WIS Weekly

October 25, 2021

A Message From Mr. Longacre

Dear WIS Family,

Westchester Intermediate School is committed to providing all students with a quality education in a safe school setting. To facilitate this commitment, Westchester follows all of Indiana’s education laws, including state law HEA 1423 which requires school corporations to provide students with age-appropriate instruction focusing on the prevention of bullying.

During the upcoming WIS video announcements on Friday, October 8th, I informed our student body of what bullying is and how they can report it. Students may communicate observed bullying behavior in one of two ways: a) share with any WIS faculty or staff member what has been witnessed; b) submit a bullying report (anonymously). Students and families can also make anonymous reports through the Safe Schools Tip Line on the WIS Webpage. Mr. McDermott, our corporation’s Assistant Superintendent of Operations, serves as Duneland’s Title 9 coordinator. You can -- at any time -- contact him regarding incidents of bullying.

In addition, we also want to advise you of the working definition that the state of Indiana has adopted for the term bullying:

Bullying is overt (intentional), unwanted, repeated acts or gestures including: verbal or written communication, or images transmitted in any manner (including digitally or electronically); physical acts committed, aggression, or any other behaviors that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student and create for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment.

The WIS faculty and staff have discussed the definition and understand the need to actively intervene when unacceptable behavior is observed or reported. However, it is important to remember that not all bad behavior is bullying.

Our ultimate goal and expectation is that all students will learn to appreciate the importance of treating others with mutual respect. We believe that students who develop emotional confidence will have the courage to stand up for themselves and each other. Please contact me if you have any questions.


Mr. Longacre

This Week at WIS

5th Grade

Language Arts

Last week:

  • Author Mark Marimen presented some spooky stories. He talked about the writing process and helped students get started on their own spooky stories.
  • IRA was about Freedom.

This week:

  • We will start the novel Hello, Universe. Our focus will be on characterization, figurative language, and summarizing. Of course, everything we will discuss will need text citing as proof.
  • IRA: We will continue to discuss the theme of Freedom.


  • Last week we finished our unit on Long Division of Whole Numbers with a quiz on Friday. We also had a mini lesson on the coordinate grid with corresponding homework practice.
  • This week we will start looking at Multiplying Decimals. Friday will be a student choice practice review activity.

Social Studies

Last week students had the opportunity to answer an essay question explaining why early Europeans explored new lands. Please read two outstanding answers written by Eva Flores and Ryan Seaman.

  • Ava Flores: European explorers wanted to travel to different lands to start settlements, find gold, spread Christianity, gain wealth, and trade valuables. New routes were chosen to travel more quickly to their destinations. Well, at least that’s what they thought. Magellan and Columbus wanted to find a faster route to Asia by traveling west. They both thought the world was much smaller than it really is. While they were navigating they discovered new lands, Columbus landed in the Bahamas, and Magellan went through a river at the tip of South America to get to the Pacific Ocean. Magellan landed in the Philippines and was killed due to war. After the age of exploration, the world changed dearly. The Columbian Exchange was introduced, Country’s traded, gold, animals, food, and sadly people too. The Columbian Exchange had a negative effect on Native Americas, and other Natives and Africans, but had a positive effect on Europeans. Slave trade was introduced and new foods lead to different and healthier diets. This is why European explorers travel.
  • Ryan Seaman: European explorers decided to travel to different lands because of the three g's (gold, glory, or god). In other words to get rich, become famous, or spread religion. New routes were chosen because to get to Asia or India overland was long and dangerous, so they took sea routes. The world was different after their explorations because it connected the Americas to the rest of the world, and new foods and many other things were introduced to both sides of the world.


  • In science, students learned about renewable and non renewable resources. Hopefully everyone was able to use at least one item from the Think Energy NIPSCO bag.

6th Grade

  • Students will be testing over unit 3 Fractions, on Tuesday of next week. Students will need to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and mixed numbers. Unit 4 will introduce positive and negative integers.

Language Arts

  • Sixth grade ELA students will be applying their inferencing skills this week. Each day, students will read parts of a story that end in a cliffhanger. When the week comes to a close, students will participate in an experience to remember as they write their own ending to this unforgettable story.

Social Studies

  • Students will be asked to come up with a plan for a video game called Medieval World and will use the facts they learned studying Medieval Europe. Students will choose a character (king, lord, knight or peasant) and describe the character's role in the video game.


  • This week in science we will be furthering our understanding of ecology by doing a "who dunnit" activity about symbiosis, discussing energy roles, creating food chains and food webs, and learning about the transfer of energy in an ecosystem. We are beginning chapter 2 lesson 1 and 2 this week, so there will be new vocabulary for the students to begin learning in order to have a working vocabulary in ecology.

Red Ribbon Week

We will be recognizing Red Ribbon Week the last of October - 23rd through the 31st. There will be a theme every day.

  • Monday: Superhero day-” You have the Power to be Drug-Free”

  • Tuesday: Crazy Sock Day - “Sock It To Drugs”

  • Wednesday: Neon Day-” My Future is too bright to do drugs.”

  • Thursday: Twin Day - “Pair Up Against Drugs”

  • Friday: School Gear “Drug-Free till the finish line”

Glow Run

Attention Westchester! Are you ready to have a "spooktacular" time this October? If so, then the WIS PTO has just the event for you. Join other students who want to light up the night by running in the 2021 Glow Run. The date for the Glow Run is October 29th, and the event kicks off from WIS at 6:00 p.m. (check-in at 5:30 p.m.). Runners and walkers will follow a route around the Westchester campus, along the streets of Chesterton, and through the Migratory Bird Sanctuary-- at night! There are two ways to enter: 1) register at the $12.00 level and receive a glow necklace to wear during the run; 2) register at the $20.00 level to receive both an official Glow Run T-shirt and a glow necklace. Kona Ice will be available, and the PTO will be offering other glow items for sale. We hope to see you there.

Congrats Mrs. Holmen

Did you hear? Mrs. Holmen has been nominated as a Teacher of Excellence! In her nine years of working with 5th and 6th graders in the special education program, Mrs. Holmen has had a tremendous impact on our school and the students who come to her classroom each day. Loved by all, Mrs. Holmen exemplifies the Duneland Difference in character and commitment. Read her profile to learn not only why she thinks teaching is more than a day job, but also what her favorite teaching moment has been.
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Veteran's Day Program


Our Veterans Day program will be a video again this year. We would like to honor your family members that have served in the military. If you would like to share photos of your family members that have served, please email them to Katie Masi at kmasi@duneland.k12.in.us.

Please include the following:

  • Name of the Veteran
  • Relationship to your child
  • Your child's name

Thank you!

Photo Retake Dates

Picture Retake Day is: Oct 28, 2021

Order Code is: 60184S
Your link to order is: https://inter-state.com/FlyerEntry/60184S

eLearning Day Nov. 2 / Parent-Teacher Conferences K-6

All Duneland School students will participate in eLearning on Tuesday, Nov. 2 due to elections at the schools. This year, Parent-Teacher conferences for grades K-6 will also be hosted on this day from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. During the eLearning day, time for office hours will be available. Parent/Guardians may request a conference, or school personnel may request a conference with parents. Specific information regarding conferences is being communicated by each of the schools

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat Downtown in Chesterton will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 and trick or treat for all Duneland communities and unincorporated areas of Porter County will be conducted from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.

Trick or Treat at CHS

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DSC Enrollment Equity Committee to Create Balance at Intermediate/Middle School Campuses

In the fall of 2023, the Duneland School Corporation (DSC) will serve students in grades 5-8 at renovated Liberty and Westchester campuses. Each school will serve 900-1,000 students. Without making any adjustments to current school enrollment boundaries, Westchester would have close to 1,000 students and Liberty would have just over 700 students. In order to provide maximum opportunities for all students, DSC will look to establish enrollment equity at each of the two schools.

In an effort to develop an equitable enrollment plan, DSC will form a committee consisting of parents, community members, teachers, principals, district administrators and one or two school board members. This committee will be responsible for developing options regarding possible elementary, intermediate and middle school attendance boundary adjustments for the DSC. Ideally, the goal is to have the same elementary school students matriculate to the same intermediate and middle schools as they do currently; however, the change will impact some of the elementary school boundaries as the committee strives for enrollment equity in these new 5-8 schools.

The committee will be charged with developing a proposal in the Fall of 2021 to be sent to the Superintendent for consideration and ultimately, to the DSC School Board for approval. Robert McDermott, Assistant Superintendent, will serve as the facilitator for the committee. The committee structure is as follows:

  • Facilitator -1

  • District Administrators – 2

  • Building Principals – 5

  • Teachers – 4

  • Parents – 15 (three per elementary school)

  • Community Members – 2

  • School Board Members – 1 or 2

Committee Responsibilities - The Enrollment Equity Committee is charged with developing options regarding possible elementary, intermediate and middle school attendance boundary adjustments for the DSC.

The committee will recommend boundary adjustments that conform to the following parameters:

  1. Each school should have a total student population consistent with the number of classrooms planned to serve the general population, exclusive of rooms set aside for other uses.

  2. When possible, recommended boundaries should take into consideration space to accommodate anticipated enrollment growth.

  3. Consideration should be given to all schools’ demographic profiles during the attendance boundary development process.

  4. Changes from the present attendance boundaries should be minimized.

  5. Students with disabilities should be placed in accordance with applicable laws with consideration given to appropriate services, specialized spaces, and sound educational practices that meet students’ identified needs.

  6. All students within the new attendance boundaries shall be required to attend their assigned school except when approved through the pre-defined DSC transfer processes where transportation is not provided.

  7. Student travel time on school transportation should be considered.

The committee will make progress reports to the Superintendent periodically as they work toward the goal of bringing forward a final enrollment equity recommendation by December 31, 2021.

If interested in participating in this process, please email Bridget Martinson, director of Public Relations and Marketing.

Inclement Weather Information - School Closing/Delay Procedures

As we approach the winter season, please review the procedures for school closings and/or delays that may occur due to inclement weather. The decision to close school and engage in an eLearning day or alter the school day is done after collaborating with multiple district personnel, local, state departments and agencies, including: law enforcement, national weather service, highway/street departments, and transportation. In addition, other Porter County school districts are consulted due to partnerships that impact special education and career-technical education students.

Decisions about school delays due to inclement weather will be made as early as possible. In some instances, a school cancellation may follow a two-hour delay. In the event of a two-hour delay followed by a cancellation, we will do our best to make the decision to cancel school before 9:00 a.m. Delay or cancellation information will be delivered through the Skylert notification system. These notifications are based on the contact information provided in the General category within your Skylert notification system. Please review and update (if necessary) your contact information to receive these notifications. School closing/delay information will also be posted on the DSC website (www.duneland.k12.in.us) and sent to the following media outlets:

  • Radio: WAKE 1500 AM; Indiana 105.5 FM; WEFM 95.9 FM; WDSO 88.3 FM; WGN Radio 720;

WBBM Newsradio 780

The following options will be considered during weather emergencies:

Option 1: Start of the school day will be delayed 2-hours. Delayed start times are:

Elementary - 10:00 a.m.

Intermediate - 10:15 a.m.

Middle School - 9:50 a.m.

High School - 9:40 a.m.

Option 2: Students will not report to school; students will participate in inclement weather eLearning day

Option 3: Schools will dismiss early

Skyward Family Access Quick Guide

Need some help in navigating your Skyward Parent Portal? Here is a Quick Guide with helpful videos attached to guide parents in familiarizing and utilizing Skyward.

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Nurse Tina's Note

Dear Parent/Guardians,

Starting soon, Health Services at WIS will be conducting Vision and Hearing screenings. All 5th grade students and new incoming 6th grade students, according to Indiana Law are required to have their vision checked. Hearing testing will only be performed on 5th and 6th grade students that are new to Duneland School Corporation.

We are asking that if your student wears glasses that they have them on their person daily so that there will be no delay in getting their testing completed. If you have any questions, please contact WIS School Nurse, Tina Sosby, R.N. at 219-983-3710 or via email at


DSC COVID-19 Response Plan - Level Change

On Wednesday, Governor Holcomb released Executive Order 21-24 which directed the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to modify quarantine requirements for K-12 schools who mandate masks. The new guidelines indicate that when all individuals are masked, students and staff who are close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual do not need to be quarantined unless experiencing symptoms. Instead, close contacts will monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days while they continue to attend school.

Reducing the number of quarantines is essential to preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic. Since school started, over 450 students have been in quarantine (3,600+ days of missed school). At this pace, DSC will quarantine more than 4,800 students this year (38,000+ days of missed school).

In an effort to keep schools open and minimize learning disruptions related to mandated quarantine rules, the Duneland School Corporation will move to the “Quarantine Caution” level in the DSC COVID-19 Response Plan and require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status for all students, staff and visitors, effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The goal will be to remove the mask requirement as soon as it is plausible to do so.

This change follows an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the school community and a significant increase in the number of students placed in quarantine. DSC schools are required to follow quarantine protocols established by the ISDH as outlined in the Governor’s executive order. By requiring masks, DSC looks to eliminate quarantines which will increase the likelihood of preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic.

Staff will provide students opportunities, as is allowed by state health protocols, to remove masks at appropriate times when eating, when 6-feet of social distancing is possible and while outdoors, as well as when participating in athletics.

The DSC COVID-19 Response Plan will remain a fluid document and can and will be changed as new information becomes available during the pandemic. DSC administration will continue to consult with Porter County Health Department, monitor active cases and adjust protocols as necessary.

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NorthShore Clinic

Consent paperwork needs to be completed prior to an office visit. The paperwork is attached and can be completed prior to the visit to save time. If you choose this option, the consent paperwork needs to be on file beforehand. If returning paperwork via email, please send to: Shawn Kroft, skroft@northshorehealth.org.

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Help us Nominate WIS Teachers of Excellence today!

Attention parents! Help recognize Teachers of Excellence by nominating a Westchester staff member today. Kenneth J. Allen Law Group is supporting Northwest Indiana teachers who go above and beyond for their students by honoring their outstanding contributions to education. To learn more about the educators who are Teachers of Excellence, or if you know of someone who should be recognized as a Teacher of Excellence, please nominate her or him by clicking here.

Parent Observer Account

Parents are encouraged to set up their Canvas observer accounts to monitor their students' progress.

Parents can click this link to view how to set up their Parent Observer Account

Link to the Canvas Log In


The WIS PTO is looking for generous donors to show our wonderful staff just how much we appreciate them. We hope to provide meals for the WIS staff on Tuesday, November 2nd, during parent teacher conferences. Instead of asking for food donations, we are collecting monetary donations. You can send cash, a check made out to WIS PTO, or paypal money to WIS PTO. If you choose to use paypal, please click the hyperlink and leave your name and P/T conferences in the comment box. If you send in cash or check, please just have your child take the money to the main office. No amount of money is too small, and all amounts, whether it is $2 or $50 are truly appreciated. If you have any questions, please email westchesterpto2@gmail.com.

Job Opportunities in Duneland

The Duneland School Corporation is seeking candidates for the following positions:


Child Nutrition associates provide nutrition services to students and staff. Benefit-eligible positions available. Apply online at Click to apply online


Duneland School Corporation Transportation positions (Bus Drivers, Sub Bus Drivers) require eligible persons to operate all school vehicles or (Sub Bus Aides) to assist in the transportation of all special students needing additional attention. These positions are highly responsible roles in transporting and dealing with students and staff on a regular basis. Transportation personnel interact with individuals both inside and outside of the corporation and therefore, must have the ability to present a professional and organized image at all times. Benefit-eligible positions available. Click to apply online


Duneland School Corporation Custodians are required to clean and sanitize all corporation facilities. This position has a highly responsible role in providing custodial services and dealing with students and staff on a regular basis. Custodians interact with individuals both inside and outside the corporation and therefore, must have the ability to present a professional and organized image at all times. Custodians may be required to work in other Duneland School Corporation facilities. Benefit-eligible positions available. Click to apply online


Seeking substitute teachers for all grade levels. To apply for a substitute teaching position, please apply in person at the Duneland Administration Center, 601 W Morgan Ave. in Chesterton to complete an application.