Hello Whitford Families
Whitford is beginning to feel a little bit more like normal as the students have returned from Spring Break. Due to the mask mandate being lifted, we have seen more faces with more student interactions at lunch. We have even seen some sun burns, which means people are starting to travel. To the delight of our students, we even opened Ga Ga Ball for the 7th and 8th graders at lunch which marks just over two full years since we were able to open this popular activity.
We understand that many in our community are still being cautious about COVID-19 as it continues to circulate. However, the numbers continue to drop and the spread is also decreasing. My hope is that COVID will fade into the distance, and we all learned a great deal about viruses, how they spread, and proper hygiene to keep yourself safe from other viruses.
I have been extremely proud of our students who support each other in their decision to wear, or not to wear, a mask while at school. The opportunity for bullying is certainly there, but as a school, we taught the students during a Zoom assembly that it’s an individual decision for students to continue wearing masks.
Unfortunately, while bullying around masking is not a concern, we are seeing more racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation slurs being used than in past years. From March and into May we will be delivering Advisory lessons to teach students the “why” behind many of the racial terms being heard and why they are so offensive. This comes from our lessons around microaggressions and implicit biases. This can be confusing for students, but our hope is to continue to teach our students how to be good citizens and not use such vulgar terms.
We start state testing the week of April 18th. Only about 12% of our students took the state test last year so it will feel like everyone’s first time experiencing state testing at the middle school level. In a nutshell, state testing is one single measurement to see how students are progressing compared to the standards. All educators are fully aware that scores will likely be lower than normal due to the COVID pandemic. We are working extremely hard to not only catch students up, but also teach them grade level standards required at each grade level. This will be a multiyear process as students are at varying levels of proficiency.
Finally, I want to give you an update on the Tualatin Valley Water Project. As you might have seen, there are more and more orange construction cones around Whitford and on parts of Scholls Ferry Rd., which will begin intermittent closures over the next few months. This has affected our busses the most, with some late drop-offs and several late busses after school. Our district planning team and School Resource Officers are aware of this project and will continue to monitor traffic and any slowdowns that are occurring. My only hope is that the bulk of the work in front of Whitford happens over the summer. Below is the most recent link to Water Project Update sent to us from Tualatin Valley Water.
Water Project Update (Once you click on the link, you will need to scroll down for the content)
Brian Peerenboom, Principal
Whitford Middle School