Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, December 2019

From the Wildcat's Den...

Dear Whatcom Middle School Families,

I think I’m an educator because of northwest winters. Growing up in Washington State always meant dark, wet, and dreary winters. I remember school being warm, secure, consistent and predictable. I remember the feel and touch of a good library book while seated at a familiar desk in a classroom led by a caring adult. In definite contrast to the out of doors, school was a haven of familiarity and protection. These winter days of darkness and wet still make me grateful for the indoor environment created by schools and educators.

As a staff we’ve been spending time studying Social Emotional Learning and Trauma Informed Practices. Our students often need an important “something” in addition to strong instruction and a supportive environment as described in the Bellingham Promise. Fulfilling the Core Beliefs of our Bellingham Promise, where we commit to the Whole Child, necessitates that we equip our students with the components of Emotional Regulation, Emotional Intelligence, and Anxiety Management.

Many of our students have life experiences similar to the wet, dreary northwest winter. What they often need is help regulating their emotions, anxiety, and developing their ability to work well with others. We all need the sense of safety and predictability akin to a warm, well-lit, and welcoming school. It’s what our students need and what we’re striving to deliver on through our Bellingham Promise.

Being involved with a community, district, and school that focuses on the needs of each student, who work to create strategies to meet those needs, makes me grateful. I hope our students feel the same, now and in their future.

Wishing you the very best learning,


Upcoming Dates

  • 12/18 Orchestra Concert, 7 pm
  • 12/23 - 1/3 Winter Break
  • 1/16 Band Concert, 7 pm
  • 1/20 No School - MLK Day
  • 1/21 Deadline to sign up for Winter sports
  • 1/21 PTSA Meeting, 7 pm
  • 1/22 Choir Concert at Kulshan M.S.
  • 1/24 End of 1st Semester
  • 1/27 No School - Teacher workday
  • 1/28 2nd Semester begins
  • 1/28 Wrestling & Volleyball begin

Winter Sports Season is right around the corner!

Wrestling for boys and girls, grades 6 - 8, and Volleyball for girls in grades 7 & 8 begins 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...

Happy almost Winter Break. Yesterday as part of our professional development we watched “Screenagers Next Chapter,” which I highly recommend (https://www.screenagersmovie.com/screenagers-next-chapter).

The documentary speaks to what we’ve been learning about kids and anxiety, and ways to build resilience in the face of the pressures and demands they feel, especially with respect to the digital age we’re in. The director, a physician and parent of an anxious teen, looks at some of the latest research around parental involvement, emotional regulation, and other aspects of social-emotional development. I was pretty happy to see that much of the content reinforced what we’ve been learning about treating anxiety.

A couple of things that stood out to me are that avoidance is counter-productive, gradual exposure and desensitization to the anxiety-producing thing or place helps kids build competence and resilience, which minimizes anxiety. I also discovered a new book to add to my pile: The Self-Driven Child, William Stixrud, Ph.D. I can’t wait to read it, as it also addresses some of these concepts. I hope you all have a relaxing and joy-filled Winter Break. See you next year!

-Beth & Molly

Warm Clothing Drive

The WMS Leadership Club is leading a warm clothing drive to benefit local families in need, especially this time of year. They are asking for donations of new and/or gently used clothes and shoes. Students may bring donations to their classrooms next week, Dec. 16 - 20th. At the end of the week all donations will be delivered to The Hope House, who will distribute to families.

Community Toy Store

Need help providing holiday gifts for your children, but you’d like to choose the gifts yourself? You are invited to participate in the Community Toy Store on Saturday December 14th at 12:30 pm at Roosevelt Elementary.

Gifts and Toys will be discounted by 75%! Click on the link below for more information.

A message from Common Threads...

We've finished the first recipe, "Hummus in a Blanket", with incredible success! In December, students will prepare and taste a “confetti slaw” featuring produce from local farms and school gardens. Students will bring a copy of the recipe home: Look for it! If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact: ruby@commonthreadsfarm.org - For more information please visit www.commonthreadsfarm.org

Lost & Not Found

Soon we will be clearing out all of the lost and found items and donating them to charity. If your student seems to be missing a coat, jacket, helmet, hat, shirt, shorts, shoes, water bottle, lunch box... you may want to come check out our huge collection. But, don't delay - after winter break it will all be gone forever, and then we'll start another huge collection again in the spring!

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.

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