Principal's Newsletter

March 2017 / Winthrop Middle School

Important Dates

MCAS Dates

April 27-28 = Grade 8 ELA (computer based testing)

May 1-2 = Grade 6 & 7 ELA

May 16-17 = Grade 8 Math (computer based testing)

May 18-19 = Grade 6 & 7 Math

May 22-23 = Grade 8 Science


  • March 24th = St. Patrick's Day Party (8th Grade only) @ Pleasant Park Yacht Club
  • March 28th = Site Council Meeting
  • April 1st = MICCA (Band) Competition
  • April 4th = Term 3 Ends
  • April 7th & 8th = Spring Showcase (Drama)
  • April 12th = WMS Talent Show
  • April 14th = Parent Teacher Conferences (online format to sign up)
  • April 17-April 21 = April Vacation

Full Court Frenzy returns to Winthrop Middle School

On Thursday, March 16th students and staff participated in the Full Court Frenzy. The event is a longtime Middle School tradition in which students compete against the teachers in a series of friendly (sometimes competitive) basketball games. The evening was a huge success as the gym was packed with students, staff, and families who came out to support our school...Thank you again to the PTO for all their hard work!!!

Julia Dickinson represents WMS at North Eastern Junior District Band

Julia auditioned for the North Eastern Junior District Band on January 28th in Methuen with students in 7th-9th grade from 70 nearby schools! The top performing students were invited to perform in the district band. Julia attended Junior District band rehearsals from 15th through March 18th. The weekend concluded with a phenomenal performance in the Galvin Middle School Auditorium on Saturday afternoon. Congratulations to Julia on her tremendous accomplishment and all of her hard work!

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WMS Band continues to impress!

The WMS instrumental program recently held a solo ensemble at Winthrop Middle/High School. Students played beautifully and they continue to improve as they get ready for competition. Please check out the great things coming up for our band students.

Monday, March 20th 3-5 PM Select Band MICCA Clinic: Students will have the opportunity to work with Mr. Stephen Correia on their MICCA Repertoire. You are welcome to come and watch! A music educator and administrator for nearly forty years, Mr. Correia recently retired as coordinator of fine arts for the Billerica Public Schools. He has taught instrumental and classroom music at the elementary, middle and high school levels in the Revere, Dedham and Burlington School Systems. He has served on the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Northeastern District Board as district chair, senior festival orchestra manager, and senior festival coordinator. He serves on the MMEA board as a past district chairperson, is on the exhibit committee for the MMEA All State Conference and served on the MMEA executive director search committee. He is a Lowell Mason Award recipient.

Friday, March 24th 2-4 PM Advanced Band MICCA Clinic: Students will have the opportunity to work with Dr. David Rox on their MICCA Repertoire. You are welcome to come and watch! He has taught classes in the area of lower brass and instrumental music education at Gordon College since 1981. He has also conducted many instrumental ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, Brass Quintet, Brass Choir, Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble. Dr. Rox has conducted ensembles throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, including important venues in London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Monaco, Genoa, Quebec, and at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade in Boston. He has served as a public and private school music consultant, festival conductor, adjudicator and clinician for concert bands, jazz bands and brass ensembles throughout New England. He has been a guest conductor for the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, Massachusetts Music Educators Association District Festivals, and for similar district honors bands throughout the region.

Saturday, April 1st 6am MICCA: Please join us at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, MA!! Advanced Band is competing at 8 AM and Select Band is competing at 10:30 AM. You are welcome to attend both the performance and the clinic. Our students have worked extremely hard for this competition, let's show them our support! They would love to see you there!

Elk Students of the Month - February

Congratulations to these students who work so hard and serve as role models in our school. Each winner is presented with a certificate, bumper sticker, and a gift card to the Book Depot!

Grade 6

Ana Baurle

Colin Banfield

Grade 7

Ivanava Crespo

Declan Donovan

Grade 8

Mariame Barrywright

John Langone
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Curriculum & Program Updates


Grade 6 ELA continues to work in an interdisciplinary way with the Social Studies classes, reading The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder to coincide with the study of Ancient Egypt. In addition, we are continuing our in depth study of figurative language and elements of literature.

In Mrs. Simpson’s grade 7 classes, students are continuing with book clubs. This week we started stations. It went really well and was a fun way to get all of the assignments done while also having the opportunity to move about the room and switch focus frequently. On Fridays, we are doing Poetry Workshop and we have been enjoying that so far as well. Keep your eye out for some poems coming home! Finally, in the March 9th Transcript, the writing of 4 Falcons students was published as part of our Power of Words Non-Fiction Unit. Check them out!

In Mrs. Dunn’s grade 7 classes, students have been working on Theme Analysis but are about to begin a narrative writing unit. Students will be writing what could potentially happen next in our class book. It’s a great creative exercise and also mirrors what will be required on the MCAS this year. Students will be learning the elements of a good narrative beginning with how to map the plot and write dialogue.

Grade 8 ELA classes are currently completing a literary analysis on Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. During the second week of March, we will begin a brief poetry unit where students will learn about poetic devices, methods of analyzing poetry (TP-CASTT), different types of poetry, and then students will write their own poems. After the poetry unit, we will begin our Holocaust unit which will revolve around Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. During the Holocaust unit we will also be preparing for the ELA MCAS which is scheduled for April 27 and 28.


Our Grade 6 students continue to work hard and make solid progress in math! The students are exploring expressions, equations and inequalities. The are learning the meaning of variables, constants and exponents. They are writing expressions and equations about real world situations including geometric figures. They are learning to solve equations by using substitution and balancing equations.

Over the next few weeks, the students will begin their study of geometry including area of polygons, and surface area and volume of three dimension figures.

The seventh grade math classes have just completed their unit on statistics. We are now beginning our probability unit. Students will learn the difference between theoretical and experimental probabilities. This is sure to be a fun unit! The accelerated seventh grade math class completed the seventh grade curriculum and is now starting to move into pre-algebra. Students will begin with the different sets of real numbers, irrational and rational. We will continue to incorporate seventh grade concepts throughout these units.

In 8th grade, students have spent the month exploring transformative geometry through translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations. Students then used their prior understanding for equations and expressions and applied that knowledge to the properties of parallel lines with a transversal and the properties of the angles and sides of similar and congruent triangles. Moving into April we will continue this exploration of geometry while learning about the Pythagorean Theorem and calculating surface and volume for three dimensional shapes.


The sixth grade science students are starting a new unit of physical science that is focused on Force and Motion. They will be focusing on the issue of automobile safety as they explore the topics of force, friction, inertia and Newton’s Laws.

The seventh grade students have continued their study of Ecology. They researched and created posters that highlight various biomes found around the world and they found evidence that a disruption in an ecosystem can cause shifts in all populations in the movie Happy Feet. As we conclude this unit, students will be designing their own experiments using computer models that show the effects of scarce and abundant resources on populations within an ecosystem.

The eighth grade students have been studying the nature of energy and different energy types. We have moved on from differentiating the types of energies and have move on to some of the more practical uses of energy. Recent activities have allowed use to explore how thermal energy is transferred from a warmer substance to a cooler one, how electricity is generated, how we can calculate the amount of stored chemical energy in food by burning it, as well experiments giving insight as to how chemical batteries operate and the way magnetic fields are created.

The Girls Who Code club is off to a great start! We are still accepting new members, so if you were not able to make it to the first meeting, please join us in Room 246. We will be brainstorming ideas for our CS Impact Project so we can make a difference in our community using computer science. We hope to see you there!

Social Studies

Sixth grade students are continuing their study of Ancient Egypt. They have been introduced to Egyptian mythology, customs and religion. Students are preparing for Egypt Day, which will be held on Friday, March 31st. Students will be creating an Egyptian Museum with the artifacts they make.

Seventh grade students completed their unit of study on the geography of Africa. They are now learning about the political, physical, and human geography of the Middle East and South Asia.

Eighth grade students are being exposed to the various philosophies of early East Asia and analyzing the development of Hinduism and Buddhism in India.


Grade 6 music students continue to improve their recorder playing, and just finished writing original St. Patrick's Day songs that they are able to play themselves. We are getting ready for the final unit of the quarter, which features the life and music of the great Johann Sebastian Bach.

Grade 7 music students are currently immersed in the Blues, and have been enjoying performances from blues legends such as B.B. King, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Eric Clapton, as well as local teen blues prodigy Quinn Sullivan. Students have been writing and performing original blues lyrics in AAB form. We are currently planning a May field trip to the House of Blues. Our next unit is a study in folk music, and the students will be playing and creating jug band instruments in ensembles.

Grade 8 music students have been working on their tributes to the legendary inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as focusing on the different genres of music that they represent. We take the occasional "road trip" to different cities that are significant (Memphis, Nashville, Cleveland, Detroit) to find out how American popular music has evolved over the years. The project will culminate with a tribute showcase, where the students get to share their creative work with each other.

Auditions for the 2017 talent show will be held on 3/20 and 3/21, and the show is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12th. Hope to see you there!


Students are learning about the color wheel and color concepts. Grade 6 is mixing their own color swatch tints using primary colors and white. The students had fun naming their color creations. We examined Vincent Van Gogh's artwork in grade 7 classes. Students are using his techniques of adding bold colors and painting dramatic brushstrokes in their landscape paintings. Grade 8 classes are working with the grayscale. They created value scale grids using pencil to show a gradual change in color from light to dark. Students are using these values to create a pencil drawing of The Mona Lisa.


6th graders are stepping in the role of playwrights and creating their own characters. Students were provided with photos of random human beings and given a character biography to fill out for their character (ie: name, age, occupation, family etc.). The next step in the process will be to create small scenes and dialogue for their characters to say.

7th graders are exploring how to use their bodies as a storytelling tool. Students will explore expression through movement rather then spoken word. The focus of the unit will be on Mime and creating a mimed performance.

8th graders will be combining STEM techniques with Drama, students were tasked with designing and building a "Toy," using recyclable materials. Students had to imagine they were a research and development team for Toys R' Us, and create a toy prototype. Next, students will be using their prototypes to create "commercials," to try and sell their toys.

Drama Club

The Drama Club's annual "Spring Showcase," is fast approaching. The club will present student work along with their drama festival piece. Student work includes "Signs of High School Stupidity" written and directed by Will Gillis (7th grade), "It Gets Better" written and Directed by Miya Grein (7th grade), "11:11" written and directed by Carly Zichella (8th Grade) and "Chubby Bunny," directed by Maddie Tolliver (7th Grade). The drama fest play is entitled "Dear Me..." and is written by the cast and crew of the drama club and directed by Miss Daley.

Dates: Friday April 7th & Sat April 8th @ 7pm, Sunday April 9th @ 2pm

Tix: $5 for Students/Seniors & $8 for adults on sale at

Student Council

STUCO has been very busy. We have recently collected a great amount of socks, hats, and gloves that were donated to the Pine Street Inn. We are currently planning a bake sale on Saturday April 8th. In addition, we are planning a spring campaign to promote kindness and school pride called "nice matters". This will tie in nicely as we create our new core values at WMS.