevant, modern-day issues, which included an inquiry project about school safety.  Throughout the course, students developed positive personal traits, improved critical thinking skills, read a variety of texts, participated in discussions, wrote purposefully with mentor texts, and synthesized these varied experiences into coherent presentation projects.
  • Students in English 10R classes completed a collaborative annotated bibliography, which centered upon a chosen, modern day, global social injustice.  Before becoming acquainted with their topics, students needed to address what they thought they already knew about their topic and formulate an answerable question. After putting together a source-based document, students were asked to revisit“what they thought they knew.”This helped them to recognize how worthwhile the unit was, as well as offer them an opportunity to approach our next unit of study, Night, from a more open-minded perspective.  
  • Students in English 10H classes spent time working on narrative poetry.  They read and deconstructed Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, were introduced to the Mathew Shepard story and read October Mourning, and ended the study with their own narrative found poetry project.   Many students followed through by submitting their found poems for publication in Westhill’s literary magazine.
  • English 11R classes explored texts and units related to the “American Experience.” Students participated in a project called “Protest Nation,” which allowed students to study speeches, essays, and literature from various protest movements that shaped America.   Ultimately, students created and presented infographics about their social justice issue to raise awareness, advocate, and call people to action.  While studying the major American literary movements throughout the year, students also engaged in modern, realistic fiction literature circles to make connections between the past and present and discuss their insights with their peers.
  • Students in English 11R classes practiced applying literary lenses to selected texts, specifically with children’s picture books. They were able to read and understand their favorite children’s stories, and to critically analyze the illustrations, characters, and themes. Students then wrote analyses in which they taught their peers how to read the selected text through a chosen lens and published their work for display in the classroom.
  • Staff attended conferences at both Onondaga Community College and Syracuse University for the College Credit Now and Project Advance courses and collaborated with OCC teachers on campus to implement new class design and syllabi.
  • The Science Department adopted as the required format for citing in science classes this year. Mrs. Fenner Provided extensive formal and informal instruction on APA throughout the year.
  • Mrs. Fenner assisted health students to create Google websites for portfolio assessments. She taught Spanish AP students to travel blog!. Individual assistance was given, as needed, on weVideo, Canva and other digital creation tools.
  • News literacy - aka fake news - lessons were taught in health classes. Other classes included evaluating sources and using databases effectively in English, Science, LOTE and Global History.
  • Mobile library cart used to visit classrooms and circulate books to students.
  • Extensive use of the Library Literature Circle sets in 9th and 11th grade English.
  • Material Selection Policy finalized and approved by BOE.
  • The Library circulated Chromebooks to students for use during their time in the library and throughout the building.
LOTE Department:
  • The LOTE Peer Tutoring Program continued to successfully provide help to struggling students.
  • Spanish classes held an International Poetry Reading and mingle.Students presented poems in Arabic, Ukrainan, Bengali, Urdu and Spanish.Discussions were then held regarding country customs and differences in reading.
  • Spanish 2 students completed a new PBL Shred project.They worked with OHMS students as their public audience.
  • Spanish 3 students continued their PBL project:Injury Recovery and Cooking.
  • AP Spanish students attended the movie Coco, which provided an opportunity to explore culture.
  • AP French students successfully completed a PBL unit, which incorporated a Science & Technology theme.
  • French students presented French option to middle school students.
  • French students and their families hosted Belgian students who visited Westhill.This was an excellent opportunity for students to interact with students from another country and use the language outside of the classroom.
  • French students continued correspondence with Belgian students and plan for future exchanges.
Math Department:
  • The Math Team competed in four meets and at the County meet.One member qualified as one of the top 30 individual scorers in the county and was chosen to represent the county in the NYS Math League competition.
Music & Fine Arts:
  • NAMM Foundation named Westhill CSD among United States' 2018 Best Communities for Music Education.
  • Chorus students were chosen to sing the National Anthem at every home football and girls’ and boys’ basketball game.
  • Eight Westhill Musicians performed at Area-All State and one member performed in the Conference All-State Symphonic Band.
  • More than 70 music students performed solos for state adjudicators at NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Festivals.
  • The Music Department hosted a Day of Jazz in conjunction with the senior citizen’s jazz dinner concert with support of a Foundation Grant.
Physical Education:
  • PE Curriculum continues to be adjusted to better meet the changing needs and interests of our students.
Science Department:
  • Earth Science curriculum now includes project-based learning relative to dating and correlation. Many labs have been restructured to make them more in line with PBL goals.
  • Earth Science classes completed interactive notebook development.
  • Living Environment classes had the opportunity to tour the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, NY.Biology students learned the importance of biodiversity of the great lakes and the importance of maintaining the Coho and Chinook salmon populations as the salmon performed their annual migration back to the hatchery, where they were initially raised.The trip was the culmination of classroom lessons based on the importance of the Great Lakes Ecology and the interaction of species in the Lake Ontario food web.
  • Living Environment students were involved in a stream surveying and sampling of Harbor Brook, a stream that runs along the property of Westhill High School.Students were involved in surveying the stream-bed flow and gathering samples of macro-invertebrates of the stream bed to determine the water quality of the stream.
  • Ms. Weinsztok expanded PBL learning/teaching opportunities by having students participate in the PBL experience for Honors Bio students, which included setting up a garden for refugees on the north side of Syracuse.
  • OCC Biology students collected and processed stream water samples and then sent them to Cornell University for PCR analysis through their eDNA Fish Tracker Study.
  • OCC Biology students took a field trip to OCC where they performed PCR to amplify their own DNA and then gel electrophoresis to create their own DNA fingerprints.
  • Chemistry classes introduced more open-ended inquiry labs in the Regents Chemistry curriculum.
  • Introduced more problem-based learning activities to Chemistry curriculum.
  • An Officer spoke with Forensics classes about the use of biometrics in the military.In addition, he spoke to students about his experience as a police officer and a school resource officer.A Judge came into class and discussed some unique cases he was involved with.An emergency department nurse spoke to the class about the role of the nurse and doctors in collection of evidence.
  • Forensics students went on a field trip to the United States District Court House and were able to observe three sentencings.
  • Mr. Maimone attended a workshop on NGSS and then incorporated workshop information into lessons, having students use these multimedia and technology advances to present science activities and work with project-based learning.
  • Mr. Maimone’s Chemistry students went to Cherry Road School to teach 4th graders scientific concepts.
  • Physics students constructed and used a quadcopter for introductory kinematics instruction.
  • Thorlabs donated $10,000 worth of optical positioning hardware for use by Physics students.
  • Momentum/collisions experiment was upgraded with new motion track hardware.
  • Augmented-reality sandbox hardware was modified and configured in Physics for use by Earth Science students.
  • Health students created a website for their final exam.This project was a compilation of the work students completed throughout the semester.
Social Studies Department:
  • Members of the department successfully incorporated inquiry learning into each unit.Global History and AP World classes completed group projects using these learning skills.
  • Mr. Noyes and Ms. Bolognino worked collaboratively to bring Global 9 curriculum more in line with upcoming global exams.They began integration of stimulus-based questions into assessments.
  • Staff continue to bring more technology into their lessons, using Google classroom and other technology that aid in project-based learning.
  • More work was done on Close reading and more narrative writing assignments in U.S. History.
  • Department members continue with creation of lessons to include inquiry and project-based learning at all levels.
  • Social Studies Department members continue to work on essay-writing skills and the use of inquiry-based learning.
  • Students achieved a higher percent mastery score on Regents in both 2016, 2017 and 2018 than the five-year average.
  • The Social Studies Department continued the voter registration drive.
Athletic Highlights:
  • The Varsity Boys’ Golf team had a successful season becoming OHSL Liberty American League champions, as well as Class B Section 3 champions.
  • The Varsity Girls’ Soccer team became OHSL Liberty American League champions, Class B Section III Champions, regional champions, and State Co-Champions.
  • The Boys’ Varsity Soccer team was named OHSL Liberty American League champions, Class B Section III champions, regional champions and played in the NYS Semi-Finals.
  • The Girls’ Cross Country team had a successful season, becoming OHSL Liberty League champions with one member of the team qualifying for States.
  • The Girls’ Volleyball team was named Liberty American League champions.
  • Girl’s Varsity Basketball had two players who reached 1000 points.
  • Boy’s and Girl’s Varsity Indoor Track teams were named OHSL Class B Liberty League Champions.One player qualified for States in Pole Vault.
  • The Boys’ Varsity Basketball team was named OHSL Liberty Champions, as well as Section III League Class B Champions.Two players were named Peppino’s Invitational players of the game.
  • The Varsity Boys’ Outdoor Track team was named Class B Section 3 League Champions.
  • The Varsity Girls’ Outdoor Track team became Class B Section 3 League Champions.
  • The Varsity Baseball team was named Liberty American League Champions and played in the Class B sectionals, losing to Adirondack in the final game.
  • The Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse team has an extremely successful season.They played in the Class C Sectional final game versus Homer and went on to become Section 3 Class C champions.They then played in regionals and went on to play in the State semi-finals versus West Seneca.They lost in the Class C championship game to West Islip.
  • The Varsity Softball team advanced to the Class B Sectional semi-finals..
  • The Boys’ Cross Country team became Section III Class B champions, and finished 8th overall at States.
  • Three students on the Wrestling team were named Section III Wrestling Champions.
  • The Ice Hockey team became Class AA Section III champions.
  • The Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team had a successful season and became Class AA Section III champions.
  • The Girls’ Varsity golf team had five players who qualified for Sectional play.
  • Varsity Boys’ Tennis team became Liberty American League Champions and finished 3rd at Sectionals.
Club and Extracurricular Highlights:
  • The Spanish and French Clubs, as well as Character Education participated in the Paint-Westvale-Purple race in April.
  • Tri-M National Honor Society for Music continues as a success with 72 students inducted or promoted and completion of more than 1200 hours of service in 2017-2018.
  • The Mock Trial team had a successful season, making it to the quarterfinals of the Mock Trial county tournament.
  • Art Club and FBLA traveled to NYC with funds raised by both clubs, where they toured museums and the financial district. FBLA students also toured the NYC office of Google.
  • Academic Decathlon team competed locally, and then finished a successful competition at the State level finishing in 2nd place.
  • FBLA travelled to St. Lucy’s in December to assist the members in setting up the Holiday Shop for their constituents.They also collected toys to be donated.In addition, they developed a business plan to take some of their school store items and put them on a cart, which they sold after school two to three days a week.As a result of this plan, FBLA was able to award two $500 scholarships.
  • CARE and Character Education organized a dodge ball tournament to raise money for Make-a-Wish.
  • ECOS helped with Onondaga Lake watershed cleanup/restoration efforts downtown and visited classrooms to discuss composting in the school lunchroom.ECOS members held an Earth Day cleanup around the high school.
  • Character Education members collected hats, mittens and socks for local refugees and met and passed out those supplies at the center.
  • Character Education members awarded Warriors of the Month throughout the year.
  • The Future Teachers Club was formed.Two speakers from local colleges were invited to speak to members about their experiences in the teaching profession. In addition, they were paired with a teacher of their choice and shadowed them for a day.
  • The French Club held a Cine Club, which showed monthly movies in French.In addition they held multiple bake sales and a crepe sale, which helped off set the cost of French dinners held at the end of the year.
  • CARE Club students partnered with an elementary teacher and spent time helping in their classroom.
  • CARE and TATF partnered with Character Education to promote a positive message in the school and volunteer at the Rescue Mission and with refugees.
  • Westhill Electrathon team organized a sanctioned Electrathon race at the Oswego Speedway, finishing 4th. In addition, the team fabricated and welded transportation hold-downs to the car frame and modified cowling to enable improved driver egress and visibility.In addition, they fabricated and installed rear end hub spacers.

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