Washington HS: December 2021 Update

News & Events from the corner of Ainsworth & Tule!


Greetings Patriot Families,

We are two weeks away from our winter break, and when we return in January, we will only have a few shorts weeks until the end of our 1st semester. Since quarter grades went out last month, we’ve had some time to look at our students’ overall performance. With our Standards Based Grading (SBG) protocols, we typically see a fairly high number of INCs (non-passing grades) at the quarter, and then our students kick it into high gear by submitting missing work, completing overdue projects, and retaking assessments to bring their grades up prior to the end of semester.

To ensure that your student is set up for 1st semester success, I encourage you to refer to their 1st quarter report card, access their updated grades on TeacherEase, check in (email and/or phone call) with teachers of classes that show an “INC”, and encourage your student to come in before and after school to get any additional support that they might need. Winter Break is a great opportunity for students to complete missing work – which you can typically access in Canvas. Don’t wait until the middle of January to find out that your student’s semester grade(s) may be in jeopardy.

I hope that each of you has an enjoyable and restful winter break with family and friends. If you don’t already have plans to do so, please consider joining us for our winter concerts (December 6th and 13th – limited seating for performers’ families only) or one of our upcoming winter sports events. If you happen to see me at one of these activities (or something in the future), please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself. Have a great December and GO PATS!

Brent Whitemarsh


Upcoming Events

  • WHS Winter Sports Calendar
  • December 20-31 - Winter Break/No School
  • January 3 - Classes Resume
  • January 26 & 27 - Early Release at 10:25am
  • January 27 - End of 1st semester
  • January 28 - No School for students (staff development day)
  • January 31 - Start of 2nd semester -- pick up schedules in Advisory

What's Happening at Washington HS

Special Education Day was December 2!

Special Education Day marks the anniversary of the nation's first federal special education law--signed by President Gerald Ford on December 2, 1975. 2021 marks the 46th anniversary of America’s first special education law, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

There are many reasons to celebrate this holiday. A few reasons include:

  • Thanking special education teachers for their hard work.
  • Recognizing parents who advocate for their children.
  • Ending harmful misconceptions about special education.

On December 2, celebrate the many improvements in special education. Take the opportunity to thank the special education teachers in your life for their hard work.

Thank you to WHS Special Education Teachers:

Lisa Von Rueden, Katie Speckert, Rejie Wright, Nick Brownlee, Jacob Robinson, Lacy Hertlein, Michelle Howe, Patrick Jones, & Amy Sexton

Yearbooks on sale for $40 until 12/20!

Yearbooks on sale until December 20 for only $40.

Low price of the year!

Reserve yours at yearbookforever.com

Student Opportunity: SPYA Referees for Youth Basketball

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Teacher Spotlight - Support Center: Michelle Howe, Amy Sexton & Patrick Jones

Amy Sexton

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

High school: River Ridge HS, Lacey WA

Colleges/Universities attended: WSU and Grand Canyon University

Courses you currently teach: I teach transition to adulthood (Support Center Phase 3)

Personal philosophy: Firmly believe that anyone can achieve a desired goal with the right supports and accommodations.

Personal philosophy/ advice for struggling kids: it takes a village. If you're struggling, find your people. Every staff member on this campus is here for you, we all want to see you succeed. We are on your team. I promise there is a staff member who resembles you, used to be you, has friends like you, or children just like you. Find us.

Personal philosophy/ fave thing about working in the support center: do the best you can with what you have. Focus on strengths. Everybody has them. They just look different on some of us. I love being able to mentor young adults with disabilities as I navigate my own. I also love being able to navigate my own internalized ableism while helping my students come to terms with theirs.

Michelle Howe
Hometown: Great Falls Montana

High school attended: Great Falls High School

Colleges/Universities attended: Big Bend (England) St. Maria (California) Pierce College, Saint Martins (Lacey Washington) City U (Seattle)

Courses you currently teach: Support Center Phase 1

What inspired you to go into education (or your specific content area)?

Long time ago, as I was going through school, I was always interested in being involved in some kind of service. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a nurse. I changed my mind several times and I investigated different possibilities. When my children started preschool I belonged to a parent Co-op, and we took turns teaching and I loved it. After I got my undergraduate degree, I subbed in many classes and fell in love with Special Education, specifically the more impacted students. I loved seeing them learn even when the work was hard. School had always b​een a challenge for me. I was in Special education classes in elementary and I know firsthand how a teacher can make a difference. For those reasons, and probably a lot of others, that was the area that clicked for me. I think there is a certain niche, particularly if you’re teaching students who have special needs, there will be a niche where you click for whatever reason.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Someone that I admire and is my biggest inspiration is Temple Grandin. Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child; at a time when little was known about autism. However, she never quit doing what she felt passionate about. And with help from her family, she continued to think and invent differently than anyone else around her. Grandin lacked skills for social situations, but what she lost there she gained an ability to visualize the mechanics of her projects and gain insight about cattle and their treatment in slaughterhouses. Her story inspires me to keep trying and thinking outside of the box. My favorite quote of hers is "I am different not less".

Patrick Jones

Hometown: Issaquah, WA

High school attended: Issaquah High School

Colleges/Universities attended: Skagit Valley College, WSU, and Gonzaga University

Courses you currently teach: Support Center Phase 1

What inspired you to go into education (or your specific content area)? Working with Special Olympics while completing my undergraduate degree.

What's one thing you couldn't live without? Sports/Family

What is your favorite thing to do? Play Baseball

You're hosting a dinner party. Who are the 3 people, living or dead, you would invite and why? Jackie Robinson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and My grandfather. I don’t know really why, just interesting individuals to talk with.

Counselor's Corner

December Notes

Greetings from the WHS Counseling Team!

We also want to acknowledge that the holiday season is approaching. We do have some limited resources available to help students and families with help for the holidays. We will do our best to connect you to community based partners. To get on a list for holiday help, please contact Savali Tuivaiave, our Intervention Case Manager.

We'd like to provide some tips for managing stress during the holiday season. We know that this time of year can bring joy as well as stress. Students are welcome to check-in with their school counselor or ask for a referral to Greater Lakes or Consejo for outside mental health counseling.

Lastly, students may have already viewed their preliminary semester 2 schedules in Skyward or Canvas - these schedules are NOT finalized. Official schedules will be picked up by students on the first day of semester 2 (January 31st) – changes may still occur until that point for various reasons. At this point, we are also not changing any electives because classes are VERY full for semester 2 and we are doing our best to get things all set!

Counselors will NOT consider schedule change requests for a different lunch, switching to be with friends, or wanting a different teacher.

WHS school counselors will only consider schedule changes within the first 5 days of the semester for the following reasons:

  • Incorrect placement level (example: placed in Algebra 3-4 but haven't taken Algebra 1-2 or Geometry yet)
  • Already taken/passed the class -- with the exception of band, choir, advanced drama and PE, courses can only be taken ONCE for credit. You cannot take the same elective twice, if you already passed it.
  • Student failed a class & needs to retake for graduation requirement purposes
  • Student is missing a class for graduation requirement
  • "Hole" in the schedule (missing a period)
  • More than one class scheduled during the same period (duplicate)
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Class of 2022: Updates

Graduation - Date & Time

Washington HS Graduation will take place on Friday, June 17th at 6pm at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. More details on tickets to come later this spring.

Senior Pics are DUE 12/31

Seniors - you must UPLOAD your senior picture to the yearbook website!

  1. Go to yearbookforever.com
  2. Click on “yearbook snap” at the top of the page, enter access code: patriot
  3. upload your photos & check “this photo is a portrait.”

Need help? Try HERE first. Still need help? Contact Mr. Skolrud

Financial Aid Completion

The Class of 2022 has been issued a Financial Aid completion challenge!

  • When 25% of the Class of 2022 (50 students) completes a Financial Aid application, the students who have completed a FAFSA or WASFA will be eligible for a prize, which could include FREE cap & gown, FREE prom tickets or a FREE yearbook!

    ---->>> 12/10/21 WE ARE ONLY 10 students away from this goal!!! Let's get there by January 3rd/return from break!!!

  • When 40% (80 students) completes a Financial Aid application, the WHOLE Senior class will get a reward!

Clover Park Technical College: 13th Year Program

What is the 13th Year Scholarship Program?

As part of Clover Park Technical College’s goal to increase access to higher education, we’ve designed the 13th Year Program to provide financial and student support through the first year of college. By removing financial barriers and providing support in the transition to college, CPTC will help students pursue a college education and achieve their chosen career path.

Do I qualify for the 13th Year Scholarship Program?

The scholarship program applies to students from Pierce County School Districts, including Franklin Pierce.

Students must enroll full-time at CPTC for the fall quarter immediately following their high school graduation to qualify. Students must remain enrolled for all three quarters (fall, winter, and spring) to maintain eligibility. If a student does not enroll full-time for any of the three quarters, they will no longer be eligible for the scholarship.

Students must submit the FAFSA or WASFA to CPTC and be determined to have unmet need*. *Unmet need is the amount of a student’s financial aid need for the academic year (Fall + Winter + Spring) that exceeds the student’s other financial aid awards.

How do I apply for the 13th Year Scholarship Program?

This is the easiest part: you don’t have to go through any extra process to apply for the scholarship. In order to enroll at CPTC, students visit the Welcome Center at our Lakewood Campus and meet one-on-one with an entry specialist. They help answer any questions you have about the college and the different program options, and at that same time you’ll fill out an intake form with different questions to help identify scholarships and resources you might qualify for, including the 13th Year Program!

What does the 13th Year Program pay for?

Your tuition/fees will be covered first by your federal and state aid — like the Pell Grant or Washington College Grant. If your eligibility for these programs does not equal the full cost of your tuition, the 13 Year scholarship will make up the difference. If your federal and state aid covers all of your tuition/fees, you will be eligible for a small book/supplies stipend.

From Mrs. Gonzalez: Know the real facts about vaping!

Parents/Guardians you are IMPORTANT. You are the primary messenger to your youth and play a huge role in their life to be successful and prevent any use of underage substance and alcohol use. E- cigarettes or Vaping is a sensation right now that is impacting many individuals in the country. There is a lot of misinformation and myths that are often heard. Although, there is not much research on the long – term health effects from vaping current research has identified that there are real health risk and dangers of using. Inform yourself of the health risks, talk to your child, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You have a community of staff members who are here to help! Here are a couple of facts and links to visit to help with conversation starters and more information.

Quick Facts about Health Risk of Vaping:

  • The brain is fully developed by age 25 (your student’s brain is still developing and any use of alcohol or substance can have a lasting impact)
  • It’s not just vapor – its Aerosol – cancer causing chemicals, heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead, ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and more)
  • Vaping non – nicotine – Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine. (CDC, 2021)
  • Many young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke cigarettes. There is some evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future. (CDC, 2021)
  • 1 Juul pod = 1 pack of cigarettes
  • 1 Puff Bar = 2 packs of cigarettes
  • The use of vaping can worsen depression & anxiety symptoms


December is Stress-Free Family Holidays Month

The “most wonderful time of the year” can quickly turn into the most stressful time of the year for many. The holidays can also introduce additional stressors such as complicated relationship dynamics at family gatherings, grief over losing a loved one or simply trying to live up to the unattainable expectations of the “perfect holiday.”

Major Depressive Disorder With A Seasonal Pattern

Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD), is a form of depression that often accompanies changes in seasons.

Symptoms of SAD can become more pronounced as the holidays approach. These tips can help you manage your symptoms during the holidays.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas, and don’t forget to hydrate your skin with lotions and lip balms. Hydration nourishes the brain and its physical effects can improve your overall mood.
  • Find time to exercise. The holiday season is a great time to ice skate, ski or hike. If you don’t have access to these outdoor activities, any form of exercise will release endorphins, which can lessen the symptoms of depression.
  • Spend time with loved ones. This offers an opportunity for social interaction, which can help lessen the feelings of loneliness that may come around this time of year.
  • Pamper yourself. Taking a bath, having a warm drink or getting a massage can create a sense of calm and happiness, especially during the stress of the holidays.

Grief Over The Holidays

One of the greatest holiday stresses is the absence of a loved one who passed away. The empty seat where they would have sat can fill families with a sense of grief, loss and emptiness. The following recommendations can help you and your family cope:
  • It’s not all sad. Know that some parts of the holiday will be wonderful, and some parts will be sad. The anticipation of sadness may be stressful, but the holidays provide an opportunity for healing. You can still take joy in the relatives that are present and remember fond memories of holidays past.
  • It is okay to feel the way you feel. It is healthy to acknowledge your feelings and work through them, rather than suppressing them.
  • Take care of yourself. Find healthy ways to cope, such as exercising. Organizing family walks is a great way to get fresh air and enjoy the company of others.
  • Don’t feel pressured to uphold family traditions. While they might be a comforting way to remember a loved one, sometimes family traditions are too painful to bear. Your family will find new ways to celebrate, and your traditions will adjust with time.

Source: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2018/Avoiding-Holiday-Stressors-Tips-for-a-Stress-Free-Season

7 tips to help teens cope with holiday stress

  • Stick to household routines. Observe regular mealtimes and bedtimes whenever possible. Ease back into the school routine with some light studying the week before school starts.
  • Give teens some control over their schedule. Work out time for teens to celebrate with friends and discuss what festivities they can opt out of.
  • Make room for down time and exercise. Include quiet activities such as a movie night. Encourage teens to exercise every day — anything from ice skating to taking a walk.
  • Get teens involved. Assign responsibilities for holiday parties; ask them to help with shopping, decorating or cooking. Encourage them to volunteer for a good cause such as a food bank or a toy drive.
  • Manage gift expectations. Discuss a realistic gift list for your teen. Set a budget for their gifts for friends and family, and encourage them to make some of their presents.
  • Limit social media and screen time. Too much time on social media or with video games can cause sensory overload and encourages temper flareups. Social media in particular can set kids up for unrealistic comparisons with others’ holiday experiences.
  • Take care of yourself. If you’re overtaxed as a parent, your kids will sense it. Make time for self care and show holiday spirit with balanced expectations and activity levels

Source: https://www.raisingarizonakids.com/2019/12/holiday-stress-is-real-including-for-teens-heres-how-to-cope/

Counseling Center Contact Info


Attention Golfers: We will be having our end of the season Awards Ceremony on December 13th, from 5-6 pm in our Cafeteria. Please bring your families. See you then! -Coach Robinson

If you’re not doing a winter sport and want to get in the best shape of your life, then join winter training. It begins next Monday and meets in room 902 every day right after school. Workouts mostly include running and circuit training to increase endurance, stamina, and strength. Everyone is welcome to attend. If you have any questions, then see Mr. Culp. GO PATS!

Winter Sports Updates

  • Boys Swimming

    This season we are off to a great start! We had our first non-league game meet against Puyallup High School and scored/placed in each event and even had a few PR's (personal records). Next week, we go up against Steilacoom which should be a good one!

  • Cheer
    Cheer is excited for basketball season! We are currently fundraising chocolate bars for $1. And December 15th and 17th we will be performing a holiday special during half time at the girls and boys basketball games!

  • Girls Flag Football

    Flag Football is practicing Monday and Wednesdays from 3:30-5. Girls are allowed to play another sport and then come to flag football after their other practice. First Games are Thursday 12/16/2021 at 5:30 and 6:30 at FP stadium. Questions? Find Coach Robinson or Coach Hohbein!

Check Out the Patriot Athletics Website

The South Puget Sound League (SPSL) has partnered with VNN to provide a streamlined experience for students, parents, and community members to get information about Patriot Athletics!

For up-to-date information on games, scores, rosters and more, go to https://whspatriotsathletics.com/

General Information

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