IDEA Academy @ Cottonwood
Dear Westside Families,
On behalf of the entire Westside Union School District family, including our Board of Trustees and staff, I offer our prayers and thoughts to the victims and families of the senseless school shooting in Texas. The tragedy these families are experiencing is just beyond belief.
The safety of our students is our highest priority and we take that responsibility very seriously. It is at the center of everything we do. We cannot educate our students without them being physically and emotionally safe. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you about this situation and discuss steps that we are taking to ensure the safety of our school sites.
As you have no-doubt already observed, this tragic event will continue to attract endless news coverage and this exposure can be very unsettling to children. I would encourage you to limit your children’s viewing of this event on the news and social media, especially younger students. Keep in mind that the normal filters of what is acceptable to display on the news are not applied to social media, requiring extra vigilance. If you do watch news or content surrounding the event, please discuss it with your child. Specifically, it might be helpful to emphasize that such events are rare and that our schools have extensive safety procedures in place. All our schools conduct routine emergency drills and have safety plans.
We also work hard to secure our school facilities.
- No person may enter any school facility without clearance from the school office first, and only those with a legitimate reason for being on campus are permitted access.
- Every Westside campus is a “secure school” where unrestricted access and movement is never permitted.
- All teachers and district staff are trained to rapidly “lock down” our school sites and individual classrooms at a moments notice. Our goal is maintaining a secure environment to protect our children and staff should any incident emerge.
- Westside Union School District is capable of maintaining real-time communications with law enforcement, local and state officials and parents should any potential threat emerge. Such communications can be initiated at a moments notice.
- We maintain detailed evacuation plans to rapidly remove children, volunteers and staff from dangerous situations should they emerge. These plans include multiple exits and methods of maintaining communication amidst the evacuation.
- We will conduct a thorough internal review of safety protocols in the wake of this tragedy to ensure that every sensible strategy is being deployed to keep our children and staff safe.
That said, even with extensive safety measures in place, many of our students are struggling to make sense of these events and we are offering our complete support for them.
We will have counselors and psychologists available all week to support any student needing support to deal with this tragic event. I also encourage you to speak with your children about the importance of alerting the appropriate authorities when they see something out of the ordinary at or near their school. Far too often, after a terrible event we hear of “warning signs” associated with the individuals involved. As a society we must do better at picking up on such signs and acting accordingly. That starts with teaching our children to say something if they see something.
Out of an abundance of caution, we will be conducting drills at each of our school sites over the coming days to ensure that we have had additional practice with our students prior to their departure for vacation.
Please contact your principal if you have any questions or concerns. We continue to review our safety procedures to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
Finally, I want to take a moment to commend the teachers and staff at the school in Uvalde, Texas for their sacrifice and quick thinking to protect the children. Everyday our teachers and staff do whatever is necessary to protect our children. During the coming days, as we prepare for summer break, it might be an opportune time to let those who work with your children daily know how much you appreciate their dedication in making our schools safe. These are amazing heroes and heroines in our schools!
Please keep the families in Uvalde in your thoughts as they will need all of our help to endure this tragedy.
Again, thank you for working with us to keep our students safe.
WE ARE HIRING
If you are interested in working at our school, please go to the website below.
IDEA is Innovation, Design, Engineering, & Art!
Hello Innovator Families,
Welcome to the launch of the school year. I hope all of our school families are safe and well and have had some quality time as a family during this very challenging summer season. I am so pleased to be returning as your principal at the IDEA Academy @Cottonwood, a 2020 AVID Showcase School and home of the newly WASC-accredited Innovators! Joining me as a part of our administrative team are Sandra Jones, our new vice-principal and Kristen Charlick, school counselor.
Our staff and I are excited to welcome your children back to school! I also understand that many families are anxious about what this year may bring. Please know that it is our goal to provide all of our students with the best education possible. We are committed to taking these unprecedented circumstances and developing creative new ways to challenge and support your children’s academic and personal growth. We are committed to making 2020-2021 a year marked with memories (the good kind), special experiences and rigorous learning for your children!
Please Update Your Back to School Information in PowerSchool for the 2021-2022 School Year
If you have not yet done so, it is imperative that you visit the Parent Portal as soon as possible by logging on to your PowerSchool parent account to update your parent contact and other Back to School information. This is the only emergency and contact information that the school office will have on file for your child and we need to be able to contact you when necessary. You will be able to update your contact information, emergency contacts, and your child's medical information, so that it is current and accurate. See the quick start steps below to get started and refer to this letter for full instructions and frequently asked questions:
From the Parent Portal:
1. Select the student you wish to register along the top.
2. Select "Back-to-School Registration" on the left side.
3. Agree to the terms and conditions.
4. Select Begin Forms.
*Please note, the link above is unavailable in the PowerSchool parent app. You must use a web browser to access this information.
Weekly dialer messages will be sent along with announcements posted on Class Dojo and through the IDEA Academy PTA Facebook group. Please also check the district Facebook page, as well as the district and school website frequently. Please be sure that your email address and phone numbers in PowerSchool are accurate so that you will receive important school news.
So that you can locate school announcements in your inbox, know that all automated e-mail announcements from our school will come from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The school office is open Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm for phone service and curbside pick-up/drop-off only. The telephone number is (661) 267-2825.
School uniforms are required while attending school.
We are a proud AVID school and will continue to promote the wearing of college shirts each Thursday.
Wearing an IDEA Academy spirit shirt on Fridays is also encouraged.
Thank you, families, for your support. We will take these unique circumstances and turn them into a rewarding new year. That is exactly the kind of thing that Innovators do! Take care of yourselves. You continue to be so dearly missed!
Parents and guardians of enrolled pupils at IDEA Academy at Cottonwood have the option to enroll their child in in-person instruction or independent study for the 2021-2022 school year.
Several agencies throughout the Antelope Valley are currently open for distribution during the pandemic. Attached is a schedule of available distribution. Please call the respective agency for more information or questions.
For information, resources, and services available in LA COUNTY, please visit
COVID-19 continues to be a major concern across our country. Los Angeles County has seen the increase in cases over the past week, and while there are no cases identified by Public Health in the Antelope Valley, we are taking additional steps to keep our school safe for the students, staff and community.
The health and wellness of students, staff, volunteers and families is our highest priority. When any alarming incident like the 2019 novel COVID-19 occurs, we all want honest information. I am writing today to update you on the state of the COVID-19 from our perspective. I also want to share information regarding steps that we are taking to minimize the chance of transmission at our school sites.
The novel COVID-19 has garnered extensive attention worldwide. There are only a very limited number of cases in the United States, but we can expect the number of domestic cases to increase over coming weeks.
At this time, the risk of exposure to Westside students, staff and volunteers is extremely limited but caution should, nonetheless, be observed.
This document reviews current policies and important action steps to keep children safe in Los Angeles County’s 3,040 TK-12 schools. At the end you will find resources you can turn to, including where to call, if you want further information or need assistance with COVID-19 prevention or care.