West Sylvan Family Communication
April 14, 2023
*Autism Awareness Month
*Arab American Heritage Month
*National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month
Mon/Tue, APR 17th/18th: Visits to K-5 schools for future WSMS Students
Mon, APR 17th: TAG acceleration window opens
Tue, APR 25th and Thu, APR 27th: Family Information Nights at WSMS
MAY 1st ~ 5th: Staff Appreciation Week
Fri, MAY 5th: Sixth Grade Disco Party
(*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation at WSMS after school)
Fri, MAY 12th: Seventh Grade Glow Party
(*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation at WSMS after school)
Mon, MAY 29th: NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day holiday
Sat, JUN 10th *(tentative): Eighth Grade Promotion Party
(*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation - evening TBA)
Mon, JUN 12th: Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony (at Lincoln HS - 6:30PM)
Wed, JUN 14th: Last Day of instruction
Dear West Sylvan Families,
As we begin the fourth and last Quarter of the 2022-23 school year, there are many items on the calendar to round out the school year, with just less than forty days of school. Students currently in Sixth and Seventh grades at WSMS will be selecting their preferences for their 2023-24 elective classes next week. School Counselors and Administrators will teach students how to select elective preferences, and you will have family information and a tutorial to help with conversations at home. Report cards for the 3rd Quarter are in the mail. The final Quarter affords Scholars time to improve their grades in their core classes so that they are satisfied with their performance on their final report cards in June. Also, Fifth graders and their families will have opportunities to visit campus and learn more about WSMS.
Enjoy your weekend,
Jill & Ben
SUMMER CONSTRUCTION NEWS
SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
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.
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.
PROTESTS/DEMONSTRATIONS DURING SCHOOL HOURS
As was mentioned when some of our Wolves expressed their intention to demonstrate in protest of gun violence, though the day was not a school- or District-sponsored event, PPS does allow for safe and responsible student expression and for exercising First Amendment Rights. If families excuse students, allowing them to leave campus, only then do Scholars have the right to leave the school grounds.
In the recent demonstration, many students did not have family permission in advance, nor were they excused in advance, and they made the unsafe decision to leave campus without permission, and in defiance of direction to stay on school grounds. Some families called later to approve of the actions. Other families explicitly told their children not to leave school, and they left anyway, giving in to peer pressure and mob mentality.
Students are being reminded that the approved and safe location to demonstrate is behind our school campus in the field area. School staff can actively supervise this area. Should another event occur prompting our Scholars to demonstrate, anyone who leaves campus without family permission to leave school grounds will have a referral added to their permanent record for the violation. In addition, leaving campus without permission for a future demonstration will also result in the loss of school privileges such as attendance to future school events (dances, class parties, and/or class trips). We want to encourage safe and responsible actions and demonstrations. The only way to ensure Scholar safety is to remain on campus or have families partner in supervising Scholars who leave.
John Paul Labno is a musician and composer, and has been giving private music lessons for the past twenty years. His work spans multiple genres and media; over the last twenty-five years he has written for film, television, digital media, installation, and chamber ensembles, and has performed extensively both in the U.S. and abroad. He holds a BA in Music from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Music Composition from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He lives in Portland with his wife, and their two children. If your young vocalist is interested in this before school Choir Club, please fill in the information here.
TALENTED AND GIFTED
Details on these processes and the application period can be read about in more depth at the link here. As stated, the application window opens on April 17th. More information about WSMS’s TAG program can be viewed on our web page and our WSMS TAG Coordinator is Dr. Holly Graham. Please email Dr. Graham with any questions about the TAG program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Our counseling office maintains a snack pantry where Students who are experiencing food insecurity can grab snacks throughout the day and bring some home. Any donation will help keep it stocked!
Good news! Our Authorization visit for becoming an MYP school is now scheduled for late September of 2023! We’re steadily moving forward toward our final goal of MYP authorization!
Our April MYP Learner trait is Risk-Takers, and we frame the demonstration of this trait within the learning and academic domains. Throughout the month, students will be nominated for demonstrating this trait. We celebrate nominations at the monthly assemblies and through our school nomination posters.
To find out more about the WSMS International Baccalaureate MYP authorization journey, please visit this website!
Block ELA Teachers will begin state testing in mid-April. Math will test in May, and Science will be testing the first week of June. 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.
PPS/PTA CLOTHING CENTER
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.
INFORMATION FOR EIGHTH GRADE FAMILIES
- Our Eighth Grade dance will be Saturday, June 10th, at WSMS. Find details at 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 an Eighth Grader has major disciplinary issues (suspensions from school between April and June), they will not be allowed to join the outing.
INFORMATION FOR CURRENT FIFTH GRADERS [future Sixth Graders in 2023-24]
- Forest Park
Monday, April 17th
10:00 - 11:30 AM
Principal Dr. Martini
Monday, April 17th
12:45 - 2:00 PM
Tuesday, April 18th
10:00 -11:30 AM
Dave Hall/Heather Otzan Schemel
Tuesday, April 18th
12:45 - 2:00 PM
Cynthia Thomas/Angie Bustamante Jenkins
RISING SIXTH GRADE FAMILY INFORMATION NIGHT
Scholars are welcome to join their families, also. This will be an evening for a short presentation with our Leadership Team followed by some guided tours around campus with our Packleaders. Our WSMS Foundation, along with Affinity Groups, will also be selling items for fundraising that evening!
SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAM
University of Portland has begun accepting applications for their annual Summer Learning Program! In this program, the learning focuses on the Oregon State Benchmarks appropriate for each child in Mathematics, Language Arts (reading, writing, and speaking), and any other subjects in which the student needs help. Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) candidates tutor/teach students according to their learning needs. There are usually 4-5 students per 2-3 MAT candidates.
- This year’s program will run July 5 - August 3, Monday-Thursday, 9:30am-11:30am, and they welcome students entering grades 2 through 11 in 2023-24. The cost of the program is $125, though scholarships are available.
- Online registration is now available here. To request a printable PDF or registration packet via postal mail, please contact Amy Kwong-Kwapisz at email@example.com or 503-943-7752.
OSU SUMMER PROGRAM
In these single-grade programs, students learn to read twice as fast. You'll become a stronger reader, with better comprehension in fiction and nonfiction. You'll expand your vocabulary and learn how to take good notes. You'll improve your writing skills so that you can communicate your ideas clearly. As a result, you'll get your homework done more quickly and easily, get better grades, and feel more confident as a student.
For more information or to register
Mon-Fri 5am-6pm, Sat 5am-4pm, and Sun 7am-3pm
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!
RESOURCES FOR FAMILY ENGAGEMENT
PPS Center for Black Student Excellence:CBSE Project Timeline + FAQs
- 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! The periods from 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM and 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM are most needed for Lunch recess help and Office assistance.
- Initiate or join a parent group! Several families are interested in leading work sharing and educating each other for PPS. PPS District Committees for larger parent advocacy are here.
- Help run an Advisory Club! Clubs meet on Fridays from 3:15pm-3:45pm.
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.
EXTENDED UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
"NO CELL PHONE" POLICY
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.
- If your Student is Absent for a PARTIAL DAY:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the date, times, and reason.
No internet access? Call West Sylvan’s main line at 503-916-5690 and select the Attendance option.