Middle School Matters

Whatcom Middle School Newsletter, October 2021

From the Wildcat's Den...

Drive as if every child on the street were your own. Author unknown

So, we all see a variety of signs held up along Bellingham streets; signs of protest, signs expressing need, signs promoting a cause or a candidate.

If you’ve driven past Whatcom Middle School in the afternoon you may have seen me outside with these signs. I think they speak for themselves.

These signs are another attempt to promote a safer environment for our students. Many drivers on F street are not slowing down in our school zone. A good number appear inattentive or even unaware when students are in the crosswalk. It’s frightening. It’s scary enough that the students aren’t paying adequate attention when crossing F street, but positively heart stopping when adult drivers pay less attention than the kids.

A Key Strategy of our Bellingham Promise is Student, Family, and Community Engagement. We develop partnerships and engage with a wide variety of stakeholders, including families and community partners, to support the success of all students.

I’m asking that our local community partner with us in keeping our students safe.

Thanks for driving the speed limit in a school zone and keeping an eye out for kids.

Wishing you good learning,


Mark your calendar!

Oct. 21 - Earthquake Drill

Oct. 26 - Picture Make-up Day

Nov. 1 & 2 - 7th grade Hearing & Vision Screening

Nov. 2 & 3 - Turkey Trot

Nov. 7 - Daylight Saving Time Ends

Nov. 11 - No School - Veteran's Day

Nov. 24 - 12:00 dismissal

Nov. 25 - 26 - No School (Thanksgiving Break)


Click here for the 2021-22 School Year, A/B Calendars and more!

Picture Make-up Day

O'Connor Photography Studio will be at WMS on Tuesday, Oct. 26 to take pictures of students who were absent on the original picture day. All students will be photographed for their student ID card and school records. If you would like to purchase your student's portraits, click below to pre-order their portraits today!


You can also purchase by visiting their website at: www.oconnorphotographystudio.com

If you have any questions or need assistance please give their studio a call at 1-800-993-4929.

From the Counseling Office...

Greetings everyone! It looks like Fall has firmly settled in, which makes me think about the amount of daylight decreasing, less time to be outdoors, and how we maintain our mental health throughout the Fall and Winter. Additionally, I’m hearing from multiple kids and parents that the adjustment to full-time, in-person school has been challenging. We recognize this and want to honor where the kids are; it’s HARD to sustain attention and be subjected to a dictated schedule after 1.5 years of Zoom-school and being in charge of their own bathroom, water, snack, movement, brain-breaks, and homework schedule. It’s very important for all of the kids (and staff!) to take moments throughout the day to pause, take some slow breaths, move a little, and think about those things that calm them when they’re unsettled (I like the visualization of a place where I feel calm, safe, & content; that means the beach or the mountains for me, but it’s different for everyone).

This is a good time to talk with your kids about those things that help, or regulate them (music, movement, writing, drawing, talking with a friend/trusted adult, etc.), and can be adapted to their day at school. There are many ways to regulate in short bursts, such as a walk to the drinking fountain, slow breaths, doodling. I’m hoping we can help everyone identify and develop their own unique ways to regulate, reduce anxiety, and get centered. As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

You can contact us via email (elizabeth.schille-oconnor@bellinghamschools.org, rita.hocking-kombol@bellinghamschools.org, mollyj.foote@bellinghamschools.org) or phone (Beth x4352, Rita/Molly x4353).

Beth, Molly & Rita

Picking up students early from school...

The quickest way to check your student out early is to send them with a note to the attendance window in the morning before school starts or send an email to Beth.Pelto-Fishbeck@bellinghamschools.org. Your student will receive a pass allowing them to leave the building at the appointed time and meet you at your vehicle.

Do not make arrangements with your student's teachers!

If you have an unplanned check out, please call the attendance office, (360) 676-6460, opt. 1. Please allow us time to locate your student by calling in advance. You will then be required to come inside and sign your student out.

Students arriving to school late, or returning from an appointment, must come to the attendance window with a signed note from a parent or guardian. Your student will then receive a pass which they will take to their teacher.

7th Grade Vision and Hearing Screenings

Washington State law (WAC 246-760) requires schools to conduct auditory and visual screenings of all students in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7. Screenings are scheduled for all WMS 7th grade students on Monday, November 1 and Tuesday, November 2. Please remind your student to wear their glasses or contacts.

Parents/guardians will not be contacted for students who pass this screening. Parents/guardians will be notified by mail if the screening identifies possible concerns. If for some reason you do not want your student screened for either vision or hearing, please contact Lori Fransen, School Nurse: lori.fransen@bellinghamschools.org, (360) 201-9178.

WMS Clubs 2021-22

  • TSA (Teachnology Student Association)
  • QSA (Queer Straight Alliance)
  • Leadership
  • ASB (Associated Student Body)
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Yearbook/Photojournalism
  • Bike Club
  • Aviation Ground School
  • Choir
  • Environmental Justice
  • Tunes Club
  • Art Club

All of our clubs are now underway, but it's not too late to join. If your student has an interest, they can simply go to a meeting and let the advisor know that they want to join. For more detailed information including meeting times, go to the Activities page on our website.

One Schoolhouse Fundraiser

One Schoolhouse Fundraiser is here!

This coming week, your student will bring home an envelope containing important information about our middle school fundraiser. The campaign will run from October 20th-29th.

Our PTSA and all four Bellingham middle school PTSAs have partnered with the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation to make fundraising simple! Your donation to this campaign will directly benefit all four middle schools, and replaces student-centered fundraising. That’s right! No magazine or gift wrap sales. It’s a “buy nothing” fundraiser. With this community fundraiser, 100% of your donation goes to the schools!

Please send your student’s envelope back to school with your donation. It will also serve as a raffle ticket. We are planning several drawings over the course of the fundraiser. Students who collect at least $1 will be entered into the raffle.

Donations can also be made online: https://www.bellinghamschoolsfoundation.org/collaborative-middle-school-fundraiser/

Students can still participate in the raffle by turning in their envelope and checking the online donation box.

This is our ONLY fundraiser for the school year. The students of Whatcom Middle School need your contribution to continue funding important programs for our school.

Thank you!

Whatcom Middle School PTSA

Whatcom Middle School PTSA is committed to providing teachers and students with an excellent level of service this year. We are asking you to join PTSA by following the link below. Thank you for your help and please support your PTSA.

Join our next meeting: October 19, 2021, 7:00 PM


Meeting ID: 817 7284 5960

Passcode: 123456


2021-22 PTSA Board:

  • President - Bri Smolen
  • Vice President - Lorrie Melton
  • Treasurer - Daniele O'Connell
  • Secretary - Amy Guerra

Gardening with Common Threads

Fall is such an exciting season in the garden: Kids are harvesting, seed-saving, and learning about different ways to build healthy soil. If you are interested in volunteering during fall gardening please contact: evelyn.gray@commonthreadsfarm.org

COB and NSEA volunteer opportunity for Make a Difference Day 2021

Celebrate Make a Difference Day and Arbor Day with the City of Bellingham and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) by helping improve water quality and salmon habitat at Whatcom Falls Park. We will be planting native trees and shrubs, removing invasive plants, and maintaining social trail closures together on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon.

All ages, abilities, and experience levels welcome! Participants under age 14 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. We will provide tools, gloves, and instructions, as well as free Tony’s coffee and Papa John’s pizza that are being generously donated. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes and a face mask. This event will follow current Health Department guidelines and COVID-19 safety protocols. To learn more and register for this event, please visit www.cob.org/madd2021.

Cell phone policy

Unless permitted by a staff member, students are not allowed to use cellphones during the school day (9:00 am - 3:45 pm). All cell phones are to be turned off and stored in backpacks. Failure to adhere to school policy may result in confiscation and parents picking up phones in the main office.

Parents needing to contact their students may do so by emailing your student's district email address or by calling the Main Office or Attendance Office. Your child can call you from our attendance office.

Join our team in Bellingham Public Schools

Parents and guardians! Be a part of The Bellingham Promise in a new way…as a staff member! Bellingham Public Schools is hiring now for regular and substitute positions.

Current vacancies include paraeducators, office staff and bus drivers, as well as coaching and teaching positions. Most positions are on a school year schedule making this a perfect fit for your family.

Learn more about working for us at bellinghamschools.org/jobs.

Getting to School

Halleck St. (in front of the school) is closed to all vehicles except school buses. Please do not attempt to drop off your student on Halleck St. Please use one of the side streets instead.

Students not riding buses should not arrive until 9:00 am. At 9:00 students will be allowed to enter the building and go directly to their first period classroom. The first bell rings at 9:10 am signaling the time to be in their seats and the late bell rings at 9:15 am.

Bike racks are available in front of the school. Bikes should always be locked to prevent theft. If a student happens to forget their lock, we can help with securing the bike in the building for the day. Scooters and skateboards can be stored in the main office.

School Dress Code

Part of The Bellingham Promise, our strategic plan, strives to develop students and graduates who are respectful and compassionate humans. We want students to respect themselves and others. While we encourage individuality, the district’s dress code aims to foster a positive and healthy environment.

  • Students should dress casually and comfortably for school, while wearing clothing that is well-suited for a school environment.
  • Masks are required at all times in the building (except breakfast and lunch) and are optional outside.
  • Appropriate headgear may be worn for warmth and protection outdoors, and inside for religious reasons or special circumstances.
  • Clothing, drawings, tattoos and accessories that display or promote negative messages are not permitted. These could include drug, gang, weapon, alcohol or tobacco-related information, obscenities, put-downs, stereotypes, sexual innuendo, offensive words or graphics.
  • A violation of the dress code will require a change of clothing.
  • Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Skyward Emergency Contact Information

When students come unexpectedly to the office for illness or injury, we often need to call for someone to pick them up, and often times, it's an emergency contact we end up having to call.

Sometimes emergency contacts change phone numbers or the contact in Skyward is no longer available. We would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to log into Skyward Family Access and make sure your emergency contact information is up to date. If you need help or have questions, you can contact our registrar, Nancy Howell. Thank you!

Manage your notifications with 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.

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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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