Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, October 2019

From the Wildcat's Den...

This last week I continued my role as a professional explainer. It’s one of many roles I have as Principal. Explaining middle school and middle school students is what I find myself doing - a lot. I like it.

Thomas Friedman, an American journalist, columnist and author, wrote an international best seller some years ago entitled, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, where he analyzes the impacts of globalization. In his book, Friedman explores what he thinks the new middle-class jobs will be in the flat world, calling the people who will occupy those jobs--which he divides into eight categories - “the new middlers.” Category three, the Great Explainers are the managers, writers, teachers, producers, journalists, and editors who can explain, in simple terms, the complexity of what is happening.

That’s my job. I’m an Explainer.

I speak and understand middle school. I especially understand Whatcom Middle School. Sometimes I feel like a historian and tour guide all wrapped into one. Last Thursday, I was explaining to a group of Western Washington University Education students how our professional development efforts over the past fifteen years have resulted in a strong school culture. I was painting a word picture of our own learning history, how collaborative work has developed, improved, and continued. I emphasized how a consistent focus on instructional improvement and working together (collaboration) have produced a prized school culture; one supported by strong student achievement, low discipline numbers, and a school valued by students, families, and staff. I pointed at the importance of our monthly professional development days and how vital that time is for us to learn together and from one another.

As a part of the Bellingham Promise, we commit to Great Teaching with Strong Support. To develop and maintain great teaching and strong support, it takes time. It takes time to develop and it takes time to sustain. Those Thursday afternoons or Fridays are critical to our ability to deliver on our Promise. From this office, please know that we value every minute we’re afforded to work together. We understand what challenges that may cause outside of our walls. Please know that our instructional improvements and the school culture we’ve been able to create is the direct result of collaborative work time. We thank you.

Wishing you good learning,


Upcoming Dates

  • 10/15 PTSA Meeting, 7:00 pm in WMS Library
  • 10/17 Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill
  • 10/18 No School - Teacher Workday
  • 10/30 6th grade field trip to WWU - Author, Alan Gratz presentation
  • 10/31 12:00 dismissal
  • 11/1 No School - Conferences
  • 11/4 Pre-winter sports deadline
  • 11/6 Picture Retake Day
  • 11/7 Pre-winter sports begin
  • 11/8 Turkey Trot - Volunteers needed!
  • 11/11 No School - Veteran's Day

Picture Retake Day

Picture retakes will be on Nov. 6th. All students will have their picture taken for school records. If you would like to purchase photos, your student may pick up a picture packet in the main office.

Pre-Winter Sports

If your student is interested in signing up for Dance & Tumbling or 7th/8th grade Boys Basketball, now is the time. The deadline for signing up is Nov. 4th and the season begins on Nov. 7th. Sign-ups and registration for all sports must be done through FinalForms. Log in to FinalForms online and select the sports your student would like to participate this year, and complete the registration paperwork. If you are signing up for the first time, remember that all athletes must pay the yearly $10.00 ASB fee and have a current physical on file.

If you have any questions, or need help logging in to FinalForms, please contact Beth Pelto-Fishbeck at beth.pelto-fishbeck@bellinghamschools.org.

Intramural Basketball begins Nov. 7th!

Intramural Basketball is open to all boys and girls in 6th grade. There is no registration process for intramurals. If your 6th grader would like to participate, just drop in at 8:00 am in Gym 1, every morning starting Nov. 7th through Jan. 15th.

Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill

Our school will be conducting our annual earthquake drill this Thursday at 10:17 am, which is when Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover and Hold On during Great Shakeout Earthquake Drills!

A message from Common Threads...

Fall is such an exciting season in the garden: Kids are harvesting, seed-saving, and learning about different ways to build healthy soil. If you are interested in volunteering during fall gardening or winter cooking please contact: ruby@commonthreadsfarm.org

Save the date: Make a Difference Day is October 26 and we will be hosting school garden work parties around Whatcom County. Check the Common Threads Farm Facebook page for more details.

Yearbook Photographers Needed!

The WMS Yearbook club is looking for a group of volunteer photographers to help collect some photos at extra-curricular events (sports & other performances). These pictures have proven especially difficult for students to take as light & distance conditions at these events require some technical equipment & skills to get quality photos. I am looking for a small group of parents that have some photography experience and knowhow with a DSLR camera setup, and are willing to attend an after-school event here and there. The PTSA purchased an awesome DSLR camera, with zoom lens (Canon Rebel) for our club, which I can loan out. I have really enjoyed attending and photographing these events, but changes in my after school availability prevent me from going to so many this year. Please let me know if you are interested!

Update your contact information on Skylert

Skylert enables you to receive notifications concerning your children, including messages from Bellingham Public Schools and your child’s school. You have control over which notifications to receive and how you would like to receive them. Skylert is accessed via Skyward Family Access, so it is no longer necessary to login to a separate portal for SchoolMessenger to manage contact preferences.

Click here for step by step instructions to update phone numbers, email addresses and set your preferences.

Whatcom Middle School

Principal: Jeff Coulter

Assistant Principal: Tina Allsop

Administrative Assistant: Aileen Walton

(360) 676-6460

  • Attendance, option 1
  • Athletics, option 2
  • Registrar/Counseling, option 3
  • Main office, option 4