WIS Weekly

November 22, 2021

A Message From Mr. Longacre

WIS Families,

I get asked from time to time, “What kind of educational software should I buy?”

There are many possible answers, but consider that most people who buy computers (e.g. laptops, tablets, etc.) will need to be able to utilize keyboarding skills. Whether the student is word processing or using an online calculator, the most important single computer skill your child can learn is how to navigate the keyboard.

It was called "typing" when I learned how to do it years ago on a relic called a typewriter. However, the basic skills are still the same today-- and even more important! Today's work routine and lifestyle require proficient keyboarding skills in all facets of day-to-day life.

Learning how to type properly is critical. While most children and adults can learn to hunt and peck on their own, real typing speed depends on proper technique. Because today’s process of thinking and composing is done less with pencil/paper and more with keyboard/screen, intermediate students need to develop an ability to utilize the keyboard in a variety of learning situations if they are to be successful. Regarding school, today’s curriculum often requires our students to process information and multitask quickly. The mechanics of physical writing are simply slower than making a keystroke; consequently, students often struggle to record complete thoughts when assignments are handwritten. A student with proper keyboarding skills will be at an advantage over her peers.

While there are many programs available claiming to teach students how to type, I would suggest starting with the website typing.com to develop foundational skills.


Mr. Longacre

This Week at WIS

5th Grade

Language Arts

Last Week:

  • We ended our IRA book study on Grit and Perseverance. Students interacted with the story of Ada and her town that was built on a Landfill. They discovered even the most melodious sounds can come from garbage.
  • Hello, Universe is coming to an end. Figurative language is a driving force behind this story. Students will be reaching the top of the plot mountain.

This Week:

  • With only having 2 days of school we will finish Hello, Universe together as a class. Will Virgil make it out of the well? Will he become friends with Valencia? What will happen to Chet, Kaori, and Jen? The end of the book test will take place Tuesday.


Last week:

  • Students completed a unit on Decimal Division with a quiz on Friday.
This week:

  • Students will have the opportunity to work in small groups on a variety of review activities.

Social Studies

This week in social studies, students described an early settlement in America.

  • Johnny Dodds: The colony I choose was Plymouth. The Pilgrims left England. The reason they left was for religious freedom. When the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth all the men signed the Mayflower Compact saying they would work together to make "just and equal laws." Life in Plymouth Was not easy. They had to farm, build, and trade with Native Americans. Everyone worked, including the children, and they still owed the people that paid for the voyage. Also, religious actives were a central part of their lives.
  • Kaitlyn Calloway: The Pilgrims set up the Plymouth Plantation for religious freedom. They wrote the Mayflower Compact. This was a document that stated the Pilgrims would make "just and equal laws". Their daily life was hard. They had to make houses out of natural resources and grow their own crops. The children would have to work too. Sometimes the Wampanoag people helped. The Pilgrims protected the Native Americans from enemy tribes. The Pilgrims valued religious freedom. They left England because of this. This is life in the Plymouth Plantation, why the Pilgrims left, and the freedom they valued.


  • In science, students completed the Engineering Design Process by presenting their space bots to the class. Along with completing the space bots, the Solar System Booklets were completed. Pages for asteroid, meteoroid/meteor/meteorite, comet, and dwarf planet (pluto) were added. During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, science will join with social studies to allow students more time to participate in the Pilgrim Simulation.

6th Grade

  • Sixth grade students will be testing over expressions this week.

Language Arts

  • Sixth grade ELA students will wrap up their study of author and illustrator, S.D. Nelson. Students will incorporate information from each IRA (interactive read aloud) to explain their reasoning as they complete a written assessment.

  • The sixth grade Honors classes will watch a film this week to bring to life the research they have been preparing in order to better understand the concept of "Power of Mind."

Social Studies

  • This week in Social Studies, we are studying different perspectives of Thanksgiving and finishing up with the Eastern Europe Country/Capital test. After break, we will begin our learning about the Renaissance Period. We would like to thank you for the opportunity to teach your children. We appreciate the hard work and time you invest in their education and as individuals. They inspire and amaze us daily.


  • This week in science, we are doing a buoyancy lab to see which group in each class can build the "best boat". The object is to see how many washers the boat can hold before it sinks. We will also be doing a Thanksgiving themed escape room using items found at Thanksgiving to solve science based problems.

Related Arts


  • 5th-Grade: We are finishing up our Pop Art Clay Cupcakes from last week, and will be doing a gratitude-themed project on Tuesday in honor of Thanksgiving.

    6th-Grade: Each class will be taking a closer look at an artist, and will be helping to re-create our own version of famous art pieces.


  • This week in music class we are building our piano skills. We are also continuing to learn new rhythms, and learning to play a few familiar songs.
  • We are finishing our last two days of PE with some fun games!
  • Attention all fitness fanatics! A school record was recently broken in Mrs. Wilson's physical education class. 6th grader Mallory Billings broke the school record for the Sit and Reach Stretch by reaching 57 cm (see picture). Great job, Mallory! Keep up the good work, and thanks for being a role model for physical fitness.

WIS Holiday for Kids

If your WIS student is in need this holiday season, we would like to help. Please fill out a form for each WIS student. This form is not a guarantee that you will receive all items. Our program is based on donations; thank you for understanding.


Package pick up will be Tuesday, December 14th and Wednesday, December 15th from 7:30am-2:30pm.
Please wear a mask when you come to pick up your package.

If you have questions, please contact Mrs. Schmiegel: dschmiegel@duneland.k12.in.us

Art Club

Dear Families: We are starting our Westchester Art Club on Tuesday, Jan. 4th for 5th grade and Jan. 11th for 6th grade. It is open to all 5th and 6th graders, who will alternate weeks (so your child will attend every other week). It meets on Tuesdays from 3:15-4:30. A $5.00 donation toward Art Club supplies is expected when joining Art Club. I will be accepting the first 20 5th graders and the first 20 6th graders who turn in their permission slips and money to me.

Families are responsible for the prompt pick-up of your child after each session. If students are picked up late more than two times, then they will no longer be allowed to participate in Art Club. Students will exit out Door 5 (near Gym A) on the south side of the building. Park your car in the lot and wait for them. We will begin Art Club on Jan. 4th (for 5th grade) and Jan. 11th (for 6th grade. A schedule will be given out at that time.

This Art Club is an exciting opportunity for students interested in the visual Arts to explore new methods of creating and to develop their artistic abilities. We will follow all Duneland School Corporation COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Please sign the permission slip below and return it by Dec. 10th. I will be accepting the first 40 students to turn in their permission slips & money ($5). If you have a financial burden at this time, please let me know and we can work it out.

Looking forward to starting Art Club!

Ms. Aubrey Kurt


Food Drive Update

Gobble, gobble, gobble! Our Duneland food drive concluded Friday with an amazing cornucopia of canned, boxed, and wrapped items. Westchester Intermediate School families were truly generous in this year's giving. WIS made the largest donation of any local organization to the Westchester Food Pantry-- a total of 2,207 items were collected, boxed, and delivered. In fact, several staff members' vehicles were needed to transport the items! This year's school collection was once again coordinated by Mrs. Ruth Nidelchoff, a long-time aide at Westchester. Pictured with Mrs. Nidelchoff are teachers Brian Doolin and Dan Spears, as well as food pantry worker Ed Strudas (back).
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Westchester Intermediate School robotics teams D, E, F, and G, attended their first competition of the season Saturday, November 20, 2021. They traveled to Plymouth, Indiana, and competed with 23 teams from across Northern Indiana.

All four teams had a strong showing, and all four qualified for the top ten finals!

  • Team D qualified in 7th place. The team members are Elise Engels, Athena Lafata, and Mara Lafata.
  • Team E qualified in 6th place. The team members are Johnny Dodds, Elijah Haas, and Bella Hansen.
  • Team F qualified in 3rd place. The team members are Matzen Finck, Herschel Hardwick, and Noah Hyde.
  • Team G qualified in 2nd place. The team members are Elyssa Martin and Devin Steele.

The finals were exciting! WIS Team D was paired with the 8th place team from Plymouth, Team K. They scored 30 points in their one run. Then WIS Team E was paired with the 5th place team from Plymouth, Team C. They scored 36 points in their one run. WIS Team F was paired with the 4th place team from Wakarusa, Team K. They scored 70 points in their one run. The pressure was on! WIS Team G had to beat 70 points to win the competition! WIS Team G was paired with the 1st place team from Dyer, Team A. They scored 80 points! Winning the competition automatically qualifies WIS Team G for the State of Indiana championship on March 12, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

*Masking guidelines, optional or required, is determined by the contest host.

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CHS Baseball Camp

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Food Assistance for Parents/Community

Looking for food assistance? FoodFinder can help.

FoodFinder is a map of food pantries nationwide. Click on the image to the right for access to a Food Assistance site map where individuals can enter a zip code to find the nearest area food pantries.

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




Due to ongoing effects of the COVID Pandemic, many industries are suffering from labor shortages which is causing disruptions and shortages in the food chain. At present, Duneland School's Child Nutrition Department is experiencing unprecedented food order shortages causing many last minute changes to the breakfast and lunch menus. In an effort to communicate these changes to families in a timely manner, we ask that you please check this website daily for any changes to the menu.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these setbacks!

Visit the DSC Child Nutrition page for links to the menus for the Week of Nov. 15-19

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Covid-19 Information

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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

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.