About > Westbrook Vision, Mission, and Best Practices
Westbrook Elementary School is dedicated to nurturing a diverse community of lifelong learners who demonstrate respect, responsibility, caring, trust, and a sense of belonging while achieving their highest academic and personal potential in our globally connected world.
The Westbrook community will work collaboratively to support the development of the whole child through our Community of Caring values. We will enhance instruction through the arts, use of digital literacy, and awareness of the environment. Through integrating the arts, following the Community of Caring values, demonstrating value for our natural world, and embracing the unique talents of individuals, the Westbrook community will ensure that we all reach our highest academic and personal potential.
Westbrook Best Practice
What makes Westbrook special? The people…We learn to treat others how we would want to be treated and to value the world around us. Here are a few of Westbrook’s Best Practices:
Character Education. Westbrook incorporates a Community of Caring character development program into its academic and social programs. Starting in kindergarten, all Westbrook students learn five core values to help them understand how to be responsible and caring members of a community. The five values – caring, respect, trust, responsibility and family – are integrated into each grade’s curriculum wherever natural connections exist. At the end of each day’s morning announcements, students read a quote that reflects one of the values. Teachers regularly convene class meetings to enable students to resolve disputes and recognize each others’ good work. Parents are given tools to help the students use the values and tactics at home. In 2004, Westbrook was recognized as one of 10 schools nationally for its character education through the National Conference of Character Education Partnership.
Environmental Awareness. Westbrook has an extremely active series of programs devoted to teaching its students about the environment. These are funded by the PTA and generous supporters including: the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Living Classrooms, Trout Unlimited, Little Falls Alliance, and MD Department of Natural Resources. For the last seven years through Shad in Schools Westbrook students have hatched American shad from eggs and released them to the Potomac River. This activity involves the whole school: fourth and fifth graders raise the shad and teach the younger students about their project. Students in the upper grades also raise horseshoe crabs for a year before releasing them to the Bay. Westbrook also sponsors the Aqua Eagles, an extracurricular club enabling 5th graders to pursue interests in stream and Bay education and restoration. Aqua Eagles monitor water quality in Little Falls stream and work to stabilize the stream bank by weeding and planting tree buffers. Westbrook students installed a rain garden and other planted buffers to reduce run-off into Little Falls stream from the school. Eco-Defenders, Westbrook’s own environmental club, promotes awareness by sponsoring trash-free lunches, planting around the school and encouraging discussions. In 2001, the State of Maryland named Westbrook a Governor’s Green School.
Academic Enrichment: The PTA sponsors special creative units with artists in residence and a number of after and before school academic enrichment programs, including French and Spanish lessons, Mad Science, Art programs, a Chess Club, a Glee Club, and a Lego Club.
Parent Volunteers: Westbrook parents are annually recognized by the Presidential Volunteer Service Organization for their generous contributions of time to the school office, classrooms, field days and trips, musicals, planting projects, and other special events.