Family Engagement Guide


Dear Westside Community,

Below are the details that outline the Westside Family Engagement Plan for 2023-24. To understand how working together can benefit your child, it is first important to understand the district’s and school’s vision, mission, and goals for student academic achievement.  

Sun Prairie School District Vision:  To be a high performing district of choice that reflects the cultures of our diverse community.

Sun Prairie School District Mission: Futures depend on us to inspire and prepare every child, every day by providing relevant, engaging, and innovative learning experiences in and out of the classroom.

At Westside Elementary, we believe that families are essential partners in the education of our children.  We value inclusivity and transparency.  We strive to create a supportive school community that is a safe space where all families feel seen, heard and a part of our community.

We are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students and families at Westside. 


We also have a Theory of Action that drives the short and long-term goals we are working toward as a staff. 


Frequently Requested Information: 

Who should I go to if I have a question about my child’s education?

Please start with your child’s classroom teacher.  If the teacher can’t answer this, the teacher will advise you to reach out to the appropriate person.

What is OPTS and when do they meet? 

Our Family and Community Organization is called OPTs.  The OPTS Team meets monthly on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00-7:30 pm in our Multi Purpose Room (MPR).   All families are encouraged to attend the OPTS meetings. 

We are committed to working directly with our OPTS Group to help guide and support our community school.  They put on a number of events for our Westside families and also work in alignment with the District Parent Leadership Council (PLC) on bringing about more equitable experiences between all SPASD elementary schools.  

How will the school share information about events and student progress? 

Westside sends out a monthly newsletter at the beginning of each month through Blackboard Connect messaging system.  Blackboard can send emails, texts, and phone messages to you. The monthly newsletter will then be archived on the Westside web page under “Newsletters”. 

Blackboard emails called will be sent whenever there is relevant information to share with families. Our website and Facebook page also will have information about upcoming events.  

Peachjar is another venue we will use to inform families of school and community events.  This will come in the form of an email, but can also be accessed via our school website under “Flyer Distribution in Schools”. 

Classroom Teachers also use the Remind App to connect with families, send reminders and share learning with families.

Teachers will share information with families about learning targets, student progress and special celebrations through the Remind App, email, and work products/flyers sent home in backpacks.  Caregivers will be invited to have a conference with educators in the first and third quarters of the school year. Elementary students in Sun Prairie receive report cards after the completion of each semester.  You can access the report card when it is posted on your Infinite Campus Parent Portal.

What should you do if you have a concern, question, or great idea? 

If it is a classroom concern, we ask that you go directly through the teacher first. If it’s something else and you are not sure where to start, call our main office for assistance at (608) 834-7503 or email Katie King, our lead administrative associate, at  

How can you be more involved at Westside?  

We love volunteers at Westside, if you are interested please reach out to our Community Schools Site Coordinator, Stacy Darga ( Volunteering in the school does require a background check.  Here is the link: volunteer application.

We also have opportunities for caregivers to attend award celebrations, school functions, Dudes on Duty, our Walking School Bus and field trips.  Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you are interested.

What should I know about attendance? 

When your child is absent, please call the attendance line (608) 834-7500 and press #1 as well as call the classroom teacher.  You can also email our administrative associate that oversees attendance, Karen Kreft, at

Why is attendance important?

It is the caregivers’ legal obligation as Parent/Guardian to ensure their child from the age of 6-18 attends school regularly (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.16). Regular attendance greatly impacts academic success starting as early as preschool, continuing through high school years. Parents/Guardians play a key role in helping their child succeed with being able to get to school on time.  Please take priority in ensuring your child's daily attendance.

What are school hours and dates? 

School hours for elementary students are  7:40 am-2:40 pm (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday), and 7:40 am-1:30 pm (Thursday). Students may come to school at 7:30 am or after, as supervisors are on duty at that time. 

The first day of school for the 2023-24 school year is Tuesday, September 5, 2023. The last day of the school year is Friday, June 7, 2024. 

SPASD School Calendars & Bell Schedules 

Do SPASD schools offer breakfast and lunch? 

You can access the school menus through Nutrislice on the district District web page.  Breakfast and Lunch are free for all students at Westside.  

Westside Staff Directory is available on our webpage and right here

You will be able to access a staff member’s email address and school phone number from that link.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s social and emotional health, start with your classroom teacher. 

You can also access our student services team or community schools coordinator and they can provide you with resources and support.

  • Jessica Knight, School Counselor

  • Austin Trafola, School Psychologist

  • Kara Masnica, School Social Worker

  • Stacy Darga, Community Schools Site Coordinator 

Transportation:  Have a question about bussing? Check out the transportation page on the district website.

Use the SPASD district webpage as a resource.  It is very likely that you can find what you are looking for on the webpage.  We highly recommend it as a go-to resource for our families.

Additional Resources:  We have an onsite Food Pantry and Clothing Closet if you are in need.  Please contact Stacy Darga or Kara Masnica if you would like to access either of these resources.

Westside Elementary School Facebook Page: 

We look forward to a great year with you at Westside Elementary School!



Nikki Harcus, Principal

Emily Leslie, Associate Principal
(608) 834-7551


Westside School Facebook Page:

The goal of sharing this guide is to help you find the pathways to partnership that your school has set up for families. You are essential to student success and that you belong as a part of your student’s school community. All parents and caregivers are essential partners in every child's educational journey. The collaboration of our staff and families is fundamental to supporting students in achieving their highest potential.

Belief Statement [school staff paste here]
Invitation to volunteer  
Invitation to attend school-wide events  
Help us meet our goals as a school community  
SCO - role, goals, opportunities to participate  
How your school will communicate with you  
How your teachers will communicate with you  
How you can support your student's success and advocate for them  
How to contact your school