West Sylvan Family Communication

May 26, 2023


Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Mental Health Awareness Month

  • Mon, MAY 29th: NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day holiday


  • Thur, JUN 1st: West Sylvan Music Concert from 7pm - 8pm in the Lower Gym

  • Thur, JUN 8th: West Sylvan Dance Recital at 7pm in the Lower Gym

  • Sat, JUN 10th: Eighth Grade Grad Party at West Sylvan
    (*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation - tickets on sale now!)

  • Mon, JUN 12th: Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony (at Lincoln HS - 6:30PM)

  • Tue, JUN 13th: Eighth Grade Field Trip to Oaks Park (*optional early dismissal for 8th Grade only, upon return at 2:30pm)

  • Wed, JUN 14th: Last Day of instruction / Pizza party for Eighth Grade during Lunch

Dear West Sylvan Families,

We hope that your family enjoys the longer weekend ahead! We held our final assembly with our sparrow, Soleil, through the Sparrow Clubs of Portland, (www.sparrowclubs.org). The Sparrow Club set a goal of 300 hours of community service for our school. We’re pleased to share that our devoted WSMS Scholars completed 594 hours of community service, equating to $4648.68 in donated funds to the family of Soleil! Thank you to all families who encouraged and supported this community service work throughout the school year!

Enjoy your weekend,

Jill & Ben

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We want to share a great deal of appreciation for the generous outpouring of support for our WSMS family displaced by the recent fire in Portland!


Most students successfully completed their forecasting when Staff visited their classes in the past weeks. If your Scholar has yet to choose electives for Seventh or Eighth Grade, please follow the instructions on the West Sylvan website, under the “Forecasting 2023-24” tab.

We are trying to add two new more electives next year, Arabic (taken in the morning at LHS, with families transporting to LHS for that first class), and Choir at WSMS. If your student would like to switch a previously chosen elective to one of the new offerings, please indicate that change here.

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OSAS testing makeups are finishing for Math, and the last testing session is for our Eighth Graders in Science.

  • 8th Science: 6/5 - 6/8

A reminder to get plenty of sleep and have a healthy breakfast. Chromebooks will need to be charged and brought to school every day.

Why take these tests seriously?

  • These results are a key factor in how WSMS is ranked academically as a Middle School for the state of Oregon and nationally by U.S. News and World report. See our last posted ranking at the link.

  • Results are only comparable to other schools in Oregon if 95% of our students complete the testing.

  • OSAS testing is one school indicator of potential academic ability when future schools are making placement decisions in honors, AP and advanced courses.

  • OSAS data is also the main data that the PPS School Board uses when determining and prioritizing goals for schools and the District, including funding and staffing.


ALL chromebooks AND chromebook chargers will be returned to the school at the end of the year. This allows for necessary repairs and any maintenance over summer. If students are involved in the Summer Acceleration Academy, Chromebooks will be provided through the Summer School.

Wednesday, 6/7: SIXTH Grade return

Thursday, 6/8: SEVENTH Grade return

Friday, 6/9: EIGHTH Grade return


If you or family members are interested in donating to grow and help expand programs, you are invited to send any donations directly to the Main Office via check. If you would like your donation to be directed toward specific areas (i.e. the Performing Arts, a specific World Language offering that we don’t offer, Visual Arts, Music, Band, Reading intervention for students, tutoring for students, Math intervention for students, etc.), please specify the targeted use along with the donation.


Please send your Scholars to school with a reusable water bottle, and encourage them to dress for the warmer weather. Many students are reporting that they are hungry mid-afternoon, as they are burning lots of energy during recess in this warmer weather. Please send extra snacks for your Scholars if they are typically hungry in the afternoons.
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Please support our teachers by volunteering and hour or two in their classrooms! Art, Science, Health, Math and Reading all have opportunities for parents to get involved.


Please help be an extra set of eyes and ears and hands at West Sylvan as a Hall Monitor, Lunch Time Helper, Main Office support in the afternoon, or in the Library. It's fun way to see West Sylvan in action!


You belong. You are valued.

You are loved. You are able.

You are excellent.

REMINDER: Our final Black Excellence Group PARENT MEETING for this year will be virtual on Monday, 6/5 from 6:00-7:00pm on Zoom!

Evite to come for our final conversation this school year. We will give updates on previous discussion items and share some great go-to resources for Black students/families in the community. This meeting will be shared across West Sylvan and Jackson, so you’ll get to also meet and hear from several other BE families next meeting. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom.

The Center for Black Student Excellence (CBSE) Vision has been released. View it here!

We would like to draw your attention to Jonathan Garcia’s PPS email this week releasing the Center for Black Student Excellence vision plan. Please check out this nearly 200 page inspiring vision plan for what will be the Center for Black Student Excellence. Black Excellence Group joined Black leaders and District stakeholders to sit on the Guiding Coalition that was honored to contribute to this vision. This is such a powerful example of Black Excellence in community. We have so many Black elders and bold community thought leaders to thank for the work getting to this point. The Center for Black Student Excellence is A Place, An Approach, and a Redesign of the System. Learn more about the vision!

Mashari Tyson, Founder




Get connected in community this spring, explore these upcoming community events and resources…

  • Indigenous Marketplace Event 2023 - PSU/Native American Student Center – 710 SW Jackson Ave. 97201 (Link to flyer with more information)

  • MET Rental Assistance for Washington & Multnomah County now available call 503-579-6621 (you must live in either of these two counties.)

  • Portland State University FARMER’S MARKET from April – October Saturdays / 8:30AM – 2:00PM at SW Park Ave & SW Montgomery


Many of our families have allowed their young Scholars to have their own cell phones, and they use those phones to access various social media sites while away from school. We are asking that you please help to actively monitor your Scholar’s social media presence and interactions. For example, there are reports of a Sixth Grade chat where many students may engage in name-calling and also share concerning items amongst each other. While cell phones are not allowed during the school day, and therefore, social media engagement during school hours should not be occurring, there are still Scholars who regularly sneak access and are posting inappropriate content. PPS District leaders also sent out this toolkit to all families.

If you are concerned about your Scholar and social media, some suggested tips are below:

  • Get online family protection. Programs that provide parental controls can block websites, enforce time limits, monitor the websites that your child visits, and their online conversations.

  • Follow your child's online accounts, and tell them that you are monitoring their online activity to help keep them safe.

  • Interrupt any chats or conversations that are harmful. Tell your child to disengage from chats and harmful groups that do not support your family values.

  • Block social media apps using your parental controls.

  • Enforce screen times, limiting time online on such apps or video games where there are also active chats that are often full of concerning content.

  • Use a GPS parental control device that your child carries to help you monitor their location throughout the school day.

  • Only allow children to sign up for apps if you have a joint log-on with them so that you can help monitor their interactions for safety.


The Foundation supports Scholars and Staff and fosters community connection through fundraising and volunteer opportunities. Join the mailing list and stay connected with other families! All grade-level party information is updated on this website.


Help support our Counseling office snack pantry, where Students who are experiencing food insecurity can grab snacks throughout the day and bring some home. Your dollar and snack donations will go far to maintain the program!


Eighth Graders have been presenting their culminating MYP Community Projects! If your Eighth Grader has yet to complete their group project, this is due soon! Block classes and Eighth Grade Advisory classes have talked about how to complete the project, and it is a major part of the Eighth Grade Social Science final grade.


We are compiling ways to continue educating your Scholars at home. Click the image here for more information.
Accessing CANVAS for families

Click here for directions for Parents/Guardians to access CANVAS and view Student course information.


PPS has shared out the approved calendar for next school year for your planning purposes.


  • West Sylvan Eighth Graders will engage in mock congressional hearings during ELA and U.S. Studies classes, Thursday, June 8th

  • Our Eighth Grade Grad Party tickets and Promotion week activities are on sale now! In order to provide our scholars with a wonderful promotion celebration, including lunch and other activities, we ask each family to please contribute $15.

  • The Eighth Grade Grad Party will be Saturday, June 10th, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm at WSMS and tickets are $25. Donated tickets are available so everyone can attend these fun events. Please contact Ms. Cohen [rcohen@pps.net] for assistance. Find all the details and make your payments through The West Sylvan Foundation website.

  • Eighth Grade Promotion will be at Lincoln High School in their Gym on the evening of Monday, June 12th. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. The LHS Gym seats 2000 people in the bleachers. With 258 Eighth Graders, we don’t see a need to issue family tickets for seating. We thank all of the families who are volunteering with the WSMS Foundation to plan that evening and to assist with set-up and take-down of items that night!

  • Eighth Graders will have a final field trip to Oaks Park together on Tuesday, June 13th. We want all Eighth Graders to take part in this fun final day together. If you are interested in helping to chaperone the event (which includes riding the bus to and from the park), please let us know by sending an email to westsylvanoffice@pps.net. If an Eighth Grader has major disciplinary issues (suspensions from school between April and June), they will not be allowed to join the outing. We have reviewed behavioral expectations with all Scholars through Advisory.
Notes of Appreciation

If you would like to send a kind note of appreciation to any staff member, please share here. The kind notes go a long way in making our Staff members feel seen and thanked!


  • How to get involved?
    Join The West Sylvan Foundation! This is the group that also embodies what would have been a PTA at other schools. The group welcomes new adult support, and you can find the link here. This is also a way to share your voice about how WSMS fundraising is used for school needs.

  • Volunteer! We appreciate all family members who have been volunteering in our Main Office, in our Library, and joining us for school lunch periods and recess to help with supervision. The additional adults around campus really help with these busier spaces and the busiest times of the school day! If you are already an approved PPS volunteer, you are welcome to come to campus any day of the week when your schedule permits, and we will find a way that you can help on campus! Classroom volunteer sign-ups and In-School Volunteer sign-ups can be accessed at these links.


Please encourage and remind your Scholar to bring their charged Chromebook to school each day. We have a very limited, and often depleted, number of loaner Chromebooks. Remembering to bring your PPS-issued Chromebook to school is crucial, as Chromebooks are needed for classes and especially during upcoming state testing.


After ten consecutive school days of non-attendance, Scholars are un-enrolled from WSMS. Please be sure to officially excuse absences when there is a lasting illness or a need to be gone from campus.


Please help remind and reinforce our “No Cell Phone” policy during the school day in your discussions at home. This means that we ask that Scholars to either leave phones at home or put them in their lockers during the day so that they are not a temptation.

If a Scholar has a phone out in class or around campus during the school day, it is confiscated and held in the Office. If a Scholar has three or more violations already this year, we will ask a Parent/Guardian to pick up the phone to help reinforce expectations.

Please remember that Scholars do not have access to their phones during the day, and refrain from calling and/or texting them. If you need to get an urgent message to your Scholar, you may call the Office at 503-916-5690 or send an email to westsylvanoffice@pps.net.


Families are able to record future absences for their Students directly in ParentVUE without needing to contact the Main Office. Please remember, if a student is going to miss multiple days, it is up to the Student and/or Parent/Guardian to communicate absences with each Teacher and make a plan for missing work and assignments.

  • If your Student is going to be Absent for a FULL DAY:
    Log in to the ParentVUE website or download and open the phone application. In either case, look for the ‘Report Absence’ button to the right of your Student’s photograph. Select start date, end date, and a reason from the drop-down list. Remember to click SAVE, and you should receive a popup confirmation.

No internet access? Call West Sylvan’s main line at 503-916-5690 and select the Attendance option.



All-Grade School Climate Specialist: Shawn McVicar [smcvicar@pps.net]




(503) 916-5690


[Staff / Substitutes / Financial]

Jerda Solonche



[Students / Attendance / Enrollment]

Kirsten Crombie