Demon Dispatch

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

The Westlake Class of 2023 recently celebrated the end of their high school journey, receiving their diplomas. These students worked hard toward their future goals while maintaining a connection with each other that will never be broken. Whether it was banding together in support when someone was struggling or cheering each other on during celebrations and successes, the Class of 2023 has truly shown what it means to be part of the Demon family.

Once a Demon, always a Demon. That is a phrase that is used frequently in Westlake. But what does it mean when we say, “Once a Demon, always a Demon”? I believe that it has multiple meanings.

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 8:26 AM, 06.20.2023

Westlake teacher receives national, state recognition for teaching excellence

Shanti’ Coaston, a teacher at Westlake City Schools, has been recognized on the national and state level for her remarkable success in teaching computer science, from the introductory to AP levels. She is a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics 2023 (PAEMST) and is nominated for the 2024 Ohio Teacher of the Year.

As a teacher with more than 11 years of experience, Ms. Coaston is an inspiration to Westlake students who are passionate about technology. Ms. Coaston earned her bachelor’s degrees in sociology and social work and a master’s degree in social science administration before obtaining her teaching certification. As her teaching experience grew, she discovered a passion for computers and technology. She is not only enthusiastic about technology in her classroom but also serves as the advisor of Westlake High School's Computer Club.

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 8:47 AM, 06.06.2023

Westlake students use global mindset to prepare for new adventures

As the school year nears its conclusion, many of us anticipate the future. Our soon-to-be graduates are ready to leave home and pursue a college education or launch new careers that will allow them to live independently for the first time and explore different cultures through their newfound peers. This mindset affords our graduates a unique chance to broaden and deepen their understanding of life beyond what is familiar.

Our younger students are going through change. They may be trying different hobbies or looking forward to summer activities that allow them to meet people from other social groups. Many will embark on family trips and explore unknown lands. Some may anticipate the next school year when they move up a grade level or switch buildings.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 9:26 AM, 05.02.2023

Innovation is driver of success at Westlake City Schools

Of all the things we have learned over the past three years, one of the most important lessons has been the commitment to innovation. It has been essential for us to stay resilient and adaptive as we navigate the new landscape of education. We have come up with fresh perspectives on formidable challenges. Our resourcefulness has become our ultimate ally in tackling complex issues that arise.

To put it simply, we have been driven to innovate. Our Westlake students, teachers, and administrators show resilience when new challenges arise. They confront every obstacle with astounding grace and conviction.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 10:16 AM, 03.21.2023

Balance is paramount for Westlake students during the winter months

The colder and shorter winter days can often shift our mood to feeling tired and withdrawn. With the academic and extracurricular demands of Westlake students, it's easy to feel overwhelmed this time of year. That is particularly true during the winter when the motivation to achieve may be in short supply. That's why it is essential to remember the balance between the mind and your physical well-being.

A balanced Westlake student expresses a connection between physical well-being and conscious decisions leading to a healthy lifestyle. They establish and maintain positive relationships by being mindful of others. They retain the ability to organize and self-regulate the demands of daily life.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 8:59 AM, 02.21.2023

Purpose drives success in life

What motivates us to achieve success? What propels us to be our best selves? How can I reach my goals for the future? All of these questions trace their origin back to discovering a purpose. When you identify your purpose – it becomes easier to reach success and accomplish what you set out to do.

Purpose is a fundamental value of our Portrait of a Lifelong Learner, which Westlake students exemplify daily. A student with purpose at Westlake understands the importance of setting goals and persistently striving toward them. They demonstrate perseverance in every aspect of life and understand that academic success is only one element to becoming their ideal self. With purpose, they can make informed decisions that pave the way for personal fulfillment throughout school and beyond.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:52 AM, 01.17.2023

Resilience drives Westlake students into the new year!

Resilience. What does it mean to be resilient? For me, it is the ability to strive to find solutions to meet the demands of our top-tier school district. For an athlete, it's taking on adversity head-on and preparing for what comes next on the field of play. For students in the classroom, it could be hours of studying for a test in a difficult subject. How we respond to these situations proves how resilient we can be.

A resilient Westlake student perseveres, adapts during times of adversity or stress, and confronts uncertainty with courage and strength. They show tenacity in pursuing their goals, despite obstacles and challenges they may face.

As we wind down the first semester, students and staff have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to succeed in times of personal or professional difficulty. They've found new ways to learn, evolve, flourish, and achieve remarkable things. I know their grit and strength will carry them through the rest of this school year and beyond.

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Volume 14, Issue 24, Posted 11:24 AM, 12.20.2022

WCSD Portrait of a Lifelong Learner: Integrity

As a critical component of Westlake City School District’s Portrait of a Lifelong Learner, integrity is a characteristic we hope to encourage in each of our students. Having integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. It means doing what we say we will do, and doing it well. It means others know they can depend on us.

A person of integrity develops empathy, social awareness, and accountability to understand how behaviors and actions impact others. They exhibit a consistent dedication to their own character development and demonstrate the ability to take action for the greater good. In every interaction, they actively listen to understand others’ perspectives and contemplate problems through various lenses.

A model of integrity acts with honesty, respect and responsibility and prioritizes keeping their promises and helping others. Honesty – both with others and with ourselves – requires that we approach every situation with the intention to stay true to ourselves and be open with the people around us.

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Volume 14, Issue 22, Posted 10:07 AM, 11.15.2022

Emotional intelligence attribute integral to student success

A leading attribute of the Westlake City School District’s Portrait of a Lifelong Learner, emotional intelligence is essential to every relationship we form and interaction we have in school, in our personal lives and at work. It is the ability to understand and manage our own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, navigate challenges and defuse conflict. The five foundational elements of emotional intelligence are empathy, self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation and social skills.

Empathy is the keystone of emotional intelligence. It is the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others and truly consider how others are affected by our actions and the actions of others. Awareness of others’ feelings is vital, as is responding to and working through them even if we may not agree. We must work everyday to respect a variety of viewpoints and welcome diversity and inclusion efforts that will lead us all to a better understanding of each other.

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Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 10:48 AM, 10.18.2022

Gratitude guides the new school year

At the beginning of every school year, excitement is in the air as students, teachers and staff prepare for another year of learning. As we are now treading heavily into the 2022-2023 school year, there is a different sense of eager anticipation that has trended toward gratefulness.

Grateful for the sense of “normalcy” this school year promises; grateful to be attending football games in the crisp autumn air as though we’ve never missed a game; grateful to be playing volleyball as though we’ve never missed a set; grateful to be sitting next to our friends in class as though we’ve never done it any other way.

Routines are healthy and can serve as a conduit to better mental and physical health. The routine of the school day is one that growing young students need to build structure, healthy behaviors and foundational habits. We’re already seeing such positivity among Westlake City Schools, and I think it’s the sense of comfort the routine of school brings.

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Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 9:30 AM, 09.20.2022

Class of 2022 finishes school career with purpose

In the coming days, our seniors will be walking across the stage in their caps and gowns to accept their diplomas and leave their high school careers behind. Some will head to college, while others will start careers or embark on different adventures of their own. After graduation, no matter their direction, they will be moving with purpose, just as they always have. 

At Westlake, our students maintain a sense of purpose throughout their careers as learners, confronting challenges with grace and keeping their minds focused on their goals. This sense of purpose is present outside of the classroom, as students navigate their everyday lives. 

Westlake students demonstrate purpose by setting and committing to future goals and pursuing them continuously. They display determination in all aspects of life and make decisions that help them achieve self-fulfillment.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:49 AM, 05.17.2022

Globally-minded Westlake students prepare for new adventures this summer

As we approach the end of the school year, many of us eagerly look toward the future. Our soon-to-be graduates prepare to head off to college or embark on entirely new experiences in new careers. They will be living on their own for the first time and meeting peers from varying cultures and backgrounds. Their worldview will continue to expand. 

Our younger students are experiencing transitions of their own. They may be trying out new hobbies or planning to participate in summer activities that will expose them to individuals outside of their traditional social circles. Many will be traveling with their families and exploring foreign destinations. Some students may even look farther ahead to the next school year when they shift to a new grade level or academic building. 

Some of these life changes may seem overwhelming, but our globally-minded Westlake students welcome all challenges with open arms. They understand that each life transition exposes them to exciting new ideas and experiences. They embrace the possibilities.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:27 AM, 04.19.2022

Innovative students drive school community forward

Over the past two years, we’ve all needed to be flexible as we learned to adapt to a new normal. We’ve had to find creative ways to approach once-familiar situations. We’ve needed to rely on our ingenuity to solve problems.

In short, we’ve had to be Innovative. When faced with roadblocks both inside and outside of the classroom, our Westlake students, teachers and administrators rose to the occasion and approached each situation with unparalleled grace and purpose. 

Even through countless challenges, our school community was Innovative, engaging in problem solving and remaining resourceful while thinking critically. They worked together to uncover new ideas and form solutions that contributed meaningful and impactful changes for themselves and others. All the while, they embraced intellectual curiosity and remained focused on education, whether they were the ones providing it or the ones receiving it.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.15.2022

Balance is key for students in Westlake City Schools

Many of us experience a mood shift during the cold, dark days of winter. It’s common to feel tired, withdrawn and simply less happy in response to more time spent indoors.

While it can be tempting to want to slow down this time of year, our Westlake students remain busy, juggling academics and extracurricular activities. Not only is it a challenge to accomplish all that needs to be done, it’s even harder when motivation is in short supply. That’s why it’s important to remember the mind-body connection and stay Balanced both physically and mentally as we make the slow transition to spring.  

Balanced Westlake student expresses a connection between physical well-being and makes conscious decisions that lead to a healthy lifestyle. They establish and maintain positive relationships by being mindful of others. They retain the ability to organize and self-regulate the demands of daily life.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:57 AM, 02.15.2022

Sense of purpose guides Westlake students

When the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, many of us set intentions for the year to come. Whether these are resolutions, personal goals or simply promises we make to ourselves, we commit to improving our lives. 

For Westlake students, the new year marks the second half of the school year and offers the potential for a new beginning. It provides an opportunity to take healthy risks and try something new. It is an excuse to give up old habits and create new ones. It is a chance to approach life with a renewed sense of purpose.

"Purpose" is a pillar of our Portrait of a Lifelong Learner, and one that Westlake students demonstrate time and again, year after year. A Westlake student with Purpose commits to future goals and pursues them continuously. They display determination in all aspects of life, not just at school. They make decisions that help them achieve self-fulfillment and recognize that while academic success is important, it’s only part of the formula for becoming the best version of themselves.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:13 AM, 01.18.2022

Wrapping Up 2021

If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s how to remain strong when faced with great challenges.

As the Westlake City School District prepares for a new year on the horizon, we once again look to our Portrait of a Lifelong Learner – our vision of what we expect from our students inside the classroom, and how we anticipate them contributing to the wider world outside of our hallways – to help set our course for 2022. 

Reflecting back on 2021, I’m reminded of all the ways we have found to be "Resilient." Whether we were dealing with our own health problems or caring for others, rolling with the punches as policies shifted and changed, or accepting the challenges that come with an altered learning environment, we all found ways to persevere. I know the determination of our teachers and staff is observed by our students, who are learning to model that same behavior when confronted with their own struggles.

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:52 AM, 12.21.2021

Integrity is highlighted in Westlake City Schools

Our Portrait of a Lifelong Learner has been a guiding light as we navigate the waters of this school year. The traits we highlight in our Portrait continue to provide needed direction and ambitions as our teachers and staff strive to Educate for Excellence, while our students continue to Learn with Purpose.

As we continue into the month of November, the trait I think of most is Integrity. 

A Westlake student with Integrity develops “empathy, social awareness and accountability to understand how behaviors and actions impact others.” With all our students have been through – not just in the last two years, but throughout the entirety of this generation’s academic lifetime – the idea of understanding and empathy carries so much importance. I’ve seen students lift each other through difficult times; I’ve experienced students demonstrate character beyond measure; I’ve observed our students’ ability to reach out to each other and truly listen to their peers.

In short, I’ve witnessed our students’ growing integrity.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 10:24 AM, 11.16.2021

Westlake City Schools shine light on mental health efforts

In October, we recognize World Mental Health Day. This day is meant to raise awareness of the importance of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

We’re so proud of our Westlake City School students and the work they do in class and in our community. We sometimes forget the importance of mental health and how that can have an effect on the student's growth and education.

We are also proud of the openness with which people are now discussing these issues. It wasn’t that long ago that such topics were considered taboo. We are learning more and more about mental health, both how to recognize certain issues, and how to help those who are looking to improve this aspect of their health.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.19.2021

A new school year begins

The Observer is proud to introduce a new monthly column, "Demon Dispatch," focusing on the Westlake City School District, penned by Superintendent Scott Goggin.

It’s an exciting time for Westlake City Schools, and the 2021-2022 school year will see us all continue our upward trajectory of being a leader in education in our area. As we embark on this foundational year, we lean on the attributes that provide opportunities for student growth intellectually, emotionally and socially.

When we crafted our Portrait of a Lifelong Learner, it was with the intent of providing the vision of what we expect from our students inside the classroom, and how we anticipate them contributing to the wider world outside of our hallways. Westlake City Schools offer our students a unique opportunity to learn with purpose, and our teachers and staff share the same ideals in providing a learning environment in support of this vision. This Portrait of a Lifelong Learner is a promise to our students, our families and the entire Westlake community.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:17 AM, 09.21.2021