Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, March 2022

From the Wildcat's Den...

Switching to Daylight Savings Time is not fun. It can wreak havoc in a middle school. Middle Schools are weird places on the best of days but when 670 students are sleep deprived and cranky; it gets weirder than normal.


Yesterday was no exception. Kids were refusing to go to class, throwing fits, fists, and food. I should have figured out another question to ask, rather than, “What were you thinking?” Kids kept saying, “I don’t know. I wasn’t.” Someone unaccustomed to middle school behavior would think that it was a remote location of the MMA association. We just call it Monday after the switch to daylight savings time.


How do you explain Daylight Savings Time to a student who is throwing chairs and loudly groaning, “I just don’t feel like myself! I’m tired!” “Buddy, we’re right there with you, but this will all be worth it in June when we get to stay up late and still have some daylight.” It’s not funny how much 60 minutes can throw us off. Adults have been suffering through this for years and it still impacts our ability to function. But if you’re young, what chance do you have of coping? We should have scheduled a nap like we used to do in Kindergarten.


Yesterday just happened to be the first day with optional masking. That all went fine. Our school community took it completely in stride. Maybe we were all distracted by being tired?

I sure hope whoever is saving all that daylight and time is donating it to a good cause.


Wishing you good learning and good rest,

Jeff

Mark your calendar!

Mar 21 - SJMEA Large Group Orchestra Festival

Mar 21 - PTSA Meeting & Building Tours!

Mar 22 - Lock out drill, 2:15 pm

Mar 25 - 7th gr. WTA Bus Orientations

April 4 - 8 - Spring Break

April 15 - Fire Drill, 9:45 am

Calendars

Click here for the newly revised 2021-22 School Year, A/B Calendars and more!

Upcoming Assessment dates...

  • ELA – April 26 & 27
  • Math – May 3 & 4
  • 8th grade science – May 5
  • Make-ups – May 24 (and May 25 if needed)

Spring sports sign-ups have begun.

Spring sports start April 11, and registration is open! All students are welcome, and we hope everyone can find something to participate in. This spring we are offering:

  • Cross Country (open to all grades) – plan to run with friends each day, get outside, and have fun; Meets are once per week at local parks.
  • Football (7th and 8th grade students) – learn football fundamentals and get ready for high school football; practices are every day after school and games are once per week at our middle schools.
  • Girls Basketball (open to all grades) – learn basketball skills in a fun, competitive environment; practices are every day and games are once per week in middle school gyms.
  • Unified Soccer (open to all grades) – have a blast playing small-sided soccer with a group of diverse learners; practice once per week and games are once per week. NEW! IMPORTANT: Sports Physical Forms are REQUIRED for ALL participants (both athletes and partners).


Once game schedules have been finalized by the district, they will be posted here: Spring Sports – Whatcom Middle School (bellinghamschools.org)


To Register for a WMS sport, go to Final Forms https://bellingham-wa.finalforms.com/ to complete:·


  • Parent Section·
  • Student Section·
  • Upload Sports Physical Form signed by doctor or send Michelle Ball a copy to be uploaded for you. Sports Physicals are good for two years. If you already have an active sports physical form on file you are all set for the season.

Whatcom MS Cross Country --we welcome students of all running abilities--

It is with great enthusiasm we launch another season of middle school cross country. Each year the Whatcom MS Cross Country Team has over 100 student athletes, and we expect even more this season. Our goal is to support the joy of running. We support runners of all abilities. This is a fun, social way to be active and is truly a sport for everyone. There will be three dual meets and one all-city meet. We are happy to work with runners that have other commitments such as music lessons or other types of practices.

Students should sign up as soon as possible. Practice will start immediately after spring break on April 11. There will be announcements as we get closer to the season.

Please let me know if you have questions, and I hope to see you on the trails.


Robert Knickrehm, Head Coach

robert.knickrehm@bellinghamschools.org

Greetings From the Counseling Office!

Hi everyone!

It feels like we’re working our way to Spring, which means that transitions for our incoming 6th graders and outgoing 8th graders is under way! The high school counselors had their first visit with our 8th graders last week and will be returning on the 18th to go over the kids’ course requests and to make sure everything is entered correctly. Please encourage your student to enter their course choices in Skyward ASAP!


In more 8th grade news, if your student is interested in a summer job, they might consider working for the Ecology Youth Corp. There are two work sessions, 6/27-7/21, and 7/25-8/18. Students must be 14 years old by the first day of employment (either June 27th or July 25th). Information is available on the website and applications must be submitted online. To apply go to: ecology.wa.gov/EYC Applications are due April 7th.


We’re working on our initial 5th grade visits and getting ready to welcome our incoming 6th graders. I’m looking forward to meeting our newest Wildcats!


It’s almost Spring Break (4/4-4/8); I hope the sun comes out and everyone has a relaxing and enjoyable break!


Beth Schille-O'Connor & Rita Hocking-Kombol

WMS PTSA Meeting, Tues, 3/21, 6:00 pm

Please join us for our next PTSA meeting on Monday, March 21st from 6-8pm in the WMS Library! We will be holding nominations for the 2022-2023 PTSA Board, tending to regular business, and also providing school tours!

We care about your family and want to help you stay strong together

In the third episode of the Strengthening families podcast, we hear about “I statements”

“I statements” tells your child how you are feeling when he or she does a specific thing, why you feel this way, and what you want her or him to do. The most important part of the “I statements is to communicate without blaming or criticizing your child. This way, you can show love and respect at the same time that you are giving limits.

We encourage you to become familiar with this parenting local program, it is our hope to bring it to you at some point; however, check their online option, that can be done from the comfort of your home. There is no cost involved, just let us know you want to participate, Elsa Powell will be able to enroll you at no cost. Leave a message or text at 360 306 4165.

English episode #3

Spanish episodio #3

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WE BELIEVE STUDENTS CAN DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS GIVEN THE RESOURCES NEEDED.

Join us in the Sehome Theater on Tuesday, March 29th as student club finalists from across the district present their projects vying for grants totalling $10,000! Imagine the ingenuity of "Shark Tank" coupled with the excitement of "America's Got Talent!" Every audience member gets to vote...so come join the fun AND vote for your favorite project!


Learn more: https://www.bellinghamschoolsfoundation.org/think-big/

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Join the staff in BPS! Visit the Black, Indigenous and People of Color Job Fair March 19

Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) is committed to ensuring our 11,000 students are surrounded by staff with diverse strengths, backgrounds and identities to create positive and collaborative learning environments. The Bellingham Promise, our district’s strategic plan, includes the core belief that “diversity enhances a strong and healthy community.”

In the spirit of strong, healthy, diverse and inclusive communities, we invite you to join us at our BIPOC Job Fair from 10 a.m. to noon on March 19, 2022 at Bellingham High School, located at 2020 Cornwall Avenue. We are hiring teachers, administrators, bus drivers, paraeducators, office staff, and food services and maintenance staff. We have regular and substitute openings for full- and part-time employment.

During the job fair, you will have the chance to chat with current BPS staff, to start your application process and to enjoy some good food. We will also have staff available onsite to give feedback on your resume.


Please join us March 19 as we continue to support students from diverse backgrounds, identities and cultural traditions. Register here to let us know if you will be attending and to request accommodations. Registration encouraged but not required.

March 26 Saturday Vaccine Clinic

Saturday, March 26 at Shuksan Middle School, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Appointments & walk ups available. Sign up online.

A $25 gift card will be provided to all individuals who get vaccinated at this event, courtesy of the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation.

Summer Scholarships

The Assistance League of Bellingham will once again be offering summer enrichment scholarships to middle school students in Whatcom County. I am happy to report that we are able to provide up to $400 for each student this summer. I hope you will encourage your students to apply.


Last year, middle school students used their scholarships to attend a variety of local summer programs including Wild Whatcom, BellinghamART, Dancing for Joy, Camp Kirby, Volunteens, Chamber Days and Mountain Biking Youth Trail Corps. Applications are due by March 17th and scholarship winners will be notified by April 12th. The applicants must complete an application form, respond to an essay question, have their parent or guardian sign a publicity consent form and ask a non-relative to complete a recommendation form. Contact your school counselors with questions or to get an application:


Beth Schille O'Connor

Rita Hocking Kombol

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After-school dinner program free for all children 18 and under

Bellingham Public Schools serves hot dinner at no cost to all children 18 and under. These meals are offered from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday through June 16, 2022. Dinner is served in the Shuksan Middle School cafeteria, located at 2717 Alderwood Avenue (at the corner of Northwest and Alderwood). It does not matter what school you attend in the district.

Accompanying adults are charged $4.75 per meal — please bring cash or check. Please plan to eat onsite in the Shuksan cafeteria.

The daily Monday through Thursday dinner menu is listed on the school menu webpage by day after the lunch listing.

Please note: Dinner will not be served on school holidays or on the following all school early dismissal days: Nov. 4, Nov. 24, Dec. 9, Feb. 10, March 10 and April 28.

Picking up students early from school...

The quickest way to check your student out early is to send them with a note to the attendance window in the morning before school starts or send an email to Beth.Pelto-Fishbeck@bellinghamschools.org. Your student will receive a pass allowing them to leave the building at the appointed time and meet you at your vehicle.


Do not make arrangements with your student's teachers!


If you have an unplanned check out, please call the attendance office, (360) 676-6460, opt. 1. Please allow us time to locate your student by calling in advance. You will then be required to come inside and sign your student out.


Students arriving to school late, or returning from an appointment, must come to the attendance window with a signed note from a parent or guardian. Your student will then receive a pass which they will take to their teacher.

Whatcom Middle School PTSA

Whatcom Middle School PTSA is committed to providing teachers and students with an excellent level of service this year. We are asking you to join PTSA by following the link below. Thank you for your help and please support your PTSA.


www.memberplanet.com/s/whatcommiddleptsa/whatcommiddleschoolptsaforms


2021-22 PTSA Board:


  • President - Bri Smolen
  • Vice President - Lorrie Melton
  • Treasurer - Daniele O'Connell
  • Secretary - Amy Guerra

Cell phone policy

Unless permitted by a staff member, students are not allowed to use cellphones during the school day (9:00 am - 3:45 pm). All cell phones are to be turned off and stored in backpacks. Failure to adhere to school policy may result in confiscation and parents picking up phones in the main office.


Parents needing to contact their students may do so by emailing your student's district email address or by calling the Main Office or Attendance Office. Your child can call you from our attendance office.

Getting to School


Halleck St. (in front of the school) is closed to all vehicles except school buses. Please do not attempt to drop off your student on Halleck St. Please use one of the side streets instead.


Students not riding buses should not arrive until 9:00 am. At 9:00 students will be allowed to enter the building and go directly to their first period classroom. The first bell rings at 9:10 am signaling the time to be in their seats and the late bell rings at 9:15 am.


Bike racks are available in front of the school. Bikes should always be locked to prevent theft. If a student happens to forget their lock, we can help with securing the bike in the building for the day. Scooters and skateboards can be stored in the main office.

School Dress Code

Part of The Bellingham Promise, our strategic plan, strives to develop students and graduates who are respectful and compassionate humans. We want students to respect themselves and others. While we encourage individuality, the district’s dress code aims to foster a positive and healthy environment.


  • Students should dress casually and comfortably for school, while wearing clothing that is well-suited for a school environment.
  • Appropriate headgear may be worn for warmth and protection outdoors, and inside for religious reasons or special circumstances.
  • Clothing, drawings, tattoos and accessories that display or promote negative messages are not permitted. These could include drug, gang, weapon, alcohol or tobacco-related information, obscenities, put-downs, stereotypes, sexual innuendo, offensive words or graphics.
  • A violation of the dress code will require a change of clothing.
  • Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Skyward Emergency Contact Information

When students come unexpectedly to the office for illness or injury, we often need to call for someone to pick them up, and often times, it's an emergency contact we end up having to call.

Sometimes emergency contacts change phone numbers or the contact in Skyward is no longer available. We would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to log into Skyward Family Access and make sure your emergency contact information is up to date. If you need help or have questions, you can contact our registrar, Nancy Howell. Thank you!

Manage your notifications with 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.

WTA Bus Fare: FREE for Youth

Did you know that youth can ride WTA busses for free? If you're not yet in high school, you can just step on and ride. You don't need a bus pass of any kind. If you're high school aged, you will need a FREE TouchPass/Umo Youth Pass. You can pick up your free TouchPass/Umo Youth Pass at WTA's Bellingham Station. Please bring proof of your age, or your current school ID. Or, you can request a card by sending an email from your school email address to buspasses@ridewta.com . Provide your first name, last name, full birth date and current grade. Students at High Schools in Bellingham can pick up their Youth Cards at school.
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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