Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, August 2020

From the Wildcat's Den...

Welcome Back Everyone! This school year will definitely be one to remember as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue in a remote environment, delivering instruction at all grade levels and content areas in an online format.

Different from last year, we will offer both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. These may be new terms for you. They mean: synchronous = real time, and asynchronous = not in real time, but done independently. This is the biggest structural change from last spring when we only offered asynchronous instruction. Students are expected to attend specific classes at specific times. Students will have a reduced schedule in comparison to a normal school schedule. An example of a general schedule is posted on the district website. Specific schedules will be available on Skyward early next week and paper copies will be available Sept. 2-4. Please see the next paragraph.

To get the school year started, students will need schedules, supplies, and computer updates. The distribution of those items will take place at Whatcom Middle School on Sept. 2-4. Please refer to the information included in this newsletter. It will be your primary source of information regarding the delivery of schedules, supplies, and computers.

This will be a complex start to our school year with many adjustments, changes, and challenges. We’re here to provide support for every student and family in order to help get the year started. Please contact us when you need us.

Jeff Coulter, Principal, Jeffrey.coulter@bellinghamschools.org

Tina Allsop, Asst. Principal, Tina.Allsop@bellinghamschools.org

Molly Foote, Counselor, MollyJ.Foote@bellinghamschools.org

Beth Schille-O’Connor, Counselor, Elizabeth.Schille-OConnor@BellinghamSchools.org

Darilyn Sigel, Librarian, Darilyn.Sigel@bellinghamschools.org

Randy Holmes, Ed Tech Coach, Randy.Holmes@bellinghamschools.org

Student Schedules, Supplies & 6th gr. Laptops - Pick up Schedule

WMS will be providing school supplies to all students, and laptops to all 6th, 7th and 8th graders who do not already have a laptop. This will be a drive through pick-up (see schedule below). We ask that you drive up onto the blacktop in front of the school to pick up your student's schedule, laptop if needed, general supplies and PE or Art supplies. Please remain in your vehicle as staff members bring the supplies and laptops to you. If you bike or walk up, please be sure to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet from staff and other students. Gather your items as quickly as possible to limit the number of people on site.

Student schedules will be distributed at the school supply pick up tables between September 2-4 and will also be available to view online at Skyward Family Access and Skyward Student Access as of September 2. If you have forgotten your password or have never used Skyward before, go to bellinghamschools.org and click the Skyward link at the top of the webpage. Once you are on the login screen, click on the “Forgot your Login/Password?” link and enter the email address you have on record with the district. If you receive a message saying the email you entered is not associated with any account, you can try entering another email address, or email our Registrar at Nancy.howell@bellinghamschools.org to update your email address.

Remote Learning Schedules will be distributed along with the individual student schedules. Students can determine the time and rotation of each class by using the class period from his/her Skyward schedule and comparing it with the appropriate grade level schedule. You may print a schedule by clicking on the links below. Additionally, the remote learning schedules are posted on our website.

Wednesday, September 2

9:00-10:00 AM Last names A-F
10:00-11:00 AM Last names G-L
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Last names M-R
12:00-1:00 PM Last names S-Z
3:00 – 6:00 PM 6th grade only (6th grade teachers present to wave at kids)

Thursday, September 3

9:00-10:00 AM Last names A-F
10:00-11:00 AM Last names G-L
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Last names M-R
12:00-1:00 PM Last names S-Z
1:00 – 3:00 PM Any family, any student

Friday, September 4

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM Any family, any student

Sixth Grade Drive and Wave Event

Our 6th grade teaching team is so eager to meet you and your family! We are hosting a special “Drive and Wave” event on Wednesday, September 2 from 3:00-6:00 pm.

Safety First: Please follow our county COVID-19 safety guidelines. Wear a mask. Families and students should stay in their car at all times for our “Drive and Wave” event.

How do I report to my first class?

Click on these video tutorials for instructions on how to join your classes and keep up to date with your teachers and assignments:

Attendance Counts!

Attendance will be taken every day during remote learning. If your student is unable to participate in class sessions due to illness, appointments or family trips, please call (360) 676-6460, option 1 and leave a message for Attendance Secretary, Beth Pelto-Fishbeck or email beth.pelto-fishbeck@bellinghamschools.org to report your absence.

Getting Technology Ready

As the school year is quickly approaching, we want to make sure your devices are up and running. The technology department would like students to do a few things in the next week to make sure your devices are ready for online learning.

  1. Fully charge your device. Many of your laptops have been sitting all summer. You will want to make sure it is charged and ready to go.
  2. Restart your device. This will let it fully update.
  3. Check and make sure everything is working (keyboard, mouse, stylist, etc.).
  4. If you are getting a message about "Windows Expiring", go to the district building nearest you. Get on the WiFi from the parking lot, and restart your computer. Log in after the restart and see if it is fixed.

If you are having trouble remembering your username and/or password, fill out this

district form and a district network technician will respond as soon as possible.

If you are having issues with your device, your first step is to email Mr. Holmes for some troubleshooting tips. If the issue needs to be addressed by the district tech department, he will direct you to the district form.

From the Counseling Office...

Happy back-to-school from the virtual counseling office! I hope everyone had a good summer, got some rest, had some fun, and is ready to begin the year, even though it’s not quite the way we were hoping for! In our typical beginning-of-the-year routine, Ms. Foote and I would be coming into classes, introducing ourselves, telling kids how to access us, and getting to know all of you. In this, our atypical beginning of the year, we’re hoping to be able to pop into Homeroom classes and do something similar, but in the meantime, we want you to know how to get in touch with us if you need anything. You can always email us (elizabeth.schille-oconnor@bellinghamschools.org and mollyj.foote@bellinghamschools.org), call, or text us (Ms. Schille-O’Connor: (360) 739-6186; Ms. Foote (360) 739-4555) and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We’re also available for Zoom meetings; just let us know and we’ll set it up.

There may be some bumps along the way, but if I know anything about Whatcom, we always make the best of things! I’m looking forward to seeing our returning Wildcats and meeting our newest ones.

Beth Schille-O’Connor, Counselor


After the age of 10, students attending Washington State public schools are required to receive a Tdap booster vaccine (Tetanus, diphtheria, and Pertussis). It is also recommended that each child receive a wellness check-up before they enter 6th grade. Please provide us with medically verified proof that the Tdap booster was received or fill out a valid Certificate of Exemption. There are several ways to get the documentation to us: there will be a drop box available at the school supply pick up tables, fax it to 360-647-6899, or scan and email it to Nancy.howell@bellinghamschools.org. If you require a Immunization Exemption form please send your request to the same email.

2020 Immunization Information

Update from Food Services and the Good Food Project; Wednesday pickups begin Sept. 9

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, the food services model will change to a 10-meal/5-day box and students/families will need to use student names and PIN to pick them up every week.

All families may participate in weekly meal boxes. Qualifying families should sign up for the free/reduced price meal program. An electronic application for free/reduced school meals is available online. For assistance in Spanish or another home language, please contact the Family Resource Center at (360) 676-6456 or by email.

The new model will include some scratch-made entrée offerings that align with our Good Food Project out of the Central Kitchen.

Families can pick up for all of their children from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at one of the following 15 school locations: Alderwood, Birchwood, Carl Cozier, Cordata, Geneva, Happy Valley, Northern Heights, Roosevelt, Wade King, Fairhaven, Kulshan, Shuksan, Whatcom, Bellingham, and Sehome.

Pricing is as follows:

  • Free box = $0
  • Reduced price box grades K-3 = $0
  • Reduced price box grades 4-12 = $2
  • Full pay box grades K-5 = $22.50
  • Full pay box grades 6-12 = $25

Athletics are on Hold...

The 1st and 2nd sports seasons (Track, Soccer, Floor Exercise & Dance, Boys' Basketball) are postponed until further notice. If and when sports resume, and your student would like to participate, you may proactively complete the registration process through Final Forms. Physicals may be mailed to Whatcom Middle School, 810 Halleck St., Bellingham, WA 98225. If you have questions, email Angela.markowski@bellinghamschools.org.

PTSA Meetings

PTSA meetings will be on Zoom, unless otherwise posted. A zoom link will be sent out the week prior to the meeting.

  • September 15
  • October 20
  • November 17
  • December 15
  • January 19
  • February 16
  • March 16
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 15

Welcome new teachers!

  • Amy Sue Leonhardt, Read 180 Teacher
  • Ann Miller, Bridges Teacher
  • Tyler Hannigan, 6th gr. LA/SS Teacher, Puma Team
  • Carrie Pasquale, PE Teacher
  • Erin Belka, 6th gr. LA/SS Teacher, Edventure Team

Changes in the Office Staff

  • Our beloved Attendance Secretary, Linda Erickson retired in June after 41 years at WMS. We all wish her the best in this next chapter of her life.
  • Beth Pelto Fishbeck is our new Attendance Secretary and Angela Markowski is our new Athletics/Curriculum Secretary.

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

Administrative Assistant: Aileen Walton

(360) 676-6460

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