Mrs. Hess's First Grade

        Let me introduce myself. My name is Ellen Hess. I am very excited to be a part of Westside Elementary for a tenth year. This is my thirty-sixth year as an educator. I have taught here at Westside for  nine years (eight in first grade and one as an Intervention teacher).  Before that, I worked for three years at Moulton-Branch, also in the first grade. I spent the previous eleven years as a special education teacher in Valdosta City and here in the Lowndes County System at Horizon Academy. Before that, I spent two years teaching fourth grade at the American International School in Egypt-that was an adventure! I have also lived in Australia and taught more than 10 years of regular education in Chicago - five of them with the first grade, four years in fourth grade, and a year as a Reading Intervention teacher. I lived much of my life in Chicago, before going overseas and then settling here in Georgia. I have taught in the elementary and middle grades and have been an administrator for two years. I am also a certified reading specialist. I am married to a retired Air Force Master Sgt.- which is how I came to live in Valdosta. He is currently working as the Central Maintenance Superintendent for the Water - Sewer and Drainage Department for the City of Valdosta. We have two children. Mike is in the Air Force, following in his dad's footsteps, and currently is stationed in South Carolina. He is married to the lovely Michelle. Jamie is working in Jacksonville, Florida with our first grandchild, 6-year old Makenzi Kadence, and 1 -year old Jordan Anthony.  We attend St. John's Church. I love to read, swim, cook, and travel.

         Together, you and I share a common goal - to help your child become a more confident and successful learner. As a parent, you know the most about your child's likes, dislikes, and unique personality. Your input will help me plan for the academic and emotional needs of your child, prepare activities that will be interesting and motivating, and better extend learning within the classroom and community. Please feel free to call me here at the school if you have any questions or concerns. I am available here between 7:30AM and 4:00PM - or you can leave a message any time during the day and I will call you back. My e-mail address is .

     It is my hope that your child will have a GREAT school year filled with new experiences, challenges, and success!

Mrs. Ellen M. Hess

Hess Mart - Going Out of Business Sale was a success!

Dear Parent,

Your child’s first grade year has drawn to a close.  For me, this has happened very quickly.  It has been a privilege to work with your child.  I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this year.  So, I give you back your child that you entrusted to me in August.  It was a joy to watch each child develop into a taller, wiser, more responsible young person. Remember I will always be interested in your child and their destiny.  Know that I hope your family has a safe and wonderful summer.  Though I am retiring after 37 years as an educator, you can still reach me at if you have any questions. 


During the 10 or so weeks of summer vacation, I would suggest that your child continues to practice their reading skills.   This can be done at home or through the public library.  Why not get a jump start on second grade?  Research shows, the more minutes a child spends reading in elementary school, the better their chance of success in school in later years.  Help your child develop ‘the habit’ of reading by setting aside a special time each day.   Talking about why we read, will help your child develop a true appreciation for literature and allow your child to see value in what he/she is doing.  You can also help with math by including your child in cooking, time keeping, money counting, or measuring whenever an opportunity comes up.  Please see the Xtra Math letter attached.  Having a real purpose to do math is a great way to encourage children to excel.  Other possible activities are keeping a vacation journal.  They can write, draw pictures, paste in postcards…. This will help maintain writing skills over the summer.  The children have really enjoyed writing workshop all year.  Their Word Book is in their folder, they can keep this as a resource to use next year as well.


I have a list of summer reading books and websites on my school webpage that you can use as a resource for materials over the summer.  Thank you for your support and kindness during this year.  Your help and encouragement have made this year absolutely terrific.  If you have any questions regarding the above, feel free to contact me any time.  I am only an email away.  God bless your family and have a great summer!!!!


Mrs. Ellen Hess

1st Grade Teacher               

Westside Elementary

Field Day was such fun, but wet.
Thanks so much for the waters and snacks. The kids appreciated them.

Our study of light was amazing.  We earned about light and how it travels. 
We painted rainbows,used spectrum glasses to spot how white light can really be a rainbow, we used UV beads and learned about the sun's power, we bounced light off mirrors using flashlights, we used spectrum (prism) glasses again to see what bubbles and reflect, we made color wheel cupcakes with frosting and mixed colors, we dyed eggs rainbow colors for our big finish!!

We enjoyed the symphony and learned a lot.  The picnic lunch was fun!

We took a journey around the world using Google virtual reality devices.  The kids were amazed!!!

We have been working hard on the writing process.  We like to wear our editing hats when we revise and  edit our writing.

We had a great time at our Valentine's Day party. 
 We collected data
about Groundhog Day and Valentine heart candies.

We celebrated the 100th day of school.  We did LOTS of activities about 100.

Merry Christmas from our class!

Wonderful Worms

Happy Thankskgiving to all.  

We had a great time on our trip to Chehaw Park seeing some of the animals we are studying.  Thanks to all of the parents who came.  It's a long drive!

Thanks for all of your support!  Great Job!




Twin Day (wear a WES shirt)



Senior Citizen Day



Old Western Day



Red Carpet Day


Viking Spirit Day!

Boosterthon Fun Run!

  Dear Parents,
Thanks for a great start.  I truly appreciate all the supplies you sent for the class.  I know what an expense it is and we will use them wisely.  If you have not sent back the forms from Open House, please take a few minutes to fill them in and send them to school.  Thanks to those who have taken care of that.  We are having a great week.
Ellen Hess

Folders: Folders will be sent home daily to be signed by parents. Parents will sign the daily behavior sheet in the folder. All student work will be sent home each Friday for parents to keep.

Clothes: Please keep a change of clothes in your child's book bag at all times in case of an emergency. This will enable your child to change quickly. We do have a clothes closet at school, but it takes a lot of time to search through the items to find the right size(s). Your child will probably be more comfortable in something of his/her own.
Snacks: Our lunch is early,and have recess 1:15-1:30, your child may want to bring a snack to have during recess. Students may also bring a bottle of water or juice to have at recess.
Lunch: Our lunch is scheduled for 10:40-11:22. Parents are always welcome to have lunch with their child. Tables are set up in the lunchroom for you and your child to have a quality lunch. WES asks that no other students sit with you - this is quality time between parent and child - and that no restaurant or fast food be brought in to the lunchroom. Please pay for lunch online or use the school provided envelopes to send in money. The cost of School Meals:
Elementary Student $2.00
Adult and Guest $2.00
Reduced Price $0.30
Reduced   $0.40
Regular  $3.75
Lunch  $3.75
Breakfast  $2.00
Lunch       $3.25

Attendance: Attendance is crucial for students to receive the best education. If your child has to be absent from school, please send in a note within 3 school days.


Wishlist items we can always use:

-Individual paint sets (25)

-Card Stock any color

-Candy - wrapped
-gift card to Oriental Trading for holdiay projects