Kulshan Connect

September 17, 2021

In our Kulshan Community, we are courageous, kind, and committed!

KMS Fall Sports

We have had a remarkable and extraordinary start to our Fall Sports Season! Over 250 KMS students are registred and are participating in our after school sports. Throughout the season, coaches will add information on our KMS Athletics page. Feel free to check this page or contact the coach directly. If you have any questions about sports registration or Final Forms, please email Lisa Scott, our Athletics Registrar or call 360-676-4886 x4708.

Kulshan Clubs

We have over a dozen clubs starting at the end of September! All clubs are listed here on our KMS Clubs page. Students will be receiving an email on Tuesday, September 21 with a MS Form link. In that link, students can sign up for the club(s) of their choice. We appreciate the student leaders who have started clubs, as well as our advisors for stepping up to lead.

Gardening with Common Threads

Hello! My name is Karey Sharp (she/her or they/them)! I’m delighted to join the Kulshan Middle School community as the new Common Threads AmeriCorps Food Educator. This fall, students in 6th through 8th grade will explore and learn in the garden classroom as they help build healthy soil, save seeds, plant cover crop, and enjoy 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 or garden maintenance) please let me know: kulshan@commonthreadsfarm.org

Support for Tribal Affiliated Students

Did you know we have over 400 students in our district with tribal affiliation? Lummi Behavioral Health can serve students with ANY tribal affiliation/status. Here is the interest link for starting MH services with Lummi Behavioral Health.

If you are interested or have questions please talk to your school counselors:

Michelle Strobel michelle.strobel@bellinghamschools.org

Lacey Bachman lacey.bachman@bellinghamschools.org

Aaron Tiger aaron.tiger@bellinghamschools.org

College Bound Application

Did you know college is free for qualifying families? Middle school is the only time that families can sign up for the College Bound Scholarship Program. The College Bound Program covers the average cost of tuition, some fees, and a small book allowance at over 65 Washington State colleges, universities and technical schools. Please fill out our district Free and Reduced Lunch Form to apply. Please let your KMS counseling team know if you have any questions.

Important Dates in September:

  • Thursday, Sept 23: Early Release @ 12:00 PM
  • Friday, Sept 24: No School/ Purple Friday
  • Thursday, Sept 30: Kulshan Open House @ 6:30 PM

Attendance Office Reminders

Parents: If you need to pick your student up early, please send them with a note to the front office in the morning , then they can be ready in the office when you arrive. Also, our automatic attendance messages to parents will now only go out one time per day, at 3:45 PM. (not twice per day). Let us know if you have a question about this change.

ALL IN for Climate Action Week, Sept. 20-26

During September 20-26, the City is organizing its third annual ALL IN for Climate Action Week to celebrate the knowledge and resources our community has to offer when looking for local solutions to climate change. Many organizations, businesses, and local governments in the community have partnered to create a list of virtual and safe in-person events for all ages and diverse interest groups. We invite you to join us to watch inspirational films, hear from community speakers, join a bike ride, plant trees or clean up litter at a local park, participate in a composting workshop, check out an electric vehicle car show, eat a local vegan meal, read a climate-themed book, and more! Find event details at cob.org/climate-action-week.

You are invited to join PTSA!

You are welcome to join our PTSA as a member. It's super easy to join. You can become PTSA member here! Membership rates are low and on a sliding scale. Meetings will be held once per month (normally about 1 hour) via Zoom. You can also follow Kulshan PTSA on Instagram by clicking this link. Do you have questions about our KMS PTSA? Email us here. Thank you!

Limited Pick Up Loop @ KMS

As many of you know, our pick up loop at KMS is quite limited. We encourage KMS students to walk, bicycle, skate, or skooter to school or use their assigned bus route. Students often enjoy walking in small groups together or parents can walk with them the first couple of times. In the past, our KMS parking lot has experienced significant blockage issues and delays. Check and plan your routes for walking and biking. The district partners with the City of Bellingham to support families with school walk routes. Review how to walk or bike safely, especially during high traffic times such as school drop off and pick up.

Universal “free” meals for 2021-22

Since the first menu of the school year was included in the back-to-school mailing, the Food Services program has been impacted severely by national supply chain issues in the food industry. To keep families updated on what will be served, a two-week menu will be maintained on the school menu webpage. Reminder! All breakfast and lunch meals are provided at no cost to families in the 2021-22 school year thanks to a USDA ruling earlier this summer.

Learning Together

Part of our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work in Bellingham is examining our curriculum to see if the voices and images of all students and families are represented. Thank you to KMS families and students who have sent me resources to integrate into our library or curriculum. Did you know that we use the Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State at Kulshan Middle School. The use of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum has been endorsed by all 29 federally recognized tribes.

Kulshan Instructional Spotlight

Our 7th grade kids are doing some pretty sophisticated stuff in 7th grade science. Let’s take a look at Ms. Lester’s class. Maggie Lester is a 7th grade Science Teacher who is starting her 4th year here at Kulshan, and the students in her classroom are engaging in inquiry-based lessons to determine if there has been presence of water on Mars by analyzing the geological formations on the planet’s surface. Inquiry-based lessons typically involve exploring a question about a natural phenomena as a class, and students create knowledge from their observations. Inquiry-based lessons are sophisticated, well-designed lessons that build a sense of independence in students that they can create their own understanding and problem-solve on their own and with others. At Kulshan, we strive to build independent learners who can figure out challenging problems so that they learn when they are not with us. As it says in the Bellingham Promise “learning is lifelong and essential to a high quality of life”.

In Lester’s class, students are investigating whether there is water on Mars by conducting a series of simulations making different channels using water and lava (using hot wax instead of lava, real lava would be a bit intense in a middle school classroom).

You can see the excitement in the class from the start as Lester poses a quick starter question, “Do we have enough evidence to say with certainty that the channel was formed by flowing water or flowing lava? Explain.” Students discuss at their table the evidence that they have collected over the past few days and write down their ideas based. Throughout the week, they made observations of water streams by simulating the flow of water in a stream table (see the photos below), then they did a similar experiment by using hot wax to simulate the flow of lava.

Lester opens her classroom by setting a strong purpose (often we call this framing the lesson), where she puts all of the thinking on students and creates a strong invitation to explore and learn. Take a look at this question sequence she used with students to kick off class and the awesome vocabulary our kids are using, they were fired up to jump into the learning:

Lester: Let’s take some time to think about the pictures that we’ve looked at and the observations we have made. What are some of the pieces of evidence we should be thinking about?

Student 1: We used the model with the water and the sand.

Student 2: We used the wax to simulate the flow of lava on the sand.

Lester: Why did we use the two different models?

Student 3: We used the different models so we could tell whether the channel on mars was formed by water or lava.

Lester: Why is that important?

Student 4: We need to know more about the hydrosphere or geosphere

Lester: Why does that matter?

Student 5: It matters because we need to know if there was presence of water and if the planet was habitable.

Lester: So do we have enough evidence?

Student 6: We don’t have enough evidence because channels can be formed by lava or water

Lester: So….

Students call out “We need more evidence!”

Lester: “Great. So we are going to do a quick poll to see what others think, we are going to practice putting together a string of evidence and gather more information from NASA that will help us in our quest to learn more about the channel.”

Holy smokes. What a great way to kick of a lesson. The kids are hooked. They’re using high level vocabulary in their explanations, and they are excited to dig into solving worthwhile problems. Great work 7th grade.

Written by Tyler Dockins, Instructional Coach

Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center

We are offering our community workshop Understanding Conflict for Kids (7-12) on September 15, 22, & 29, and Understanding Conflict for Teens (13-18) on September 16, 23, & 30. Classes are FREE, held via Zoom, and run from 5:30-6:15pm. Please share with families! Students can sign up here. We are offering Managing Conflict as a Co-Parent FREE September 8th, Exploring Equity & Cultural Humility FREE September 23rd, and Understanding Conflict September 15th and 22nd, as well as our always available mediation & facilitation services. Registration for our trainings are available here. Please reach out to the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center with any questions, (360) 676-0122

Now Hiring in BPS

We are hiring in Bellingham! If you have questions about jobs available in our schools, please visit the district website at and click on “jobs”. For assistance with questions about temporary substitute assignments, you may contact Gabrielle Roberts, Substitute Coordinator by emailing or by calling the office at (360) 676-2784 or (360) 398-5572. Questions about other job opportunities in our schools may be addressed by contacting Kara Silsbee, Employment Specialist by emailing or by calling (360) 319-4999.

Skyward Family Access

Is your contact information for your student up-to-date? You can do this online now through our Skyward Family Access program. Please take a few minutes to log into Skyward Family Access to review your contact information, mailing address, emergency contacts and to complete the Annual Health Concerns form for your student. If you need your login and password information for Skyward Family Access, please contact us. Do you need help with Skyward/ Family Access? Here are some great online resources and videos.

LGBTQ Support for Families and Youth

Dear Families - Did you know that we have many local and online supports to help you with your LGBTQ+ or questioning student? Middle school is a time of growth and many students in middle school are figuring out who they are. These resources are just a few to help along the journey. Please feel free to reach out to our KMS counselors if you have any questions or need more support Aaron Tiger (cell 360-739-3991) or Michelle Strobel. Here is a list of local and online supports.

Bellingham Food Bank Schedule

Our local food bank (1824 Ellis Street) is open Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The team at Bellingham Food Bank works tirelessly to make sure they have great food to give families. Anyone can visit the food bank as often as needed, regardless of address. The food bank is proud to be of service to our families—always striving to serve them with dignity, respect, and a smile. Check out the Food Bank website to learn more about their satellite food banks, home delivery and Whatcom County Foodbanks. You can also make a donation here.

WTA Bus Fare: FREE for Youth

Did you know that youth can ride WTA busses for free? If you're not yet in high school, you can just step on and ride. You don't need a bus pass of any kind. If you're high school aged, you will need a FREE TouchPass/Umo Youth Pass. You can pick up your free TouchPass/Umo Youth Pass at WTA's Bellingham Station. Please bring proof of your age, or your current school ID. Or, you can request a card by sending an email from your school email address to buspasses@ridewta.com . Provide your first name, last name, full birth date and current grade. Students at High Schools in Bellingham can pick up their Youth Cards at school.
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Kulshan Contacts

Meagan Dawson, Principal

Kevin Terpstra, Assistant Principal

Aaron Tiger, Counselor

Michelle Strobel, Counselor

Viry Ferreira, Registrar (through Sept 10)

Tatian Samora (starts Sept 13) Я говорю на русском языке.

Jeneen Durand, Attendance Secretary

Elsa Powell, Family Liaison Hablo español.

Family Handbook in English

Family Handbook in Spanish

We love you and we miss you and we hope you are staying safe and healthy!

Kulshan Middle School 1250 Kenoyer Drive Bellingham, WA 98229 360-676-4886