Middle school curriculum update

A Joint Message from Fairhaven, Kulshan, Shuksan and Whatcom Principals

Dear middle school families,

It’s an exciting time in the spring as we work with our students to choose the elective classes they will take next year.

We wanted to take some time to share some information about the elective and exploratory classes your child will be choosing from. For some of you this will be brand new, and for others it will be a review. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email your child’s counselor or principal.

Our middle school philosophy is based on middle schoolers’ developmental need for exploration. We offer elective courses in visual arts, music, band, orchestra, STEM/technology and Spanish. We love seeing students grow into their interests and passions.

At most of our middle schools, Spanish was previously only available in grades 7 and 8. We are pleased to share that, starting with the 2019-20 school year, we will now offer it as an elective, exploratory option for all students in grades 6, 7, and 8 in all schools. This curriculum modification will allow more students to explore Spanish before choosing a world language in high school. Making this change means that we will no longer be offering Spanish as a full-year high school credit in eighth grade, since the eight-period day in our high schools has eliminated the original need for offering it in middle school. Eighth graders will also be able to continue in art and music, STEM/technology, while also still participating in physical education (P.E.).

Beyond our elective and core offerings, we are also working to integrate lessons that support the social and emotional development of all students. RULER is a curriculum approach focused on helping students understand and manage their emotions. Students learn how to recognize, label and regulate emotions, and how to communicate, problem-solve and work with others. Their social skills develop through the learning and activities.

Our counselors will be working with your students to plan their schedules for next year and you will see registration materials coming home soon.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with your children.


Steve Ruthford, Fairhaven Middle School principal

Meagan Dawson, Kulshan Middle School principal

Amy Carder, Shuksan Middle School principal

Jeff Coulter, Whatcom Middle School principal