Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, September 2019

Welcome Back!

From the Wildcat's Den...

This is the message that all WMS students received at the opening week assembly. I thought I would share it with our parent community as well. The message is based upon the Bellingham Promise.

“What does the Bellingham Promise mean, “All students should be loved?”

First of all, “all students should be loved” means we’re all here to help you create your future. Being loved at school means that you will be supported by skilled and compassionate teachers in a school whose vision is based upon what is best for Middle School students. In addition, you will be safe. Safe because the building is going to be well-maintained and in good order. Safe because you’re going to be emotionally safe, which means that you will be free from being bullied, that you will be treated with compassion and kindness. Being safe also means that you’re going to be respected. And even when you make a poor decision, you’re going to be treated with compassion and respect.

And lastly, being loved at school means that we’re going to support you. Here’s what support looks like and sounds like: We know that each one of you has a future you dream of. Each one of you dreams about what your life will be like as an adult. Your current circumstances, your family, money resources, or your own health, may not support your dreams. Our goal, our purpose, our hope, our reason for being here is to support you and help you develop and preserve your belief in your own ability to learn; to help guide you toward high school graduation.

Love isn’t always mushy and easy. Love is often believing in someone when they don’t believe in themselves. Think about a time when a teacher thought you could do something you didn’t think you could do. That’s what we’re going to do for you. Love is often holding someone to a high standard. Think about someone who had high expectations for you; perhaps higher than you had for yourself. Love is also ensuring that the people you care about are prepared for the next phase in life. In this case that means that we’re doing our best to make certain that you’re ready to be successful in high school.

When we say we love you, we mean these things. We’re going to care for you and care about you. We’re going to believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. We’re going to hold you to a high standard of learning and performance. We’re going to do our best to make certain that you are ready for the next phase in your education.

Some of you may not have the support your need at home to be successful. You may have worries: about where you’re going to live, about what you may have to eat, about who may be a safe adult for you, about who your friends are. If you’re a student at Whatcom Middle School, all of the adults at this school (teachers, counselors, administrators, librarians, para educators, cafeteria staff, custodians, and coaches) are all here because we care about you.

As you do the very hard work of being a student, know that we love you and care about you; especially when we ask you to do things you’ve never done before.

We love you.”

Wishing you good learning,

Jeff Coulter


Upcoming Dates

  • 9/19 12:00 Dismissal
  • 9/20 No School - Teacher Workday
  • 9/26 School Picture Day
  • 9/26 Back to School Night, 6:30 pm
  • 10/8 - 11 Edventure Team - Snowgoose
  • 10/10 Wildcat Pride Breakfast
  • 10/14 - 17 Puma Team - Snowgoose
  • 10/15 Strengthening Families Program begins
  • 10/18 No School - Teacher Workday
  • 10/31 12:00 dismissal
  • 11/1 No School - Conferences

Soccer and Track clearance

Many of our athletes have not yet signed their forms in Final Forms. This is a required step that only takes a few minutes. An email with a link to Final Forms was sent to their school email box, but it might be in their junk mail. Click on the link in the email and follow the directions. If you have any problems, call or email Beth Pelto-Fishbeck for assistance. (360) 676-6460, Beth.Pelto-Fishbeck@bellinghamschools.org. In addition, some students have not yet paid their ASB fee of $10.00. These fees help support WMS Sports programs and clubs and can be paid by cash or check in the Main Office.

Picture Day

Picture day for this year is set for September 26, 2019. Picture packets will be distributed next week to first period classes. All students will have their picture taken whether or not they are purchasing a packet.

Retakes will be on Nov. 6th.

Back to School Night, Sept. 26th, 6:30 pm

This is an evening for parents to learn more about Whatcom Middle School. After an introduction in the auditorium, parents will have an opportunity to visit with teaching teams and see individual classrooms.

This evening is geared toward general information only. If you need to speak with teachers regarding your student’s individual needs, please set up an appointment to meet with your student’s teacher and/or team at a different time.

Look for detailed information that will be sent home with students as the date approaches.

From the Counseling Office...

Welcome back to school! It’s so fun to see everyone settling into their new routines, reconnecting with friends from last year, and making new friends this year. For some, this transition isn’t as smooth as we would like, so consequently we get a lot of phone calls from parents wondering how best to support their child as they acclimate to a new school, teachers, classmates, etc. While it can be difficult to watch them struggle, validating their feelings and letting them know you’re confident in their ability to get through challenging/difficult situations, then asking them to generate some ideas about how they might cope, empowers them to face challenging situations or people. Have them identify strategies they’ve used to get through other challenges and how they might use those same strategies for whatever the current situation is. It’s often tempting to jump in and “fix” difficult situations for our kids, but if we give them the opportunity to work through things that aren’t going exactly how they’d like, we send the message that we have faith in their strength and capabilities, they gain valuable skills they’ll use the rest of their lives, and they develop greater confidence in their ability to work through the curves life throws at them. It’s so rewarding to coach them through a difficult situation and see their faces light up when they’ve successfully navigated a problem with a teacher, peer, their homework, or anything else!

On another note, we’d like to try something a little different with the counseling portion of the newsletter this year: if there are topics you’d like the counseling perspective on, especially those things that are widespread parenting/adolescent/middle school matters, send suggestions to elizabeth.schille-oconnor@bellinghamschools and we will address them here. Of course, with specific questions or concerns, please contact Molly (x4353) or Beth(x4352) directly. We are also lucky to have an intern, Candace Lawson, with us this year; she is also happy to talk with you or your kids and can be reached at Beth's extension.

Happy Fall! Beth and Molly


Our clubs have started, but if your student missed the first couple of meetings and would still like to join - it's not too late! Just show up at the next meeting and pick up an informational flyer from the advisor. All club information is now listed on our website under Activities.

  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • STEAM (combines TSA and Drone/Robotics)
  • Photo-Journalism/Yearbook
  • Drama
  • Leadership
  • ASB (elected officers only)
  • Bike Club
  • QSA
  • Choir

From the Attendance Office...

Need to pick your student up early?

If you know ahead of time, send your student with a note in the morning to the attendance office. Your student will receive a pass which will allow them to meet you outside at a pre-arranged location. If this is an unexpected event, please call the attendance office (option #1) and then come in the school at the pick-up time to sign your student out. We will have your student waiting in the office. Please do not make arrangements with teachers.

A message from Common Threads...

Hello! My name is Ruby Spring. I’m delighted to join the Whatcom Middle School community as the new Common Threads AmeriCorps Food Educator. Feel free to say hi if you see me around, I’m always wearing a Common Threads T-shirt! This fall, students in 6th grade will explore and learn in the garden classroom as they help build healthy soil, save seeds, plant cover crop, and enjoy/share the harvest! A huge THANKS to all who helped care for the garden during the summer! If you’d like to volunteer in the garden (for lessons, garden maintenance, or work parties) please let me know: ruby@commonthreadsfarm.org.

After-School Dinner Program Free for All Students 18 and Under

Bellingham Public Schools currently offers free hot dinner to all children 18 and under in the community. These meals are offered daily Mondays through Thursdays through June 4, 2020. Dinner is served from 5 to 6 p.m. at Shuksan Middle School, located at 2717 Alderwood Avenue (at the corner of Northwest and Alderwood).

Please note: Accompanying adults are charged $4.25 All meals must be eaten onsite in the Shuksan cafeteria and “to go” options are not available. Dinner will not be served on the following Thursdays that are middle school early dismissal days: Sept. 19, Oct. 31, Nov. 27, (Wed.), Dec. 12, Feb. 6, March 5, April 30.

The after-school dinner program is sponsored by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

For more information, contact Food Services for Bellingham Public Schools.

Update your contact information on 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.

Whatcom Middle School

Principal: Jeff Coulter

Assistant Principal: Tina Allsop

Secretary: Aileen Walton

(360) 676-6460

  • Attendance, option 1
  • Athletics, option 2
  • Registrar/Counseling, option 3
  • Main office, option 4