WIS Weekly

October 4, 2021

A Message From Mr. Longacre

WIS Families,

Please talk to your child about vaping.

The good news is that preadolescents are still impressionable and care what adults think-- what you do and say has an impact on your child. Here are a few ways that parents and teachers can decrease the odds that our students will decide to vape.

Help formulate a plan.

Take a moment to talk about peer negotiation strategies, but avoid giving a lecture. Use anecdotes and current cautionary tales. If you read an article about vaping statistics, ask them if they’re surprised by the numbers. If a classmate gets suspended for vaping in the bathroom, initiate a conversation about what happened.

Ask your child to brainstorm hypothetical scenarios that would place her or him in a tempting situation to vape with friends. Be authentic and acknowledge that it’s not always easy to make the right decision, especially in the face of peer pressure.

Encourage children to take comparatively safe risks.

Some intermediate students are wired to seek fun and novelty, and they’re going to make some bad choices. Asserting autonomy is a developmental imperative, so encourage them to flex their risk-taking muscles in relatively safe ways. That might mean trying out for a team, auditioning for a play, or getting involved in one or more of our many after-school activities.

Set the stage for good decision-making.

Intermediate students have little life experience or perspective and need help in identifying positive coping strategies. Be vocal about how you relax and manage stress in healthy ways. Similarly, acknowledge and give praise when you notice that a particular strategy is working for your child. Brainstorm positive ways of how to react when confronted with the choice to vape.

Provide good information.

Scare tactics do not always work. Instead, make sure your child has accurate information about the known risks of vaping. Your child may be getting her/his information (or misinformation) from other classmates, friends, or social media. Many simply don’t realize that vaping is harmful. Children can be influenced by the available flavors, the popularity of the activity, and a misperception that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking.

While talking to your child, if you remain nonjudgmental and calm, there’s a greater chance he or she will continue to come to you for advice and information. Aim to keep an open line of communication so that future discussions can take place.

Please watch the video below:



Mr. Longacre

This Week at WIS

5th Grade

Language Arts

Last week:

  • Continued discussing the importance of family through our IRAs.
  • We wrote persuasive essays that we will present.

This week:

  • Presenting our persuasive essays.
  • During our IRA's we will finish family and move on to the power of knowledge.
  • We will dive into the genre of nonfiction through our StoryWorks Magazine.


Last week:

  • We went over all the properties, word problems and applications, as well as the steps required for 1- and 2-digit multiplication. This culminated in taking Quiz 4 - our final quiz in the 1st quarter.

  • Friday students completed an Aloha! Breakout Room Escape reviewing working with decimal numbers.
Coming up:
  • Exponents beyond Powers of Ten, Basic Algebraic Expressions, and Order of Operations (PEMDAS)
  • FRIDAY OCTOBER 8: Quarter 1 Assessment (assessing mastery of all skills covered this quarter)

Social Studies

  • We are studying European explorers and working on timelines.


  • Students began getting ready for the upcoming VIRTUAL Challenger Learning Center mission to Europa, Jupiter's moon. Students applied for jobs related to their mission, created mission patches, and began research on Jupiter's moon, Europa. Next week, students will participate in the VIRTUAL missions. Challenger has requested that all students have access to earbuds or headphones. Please contact your student's science teacher if your child does not have access to a pair.

6th Grade

  • Students will start reviewing fractions this week. We will work on ordering fractions, placing them on a number line, and comparing them. Friday is the last day of the quarter, please be sure that any make up work is handed in prior to Friday.

Language Arts

  • Last week, we wrapped up our Dahl and Narrative unit in Amplify. Students studied the memoir by Roald Dahl, "Boy" for the last few weeks. This week, we will begin the novel Tuck Everlasting. Language Arts students will be reviewing plot, figurative language, and character development.

Social Studies

  • This week, students are finishing up Ancient Greece by completing their Greek God Google Slides and giving a presentation to the class with their partners. We will begin Ancient Rome to learn about their culture, government, roles, and lifestyle. By the end of the week, students will be able to compare Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome with identifying their similarities and differences.


  • This week in science we worked on our graphing skills. Students were able to use their data from the shadow lab they have been collecting this year to graph how their shadow length changes over time. We also are beginning a new book “Ecology and the Environment “ which we will be in for 4-6 weeks.

First Grading Period Ends October 8

The first grading period for all Duneland School students ends on Friday, October 8. Student report cards will be available on your Skyward Family Access Parent Portal on Friday, October 15 at 3:00 p.m. Parents will have the option of printing out their student's report card. If you have any questions, need assistance or are having trouble accessing your Parent Portal on Skyward, please contact your child's school.

Author Mark Marimen will visit WIS on October 19, 2021

On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, fifth grade will be welcoming local author, Mark Marimen, to Westchester Intermediate School. Mr. Marimen will speak to our students about his love of listening to spooky stories around campfires as a child, and how these childhood stories inspired him to become a writer. His stories are based on local legends and folklore. Mr. Marimen will spend time in fifth grade classrooms helping students write a spooky story of their own. We feel that this visit will help instill a love of reading and writing in our fifth grade students. The titles of the books Mark Marimen has written are listed below. The books were not originally written for a fifth grade audience; however, Mr. Marimen’s presentation will be grade level appropriate and enjoyable for your child. If you would prefer that your student not participate in this presentation, please notify their ELA teacher prior to October 19th and an alternate assignment will be given to them during this time.

Haunted Indiana Volumes 1-4

Haunted Travels of Indiana

School Spirits: College Ghost Stories of the East and Midwest

Weird Indiana: Your Travel Guide to Indiana’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

Club Information

WIS Choir

Dear Families:

We are starting our after-school Westchester Choir on Tuesday, October 12. It is open to all 5th and 6th graders. It meets every Tuesday from 3:15-4:15. There are no auditions required. A $10.00 donation toward choir is expected at the beginning of each semester to order music. I will be accepting the first 40 students to turn in their permission slip and money to me.

Families are responsible for the prompt pick-up of your child after each rehearsal. If students are picked up late more than 2 times, then they will no longer be allowed to participate in choir. Students will exit out the Gym A doors on the south side of the building. Please park your car in the lot and wait for them. We will begin rehearsals on Tuesday, October 12. A schedule will be given out at that time. We will perform in the Holiday Concert on Thursday, December 2, so that is an important date to put on the calendar if you join choir this semester.

Being in choir is both educational and enjoyable! Students should make an honest effort to attend all rehearsals. Students will not be asked to leave the choir for missing rehearsals. However, if you miss more than 3 rehearsals, you will not be permitted to perform in the semester concert. We will follow all Duneland School Corporation COVID-19 safety guidelines, which currently require masks for all students and staff while indoors.

Please sign the permission slip below and return it by Monday, October 4. I will be accepting the first 40 students to turn in their permission slip and money. A $10.00 donation toward choir is expected at the beginning of each semester. If you have a financial burden at this time, please let me know and we can work it out.

Thank you. I look forward to being your child’s choir director, as well as their music teacher!


Ms. Rachel Krieg


CHS Cheer Camp

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Chesterton Basketball Club

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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


DSC COVID-19 Response Plan - Level Change

On Wednesday, Governor Holcomb released Executive Order 21-24 which directed the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to modify quarantine requirements for K-12 schools who mandate masks. The new guidelines indicate that when all individuals are masked, students and staff who are close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual do not need to be quarantined unless experiencing symptoms. Instead, close contacts will monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days while they continue to attend school.

Reducing the number of quarantines is essential to preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic. Since school started, over 450 students have been in quarantine (3,600+ days of missed school). At this pace, DSC will quarantine more than 4,800 students this year (38,000+ days of missed school).

In an effort to keep schools open and minimize learning disruptions related to mandated quarantine rules, the Duneland School Corporation will move to the “Quarantine Caution” level in the DSC COVID-19 Response Plan and require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status for all students, staff and visitors, effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The goal will be to remove the mask requirement as soon as it is plausible to do so.

This change follows an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the school community and a significant increase in the number of students placed in quarantine. DSC schools are required to follow quarantine protocols established by the ISDH as outlined in the Governor’s executive order. By requiring masks, DSC looks to eliminate quarantines which will increase the likelihood of preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic.

Staff will provide students opportunities, as is allowed by state health protocols, to remove masks at appropriate times when eating, when 6-feet of social distancing is possible and while outdoors, as well as when participating in athletics.

The DSC COVID-19 Response Plan will remain a fluid document and can and will be changed as new information becomes available during the pandemic. DSC administration will continue to consult with Porter County Health Department, monitor active cases and adjust protocols as necessary.

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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


If you are interested in helping with the WIS PTO please visit our Facebook page to let us know. The Facebook page is also a great place to find out the happenings of the WIS PTO:


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.