WMS Family Smore
November 6, 2022
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Dear WMS Families,
As we look ahead to this week, we have two days of NO SCHOOL for students.
- Tuesday is Election Day and we are all reminded of the importance of voting.
- On Friday, we honor our veterans for their service to our country. Happy Veterans Day and THANK YOU to all of the veterans in our WMS and Watertown community.
Here are some other events coming up this week that I want to highlight:
- November 8: School Site Council (7:00pm, virtual)
- November 9: Title I Coffee Hour (6:30pm, virtual), PTO Meeting (7:00pm, virtual)
- November 9: Last day of Quarter 1 (report cards mailed home on November 21)
- November 10: First day of Quarter 2
In regards to Friday's dance, the WMS Leadership team will be debriefing on Monday so that we can reflect and plan next steps to ensure safety and fun at future events for our students. Thank you in particular to our school resource officer, Officer Margaryn, who was instrumental in helping keep students safe. As a school leadership team, we will also be having individual conversations with students and parents of students who were engaging in unsafe behaviors in the coming days. Thank you again for your partnership in helping our students see every moment as a learning moment.
Be well and take care of one another.
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
News from WMS Teachers
Click on the link below to find updates from your child's teachers. These cluster/class smores are a helpful tool to know what your child is learning. These smores are shared and updated every other week in the WMS Family Smore.
English Language Development/Phonics
Election Day Bake Sale!
Please consider donating individually wrapped baked goods to sell at our Election Day Bake Sale.
Donations can be dropped off at the main office on Monday 11/7 from 8:15am-3pm, or brought to the bake sale on Tuesday, 11/8.
All proceeds will go to the Watertown Middle School PTO.
The sign up link is here: WMS PTO: Election Day Bake Sale (signupgenius.com)
"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 prepare for our professional development with Joe Feldman the writer of the book Grading for Equity on 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 this Tuesday's School Site Council to ask questions or hear more information about our journey towards more equitable grading practices, see below for more information.
Student Attendance is Important
As we begin our third month of school we want to reemphasize the importance of student attendance. It is not only state law that students receive a certain number of hours of instruction, it is instrumental to students growth and learning.
Here is a reminder of the process our school follows to help students and families who have a pattern of absences:
- If your student is unexcused absent 5 times, you will receive a letter from your student’s assistant principal.
- If your student is unexcused absent 10 times, you will receive a letter requesting a support conversation with your student’s guidance counselor.
- If your student is unexcused absent 15 times, we will need to develop a student attendance improvement plan.
- If your student is unexcused absent 20 times, we will have to file a CRA (Child Requiring Assistance) for your student.
Finally, in the event that your child will be absent, a parent or caregiver must call the absence hotline at 617-926-7783 before 8:30 a.m. When you reach the recorded school message, press "1" to reach the school's attendance line. Please state the name, grade, homeroom of the student and the reason for their absence. In the event that the absence is not reported, a Robocall will automatically go out to the student’s home or the place of employment of the parent or caregiver to inform them that the student is absent. Students are responsible for working with their teachers to make up work they missed while absent.
For more details, see the WMS Family Handbook
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
English Learner Parent Advisory Council (ELPAC) - November 18
WMS is Hiring
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
School Site Council (SSC) - November 8
A school council is a representative, school building-based committee composed of the principal, parents, teachers, community members. Site-based decision making places the school at the center of planning, goal setting, and budgeting for school improvement. Some topics we will be diving into this year as part of the School Improvement Plan are WIN and providing student supports, the master schedule, and parent communication.
There are five WMS educators who will be regularly-attending members this year, and we will be electing five parent/community members to balance out the team. Any parent/community members who would like to be considered as a voting member of the SSC should attend the next meeting on November 8th. In particular, we are looking for members who represent different grades of students and reflect our student body including parents of English Learners. Any parent/community member may join any meeting as a listener, participant, and non-voting member.
The WMS SSC meets once a month on the first Tuesdays at 7:00pm, virtually. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 8th. Here is the agenda.
Title I Virtual Coffee Talk - November 9
The Watertown Public School System and its Title I Schoolwide Program, K - 8 are committed to continuously improving the opportunities for parents to be actively involved in their child's learning at home and in school. We have found this general education support to be highly valuable in helping students improve their math and literacy skills. Title I is the largest Federally funded supplemental education program. It does not replace what the school does; instead, Title I gives schools and students additional resources and instruction in math and reading. Title I partially funds our math and reading support and after school tutoring. Our tutors work closely with the classroom teachers to help improve students’ skills in reading and writing.
This district Parent Involvement Plan serves to outline overall expectations for parent involvement activities and programs, establish an environment for parental participation in Watertown's Title I programs at the school level, and identify the support which the Title I program can provide to assist schools in achieving their goals of supporting student learning. The Title I Home/School Compact outlines school, parent/guardian, and student responsibilities.
We welcome you to join us for an informal meeting for WMS parents at our upcoming Parent Virtual Coffee Talk where I will share more details around the Title I Schoolwide Program in grades K - 8 and answer any questions you may have. This event will be held virtually at 6:30pm on November 9th, right before PTO at 7:00pm.
PTO - November 9
The next meeting is this Wednesday, November 9th, and the PTO meets virtually on the second Wednesday of each month. Reach out to the PTO President Erin Macomber at email@example.com with any questions or to express interest.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in joining or with any questions.
INFORMATION FROM THE WMS COMMUNITY
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
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!
- November 8: Election Day/PD Day - No School for Students
- November 8: School Site Council (7:00pm, virtual)
- November 9: Title I Coffee Hour (6:30pm, virtual)
- November 9: PTO Meeting (7:00pm, virtual)
- November 9: Last day of Quarter 1
- November 10: First day of Quarter 2
- November 11: Veteran's Day - No School
- 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
INFORMATION FROM WMS
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.