WMS Family Smore
October 16, 2022
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Dear WMS Families,
We are having a beautiful weekend here. I hope that all of you have a chance to enjoy.
WMS was excited to host the district's first Learning Walk of the year this past week. Participants included Dr. Galdston the superintendent, Dr. Henry the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Kathy Desmarais the Director of Student Services, and all principals and curriculum coordinators in the district. We saw WMS teachers working hard to implement lessons with supports for students such as graphic organizers, student choice, and using manipulatives to make learning concrete. We will continue to improve our differentiation strategies to increase access and engagement for all learners this year.
Something else that parents/caregivers may notice this year is that many teachers are moving towards keeping their grades in PowerSchool. This is intended to be a tool that lets students families know what each student’s current progress is. Grades are intended as a tool to communicate mastery of content, and are not intended to make students feel good or bad about their progress, rather as feedback about how they are doing so they can take next steps to ensure a successful academic year. Teachers need a reasonable amount of time to provide grades and feedback to students, so checking PowerSchool about every other week rather than constantly, is a good practice to get into.
The 8th grade Student Leadership Team has been choosing themes for each Friday. This past Friday was Watertown Pride day, and students were dressed to impress! If you are looking to add some WMS Gear to your wardrobe, check out the spirit shop that we are launching below.
Be well and take care of one another.
Ms. Jennifer Chen Fein, Principal
Ms. Jennifer Sarmiento, Assistant Principal (Clusters 2, 4, 6)
Mr. Patrick Dayton, Interim Assistant Principal (Clusters 1, 3, 5)
News at WMS
Browse t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats and more to show some love for your favorite school! The WMS apparel is available in a variety of styles for women, men and youth. The WMS Spirit Shop also offers a variety of color and logo combinations.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Watertown Middle PTO to help fund activities and enrichment opportunities for your student throughout the year.
Please support our school and purchase your WMS gear today!!
MCAS Reports 2022, Yardsticks guide coming soon in the mail
MCAS reports for families were mailed out this past Friday.
We are also including in our MCAS mailing a Yardsticks guide from Responsive Classroom, our Advisory resource. This is a guide for families of what to expect and how to support your child as a developing teenager.
Our student growth percentile (SGP) at WMS was higher than in past years, on par with or above the state level in many subgroup categories. Due to your hard work in partnership with our teachers, our students have shown incredible growth, given remote learning and significant absenteeism, and the focus on safety and social emotional learning over the past few years.
Our next steps will include:
Looking at data by classes, subgroups, individual students, using data to inform teaching.
Strengthening our MTSS tier I and tier II supports - to better support student access to learning.
Focusing on English Learners, Former English Learners, Students with Disabilities subgroups, who have consistently had lower SGP than state.
8th Grade Washington D.C. Trip Information
We had a great turn out on Tuesday night.
Thank you to Mr. McDermott for planning and leading the slideshow presentation to caregivers for the Washington D.C. Information Night. We are linking it here for any families who missed the information. The registration form will be sent out soon.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Student-led Parent/Caregiver Conferences are coming up: October 27, November 1
Our Student-led Parent/Caregiver Conferences are coming up with both virtual and in-person opportunities to meet with your child's teacher(s). As these are student-led conferences, students should attend the conference. There will be interpretation in a variety of languages available. More information about signing up for conferences will come soon from your child's teachers.
Opportunities for Parents/Caregivers To Get Involved
Diversity Council - October 20
The WMS Diversity Council will meet once a month on the third Thursdays at 7:00pm, virtually, with the first meeting on October 20, 2022. This year, we will be focusing on actionable steps outlined in the district equity audit taken last school year.
The mission of the WMS Diversity Council (DC) is to build and promote opportunities for WMS community members to create a courageous culture of anti-racist education and action, and support inclusion, diversity and belonging for all students and families.
DC members partner with WPS to:
- Outreach to families of color
- Plan social justice activities
- Facilitate dialogue within the WMS community
- Promote inclusivity
- Provide equity-lens input into administrator decisions / serve as a sounding board
- Diversify staffing
The WMS Diversity Council embraces our core values of anti-racism, inclusivity, equity, community, social justice, action, dialogue, courage, and anti-bias.
Reach out to Jen Sarmiento at email@example.com to express interest in joining or with any questions.
Equity Hour, from Dr. Kimberlee Henry - October 25
Managing [mis]understandings (Mr. Jamele Adams, LIT League)
All of us have unique perspectives on how we see the world, and everything in it. These varying perspectives often lead to misunderstandings. This session will teach and practice a communication protocol that will help to manage both understanding and misunderstanding of perspectives.
· Parent & Caregiver Hour (10/25, 6-7p via ZOOM)
School Site Council (SSC) - November 8
A school council is a representative, school building-based committee composed of the principal, parents, teachers, community members. Site-based decision making places the school at the center of planning, goal setting, and budgeting for school improvement. Some topics we will be diving into this year as part of the School Improvement Plan are WIN and providing student supports, the master schedule, and parent communication.
The WMS SSC will meet once a month on the first Tuesdays at 7:00pm, virtually. We had our first meeting this past week. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 8th, since the first week of November will be during the Student-Led Conferences.
There are five WMS educators who will be regularly-attending members this year, and we will be electing five parent/community members to balance out the team. Any parent/community members who would like to be considered as a voting member of the SSC should attend the next meeting on November 8th. In particular, we are looking for members who represent different grades of students and reflect our student body including parents of English Learners. Any parent/community member may join any meeting as a listener, participant, and non-voting member.
PTO - November 9
The next meeting is this Wednesday, November 9th, and the PTO meets virtually on the second Wednesday of each month. Reach out to the PTO President Erin Macomber at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to express interest.
Previously Shared News
WMS Peter Clough Memorial
Mr. Peter Clough was a former Global Studies Teacher and Assistant Principal of WMS who died from Lymphoma in 1995 at the age of 32. Mr. Clough made a significant impact on WMS students, encouraging them the value of character, service, allyship, selflessness, and sacrifice. A picture of a contract that Mr. Clough asked his students to sign is still in his classroom at WMS, and is shown at the right.
There is also a memorial art installation for Mr. Clough in the main lobby of WMS, which portrayed the gifts he gave to the world, and continents hanging in the center. More than twenty years later, the WMS school community is beginning the process of reimagining the images portrayed on the hanging mobile to reflect the culture and the people that walk through our doors every morning at WMS. With students attending from across the globe, we seek to portray our diverse community in a way that respects Mr. Clough’s memory and contributions to WMS while creating a sense of belonging for all members of our WMS of our community.
The images portrayed on the hanging continents represented a more limited view of the contributions of people from around the world that currently attend our schools. Twenty years ago, students worked with the artist Mr. Joshua Winer to research those images using resources such as National Geographic; who has since addressed and apologized for its racist past. Much has happened in the world over the past twenty years, and what may have seemed acceptable then no longer does, nor was it ever.
Over the course of my interview process last spring, it was shared that students who currently attend WMS in 2022 did not feel the sense of belonging and community with the mural hanging as it was, so the WMS Leadership Teammade the decision over the summer to temporarily remove just the continents before the school year started, while leaving the ring with all of his gifts, and the center ring with his initials and words that describe him are still there. The auditorium that is used day and night also remains named in honor of Mr. Clough's contributions.
In the past few weeks, I have been in conversation with Ms. Kerri Clough, the widow of Peter, as well as Mr. Josh Winer, the artist who helped students create the original mural. They are both in support of this process. There are teachers at WMS, including those who knew and loved Mr. Clough, who are excited to work with students this year, perhaps in conjunction with Mr. Winer as an artist in residence. It is our hope to also include the WMS community in our process to reinstall the continents when they better capture the sense of belonging that Mr. Clough would have wanted.
There will be a zoom meeting on October 19th at 7:00pm for members of the WMS community, including those who considered Mr. Clough a mentor, who have further questions or comments, or would otherwise like to share their ideas of how to honor Mr. Clough while ensuring all people feel welcome when entering the middle school.
Community Service Opportunities at WMS
Here are some upcoming Community Service Opportunities at WMS:
Community Service Opportunity with Mr. Allegro:
When: Saturday, October 22nd 12-2 pm
Where: The Watertown Food Pantry
Why: To help sort food and assist with drop off
Please sign up on the board in front of the WMS library
Coats for Kids:
- We are collecting lightly used coats for families in the area who need them
- We only collect COATS - No jackets, sweatshirts, vests, gloves, or hats
- We need coats for people of all ages
- Drop off in the bin in the front lobby now through December
Trex Plastic Recycling
- We collect and recycle plastic that you can’t put in a normal recycling bin
- Mostly thin plastic film from things like packages, grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap. Drop off in the Library or Main Office.
Operation American Soldier
- Operation American Soldier, a Massachusetts-based organization that supports military members that have been deployed overseas, is looking for donations to send to soldiers
- We need Canned fruit with pop-tops, Tuna lunch-to-go boxes, or packets, and on the go powdered drink mixes like Crystal Light or Gatorade. - Drive ends November 4th
Please direct any questions about community service opportunities to Mr. McDermott at email@example.com or Mr. Allegro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INFORMATION FROM THE WMS COMMUNITY
SEPAC - October 17
Watertown Race Reels - October 17
Please join us for Watertown Race Reels in October! To honor Indigenous People's Day we will be screening We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân on 10/17 at the Watertown Boys & Girls Club (see attached flyer).
We will be serving pizza starting at 5:45 and starting the film at 6pm. After the film (~60 minutes), we will have a discussion/activity. Hope to see you there!
Watertown High School - Open House for 7th/8th Grade Students October 25
Watertown High School will be offering an in-person Open House for 7th & 8th-grade students and families on Tuesday, October 25. Please be in touch with Adrienne Eaton, the WHS Lead School Counselor, at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
Winter Donation Drive & Free Store - November 6th
- October 19: WMS Peter Clough Memorial (7:00pm, zoom meeting )
October 20: Diversity Council Meeting (7:00pm zoom meeting)
October 25: Family Equity Hour, (6:00-7:00pm via ZOOM)
October 25: WHS Open House for 7/8th Graders (6:30-8:00pm at WHS)
October 27: Early Release Day: Student-Led Conferences with Parents and Teachers, 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch
November 1: Early Release Day: Student-Led Conferences with Parents and Teachers, 12:30pm dismissal with grab n go lunch
November 2: Picture Day Make Ups
November 4: WMS Dance (6:30-9:30pm)
- November 8: Election Day/PD Day - No School for Students
- November 8: School Site Council (7:00pm, virtual)
- November 9: PTO Meeting (7:00pm, virtual)
- November 10: First day of Second Quarter
- November 11: Veteran's Day - No School
- November 16: First Quarter Report Cards Issued