WIS Weekly

November 1, 2021

A Message From Mr. Longacre

WIS Family,

As we begin the month of November, I am simply amazed at just how quickly the first grading period has gone by. It is hard to believe that our school year began three months ago in August. I know I speak for the entire staff when I share with you how excited we all are to have had such a successful start to the school year. The classroom experience is at the heart of public education, and we as a staff are thankful to be in school full time sharing meaningful lessons with dynamic students. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, please allow me to share a few additional reasons why I am thankful...

I am thankful for our students who come to school every day ready to learn – you give us all a daily reminder of what is important and why we are here.

I am thankful for the support of the families in creating an outstanding partnership for our students.

I am thankful for the WIS teachers and support staff who truly care about student achievement, student health/safety, and student equity.

I am thankful to our volunteers who enthusiastically contribute to our mission.

I am thankful for the stakeholders in our business community who show support and interest in Westchester’s success.

I am thankful that WIS has the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities which make a difference to our community. For example, WIS will once again host a November food drive in support of our local food pantry. This worthwhile cause is led annually by WIS student council and Mrs. Nidelchoff.

Finally, I am thankful to the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s military both at home and abroad. Their willingness to guarantee the freedoms that we enjoy is a sacrifice that is sometimes taken for granted. Please spend a few moments reflecting upon their commitment to our country. Westchester will be recognizing Veterans Day with a virtual school celebration on November 11th.


Mr. Longacre

This Week at WIS

eLearning Day Nov. 2 / Parent-Teacher Conferences K-6

All Duneland School students will participate in eLearning on Tuesday, Nov. 2 due to elections at the schools. This year, Parent-Teacher conferences for grades K-6 will also be hosted on this day from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. During the eLearning day, time for office hours will be available. Parent/Guardians may request a conference, or school personnel may request a conference with parents.

WIS Schedule:

  • 11:00-12:00 Office Hours
  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00-2:00 Conferences
  • 2:00-3:00 Office Hours
  • 3:00-7:00 Conferences

***The book fair will be open during Parent-Teacher Conferences.

***Also, masks will be required to meet with teachers.

5th Grade

Language Arts

Last Week:

  • We began reading the novel Hello, Universe. We are focusing on symbolism, character traits, figurative language, and story elements.
  • We finished the IRA theme of Freedom.

Next Week:

  • The novel Hello, Universe continues. Why should Virgil beware of the color red? What symbolism does red have? Will Virgil ever not be a Grand Failure in his eyes?
  • IRA: Our new theme is Grit and Perseverance


Last week:

  • We began multiplying decimals and whole numbers using models, diagrams and, finally, the standard "old school” algorithm.

This week:

  • We continue working with multiplying decimals by decimals. There will be a quiz on Friday.

Social Studies

This week students learned:

  • Rowan Cashmer: Spanish Colonies had some good effects and some harmful effects such as bringing diseases such as smallpox and bringing gifts.
  • Averie Kucala: The Spanish and English colonies are alike because they both wanted more land. They differ because they settled in different areas such as present-day Florida and North Carolina.


  • In science, we began creating a Solar System Booklet. The students completed research on Mercury, Venus, and Earth. This week, they will continue researching the moon and Mars.

6th Grade

  • Students will begin working with positive and negative integers. We will explore real-world examples of positive and negative integers. Students will also see how these numbers are related on a number line.

Language Arts

  • Sixth Grade ELA students will start an investigation in Amplify this week. Students will also be reviewing and discussing mood and tone through our interactive read alouds.
  • Honors ELA students will begin reading the classic novel, Robinson Crusoe. Students will research and discuss their findings in whole group.
  • Last week, all students worked on and completed their own alternate ending to a six part series in the tunnels of WIS!

Social Studies

  • Last week, students finished up the Middle Ages with a Medieval World Castle Project. We were very pleased with the effort and creativity given from most of the students. This week we are reviewing some latitude and longitude, while incorporating Europe’s political map. Students will label a political map of Europe. There are websites in the modules to help students learn the countries and capitals.


  • This week in science we will be discussing the water cycle, carbon cycle, and nitrogen cycle. We will discuss how energy and matter move through an ecosystem. At the end of the week, we will begin our journey through the major biomes of the world. The students will begin a major project on a specific biome next week.

WIS Robotics

Westchester Intermediate School robotics teams A, B, and C, attended their first competition of the season Saturday, Oct 30, 2021. They traveled to Crown Point and competed with 34 teams from Northern Indiana, made up of Middle, Intermediate, and Elementary schools.

Team C won the Excellence Award. The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX IQ Challenge. This award is given to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in creating a high-quality VEX robotics program. This team is a strong contender in numerous award categories. This award automatically qualifies them for the State of Indiana championship in March 2022 in Indianapolis. The team members are Eva Capodice, Rosemary Hundt, and Danny Cain.

Team B qualified for the finals in 9th place. Team B was paired with the 10th place team from South Newton Elementary School. They had a strong showing and ended up in 5th place. The team members are Matthew Balhoff, Michael Ward, Roland Wagner, and Ryan Bradford.

Team A also had a good day and placed in 26th. Their team pairings were not as advantageous, along with a few robot problems. The team members are Finn McCready, Liam Crum, and Adam Tenbarge.

The coaches and the students all learned a lot and will share this knowledge to make improvements and help the other 11 teams become better as the next competition is less than three weeks away.

Veteran's Day Program


Our Veterans Day program will be a video again this year. We would like to honor your family members that have served in the military. If you would like to share photos of your family members that have served, please email them to Katie Masi at kmasi@duneland.k12.in.us.

Please include the following:

  • Name of the Veteran
  • Relationship to your child
  • Your child's name

Thank you!

DSC Winter Card Contest

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DSC Enrollment Equity Committee to Create Balance at Intermediate/Middle School Campuses

In the fall of 2023, the Duneland School Corporation (DSC) will serve students in grades 5-8 at renovated Liberty and Westchester campuses. Each school will serve 900-1,000 students. Without making any adjustments to current school enrollment boundaries, Westchester would have close to 1,000 students and Liberty would have just over 700 students. In order to provide maximum opportunities for all students, DSC will look to establish enrollment equity at each of the two schools.

In an effort to develop an equitable enrollment plan, DSC will form a committee consisting of parents, community members, teachers, principals, district administrators and one or two school board members. This committee will be responsible for developing options regarding possible elementary, intermediate and middle school attendance boundary adjustments for the DSC. Ideally, the goal is to have the same elementary school students matriculate to the same intermediate and middle schools as they do currently; however, the change will impact some of the elementary school boundaries as the committee strives for enrollment equity in these new 5-8 schools.

The committee will be charged with developing a proposal in the Fall of 2021 to be sent to the Superintendent for consideration and ultimately, to the DSC School Board for approval. Robert McDermott, Assistant Superintendent, will serve as the facilitator for the committee. The committee structure is as follows:

  • Facilitator -1

  • District Administrators – 2

  • Building Principals – 5

  • Teachers – 4

  • Parents – 15 (three per elementary school)

  • Community Members – 2

  • School Board Members – 1 or 2

Committee Responsibilities - The Enrollment Equity Committee is charged with developing options regarding possible elementary, intermediate and middle school attendance boundary adjustments for the DSC.

The committee will recommend boundary adjustments that conform to the following parameters:

  1. Each school should have a total student population consistent with the number of classrooms planned to serve the general population, exclusive of rooms set aside for other uses.

  2. When possible, recommended boundaries should take into consideration space to accommodate anticipated enrollment growth.

  3. Consideration should be given to all schools’ demographic profiles during the attendance boundary development process.

  4. Changes from the present attendance boundaries should be minimized.

  5. Students with disabilities should be placed in accordance with applicable laws with consideration given to appropriate services, specialized spaces, and sound educational practices that meet students’ identified needs.

  6. All students within the new attendance boundaries shall be required to attend their assigned school except when approved through the pre-defined DSC transfer processes where transportation is not provided.

  7. Student travel time on school transportation should be considered.

The committee will make progress reports to the Superintendent periodically as they work toward the goal of bringing forward a final enrollment equity recommendation by December 31, 2021.

If interested in participating in this process, please email Bridget Martinson, director of Public Relations and Marketing.

Inclement Weather Information - School Closing/Delay Procedures

As we approach the winter season, please review the procedures for school closings and/or delays that may occur due to inclement weather. The decision to close school and engage in an eLearning day or alter the school day is done after collaborating with multiple district personnel, local, state departments and agencies, including: law enforcement, national weather service, highway/street departments, and transportation. In addition, other Porter County school districts are consulted due to partnerships that impact special education and career-technical education students.

Decisions about school delays due to inclement weather will be made as early as possible. In some instances, a school cancellation may follow a two-hour delay. In the event of a two-hour delay followed by a cancellation, we will do our best to make the decision to cancel school before 9:00 a.m. Delay or cancellation information will be delivered through the Skylert notification system. These notifications are based on the contact information provided in the General category within your Skylert notification system. Please review and update (if necessary) your contact information to receive these notifications. School closing/delay information will also be posted on the DSC website (www.duneland.k12.in.us) and sent to the following media outlets:

  • Radio: WAKE 1500 AM; Indiana 105.5 FM; WEFM 95.9 FM; WDSO 88.3 FM; WGN Radio 720;

WBBM Newsradio 780

The following options will be considered during weather emergencies:

Option 1: Start of the school day will be delayed 2-hours. Delayed start times are:

Elementary - 10:00 a.m.

Intermediate - 10:15 a.m.

Middle School - 9:50 a.m.

High School - 9:40 a.m.

Option 2: Students will not report to school; students will participate in inclement weather eLearning day

Option 3: Schools will dismiss early

Skyward Family Access Quick Guide

Need some help in navigating your Skyward Parent Portal? Here is a Quick Guide with helpful videos attached to guide parents in familiarizing and utilizing Skyward.

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Nurse Tina's Note

Dear Parent/Guardians,

Starting soon, Health Services at WIS will be conducting Vision and Hearing screenings. All 5th grade students and new incoming 6th grade students, according to Indiana Law are required to have their vision checked. Hearing testing will only be performed on 5th and 6th grade students that are new to Duneland School Corporation.

We are asking that if your student wears glasses that they have them on their person daily so that there will be no delay in getting their testing completed. If you have any questions, please contact WIS School Nurse, Tina Sosby, R.N. at 219-983-3710 or via email at


DSC COVID-19 Response Plan - Level Change

On Wednesday, Governor Holcomb released Executive Order 21-24 which directed the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to modify quarantine requirements for K-12 schools who mandate masks. The new guidelines indicate that when all individuals are masked, students and staff who are close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual do not need to be quarantined unless experiencing symptoms. Instead, close contacts will monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days while they continue to attend school.

Reducing the number of quarantines is essential to preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic. Since school started, over 450 students have been in quarantine (3,600+ days of missed school). At this pace, DSC will quarantine more than 4,800 students this year (38,000+ days of missed school).

In an effort to keep schools open and minimize learning disruptions related to mandated quarantine rules, the Duneland School Corporation will move to the “Quarantine Caution” level in the DSC COVID-19 Response Plan and require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status for all students, staff and visitors, effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The goal will be to remove the mask requirement as soon as it is plausible to do so.

This change follows an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the school community and a significant increase in the number of students placed in quarantine. DSC schools are required to follow quarantine protocols established by the ISDH as outlined in the Governor’s executive order. By requiring masks, DSC looks to eliminate quarantines which will increase the likelihood of preserving 5-day per week, in-person learning and co- and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic.

Staff will provide students opportunities, as is allowed by state health protocols, to remove masks at appropriate times when eating, when 6-feet of social distancing is possible and while outdoors, as well as when participating in athletics.

The DSC COVID-19 Response Plan will remain a fluid document and can and will be changed as new information becomes available during the pandemic. DSC administration will continue to consult with Porter County Health Department, monitor active cases and adjust protocols as necessary.

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NorthShore Clinic

Consent paperwork needs to be completed prior to an office visit. The paperwork is attached and can be completed prior to the visit to save time. If you choose this option, the consent paperwork needs to be on file beforehand. If returning paperwork via email, please send to: Shawn Kroft, skroft@northshorehealth.org.

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Help us Nominate WIS Teachers of Excellence today!

Attention parents! Help recognize Teachers of Excellence by nominating a Westchester staff member today. Kenneth J. Allen Law Group is supporting Northwest Indiana teachers who go above and beyond for their students by honoring their outstanding contributions to education. To learn more about the educators who are Teachers of Excellence, or if you know of someone who should be recognized as a Teacher of Excellence, please nominate her or him by clicking here.

Parent Observer Account

Parents are encouraged to set up their Canvas observer accounts to monitor their students' progress.

Parents can click this link to view how to set up their Parent Observer Account

Link to the Canvas Log In


The WIS PTO is looking for generous donors to show our wonderful staff just how much we appreciate them. We hope to provide meals for the WIS staff on Tuesday, November 2nd, during parent teacher conferences. Instead of asking for food donations, we are collecting monetary donations. You can send cash, a check made out to WIS PTO, or paypal money to WIS PTO. If you choose to use paypal, please click the hyperlink and leave your name and P/T conferences in the comment box. If you send in cash or check, please just have your child take the money to the main office. No amount of money is too small, and all amounts, whether it is $2 or $50 are truly appreciated. If you have any questions, please email westchesterpto2@gmail.com.

Job Opportunities in Duneland

The Duneland School Corporation is seeking candidates for the following positions:


Child Nutrition associates provide nutrition services to students and staff. Benefit-eligible positions available. Apply online at Click to apply online


Duneland School Corporation Transportation positions (Bus Drivers, Sub Bus Drivers) require eligible persons to operate all school vehicles or (Sub Bus Aides) to assist in the transportation of all special students needing additional attention. These positions are highly responsible roles in transporting and dealing with students and staff on a regular basis. Transportation personnel interact with individuals both inside and outside of the corporation and therefore, must have the ability to present a professional and organized image at all times. Benefit-eligible positions available. Click to apply online


Duneland School Corporation Custodians are required to clean and sanitize all corporation facilities. This position has a highly responsible role in providing custodial services and dealing with students and staff on a regular basis. Custodians interact with individuals both inside and outside the corporation and therefore, must have the ability to present a professional and organized image at all times. Custodians may be required to work in other Duneland School Corporation facilities. Benefit-eligible positions available. Click to apply online


Seeking substitute teachers for all grade levels. To apply for a substitute teaching position, please apply in person at the Duneland Administration Center, 601 W Morgan Ave. in Chesterton to complete an application.