Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, January 2022

From the Wildcat's Den...

Dear Whatcom Families,

Like everywhere else, COVID and the omicron variant are impacting our school. We’re experiencing higher than normal student absent rates and current COVID protocols require symptomatic students to stay home for five days. After consulting with Whatcom staff, we are asking families to make certain that students are able to access school work via Teams or One Note. We understand that students aren’t at school because they don’t feel well. The expectation is not that students do school work when they are not capable. We do want families to know that students have access to classwork via Teams or OneNote while they are gone from school, if they feel well enough to attempt it.

We hope that you are all being safe.

Wishing you good learning.


Mark your calendar!

Jan 17 - No School - Martin Luther King Day

Jan 26 - Band Concert

Jan 28 - 1st Semester ends

Jan 31 - No School - Semester Break - Teacher work day

Feb 1 - 2nd Semester begins

Feb 21 - No School - President's Day


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

Winter Sports!

Winter Sports Season starts Tuesday, February 1st and runs through Friday, March 25th. Students interested in participating in Girls Volleyball (7th and 8th grade) and Coed Wresting (all grades) should complete their sports registration in Final Forms by Friday, January 28th. For more athletics info and links, please go to Whatcom Athletics – Whatcom Middle School.

WMS Track: We are still missing 12 track jerseys. Please check your student's backpack, closet, under the bed, etc. Cross Country will appreciate your time looking.

From the Counseling Office...

Welcome back; I hope everyone had a restful break and got to enjoy the snow! When we come back in January, I start thinking about all things “transition.” We’re starting to plan for our 8th graders heading off to high school (I SWEAR we just did 6th grade orientation for them; time flies!!) and 5th graders joining us next year as our newest Wildcats. I have already had some 8th graders inquiring about transferring high schools (for more information on transfers go here: https://bellinghamschools.org/families/enrollment/attendance-areas/transfers/; the deadline for transfer requests is March 1. I will be visiting 8th grade classes in late February/early March, before the high school counselors visit, to talk about high school, credits, registration, etc. Information about high school parent/student events will be coming soon.

On another note, did you know that if you’re child is in 7th or 8th grade, they may qualify for the College Bound Scholarship? This scholarship covers tuition, books, and some fees for students attending Washington State colleges, universities, and technical colleges. Students who qualify for Free and Reduced lunch are eligible, but you MUST be enrolled (even though lunch is free for everyone this year), so if you think you might qualify, submit your application here: https://frapps.horizonsolana.com/BELS03 For more information on the Bound Scholarship, go here: collegebound.wa.gov or contact me or Rita Hocking-Kombol (x4353; rita.hocking-kombol@bellinghamschools.org); we’re happy to help!

Enjoy your long weekend!

Beth & Rita

You can contact us via email (elizabeth.schille-oconnor@bellinghamschools.org, rita.hocking-kombol@bellinghamschools.org or phone (Beth x4352, Rita x4353).

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

For those who find parenting, mentoring, and teaching middle schoolers a challenge, the Strengthening Families Training have timely pointers. We encourage you to become familiar with their 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, and Elsa Powell will be able to enroll you at no cost. Leave a message or text at 360 676 4165.

We trust the following link will be an encouragement to you.

Episode 1: https://soundcloud.com/wsu_sfp/ep_1_love_and_limits

Spanish episode:

Primer episodio : https://soundcloud.com/wsu_sfp/ep_1_amor_y_limites

Planning for Winter Weather

Emergency and Weather Procedures

It’s that time of year to think about snow and our procedures and impact of weather-related school cancellations.

Depending on conditions (which could include snow, flooding, power outages, etc.), school could:

  • close for the day (in the case of widespread power outages),
  • open two hours late with regular bus routes or snow bus routes,
  • open on time with snow bus routes.

Click here to look up your snow bus routes.

How can I get weather/emergency information?

Changes to the school schedule are usually announced by 6 a.m., and we use a variety of methods to keep families informed:

  • Sign up for alerts: To receive email, phone, and/or text alerts, set your communication preferences on the Skylert tab within Skyward Family Access. (Need help? go here for step-by-step directions or contact 360-676-6520.)
  • Tune to local media: 790 AM, 96.5 FM, 104.1 FM or Seattle media.
  • Check bellinghamschools.org
  • Check @BhamSD on Twitter, @bellinghamschools on Facebook and @bellinghamschools on Instagram
  • Call 360-676-6400 for a recorded message.
  • Call 360-647-6815 for a message translated in Español, русский, tính từ and Punjabi.

Please familiarize yourself with our weather procedures at bellinghamschools.org/weather.

How to find your snow bus route: www.bellinghamschools.org/snow-routes

Gardening with Common Threads

Despite the cool temperatures there are still opportunities to get out in the garden this winter! The Whatcom MS garden is in need of winter garden volunteers to help complete large projects in the food forest so that the garden is ready to bloom in the spring. If you are interested in supporting the school garden, please email Americorps Food Educator, Evelyn, evelyn.gray@commonthreadsfarm.org.

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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.


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.
  • Masks are required at all times in the building (except breakfast and lunch) and are optional outside.
  • 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