WMS Family Smore

March 19, 2023

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Dear WMS Families,

Students and teachers are busy at WMS this week beginning to prepare for our spring Student-Led Caregiver Conferences. Here's our WMS March Conferences Links 2023, where you can sign up for a time. See our Caregiver Conferences section below for more information.

Congratulations to our musicians who performed in Band-a-rama this past week (See below). Shout out to Mr. Thew our Band director and Mr. Saunders the district's Fine, Applied, and Performing Arts Coordinator for a great show!

Here are some dates to be aware of this week:

  • March 19: Spring begins!

  • March 23: Early Release Day, 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch (Day D1, will see every class for a shortened period of time) - Student-led Caregiver Conferences (Virtual 1:00-3:00pm, In-Person 5:00-7:00pm)

  • March 24: WMS after-school social (3:30-5:30pm)
  • March 24: construction on the WMS garden-level is expected to start

Respectfully yours,

Ms. Jennifer Chen Fein, Principal

Ms. Susan Carle, Assistant Principal (Clusters 1, 3, 5)

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

News at WMS

New News from WMS Teachers!

Click on the links 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 s'mores will be updated monthly in the WMS Family Smore.

Cluster 1

Cluster 2

Cluster 3

Cluster 4

Cluster 5

Cluster 6

The Specialists



LB Math


Wilson Reading

School Nurse

WMS Afternoon Social - March 24

The Leadership Club is hosting an afternoon of board games and crafts on Friday March 24, 2023 from 3:00pm-5:00pm. No food will be served with respect to our students observing Ramadan. During the event, students are expected to dress and behave in a manner consistent with school procedures.

Tickets are $5 and will be sold before school at the main entrance Tuesday-Thursday from 7:45am-8:15am. Permission slips are required at arrival of the event, and will be given to students on Monday.

Please direct any questions to our Leadership Team facilitators Aine and Courtney at aine.dirrane@watertown.k12.ma.us and courtney.braese@watertown.k12.ma.us

Sign up for Student-led Caregiver Conferences: March 23, March 28

Attention all student caretakers! Our Student-led Caregiver Conferences are coming up with both virtual and in-person opportunities to meet with your child's teacher(s).

Thursday, March 23

1:00-3:00pm (virtual)

5:00-7:00pm (in-person)

Tuesday, March 28

1:00-3:00pm (in-person)

6:00-8:00pm (virtual)

We kindly request you to use this WMS March Conferences Links 2023 to sign up for a time slot that is convenient (as possible). There will be interpretation in a variety of languages available.

Please note that these conferences are student-led, which means your child will be communicating their work and progress during the meeting. This is a great chance to meet your child's teacher, learn about your child's progress in school, and see how you can work together to help your child achieve their goals.

This time around, we will also have counselors, specialist teachers, and other support staff available in the WMS Library during our in-person conference times. Caregivers are encouraged to stop by the library to ask any questions of the educators there, to receive help navigating PowerSchool, or for any other questions you may have.

Please reach out directly to your child's teachers with any specific questions about scheduling a conference.

Coffee with the Principal - Equitable Grading edition notes

It was great to spend time with some caregivers in person this week at our first Coffee with the Principal this year. For those who missed it, here is a summary of our conversation about the equitable grading shifts we are thinking about at WMS and what it means for you and your child.

  • As our teachers shift towards more equitable grading practices, it is important that rigorous instruction and learning continues to happen. Though the WMS staff is starting by examining our grading practices, this is leading us to shift our teaching and planning practices as well. Some of these shifts can be seen this year, other shifts will take a few years for us to do well.
  • Practice for student learners, sometimes in the form of homework, is an important part of learning! Even if some teachers are not giving a grade for homework completion, it is important to put in the practice time before a final assessment in a class, which is graded.
  • "Habits of Mind", "soft skills", or "social pragmatics" are important, and teachers are shifting towards giving feedback to students and caregivers through comments rather than through the letter grade, as the letter grade (A-F) is intended to communicate the student's mastery of a subject area rather than the behaviors that the student demonstrates in class.
  • If we make a shift in our grading, it will happen over the next few years. We currently grade students in an A-F system, and we will continue that next year. With elementary schools in WPS using a standards-based grading system, and the high school using an A-F system, it will be important for WMS to be a bridge between those two systems, perhaps in a hybrid grading model. This is NOT a decision that has been made yet, but one we are exploring.
  • While the high school is likely not shifting from the A-F system, they are exploring how to grade more equitably within that system. Our 8th and 9th grade teachers have already begun meeting to plan for a smooth transition for our 8th graders in just a few short months!
  • It is important for us as a school to become more consistent in our messaging and practices across clusters. This is why we will take a few years to dig deeper in the the standards at every grade level and subject area. If we moved towards a hybrid grading system (standards-based grading and an A-F letter grade translation), the purpose would be to make it easier for students, families, and teachers to understand what standards students are making appropriate progress in, and what needs more work. At the end of the day, we want our grades to be accurate, bias-free, and motivational.
  • Whether we move towards a hybrid model, or stay in the A-F grading model, as we come to consensus as a school staff, we will use events like Back to School Night to inform caregivers of what they can expect to see on a report card, and how they can use it to help their child celebrate their growth and make a plan for continuous improvement. Clear communication is important!

If you missed this first coffee hour, don't worry because we will have a few more opportunities this year. We will highlight topics like school safety and next year's schedule changes with WHS becoming our neighbor.

Supporting Students During Ramadan March 22-April 21

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide, during which they refrain from food and drink from dawn to dusk. It is a time for spiritual reflection, devotion, and self-discipline, as well as a time for community gatherings and charitable deeds. For students who observe Ramadan, they may choose to pray and/or spend time during their lunches in the auditorium, which provides a quiet environment. If the auditorium is being used, they can also go to the library as an alternative space for quiet reflection. Ramadan is March 22 - April 21 this year.

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Cradles to Crayons Children’s Clothing Drive

WMS 8th grade student, Maddox Caron is working with Cradles to Crayons and Project351 to run a 0-12 clothing drive between March 20th and March 31st. Join in!

New or lightly used clothing can be dropped off in the box at the main lobby.

  • Ages 0-12, but any size is accepted

  • New or lightly used

  • Undergarments & socks must be new

1 in 3 children in Massachusetts is at risk of experiencing clothing insecurity. Together we can make a difference!

WMS Spring Clubs!

WMS Clubs will run from March 3-May 26.

Here is the flyer with all of the information: WMS Spring Clubs! Students also received this flyer in advisory this past week.

Please direct any questions to Laurie Brackett at laurie.brackett@watertown.k12.ma.us

WMS is Hiring

We are hiring for a few positions:

Please share with your networks.

Opportunities for Parents/Caregivers To Get Involved

School Site Council (SSC) - April 4

The WMS SSC meets once a month on the first Tuesdays at 7:00pm, virtually. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 4th, 2023, with our K-7 and 8-12 Science Coordinators coming as special guests.

Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) - April 12

The PTO meets virtually on the second Wednesday of each month, and the next meeting is on Wednesday April 12 at 7pm. Reach out to the PTO President Erin Macomber at erin_macomber@neds.org with any questions or to express interest.

WMS PTO fun-raiser - Get Fit, Get Form, Get Lively

Hi parents & caregivers,

Our next "fun-raiser" for 8th grade end-of-year events is coming up on Tuesday, March 28th. It's an early release day so we thought that a fun way to raise money for the class events would be to do a workout boot camp with Jan Taylor from Get Lively Fitness Studio!!

The cost is $25 and the whole amount is going to the kids (since Jan is donating her time and studio which is amazing!!) So the more kids that sign up, the more funds we raise for the class!

You can also use this link: www.getlivelynow.com/wms to go straight to the eventbrite page!

So sign your kid up and have them bring friends!! Families with students in grades 6, 7, and 8 are welcome to attend!


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Diversity Council - April 20

The WMS Diversity Council meets once a month. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, April 20 virtually, at 7pm. We will be focusing on planning and hosting an in-person event that celebrates the diversity of our school, as well as actionable steps outlined in the district equity audit taken last school year. Any and all are welcome to join. Reach out to Sarah Seldomridge at sarah.seldomridge@watertown.k12.ma.us with any questions or to express interest.

Information from our WMS Community

Spring family offerings from the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture

Science Spotlights

In-Person Event | Saturdays, March 11, April 8, May 13, 2:00–3:30 pm

Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Meet up-and-coming scientists and learn about questions at the forefront of research today in this series of monthly short talks. Perhaps you’ll discuss how studying dog reactions help us learn about the evolution of social behavior, or maybe you’ll consider the regrowth of a microscopic worm after injury. Recommended for ages 10–Adults.

Let’s Draw: HMSC Sketching Weekend

In-Person Event | Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19, 1:00–­4:00 pm

The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture provide inspiration for all levels of artists and curious visitors. Elevate your own creative process by trying your hand at sketching this weekend. Meet HMSC Volunteer Sketching Facilitators in the galleries and learn what motivates them to draw in the museums. Then try sketching a museum object yourself.

Amazing Archaeology Fair at Harvard

In-Person Event | Sunday, March 26, 1:00–4:00 pm

Explore North American, South American, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian archaeology across the exhibit halls of two museums. Activities include ancient DNA analysis, animal mummies, King Tut’s throne, spear throwing, flintknapping, and other surprises during this popular annual event.

Summer Science Weeks

In-Person Summer Programs | Mondays–Fridays, 9:30 am–12:00 pm

Registration is open! Select from a wide array of Summer Science Week programs for children entering grades 1–8. Favorites include Amazing Animals, Super Scientists, and The Ins and Outs of Skeletons

Third Annual YardArt Watertown Returns for the Entire Month of April Saturday, April 1 – Sunday, April 30, 2023

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Regular WMS Reminders

The WMS Learning Lab - extra help available at school

Is your child looking for ways to get extra help with school? The Learning Lab is available in the WMS library M-F from 7:45-8:15am and M-Th from 3:00-4:15pm. Late buses run M-Th.

Attendance Reminders - call the main office before 8:30AM to report a student's absence

In the event that a student is absent, a parent or caregiver must call the absence hotline at 617-926-7783 before 8:30 a.m. 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.

Check out page 26 of the WMS Family Handbook to see all of our attendance procedures in more detail.

Upcoming Dates

  • March 19: Spring begins!

  • March 23: Early Release Day, 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch (Day D1, will see every class for a shortened period of time) - Student-led Caregiver Conferences (Virtual 1:00-3:00pm, In-Person 5:00-7:00pm)

  • March 24: WMS after-school social (3:30-5:30pm)
  • March 28: Early Release Day, 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch (Day A2, will see every class for a shortened period of time) - Student-led Caregiver Conferences (In Person 1:00-3:00pm, Virtual 6:00-8:00pm)
  • March 28: Get Fit, Get Form, Get Lively WMS PTO fundraiser (1:00-2:00pm)
  • March 30: Grade 6 and 7 Parent Math Night (7:00pm, virtually)
  • March 31-April 1: WMS Musical - Bye Bye Birdie (7-8:30pm; 2-3:30pm on Sunday)

  • April 4: School Site Council Meeting

  • April 6: Last day of Third Quarter

  • April 7: Early release/First day of Fourth Quarter

  • April 10: Art Show with Jazz Band Performance

  • April 12-13: ELA MCAS, special schedule

  • April 12: PTO Meeting

  • April 17-21: April Recess- No School

  • April 28: Music Fest (5:30-9:00 PM, WMS)
  • May 2: School Site Council Meeting
  • May 15-16: Math MCAS, special schedule
  • May 23-24: STE MCAS (8th grade only), special schedule

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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.

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