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Wizards Enjoy a Magnificent Fifth Grade Banquet

This year’s annual fifth grade banquet was a glowing success!

The celebration was held June 5 at Westchase Elementary School in the multipurpose room, which was transformed into a glow-in-the-dark festivity hall. The event was spearheaded by the fifth grade chairperson, Andrea Duffey, and coordinated with Rosa Koerner, the banquet chairperson. Debbie Steinfeld did an amazing job as decoration chairperson with the help of several volunteers who worked hard to make it memorable. Tracey Dean, the food chairperson, treated the students to cheeseburger sliders, chicken strips and fabulous mac and cheese from Fleming’s restaurant and a cupcake tower for desert! It was a perfect culmination to the elementary school experience. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed their time and energy to this special celebration!

The PTA held its In and Out Dinner on June 2 at the Westchase Golf Club. Attended by Principal Holley and Vice Principal Pecararo as well as all incoming and outgoing PTA board members, the event honored their collaborative efforts toward a successful school year. It was a bittersweet celebration as the outgoing board members stepped down from their positions and welcomed their successors. Especially poignant was the resignation of our president M.J. Kramer. M.J. has served brilliantly for the past two years, even earning the distinguished honor of district-wide PTA President of the Year. She said she is looking forward to her new role as Vice President of Student Programs and to working closely with the administration and our new president, Carolyn Reynolds.

As the former Vice President of the Ways and Means Committee, Carolyn has established a good relationship with the administration and the other board members, allowing for a smooth transition into her new role as PTA president. Thanks again to all of the volunteers that help to make Westchase so special!

We hope everyone continues to have a safe, fun-filled summer!

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizards Encouraged to Read Over Summer

Beware the danger of the summer slide!

We’re not talking about the slippery, wet rides that you find at water parks, but the dreaded learning lag that happens when students put away their pencils and books for the summer months.

Educators warn that our kids can lose as much as three months of previously learned material during summer vacation. It’s been proven that this danger can be avoided simply by reading 30-60 minutes each day.

Hillsborough County Schools has made it easier and more fun than ever to obtain reading materials for our students by providing access to MyOn and AXIS 360 virtual libraries. Just sign on using the student school ID number and follow the instructions for downloading an ereader to your chosen computer or portable device. It is that easy to have a virtual library in your home!

To encourage kids even more, MyOn will begin a summer reading challenge beginning June 10. By signing on and reading, students will be entered to win weekly prizes and the grand prize is a mini-IPad! Visit the elementary summer reading Web site at http://k-5media.mysdhc.org/summer/summer2014 for links to the public library, MyOn, AXIS 360 ebooks and more.

Keeping math facts fresh is also important. Some free Web sites like Coolmath.com offer math games. As a busy mom of four children, I have found that the stoplight, rapid-fire technique works well and is fun for my kids. I simply ask them multiplication, addition or subtraction questions in a fast-paced, rapid-fire manner while we are stopped for a red traffic light. My kids love the unexpected, impromptu competition and it livens up the mundane car ride.

The old adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” is all too true when it comes the knowledge gained each school year! We must do everything we can to protect our children from the summer slide.

The last day of school is June 6. Dismissal is at 11:45 a.m. We wish everyone a safe summer of continued learning!

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizard Teacher Appreciation Week May 5-9

The school year is winding down for our Westchase Elementary Wizards.

Before summer vacation begins, a few events will celebrate our students’ and teachers’ hard work.

Teacher Appreciation Week runs May 5-9.  Homeroom moms will distribute details about how their classes will acknowledge their teachers’ dedication.  Each day of the week will be offer a different opportunity for kids to show their teachers how much they mean to them.

The annual fifth grade field trip celebrating the end of the year will be on Thursday, May 15.  The students will have a wonderful opportunity to visit Busch Gardens for an exciting day of rides and animal adventures!  Their group picnic at the Gwazi Pavilion will celebrate their final year of grade school.     

Our Media Center will once again host a Scholastic Book Fair on May 20-23. What better way exists to stock up on great summer reading options from your favorite authors? The Book Fair will be open daily during school hours. Two night shopping events will also be held Tuesday, May 20, and Thursday, May 22, until 7 p.m. Throughout the entire book fair, for every $10 spent, your child may register to win a free paperback! If you shop after school hours on our night shopping days you have a chance to win a $30 shopping spree for both your student and your teacher!

The National PTA Reflections Program encourages students in pre-K through Grade 12 to explore and be involved in the arts. The theme for the 2014-2015 school year is:
"The world would be a better place if..." Thousands of students across the country will reflect on the theme and create original works of art in the categories of dance choreography, film production, music composition, literature, photography and visual arts. Please encourage your art-minded student to be thinking of a way to submit to this wonderful program. Contact Chair Amy Tompkins at amytompkins@yahoo.com for additional information about Reflections. Participation in this program could result in national recognition awards and scholarship money for your Wizard

Remember that the last day of school is June 6!

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizard PTA Looking to Recruit Next Year’s Volunteers

The PTA of Westchase Elementary School is hosting their annual recruitment breakfast April 15.

We encourage anyone interested in becoming involved in the events sponsored by the PTA to attend. There will be an opportunity to sign up for the specific committees that spark your interest. We are always excited about new members that bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the table! A light breakfast will be served at the Westchase Golf Club at 9 a.m. Please plan on coming out to join us. There is no better way to be involved in your child’s school than serving on the PTA. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to westchasevolunteer@gmail.com.

Our students participated in a contest to design the new spirit shirt for next year. Many creative ideas were submitted. After thoughtful consideration was given to each of them, the winner was chosen by Mr. Holley and Ms. Pecararo. Fourth grade student Gertie Arnold’s design was the winner with the slogan, “Keep Calm and Study On!” The shirts will be on sale during August during the orientation week in the multi-purpose room. Congratulations, Gertie, and thank you to all of the students that participated in the contest!

Standardized testing continues this month. April 1-11 is the Stanford 10 testing in Grades 1-3. Grades 3-5 will be taking the FCAT April 22- May 2. During the weeks of standardized testing visitors and volunteers will not be allowed on campus. This is to provide all of our students with the best possible testing environment. We thank everyone for their cooperation in this effort.

Remember there is no school on Friday, April 18.

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizards Wade into FCAT

While February brought wonderful treats in celebration of Valentine’s Day, the month brought the return of another tradition.

FCAT testing has returned to Westchase Elementary!

Standardized testing began on Feb. 25-26 and will continue into April and May, with the times varying according to grade level. Students will be sent home with information regarding the test dates and how to best prepare for it. Westchase has a closed campus policy during testing in order to provide the best possible environment for concentration. This means that volunteers and visitors are not able visit the school on the days designated for testing.

There are changes happening to the standardized tests that our students are required to take. Changes always bring up questions. A great resource for the answers you seek is http://www.commoncoreconversation.com There. will also be a presentation for parents on March 5 at 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room to discuss standardized test strategies and Common Core standards. The presentation will include many useful tips that you can begin implementing now to prepare your child Our students are our future and we all want that future to be as bright as possible!

By Jennifer Arnold

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January After School Enrichment Registration for Wizards

Westchase Elementary Wizards return to school Jan. 6 and will hit the ground running.

Westchase Elementary is once again offering its After School Enrichment (ASE) program. Get ready for more fun, interactive and skill-building classes! It’s all done for you – great instructors, popular topics, and the convenience of having it right at school! Plus all profits from After School Enrichment go to the school. Last year ASE raised over $15,000 in teacher grants.

Classes are nine weeks and are held right after school. From Chess and Hands-On Science to LEGO Building, Basketball and more, Westchase offers a range of after-school classes for Grades K-5. Look for more information coming home with your student the end of January. Classes will begin in February and are held Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2:20-3:20 p.m. There are no classes the week of spring break. If you have ideas for a future class or are an instructor interested in participating in the program, please contact Jennifer Newman at jda875@hotmail.com.

The PTA congratulates all of the finalists of this year’s Tropicana Speech Contest! Our first place winner was Gia Comperatore. She will present her speech, Why Being a Vegetarian is Awesome, in the Hillsborough County district final competition. Good luck, Gia!

Hey Westchase Wizards! Are you creative and want to design next year's Westchase Elementary spirit T-shirt? This contest will begin in February and is open to the entire student body. More details will be sent home in the next few weeks.

Westchase Elementary Reflection’s preview night and ice cream social was held on Nov. 14 and many families came out to admire the very talented artists’ work. All the submissions represented students’ interpretation of the theme “Believe, Dream, Inspire.” This year there were 40 entries and 22 were awarded a winner ribbon and selected to advance to the district level for judging. The artists advancing to districts include Zoe Aguiar, Nicole Johnson, Ava Tompkins, Mary Brendzel, Ben Brendzel, Andrew Eassa, Sarah Frank, Francesca Bonanomi, Briella Neylan, Colin Blocker, Kaylee Gunabe, Peter Ingeneri, Kate Kramer, Evangeline Vo, Kate Healy, Asher Healy, Anna Woliver, Nate Carovano, Mason Hartle, Rohan Kumbkarni, Merri Feld and Meghna Kakodker.

We offer a big thank you and shout out to our neighborhood’s newest frozen yogurt shop, Urban Swirl, for their contribution of the frozen yogurt for this year’s event.

Please remember there is no school Jan. 20-21.

By Jennifer Arnold

Nutcracker photos provided courtesy of the Zambrano family.

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Westchase Elementary Gift Giving Tree Returns

If you’d like to help a less fortunate student at Westchase Elementary have a happy holiday this month, be sure to visit Westchase Elementary’s Holiday Gift Giving Tree.

In November Westchase students welcomed veterans honored during the school’s Veterans Day celebration. Many students, including students from different Scout troops, greeted the men and women who have served our country. It was a great celebration for everyone.

Now that it’s December, many special activities are planned for the students and their families to make the season fun. The traditions of the Jingle Bell Jog, the Giving Tree and the Gingerbread Shop will all be honored again this year.

Everyone is invited to put your bells on and join your child for the Jingle Bell Jog! Family members are invited to join their children for PE class from Monday, Dec. 16, until Friday, Dec. 20. You will help us achieve our goals of physical fitness and endurance while being a great role model for our children!

The Westchase Elementary Holiday Gift Giving tree is up and filled with ornaments in the front office. This is wonderful opportunity to help the families of less fortunate children who attend our school. Each ornament contains the age, gender, size, and suggested gift for a child. If you would like to help a family in need during this holiday season, please stop by the office and select an ornament. Sign the log for your selected ornament, then returned the wrapped gift under the tree by Monday, Dec. 9. With your help, this will be a magical holiday season for many families in our community.

The Gingerbread Shop will be open for business again this year beginning on Dec. 6. This is a favorite time for the kids to pick out gifts for their family and friends. Teachers will distribute the budget and shopping lists to the kids and they get to make a “nice” list of their own. The money along with the list of gift recipients are sent in with each child. The Gingerbread Shop will have a wide variety of very affordable items from which they may choose. Gingerbread helpers will escort and help smaller shoppers stay within their budget. It is so much fun for the kids to experience the true joy of giving!

The yearbook needs your photos! If you have fall festival photos that could be included in the next yearbook, please contact Amber Feld at westchase.yearbook@gmail.com

Have a safe and joyous holiday! Remember there is no school Dec. 23-Jan. 3.

By Jennifer Arnold; Photos by Dina Badalamenti

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Westchase Elementary’s November: Veteran’s Day, Book Fair and Teach In

November marks the unofficial start to the holiday season.

As most of us are making our holiday shopping lists and preparing for a turkey dinner, Westchase Elementary School will host activities that show gratitude and give thanks.

Our Veteran’s Day celebration is Friday, Nov. 8, at 8:30 a.m. on the covered courts. The program will include a traditional flag ceremony by our local Boy Scouts while music is performed by the Westchase Drum Corps and the Davidson Middle school band. Please join us as we pay tribute to our veterans. There will also be no school on Monday, Nov. 11, to remember our fallen service men and women.

If you want to get a jump on some of your gift buying, stop by the Scholastic Book Fair in the media center. The fair runs Nov. 5-8 with special extended shopping hours Tuesday and Thursday until 7 p.m. You will find new releases from some of your favorite authors including Rick Riordan. Tom Angleberger, Mary Pope Osborne and more! All night purchases are eligible for a chance to win a $30 shopping credit for both your student and their teacher.

The Great American Teach In is coming to Westchase Nov. 21. Parent volunteers will share their knowledge and expertise with students in the classroom. Teaching experience is not necessary. The only requirement is a willingness to share your time and information about your career. Contact the front office at Westchase if you are interested in participating.

The PTA would like to congratulate Principal Scott Weaver on his new position at Martinez Middle school. We thank him for his five plus years of dedicated service to Westchase Elementary School! His leadership and standard of excellence are greatly appreciated. We wish him all the best in his new position!

Remember there is no school on Nov. 11 (Veteran’s Day) and Nov. 25-29 (Thanksgiving Break).

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizards Kick Off Boosterthon Fundraiser

October is filled with fun activities and special events at Westchase Elementary.

Be sure to mark your calendars with the month’s upcoming P.T.A. special events!

National Walk or Bike to School Day is Oct. 9. Join your friends in a show of support by walking together to school.

The first Box Top contest of the year begins Oct. 7 and continues through Oct. 16. Ask your family, friends and neighbors to cut and save Box Tops for Westchase Elementary School. Students enter the contest with submissions of ten Box Tops at a time. Each submission is an entry into the contest. There is no limit to entries; therefore, the more you collect the more chances you have to win! The grand prize drawing will be held Oct. 18 and the winner will receive a brand new Kindle!

The annual Fall Festival will be held Oct. 25. The whole family is invited to attend this fun event, which is a fundraiser for our teachers. Be on the lookout for more information about how to purchase tickets and how you can help make this year's festival the best ever.

Do you have an art-minded child? If so, encourage them to make a submission to the National PTA Reflections program! Each year students in grades Pre-K-12 are recognized for bringing a theme to life through dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography or visual arts. The theme for this year’s Reflections program is: Believe, Dream and Inspire. Entry forms for student submissions are available on the Westchase Elementary PTA Web site and are due by Nov. 1. The Reflections exhibit and ice cream social will be Nov. 14. If you have questions about the program, please contact Westchase Elementary Reflections Chair Amy Tompkins at amytompkins@yahoo.com or 240-8686.

The Westchase Elementary PTA is gearing up for the second annual Boosterthon Fun Run. It’s a healthy alternative to traditional product sales and will raise much-needed funds for the school’s technology, art, music and physical education programs. The nine-day Boosterthon Program also promotes three specific values during the fun-filled experience: fitness, leadership and character. The event will kick off with a 30-minute, school-wide pep rally on Monday, Oct. 7, and conclude on Wednesday, Oct. 16, with the Boosterthon Fun Run event. Students will seek pledges towards the number of laps they will run at the Boosterthon Fun Run. They will run between 25-35 laps; 35 is the lap cap. Every student participates in the fun run, regardless of pledges raised, and receives a “Boosterthon All-Star” T-shirt. This is the PTA’s primary fundraiser for the year. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Carolyn Reynolds, VP Ways and Means, at carolyn.reynolds@outlook.com.

National Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31. Your students’ teacher will send home information on the theme for each day. This is a campaign to stop bullying. We encourage everyone to participate and show your support!

Finally, the PTA would like to thank all who supported the Nancy Daniels fundraiser. This fundraiser is very important to the fifth grade. It provides the support needed for all of their special events, including the annual end-of-the-year banquet.

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizards Searching for PTA Volunteers and Mentors

The new school year is off to a running start!

As you adjust to the new routine and catch your breath, you may find a little spare time to give to our school. The Westchase PTA offers many opportunities to volunteer your talents and time.

Becoming a Westchase Elementary Mentor is a very rewarding experience! A mentor is a special volunteer committed to helping students achieve greater success academically, socially, mentally, and physically, in order to enhance their school experience and more. Students in the Mentoring Program simply need one hour a week of your time to help them reach their goals so that they can become successful and confident in school and in life. If you are interested in helping a student in the Mentoring Program this school year, please contact Carol Mullane at camullane@tampabay.rr.com.

Grandparents Read to Me Day is Friday, Sept. 6. If you have a student in Grades K-2, please encourage them to participate in this annual event. Grandparents are invited into the classrooms to share a special book with their grandchildren and their classmates. Special memories are made for the kids as well as the grandparents.

A great way to support our school is to purchase a Westchase Discount Card. The cards offer a discount for many of your favorite Westchase businesses and restaurants. The cards are available for purchase in the front office and only cost $10.

If you thought you missed your opportunity to get all of the cool spirit wear that you have seen around school, it’s not too late! Order forms can be obtained from the front office. If you have any questions, send an e-mail to westchase.spiritline@gmail.com.

The Westchase Elementary PTA will host the second annual Boosterthon Fun Run in mid-October. This nine-day experience raises much-needed funds for improved technology while promoting fitness, leadership, and character. The inaugural event was an overwhelming success and we look forward to another great event. Information packets will be sent home with students in mid-September.

Contact Carolyn Reynolds at carolyn.reynolds@outlook.com for more information or volunteer opportunities.

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizards Wonder: Whoja Get?

Summer vacation has flown by in a blur of leisure activities, camps and travel but the first day of school is just around the corner!

Excitement is now building around the arrival of the new classroom assignments. Teacher assignments will be sent in the mail in the next couple of weeks.

You can also attend an open house hosted by your child’s Westchase Elementary teacher in his or her classroom before the new school year begins. You will receive valuable information about classroom procedures as well as supply lists.

The Spiritline crew has been working very hard this summer on new and exciting items and they are looking forward to sharing their new look with you! Please look for them at Open House. They will be located in the multipurpose room and outside by the stairs. Come and see all of the fabulous items that they have created. Wizards love Spiritwear!

A wonderful convenience to parents, Westchase Elementary is once again offering its After School Enrichment program this fall. Classes are held over nine weeks directly after school. From Chess, Hands-On Science and LEGO Building to Kickball and more, Westchase offers a range of after-school classes for Grades K-5. Look for more information coming home during the first week of school. Classes are held Wednesdays and Thursdays, Sept. 11-Nov. 14, from 2:20-3:20 p.m. If you have ideas for a future class or if you are an instructor interested in participating in the program, please e-mail Jennifer Newman at jda875@hotmail.com.

Volunteers are needed for After School Enrichment car line. If you have 30 minutes to spare once a week from 3:15-3:45 p.m., this is a great opportunity to help. Volunteers are needed Wednesday or Thursday afternoons from Sept. 11-Nov. 14. If interested, please e-mail Woomee Yu at oomeeyu@hotmail.com.

Please also plan on attending the first PTA general session meeting on Thursday, Aug. 29, to learn about all of the exciting things PTA has planned for this year! The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room.

Stay safe and enjoy the remainder of your summer vacation. Wizards return to school Aug. 20!

Westchase Elementary Open House

Kindergarten/EELP: Monday, Aug. 19, noon-1p.m.
Grade 1: Monday, Aug. 19, 1-2 p.m.
Grade 2: Monday, Aug. 19, 2-3 p.m.
Grade 3: Friday, Aug. 16, 10-11 a.m.
Grades 4-5: Friday, Aug. 16, noon-1p.m.

By Jennifer Arnold

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Wizards Set August Open House Dates

Thunderous applause was heard on the campus of Westchase Elementary School as everyone celebrated the fifth grade’s move to middle school.

The annual fifth grade banquet and traditional clap out were held on Thursday, June 6. Although disruptive Tropical Storm Andrea dampened some clothes, the storm could not dampen spirits. The festivities were a great success! Congratulations to the fifth grade class and best of luck in middle school!

The PTA would like to give a rousing round of applause to our president, M.J. Kramer. Hillsborough County awarded her with the PTA President of the Year award. This distinguished honor is a result of her tireless efforts on behalf our school and her natural ability to encourage and lead our volunteers. Thank you, M.J., and congratulations on your award!

Please mark your calendars for an opportunity to see your child’s classroom and to meet his or her teacher before school begins. The Westchase Elementary Open House dates are as follows:

Open House Dates

K/EELP: Monday, Aug. 19, noon-1p.m.
Grade 1: Monday, Aug. 19, 1-2 p.m.
Grade 2: Monday, Aug. 19, 2-3 p.m.
Grade 3: Friday, Aug. 16, 10-11 a.m.
Grade 4 and 5: Friday, Aug. 16, noon-1 p.m.

Westchase Elementary has arranged a hassle-free summer for those parents who want extra time for themselves and their families this year. Now you can order pre-packaged school supplies for your Westchase students in Kindergarten through Grade 5, including AGP. This is a win-win situation! You get name-brand items, one-stop shopping, the exact items requested by your grade level and competitive pricing. You get to avoid long lines, multiple trips to the store, and searching everywhere for those hard-to-find items! Plus, a portion of these sales will be given back to Westchase Elementary. Orders can be placed online at http://www.schoolpak.com or there is a featured link on http://www.westchasepta.org Order. by July 23 for home delivery. If you have any questions, please e-mail Tracey Dean at xaggegator@aol.com.

Have a safe and fun-filled summer!

By Jennifer Arnold

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Westchase Elementary Parents to Vote on School Uniforms

It is time to start planning for the 2013-2014 school year. With that, the debate over school uniforms continues.

Proponents of uniforms base their views on research showing that when kids wear uniforms they are less likely to misbehave, peer pressure is decreased, students’ grades are higher, and mornings are easier on both students and parents. Opponents of school uniforms believe that requiring students to wear them infringes upon a person's rights to freedom of expression and individuality and decreases diversity. Additionally, uniforms can be a financial burden for some families and many feel that uniforms are an additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education.

The School Advisory Council receives inquiries each year as to why Westchase Elementary is the only school in the area that does not have a uniform policy. To pass a uniform policy, 75 percent of parents and teachers must vote to approve it. At an April teachers’ meeting, 90 percent of Westchase teachers voted in favor of adopting a uniform policy. At the beginning of May parents will receive more information, including a description of the proposed Westchase uniform. A voting ballot will be sent home with your student on May 13 with a due date of May 17. Please look for the informational sheet and read its contents in full so that you can make an informed decision, in voting against or for, the proposed uniform policy.

Online ordering for yearbooks has ended. Open sales for yearbooks will be held in late May. Please check the PTA Web site for exact dates. Yearbooks are $25 each. Please e-mail westchase.yearbook@gmail.com with any questions.

Our Spring Scholastic Book Fair will be held May 21-24 in the Media Center. “Story Laboratory - Reading Gives You Super Power” is our theme as we encourage your child to read and grow this summer. The book fair is open during school hours and there will be two evening shopping opportunities: Tuesday, May 21, and Thursday, May 23. The fair will be open until 7 p.m. Happy reading!

Fifth Grade Activities

Activities to celebrate the end of fifth grade appear below. Please be sure to add the following dates to your calendar so your fifth grader won’t miss out:

Friday, May 3: Bowling Field Trip organized by PE department
Thursday, May 9: Field Trip to Busch Gardens
Friday, May 10: Countywide Safety Patrol Field Trip
Monday, June 3: Awards Ceremony, 8:30-10 a.m.
Tuesday, June 4: Field Day, 8:15-9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, June 5: Yearbook Signing, 8:30-9:45 a.m.
Thursday, June 6: Clap-out (10:15 a.m.) followed by Banquet

The next several weeks are sure to be a memorable time for all of our fifth graders. If you have any questions, or are still interested in volunteering for any of the activities listed in the box accompanying this article, please contact Michelle at tampabatman@tampabay.rr.com.

By Tracey Dean

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April Holds Testing for Wizards

Wizards of all grades have prepped all year for the SAT and FCAT this month.

We hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing spring break and is ready to make the most of the last few months of this school year. They are sure to be filled with hard work and fun.

The month of April will be filled with lots of testing for our Wizards. From April 2-11, our first and second graders will be taking the SAT. FCAT then occurs from April 15-26 for our third, fourth, and fifth graders. Make-up testing is scheduled for April 29 and April 30.

It’s extremely important that your child comes to school on time on; it’s equally important they arrive well rested and well nourished. Please make every effort to have your child present on his or her testing days. Testing times vary greatly throughout grade levels, so our campus will be closed on the dates of the test. This means no visitors or volunteers will be permitted on school grounds and Junior Achievement, Ready Readers, and Mentoring should not be scheduled on these days.

If you must come to school, please call the campus first to make sure that testing is over. We appreciate your understanding and support of this policy, which is aimed at ensuring that our students are given the optimal testing environment. We know our teachers have done an amazing job preparing our children for these tests and that the students are more than ready to excel.

Have you ever thought that you'd like to become more involved at Westchase Elementary School but you're not sure where to begin or what to do? If so, please join the PTA for a Volunteer Recruitment Breakfast at the Westchase Golf Club on April 10 at 9 a.m. Many new positions are open for the 2013-2014 school year and we are always looking for new people with new ideas to join! We invite everyone to come learn about the volunteer opportunities that are available.

The last days for After School Enrichment are April 10-11. We thank you Woomee Yu and Jennifer Newman for their outstanding leadership of our After School Enrichment program this year!

Please remember that early dismissal occurs every Monday at 1:15 p.m.

By Tracey Dean

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Will You Mentor a Wizard?

Being a school mentor can make a huge difference in the life of a child.

Westchase Elementary is in need of mentors to help students. If you are interested in becoming a part of the mentoring program, please contact Mentoring Coordinator Monica Rivera at mgirivera@aol.com. Please note that a SERVE form from Hillsborough County School District is required. Copies can be obtained in the school’s front office or can be sent to you by e-mail upon request. You do not have to have a child enrolled in Westchase Elementary to make a difference. We welcome mentors from our entire community!

There is a new check-in policy in place at Westchase Elementary for visitors and volunteers. Everyone who enters campus must show a valid driver’s license and must be checked in by a staff member. We know that this may cause some delays in the check-in process, especially during large group programs, but we ask for your patience during this process. This is for the safety of all of our students and staff. We appreciate your support and understanding.

Guarantee your child's copy of the yearbook by ordering it online today at http://www.balfour.com The f.inal sales date to order online is March 15. After that, any available yearbooks are sold on a first-come, first served basis only when the books arrive in late May. Please e-mail westchase.yearbook@gmail.com with any questions.

It’s time to get your creative juices flowing and to put on your magic thinking hats. Spiritline will be holding a contest for the 2013-2014 school year spirit shirt after spring break. We can’t wait to see the unique designs our Wizards will create and enter.

The end of the third grading period is March 28. Spring break is March 11-15. We hope your family enjoys a week off from school and returns refreshed and ready for the last nine weeks of the school year.

Please remember that the PTA’s Web site, http://www.westchasepta.org is a ,great resource for school happenings, volunteer opportunities and all other important school information. If you are on Facebook, like Westchase PTA’s page to receive important updates.

Enjoy your spring break!

By Tracey Dean

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Spring Enrichment Returns to Wizard Central

It's time for spring after-school enrichment classes to begin at Westchase Elementary.

Many new and interesting classes are offered this semester and your child won't want to miss out! The first classes occur on Feb. 6-7. What a great opportunity for our students to learn new talents and crafts!

It's not too late to send a special yearbook dedication to your student or teacher. Forms can be found on the PTA Web site, http://www.westchasepta.org Pleas.e remember to order your yearbook and guarantee your copy! Go to http://www.balfour.com to purchase your yearbook. Please send an e-mail with any questions to westchase.yearbook@gmail.com.

The next general PTA meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 8:30 a.m in the multipurpose room. We will be reviewing and voting on our budget. If you wish to vote, you must have your PTA membership card present. Only registered PTA members can vote.

A big shout out to all of the fourth graders for their amazing Tropicana Speeches! The class winners presented their speeches on a variety of entertaining and informative topics to the entire fourth grade and were judged on different categories. They all did an outstanding job! Congratulations to Austin Dean, Olivia Paulsson and Yzabella Rivamonte who, respectively, won first through third places. Best of luck to Austin, as he goes on to represent Westchase Elementary School at the district level on Feb 2!

Our third graders have been busy reading all of their Battle books and now it's time to battle! A team from each third grade class will compete in the Battle of the Books on Feb. 7 in the multipurpose room from 8:30-10 a.m. Best of luck to all of these outstanding readers!

Remember, every Monday is early release day at 1:15 p.m. There is no school on Friday, Feb. 8, for fair day.

By Tracey Dean

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Westchase Elementary Kindergarten Round Up Feb. 1

If you have a child beginning school next year, mark your calendar for our Kindergarten Round Up on Feb. 1.

We begin, however, by wishing all our Wizards a happy New Year! We hope your holidays were wonderful!

The Westchase Elementary PTA would like to thank everyone for making the giving tree a huge success this year. Because of your generous donations, we were able to make the holidays a little bit brighter for your fellow families and children that attend our school.

We offer a special shout out to the ladies in the front office and Ms. Valerie Romero for all of their hard work organizing the gifts and making sure everyone was informed about our Giving Tree. We would like to extend an extra special thanks to Tonya Sanchez for coordinating this year’s Giving Tree. We also offer our thanks to WOW for generously taking care off all of the remaining stars and for providing holiday dinner for all of the 19 families. We are lucky to live in such a caring, giving community.

Now is the time to write that special dedication to your child in the yearbook! Go to the PTA Web site, http://www.westchasepta.org and d,ownload the form. The deadline to send in your dedication is Feb. 22. Also, please encourage your child (especially the fifth graders) to draw a picture, write a poem or submit a paragraph about their experiences at Westchase to be considered for publication in the yearbook. Please submit them on a regular sheet of white paper (8.5” x 11”) by Jan. 20.

You can still order your yearbook online at http://www.balfour.com and guarantee your child's copy. Why wait? Any available yearbooks at the end of the year will only be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have photos you’d like to submit for possible publication in the yearbook – or if you have direct questions for the yearbook volunteers, send them to westchase.yearbook@gmail.com.

Join us for Kindergarten Round Up! This is the chance for your upcoming kindergartener and you to take a tour of the school and learn about the requirements for school registration. The event will be held on Friday, Feb. 1, at 8:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room. Look for more information on the PTA Web site (http://www.westchasepta.org).

Remember that every Monday the students are released early at 1:15 p.m. Also, please mark your new calendars: there is no school on Jan. 21-22.

We look forward to making 2013 another outstanding year at Westchase Elementary!

By Tracey Dean

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Will You Take a Tag from the Giving Tree?

The Giving Tree is up at school in the front office and generous families are needed to brighten kids’ holidays.

Please feel free to stop by and take a tag off of the tree to purchase an item for a needy child or family at our school. There are many tags from which to choose. You can purchase an item or a gift card to help out the families. Simply stop in the front office, take a tag off the tree, sign up with one of the secretaries (so we know who took which tag), purchase the item, wrap it and attach the tag to gift. Then return the gift to school by Monday, Dec. 10. If you have any questions, please contact Tonya Sanchez at tsanch22@aol.com. It’s a great way to help out children at our school and we’re grateful for your support.We also thank the room moms, volunteers, and teachers who helped make Fall Festival a success again this year.  We offer our extra huge thanks to Ellen Dadlani and Marcy Sanford for all their time, effort, and dedication as Fall Festival chairs.  It would not have happened without you!  We had outstanding attendance and all enjoyed inflatables, bingo, freaky hairspray, pirates’ cove, Kona Ice, and many more great games and treats.

We also thank Tom Brennan, who put on our Veterans Day Program again this year.  The students were treated to performances by the Westchase Chorus and the Davidsen Middle School band.  All veterans in attendance felt very appreciated and we thank them for all of their service to our great country.  Thanks as well to those who participated in the Great American Teach In.  The students enjoyed learning all about you!

Don't forget to order your yearbook online to guarantee your child's copy at the end of the year.  The rice goes up on Dec. 16 so go to http://www.balfour.com and order now!  Also, please encourage your Wizards – especially the fifth graders – to submit a drawing, poem or their special memories of Westchase (these must be on a regular 8.5” by 11” piece of paper.)  Include their names and grades on the back and give them to your teacher for the yearbook.  Please send any questions or school-related photos to westchase.yearbook@gmail.com.

Congratulations to the winner of the Fifth Grade T-Shirt design contest, Kristen Oxonian.  Many students submitted artwork for the contest and the fifth graders were able to vote on their favorite.  Look around school for the fifth grade students wearing their newly designed shirts.

Spiritline is also now selling a great Westchase Elementary sweatshirt in blue and purple. The cost is $20. Log on to http://www.westchasepta.org to see the shirt and place your order today.
Winter break begins on Dec. 24 and the students return to school on Monday, Jan. 7.
We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!

By Tracey Dean; Photos by Cris Kwan

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From the Teach-In to the PE Family Fitness Frenzy

November is going to be a busy month for our Wizards!

Our Veterans Day Celebration will be held on Nov. 9. Our Penny Campaign begins this month also, so be sure to collect your loose change and bring it in to your classroom.

The Great American Teach-In will also be held on Nov. 15. Please contact your children’s teachers if you are interested in showcasing your talents or career to their classes.

When is the last time you played Four Square with your kids? Or the last time you challenged your child to a game of Knockout, HORSE or Around the World? How about getting a little cardio workout with a game of toe-tag or jump rope? If this sounds like fun, you might also enjoy bowling or playing volleyball with friends! Because you are your child's most significant role model, we need your help developing healthy habits for life in our children. Exercise your mind and body on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The physical education department is teaming up with the media center's Book Fair Night by hosting the Second Annual PE Family Fitness Frenzy! Please join us from 4-6 in the PE court area and remember to wear your sneakers! The book fair is open until 7 p.m.

The Westchase Elementary Gingerbread House will kick off on Tuesday, Nov. 27, and run through Friday, Nov. 30. Children will have the opportunity to shop for holiday gifts with prices starting at 25 cents. Each year the students enjoy shopping with their class for special gifts for their families. A flyer will be sent home over the next couple of weeks.

The Fifth Grade Committee is off to a very busy start. The students were given the opportunity to submit ideas and vote on the year’s theme. This year’s theme is: Go for the Gold into Middle School. The fifth grade students were also given the opportunity to vote on the end-of-the-year field trip. The overwhelming winner was Busch Gardens on Thursday, May 9. More information about the day will be distributed as the trip gets closer. If you are interested in being a part of the Fifth Grade Committee, please contact Michelle Butt at tampabatman@tampabay.rr.com.

The Ways and Means Committee would like to thank everyone who supported our Boosterthon. It was a great success and proceeds will enhance school technology.

Don't forget to order your yearbook online to guarantee your child's copy at the end of the year. Go to http://www.balfour.com Also,. please encourage your Wizards, especially the fifth graders, to submit a drawing, poem or their special memories of Westchase (these must be on a regular 8½ x 11 piece of paper.) Please send any questions or school-related photos to westchase.yearbook@gmail.com.

Spiritline has a new Wizard Water bottle and Wizard Cup. The water bottle is $5 and the cup is $8.

Last, don’t forget that every Monday is early dismissal at 1:15 p.m. Also, there is no school on Friday, Nov. 12, in honor of Veterans Day. Fall Break is from Nov. 19-23.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

By Tracey Dean

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Parent/Staff Kickball Game and Food Truck Rally Sept. 28

A new school year has begun at Westchase Elementary and with it are lots of opportunities for school involvement.

Our annual parent/staff kickball game is a fun back-to-school event for the whole family! This year Westchase Elementary will host a food truck rally on Friday, Sept. 28. Trucks will at the school from 6-9 p.m. to participate in the annual parent/staff kickball game. Please come enjoy great food from Fat Tortillas, Just Smokn BBQ, Burger Culture, American Weiner, and Kona Ice. A portion of sales will go to Westchase Elementary.

We hope that you will please take a moment to join the PTA. Membership is $6 a person. Family membership includes a family of four for $20. These funds are used to make our school a better place. The PTA is a great way for you to get involved in your child’s education. Grandparents are encouraged to join also.

A mentor is a special volunteer committed to helping students experience greater success academically, socially, mentally and physically, in order to enhance their school experience.
What students need is one hour of your time each week to help achieve their goals and become successful and confident. The program runs throughout the year and includes a training session.

If you are interested in helping a student in the Mentoring Program at Westchase Elementary this year, contact Monica Rivera, Mentoring Coordinator, at mgirivera@aol.com. Please note that for mentoring, the SERVE form from Hillsborough County School District is needed. Copies can be obtained in the school front office or can be sent to you by e-mail upon request. We welcome mentors from our community!

Community Discount Cards will be on sale for $10 and include great ways to save money at local stores, restaurants and more! Purchase yours from the front office.

The Ways and Means Committee is excited to bring a fun new fund-raiser to Westchase this fall, a Boosterthon! Mark your calendars to help show your support for our kids at the Boosterthon Fun Race on Oct. 17! Stay tuned for more details on how you can help make this event a success.

Help support the fifth grade class by buying an Entertainment Book. The books contain coupons for Dick's Sporting Goods, Stonechase Restaurant, Pizza Fusion and many more favorites. Entertainment Books will be distributed during the second week of school. New this year is an app for your smart phone for all of those who forget their books! If you need additional books, they will be available in the front office.

Our annual Grandparents Read To Me Day is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 7. This special event allows students in Grades K-2 to invite their grandparents into their classroom to share a special story with their friends. Please look for information to be sent home with your child.

You can still purchase your Westchase Spiritline items. This year we even have a new spirit shirt. Students are encouraged to wear these new shirts every Friday. To order all Spiritline items, simply download the order form from http://www.westchasepta.org and have your child bring it to school in an envelope marked “Spiritline.”

Last, save the date! The Fall Festival will be held on Friday, Oct. 26, from 4-7 p.m.

By Tracey Dean

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Wizards Slate Open House Dates

It’s that time of year!

Everyone is busy buying school supplies, purchasing outfits, and anxiously waiting by the mailbox for teacher placements. We hope you’ve enjoyed a relaxing summer and are ready for an exciting new school year!

Open house dates have been staggered according to grade level to assist with parking availability. During open house our teachers will provide an overview of their classroom policies and procedures. On Aug. 16, open house for third and fourth graders is scheduled from 3-4 p.m. Fifth graders also meet on the Aug. 16 from 4:15-5:15 p.m. Kindergarten and EELP Meet-and-Greet is scheduled for Aug. 20 from noon-1 p.m. First and second graders can also visit their new classes from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Aug. 20.
 
We congratulate our incoming fifth graders and wish them the best of luck. Fifth graders will again be selling Entertainment Books to help fund their activities. The 2012 book is full of wonderful saving opportunities and easily pays for itself. It will be sent home in your child’s backpack during the beginning weeks of school. If you are not interested in the book, please send it back to school. If you would like to be involved in the Fifth Grade Committee, please contact Michelle Butt at tampabatmann@tampabay.rr.com.

Westchase Elementary is once again offering its After School Enrichment Program. Classes are designed to encourage students to think and learn in fun and exciting ways. From Chess and Hands-On Science to Dance and Photography, a range of after-school classes exists for Grades K-5. More information will come home the first week of school. Classes are held Wednesdays and Thursdays, Sept. 12-Nov. 15, from 2:20-3:20 p.m. If you have any ideas for a future class or if you are an instructor interested in participating, please contact Jennifer Newman at jda875@hotmail.com.

Also, volunteers are needed for the After School Enrichment car line on Wednesday and/or Thursday afternoons, Sept.12-Nov.15, from 3:15-4:15 p.m. If interested, please contact Woomee Yu at oomeeyu@hotmail.com.

SpiritLine is once again selling a variety of unique, fashionable Wizard clothing and accessories. Please visit http://www.westchasepta.org for more information.

The first PTA General Session Meeting will take place on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room. Please join us to learn about all the exciting things our wonderful PTA has planned for the school year.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll see you Aug. 21!

By Tracey Dean

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Fifth Grade Wizards Congratulated

Congratulations to Westchase Elementary's class of 2012 as they head off to middle school!

The fifth grade students enjoyed fantastic end-of-the-year activities such as yearbook signing and the awards celebration. After parading through the school and being "clapped-out" by their fellow Wizards, they used their Golden Tickets to gain admission into a Willy Wonka-themed, year-end banquet. The Fifth Grade Food and Decorations Committees transformed the multipurpose room into a world of pure imagination, complete with a candy-bar licking wall, luminaries, walls decorated with personalized "candy," a fizzy lifting drink fountain and a chocolate fountain. The kids watched a special year-end DVD, had their pictures taken, ate, drank and danced the night away. Special thanks go out to Nancy Gerovac, Rachel Corn, Tracie Kudla, Andrea Duffey, Tracey Dean and their committees, who helped make the day so memorable for our fifth graders. Best of luck in middle school!

Nancy Gerovac, Fifth Grade Committee Chair, also wishes to offer her thanks to all her valued committee members for making this past school year so easy and enjoyable. All should be proud of what they accomplished in giving our kids a fantastic send off from elementary school. As so many of us leave and head to differing schools, please know Nancy will treasure the great times and friendship you have shared.

In June the PTA's annual dinner for the outgoing and incoming board members was held at the Rumba Restaurant. With much gratitude we said goodbye to the outgoing members of the PTA and look forward to continued success during the 2012-2013 school year. A special note of gratitude goes out to Andrea Piacitelli for all of her hard work and dedication as PTA president for the past two years. M.J. Kramer has graciously agreed to serve as president next year and her experience and leadership will ensure continued success.

Westchase Elementary School has arranged a hassle-free summer for those parents who want the extra time for themselves and their families this year. Now you can order your pre-packaged school supplies for your Westchase students in Grades K-5, including AGP. This is a win-win situation! You get name brand items, one-stop shopping, the exact items requested by your grade level and competitive pricing. You get to avoid long lines, multiple trips to the store and searching everywhere for those hard-to-find items! Plus, a portion of these sales will be given back to Westchase Elementary. Orders can be placed online at http://www.schoolpak.com or there is a featured link on http://www.westchasepta.org The o.nline sale is available now and will end on July 24. If you have any questions, please e-mail Tracie Kudla at traciekfl@verizon.net.

The first day of the new school year is Aug. 21. Registration continues through July, however, the data processor will have to verify all information upon her return in late July before registration is complete. School office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. In order to register, please bring the following items: the child's original birth certificate, immunization record, proof of physical competed within 12 months of the first day of school, original proof of residency (a utility bill) and social security card/number. If your child is coming from a school outside of Hillsborough County, please also bring the last report card that states the grade to which he or she has been promoted.

Please remember to continue collecting Box Top labels throughout the summer. They will be collected upon our return to school in August.

Enjoy a safe and fun summer!

Thanks to the Fifth Grade Committee!

Rachel Corn, Banquet
Tracie Kudla, Decorations
Tracey Dean and Andrea Duffey, Food
Amy Gall, Photographer
Shannon Longo, Invitations
Kristen Deangelo and Lynette Dooley, DVD
Mercedes Motzer and Lisa Fandel, T-shirts
Denise Palmer and Susan Faris, Field Trip
Donna Griffiths, Legacy
Beth Cupari, Heather Bauder, Kate Sorsby, Dona Smith, Field Day
Brenda Bennett, Yearbook Signing
Andy Gerovac, Yearbook Photos

By Tracey Dean, PTA Corresponding Secretary

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Wizards’ Year Comes to a Busy Close

As the year winds down, we thank those who have worked relentlessly to make this a year to remember.

Our special thanks go to Amy Hewitt and her committee for making Teacher Appreciation Week so wonderful. Amy picked "Hat's Off to our Staff" as the this year’s theme. Her committee did not disappoint with the week’s many activities, including a delicious PTA-sponsored barbecue luncheon for our teachers and staff. They were showered with attention and deserved to feel extra appreciated for their hard work and dedication.

Not to be forgotten, we thank the generous volunteers and business partners who helped to make this year a success. These individuals were thanked at a special breakfast held by the school staff. We especially thank all those who mentored this year and volunteered to make a difference in the lives of Westchase children.

Congratulations to all of our Fourth Grade Battle of the Books contestants! In order to participate, the students had to read 14 assigned books, attain at least an 80 percent on their AR tests and complete a summary of each book. The three students and one alternate per class who received the highest scores on a timed test made their class team. The battle among the eight class teams took place in May and Mrs. Rucker's team emerged victorious. They will move on to represent Westchase Elementary in the District Battle.

It’s the best time of year to be a fifth grader! Special thanks to the PE department for setting up the May 4 bowling field trip to Pinchasers. The kids had a blast! You may have heard the roar of approval all the way back in Westchase when the lights went off and the cosmic bowling kicked in!

Congratulations to our fifth grade teachers, students and their families. As a community service project, they teamed up to raise money on behalf of Logan Bauder, a student with Cystic Fibrosis in Mr. Moon’s class. The kids alone raised over $1,600 in class donations and over $1,900 in online donations. Combined with other donations, Team Logan was the top fundraiser at the CF Great Strides walk at Curtis Hixon Park on May 5. They raised over $6,000. We thank all the families that came out to walk in support of this fantastic cause.

We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate our end-of-the-year field trip at Busch Gardens on May 10. It was truly a memorable day full of fun and smiles.

The fifth grade patrols were rewarded for all their hard work at the county-wide patrol picnic on May 18 and all the students rounded out the month with field day on May 25.

Finishing touches are being put on plans for the kids’ June 1 yearbook signing and parents are invited to attend the year-end awards celebration on Tuesday, June 5, at 8:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room.

We close out the year with our student-only banquet held on June 7. It promises to be a day to remember. Please contact Nancy Gerovac at wishyouwerehere@tampabay.rr.com with any questions about fifth grade activities.

We offer special thanks to Chris Kwan and her committee, who put so much time and effort into creating our amazing school yearbook. Thanks also to Nicole Barnhart for coordinating all the homeroom mom e-mails that keep us informed. Our extra special thanks go out to our homeroom moms. Fall festival, field trips, classroom centers and so much more wouldn't happen without your hard work and dedication. Thank you for always being there for our students and staff!

Last, we thank our outgoing PTA board, which has volunteered countless hours on behalf of our school and students. Andrea Piacitelli has served as president of the PTA for the past two years and has truly done a remarkable job. We will miss her leadership skills next year, but know we are in good hands as M.J. Kramer takes over the reins.

The last day of school is June 8. Students will be dismissed at 11:45 a.m.

Enjoy a happy and safe summer!

By Tracey Dean

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Fifth Grade End-of-Year Activities Scheduled

FCAT testing is behind us and it’s time to end the year with some fun!

We are sure that all of our wizards did a fine job on the test. We are very proud of all of you!

Summer is now right around the corner and we can help keep your children entertained. Super Summer Sign Ups will take place in the multipurpose room on Wednesday, May 2, from 6-8 p.m. Come explore all of the exciting summer camps offered in our area.

Our fifth graders are especially excited during this time of year. They have worked hard for the past six years at Westchase and have earned the right to end the year with some special activities. Due to the countywide patrol picnic on May 18, Field Day had been moved to May 25. Please see the new fifth grade activity schedule in the inset box.

It takes a lot of effort and cooperation to plan these events and make them a success. We thank all the volunteers who worked to make a difference in the lives of our children. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Gerovac at wishyouwerehere@tampabay.rr.com.

It’s been another year of fun-filled afternoons with the After School Enrichment (ASE) Program. The students enjoyed chess, dancing, baking, Harry Potter, Spanish, science, drama, TiVitz, yoga, photography, jewelry making, LEGO building, sewing and tae kwon do! The classes are so much fun due to our awesome instructors, who are a combination of Westchase teachers, Westchase parents and local area talent. Another big thank you goes to Rosa Koerner and Marcy Lechner, who were this year’s ASE co-chairs, and to all of the parent volunteers who contributed to making the program such a success. Plans are already in the works for the fall semester. Do you have a skill or talent that you’d like to teach at ASE? Please contact Andrea Piacitelli (andreapiacitelli@yahoo.com) to express your interest.

We also thank everyone who attended the PTA breakfast to learn more about volunteering options available at our school. There are big jobs and small jobs alike that need willing volunteers. Please contact Stephanie Popper at spopper3@gmail.com if you are interested.

The last book fair of the year will be held from May 22-25. It’s a great time to purchase books for summer reading! Also, remember all Mondays are early release and students are dismissed at 1:15 p.m. There is also no school on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

Fifth Grade Events (New Schedule)

Friday, May 4  Bowling Field Trip
Saturday, May 5 Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 5 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Park
Friday, May 11  Field Trip to Busch Gardens
Friday, May 18  Countywide Patrol Picnic
Friday, May 25  Field Day, 8:15-9:30 a.m.
Friday, June 1  Yearbook Signing, 8:30-9:45 a.m.
Tuesday, June 5 Awards, 8:30-10 a.m.
Thursday, June 7 Clapout and Banquet, 10:15 a.m.

By Tracey Dean

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Wizards Tackle FCATS April 16-20

We hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful spring break and are now geared up for a great few last months of school.

A lot of activities are planned to end the year, so get ready for some hard work and fun!

April is a busy month for our Westchase Wizards. Super Summer Sign-ups will take place on April 4 in the multipurpose room. This program is a great way for parents to find out about all of the amazing summer camps available in our area.

Our next spirit day is at Tijuana Flats on April 9. When you order, please let them know you are with Westchase Elementary School, as a portion of the proceeds are donated back to our school.

FCAT testing will take place April 16-20. Please be sure that your children get plenty of rest and eat a healthy breakfast so that they can do their best! Visitors are not allowed on campus while testing is taking place. We know our teachers have done an amazing job preparing our children for this test and that they are more than ready!

The PTA has planned a "Let's Celebrate the End of Testing" celebration at the Veterans Pinchasers, located at 5555 W. Hillsborough Ave. Join us on April 20 from 5-7 p.m. for bowling, pizza, and fun to celebrate all of your hard work and effort. Save money and get your tickets early. Pre-sale tickets are $10 and will begin in April. This includes two games of bowling, a slice of pizza, and a drink for children and one game of bowling for adults. If you purchase the day of the event at Pinchasers, the price increases to $12 per person. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to our school.

Have you ever thought that you'd like to become more involved at Westchase Elementary School, but you're not sure where to begin or what to do? If so, please join the PTA for a Volunteer Recruitment Breakfast at the Westchase Golf Club on April 17 at 9:30 a.m. There are many positions open for the 2012-2013 school year and we are always looking for new people with new ideas to join.

All of the wonderful school volunteers from this school year are reminded that it’s time to add up all of your unrecorded and off-site volunteer hours and submit them to Michelle Butt at tampabatman@tampabay.rr.com.

There is no school on April 6 for a teacher work day. Report cards go home on April 13.
Please join the PTA on Facebook. This is a great way to keep up with all of the wonderful things planned at our school.

By Tracey Dean

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Casino Night Proves a Successful Fund-Raiser

If you missed it, February’s Casino Night to Remember was a blast!

The Westchase Elementary Ways and Means Committee would like to thank the families, teachers and staff for their support in a very successful fourth Casino Night to Remember on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Bayanihan Arts and Event Center. The event raised money to enhance computer technology at Westchase Elementary.

Everyone had an amazing time. We thank M.J. Kramer, Carolyn Reynolds, and Tim Swartos, who spent countless hours on this event to raise money for our school. We also thank the local restaurants that participated in A Taste of Westchase, including Tijuana Flats, Pizza Fusion, Maloney’s Local, Catch 23, StoneChase, Coastal Kitchen, Surf Shack, Little Greek, Sans, Cici’s, Java Bean Coffee and Sweet Tweets Cakery. Last, we thank our major sponsors Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, directNIC.com, Carolyn Reynolds and Coldwell Banker, Aguiar Plastic Surgery, DeVito Orthodontics, Dominion Payroll Services, Accell, Kumon at Citrus Park, Smith Fries Foundation, Perfectly Bare Laser and Pamela F. Patterson, StateFarm Agent. Look for a recap of the evening in pictures in next month’s WOW.

Westchase Elementary is honoring Mrs. Mik by holding a book drive the week of Feb. 27-March 2, in remembrance of what would have been her 60th birthday. Students can purchase a book label for $20 to be put in a brand new hardcover book that will be placed in our Media Center. At the time of purchase, students and families will sign the book label in honor of Mrs. Mik. The labels will be for sale each morning in the courtyard. (Please make all checks out to Westchase PTA and in the memo section write "Mrs. Mik Book Drive.")
Additionally, a PTA representative will be selling the labels in the courtyard on March 1 during conference night. In conjunction with the book drive for our Media Center, we will also be collecting new or gently used books to send to Just Elementary in memory of Mrs. Mik. Books may be dropped off in the courtyard each morning or on conference night.

Junior Achievement volunteers are still needed for a few classes. If you have a few hours to spare to come in and teach a business class to our students, please contact
Andy Gerovac at twodice@tampabay.rr.com.

The deadline to order your yearbook and guarantee your copy is March 31. Simply go to http://www.balfour.com and place your order. Any available yearbooks will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the end of the year. Please contact Cris Kwan with any questions at westchase.yearbook@gmail.com.

Spring break is March 12-16 and the end of the third grading period is March 30. We hope your family and you enjoy a week off from school and come back refreshed and ready for the last grading period of the year.

Please remember that the PTA’s Web site, http://www.westchasepta.org is a ,great resource for school happenings, volunteer opportunities, and all other important school information. We thank Judy Hernandez for her outstanding management of the site.

Enjoy your spring break!

By Tracey Dean

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Westchase Kindergarten Round Up Jan. 19

Happy New Year, Wizards! We hope your holidays were wonderful!

The Westchase Elementary PTA would like to thank everyone for making the giving tree a huge success this year. Because of your generous donations, we were able to make the holidays a little bit brighter for the less privileged families and children who attend our school.

A special shout out goes to the ladies in the front office and to Mrs. Romero for all her hard work organizing the families and gifts. We would like to extend an extra special thanks to Kendra Drake, who returned to Westchase Elementary to help with the Giving Tree. We also thank WOW for providing holiday dinners for all of the 15 families. We live in a wonderful community!

Please join us for Kindergarten Round Up! This is the chance for your upcoming kindergartener and you to take a tour of the school and learn about the requirements for school registration. The event will be held on Thursday, Jan.19, at 8:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room. Look for more information on the PTA Web site (http://www.westchasepta.org).

What happens in Vegas…is coming to Westchase on Saturday, Feb. 25. Westchase Elementary School PTA is hosting a Casino Nite to Remember – Viva Las Westchase at the Bayanihan Arts and Event Center.

Experience the thrill of playing casino games like black jack, roulette, craps, Texas Hold’ Em and poker in a fun atmosphere. Guests will have the chance to be the night's big winner without any unpleasant side effects – like actually losing all of your money. “Casino Nite is the biggest fundraiser of the year for our school,” said event chair M.J. Kramer. “The money we raise will help us to enhance computer technology in our school.”

In the past, this event has funded shade structures for our playgrounds and computers for our classrooms.

The event will also feature A Taste of Westchase, with food from local restaurants as well as silent and live auctions. The silent auction will include gift baskets and art projects prepared by each homeroom. Some of the live auction items include Principal for a Day, Assistant Principal for a Day and Administrative Resource Teacher for a Day.

Tickets for Casino Nite to Remember – Viva Las Westchase will go on sale Jan. 3. Please visit the PTA Web site for more information at http://www.westchasepta.org Casin.o Nite to Remember – Viva Las Westchase is sponsored by Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, directNIC.com, and Pamela F. Patterson, State Farm Insurance.

If you would like to provide a sponsorship and/or a donation to this event, please contact Carolyn Reynolds at 334-8869 or e-mail M.J. Kramer at westchase.waysmeans@gmail.org.

Remember that every Monday the students are released early at 1:15 p.m. Also, there is no school on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17.

Here’s hoping that 2012 is our best year yet!

By Tracey Dean

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Westchase Elementary Giving Tree Needs Generous Hands

While Westchase Elementary is located in an affluent community, some Wizards won’t have a holiday without your help. Please check out the giving tree located in the school’s front office. If you would like to help a needy child this holiday season, please take a star off the tree and include him or her in your holiday shopping. Each of the stars contains a wish made by an underprivileged student at the school. Last December, a significant number of stars were left unclaimed. With your help, this year we can ensure all of our Wizards have a happy holiday.

Congratulations to Nicholas Connor for creating the winning design for the fifth grade class T-shirt! The challenge was to create a T-shirt image that incorporated this year's fifth grade-theme, “The Golden Ticket is the Key to Middle School.” An amazing total of 37 budding artists submitted their creations and all fifth graders selected the winner. The shirts were delivered to the students early last month and they are “just the ticket” to wear proudly for the rest of this year.

We have so many creative students at Westchase Elementary that we are turning in 26 entries to the county-wide Reflections competition. Each of the entries display unique examples of “Diversity means...,” the theme for this year's competition. We thank our judges, Mrs. McGuiness from Walker Middle School, Joose Hadley from Great Art & Frame Gallery, and Pamela Roehm. We also appreciate all our students who participated in the Reflections program. We can't wait to find out what next year's theme will be and see the many outstanding pieces that our Wizards will create! We especially thank this year's Reflections chairperson, Andrea Duffey, for all of her hard work.

Picture Make-Up Day is scheduled for Dec. 2. Please look for your child's teacher to send home more information. Your child has worked hard all semester on his or her science fair project! Come celebrate its completion and view all of the other great projects the evening of Dec. 14.

In November Westchase Elementary had another fabulous fall festival, whose success was due to its dedicated volunteers and donors. We thank all the room moms, volunteers and teachers who helped make festival a great undertaking again this year! We offer our extra huge thanks to Nancy Gerovac for all of the time, effort and dedication she put into being the fall festival chairperson. It would not have happened without you, Nancy!

We had outstanding attendance and a crisp, fall day to enjoy the hay ride, inflatables, karaoke, freaky hair spray, pirates cave and all the great games and food. Uncle Ed's chili took home bragging rights for the second year in a row. We also thank the PTA, Dads’ Club, Chick-fil-A and San’s Pizza for their generous donations to festival.

We also thank Tom Brennan, who put on our Veterans Day Program this year. The students were treated to performances by the Westchase Chorus. All the veterans in attendance felt very appreciated. Thanks also to all those who participated in the Great American Teach In. The students enjoyed learning all about you!

Yearbooks are on sale now! Guarantee your student's copy at the end of the year. Buy today before the price goes up on Dec. 16. The first 400 students who order their yearbook online will receive a slap band. Go to the PTA Web site, http://www.westchasepta.org and c,lick on the link. You will receive an e-mail confirmation. Also, don't forget to send your special Wizard a dedication in the yearbook. Forms can be found on the PTA web site. Please send photos or questions to westchase.yearbook@gmail.com.

Spread the word! Kindergarten Round-up has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, at 8:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room. This is your opportunity to bring your incoming kindergarten student to school for a tour and an overview of our program.

Save the date of Saturday, Feb. 25, for the Fourth Annual Casino Night. We need help planning this year's event! Visit the PTA Web site or contact your Ways and Means Co-Chairs, M.J. Kramer, Time Swartos or Carolyn Reynolds, through westchase.waysmeans@gmail.com. If you would like to provide a sponsorship and/or donation for the event, please contact Carolyn Reynolds at westchase.waysmeans@gamil.com or fill out a form from the PTA Web site and mail it in today.

Every Monday is an early release day with dismissal at 1:15 p.m. Winter break begins on Monday, Dec. 19, and students return to school on Monday, Jan. 2.

Last, we are so happy and proud of our very own Mrs. Mooy, who was chosen to be the new principal at Tinker Elementary School. We were fortunate to have such a caring, motivated, hands-on assistant principal for six years at Westchase Elementary. We truly love her and wish her the best with life's next adventure!

We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday!

By Tracey Dean, PTA Corresponding Secretary

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Westchase Calendar Filled with Events

The Wizard school year is off to great start! Our much awaited new parking lot is finally complete and it has alleviated much of our parking problems. Please remember, however, that the new parking lot is not part of the pick-up/drop-off loop. We ask that you pull into a parking spot before letting your child leave your vehicle.

October is going to be a fun, busy month, so get your calendars out and get ready to save lots of dates!

Westchase Elementary is again participating in National Walk to School Day to help encourage safe and healthy habits in our students. This year the walk will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 5. It will begin at the corner of Gretna Green Drive and Kingsbridge Avenue and will continue to Westchase Drive at 7:15 a.m. It will end at the Westchase Recreation Center with refreshments; the first 200 students there receive a reflective bag stuffed with goodies.

Get out your favorite shirt and put on your best smile because school pictures will be taken on Oct. 6 for Grades K-2 and Oct.7 for Grades 3-5.

Wizards are invited to unleash their talent and creativity in a fun and positive way. This year's theme for the Reflections art program is “Diversity Means...” All entries must be the original work of an individual student. Check out http://www.westchasepta.org for entry forms, rules and more information.

Oct. 20 is the end of the first marking period and Parent Conference Night. Your child's teacher will contact you about scheduling a conference. Report cards go home on Nov. 4. Also, Oct. 21 is a non-student day, so plan accordingly.

Red Ribbon week is scheduled for Oct. 24-28. More information on this anti-drug awareness event will be sent home with your child.

The annual Character Storybook Parade will be held on Friday, Oct. 28. Make sure you mark your calendars to be at school by 8:30 a.m. to watch the procession from the courtyard.

Congratulations to Dane Kudla, who submitted the winning entry for the fifth grade theme contest. His winning entry is “The Golden Ticket is the Key to Middle School.” The fifth grade steering committee will focus on a Willy Wonka-type theme. Thanks to all of those who supported the fifth grade class through the Entertainment Book drive. If you have not already done so, please return any unwanted books.

The Ways and Means committee would like to thank everyone who bought this year's orange Community Discount Card. This card offers year-round discounts to local businesses. The card costs $10 and the proceeds go to the school and the PTA. If you do not already have yours, you can still purchase them in the school’s front office or contact M.J. Kramer at bkramer287@verizon.net.

Our fall fundraiser, Sally Foster wrapping paper and gifts, will run Oct. 4-20. This year's orders will be shipped to your homes. What a great way to get ready for the busy holiday season!

Our Box Top drive continues until Oct. 13. Last year, our school raised over $3,000 through this program. Turn in any box tops you have collected in a sealed plastic bag with your child's name, teacher and grade written on a piece of paper. One entry will be entered into our weekly drawings for every ten box tops submitted. This year's grand prize will be your choice of an iPod shuffle or $50 iTunes gift card. Please contact Stacy Shasek with any questions at stacyshasek@gmail.com.

It's time for another great year of school memories. Take photos of your kids, friends and teachers and e-mail your best photos to westchase.yearbook@gmail.com or send them on a CD to your child's teacher. Photos must be taken at school or during a school-related event. To order a yearbook, go http://www.westchasepta.org

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Have a fun, safe October!

By Tracy Dean, PTA Corresponding Secretary

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Westchase Calendar Filled with Events

Our new school year begins with a lot of September activities.
We hope that you will please take a moment to join the PTA, which is a great way to get involved in your child's education. Membership is $6 per person and funds are used to improve our school. Grandparents are encouraged to join also. This year's first PTA general meeting, during which we will vote on our budget, will be on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room.

Our Ways and Means Committee has been hard at work, organizing this year's fundraisers. The Community Discount Card allows local businesses to offer year-round discounts to the community, all for only $10 a card. Additionally, on Oct. 4 we are bringing back Sally Foster wrapping paper and gifts as our fall fundraiser. All proceeds go to the PTA and the school.

The Ways and Means Committee is also in the initial planning process of another Casino Night in the spring. We will be sure to keep you informed about what we’re planning and how you can be a part of it.

The fifth grade festivities, including their bowling party, field day, field trip, yearbook signing, awards ceremony and banquet, have always been something special. Our major fundraiser for these endeavors is our sale of the Entertainment Books, which kicks off on Sept. 7. This book offers great value as well as lots of coupons and discounts.

Our first fifth grade parent meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 8, at 8:15 a.m. in the multipurpose room. Anyone interested in volunteering for the fifth grade activities is invited to attend. Please contact Nancy Gerovac at wishyouwerehere@tampabay.rr.com if you are interested in helping.

Friday, Sept. 9 is our annual Grandparents Read to Me Day. This special event allows students in Grades K-2 to invite their grandparents into their classroom to share a special story with their friends. Information will be sent home with your child.

The Parent/Staff Kickball Game is a fun, back-to-school event for the whole family! Join us on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Westchase Rec. Center. Visit http://www.westchasepta.org to sign up to play and to volunteer. Who will win this year? Come find out!

You can also still purchase your Westchase SpiritLine items by downloading the order form from http://www.westchasepta.org and sending it to school in an envelope marked “SpiritLine.”

Last, save the date for the Fall Festival on Friday, Nov. 4!

By Tracy Dean, PTA Corresponding Secretary

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