WMS Community Bulletin 10-10-21


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إذا كنت تستخدم جهاز كمبيوتر ، فافتح هذا في صفحة جديدة. بعد ذلك ، لترجمة هذه النشرة الإخبارية ، انقر فوق الارتباط الموجود على اليمين.

إذا كنت تستخدم الهاتف ، فالمس الشخص الموجود في الدائرة السوداء للحصول على زر الترجمة. (Arabic)


Եթե համակարգիչ եք, բացեք սա նոր էջում: Ապա, այս տեղեկագիրը թարգմանելու համար կտտացրեք աջ հղմանը: Եթե հեռախոսով եք, դիպչեք սև շրջանի անձին ՝ թարգմանության կոճակը ստանալու համար: (Armenian)


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Bilgisayar kullanıyorsanız, bunu yeni bir sayfada açın. Ardından, bu bülteni çevirmek için sağdaki bağlantıya tıklayın. Telefonda iseniz, çevir düğmesini almak için siyah daire içindeki kişiye dokunun. (Turkish)

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Watertown Middle School 2021-2022

Dear Watertown Middle School Community,

Happy Sunday! I hope you are all having a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend.

Progress Reports - were available on Thursday, October 7th. They are accessible through the students' username/password on the PowerSchool portal, and I sent out an email with that information on Thursday. Please let me know if you did not receive that information. I have heard that the username/password does not always work as well on a phone as on a computer, but please let us know if you cannot access the information.

***Lunch Aide Positions Available!*** - WMS still has three lunch aide positions available - please spread the word! The hours are from 10:00 am - 1:30 pm daily. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Crossing Guard Update: I was recently notified that as a result of several vacant crossing guard posts currently available and the lack of responses to fill the vacancies, until further notice the crossing guard post at Orchard Street at Waverley Avenue be eliminated effective Tuesday morning October 12, 2021. Please let your children know and remind them to be extra careful crossing all streets at the crosswalks.

We will be continuing our Covid Pool Testing this week. We are happy to have all negative pools for our first four weeks! Let's keep up the good work! The "Test and Stay" protocol starts this week and more details are below. Please reinforce with your children that they need to be wearing their masks over their mouth and nose at all times while in the classrooms and hallways. We want everyone to stay safe so we can all stay in school!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Please be well and take good care of one another.

Respectfully yours,

Donna Martin


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Here are some important upcoming dates:

Monday, October 11 - NO SCHOOL - Indigenous People's Day

Wednesday, October 13 - 7:00 pm - PTO Meeting Zoom Link

Wednesday, October 20 - Watertown Race Reels Film Series at the Watertown Public Library

5:30 pm - Pizza; 6:00 pm - Movie

Thursday, October 21 - 6:30-8:00 pm - Your Voice Matters, And We're Listening

Watertown Boys & Girl's Club (see flyer below)

For the first of many listening sessions, we are specifically inviting our BIPOC community to speak openly with our department leaders. You are also welcome to post questions and concerns, anonymously, using this link: https://padlet.com/kimberleehenry/sx3iht8o8gqkrsu7

Monday, October 25th - Anti-Bias Coalition Meeting 5:30-7:00 pm

Meetings will be held in a hybrid model.

The physical location will be on the 3rd floor of the Phillips Building in room 301.

The recurring zoom link is here: Join Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, October 26 - 7:00 pm - Meet our WMS and WHS SROs (School Resource Officers)

WMS Auditorium or on Zoom

November 1 - November 5 - Book Fair in the WMS Library

Tuesday, November 2 - 6:30-8:00 pm - School Site Council Meeting

Thursday, November 4 - Early Release for Students 12:30 pm

Student/Caregiver/Teacher Conferences 1:00-3:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm

Monday, November 8 - School Committee Meeting - MCAS presentations 7:00 pm

Tuesday, November 9 - Early Release for Students 12:30 pm

Student/Caregiver/Teacher Conferences 1:00-3:00 pm and 5:00-7:00 pm

Wednesday, November 10 - 7:00 pm - PTO Meeting

Thursday, November 11 - No School - Veteran's Day Observance

Wednesday, November 24 - Early Release Day 12:30 pm dismissal

Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26 - NO SCHOOL

2021 - 2022 District School Year Calendar


A Day / B Day schedule - For all students, specialist classes (Art, Health, Music/Drama, and Tech. Ed) occur on alternate days with Physical Education. I will include the A Day/B Day schedule in my newsletter to help you support your children with materials they may need for each day, for example, sneakers on their PE (gym) days.

Mon. 10/11 - NO SCHOOL

Tues. 10/12 - A day

Wed. 10/13 - B day

Thurs. 10/14 - A day

Fri. 10/15 - B day

Mon. 10/18 - A day

Tues. 10/19 - B day

Wed. 10/20 - A day

Thurs. 10/21 - B day

Fri. 10/22 - A day

Mon. 10/25 - B day

Tues. 10/26 - A day

Wed. 10/27 - B day

Thurs. 10/28 - A day

Fri. 10/29 - B day

Mon. 11/1 - A day

Tues. 11/2 - B day

Wed. 11/3 - A day

Thurs. 11/4 - B day (early release)

Fri. 11/5 - A day

Mon. 11/8 - B day

Tues. 11/9 - A day (early release)

Wed. 11/10 - B day

Thurs. 11/11 - NO SCHOOL

Fri. 11/12 - A day

Please email me with any questions, concerns, or input you may have. As always, we will work together as a community! #wmsstrong

Take good care of each other,

All my best,


Cluster / Department Smore Newsletters are Here!

Please click on the Smore links to read all about the exciting teaching and learning taking place throughout the school!

Cluster 1

Cluster 2

Cluster 3

Cluster 4

Cluster 5

Cluster 6

World Language / Reading

Wilson Reading with Ms. Sorenson

Math with Mr. Donato




We are excited to begin our 'Test & Stay' protocols on Monday, October 4 for students in preschool through grade 12. This will allow unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts to a COVID positive individual at school to remain in attendance instead of quarantining.

If you are planning to have your child participate in the Test & Stay program, please complete the consent form prior to the start of the program. This will make the process much easier if your child is a close contact and needs to be part of the Test & Stay program.

The process is:

  • Unvaccinated close contacts will need to test negative for COVID using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test every morning before school for one week following the in-school exposure. The BinaxNOW will be provided at school prior to the start of the school day. Please note that Test & Stay only applies to COVID exposures in school.
  • Unvaccinated individuals who are close contacts of a positive case outside of the school setting need to quarantine.
  • *In order to have your child participate in the 'Test & Stay' Program, please sign this consent form at your earliest convenience. Consenting in advance will help to expedite the process if your child needs to participate in Test and Stay.

Reach out to your school nurse or to the Director of Students Services, Kathleen Desmarais, kathleen.desmarais@watertown.k12.ma.us if you have questions regarding this program. Please see this document for more information.

Special Education Updates

We have a few exciting changes in the Special Education Department at Watertown Middle School!

Congratulations to Ms. Penelope Giannakopoulos, who will be moving to the position of Evaluation Team Chair for Out of District placements! We will certainly miss her smiling face at WMS, but I know she will do a wonderful job in her district-wide work!

Congratulations to Ms. Sarah Juusola, who will be moving into Ms. Giannakopoulos' position of Evaluation Team Chair at Watertown Middle School. Her Cluster 5 team will miss her, but we are thrilled she will be staying in the WMS Community and continuing to work with all of our teachers, students, and families.

We are in the process of hiring a Cluster 5 Inclusion Special Education teacher, and should soon be announcing who will be filling Ms. Juusola's vacancy. In the meantime, we will ensure all students remain supported in their classes.

Congratulations again to all!

WPS Equity Audit Focus Groups for Families

Watertown Public Schools has hired Public Consulting Group (PCG) to conduct a districtwide Equity Audit. The goal of this audit is to identify strengths and areas for improvement in WPS and to make recommendations on how we can move towards achieving the best outcomes for each student in our community. An essential component of this work is hearing from a wide range of voices from across our district.

As a part of the Equity Audit, PCG is conducting a series of family focus groups and we invite you to participate. These focus group will be held virtually on:

Tuesday, October 12th at 7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 13th at 7:00 PM

Thursday, October 14th at 8:30 AM

Please sign up for a focus group using the following link as soon as possible: WPS Equity Audit Family Focus Groups Registration

La auditoría de equidad de WPS El formulario para participar en los grupos de enfoque para las familias

Once you sign up you will receive a calendar invite that will include additional information regarding the details of the focus groups and a summary of what to expect. Please contact Sydney Menzin with PCG at smenzin@pcgus.com if you have any questions.

We appreciate your participation as we work towards identifying and addressing practices, policies, and communications that may contribute to inequities across our district. We are committed to building a WPS in which each learner reaches their full academic and personal potential in safe, welcoming, equitable, inclusive learning environments.

MCAS 2021 Results ~ A Unique Year of Data

As Jeffrey C. Riley, the MA Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, recently shared:

Massachusetts has experienced many challenges associated with disrupted education over the past 18 months. Because the MCAS tests were canceled in spring 2020, the results from the 2021 MCAS tests are the first statewide assessment results that we have since the onset of the pandemic to provide us with information about how those challenges and disruptions affected students’ learning and progress.

The Parent/Guardian report presents your child’s scores in a familiar format, but with additional information on the front page that explains some of the key differences between the spring 2021 tests and tests given in previous years, and I encourage you to read this information closely. Those differences include the administration of shorter tests to students in grades 3-8, which can cause individual student performance to vary more than usual as compared to previous years. I also encourage you to remember that MCAS results are only one measure of your child's growth and achievement. Your child's teacher can talk to you more broadly about your child's academic growth and about their social and emotional development.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recently released statewide MCAS test results from the spring 2021 exam. Results at the State level (and at WPS), show that many more students had gaps in their knowledge of math and, to a lesser extent, English language arts, compared to students in the same grades in 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic, as MCAS was waived last year), and fewer students met or exceeded grade-level expectations.

In this unique year, DESE removed all percentiles in public reports suggesting they are not interested in district comparisons as there are so many varying circumstances that you need to take into account, which would invalidate those comparisons. They urged caution in making ‘across schools within district’ comparisons as well as across districts. In grades 3 - 8, individual students only took ½ the test, which resulted in less precision of results at the individual student level.

In Watertown, MCAS is one of multiple measures of ‘Unfinished Learning’ that we are comparing with other assessments (i-Ready, literacy, pre-assessments, etc.) at the student- and grade-levels to better target individual student instruction and monitor growth. As we work to help students make grade-level progress, we are using DESE’s resource --the Acceleration Roadmap, which emphasizes the importance of understanding students’ strengths and needs and the use of just-in-time supports to help students learn grade-appropriate material.

MCAS Parent/Guardian Reports will be mailed home on October 15th and we will present our 2021 MCAS Results at the November 8th School Committee Meeting.

Rubicon Atlas Curriculum Management System (Atlas, henceforth)

It’s October and as promised, our WPS Atlas Curriculum Management System is open to our parents, guardians, and students on our public site. Our Principals have shared our K-8 curriculum brochures (K| G1 | G2 | G3 | G4 | G5 | G6 | G7 | G8) and our grades 9 - 12 WHS Program of Studies, which house a general overview K - 8, and specific course descriptions at the high school level. If you desire more detailed information around your child’s curriculum, you may find it on our Atlas Curriculum Management System’s Public Site link. Directions for use are on the homepage.

The curriculum maps in Atlas identify the following sections for public view on most courses. (The course development is ongoing.)

  1. Course Descriptions

  2. Unit Description

  3. Standards & Benchmarks

  4. Enduring Understandings

  5. Essential Questions

At the elementary level, Curriculum Maps and Course Descriptions are available for all core elementary subjects: Math, Science, Literacy - Reading & Writing, Social Studies. Some elementary units that take place later in the year are under construction and will be updated in Altas prior to implementation. Elementary English as a Second Language units are under construction.

At the secondary level (WMS, WHS), ~90 percent of the courses display curriculum information. Secondary ESL units for English Language Development (ELD) classes are still under construction.

Parent/Family Orientation

Try following the simplified instructions on the Atlas homepage link. In addition, our Digital Learning & Libraries Department will schedule Parent/Family Orientation Sessions both during the school day and again in the evening in October. These sessions will be recorded and then shared on our curriculum webpage for viewing anytime. The October date and Zoom links will be shared via upcoming Principal Newsletters.

WMS School Site Council

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

6:30 - 8:00 pm

Join Zoom Meeting

The first meeting will be on Tuesday, October 5th. The Watertown Middle School Site Council, composed of the principal, teachers, parents/caregivers, and community members, is charged under DESE guidelines to develop and monitor the annual School Improvement Plan. The School Site Council meets monthly from October through June to oversee the school’s goals and action strategies, examine data that pertains to school improvement and create the school improvement plan for the following year. The oversight process happens in the fall (October – January) and plan development happens in the spring (February – June).

Meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, and are currently scheduled for:

November 2

December 7

January 4

February 1

March 1

April 5

May 3

June 7

***Please email me if you are considering joining the School Site Council. I would like to gauge the interest of parents/caregivers. Thank you.

WMS Staff/Parent/Caregiver Diversity Council

***First Meeting***

Thursday, October 7 at 6:00 pm on Zoom. Join Zoom Meeting


  • Meet, Greet, and Share (norm-setting and community-building)
  • School Improvement Plan / District Improvement Plan goals and connection
  • Vision and Goals for the year (breakout rooms)
  • Open Discussion and Questions
  • Next Meeting, Date and Time for meetings
  • Closing

We are excited for the first meeting of the WMS Staff/Parent/Caregiver Diversity Council, and we hope that many of you will join this meeting and share your vision for the work to be done by this council at WMS!

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Community Service!

Mr. Chris McDermott will be organizing and directing the Community Service program at WMS again this year (thank you, Mr. McDermott!) and he wanted to share two community service related forms with you and your children.

First, this form will be used by all students to log their hours.

Second, this is the form he made a couple of years ago as a place for caregivers to submit ideas for community service opportunities.

We will send you more info about snow shoveling, coats, and plastic collection as he receives it.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. McDermott at christopher.mcdermott@watertown.k12.ma.us

PTO Meetings

Yes, there is a PTO in Middle School, and we want as many of you as possible to be involved! :)

Meetings are typically held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm and are currently scheduled for the following:

October 13

November 10

December 8

January 12

February 9

March 9

April 13

May 11

June 8

We will start with having meetings on Zoom, but can transition to in-person if the group would like to do so. Looking forward to seeing you there! Join Zoom Meeting

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To get Emergency Alerts from the Town of Watertown text WATERTOWNMA to 888-777. Your cell phone number will be into the system without having to establish an Everbridge account. You also have the opportunity to add your email address into the system at this time. You would then receive all emails and/or texts from the system. If you already have an Everbridge account, this is not necessary, as you will continue to receive the notifications sent by the town.

Life Science Industry Makes Commitment to Fund STEM Programming in Watertown Public Schools

Collective industry effort will support STEM grants to Watertown teachers

WATERTOWN, MA, October 12, 2021– Life Science Cares Boston is collaborating with the Watertown Community Foundation and four Watertown-based life science companies to launch the Watertown STEM Education Fund, a special effort to fund science, technology, engineering & math programming in the Watertown Public Schools.

Four corporate contributors—Arranta Bio, C4 Therapeutics, Forma Therapeutics & Landmark Bio—and Life Science Cares have committed a total of $15,000 in funding for teacher-driven requests for supplemental materials, books, equipment, special events and speakers, student programs and experimental school or district-wide initiatives.

The fund builds on the Watertown Community Foundation’s annual school-based educational grants program and will increase total funding for the foundation's grants this fall.

“This exciting new partnership and funding commitment will expand our ability to support Watertown teachers through our annual education grant program. Each year we receive far more grant requests than we can fund, particularly in the area of science and technology. This STEM Fund will truly transform our grant giving capacity and provide teachers and our schools with more resources to support students in the classroom.” said Jan Singer, Watertown Community Foundation Executive Director.

This collective giving program also allows companies, leaders and employees in the burgeoning Watertown life sciences field to learn about Watertown Public Schools and forge deeper relationships with the school STEM community. Today Watertown is home to Watertown is home to 43 life science companies, many of whom moved to town in the last few years, and there are more on the way.

“As the industry continues to grow in Greater Boston, we are committed to being good neighbors and true partners,” said Sarah MacDonald, Executive Director of Life Science Cares Boston, an industry-wide effort to fight poverty and expand opportunity. “We are thrilled to bring together companies to build relationships and make good on that commitment.”

Grant applications will be distributed to Watertown Public School teachers and staff in mid-October and will be due to the Watertown Community Foundation (WCF) by November 15th. Grant review committees—including representatives from Arranta Bio, C4 Therapeutics, Forma Therapeutics and Landmark Bio—will make grant recommendations to the WCF board by early December.

For more information on the new STEM fund, visit https://www.watertownfoundation.org/school-program-grants. Companies wishing to join the effort should contact LSC Boston Executive Director Sarah MacDonald at sarah@lifesciencecares.org.

About Watertown Community Foundation
The Watertown Community Foundation works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown – now, and for future generations. To accomplish this, WCF raises funds from people and partner institutions, awards grants to non-profits and community projects, and builds networks of donors, grantees, program participants and stakeholders. Since its inception in 2003, WCF has awarded $ 2,000,000 in grants to programs and organizations serving Watertown.

About Life Science Cares
Life Science Cares leverages the power of the life science industry to solve one of our most intractable social issues—poverty. Currently operating in four industry hubs (Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area), Life Science Cares harnesses the industry’s financial and human capital to support community-based organizations providing access to basic needs, access to education and access to opportunity. Learn more at https://lifesciencecares.org/.

Media contacts:

Jan Singer

Watertown Community Foundation



Sarah MacDonald

Life Science Cares