Whitman Middle School

Whitman
Middle School

Communication From Principal Houston

Summary: School information and messages from Principal Houston.

Letters from Principal John Houston

Please visit the PTSA Newsletters to and access weekly news and catch up on happenings around the school!

Dear Wildcats!

Please check the Lost and Found this week for water bottles, lunch containers, shoes, hats, coats, sweatshirts, etc.! After Friday we will be donating what’s left to Goodwill as a fundraiser.

Also, we are rolling out The Whitman Wellness Way 1,2,3 and shared it with our staff this afternoon. We also presented some of this data and material yesterday to Pat Sander, SPS Director of Coordinated School Health; David Lewis, a former manager at SPS School Health; Victoria Hallberg, SPS Advanced Learning Program Specialist; Shila Hodgins and Marjean Tomer, Consultants for Educational Equity & Evaluation Strategy, Evaluation and Learning at Puget Sound Educational District (PSESD) in our MTSS Team meeting.

The goal for sharing this information and data is/was to highlight a shift from a behavioral approach to unexpected behaviors to a Nervous System Lens. This Video highlights the key points of our approach. Please enjoy the video and this presentation of data Jan Johnson put together. This material demonstrates where we are, the progress we have made, and areas for continued growth.

With Gratitude,

John Houston

State Testing is coming! Learn more and about testing and opting out of testing from the SPS Website details are below:

What if my child doesn’t take the assessment? School board policy 2080 recognizes the right of parents/guardians to be notified of all state and district-mandated student assessments, including objectives and educational benefits, rights of refusal and effects of non-participation, and to receive the results from these assessments in a timely manner. Parents/guardians interested in refusal of participation should contact their school principal for more information.

Additional refusal details and implications

  • The refusal request is valid for one school year. If you want to refuse participation in any assessment, you will need to re-submit the formeach year.
  • Schools are required to have at least 95 percent Smarter Balanced participation.
  • Students who do not participate will receive a “zero” score on the assessment, are considered non-proficient, and no score report will be provided for teachers or families to view.
  • Teachers will not receive results that could otherwise be used as a tool to measure the student’s academic growth, for example, in the core academic areas of reading, writing, math, and/or science.
  • Families will not receive results that will enable them to chart the student’s growth over time.
  • Smarter Balanced Assessments are used as one measure for Highly Capable and Advanced Learner (HC&AL) eligibility for all students in grades 4-8. This assessment, within a “multiple criteria of evidence”, will be used in the identification and eligibility process. Participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment adds to the holistic picture of your student’s need for HC and AL services and SPS encourages all students to participate. If a student and family decide to opt out of participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessments, your student will still be considered for eligibility in the Highly Capable and Advanced Learner program. 

March 8: Dear Wildcats: Tomorrow’s Championship Game has been postponed along with all other games happening at Garfield High School tomorrow. We found out about this cancelation 2 minutes before school was released. We apologize for the lateness of the notification.

Seattle Public School’s Athletics Department and the Communication Department will send more information soon. We hope to find out when the match will be rescheduled. Please look for that communication from the district shortly.

We apologize for the disruption and look forward to rooting our girls on as soon as the game is rescheduled. Sincerely, John Houston

March 1, 2024

Dear Wildcats: Whew! We made if back from Mid-winter Break and got (almost) through the first full week of school! It is a downhill slope from here until the end of the school year. 8th graders are much closer to High School, and we are so excited for them as they prepare for that next step!

Stay tuned for end-of-year activities and announcements because they will be coming fast and furious! The PTSA Bulletin and the WMS web page are great resources for finding out what is going on at Whitman. 

Below is our PTSA Bulletin which has loads of information for you.

  • We also have a resource from our SBIRT (Intervention Specialist) Kerri Anderson regarding Sleep!
    • Did you know that 49% of SPS 7th-9th grade students report not getting enough sleep? Click the link below to learn about lack of sleep and its effects, and tips to improve your teen’s sleep.
    • For more information, ask your school’s Prevention Intervention Specialist, Kerri Anderson at kjanderson@seattleschools.org.
    • Visit our PTSA SEL page for helpful links and information too.
  • Letter regarding a Service Dog that will be accompanying its student to Whitman.
    • Seattle Public School’s Board Policy and Guidelines regarding service animals are available to download from the email message from Mr. Houston on March 1, 2024 2:36 p.m. 

Principal Houston

Feb. 1, 2024

Dear Wildcats,

We are very excited about the start of 2nd Semester! We have navigated the semester change and all of the challenges that presents and have been able to field the questions and requests brought up. Thank you for your patience and support!

Tomorrow (Feb. 3) will be our Northern Lights School Dance! We are very excited to host that in the building and during the school day. After-school dances have long been a challenge for students to attend when they depended on buses for transportation. This time we get to have all our students participate!

We have a request for our parents related to the dance – if you are picking up your student before school dismissal at 3:45 p.m. please come into the office to sign your student out. We will not be dismissing students to parents unless they are in the office to sign their students out. This is a security issue for us, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding.

A huge shout-out to all the parent volunteers joining us tomorrow! It takes a special person to take on that duty!

With gratitude!
John

January 30, 2024Potential Schedule Changes

Dear Wildcat Family,

I trust this message finds you well. As we enter the second semester, we wanted to inform you about potential changes to your child’s schedule. 

Due to a need to redistribute teaching staff and balance class sizessome students’ schedules will change for the second semester. We understand that changes can be an adjustment for both students and parents alike so only in rare unavoidable circumstances have we changed a student’s core teachers. 

These changes are always made with careful consideration to enhance the overall learning experience and provide the best educational environment for each student. We appreciate your understanding and partnership in your child’s education. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

With gratitude, John 

January 25, 2024

Dear Wildcat Families, 
Here is this week’s newsletter from the PTSA! Please follow the link below and find out what’s happening at WMS. 

Headlines this Week Include

  • The Black Lives Matter at School Artwork Contest: Submissions are being accepted now!
  • Unique Student Opportunities both in and out of Whitman
  • Find out which Whitman staff member was Caught Being Awesome this month!
  • Learn about the Special Education Family meetup on February 3
  • Volunteer Opportunities: We have lots of volunteer opportunities including the Hall Crew, a Spring Track Coach, and help forming next year’s PTSA Board
  • Don’t forget to register your theater kid for the Spring Performing Arts of Whitman club
  • Save the Date: March 2 Whitman Family Event at the Sounders Game
  • A reminder that everyone (family members, teachers and/or students) can subscribe to this newsletter. You DO NOT need to be a Whitman PTSA member to subscribe to the news. Please subscribe TODAY!

January, 18, 2024

Dear Wildcats!

We are back in full swing after Winter Break and looking forward to a strong finish to the semester. January 31 is the last day of Semester One. There will not be a day off between semesters this year so Second Semester starts February 1. Please contact us with questions about your student’s progress or upcoming schedule.

Last night we hosted an Open House for incoming 6th Graders and had a blast! Four of our ASB students led the presentation and fielded questions from the audience. Please congratulate Mizen, Isla, Finn, and George for their excellent work! We also want to acknowledge Mr. Shorb and his team of ASB Tour Guides! They did a great job leading tours of Whitman. PTSA did an amazing job of feeding staff who stayed for the evening and hosted a very busy PTSA table! We look forward to seeing our new 6th Graders next fall!

Read this week’s PTSA Newsletter to learn about all the cool things coming up at WMS! 

The headlines for this week include:

  • Volunteer Opportunities: We have lots of volunteer opportunities including the Hall Crew, a Spring Track Coach, and help forming next year’s PTSA Board
  • Learn about the In-School Winter Dance on February 2 from our student ASB Representative! And yes, we need family volunteers!
  • 8th Grade Families: Learn about area High School Open Houses
  • Yearbook pre-sales are ending soon
  • The Performing Arts of Whitman (PAW) Theater Club has opened registration for the Spring Performance (Actors, Dancers, Singers, and Creative Team members needed!)
  • Save the Date: May 2nd will be the Multicultural Night event at Whitman

A reminder that everyone (family members, teachers and/or students) can subscribe to this newsletter. You DO NOT need to be a Whitman PTSA member to subscribe to the news.

December 8, 2023

Dear Wildcat Families, 

Here is an update from our amazing PTSA! If you are not getting their newsletter automatically, be sure to sign up for free with no obligations!

Coats, lunches, lost and found items at WMS

As we prepare for Winter Break I only have a few things to share. Next week is our Spirit Week of Inclusion head to the Whitman Web Page for Spirit Week details or on the ASB Schoology too! 

Also, we have a lot of lost and found items at the front office. Please look this picture over (lost and found pic) and see if you recognize anything that your student might be missing. Have a great weekend and Go Wildcats! ~ Principal Houston

Now, the PTSA Newsletter!!!

As we all get ready to enjoy our upcoming Winter Break, catch up on what’s happening at Whitman! Read the December 7th edition of Whitman News!

This week includes this information and more:

We also have links to Community Opportunities for students and families. If you have something you think other families might be interested in, please let us know by emailing: whitman-ptsa-communications@googlegroups.com

You Do NOT have to be a member of PTSA to receive our newsletter. Sign Up for the Whitman PTSA Newsletter today.

Dear Wildcat Family,

Please view our PTSA Newsletter to access all the news that is happening at Whitman Middle School. We are very excited to connect you to this excellent news source. If the link is not working for you please let us know!

Wildcats! We have completed our 1st Quarter of the 2023-24 School Year and are able to say we have had a very successful start to the school year. Staff and Students are reporting feeling welcome and connected to the Whitman Community. Classes have been engaging and rigorous and our initial testing scores are indicating progress for our scholars. Finally, our Professional Development opportunities have been well-received and productive. We are focusing on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and they have led to rich conversations about our classrooms and how to increase student outcomes.

The first quarter is over, which means grades will be posted soon on The Source. If you have not already signed into The Source please do so and let us know if you are having any difficulty connecting to it.

Thanks for all of your support and be sure to read the attached newsletter!

With Gratitude,

Principal Houston

September 21, 2023

Dear Wildcat Families,

Our Weekly Bulletins started off last week; unfortunately, the recording didn’t work. We will try again this week and make the bulletins available on our website and with the PTSA. Thanks for your patience as we sort this technology piece out!

Safety tips we received from our Security Office are very straight forward: when possible avoid traveling alone (groups of 3 or more seems to be the preferred size). If you see an incident report it to 911 immediately, and if you are involved in an incident report it to 911 immediately.

We are partnering with the PTSA on possible trainings and events to bring to our community. Stay tuned for updates. Thank you for concern and for coming together on behalf of our students and families.

We had a great start to school, and our first Full Week of classes last week went off smoothly. Very few students got lost in the halls, and lockers are working way better this year! Students have been energized in classes, and teachers are putting together amazing lessons. We are so fortunate to have such an engaged and active student body and parent community!

Finally, we have started applications for 6th Grade ASB Officers. Get those applications in 6th Graders! Sports, Girl’s Soccer and Ultimate Frisbee, are underway, Go Wildcats!!!

Don’t forget to support PAWS with their new production and hope to see you at the play!

With Gratitude,
John

September 11, 2023

Dear Wildcats,

Please find attached information regarding our participation in the Healthy Youth Survey:

Our school is participating in the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey during October 2023. The survey will be given to students in Grades 6 and 8. The Healthy Youth Survey includes questions related to physical activity and diet, unintentional and intentional injury, substance use, sexual behaviors, abuse, risk and protective factors, and access to school-based services. Survey results are used by schools, communities, and state agencies to plan programs to support our youth and reduce their risks. Participation in the survey is voluntary and the students’ answers are anonymous. There are no codes or information used to match a survey to a student. Caregivers and students have the ability to opt-out by contacting the main office.

Please read the attached Parent and Student Notification Letter for more information about the Healthy Youth Survey.

With Gratitude,
John Houston

September 6, 2023

Dear Wildcats!

A quick message from the principal to celebrate our first day of school 2023! This is my 20th first day of school as an educator and I can honestly say that in those 20 years, I have never been bored at work! That is why I love this job and the folks I have the privilege of working with. Here are a few thoughts and some updates after our first day:

Day One

Welcome back to school! Our 6th Graders had a very successful 1st day of school, thanks to the hard work of our WEB teachers and the student WEB leaders! Having the building to themselves this morning made a huge difference for them. WEB will continue to support the 6th graders throughout the year.

Our returning Wildcats also had a great welcome back to school. A huge shout-out to our teachers for preparing amazing opening activities that welcomed our students back to school. Our halls were full of smiles as students, teachers, and staff reconnected. We had some new parents volunteering in the halls and around the building today which really provided an atmosphere of calm and connection. Thank you to our volunteer parents!

Advisory

There have been some changes in our Advisory program for this year. These changes are in response to input from our staff, teachers, and students. This semester we are providing Advisory on Wednesdays attached to 5th period. The advisory will be 35 minutes long. We are developing our calendar of topics and will share that with folks as it is finalized.

Laptop Distribution

Finally, I attached the laptop distribution paperwork provided to us by Seattle Public Schools. Please complete the signature page, sign it, print it, and send it to school tomorrow. Students will turn the forms in as they pick up their devices. We will make the forms available to your student if you are unable to print them out.

Thanks for your support and…

Go Wildcats!
John Houston
Whitman Middle School
Principal


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