Message from the Principal

  • Dear Community Members,

    Welcome to the 2023 - 2024 school year! My name is John Barnes, and I am thrilled to serve as the West Side School principal. I have worked for two decades as a school administrator and am thrilled to serve Cold Spring Harbor Schools for my second year at West Side School. My undergraduate degree is from the Hartt School of Music, and I started my career as an elementary music teacher in a PreK-Grade 5 school. I then was a Social Studies enrichment teacher before teaching all core subjects as a 4th grade classroom teacher. I served as a Standards-Based Model Classroom teacher and staff developer/instructional coach, prior to making the leap into school administration. I love working with students as they transition from early childhood to young adulthood, and believe it is the most important time in the lives of our young scholars. The foundation created sets the pathways in place, for a lifetime of opportunities, and all the milestone moments ahead for our children. 

    I know how fortunate I am to be at West Side, and how high the expectations are from our school and district constituents. We are a school that is committed to honoring the rich history of our beloved school community, while working to remain innovative and ensuring that we create new traditions, and opportunities for students to soar higher, grow stronger and achieve greatness (our 23-24 District Theme) while in Grades 2 - 6. We must prepare our scholars for the rigorous demands of the new and ever-changing world that has evolved considerably over the last few years. With the team of extraordinary people in our school and across our district, I am confident we can exceed even our own expectations to facilitate our students in reaching their maximum potential academically, socially, and emotionally.

    At West Side School, we  start each day with our in person morning assembly, which starts daily at 8:45 am. During this time we say the pledge of allegiance and sing either our West Side School Song or a song from our West Side School Song Book. In addition, we highlight the day in history, community birthdays, and what’s for lunch on our daily lunch menu. We also spend time delving into our schoolwide monthly themes and say our daily motivational morning affirmation. 

    West Side School’s Schoolwide Monthly Themes:


     School Success Month


     Anti-Bullying Month


     Gratitude Month


     Random Acts of Kindness Month


     New Beginnings Month


     Friendship Month


     Showcase & Shine Month


    Wellness Month


    Inspiration & Leadership Month


    Reflections Month 

    Our Daily Morning Affirmation:









    Every Friday when school is in session, we send out our West Side Weekly. Please look for the weekly communication to stay current with all of our school happenings and celebrations. In addition our Parent Teacher Group is a great way for our family members to get involved in our school community. We thank our 2023-2024 PTG Officers, parent volunteers and all West Side School supporters. Our home to school partnership is a vital part of our ability to bring so many exciting programs and enrichment opportunities to our students. 

    WSS-PTG Executive Board ( 2023-2024:

    Ms. Heather Shaw (President)
    Ms. Dana Cassino (Vice-President)
    Ms. Abby Donadic (Secretary)
    Ms. Jessica Grella (Parent Coordinator)
    Ms. Olivia Kitzen (Treasurer)

    For those that use social media, please consider following us on our X account - @CSHWestSide

    I look forward to a wonderful year ahead and thank you for your support and partnership.

    John Barnes, Ed.D.