The Squire

February 2020

Westbrook Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Amy Gallagher, Lead Teacher

Important Dates


6 - Early Dismissal - Teacher PD

11 - Board of Education Meeting

14 - WMS Annual Spelling Bee

17 & 18 - No School - Presidents Weekend

28 - Logic Block


5 - Grade 6 Geography Fair

10 - Board of Education Meeting

11- Grade 8 WMS & WHS Band Concert

19 - Early Dismissal - Parent / Teacher Conferences

21 - Light on Westbrook

26, 27 & 28 - WMS Drama Production

27 - End of Q3

30 - Start of Q4


7 - Board of Education Meeting

10 - School Closed - Good Friday

13 to 17 - School Closed - April Vacation

24 - Logic Block

*** SBAC Dates ***

ELA - All Grades

- Tuesday, May 12

Math - All Grades

- Session 1 - Wednesday, May 13

- Session 2 - Thursday, May 14

Science - Grade 5 & 8

- Tuesday, May 19

Principal's Desk

Hello Westbrook Families,

Can you believe that we are already halfway through this school year and we breezed past the 100th day of school? All of our students are working diligently in their classes and we have a lot of exciting events happening here at Westbrook Middle School! From our always competitive Geography Bee to the many charitable fundraisers that our school holds. Many amazing things happen here at WMS on a daily basis; be sure to check them out below in the newsletter.

As we approach the second half of the year, the SBAC dates have been finalized. Please make every effort to get your child to school and on time during SBAC testing.

ELA - All Grades - Tuesday, May 12

Math - All Grades - Session 1 - Wednesday, May 13, and Session 2 - Thursday, May 14

Science - Grades 5 & 8 only - Tuesday, May 19

We understand that morning drop off and afternoon pickups can be slow at times, and we appreciate your patience as student safety is our number one concern. To help expedite the process, we ask again that all parents pull their cars up to the second crosswalk, which allows for more cars in the line. Also, parents should not drop students in the lower parking, teacher parking lot, or bus lane. These identified areas need to be clear for moving traffic. I want to remind everyone that the handicap parking spots in the lower parking lot are for cars that have handicap permits. These spots are not appropriate places to drop children off or to wait for your child and are critical to people who need access to them.

As always, we encourage you to regularly check your child’s grades on Powerschool and his/her assignments on Google Classroom. It is essential to review and stay up to date on your child’s work. If you have any questions about your child’s progress in any class, please contact the grade level Team Leader or Amy Spagone, our school counselor, to schedule an appointment with the teachers.

I hope that everyone has a great February break (February 17 & 18).

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Teacher Spotlight

There’s a star amongst us! Mrs. Linnea Fitzgerald, Special Education Teacher, along with colleagues Miss Taylor Price, Ms. Brittany Palermo, Mrs. Kayla Bartolomeo, and Mrs. Shannon Cost completed Level 1 Wilson Reading System certification. Mrs. Fitzgerald is pictured on the back cover of the Wilson Reading Training 2020 Product Catalog. Level 1 certification program is a rigorous year-long training. Our students and families are so fortunate to have highly trained Special Educators as Reading Teachers.
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December Student of the Month

5th - Sophie Furcolo

6th - Patrick Pluck

7th - Lily Creeron

8th - Leticia Pires

Art - Kevin Vidella Garcia

Band - Ben Stosse

Chorus - Katie Ford

Computer Science - Brynn Hoadley

FACS - Brendan Cusson

French - Joseph Rubio-Heredia

Health - Emily Gomez-Salguero

Library - Yareth M. Antunez Meraz

Physical Ed - Diana Caetano

Spanish - Matthew Hampton-Valentin

Tech / STEM - Anastasiya Mironenko

Female Athlete of the Month - Simone Morris

Male Athlete of the Month - Matthew Downie

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January Student of the Month

5th - Riley Bogart

6th - Brooke Ouellette

7th - Diana Caetano

8th - Kevin Villeda Garcia

Art - Emily Case

Band - Abby Demers

Chorus - Noah Thomassen

Computer Science - Amy Caguana

FACS - Piper Selmont

French - Sophie Furcolo

Health - Evan Barnsfield

Library - Alaina Leete

Physical Ed - Julia DeSousa

Spanish - Lillian Freeman

Tech / STEM - Connor Jones

Male Athlete of the Month - Muhammad Arsalan Zaheer

Female Athlete of the Month - Leticia Pires

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National Law Enforcement Day

Several of our WMS students recognized one of our local Westbrook officers as well as 2 State Troopers From Troop F including a canine officer this National Law Enforcement Day and presented them w/posters of appreciation. The recognition was warmly received.
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Geography Bee

This year, after much preparation and competition in the classrooms during the Preliminary Rounds of the National Geographic Geography Bee, Westbrook Middle School had a very exciting school-wide Bee. With very challenging questions ranging from map reading questions, to individual question and answers and group question and answers, Trevor Jones came out as our school champion with Simone Morris as our runner up. Congratulations Trevor! Trevor has taken the state test and we are waiting on the results with fingers crossed! Hopefully he will make it to the state level and represent Westbrook Middle School at CCSU. Great job Trevor and good luck!
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Youth Awareness Day

On December 16th, students and staff enjoyed a fun day of workshops promoting physical and mental wellness. Students and staff participated in interactive sessions geared toward Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, Karate, Pilates, Kickboxing, Healthy Eating, Mural Boards, Zentangle, Stress & Anxiety, Positive Choices. Thanks to all of our volunteers from the community, for making this day a success!

Logic Block



Upon returning to school in January of 2020 Grade 5 Mathematicians continued to work on decimal operations and completed Unit 3 Bridges Mathematics. Students explored strategies to order and compare decimals to the thousandth place and rounded decimals to the nearest hundredth. In the final weeks of January students also discovered patterns as they multiplied and divided decimals by 10, 100 and 1,000. In addition, students illustrated division models, displaying their calculations by using rectangular arrays, and/or area models using base ten blocks to solve and create division story problems. In February grade 5 students will continue to delve into multiplication as they practice the multiplication algorithm to fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers and decimals.


We are in week two of our Historical Fiction Book Clubs! We started off with a Book Tasting where students got to peruse through suggested books before deciding on their top choices. Prior to that, Mrs. Goad and Mrs. Novarro book talked a few titles to get students interested. Over the next few weeks, students will follow their reading schedule calendar that they developed. Book Clubs offer a lot of student control since they determine the book they’ll read and their reading pace. While reading, students will use sticky notes to document thoughts and ideas to discuss on the collaboration days. The mentor text being used is Toliver’s Secret. Using this book, conflict and character analysis will be studied. So far, students are engaged and loving their new books!


Environmental Scientists

Students just completed a month-long investigation into Earth’s: Natural resources, energy resources, human activity and its effect on Earth's fragile environment. Students were inquisitive, insightful and eager to be the next great generation to save our Planet.

Social Studies

In Social Studies, students have been studying 29 different landforms. After doing a little research, students created a booklet on the ones they didn't know and quickly learned how each one is unique from the next. Students learned that these features can be natural or artificial on the Earth's surface. As a culminating activity, students created their very own edible landforms!


Geography Fair

This year we will be hosting our 11th Annual Geography Fair on March 5th, 2020 inthe middle school gym from 6:30 to 7:30PM. Please come and join us for an evening of fun, learning and delicious food from around the world! It is always an exciting night for our students and guests. Be sure to participate in the students "quizzes" and do your best to get the question right, before you sample their, hopefully delicious foods.

Thank you, and hope to see all of you there!


In December, students wrote argumentative essays on an issue of their choice. Some popular topics were whether or not students should have recess, the use of social media and the positive and negative aspects of dress codes. Currently, the class is reading the historical fiction novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. The “Weird Watsons” live in Flint, Michigan during the civil rights movement but travel down to Birmingham, Alabama, in order to teach their “official juvenile delinquent” various important life lessons. The story hilariously, yet poignantly, highlights the difficulties of a black family traveling to the South during a time when segregation was prevalent. Students will learn that during the Watson’s time in Birmingham, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed- a true and devastating event that occurred in 1963. As we read, students will continue to learn about the basic rights everyone deserves. Concurrently, students are independently reading a second historical fiction novel that takes place during the same time period in history. Be sure to ask your children questions about their books as well as about the extension activities posted on Google Classroom.


In geography, we have been studying Sub-Saharan Africa. Students have been looking at the importance of preserving African wildlife and why it is so difficult and important to do so. They have also been reading about and labeling maps of the various physical features of the continent as well as its vast natural resources. In conjunction with this, they have been working on their Geography Fair projects and using their work-days to prepare for the next assignment. The fair is the evening of March 5th at 6:30 in the middle school gym. Please join us to learn about the amazing countries around the world and sample some of the interesting cuisine along the way.
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Students have concluded a very large unit on ratios that covered ratio language, unit rate, unit pricing, graphing constant rate, as well as real-world percent problems. This unit also involved comparing the Metric and Customary measurement systems. The timing works well as the students begin to research their country for the Geography Fair and realize that their country is using the Metric System.


Students concluded Matter unit topics in early December after completing a variety of hands-on application activities. Post-test assessments followed the NGSS guidelines and students have been doing great with these strategies. After winter break, we looked at some introductory topics for our Weather unit and had a guest from channel three news, Scot Haney, speak with our sixth graders.



We are wrapping up our exploration of various literary terms through short stories this week. Next week we will launch our Non-Fiction Book Clubs with the mentor text Chew on This by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson. The book clubs will choose between eight other non-fiction titles including I Am Malala, Courage Has No Color, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, Coco Chanel, Danger on the Mountain, It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime, and Rising Above: Inspiring Women in Sports. We will use our new found knowledge from this unit as a launching pad into our Argumentative Writing Unit next month.


The students have begun their study of percent. The students will express relationships as percent change, determine percent increases (tax, gratuity, mark-up),and percent decreases (discount). The students will calculate multi-step percent (20% of 50%) and work with simple interest.


Science is completing the Life Science Unit with lessons on how living and nonliving things affect one another. Earth Science is our next unit, where we will investigate the essential questions, “How are the distributions of natural resources the result of geological processes?” and “How does human activity impact Earth’s systems?” Students continue their monthly Cold Spring Creek surveys, while Project Oceanology participants will host Capital Prep students and conduct a bald eagle survey on the CT River.

Social Studies

We began 2020 learning about Eastern Europe, specifically Russia and the Eurasian Republics. Together, we explored the climate, geography, and resources associated with this region of the world and how they impact each other as well as people living there. Students then used Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity as well as UCONN Professor Ronald Mallet’s theory of the speed of light to travel back in time to Ancient Russia. After learning about several important historical people who influenced and helped settle Russia, students invited Slavs, Vikings, Mongols, Ivan I, Ivan II, Ivan III, Ivan IV, Catherine the Great, and others to spend time with them. The friendly letters they created included historical facts about the person they invited as well as where they would want to take them and why. Most recently, we have been studying how the Soviet Union was formed and Karl Marx’s theory of communism. Students are currently engaged in a Soviet Union Snapchat project where they need to answer the essential question, “Why has communism failed to produce a utopian society?” We will end our unit by looking at the reasons why the Soviet Union fell and then briefly examine what life is like in 21st century Russia.


Social Studies

Eighth grade social studies students have been learning about America's involvement in the Great War, beginning with the expansion of the United States to other areas of the world. To demonstrate their knowledge of this expansion, the students created "one-pagers" which display many main ideas and details of this time in history. When Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was upon us, the students listened to the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech and created blackout poetry to illustrate their understanding of the main messages delivered by this important leader of the Civil Rights Movement. The original text is covered by relevant illustrations, and the words which remain create the poem. These hang in our hallway in honor of Black History Month.

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Eighth grade students recently completed their study of transformations on the coordinate plane. Pre-Algebra students are currently modeling expressions and equations with algebra tiles in preparation for learning how to solve equations with variables on both sides. Algebra students are developing an understanding of linear relationships, rates of change and slope as they begin their study of linear equations.


Eighth grade ELA students recently finished reading their dystopian book club novels. Students are now drafting their own dystopian or futuristic narratives. Next we will be diving into the world of nonfiction, reading excerpts from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Students are encouraged to read their independent books nightly. Ask your 8th grader about what they’re currently reading. Some great strategies for busy teens to squeeze in more reading include-- trading in electronics and screens for books an hour before bed to promote a more restful sleep and listening to audiobooks during car and bus rides. Did you know students can listen to audiobooks for free with a library card by downloading the Libby app to their phone, iPod, or IPad? If you are searching for more ways to encourage your teen to read, email Mrs. Fredrickson for more ideas.


Wow! We are having a lot of fun learning about heredity and genetics in 8th grade science! From eye color to hair color, and Narwhal the puppy to cloning pets, this unit has led to great discussions and inquiry into how our DNA really works. We will continue to study the structures involved in genetics, but also spend a lot of time discussing and debating current research in genetically modified foods, gene editing babies and a number of genetic disorders that some of us may be familiar with in our own families. Don’t be alarmed if your children start asking if you have a crooked thumb, dimples, or attached ears...they are just observing some family traits!

We also continue with our current events on Fridays and continue to focus on reading scientific articles and research and gather important evidence to share with our peers. The bonus is giving the students more confidence in their presentation skills as well!


Library News with Mrs. Goad

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Family Consumer Science with Mr. Becker

I am so excited to begin the second semester at Westbrook Middle School. It is wonderful to meet three new classes of great kids and explore learning together.

We have lots of exciting project-based learning to look forward to:

Our sixth graders will begin the semester by studying families and will design a family crest.

Our seventh graders will begin the semester by studying consumerism and will work on designing advertisements.

Our eighth graders will begin the semester by studying budgeting and will be working to design a room using a budget.

Most of all, I look forward to getting to know these awesome young people over the next few months.

All good things,

Erik Becker

Health & Physical Education with Mr. Gombos

In adapted PE, we are continuing to work on individual needs and basketball. This includes full-court games with a modified hoop.

In 5th grade PE, we will continue to embrace the winter with our floor hockey unit. here students are put into a variety of teams and work cooperatively to share positions and responsibilities in the game.

In 8th grade PE, we will be working on fitness testing and team building for the first week. You can see the test score standards here:

In 7th grade and 6th grade health, we are setting expectations and norms for the class and developing a Full value Contract.

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A special congrats to Brady Pill who won our 8th-grade free-throw ELKS shooting contest. He then went on to represent Westbrook at the district level which he won as well.


5th grade has finished their clay slab bowls. Students glazed their pieces with matte as well as crystal glazes. All clay pieces came out wonderful. Students then began their Romero Britto inspired pictures. This artist is best known for his fusion of Pop Art, Cubism and Graffiti.

6th grade finished their cartoon strips, a difficult but fun project. Students are now working on building and drawing their own still life’s with materials found around the art room.

7th grade finished their birch tree paintings. This project helped them learn how to paint realistic trees as well as how to properly depict light. Students then began drawing their renderings of Disney/Pixar characters. This assignment is always a favorite!

8th grade finished their aboriginal dot paintings on black matte board. These works represent the inspiring story of the native people of Australia. Students learned how Australia’s history mirrors America’s in many way. We hope you enjoy them.

Music Corner

From the Band Desk

The Second semester has just begun and so has our music theory unit in band. After wrapping up two excellent winter concerts, band students are entering the writing phase of their journey toward increased music literacy. Students in grades 5 through 8 are learning to write and apply musical notes, symbols and terminology. They are gaining skill and knowledge rapidly and will soon be composing and arranging their own music! Below is an example of how students are demonstrating writing accidentals using different notes of various durations in different clefs (that takes a LOT of knowledge). They’re doing great!

Congratulations to the following students for being accepted into the Southern Region Music Festival as members of the World Drumming Ensemble:

Joseph L

Aiden O

Eli S

These three students will be rehearsing with 22 other shoreline students for a concert on Saturday, March 7. This year's World Drumming Ensemble will focus on the traditional and indigenous music of Puerto Rico called "Bomba." Students will use hand/stick drumming, singing, and movement/dance skills as part of their work in this ensemble. Congratulations to Joe, Aiden, and Eli!

From the Chorus Room

In the new year we are really concentrating on getting back to basics. We have been reviewing elements of good singing posture, following a conductor, and spending time with solfege and Curwen hand signs, and how they can help us in music literacy.

Our repertoire this half of the year is drawn from folk music from around the world, featuring music from Ireland, United Kingdom, Brazil, and South America. In addition, students have been working to choose music to supplement this repertoire with popular music and music from movies.

S.T. E.A.M. - Science,Technology, Engineering, Art, Math with Mr. Abbott

Eighth Grade-

Students are learning about engineering principles as they relate to bridge building. Students learn the types, materials, engineering designs and progression of bridge building in America. Then they explore the longest suspension bridge in the world. Then they build balsa wood bridges.

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Seventh Grade- Students are learning about engineering principles as they relate to towers and skyscrapers. Students learn the types, materials, engineering designs and progression of skyscrapers in America. They build and test balsa wood towers, then they explore the tallest buildings in the world.

Sixth Grade-

Students are analyzing, weighing and comparing the density of a Co2 Balsa blank and an identically sized piece of douglas fir. They will then design and fabricate a Co2 dragster car that is light and aerodynamic.

Fifth Grade - Students have completed an on-line safety test. They are now making lab safety posters so they are familiar with all aspects of a safe, fun, efficient wood shop. Then they will build their first wood project.

All students complete this test. It covers General Woodwork Safety such as: Personal Protective Equipment,Safety Signage, Behavior and Machine Guards.

Computer Science

Computer Science has switched over to our new classes for semester 2. Students have been getting started by doing some team building including yoga, sharing our favorites (movie, book, class, etc), and designing and drawing an emoji to represent themselves.
5th graders will be learning about the 4 functions of a computer while 6th graders build their first websites using html and css. 6th graders will be introduced to the basics of Javascript and will create animations and basic games. 8th graders will be working on design and data. Keep an eye on the Student of the Month page on the school website to see the 8th graders’ amazing designs.

Foreign Language

Spanish - Señora Cassidy

5th Grade

Semester 2 students are getting to know each other in Spanish through basic conversation interactions that are useful in everyday life.

6th Grade

Students have been working hard on activities to describe people and use new grammar. They have incorporated readings, videos, and skits in the classroom.

7th Grade

Students are incorporating all of the Family Unit vocabulary and grammar to create their very own Family Trees. They can recycle old grammar rules and apply them to new authentic situations.

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Spanish - Señora Ferro

Grade 6

Students are learning how to describe nouns using descriptive adjectives. They love to describe their favorite characters, too. Students will be starting a project in which they need to choose different people, places things and describe them using Google Slides. They will also be creating comic strips using storyboard and then creating skits using their all-time favorite, Flipgrid.
Grade 8

Students are learning the preterite tense of ~AR verbs. They are beginning to be able to switch back and forth between the present tense and past tense. They will begin a project to demonstrate their skills using the past tense and then create a skit in Flipgrid. Later on, in the quarter, students will start a unit on technology and related vocabulary. They will then continue with the preterite tense of ~ER/~IR verbs.

French - Monsieur Beauchamp

Grade 5: Students will learn numbers 0-50, colors, the alphabet and conversational vocabulary as well as be exposed to aspects of French culture. This will lead to a skit project where students will be able to put into practice what they have learned in class.

Grade 6: Students will continue with the verb AVOIR and learn helpful expressions used with this verb. At the end of this unit, students will create an eBook where AVOIR and AVOIR expressions will take the center stage. Onward, they will also learn body parts in French.

Grade 7: Students have learned and will continue to learn the vocabulary, the conversational idioms and be exposed to the cultural backdrop around the French Café. This accumulated knowlege will result in students actively participating in the French Café where they will order in the language and consume French food and drinks.

Grade 8: Students have recently begun the leisure time and sports unit where they will learn to plan activities, extend invitations, accept/turn down invitations and the weather and seasons. Near the end of the unit, students will synthesize their knowledge in the form of a mind map project.


The Drama Club

The Drama Club is working hard to bring you an amazing production next month. Kids are learning their songs, building their characters and having fun while they do it. We recently received our first prop for Princess Whatsername - a handmade quilt. We’ll be looking for parent volunteers to help with set building and costumes next month. If you would like to help, please email
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Girls Basketball

The Westbrook Girls Middle School Basketball season is in full swing lead by coach Doug Werth in his second year with the nights. With the team playing seven games on the young season we are lead by team leaders Kayla Prisley, Leticia Pires, Simone Morris, Giovanna Silva, and Olivia Palumbo. In addition, the squad has returning player Lily Creeron and welcomes newcomers Natalie Palumbo, Adrianna Spash, Madeleine Valiante, Sydney Young, Eimy Novillo, and Gracie Magnani-Bailow.

During our games, we have been praised by the other team's coaches and referees on how hard we play throughout the entire game. The team is asked regularly - what we did well today and what we need to work on. Our goal is to improve with every practice and every game. In addition, each member of the team is striving for excellent academic achievement in the classroom. Please come out and support us on the court.

Boys Basketball

After a slow start due to a few snow days, the Westbrook Middle School Boys Basketball led by head coach Angelo Saba and assistant coach Joe Campbell has settled into their season. This year's team consists of eighteen boys - led by eighth graders, Tyler Casula, Matthew Downie, Trevor Jones, Elliot Koplas, Christopher Lohutko, Cooper Medeiros, Derick Novillo, Douglas Perrone-Gray, David Rowe, Carlos Solis, and Arsalan Zaheer, and they are supported by seventh and sixth graders, Charles Anderson, Tanyon Champagne, Mason Millburne, Brady Pill, Eli Susi, Michael Susi, and Kyle Leandri.

The team has gained valuable experience in learning the varying principles of man-to-man defense and man motion offense. In addition, the boys have learned how to break a full-court press while communicating when calling out screens. Thus far, a few highlights on the season include, the team favorite play, "one" being perfectly ran in the away game at Nathan Hale Ray and "the wheel" play running to near perfection during the away game at Old Saybrook.

The team motto, 18=1 has motivated the boys to perform to the best of their ability throughout the entirety of the season. Moving forward, the team will focus on improving their boxing-out skills when rebounding and their off-ball motion sets. There are high hopes for this dynamic team to reach success throughout the rest of the season and in the future. Please come out and support us on the court!


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