Shuksan Middle School

High expectations, strong support. #youbelonghere

Dear Families,

Communication in middle school can be tricky--even for adults. We get busy and distracted, yet we want families to be informed, involved and to celebrate with us. We want you know what cool things are happening at school, and what's on the horizon...

So many amazing things!

One of my goals as your principal is to get better at sharing our Shuksan stories--to brag about our students and to showcase our stunning staff. To get the word, out you can anticipate hearing from me at least once a month via this newsletter.

And, please be in touch. I'd be happy to answer any of your questions, give more details and fill in any blanks.

I'm proud to be the principal of such a unique and positive school community!

Amy Carder


We take belonging seriously.

Here are just three of the ways we build community with students.

  • PRIDE teams. Resilience and strength are fostered in students when they know they have at lease one caring adult in their lives who believes in them without condition and who has high expectations for them to be their best self. One way we connect students with caring adults at Shuksan is through "PRIDE Teams." Beginning Jan. 30th, every other Wednesday students will start their day with their "PRIDE Team"--this is like a homeroom group where they will connect, build community, and learn to identify and manage emotions. Ask your student about it!

  • Breakfast in the classroom. Eating together creates opportunities for students to connect with each other while preparing their bodies and brains for the day's learning. Shuksan is the only middle school in Bellingham to offer this opportunity!

  • WEB. Eighth grade mentors were trained this summer to mentor incoming 6th graders. "Social activities have continued through the year, with mentors visiting classes for academic support and organizing lunchtime interest tables and trivia contests. Mentors spend time greeting students, touching base, and asking them how school is going" (article).
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Restorative Practices Training: Repairing Relationships

Conflict happens -- between students and between adults and students. How can we repair with one anothers when relationships are strained?

We believe that conflict is an opportunity for learning. Restorative conferences build empathy and can help us learn from our mistakes and to make things right.

On January 22, twenty three Shuksan staff including counselors, para-educators, teachers and administrators participated in an after-school Restorative Practices Training led by the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. This training has empowered adults in our building to help coach students through conflict, learn from their mistakes, and to make things right with those they have harmed.

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Thank you Ms. V!

With grateful hearts, we say thank you and good-bye to Special-Education Learning Specialist Teacher (and accomplished poet) Karen VandeBossche. She retires on January 28 after spending 20+ years as dedicated educator. We will miss her, and we send her off with big wishes for a joyful retirement. To continue Karen's important work of supporting our special education program, experienced teacher Sonia Buys will take over Ms. V's schedule.