West Sylvan Family Communication

June 9, 2023



  • Sat, JUN 10th: Eighth Grade Grad Party at West Sylvan / 7:00PM-9:30PM
    (*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation - ticket sales now closed)

  • Mon, JUN 12th: Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony at Lincoln HS / 6:30PM-7:30PM
    (*this is a non-ticketed event)

  • Tue, JUN 13th: Eighth Grade Field Trip to Oaks Park / 9:30AM-2:30PM
    (*optional early dismissal for 8th Grade only, upon return at 1:30pm *WITH ADULT SIGN-OUT; Students may stay until 3:45pm if they choose, or if they need to ride the bus home)

  • Wed, JUN 14th: Last Day of instruction
    (*if not attending - especially 8th Graders - please enter the absence in ParentVue)

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

Dear West Sylvan Families,

As Summer quickly approaches, we are wrapping up curriculum, completing final projects and presentations, and preparing for the end of the 2022-23 school year throughout the building. Our Dance classes held their first in-person recital for an audience since prior to Distance Learning this week! Thank you to Jessical Hollyfield-Melz for leading the dance program at WSMS and for bringing back this event this year.

Eighth Graders engaged in Mock Congressional Hearings on Thursday, and Seventh Graders participated in Mock Trials as part of their Social Science curriculum. We are so appreciative of all of the family and community members who joined us to judge our students for these culminating projects!

Tomorrow is the Eighth Grade final party and dance at WSMS. Tickets have been on sale at westsylvanfoundation.com and are now closed. This is supervised by parent volunteers. Any students who do not follow expected rules will be sent home. Students may not purchase tickets at the door. This is a semi-formal event.

Enjoy your weekend,

Jill & Ben

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We will follow our usual Afternoon Advisory Bell Schedule on both Monday and Wednesday next week. On Tuesday, we will be on the Morning Advisory Bell Schedule (see below), to allow our Sixth and Seventh Graders time in the morning for yearbook signing and grade-specific activities while the Eighth Graders are off-campus at Oaks Park.
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Mr. Michael Blake is joining the WSMS Educator team next year to teach PE/Health to all grade levels. Here is a message from Mr. Blake:

Hello my name is Mike Blake. Next year will be my seventh year of teaching Health and Physical Education. I love working with kids and enjoy their youthful energy and enthusiasm. I am passionate about physical literacy and strive to make a positive difference in my students' lives. Although I am new to West Sylvan, I have been working within the community as an assistant baseball coach at Lincoln High School for the last nine years. Outside of teaching and coaching I enjoy paddle boarding, golfing, and DIY projects. I grew up in the Northwest as a big sports fan - go Mariners, Seahawks, Kraken! I’m looking forward to becoming a part of the West Sylvan community!

Jean Jett is joining the WSMS Educator team next year as our Instructional Coach. Jean was most recently working as a Teacher on Special Assignment in PPS leading Social Science work for Middle Schools! We are excited to have Jean dedicated just to WSMS and our instructional work next school year!

Mr. Moses Weir is joining as our Social Worker. He will be with us part-time, splitting his week between our school and Lincoln HS. From Mr. Weir:

Hey WSMS! My name is Moses Weir, and I'm the new school Social Worker here at West Sylvan. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. After High School, I moved to Corvallis, Oregon to attend Oregon State University, where I graduated in 2011 with a degree in Sociology. Go Beavs! I spent a year teaching second grade in Thailand before moving back to the States, where I went back to school to earn my Master's of Social Work from Portland State in 2017. I love working in schools and getting to connect with students and families to help them navigate through their Middle School experience. When I'm not working I love spending time with family and friends, and watching/playing sports!


Thank You to Educators Who are Departing! We understand that family needs and professional goals may take Educators in different paths over time, and we are grateful for the time that these Educators have devoted to our school community. We are sorry to see them go, and we wish them success in their future endeavors!

Mr. Azuma Bearden, PE/Health Teacher

Ms. Lauren Carmichael, ISC Paraeducator

Ms. Rachael Jones, Speech Therapist

Mx. Riley Wolff, ISC Teacher

Ms. Genevieve Ma’yet, ELA/SS Teacher

Ms. Heather Straube, ELA/SS Teacher


Some families are leaving for Summer plans early and prior to the last day of the school year, which is now Wednesday, June 14th. Please excuse your students through ParentVue for any days where you anticipate being gone prior to the conclusion of the school year, and have your Student(s) communicate with their Teachers in advance about their absences and any final work to complete.


Those students who have pre-ordered and paid for yearbooks will have them distributed on the following dates. If your scholar will be starting their Summer prior to this date, please have them tell Ms. Solonche in the Office, and we will give them the book in time for their departure. We will not be able to distribute any yearbooks over Summer when the building is off limits.

8th Grade: Monday, June 12th

7th and 6th Grades: Tuesday, June 13th


All stored medications need to be picked up by the final day of school, Wednesday, June 14th. With the building closed for construction, we will not be able to assist families with getting medications returned after this date. Please plan to pick up any items in the Health Room.

Any major violations of school and PPS policy at the event may result

in the loss of privileges to attend Oaks Park and to participate in the

Promotion Ceremony. Students with recent suspensions and substance-related
infractions may not attend this dance, and any tickets purchased will be
refunded directly to the family prior to the dance on Saturday.

Since this is an event during our school year, all PPS Conduct expectations apply.


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!


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. Especially in Sixth Grade, we are seeing a dramatic rise in the use of phones to prank call others, spread untrue rumors about others, and to make fun of others.

We are asking that you please help to actively monitor your Scholar’s social media presence and interactions. 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. Most recently, Sixth Grade students created a TikTok page about a Teacher, which was disturbing and disrupted the Teacher’s sense of safety.

Some recommended 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.


You belong. You are valued.

You are loved. You are able.

You are excellent.

We enjoyed seeing many of you at our final BE family zoom meeting this week. If you missed our time together, we shared some great go-to resources for Black students/families in the community. Check out a wealth of resources to connect into over the summer… Black Excellence Group – Resources LinkTree!

We hope you use this link to sign up for PPS Summer programming starting 6/12 as well as connect to vital community resources for food/housing, culturally relevant events, and supports for the entire family. We also enclosed a few digital resources and songs to get your summer season started off right. Happy Summer, Black Excellence Families!! We hope to see you in the Fall.

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




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!

Accessing CANVAS for families

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


  • Our Eighth Grade Promotion week activities are starting! 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 *tomorrow* 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. *pre-ticket sales are now closed.

  • Eighth Grade Promotion ceremonies 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. 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! *THIS IS A NON-TICKETED EVENT.

  • 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 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!


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