WMS Family Smore

November 13, 2022

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Dear WMS Families,

In this historically busy season before Thanksgiving, I am reflecting a lot on the power of gratitude. With the closing of Quarter 1, I can not believe 10 weeks of the school year have flown by already. I am grateful to be a part of this Watertown Middle School community every day. Whether it is a student's smile when they are happy to be at school or a pair of furrowed eyebrows as another student productively struggles with a new skill, I am grateful each day to be a part of your child's every day learning and growing.

Even though Quarter 1 has closed and Quarter 2 has started, teachers are still working hard to finalize grades. We plan to mail home Quarter 1 report cards on November 21st. Grades are a tool that teachers are using to communicate the level of mastery a student has in a particular subject, which may be different than how parents/caregivers understand grades. For more information, check out the "Equitable Grading" section below.

Be well and take care of one another.

Respectfully yours,

Ms. Jennifer Chen Fein, Principal

Ms. Jennifer Sarmiento, Assistant Principal (Clusters 2, 4, 6)

Mr. Patrick Dayton, Interim Assistant Principal (Clusters 1, 3, 5)

News at WMS


We will be conducting an ALICE protocol drill on Friday. We will be working with students in advisory on Wednesday and Thursday this week to prepare them for Friday's drills.

These drills are a good way for students to learn what to do in the event of a dangerous situation either inside or near the building. The drill will include discussions of what to do in different scenarios and will end with lock down drill. We will not be "acting out" simulated threats in the building, but rather discussing and educating students of their options and how to best stay safe.

While we have changed our drill protocols to ensure that these practices are not scary, we understand that students can be off-put by the need for these types of drills. We will be keeping an eye out for students that may be experiencing anxiety around the drill, however, if you know your student is concerned with these types of events, please don't hesitate to reach out to your student's school counselor.

Staying Healthy This Season

The Department of Public Health and Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics are sharing this message to remind families about steps they can take to prevent illness this season:

  1. Vaccinate children ages 6 months and older against influenza as soon as possible.

  2. Vaccinate children ages 6 months and older against COVID-19, including updated booster shots for children 5 and older who had their primary series more than 2 months ago.

  3. Remember that people can get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time.

  4. Stay on schedule for monthly treatments for infants who have been offered treatment with protective antibodies due to their prematurity or another condition.

  5. Practice hand hygiene and cover coughs and sneezes.

  6. Clean high touch surfaces in at home frequently with household disinfectants.

  7. Keep children home from daycare or school who have a fever, especially with a cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat, until they are fever-free for 24 hours without medications that reduce fever.

  8. Avoid social gatherings if ill.

  9. Contact a pediatrician or healthcare provider if a child needs medical care.

8th Grade Washington DC Trip Registration

*** 8th GRADE ONLY*** Below you will find the link to the registration form for this year’s Washington D.C. Trip. Through this form you will be able to register your child, and make your first payment. Please complete both the registration and payment by Friday, November 25th.

We apologize for the delay in getting this form out to you. The motel we usually stay at canceled on us without notice at the last minute, so we needed to find another place to stay. We will now be staying at the Quality Inn Motel in Alexandria, VA. Thankfully, our rate is the same, so we will not have to raise the price of the trip!

Please reach out to christopher.mcdermott@watertown.k12.ma.us or laurie.brackett@watertown.k12.ma.us with any questions.

Registration link https://forms.gle/fS6wQMYhS5ZBk6CAA

"Equitable Grading" - What does that mean for my child's grades for Quarter 1?

We want to provide our WMS community with an update on our equitable grading journey as we continue to build off of our professional development with Joe Feldman the writer of the book Grading for Equity last Tuesday. This year our staff is exploring our grading pedagogy and practice, we are analyzing how our current grading practices may be inequitable and may lack transparency for students and caregivers.

As a school we are utilizing Mr. Feldman’s work to implement more equitable strategies that emphasize student learning of both skills and content, while providing feedback on “soft skills” like “studentship”, “effort”, and “participation” in ways that do not impact our assessment of what students know and are able to do. Grades are shifting towards communicating mastery, not behavior.

We encourage you to talk to your child about this, as many teachers have talked with them about this shift toward grades that reflect what a student knows and can demonstrate. Parents/caregivers can also join our next School Site Council to ask questions or hear more information about our journey towards more equitable grading practices, see below for more information.

Annual WMS Thanksgiving Basket Drive

Our annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive is here! Each year, we have students donate food items to create baskets to give to Watertown Middle School community families in need.

Students will pick specific Thanksgiving dinner items in advisory this week, and will take home a slip of paper with what they are donating on it. Please be on the lookout for it! Your child’s slip will also indicate whether their item is perishable or non-perishable. Non perishable items need to be brought in by Friday, November 18th, and perishable items need to be brought in ON Monday, November 21st.

Please reach out to christopher.mcdermott@watertown.k12.ma.us or andrew.allegro@watertown.k12.ma.us with any questions.

WMS is Hiring

Here is the link to all available positions in WPS. At WMS, we are looking to hire Connections IAs and another Building Based Sub. Please share these opportunities with your networks!

Watertown Sports Smore

Athletics has opened registration for winter sports. The winter season starts on Monday, November 28th. Please be sure to register your athletes by Monday, November 21st so we can clear students to participate in the first day of tryouts.

Here is the link to see the sports that are being offered, links to schedules, registration, and more!

Opportunities for Parents/Caregivers To Get Involved

SEPAC - November 15, November 18

Watertown SEPAC invites you to attend our Basic Rights: Evaluation and Eligibility Training on Tuesday, November 15 from 6:00-8:00pm. Please see the event newsletter to register and for additional information: https://www.smore.com/7wuvg.

In addition, please see information below for the partnership between SEPAC and WFPL.

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Diversity Council - November 17

The WMS Diversity Council will meet once a month on the third Thursdays at 7:00pm (not 6:00pm), virtually, with the next meeting on November 17, 2022. This year, we will be focusing on actionable steps outlined in the district equity audit taken last school year.

Reach out to Jen Sarmiento at jennifer.sarmeinto@watertown.k12.ma.us to express interest in joining or with any questions.

English Learner Parent Advisory Council (ELPAC) - November 18

The ELPAC will be meeting on Friday 11/18 from 7-8 pm at Hosmer School in the Learning Commons. Attached here are flyers in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

School Site Council (SSC) - December 6

The WMS SSC meets once a month on the first Tuesdays at 7:00pm, virtually. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 6th.

PTO - December 14

The next meeting is on Wednesday, December 14th, and the PTO meets virtually on the second Wednesday of each month. Reach out to the PTO President Erin Macomber at erin_macomber@neds.org with any questions or to express interest.


WHS Production of "Clue"

Shows: Nov 18th - 20th.

Friday (18th) @ 6pm

Saturday (19th) @ 6pm

Sunday (20th) @ 2pm


Watertown students FREE (with student ID)

Students & Seniors (65+) $5

General Admission $10

Watertown Race Reels - November 14

Please join us for Watertown Race Reels in November! In recognition of National Adoption Month we will be screening the film Closure on November 14th. We will be serving pizza starting at 5:45 and starting the film at 6pm. After the film (~75 minutes), we will have a guest speaker along with a discussion/activity. Hope to see you there!

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Information from the Watertown Rec Department

Wachusett Mountain Ski and Board Program

Here is information from the Watertown Rec Department for the Wachusett Mountain Ski and Board program for our high school and middle school students from Watertown. Space is limited as we only have 100 spots for our bus.

Watertown Snow Removal Program

Students in Grades 6-12 can volunteer for the Watertown Snow Removal Program. More information will come soon from Mr. McDermott and Mr. Allegro.

In the meantime, all questions can be directed to Recreation@watertown-ma.gov

Finding the Magic in Middle School Book Club - November 15th, 29th

Come join in on discussing the recent publication "Finding the Magic in Middle School: Tapping Into the Power and Potential of the Middle School Years” by educator Chris Balme. Together we will dive into Chris' book, and explore major topics such as the developmental stages of adolescents, becoming a guide rather than a boss, the Anchoring Effect, and a few more reflection questions! The preference is for attendees to read the book in full prior to the first discussion, but curious parents and educators are welcome regardless.

Chris may join us for the second session, so bring your questions for him!

The book can be purchased at all major book outlets including Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Unfortunately since it is a new publication, the library system does not yet have copies available.

November 15th and 29th from 7-8:30 in the Raya Stern Trustee Room at the Watertown Free Public Library

Please register by emailing Mary G Brackett at maryGbrackett@gmail.com
WMS School Spirit Shop

WMS apparel is available in a variety of styles for women, men and youth with a variety of color and logo combinations. A portion of the proceeds go to the WMS PTO to help fund activities and enrichment opportunities for students throughout the year.

Upcoming Dates

  • November 17: Diversity Council (7:00pm not 6:00pm, virtual)
  • November 18: WMS Thanksgiving Basket Drive Begins
  • November 21: Quarter 1 Report Cards mailed home
  • November 23: Early Release Day: Thanksgiving Recess Begins 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch (Day E1, will see every class for a shortened period of time)

  • November 24-25: Thanksgiving Recess - No School

  • November 25: Deadline to complete 8th Grade Washington DC Trip registration/payment

  • December 6: School Site Council (7:00pm, virtual)

  • December 14: Early Release PD Day: Day 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch (Day F1, will see every class for a shortened period of time)
  • December 14: PTO Meeting (7:00pm, virtual)
  • December 26-January 2: Winter Recess - No School
  • January 3: School Site Council (7:00pm, virtual)

  • January 11: PTO Meeting (7:00pm, virtual)

  • January 13: PD Day - No School

  • January 16: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day - No School

  • Watertown Public Schools Calendar 2022-2023

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