West Sylvan Family Communication

May 5, 2023



  • Fri, MAY 12th: Seventh Grade Glow Party
    (*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation at WSMS after school)

  • Fri, MAY 19th and Sat, MAY 20th at 7pm
    and Sun, MAY 21st at 2pm:
    West Sylvan Drama presents The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon on the Lower Gym Stage

  • Tue, MAY 23rd: Beyond Borders Cultural Event at 4pm in the Lower Gym

  • Mon, MAY 29th: NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day holiday


  • Thur, JUN 8th: West Sylvan Dance Recital at 7pm in the Lower Gym

  • Sat, JUN 10th: Eighth Grade Grad Party
    (*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation - tickets on sale in a few weeks!)

  • Mon, JUN 12th: Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony (at Lincoln HS - 6:30PM)

  • Wed, JUN 14th: Last Day of instruction

Dear West Sylvan Families,

Tonight is the first attempt at a Sixth Grade dance at WSMS in years! Thanks to all of the families who have helped organize and fundraise for this experience, and we appreciate anyone who is also participating as a chaperone! Next Friday, the Seventh Graders will also get a dance of their own, too!

Our Sparrow, Soleil, came to campus this week to visit with Scholars who have submitted their service hours and who were recommended to visit with Soleil by their Teachers. There is a final celebratory assembly with Soleil later this month to celebrate all of the hours of service submitted by our WSMS Scholars.

Enjoy your weekend,

Jill & Ben

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We thank all of our families who have contributed to make this week special for our Educators as we celebrate them in our WSMS version of Staff Appreciation! Each day, there was something special planned for the WSMS Educator team to thank them for all they do for our Scholars. We are all so grateful for the time it takes to coordinate such days, and we are lucky to work with such a thoughtful community! An extra special thank you to Evan Johnson at Wildwoodcreative.studio for donating his time and creating appreciation videos for our Educators. The short version is linked here for your viewing!

We are also celebrating the following Educators for their PPS 5, 10, 15, and 20 year service anniversaries!

Jessica Hollyfield-Melz: 20 years in PPS

Anita Stark: 15 years in PPS

Michael Zibelman: 10 years in PPS

Meg Guin: 5 years in PPS

Rachael Jones: 5 years in PPS

Rosalyn Roy: 5 years in PPS

Stacie Tew: 5 years in PPS


OSAS testing is occurring throughout the upcoming weeks, with the schedule below. We ask that you help your Scholar remember to bring their charged Chromebook to school each day. Too many scholars are forgetting their devices and are not prepared for their testing. We have a finite number of loaner devices, and it’s imperative that all Scholars come to school with their charged Chromebooks, please.

  • 6th Math: 5/8 - 5/12
  • 7th and 8th Math: 5/15 - 5/19
  • 8th Science: 6/5 - 6/8

A reminder to get plenty of sleep and have a healthy breakfast. Chromebooks will need to be charged and brought to school every day.

Why take these tests seriously?

  • These results are a key factor in how WSMS is ranked academically as a Middle School for the state of Oregon and nationally by U.S. News and World report. See our last posted ranking at the link.

  • Results are only comparable to other schools in Oregon if 95% of our students complete the testing.

  • OSAS testing is one school indicator of potential academic ability when future schools are making placement decisions in honors, AP and advanced courses.

  • OSAS data is also the main data that the PPS School Board uses when determining and prioritizing goals for schools and the District.


You belong. You are valued.

You are loved. You are able.

You are excellent.

We are two weeks into hosting students in our Black Excellence Family Room. We also had a chance to connect with their Educators at this week’s West Sylvan Staff meeting along with Principal Hunt and the Counseling team. Thank you for sharing your brilliant students with us. It was a joy being with them as we launched into our BELONG module – we can’t wait to host Cohort B next Thursday.

Thank you to the parents that came out to our first BE Parent Meeting!! It was so nice to meet you and connect with many others virtually this week. We appreciate you and are grateful to be in community with you.

Mashari Tyson, Founder



8th Grade Grad Party

Saturday, June 10th, 7-9:30pm

West Sylvan Lower Gym

*ticket sales will start in a few weeks!

*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation


Please consider donating an hour or two of your time to help our scholars and staff at West Sylvan! Art, Science, Health, Math and Reading classes all have opportunities for parents to get involved.

Click here to sign up to help in a classroom or click here to support with hallway/lunchroom supervision.

All volunteers must be approved by PPS. To fill out the form to be approved through the district, please go here: https://www.pps.net/volunteer


Announcing NW Cyber Camp 2023, the premier cybersecurity summer camp in Oregon! This year's camp (July 24-28) includes co-ed and girls-focused classes, scenario-based hands-on learning, and expert guest speakers from the cybersecurity industry.

Join us at Portland Community College- Sylvania, Mt. Hood Community College, or OSU, for an exciting week of exploring cybersecurity concepts and building real-world skills that can propel your academic and career goals. Thanks to our cybersecurity industry sponsors, the camp is FREE for all students this year. Learn more and register today at www.nwcyber.camp.

The camp also just released a short video, with testimonials from several of the founding students, and a brief overview.


Many of our families have allowed their young Scholars to have their own cell phones, and they use those phones to access various social media sites while away from school. We are asking that you please help to actively monitor your Scholar’s social media presence and interactions. For example, there are reports of a Sixth Grade chat where many students may engage in name-calling and also share concerning items amongst each other. While cell phones are not allowed during the school day, and therefore, social media engagement during school hours should not be occurring, there are still Scholars who regularly sneak access and are posting inappropriate content. PPS District leaders also sent out this toolkit a couple of days ago to all families.

If you are concerned about your Scholar and social media, some suggested tips are below:

  • Get online family protection. Programs that provide parental controls can block websites, enforce time limits, monitor the websites that your child visits, and their online conversations.

  • Follow your child's online accounts, and tell them that you are monitoring their online activity to help keep them safe.

  • Interrupt any chats or conversations that are harmful. Tell your child to disengage from chats and harmful groups that do not support your family values.

  • Block social media apps using your parental controls.

  • Enforce screen times, limiting time online on such apps or video games where there are also active chats that are often full of concerning content.

  • Use a GPS parental control device that your child carries to help you monitor their location throughout the school day.

  • Only allow children to sign up for apps if you have a joint log-on with them so that you can help monitor their interactions for safety.


The Single Subject Acceleration (SSA) remains open for families wishing to initiate a consideration for SSA for mathematics in the 2023-2024 school year. The application can be submitted by the family until May 15, 2023 and any additional assessments will be administered starting May 1, 2023. Please collaborate with your child’s teacher during this process, as well as our TAG coordinator, Dr. Holly Graham (hgraham@pps.net).

Choir has started again! Mr. John Paul Labno is offering a morning Choir Club on Tue/Wed/Fri from 8:00-9:00 AM before school. If your young vocalist is interested in Choir Club, please fill out the interest form by clicking the button above.

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The Foundation supports Scholars and Staff and fosters community connection through fundraising and volunteer opportunities. Join the mailing list and stay connected with other families! All grade-level party information is updated on this website.


Help support our Counseling office snack pantry, where Students who are experiencing food insecurity can grab snacks throughout the day and bring some home. Your dollar and snack donations will go far to maintain the program!


Good news! Our Authorization visit for becoming an MYP school is now scheduled for late September of 2023! We’re steadily moving forward toward our final goal of MYP authorization!

Our May MYP Learner trait is Knowledgeable, and with our OSAS testing, the focus on finishing the year with strong final grades, and our Eighth Graders’ MYP Community Project underway, there will be so many opportunities to show how knowledgeable our Wolves are at WSMS! Throughout the month, students will be nominated for demonstrating this trait. We celebrate nominations at the monthly assemblies and through our school nomination posters.

To find out more about the WSMS International Baccalaureate MYP authorization journey, please visit this website!


We are compiling ways to continue educating your Scholars at home. Click the image here for more information.
Accessing CANVAS for families

Click here for directions for Parents/Guardians to access CANVAS and view Student course information.


PPS has shared out the approved calendar for next school year for your planning purposes.


  • Our Eighth Grade dance will be Saturday, June 10th, at WSMS. Find details at The West Sylvan Foundation website.

  • Eighth Grade Promotion will be at Lincoln High School in their Gym on the evening of Monday, June 12th. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. The LHS Gym seats 2000 people in the bleachers. With 258 Eighth Graders, we don’t see a need to issue family tickets for seating. We thank all of the families who are volunteering with the WSMS Foundation to plan that evening and to assist with set-up and take-down of items that night!

  • Eighth Graders will have a final field trip to Oaks Park together on Tuesday, June 13th. We want all Eighth Graders to take part in this fun final day together. If you are interested in helping to chaperone the event (which includes riding the bus to and from the park), please let us know by sending an email to westsylvanoffice@pps.net. If an Eighth Grader has major disciplinary issues (suspensions from school between April and June), they will not be allowed to join the outing. We have reviewed behavioral expectations with all Scholars through Advisory.
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INFORMATION FOR CURRENT FIFTH GRADERS [future Sixth Graders in 2023-24]

All Fifth Grade Principals were offered a day for a short field trip to visit WSMS in May. Three of the four Principals are able to have their Fifth Graders join us to see campus on a typical school day and do small group activities together. Thanks to the Principals of Bridlemile, Ainsworth, and Chapman, who are coming to visit!


University of Portland has begun accepting applications for their annual Summer Learning Program! In this program, the learning focuses on the Oregon State Benchmarks appropriate for each child in Mathematics, Language Arts (reading, writing, and speaking), and any other subjects in which the student needs help. Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates tutor/teach students according to their learning needs. There are usually 4-5 students per 2-3 MAT candidates.

  • This year’s program will run July 5 - August 3, Monday-Thursday, 9:30am-11:30am, and they welcome students entering grades 2 through 11 in 2023-24. The cost of the program is $125, though scholarships are available.

  • Online registration is now available here. To request a printable PDF or registration packet via postal mail, please contact Amy Kwong-Kwapisz at kwongkwa@up.edu or 503-943-7752.


Reading and writing acceleration opportunities over summer hosted by Oregon State University!

In these single-grade programs, students learn to read twice as fast. You'll become a stronger reader, with better comprehension in fiction and nonfiction. You'll expand your vocabulary and learn how to take good notes. You'll improve your writing skills so that you can communicate your ideas clearly. As a result, you'll get your homework done more quickly and easily, get better grades, and feel more confident as a student.

For more information or to register

CALL 1-800-978-9596

Mon-Fri 5am-6pm, Sat 5am-4pm, and Sun 7am-3pm

Notes of Appreciation

If you would like to send a kind note of appreciation to any staff member, please share here. The kind notes go a long way in making our Staff members feel seen and thanked!


  • How to get involved?
    Join The West Sylvan Foundation! This is the group that also embodies what would have been a PTA at other schools. The group welcomes new adult support, and you can find the link here. This is also a way to share your voice about how WSMS fundraising is used for school needs.

  • Volunteer! We appreciate all family members who have been volunteering in our Main Office, in our Library, and joining us for school lunch periods and recess to help with supervision. The additional adults around campus really help with these busier spaces and the busiest times of the school day! If you are already an approved PPS volunteer, you are welcome to come to campus any day of the week when your schedule permits, and we will find a way that you can help on campus! Classroom volunteer sign-ups and In-School Volunteer sign-ups can be accessed at these links.

  • Help run an Advisory Club! Clubs meet on Fridays from 3:15pm-3:45pm. Thank you to a number of our Parents/Guardians who already are running clubs on Fridays!


Please encourage and remind your Scholar to bring their charged Chromebook to school each day. We have a very limited, and often depleted, number of loaner Chromebooks. Remembering to bring your PPS-issued Chromebook to school is crucial, as Chromebooks are needed for classes and especially during upcoming state testing.


After ten consecutive school days of non-attendance, Scholars are un-enrolled from WSMS. Please be sure to officially excuse absences when there is a lasting illness or a need to be gone from campus.


Please help remind and reinforce our “No Cell Phone” policy during the school day in your discussions at home. This means that we ask that Scholars to either leave phones at home or put them in their lockers during the day so that they are not a temptation.

If a Scholar has a phone out in class or around campus during the school day, it is confiscated and held in the Office. If a Scholar has three or more violations already this year, we will ask a Parent/Guardian to pick up the phone to help reinforce expectations.

Please remember that Scholars do not have access to their phones during the day, and refrain from calling and/or texting them. If you need to get an urgent message to your Scholar, you may call the Office at 503-916-5690 or send an email to westsylvanoffice@pps.net.


Families are able to record future absences for their Students directly in ParentVUE without needing to contact the Main Office. Please remember, if a student is going to miss multiple days, it is up to the Student and/or Parent/Guardian to communicate absences with each Teacher and make a plan for missing work and assignments.

  • If your Student is going to be Absent for a FULL DAY:
    Log in to the ParentVUE website or download and open the phone application. In either case, look for the ‘Report Absence’ button to the right of your Student’s photograph. Select start date, end date, and a reason from the drop-down list. Remember to click SAVE, and you should receive a popup confirmation.

No internet access? Call West Sylvan’s main line at 503-916-5690 and select the Attendance option.



All-Grade School Climate Specialist: Shawn McVicar [smcvicar@pps.net]




(503) 916-5690


[Staff / Substitutes / Financial]

Jerda Solonche



[Students / Attendance / Enrollment]

Kirsten Crombie