Mr. Clark's Web Page

Student Records and Letters of Recommendation

The school will provide transcripts and letters of recommendation when requested.  Transcripts can be provided to the students or schools. Letters of recommendation and forms will be sent home with the student, unless it has been requested by the high school for the forms to be sent directly to their admissions office.  An email confirmation will be sent to parents to inform them of materials submitted to a high school.  

Westchester Middle School staff has not and will not assume any responsibility for a student’s high school application. Families are responsible for their own application process. This is often the child's first application process and parents should assist with deadlines and paperwork.  Our expectation for requesting transcripts and letters of recommendation is a minimum of 3 days’ notice, preferably 5 days.  We have many requests for these items and need this time to properly complete the letters. This will give our staff the adequate amount of time to construct a thoughtful letter and ensure that the proper records are copied.  Please keep on hand any report cards or test scores that are sent home.  Having your own copies will make the application process quicker since you will not have to request them.

Letters of recommendation are often required when applying to PMSA or when applying for a private high school scholarship.  In order to fully complete a letter of recommendation, students must provide a resume containing important individual facts to be included in the letter.  In addition, information regarding the scholarship or deadlines should be provided.  Any letter of recommendation request should be made in person with the Teacher or Principal, enabling the student to have a ‘face to face’ conversation. 

Westchester Middle School’s High School Night       
Monday, September 24, 2018 6:30-8:00 PM    
Given the time it takes to visit every high school that your child may be interested in can easily become overwhelming. Westchester Middle School has invited ten or more area high school representatives to be available to answer questions and share information with families about their school. 

The High School Open house
Open Houses can have a great impact on the decision-making experience in a families search to find a fit for their teen. Students and their families can access the high school websites for dates and times to attend an open house. Open houses provide the chance to interact with current students and faculty as well as visit and tour the school.

The Secret To Finding The “Fit”

When your teen attends a high school “Shadow day” the important element is the ability to see, hear, touch, even taste the school’s food; all aspects of the school. Little can replace the opportunity to see what it is truly like to be a student for a day. It is an opportunity for a student to “test drive” schools they are considering.

Focus on finding a high school that fits—really fits—and then compare your choices
Even the best-laid plans can go awry when life gets busy, suddenly your students testing and application deadlines are here. The more research, planning, and networking that parents/students do starting the sixth grade year, the easier the entire high school testing, application and enrollment process will be.

Where Do I start? 

1. Attend High School Night at Westchester Middle School with your family

  • Meet with High School Representatives from several area high schools
  • Receive helpful information and ask questions 
  • Visit the high school websites and stay connected to high school social media for their upcoming events and announcements

2. Plan to attend Open Houses of your choice 

  • Tour and Learn about the schools
  • Academics and Enrollment details
  • Athletics and Clubs
  • Financial obligations
  • Meet teachers and speak with students
  • See what is most important to you!

3. Shadow a High School Student! (In 7th Grade, after January; preferably on 1/2 days and days-off of school)

  • SEE what the school is like on a “normal” day
  • Experience classes and the learning environment–check out the student to teacher ratio
  • Lunches
  • Can you picture yourself there for four years?
  • During eighth grade, students have two-shadow days for that high school experience but, are always encouraged to schedule when WMS is not in session. Students are also encouraged not to use the second day if it is not necessary. 

4. Comparing you final choices of schools - Academics first!
    Course offerings:
    Honors Track    
    Advanced Placement
    College Credit
    College acceptance rates, scholarships earned
    Average/Top SAT scores
    Teacher qualifications
    Student to teacher ratio
    Selection of subjects offered and types of academic assistance

5. Find out about Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid: Scholarships and Grants from the schools and from other organizations as well as possible Loan Programs.

6. Private schools require 8th grade students to take a placement test. The private Catholic schools schedule the test on the same date and timesThis prompts parents to determine a high school of choice first before scheduling to take a placement test. It should be noted that in order to be eligible to receive a high school scholarship, students must test at that school. 

7. Proviso Math & Science Academy require 8th grade students take their entrance exam. It is wise to have a "back-up plan" second choice of high schools, if your child does not receive an invitation.

8. Make plans to take the entrance exam/placement test, visit the high school's website and request an application. Call or contact high school representatives with questions.
Questions to consider: Who is allowed to take the placement/entrance test? How long and what is the format of the test? Can scores be transferred to another school? How much weight does the placement/entrance test hold?

9. 8th graders take PSAT 8/9 Placement Test administered by PW at WMS on November 1, 2018 8-11 AM.  

10. When taking a private high school placement test, be sure to sign the records release form and return it to the WMS Office by the deadline. 

11. Admission each year into private high schools is based primarily on the placement test given at each high school. Copies of the student's latest standardized test results, which may be the PSAT 8/9 or MAP and seventh grade report cards, are also used to determine placement. Students taking a second placement test or submitting test scores from another school will generally have second priority.

Important Student Considerations

  • Is there room for improvement on my report card? Maybe in attendance?
  • Do I know any strategies to help me do well on standardized tests? 
  • What do I want my teachers to write in my letter of Recommendation? 
  • Am I staying involved in school (WMS) and in the community? 
  • Am I looking for leadership opportunities to describe in my activities list? 
  • Am I showing commitment to activities, sports, clubs and other interests?

Below are some helpful links: PMSA Checklist is found in the upper left-hand corner of this page

Sally Kuhn,
Sep 14, 2017, 7:22 AM