Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, January 2020

From the Wildcat's Den...

Dear Whatcom Middle School Families,

People really get into New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight. Exercising more. Saving more money. Eating more healthily. No surprises on any of those, they’re all on my list.

This time of the year can be a time of reflection and setting new goals for schools as well. With that in mind I looked back over our School Survey data. Families gave us great input in November regarding their perceptions of our work as a school. The highest positive response was in reply to the statement: “Teachers at the school are available to parent/guardians and are willing to listen.” 83% of our families responded favorably that our teachers are available and willing to listen. Not much need for a NYR (New Year’s Resolution) there. We need to keep doing what we’re doing.

The other end of the survey spectrum was in response to: How well do the activities at your child’s school match his/her interests? 52% of our families responded favorably. This is great information for helping our school leadership dig deeper into what interests our students, especially as we consider changes to our master schedule that would include a second elective period for students.

We appreciate the feedback and hope your own NYR are going well.

Wishing you all good learning,


Upcoming Dates - *note changes due to snow days

  • 1/21 PTSA Meeting, 7 pm
  • 1/22 Choir Concert at Kulshan M.S.
  • *1/22 7th grade Boys' Basketball Tourney at KMS
  • *1/22 8th grade Boys' Basketball Tourney at FMS
  • 1/24 MLK Assembly, 2:30 pm
  • *1/24 Dance & Tumbling Championships at FMS
  • 1/27 No School - Teacher workday
  • 1/28 Wrestling & Volleyball begin
  • 1/30 Wildcat Pride Breakfast, 8 am
  • *1/31 1st Semester ends
  • *2/3 2nd Semester begins
  • 2/4 Hearing & Vision Screening-7th grade only
  • 2/6 All Schools Early Dismissal - 12:00 for middle schools

Winter Sports Season is right around the corner!

Wrestling for boys and girls, grades 6 - 8, and Volleyball for girls in grades 7 & 8 begin on January 28, 2020. The deadline to get your student signed up is Jan. 21st. If your student has already participated in a sport this year, you only need to be sure that they are signed up for their sport in Final Forms.

If this is their first sport this year, 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 in this year and complete the registration paperwork. 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.

From the Counselors...

Welcome back from our unplanned mid-winter break! While it presented some challenges, I also found that having some time to go play in the snow and unwind was pretty wonderful! It made me think about the pace of the school year and all the demands on kids’ time and energy. As adults we have learned the importance of balancing work and play. Our kids also have multiple, though different, demands on them between school, sports or other activities outside of school, friends, and the pressures of social media. They seem to be “on” 24/7!

When I’m talking with kids about stress and anxiety, one of the things I ask them is what they do that helps them unwind and relax. It’s surprising how many of them have a hard time coming up with anything! Have you talked with your kid(s) about how they can tell when they’re out of balance and what they can do to regain it? It can be really helpful to identify your tell-tale signs that things are out of whack, along with those things you do to get back on an even keel. Maybe it’s going for a daily walk or run, reading, doing art, making or listening to music, writing, meditating, doing yoga, talking to someone, or playing a game with your family. Whatever it is, when you engage in those things, you model the importance of taking care of yourself and keeping the demands balanced with the fun. Here’s to slowing the pace!

Parent Information Night

Shuksan Middle School will be hosting a Parent Information Night on Thursday 23rd of January. Some topics of discussion will be:

  • How and when to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.
  • What is the latest on vaping.
  • What works and doesn’t work in substance use prevention.
  • Marijuana and the adolescent brain

The meeting will begin at 6pm in the Shuksan Middle School Library.

A message from Common Threads...

Happy New Year! As your Common Threads AmeriCorps Food Educator, I’m here to help grow good eaters, seed-to-table! This month, our student chefs will learn to prepare a chick pea curry. They’ll bring the recipe home! If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact me: ruby@commonthreadsfarm.org - For more information, please visit www.commonthreadsfarm.org

Strengthening Families Program now registering for 2020

Registration for the Strengthening Families Program is now open. Designed for families of youth who are ages 10 to 14, Strengthening Families is a nationally recognized program to enhance parenting skills, strengthen family bonds, learn effective communication and solve problems together.

The upcoming winter sessions will be held in English at Kulshan Middle School starting Feb. 11 and in Spanish at Shuksan Middle School beginning Jan. 8.

At Kulshan Middle School, it will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Feb. 11 through March 24, 2020. Click here to register.

At Shuksan Middle School, it will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 8 through Feb. 26, 2020. Register at the Family Resource Center, Portable D at Shuksan. There is no online registration.

This seven-week program is for both parents and youth where they learn and practice together to help children develop into responsible young adults. The activities will help youth learn how to make good decisions and to reach their goals, and will also assist in building a strong, loving family that communicates well and has fun together. Parents and children meet separately and then together during each session.

Strengthening Families is an evidence-based substance abuse prevention program sponsored by Washington State University Extension and funded locally by the Whatcom County Health Department. For more information, contact kate.foster@wsu.edu.

How can I get weather/emergency information?

Bellingham Public Schools uses a variety of methods to keep you informed:

  • An email alert will automatically come to you if you have an email address in Skyward. To update your contact preferences, visit our Skylert webpage for for step-by-step directions. For an early a.m. text, please check your notification preferences in Skyward or contact 360-676-6520. You may select a phone call “early a.m.” option, but we do not use the call feature to increase the speed of our communications.
  • Tune to local media: 790 AM, 96.5 FM, 104.1 FM or Seattle media.
  • Check bellinghamschools.org
  • Check @BhamSD on Twitter or @bellinghamschools on Facebook
  • Call 360-676-6400 for a recorded message.
  • Call 360-647-6815 for a message translated in Español, русский, tính từ and Punjabi.

For more information, click here.

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