Shuksan Middle School : March 2019

High expectations, strong support. #youbelonghere

Dear Families,

So much has happened at Shuksan since my last newsletter! Wrestling and volleyball seasons are in full swing, our staff has engaged in three days of professional learning, we celebrated Black History Month, and we served over 1,700 meals during the "snow week." Perhaps the biggest event of all during the past month involved hosting DJ Cavem and Alkemia--vegan artists and founders of the musical genre known as "EcoHipHop"--during an all school assembly and at Shuksan's Community Family Night.

This couple (who rap about kale and composting) have traveled the world sharing the message of wellness, nutrition and organic gardening through their music--such important messages for middle school students who can't resist Monster drinks and hot Cheetos. After the assembly, each Shuksan student was given a gift bag complete with a CD of DJ Cavem's music and reusable drinking straw (among other eco-friendly items.) For more information, follow this link to this NBC news interview with the artists:

Just one more way we are working to develop healthy, active individuals at SMS!

Amy Carder, Shuksan Principal


Shuksan's Theme for 2018-19: Belonging

At Shuksan we are committed to creating a sense of belonging for all students as learners and as people. Here's an update on some ways we are working toward this goal:

  • RULER Curriculum--Mood Meter. Every other Wednesday students start their day with their "PRIDE Team"--this is like a homeroom group where they connect with each other, build community, and learn to identify and manage emotions. Our most recent PRIDE team lesson was about the Mood Meter--a tool that both students and staff use to identify feelings and reflect on self-regulation strategies. Ask your student to explain the mood meter to you, or get the mood meter app for your smart phone to begin using it yourself!

  • "Join the P.R.I.D.E"--At Shuksan, the acronym P.R.I.D.E. (Peace, Respect, Integrity, Determination, Excellence) summarizes our school-wide positive behavior expectations. Each month this spring, we are focusing on one specific aspect of P.R.I.D.E. In February, we talked about what it means to be peaceful with your actions and your words. March is the month of Integrity--telling the truth, following through, and doing the right thing even when others are not. Students will be recognized with "Paw Prints" if they are caught "Putting the I in PRIDE" by showing integrity.

  • Belonging Beyond Shuksan--Believe it or not, we are already thinking about the transition to high school for our 8th grade students. On Feb. 28, for the first time in a long time, all 8th graders in Bellingham Public Schools participated in an on-site visit to their future high school. Students got to meet key staff members, learn about freshman classes, and become familiar clubs, activities, sports and school traditions. The school visit will be followed by high school counselor visits to Shuksan to provide more specific information to students about high school and to help with scheduling classes for next year. They grow up so fast!
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Staff Learning--Using Data to Drive Improvement

During our staff professional learning days on Feb. 7th and March 7th and 8th, we have been learning how to use different kinds of data to inform our school improvement efforts.

SWIS Discipline Data--SWIS stands for "School-Wide Information System." This is a new system we have at Shuksan this year that helps us review school-wide office referral patterns in order to more effectively address problem behavior. With this system, we can see specifically how often referrals occur, what problem behaviors occur most frequently in our building, where and when problem behaviors are most likely to occur. These features allow our newly formed Shuksan Data Team to analyze and problem-solve behavior issues with more precision and effectiveness than ever before! Our current focus (connected to the theme of "integrity") is on maximizing learning time by (1) getting to class on time, (2) being where you are supposed to be.

MAP Reading and Math Data--While we work hard on social-emotional development at the middle level, we also maintain high academic expectations for all students at Shuksan. Recently, we've been learning from Alli Hancock, teacher on special assignment (TOSA) at the district office, about how to find, analyze and use detailed MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) assessment data to plan for instruction that addresses students specific, differentiated learning needs. We feel strongly that if we are asking students to take the time to demonstrate their knowledge on a test, we make it worth their while by using that information to support future teaching and learning.

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Want more good news about Shuksan?

Please friend/follow me @Shuksanprincipal on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a daily drip of positive pictures and posts featuring the amazing students and staff at Shuksan!




Shuksan Reads! These are some of the books that Shuksan staff are reading for our professional learning this year. Feel free to read along with us!