WIS Weekly

October 18, 2021

A Message From Mr. Longacre

WIS Family,

The 2021-22 school year is off to a great start at Westchester! Students and staff are excited to be back in the building and settled into our normal, educational routine. Now that the first grading period has ended and the second quarter has begun, it is important to remind you about our upcoming Parent-Teacher Conference Day on November 2. During the day, WIS staff will maintain two separate classroom office times for planning and assistance for remote students: 11:00 a.m. to noon and 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. In-person or virtual conferences will take place at designated times throughout the afternoon and into the early evening. Please refer to the options listed below. We look forward to discussing your child’s current progress.

Option 1: You may visit with as many or as few teachers as you would like from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and again from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.* in one of our designated areas. 6th grade teachers and related arts teachers will be located in Gym B. 5th grade teachers will be located in Gym A. Special education teachers will be located in our cafeteria. Teachers will be available to talk with you for up to 15 minutes each.

*Note: In-person conferences are set to end at 7:00 p.m. We ask that you arrive no later than 6:15 p.m. so that there is enough time to meet with teachers. Also, masks will be required for all meetings with teachers.

Option 2: If you feel that you need extended time to meet with one or more teachers, including your child’s full team, then please contact Mr. Longacre to set up an appointment outside of the scheduled conference times.

Option 3: If you reviewed your child’s report card and determined this year’s progress to be on track, you may choose to forgo conferencing at this time.

In addition, please note the following:

  • Report cards are available for viewing via Skyward.

  • Mr. Longacre will be circulating through the conference areas during the evening. He will also be available to meet with families outside of the main office.

  • The WIS Library/Media Center will be open during the evening and hosting our fall Scholastic Book Fair. Students and parents are invited to attend and shop for books and other school-related items.


Mr. Longacre

This Week at WIS

5th Grade

Language Arts

Last Week:

  • We read and watched various versions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  • Concluded our IRA of The Power of Knowledge. During that study, students learned multiple ways a person can acquire knowledge in day-to-day life. Reading and storytelling are some of the best ways to acquire that knowledge.

This Week:

  • Author Mark Marimen will visit us on Tuesday. He will help guide us in writing spooky stories. We will pay particular attention to all of the elements needed when writing a narrative piece.
  • Our new set of IRA's will be about Freedom. Hopefully, your child is the official ls storyteller of the house and sharing their knowledge about all of their literature exposure.


Last week:

  • We began looking at long division finishing the week with 1 digit divisors and a division escape room opportunity.
This week:
  • We will learn about compatible numbers, estimating, 2-digit divisors and error analysis. We will have the Q2 Quiz 1: Long Division of Whole Numbers on Thursday. We will also be learning abut the coordinate plane with s mini lesson and some homework practice.

Social Studies

What did we learn last week in social studies?

  • Sophia Ontiveros learned, "The Columbian Exchange was important because it hurt some people and it gave some people land and power."

  • Bella Purser said, "The Columbian Exchange changed culture, the way people ate, their religion, and their riches."
  • The chapter two test is on Wednesday, October 20th.


  • This week, the students successfully completed their missions to Jupiter's moon, Europa. When the students were not being mission specialists, they were assembling a VEX Robotics Rover Explorer.

6th Grade

  • We will have a quiz this week over multiplying and dividing fractions. Students will learn to convert percents, fractions, and decimals and place them on a number line.

Language Arts

  • Sixth grade ELA students will be wrapping up Tuck Everlasting and their annotations this week. Through interactive read alouds, students will continue to discuss a story’s theme, mood and tone.
  • After their their study of Sherlock Holmes last week, honors ELA students will be developing their very own “locked room” mystery. Ask your child to share their plot with you at home!

Social Studies

  • Students finished up Ancient Greece and Rome by learning the differences between their governments. We began reading about the Middle Ages focusing on feudalism and their way of life. Next week, students will be studying the Black Death and the Magna Carta. In the past, they really seem to enjoy this era.


  • This week we are working on predator/prey relationships using our acting skills. We are also discussing symbiotic relationships-(commensalism, mutualism and parasitism) using interactive games. Leading into break, we are also reviewing for an exam on populations and communities that will be on Thursday.

Congrats Mrs. Holmen

Did you hear? Mrs. Holmen has been nominated as a Teacher of Excellence! In her nine years of working with 5th and 6th graders in the special education program, Mrs. Holmen has had a tremendous impact on our school and the students who come to her classroom each day. Loved by all, Mrs. Holmen exemplifies the Duneland Difference in character and commitment. Read her profile to learn not only why she thinks teaching is more than a day job, but also what her favorite teaching moment has been.
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Veteran's Day Program


Our Veterans Day program will be a video again this year. We would like to honor your family members that have served in the military. If you would like to share photos of your family members that have served, please email them to Katie Masi at kmasi@duneland.k12.in.us.

Please include the following:

  • Name of the Veteran
  • Relationship to your child
  • Your child's name

Thank you!

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

Fall Recess - Friday, October 22

There will be NO SCHOOL for all Duneland School students on Friday, Oct. 22 for Fall Recess. Classes will resume on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.

Club Information

Chesterton Basketball Club

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Trick or Treat at CHS

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Inclement Weather Information - School Closing/Delay Procedures

As we approach the winter season, please review the procedures for school closings and/or delays that may occur due to inclement weather. The decision to close school and engage in an eLearning day or alter the school day is done after collaborating with multiple district personnel, local, state departments and agencies, including: law enforcement, national weather service, highway/street departments, and transportation. In addition, other Porter County school districts are consulted due to partnerships that impact special education and career-technical education students.

Decisions about school delays due to inclement weather will be made as early as possible. In some instances, a school cancellation may follow a two-hour delay. In the event of a two-hour delay followed by a cancellation, we will do our best to make the decision to cancel school before 9:00 a.m. Delay or cancellation information will be delivered through the Skylert notification system. These notifications are based on the contact information provided in the General category within your Skylert notification system. Please review and update (if necessary) your contact information to receive these notifications. School closing/delay information will also be posted on the DSC website (www.duneland.k12.in.us) and sent to the following media outlets:

  • Radio: WAKE 1500 AM; Indiana 105.5 FM; WEFM 95.9 FM; WDSO 88.3 FM; WGN Radio 720;

WBBM Newsradio 780

The following options will be considered during weather emergencies:

Option 1: Start of the school day will be delayed 2-hours. Delayed start times are:

Elementary - 10:00 a.m.

Intermediate - 10:15 a.m.

Middle School - 9:50 a.m.

High School - 9:40 a.m.

Option 2: Students will not report to school; students will participate in inclement weather eLearning day

Option 3: Schools will dismiss early

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.