September 22, 2023

Dear Parents,

This week we worked on MAP testing and completed both the reading and the math portions of the test. The kids understand that this fall test is simply a baseline so that we can see how much growth they make throughout the year. We will be able to talk about these results at conference time in early November and perhaps use them to set some goals for your child. We will continue testing next week on Tuesday from 8:15-10, and Thursday from 10-11:30, so please try to avoid pulling kids for appointments during those times. Also, please remind your child to bring a charged laptop on testing days – well, every day!

We completed our nouns unit, spending the majority of our time on possessives and appositives (add-ons, as one student aptly called these). The kids showed a good understanding of these and I told them that I expect them to use nouns correctly, especially possessives, in their writing from here on out. Our Latin test will be on Thursday next week.

In literature, we are reading our way through The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. We are nearly finished and are enjoying the plot twists and turns. I have been recommending Charles Nordhoff’s Mutiny on the Bounty for those interested in reading a higher-level book of this topic. The kids have been learning a lot of new vocabulary and have been discussing the elements of literature as they pertain to our novel. This would be the weekend to finish up the two book reports that are due on Friday, September 29th. Your child should ask you to sign their reading log, which is due on Monday.

In social studies we finished learning about the early Spanish explorers, what they were looking for, and the effects they had on early empires and indigenous peoples. We are moving into a study of the French, Dutch, and English explorers and will focus on the first permanent European settlements in North America. One component of this new text is its use of project-based learning (PBL). We previewed the “Quest” for this new topic (European Exploration of North America) and explored what it is asking for and how we might complete it as we work through the material. It will be interesting to see if this type of work leads to greater engagement with what we are learning.

Next week we will walk to the WeGrow Garden on Monday. We leave at 12:30 from the playground and return by 2:00. I don’t have any parent volunteers so far and could really use one more. Please use the Signup Genius I sent this week to let me know if you can come along with us.

On Friday of next week we have our Fall Retreat. I am still in need of seats for 6 kids to and from the retreat. If you are able to help us with this, please let me know right away. Lunch will be provided for the kids, so please don’t pack one that day. If your child has special dietary needs, please let me know or provide a safe lunch for him/her to bring along. Our plan is to have pizza for lunch.

Please sit with your child this weekend and log in to FACTS to check grades and missing work. This really helps the kids to get in the habit of working to better themselves. Some kids told me they were having trouble getting into FACTS and I will look into it next week.

I am pasting news from specialist classes below:

PE 6-8

This week in PE we practiced various skills needed to play spike ball and learned the official rules and regulations in order to play the game.  

Spanish 8th:

Una nota de Señora Anna- This week in Spanish we reviewed verbs and had our first quiz of the semester. We also learned the phrase ir+a+infinitve to talk about future plans. We listened to the song Vivir Mi Vida to hear this phrase in context. All students received an email with a link to the Spanish agenda (to see we are working on each day) and a link to the Quizlet (for practicing vocabulary with online flashcards). These links can also be found on the homepage of the ACS Spanish K-8 – Assumption Catholic School Site.

Middle School Orchestra:

This week in Advanced Orchestra we –

• Learned the difference between F sharp and F natural (and C sharp/natural as well)
• Turned a song in a major key, into a minor key
• Began working on the back up parts of the fiddle tune Sourwood Mountain

Have a great weekend! 



Hi Parents, 

It was so nice to meet so many of you at Curriculum Night on Wednesday. Thank you to those who attended the D.C. fund-raising meeting right before that. We ended up having sixteen attendees, so we will receive scholarship points towards our trip. 

On Wednesday night I spoke about our service project at the WeGrow Garden. If you are interested in seeing the garden, it is part of the Whatcom County Farm Tour happening this weekend. You can come visit the garden at 1815 Ellis St. from 10-4. I am still missing a couple of permission slips for our service project. Remember that it takes place over several dates this fall: 9/25, 10/2, 10/9, 10/16, and 10/23. We leave school promptly at 12:30, walk to the garden, and return by 2:05. I could really use two people to help me chaperone our group on each of the above-mentioned dates. I am trying to put a Signup Genius together for the dates, so as soon as I figure it out, please look for it.

Speaking of field trips, I sent home the Fall Retreat permission slip today. Please ask your child for it. We will be heading to St. Joseph’s Parish in Ferndale for the day on Sept. 29th. Our retreat leader will be Joan Williamson, long time retreat leader for ACS. Our plan is to leave right after drop-off (around 8:15) and leave St. Joseph’s at 2:20 to be back for pick-up by 2:45. If you can drive either direction, please indicate on the slip. You need not stay for the day. Thanks!

We’re nearly finished reviewing the intricacies of nouns. We will finish our unit next week with a brush-up on possessive nouns before testing the kids’ abilities. We took our first Latin test today after playing a game of “Sparkle” to review the spelling and definitions. 

In literature we’ve been enjoying “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” and the adventures and excitement this novel holds. We talked about cause and effect in a story and discussed the idea of a “chain of events” – that not all causes lead to only one effect, but that they can cause a ripple effect as well. We explored some chains of events in the story and gave examples from real life. We learned about the nature of conflict and that it is typically person vs. person, person vs. self, person vs. nature, or person vs. society. We had discussions about the variety of conflicts in the story and identified major and minor ones and how they drive the story. I reminded the kids that they have two book reports due by September 29th. If you could please encourage them to get one done soon, that would save me from having almost forty reports to grade at the end of the month. 

Please have your child check FACTS on weekends against the corrected work I send home on Friday to make sure that everything has been input correctly. They often make corrections to their work (I encourage it), and I may add the new score to my paper grade book but not add it to FACTS. They need to bring the work to me on Monday and show it to me so that I can make the change in FACTS. This doesn’t happen often, but it is a safeguard I want them to have. Don’t ditch the work until you’ve double checked FACTS! I also reminded the kids about missing work and correcting work — that it must be done within two weeks. Beyond that we will have moved on to new things. 

We have MAP testing the next two weeks. Our class will test:

  • Tuesday, 9/19, 10-11:30
  • Thursday, 9/21, 8:15-9:45
  • Tuesday, 9/26, 8:15-9:45
  • Thursday, 9/28, 10-11:30

Please be sure that your child gets plenty of sleep, a nutritious breakfast, and (hmm – we Catholics like things in three’s …) plenty of words of encouragement! 

Thanks, and have a great weekend,



Dear Parents,

We have been finding our groove in eighth grade. The kids have been adjusting to the new schedule, greater expectations, and the more rigorous workload. I’m proud of the work they’ve done so far and the amount of effort and attention they’ve given during class time. The kids have been especially helpful and kind to their Kindergarten buddies, showing them how to enter and attend Mass, and showing them how to find their way to their pick-up points in the afternoon. They did a fabulous job mentoring their buddies at Mass this morning.

In language arts this week we began our Latin and grammar lessons, setting routines for homework, study, and classroom work habits. We are reviewing the intricacies of nouns, including concrete/abstract, and compound/collective nouns. I look forward to the editorials the kids are writing using these different types of nouns. The kids will practice peer editing these before turning them in for grading next week.

In literature class we had a rousing discussion of what constitutes fiction. Once we settled on a definition we liked, we studied literary elements and took notes in our journals. The kids will be referring to these notes often and will use them as a reminder/starting point for writing about what they read. We began reading our first whole-group novel of the year: Charlotte Doyle, by Avi. We begin the year with a class novel so that we can explore it together and set expectations for listening and discussing literature. We will alternate between whole-group and small-group novels (literature circles) throughout the year. Please be sure your child brings in the reading log on Monday morning. This should be signed by you.

We have become a bit more comfortable with the new social studies text and have finished the first lesson about Early Americans and Native American Cultures. These lessons vary in length and can be one-day or multi-day lessons. The text is much like the text that was used in both sixth and seventh grade in that it has required reading and lots of responses in writing to the text. In addition to this, however, the text also adds interactive features, video content, and links to primary source documents, which makes it rich. If we make the most of this text, despite initial learning and technology challenges, the kids will really benefit in their understanding of U.S. history.

Our learning of history will serve us well as we prepare for our Washington, D.C. trip this May 6 – 10. We are offered a $1000 scholarship by World Strides if we have a parent meeting before September 15th. Since the topic of this meeting is supposed to be the same as our spring meeting, I will change it to simply touch base about dates, and then brainstorm any ideas for fundraising. Don’t worry – I checked and this does count to give us the extra $1000 – as long as we can get at least ten parents to attend. We will meet at 5:30 on Curriculum Night in my classroom, since you need to be at the gym by 6 anyway. (Please note that this is a change in time from my last Friday newsletter.) Please bring any ideas you might have. Our room parents are also working on ideas – I know we are well on our way to having a nice amount to defray costs to each student.

I am still trying to figure out which day will work for us to volunteer at the WeGrow Garden for our service-learning project. It will likely be Mondays from 12:30 – 2:00. As soon as the time is set, I will send out a permission slip with the dates we will attend in the fall (we do not go every week).

Our fall 8th grade retreat will be held on Friday, September 29th at St. Joseph’s in Ferndale. Joan Williamson will lead our retreat, which will be all day. I will send a permission slip in next Wednesday’s envelope. Please indicate if you can drive either to or from the retreat on the form. We will leave school just after drop off and return by pick up time at the end of the day. Lunch will be provided that day.

Upcoming Events:

  • Wednesday, September 13th – World Strides meeting in 8th grade classroom 5:30PM
  • Wednesday, September 13th – Curriculum Night starts in gym 6PM, then to classrooms 6:30-8:40

Have a great weekend!



Dear Parents, 

The kids were happy to be back together after the summer and showed some excitement and wonder at what their eighth-grade year might look like. I told them that they can expect it to be their best year yet! We went over what each class might offer this year and talked briefly about grading expectations. I told the kids that their eighth-grade year is a time to prepare for high school and that they should fasten their seat belts and get ready to work hard. We’ve got lots of learning ahead and they should expect to work a bit more than they did in seventh grade. School guidelines are that they have up to one and a half hours of homework nightly, and while they might sometimes have that (and rarely even a bit more during busy times), I try to keep what I assign to one hour, knowing that they may have work from other teachers, too.

One change from last year is that the kids will have fewer teachers. I teach four of their seven subjects: history, religion, language arts, and literature, so they will be moving less throughout the day and will have fewer teachers to “figure out”. This consistency should help them to feel more settled and able to get right to work. Again this year the students have planners. All middle school teachers are training them to use them consistently to keep track of their daily and long-term assignments. These should come home each night and for some, will be a way for parents to keep closer track of what has been assigned and whether it has been completed.

I spoke to the kids about middle school expectations around late or missing work (most know these from my literature class last year). These expectations are also listed in the Family Handbook.

Your child was given a document about reading requirements. The main difference between this year and last is that the kids must now read 250 pages per week (combination of class and home reading). If your child didn’t share this with you, you can find it under “Resources” on the eighth-grade page. To get there, go to the school web page then Parent Resources→Classrooms→8th Grade. You will find several different resources there in addition to a homework page (which I update nightly), and access to the Parent (Friday Class) letters. Two items that are not yet updated in the Resources list are the Service Hours log (this should read 18 hours per semester) and the Legacy Project document (I have not yet set the dates for this year). I will update those next week.

Our service-learning project this year is to work in the WeGrow Garden, a community garden one block south of Bellingham High School. WeGrow provides low-barrier training to youth and adults who plant, grow, harvest, and distribute produce to those in need. Most of what we grow goes to the Bellingham Food Bank, right across the street from the garden. The garden serves as an educational space for school groups, non-profit youth agencies, and the public. It showcases how food is grown, managed, and harvested. We will begin our visits to the garden soon, so look for a permission slip and opportunities to volunteer by coming along with us soon. The “learning” part of our service-learning project will begin next week when we study several topics including the benefits of community gardens, sustainable and organic gardening, food insecurity, and at-risk youth. We will be participating in the WeGrow Open House in September (I will give you the date when I have it), and the kids will be making presentation boards and talking about these topics to stakeholders at the garden.

You may have heard that we purchased a new social studies text last year by Savvas Learning (formerly Pearson Realize). It is a digital text, and we will be learning how the platform works. There may be some frustration in these early days as we figure it out, but we will get through it and will benefit from the added features only a digital text can provide (interactive maps, videos, links to primary source documents, etc.). We don’t yet have our log ins for the text, so we are using the hard copies we have in class for the time being.

Please take care to review the Family Handbook and policies around uniform expectations. This includes things like hair length, make-up, and jewelry. I will be enforcing these policies, although I really hate to be the “boogeyman”, so would you please be that for me before your student even gets to school?

I meant for this newsletter to be short, but there’s so much to communicate! I’ll save some for next week. In the meantime, please mark your calendars to attend our Washington, D.C. trip meeting at 6PM in my classroom. It will take place immediately before Curriculum Night September 13th which is from 7-9PM. I will give you a preview of the D.C. trip, we will talk about fundraising, and we will then head over to the gym to begin Curriculum Night. You will learn about what is coming in eighth grade and I will answer questions you might have. Feel free to email me with any questions that can’t wait until then.

The following is from Gina DePalma (Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation):

Baptism of Children 7-Years-Old and Older (RCIA/C)

Assumption Parish families with children aged 7+ who have not been baptized or were baptized in another Christian tradition and are interested in learning about and receiving sacraments in the Catholic Church, are invited to begin the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for Children (RCIA/C) process. Please contact Gina DePalma at ginad@assumption.org with any questions. Sessions begin on Sept. 10 and the deadline to register is Oct. 1.

Youth Confirmation Information Meeting

All Assumption & Sacred Heart youth in 7th & 8th grade at ACS who are interested in preparing for the sacrament of confirmation are encouraged, along with a parent, to attend the information meeting on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 2:00 p.m. in the school library. Please contact Daniel Prenosil at daniel@assumption.org with any questions.

Have a great three-day weekend!

Chris Eusebio

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