WMS Community Bulletin 4-5-20

EXCELLENCE*EQUITY*COMMUNITY

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Watertown Middle School 2019-2020

Hello Watertown Middle School Community,


Hello and Happy Sunday - I hope this community bulletin finds you and your family, near and far, healthy and well. This week begins Phase 2 of our Extended Learning Plan. In her newsletter, Dr. Galdston explained what this means for teaching and learning:


The goal for Phase 2 of the WPS Extended Learning Plan

During the period of school closure through May 3, the goal for the Watertown Public Schools Extended Learning Plan is to: reinforce skills already taught this school year, apply and deepen these skills to prevent regression, catch students up to have all students starting at a similar place upon their return, and to prioritize new key concepts throughout the end of the year, especially at the secondary level, to the extent possible in an extended learning environment.


Learning has its foundation in the relationships developed between learners and teachers, adults, and children. As such, there is no way to replicate this environment in a digital format in the middle of a pandemic during school closure. There is a wide variety of circumstances that our families and our staff find themselves in right now, and Phase 2 of our Extended Learning Plan is designed to balance moving instruction forward and maintaining the social and emotional health of students, staff, and families. The WPS Extended Learning Plan holds student connections, flexibility, resiliency, equity, and support at its core.


Shifts in the Extended Learning Plan

The two significant shifts in the Plan include: increased interactive time with students and requiring students to participate in the learning provided to the extent that is possible. Principals will send more information in their next newsletters, and your child’s teacher(s) will provide students and families with an updated schedule for class meetings early next week. Our planning team is determining methods to provide feedback and monitoring of student participation and learning that is more aligned with a remote learning environment and will apprise you when that is decided next week. On a weekly basis, teachers will track participation during Community Meetings; Google Classroom and other online resources; office hours; and class check-ins. If technology presents a barrier to accessing remote learning, please contact your child’s principal, as we can assist you with technology access.


As with last week's community bulletin, below you will find links to weekly cluster schedules and teachers' Google Classrooms, although students already have most of the links and passwords to their teachers' Google Classrooms. Over the next weeks, we will be working toward providing parents/guardians with outlines of the learning activities teachers are posting. Cluster and specialist teachers will be providing regular times for Zoom classes and check-ins/office hours, as well as a once a week Advisory Community Meeting. We are looking to find the balance of enough "face-to-face" virtual meeting time and not having too much screen time. We know that balance may be different for each student and family.


I stated last week that middle school children are at that complicated age where they are seeking academic and personal independence but most likely still need support and guidance from the adults in their lives, even if they do not like to admit it. :) I will also say that with everything going on in our lives right now, our experiences may be similar in many ways, but different in others. In the past week, I have heard from families who would like more academic work and challenge, and from others who felt overwhelmed from just the "optional" work and are concerned about what Phase 2 will bring. The teachers are additionally feeling various levels of challenge these days, as many are caring for young children and/or parents. We need to remember that we are in this together as home/school partners and as a community. Communication is key now more than ever. If you have any academic questions or concerns, please contact the teacher. If you have any social-emotional concerns, please contact your child's guidance counselor. If you have technology issues or concerns, please contact Mr. Del Porto. And please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at all. We, the WMS community, will get through this together.


Principal's Coffee: I will be hosting a Zoom meeting for parents/guardians on Wednesday, April 8th at 8:30 am. I welcome questions, feedback, and shared stories of teenagers at home with us! :)

Here is the link to the meeting: Join URL: https://zoom.us/j/243207602?pwd=MVhsUlc5RmsrcGhTTEkxUkZOcTFIQT09

The password is: 715854


The PTO is still requesting your family recipes! WMS International Cookbook Information


Take good care of each other,

All my best,


Donna

A Free Webinar for Parents/Guardians!

Parent & Family Tips for Helping Middle Schoolers at Home
Jack Berckemeyer, author of Managing the Madness – A Practical Guide to Middle Grades Classrooms, provides pragmatic tips, mixed with his trademark humor, to help parents enjoy this time at home with their young adolescents. Invite your parents and families to this can’t-miss event!
Monday, April 6, 2020, 3:30-4:30 pm ET


Link to information and sign-up

Weekly Cluster Schedules / Links to Schedules

Cluster 1: Here is the link to the Cluster 1 weekly schedule/Smore: https://www.smore.com/1cg8b


Cluster 2: Here is the link to the Cluster 2 weekly schedule/Smore: https://www.smore.com/vrb8q-cluster-2-assignments?ref=email


Cluster 3: Here is the LINK to the Cluster 3 weekly schedule and the LINK to the Cluster 3 Smore.


Cluster 4: Here is the link to the Cluster 4 assignments and information: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UFZ3vtTrGSC6f38mKHPAYIGNH6mImvtzbemFoYpr-rc/edit


Cluster 5: Here is the link to the Cluster 5 weekly schedule/Smore: Cluster 5


Cluster 6: This document has all of the Cluster 6 assignments for next week. We will also be posting this doc to the Cluster Google Classroom.

Weekly Specialist Schedules / Links to Schedules

Spanish: See Sra. C's letter to families HERE.


Ms. Kaczowka's class information: CLUSTER 5 and 6

8th-grade ZOOM (not office hours) TUESDAYS 11:30-11:55

Google Classroom Codes -Spanish grade 8 Period 5: p7eab4s

Google Classroom Codes- Spanish grade 8 Period 7/1: xqsafww


CLUSTER 3 and 4

7th-grade ZOOM (not office hours) WEDNESDAY 11:30-11:55

Google Classroom Codes- Spanish grade 7 Period 1/7: 2tje36q

Google Classroom Codes-Spanish grade 7 Period 2: fue32ih


Italian:

CLUSTERS 5&6

Grade 8 will meet with me on Tuesdays from 11:30-11:55.

The google classroom code for my 8th grade Italian C class is: xm2jx4n

The google classroom code for my 8th grade Italian B (period 5) class is: 3nabjss


CLUSTERS 3&4

Grade 7 will meet with me on Thursdays from 11:30-11:55

The google classroom code for period 1 (A days) /7 (B days) is: v45ecis

The google classroom code for period 2 is: afiia3n


CLUSTERS 1&2

Period 3 Italian A (6th grade) will meet with me on Tuesdays from 2:00-2:30.

The google classroom code for period 3 is: vhtrmc4


Reading: See chart below


Phys. Ed.: See Zoom and Google Classroom codes below.


Health: See Google Classroom codes below.


Art: Ms. Stern's Art information is HERE.


Tech. Ed.: See Google Classroom links below.


Band/Percussion:

ZOOM MEETINGS:

  • Monday, April 6th, 2:30-3pm - 6-8 Brass Sectional

  • Tuesday, April 7th, 2:30-3pm - 6-8 Woodwind Sectional

  • Wednesday, April 8th, 2:30-3pm - Ms. Schneider’s Drop-In Learning Lab

  • Thursday, April 9th, 2:30-3pm - 6-8 Percussion Sectional

  • Friday, April 10th, 2:30-3pm - Ms. Schneider’s Drop-In Learning Lab

https://zoom.us/j/6858913189

Meeting ID: 685 891 3189

The password for all of my Zoom meetings will be: 499264

Reading Classes

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Mr. Loughran's Tech. Ed. Google Classrooms

Grade 6 Technology Education Google Classroom

https://classroom.google.com/u/1/c/MzYwOTg0OTgxNzBa

d2kc45j

Grade 7 Technology Education Google Classroom

https://classroom.google.com/u/1/c/MzYwOTg0OTgxNTBa

6ylay7p

Grade 8 Technology Education Google Classroom

https://classroom.google.com/u/1/c/MzYwOTY4NjY0MDFa

twr3vyw

Google Classroom Code for Grade 8 Drama

Drama Grade 8 qo7vngv Laurie Ellington

Physical Education (PE) and Health Classes Information

Health Education Class Code: 5laucot


Ms. McLaughlin 8th Grade PE TUESDAY 2:00-2:30pm

April 7th: Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/394425217
Meeting ID: 394 425 217


Mr. Johnson 8th Grade PE TUESDAY 2:00-2:30pm

April 7th: Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/3108253428
Meeting ID: 310 825 3428


Ms. McLaughlin 6th Grade PE WEDNESDAY 2:00-2:30pm

April 8th: Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/857978503
Meeting ID: 857 978 503


Mr. Johnson 6th Grade PE WEDNESDAY 2:00-2:30pm

April 8th: Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/3108253428

Meeting ID: 310 825 3428


Ms. McLaughlin 7th Grade PE THURSDAY 2:00-2:30

April 9th: Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/119341685

Meeting ID Code: 119 341 685


Mr. Johnson 7th Grade PE THURSDAY 2:00-2:30

April 9th: Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/3108253428

Meeting ID Code: 310 825 3428


OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS: Both Mr. Johnson and Ms. McLaughlin

PE Drop In: Fridays 2:00-2:30

April 10th: Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/515717622

Meeting ID: 515 717 622

All other work can be found on Google Classroom. If students are not in Google Classroom then they can join by using the following link or by emailing their individual teacher.


Ms. McLaughlin- Physical Education Class Code: mf3lwnf

Mr. Johnson- Physical Education Class Code: qrdd4ra

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Read Aloud BINGO!

Please check out this LINK to see the fun Read Aloud BINGO activity! See many of your favorite teachers read the first chapter of some terrific books! :)

SEPAC meeting this week on Thursday, 4/9

Our Director of Student Services, Kathleen Desmarais, is partnering with the Watertown Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) to host a live Question and Answer this Thursday, April 9, at 6:00 via Zoom. Please see the flyer for details, or email the director at kathleen.desmarais@watertown.k12.ma.us or SEPAC at wps_sepac@watertown.k12.ma.us.
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Remote Learning Updates

Here are the Remote Learning Updates I included in a previous bulletin. I am leaving them in the bulletins for now as important reminders, especially as work completion is no longer optional.


I will start this update with some thank yous as well. Thank you to all of the teachers, IAs, admin. assistants, custodians/maintenance, food service workers, nurses, IT dept., administrators and other school personnel who have been working together diligently to put together learning and technology support and food support, etc. for all of our students and families! Such a wonderful team effort! Thank you also to students, parents, and guardians for working with us as we learn this "new normal"! There have been and will continue to be highs and lows for all of us, but it is comforting to know we have each other and will persevere and be successful as a WMS community!


We ALL have been learning a great deal about how to best communicate and work together in this new situation. As a school and a district, we have been having many discussions and ZOOM meetings to determine what will be most effective for students and families during this time, and it is an evolving process. Here are some important facts for all students and families to know, and more will be coming:


  • Students should be checking their email every day for updates
  • HR teachers sent out an initial email to all students. If you have not responded, please do.
  • Students should be checking their Google Classroom sites daily as well. Please respond to your teachers. Just like exercise keeps our bodies healthy, learning keeps our brains healthy and growing!
  • Not all teachers' and/or clusters' guidelines will look exactly the same. If you have a particular question for a teacher, please email.
  • If you have any concerns about your child, please reach out to their guidance counselor.
  • Ashley Cohen, grade 6, ashley.cohen@watertown.k12.ma.us
  • Amanda Skypeck, grade 7, amanda.skypeck@watertown.k12.ma.us
  • Tom Cloherty, grade 8, thomas.cloherty@watertown.k12.ma.us

Community Meetings and Expectations

Many teachers and students have started meeting on ZOOM or Google Hangouts/Meet for face to face Community Meetings, and it has been great to "see" each other and re-connect and catch up with each other. :) However, there are certain expectations we have for these meetings. The teachers have conveyed them to the students, but we ask that you please reinforce them with your child(ren).


  • Please follow school dress code (no pajamas)

  • School appropriate language and behavior

  • Respect each other during the meeting

  • Students (and teachers) have the option to turn off their video if they are more comfortable participating that way

  • The Community Meeting will not be recorded by the teacher, and no part of it should ever be recorded by a student.

  • This is a fun way to re-connect, but we also need to keep it school/professional. Everyone should be sitting up as we would in a classroom. It is possible to change the background of the video if you would rather no one sees your location.

  • Should anything inappropriate occur during the Community Meetings, the teacher will report the behavior to Mr. Del Porto or me, and parents/guardians will be contacted. The incident will be recorded just as if we were in school.



If you have any questions, please reach out to your child's teacher or me. If you have technology issues or questions, please reach out to Mr. Del Porto at jason.delporto@watertown.k12.ma.us

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources

The SEL section of the WPS Extended Learning Opportunities website is up and running, and it is fantastic! Check it out here: WPS Social Emotional Learning Resources
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Updates from Ms. Maroni-Wagner in the WMS Library

The direct webpage address for the WMS Extended Learning Library resources is https://bit.ly/wmslibextend and is also linked at the top of my Library website.


On the page are instructions and tutorials for the following platforms:

  • How to borrow eBooks and audiobooks from the Watertown Middle School digital collection (Destiny Discover)
  • How to search, browse and borrow eBooks and audiobooks from the MLS Commonwealth eBook Collection (Sora)
  • How to search, browse and borrow from the WFPL digital collection (Overdrive). As Rashmi emailed earlier, the WFPL has expanded their collection recently.
  • How to search, browse and borrow from Hoopla


Students only need their school email & address to borrow from Destiny Discover and Sora. Students need a library card to use Overdrive or Hoopla. All these platforms are accessible via web browser, but also have apps for tablets and phones.


Great news- ALL MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS can sign up for a Boston Public Library eCard online, and can use Overdrive, Hoopla and much more! To get a BPL eCard, visit bpl.org/ecard. This information is also posted on my webpage, and I created a tutorial on how to get a BPL eCard, sign up for the WFPL digital collection, and sign up for Hoopla (linked on the webpage).


These resources are a starting point. Stay tuned for info on book clubs, author read-alouds, summer reading updates, and more.

Watertown Library Updates - Let's all get Reading!!

Many of you have asked how to help...

One important way to help is by donating to the WATERTOWN FOOD PANTRY.


The Watertown Council on Aging administers the Watertown Food Pantry, which provides food assistance to any Watertown resident in need.


LOCATION: The Food Pantry is located at the rear of the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church at 80 Mt. Auburn Street. The entrance to the Food Pantry is around the left corner of the church (formerly St. John's) from the parking lot at the side of the building, basement level. Look for the Watertown Food Pantry signs.


DAYS and HOURS: The food pantry has changed their days and hours due to COVID-19. They are only open Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm until further notice. This is a link to the town website with the information.


https://www.watertown-ma.gov/250/Watertown-Food-Pantry


CONTACT: Call the Council on Aging/Senior Center at 617-972-6490 for more information, to volunteer, and to donate.

Dr. Galdston's Update 4-3-20

Here is the information that Dr. Galdston sent out on 4-3-20:


Link to Smore for Translation: https://www.smore.com/p03ce


Good morning WPS Families and Staff Members:


We hope that this email finds your family navigating these difficult times well and that your children/students are beginning to adjust to remote learning. As I’ve assured you in prior communications, our foremost priority is to maintain supportive connections between school staff, students, and families.


I want to provide you with important updates based on Governor Baker’s announcement to extend school closures until May 4 and the recommendations from the MA Commissioner of Education. WPS teachers and administrators have reviewed and revised our Extended Learning Plan for the coming weeks. We recognize that this closure may be extended beyond May 4, and as such, a long-term extended learning plan is vital at this time to prevent regression and ensure the attainment of key grade-level concepts.


The goal for Phase 2 of the WPS Extended Learning Plan

During the period of school closure through May 3, the goal for the Watertown Public Schools Extended Learning Plan is to: reinforce skills already taught this school year, apply and deepen these skills to prevent regression, catch students up to have all students starting at a similar place upon their return, and to prioritize new key concepts throughout the end of the year, especially at the secondary level, to the extent possible in an extended learning environment.

Learning has its foundation in the relationships developed between learners and teachers, adults, and children. As such, there is no way to replicate this environment in a digital format in the middle of a pandemic during school closure. There is a wide variety of circumstances that our families and our staff find themselves in right now, and Phase 2 of our Extended Learning Plan is designed to balance moving instruction forward and maintaining the social and emotional health of students, staff, and families. The WPS Extended Learning Plan holds student connections, flexibility, resiliency, equity, and support at its core.


Shifts in the Extended Learning Plan

The two significant shifts in the Plan include: increased interactive time with students and requiring students to participate in the learning provided to the extent that is possible. Principals will send more information in their next newsletters, and your child’s teacher(s) will provide students and families with an updated schedule for class meetings early next week. Our planning team is determining methods to provide feedback and monitoring of student participation and learning that is more aligned with a remote learning environment and will apprise you when that is decided next week. On a weekly basis, teachers will track participation during Community Meetings; Google Classroom and other online resources; office hours; and class check-ins. If technology presents a barrier to accessing remote learning, please contact your child’s principal, as we can assist you with technology access.


Student Services

For our students with special needs, families can expect more individualized outreach from teachers and service providers to maintain and reinforce skills previously learned, as well as to make as much progress as feasible towards IEP goals during the school closure. We realize that this school closure is particularly challenging for our families of children with special needs, and we look forward to partnering with you to ensure all needs and concerns are addressed well.

Our Director of Student Services, Kathleen Desmarais, will offer a live ‘Question & Answer’ opportunity during the regularly scheduled Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) meeting on Thursday, April 9, at 6:00 p.m. Updates will be provided in a separate message from Ms. Desmarais, including a Zoom link to the SEPAC meeting. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, principal, director at (kathleen.desmarais@watertown.k12.ma.us). Please also refer to the Massachusetts Department of Education’s most recent FAQ regarding special education.


Virtual Meetings

Our teachers are engaging in remote professional learning today, exploring several strategies and technological tools to support student learning and engagement in the virtual world through the Zoom platform, facilitated by their professional peers. Zoom is one tool that we are using for virtual meetings, and we are following all protocols to ensure student privacy, given the recent incidents in the news. Examples include: requirement passwords, disabling screen sharing, utilizing the waiting room feature, and other safety protocols. We encourage all parents/guardians to read the Remote Learning Notification for the Watertown Public Schools, which contains essential information regarding the use of virtual learning platforms.


School Nutrition

The School Nutrition Department is distributing breakfast and lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00-1:00. During these hours, meals for two days are supplied to any WPS family who can benefit from this service. If you are not able to pick up meals at these times, please send an email to lunch_line@watertown.k12.ma.us. Currently, the School Nutrition Department is providing meals to more than 100 students.

For more information about the remote learning recommendations from DESE, the Commissioner of Education provided a letter to families in English and Spanish reviewing the recommendations.


Be healthy and well,

Dede Galdston, Ed.D., Superintendent

Watertown Middle School

While we are out of school, please email with any questions, or text/call my work cell (617-631-6807)

Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.


Thank you,

Donna Martin, Principal