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Westhill High School Highlights

Westhill High School
2021-2022 Highlights
Art Department:
  • The Art Department with help from the Portfolio Club put together our first in person art show since before the pandemic. Students and their families as well as WHS community members attended. 
  • Art students entered artwork in the Scholastic Art Competition winning 3 awards. 2 Silver Key, 1 Honorable Mention.
  • Almost every student in the Art Department hung work in the art exhibit by the library stairs; student artwork was also displayed in the District Office and WHS Main Office.
  • 6 students created portraits for the Memory Project.
  • 1 art student created 2 original designs for the Track team.
  • 3 art students created t-shirt designs supporting Ukraine. Proceeds were sent to UNICEF to help feed the children of Ukraine.
  • 4 art students created a large 4'x8' mural for the Nurse's Office at the high school.
  • 4 art students created 4 ink drawings to be hung together in the Nurse's Office at the high school.
  • Art Club took 19 students to New York City to visit the galleries in Chelsea and view the 2022 Biennial Show at the Whitney Museum.
  • Ceramic students competed in the 33rd annual Feats of Clay at OCC along with 20 other schools from   all over Central NY.
Business/Computer Department:
  • There were 59 students who received three OCC college credits for successful completion of OCC Business 101 or OCC Business Math 102.
  • OCC Business 101 classes completed a new business plan as their final project.  Members of our community who are current entrepreneurs, came into the class. They observed their presentations and provided realistic feedback and suggestions.
  • The Yearbook staff was awarded the following:
    Jostens 2022 National Yearbook Program of Excellence at the Silver level. 
  • The yearbook staff continued with the insert which highlights the current year Junior Prom which will be mailed to all juniors.  There is also a senior insert, mailed to all seniors, which highlights the Senior Ball and Graduation. 
  • The Westhill Foundation reached out to the Business Department to ask for student involvement in creating a video to promote the Foundation. Four students collaborated to create a beautiful and professional video for the Foundation to use in the future.
English Department: 
  • Students at all grade levels began the new year with collaboration and discussions concerning summer reading selections that encouraged independent and collaborative reflections. 
  • New York Times bestselling author April Henry presented a virtual author visit to all 9th grade classes. Henry is the author of mysteries, thrillers and young adult novels. She shared her experiences as an author with a presentation and a question/answer session.
  • ELA students in all courses read and researched a multitude of current societal issues to engage in conversations and promote critical thinking skills. 
  • To extend their knowledge of many newfound formats honed during virtual learning, students engaged in multimodal contexts to create innovative work and showcase authentic learning. 
  • Students in  OCC and SUPA English courses worked to hone analysis and argument practices that will carry across academic disciplinary lines and into their professional and civic writing as they move into future endeavors. 
  • Through reading and composing a variety of texts, students gained knowledge of rhetorical principles, and the ability to draw on those concepts as observers, readers, writers, and citizens. Students also engaged with texts that supported and promoted the foundations of the Positivity Project.
  • Students in English 10 Honors and English 12 Regents learned about a sample of notable Black Americans in the arts from the 1960s to the present (James Baldwin, Jacob Lawrence, Rita Dove, Basquiat, and Tupak Shakur), then researched and shared information about a Black American of their choice who was influential in their chosen field. Choices included influential artists, writers, tech developers, actors and actresses, athletes, clothing designers, and musicians, just to name a few. 
  • Students in English 9 Honors used Checkology to improve their media literacy skills. Students used these skills to research controversial topics and prepare with a small team to compete in a debate.
  • Students in English 11R engaged in a criminal justice literature circle that involved reading either Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson or The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater. Students developed inquiry topics based on their reading and ultimately created a magazine to raise awareness and advocate for a change in policy or practice that was rooted in their research.
  • Student-led book club – revived and active!
  • Virtual author visit from April Henry, combined with book giveaway for students sponsored by the Westhill Educational Foundation.
  • Evening student field trip to the Civic Center to hear Jason Reynolds present as part of the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series.
  • In-person presentation by Iditarod racer Karen Land and her dogs!
  • Mindfulness programs, led by Onondaga Free Librarian, were coordinated by and held in the Westhill High School Library
World Language Department:
  • The World Language Department continues to collaborate regularly in order to provide a solid world language program to all students.  This year, the  Westhill WL  7- 12 program designed activities to support student’s language  learning as we came back to in-person learning grades 7-12. We have applied for summer work in order to create a unit plan under the New WL Standards.  Margie Jimenez will be lead on this summer curriculum work. She created a Checkpoint A unit exemplar through her work with the NYSED OBEWL team. Google Classroom used throughout the department, as well as daily agendas and materials posted to Classroom.
  • Platforms that were used to increase language learning student learning in the WL classrooms:Boomcards, Blooket, Conjuguemos, FlipGrid, Gimkit, Padlet, Quizizz, Quizlet, Spandict
Spanish II /III
  • Focused on growing student academic confidence, study skills and healthy habits.
  • Taught students effective strategies to improve vocab acquisition. 
  • Edited classroom curriculum /materials to match learners as they transitioned to in-person learning.
  • Peer Tutoring: Spanish National Honor Society students worked with 9th graders who were looking for help in order to improve their Spanish  skills.  Students came for help when needed.  Tutees appreciated the practice, tutors learned a lot from their work and also earned Honor Society hours.
Spanish V AP
  • Implemented curriculum that aligned with the new AP Spanish requirements and lay out.
  • Used the Handheld audio recorders audio program consistently throughout the year.
  • Used social media to connect with students and for students to connect with native Spanish speakers.
  • Student-led instruction. During the reading of Don Quijote each student was responsible for designing a lesson plan and leading the class discussion and activities for their assigned chapter.
  • Used Google Classroom and other Google applications throughout the year.
Spanish IV H
  • Created new and original assessments 
  • Students created Vine Videos for their vocabulary.
  • Used social media, primarily Twitter and Instagram to communicate with students outside of class and connect them to current events in the Spanish speaking world. 
  • Researched current events on major Spanish speaking websites for presentations. 
Spanish III
  • Implemented original assessments and projects for course.
  • Implemented new technology such as Kahoot! and Quizlet Live!
  • Applied real world experiences from Spanish speaking countries into daily lessons through videos, articles, television shows, etc.
  • Used social media to connect with native speakers.
  • Wrote and presented movie critiques on present day movies, also showed the students the difference in movie titles between American and Spain.
Math Department:
  • After last year’s forced hiatus, Westhill’s Math Team had a successful season this year! Both of our teams showed off their expert problem-solving skills by scoring well at all 5 meets. Our “Pi’s Guys” team was led by two seniors and high scorers. We were excited to see our “Cade and Freshman” team have a solid group participation and do well in each meet. 
  • Math team member was involved in the committee to select new furniture for the new classrooms. Her classroom was a test room for various new furniture choices, and she hosted other teachers/classes so they could experience the choices.
  • Several math team members  served on the summer 2021 P2 committee to plan for the 2021-2022 school year.
Music Department:
  • Westhill named as a NAMM Foundation Best Community for Music Education in the Nation for 2022
  • Music Students selected to instrumental and vocal honor groups including:
    • NYSSMA Conference All-State
    • Symphoria Youth Orchestra
    • OCMEA All County Band, Chorus, Vocal Jazz, and Jazz Ensemble
    • NYSBDA Honor Band
  • 70 students performed more than 1400 hours of musical service through their participation in the Tri-M National Honor Society for Music.
  • The Westhill Education Foundation sponsored our Day of Jazz featuring the Huntertones. The Huntertones led our grade 7-12 Jazz Ensembles in a day of masterclasses, concerts, and clinics. They performed for students at OHMS, WHS, and also the greater community in an evening concert. 
  • The Masquers Club presented this year’s musical: The Addams Family
  • The Drama Club staged Larceny and Old Lace.
  • Students enrolled in Studio Music develop skills related to the music industry: live sound engineering, audio editing, audio recording, and music production. For the culminating project, students assumed the role of producer and used a variety of research methods to learn about different production techniques  a producer uses to create original music in a studio.  They then combined that with a visual media presentation. 
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Stephen R. Dunham, Superintendent
400 Walberta Road
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 426 - 3000