Westwood Holds Tour Day for Prospective Students

By Jake Schlanger, Reporter

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  • Lead Counselor Ms. Holly Browning kicks off the tour day with how to register for Westwood. Parents also had the opportunity to ask questions about the process.

  • Two students talk to prospective families about the arts program. Families also had questions about the language classes that Westwood offers.

  • Prospective families had the chance to look at the portables. They also had the chance to learn more about the mathematics program.

  • On the tour, some groups had the chance to look at the Great Room. In one group, the new Flex system and the benefits that it provides students was brought up.

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Prospective students and families got the opportunity to tour Westwood on Friday, Dec. 6. The tour began with an introduction to the school, presented by lead counselor Ms. Holly Browning. Ms. Browning talked about the programs the school offers and how to register and families had the opportunity to ask questions.

“Our first year when we were offering [the tour], we gave a survey asking what [parents] would like us to go over,” Ms. Browning said. “We go over IB and AP, what the difference is, and how the registration process works.” 

After the presentation, families were able to go on tours led by current students. Some of these tours focused on specific programs, such as IB, dance, or art. Other tours were more general, and aimed at giving families a broader understanding of the school.

“We took the parents around and showed them the different wings of Westwood, [and then] we went over all the academic and elective parts,” Zoe Menendez ‘20 said. 

Many of the tours were geared towards transfer students from other Round Rock ISD schools. These tours focused on the International Baccalaureate (IB) and dance programs, because all of the students who transfer to Westwood come for one of those programs.

“In regards to transfers, the only two things students can transfer here for are IB and our dance classes, because we are a closed campus,” Ms. Browning said. “This means we have to give priority to students who are zoned for Westwood.” 

While inside one of the Westwood classrooms, prospective families were able to watch a Socratic debate. The debate was centered on the book that the Pre-IB/AP English I class was reading.

“We showed them around Westwood and helped [the families] explore the school a little more, since it can be a little intimidating going [though] these doors,” Menendez said.

For many of the students who helped run the tours, it was their own way of giving back to the next generation of students. Many students talked about their experiences coming to Westwood as a freshman.

“I know that it’s always a really big experience coming to high school as an 8th grader. We hope that we made it a little more comfortable coming in, especially [for] freshman,” Menendez said.

The tour was created a couple of years ago so that more attention could be paid to prospective families while also not drawing staff members away from their work. This was an issue in past years, but the tour has lessened the stress on staff members.

“The main reason for doing this was before [we offered the tour] we would have people showing up all the time and asking question and it would take [a staff member] 20 or 30 minutes a day to answer questions,” Ms. Browning said. “This way we meet with families one day a semester and we can focus on them.”

The event covered a wide variety of topics and offers prospective families the opportunity to learn more about the school from the viewpoint of both teachers and students. The next opportunity for prospective families to learn more about Westwood is on Friday, April 24.