West Sylvan Family Communication

April 28, 2023



  • 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)

  • Tue, MAY 23rd: Beyond Borders Cultural Event at 4pm in the Lower Gym

  • Mon, MAY 29th: NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day holiday


  • Thur, JUN 8th: West Sylvan Dance Recital at 7pm in the Lower Gym

  • Sat, JUN 10th: Eighth Grade Grad Party
    (*hosted by The West Sylvan Foundation - tickets on sale in a few weeks!)

  • 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 close out April, statewide testing is underway, and the schedule of testing is below. We were also extra busy this week as we hosted two nights for families of next year’s Sixth Graders. Seventh Graders had a short “social” Friday during Advisory for winning the competition for knowing the MYP learner profile trait and participating in AVID lessons through Advisory. Thank you to all families who supported the small social time in this beautiful warm weather! Below are some pictures from our Fifth Grade Family Information Nights.

Enjoy your weekend,

Jill & Ben

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OSAS testing is occurring throughout the upcoming weeks, with the schedule below. We ask that you help your Scholar remember to bring their charged Chromebook to school each day. Too many scholars are forgetting their devices and are not prepared for their testing. We have a finite number of loaner devices, and it’s imperative that all Scholars come to school with their charged Chromebooks, please.

  • 8th Block Classes (ELA): 5/1 - 5/5
  • 6th Math: 5/8 - 5/12
  • 7th and 8th Math: 5/15 - 5/19
  • 8th Science: 6/5 - 6/8

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.


You belong. You are valued.

You are loved. You are able.

You are excellent.

We hosted our first week of Black Excellence Groups this week in the Black Excellence Family Room. We are so grateful to be in community with these amazing students. As a reminder, next Thursday (May 4th) the students in “cohort A” will come to Black Excellence during Advisory followed by “cohort B” to come to group the following week (May 11th) during Advisory. Students were given their cohort groups in the community meeting yesterday.


We hope you can make our in-person Family Meeting hosted by Black Excellence Group on Thursday, May 4th at 6pm at West Sylvan. Check your email for an Evite sent to all families of WSMS Black students. We will be hosting a series of family meetings. This first BE Family Meeting will serve as a “listening session”, so we hope you can make it! We look forward to meeting you and learning more about your student’s journey. We love you and are so excited to be serving your wonderful students.

Mashari Tyson, Founder



Celebrating our WSMS Educators!

We thank all of our families who have contributed to make next week special for our Educators as we celebrate them in our WSMS version of Staff Appreciation! Each day, the West Sylvan Foundation has something special planned for the WSMS Educator team to thank them for all they do for our Scholars.

Click here to make your donation!


Please consider donating an hour or two of your time to help our scholars and staff at West Sylvan! Art, Science, Health, Math and Reading classes all have opportunities for parents to get involved.

Click here to sign up to help in a classroom or click here to support with hallway/lunchroom supervision.

All volunteers must be approved by PPS. To fill out the form to be approved through the district, please go here: https://www.pps.net/volunteer


In an effort to raise money for our Sparrow, Ms. Tew partnered with Youth Charity League to have all the West Sylvan Advisory classes decorate placemats for seniors receiving meals from Meals on Wheels. It was a huge success and the students made hundreds of beautiful and uplifting placemats that will for sure put smiles on the faces of so many of our homebound seniors. The students earned hundreds of hours of community service for this project. These hours turn into donations for our Sparrow from generous grants. Thank you Ms. Tew for organizing this for our Sparrow, our seniors, and our students!!

For those that want to continue to help raise funds for our Sparrow, Youth Charity League is collecting stuffed animals for Project Lemonade. They are always in need of new or very gently used clean stuffed animals. Your student will earn one hour of community service for every donation of stuffed animal(s) that are brought to the school office. This will be ongoing so if you are looking to clean out your closets this spring and donate your stuffed animals to a good cause we will be collecting for the rest of the year. Not only will this benefit our local foster kids but it will also raise money for our Sparrow!

(Youth Charity League partners with local non-profits and community service agencies to align our members with family-friendly volunteer opportunities to plant the seed of compassion in children ages eight to 18. For more information visit https://www.youthcharityleague.org or contact chelsea Heiser at chelsearheiser@gmail.com)


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. PPS District leaders also sent out this toolkit a couple of days ago to all families.

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.


The Talented and Gifted (TAG) department will open the application for both Single Subject Acceleration (SSA) requests or Whole Grade Acceleration (WGA) requests for the 2023-24 school year. The application process began on 4/17/23. SSA is only currently available in Math. Whole Grade Acceleration is for families who believe that their Scholar should accelerate to a grade beyond their traditional next grade.

Details on these processes and the application period can be read about in more depth at the link here. As stated, the application window opened 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 hgraham@pps.net.


Choir has started again! Mr. John Paul Labno is offering a morning Choir Club on Tue/Thu/Fri from 8:00 - 9:00 AM before school. If your young vocalist is interested in Choir Club, please fill out the interest form by clicking the button above.

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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.


Help support our Counseling office snack pantry, where Students who are experiencing food insecurity can grab snacks throughout the day and bring some home. Your dollar and snack donations will go far to maintain the program!


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 May MYP Learner trait is Knowledgeable, and with our OSAS testing, the focus on finishing the year with strong final grades, and our Eighth Graders’ MYP Community Project underway, there will be so many opportunities to show how knowledgeable our Wolves are at WSMS! 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!


We are compiling ways to continue educating your Scholars at home. Click the image here and see the flyer below for more information.
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Accessing CANVAS for families

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.


  • 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 you are interested in helping to chaperone the event (which includes riding the bus to and from the park), please let us know by sending an email to westsylvanoffice@pps.net. If an Eighth Grader has major disciplinary issues (suspensions from school between April and June), they will not be allowed to join the outing. We have reviewed behavioral expectations with all Scholars through Advisory.

INFORMATION FOR CURRENT FIFTH GRADERS [future Sixth Graders in 2023-24]

All Fifth Grade Principals were offered a day for a short field trip to visit WSMS in May. Three of the four Principals are able to have their Fifth Graders join us to see campus on a typical school day and do small group activities together. Thanks to the Principals of Bridlemile, Ainsworth, and Chapman, who are coming to visit!


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 kwongkwa@up.edu or 503-943-7752.


Reading and writing acceleration opportunities over summer hosted by Oregon State University!

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

CALL 1-800-978-9596

Mon-Fri 5am-6pm, Sat 5am-4pm, and Sun 7am-3pm

Notes of Appreciation

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!


  • 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! Classroom volunteer sign-ups and In-School Volunteer sign-ups can be accessed at these links.

  • Help run an Advisory Club! Clubs meet on Fridays from 3:15pm-3:45pm. Thank you to a number of our Parents/Guardians who already are running clubs on Fridays!


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.


After ten consecutive school days of non-attendance, Scholars are un-enrolled from WSMS. Please be sure to officially excuse absences when there is a lasting illness or a need to be gone from campus.


Please help remind and reinforce our “No Cell Phone” policy during the school day in your discussions at home. This means that we ask that Scholars to either leave phones at home or put them in their lockers during the day so that they are not a temptation.

If a Scholar has a phone out in class or around campus during the school day, it is confiscated and held in the Office. If a Scholar has three or more violations already this year, we will ask a Parent/Guardian to pick up the phone to help reinforce expectations.

Please remember that Scholars do not have access to their phones during the day, and refrain from calling and/or texting them. If you need to get an urgent message to your Scholar, you may call the Office at 503-916-5690 or send an email to westsylvanoffice@pps.net.


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.

No internet access? Call West Sylvan’s main line at 503-916-5690 and select the Attendance option.




All-Grade School Climate Specialist: Shawn McVicar [smcvicar@pps.net]




(503) 916-5690


[Staff / Substitutes / Financial]

Jerda Solonche



[Students / Attendance / Enrollment]

Kirsten Crombie