WMS Community Bulletin 8-23-20

EXCELLENCE*EQUITY*COMMUNITY

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Watertown Middle School 2020-2021

Hello Watertown Middle School Community,


I hope this email finds you healthy and well! It certainly still feels like summer, but some of the cooler nights remind us that fall and school are around the corner! :)


This Community Bulletin has information on two main topics:


1) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the models of school being offered at WMS


2) Summer Reading Assignments clarification


Thank you to everyone who attended our Parent Forum last week. If you missed it, the recording is posted on the WMS website and can be accessed here: Please click here to see Ms. Martin's 8/19/20 Parent Forum.


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,


Donna

*** WMS Back to School FAQs: Choosing the Best Model for Your Family ***

What is the “Bridge to Hybrid” model?

The Bridge to Hybrid Model means:

  • Your child will start the school year remotely.

  • Your child will be assigned to a cluster, a homeroom teacher, a cohort, and a section within the cohort.

  • When the District begins the hybrid model, your child will come to school two days/week, on the "Hybrid In" days.

  • Cohort Scheduling:

    • On Mondays all children assigned to the same cluster will meet with their cluster teachers from 8:30 - 12:30 on Zoom. They will attend four classes: ELA, Mathematics, History, and Science. There will also be a short time allotted for Organization and Support.

    • Two days each week, students will follow the "Hybrid In" Instruction Schedule and two days each week they will follow the "Hybrid Out" Day schedule with their separate cohorts.


Here is an image that explains the Cohort Schedules by day:

Big picture

What do the daily schedules for students look like in the “Bridge to Hybrid” model?

A sample student schedule can be found here.


As explained above, students will follow the "HYBRID IN" DAY schedule three days per week and the "HYBRID OUT" DAY schedule two days per week.

What is the Watertown Virtual School (WVS) model?

The Watertown Virtual School Model means:


  • Your child will be learning remotely until at least February 8th. If the District makes a decision for students to return to school in the hybrid model (explained above), your child would NOT return in-person. They would continue with virtual school.

  • Your child will be assigned to a cluster, a homeroom teacher, a cohort, and a section within the cohort (same as “Bridge to Hybrid”).

  • The Cohort Scheduling is much the same as in the “Bridge to Hybrid” Model (see chart above):

    • On Mondays all children assigned to the same cluster will meet with their cluster teachers from 8:30 - 12:30 on Zoom. They will attend five classes: ELA, Mathematics, History, Science, and "Cluster Time". "Cluster Time" will be synchronous with the cluster teachers and focus on a variety of topics, including organization, extra help, project-based work, and other cluster activities.

    • Two days each week, students will follow the "Remote Cluster" Instruction Schedule and two days each week they will follow the "Remote Specialist" Day schedule with their separate cohorts.

    • In February, if the “Bridge to Hybrid” students are back in school for their "Hybrid In" days, parents will have a chance to switch to the Hybrid model.

Does my child only work on the days they are meeting with their cluster teachers?

No, your child will be busy every day! They will join their homeroom every morning to see their friends and teacher and have their Community Meeting. If it is a Remote Specialist day for your child’s cohort, they will log off and complete the work that was assigned the day before. They will also have a World Language or Reading Class, and at least one Specialist class. They may also be meeting with a Special Education Teacher or EL teacher, or have a Lunch Bunch meeting or other SEL activity, or a Performance Music class. Other Enrichment and Support classes may be added to the schedule as well.

What do the daily schedules for students look like in the “Watertown Virtual School” model?

The schedule is almost exactly the same as in the "Bridge to Hybrid" model!


A sample student schedule can be found here. Students will follow the REMOTE CLUSTER DAY schedule three days per week and the REMOTE SPECIALIST DAY schedule two days per week.

How do I know what my child is working on?

Every Friday, you will receive information about the upcoming week in a Weekly Learning Plan. This will include learning targets, assignments that are due, Zoom information, and any other meeting information for the week. All of the necessary links will be in the same chart.


Your child will also have a Google Classroom. This will be a central location for lessons, assignments, and links needed for remote lessons.


We are working to make this as organized as possible for you and your children. All of the Clusters' Weekly Learning Plans will have the same format, so if you have more than one child at WMS, you will be receiving consistent information.

Will my child be provided with a computer?

Yes! WMS is a 1:1 school, so every student will be assigned a Chromebook. These will be given out on the opening days of school, if they (grades 7 and 8) do not still have them home from last spring. More information regarding specific days and times will be available at the beginning of September. Also, if you have a Chromebook from last spring and it is not working correctly, please email Mr. Del Porto.

What about supplies?

Every student at WMS will be provided with a case of supplies to ensure that they have all the materials to be successful while learning remotely. This will include items such as pencils, pens, highlighters, and grade-level specific materials that teachers have identified for all content areas. These cases will be given out on the opening days of school. More information regarding specific days and times will be available at the beginning of September.

Additional Information

When will we know which cluster and which cohort we will be in?

We will likely need a couple more weeks to make these decisions and communicate this information to you. Know that we are doing as much as possible to get this to you as soon as we can.


What can I do to help my child succeed in remote learning?

The most important thing you can do right now is to help your child to be excited about the start of school! No matter what model you choose, they will have excited teachers and a community of friends to meet!


Please make sure your child attends his or her classes. Setting up a dedicated space for learning and meetings is also very important. If you have a desk or table that your child can work at comfortably with supplies close by, that would be helpful. It’s important that your child feel like they are in school even if they are home.


*Also, if you have any questions at any point, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teachers, guidance counselor, Mr. Del Porto, or me. The sooner we identify any issue your child may be having with remote learning, the sooner we can implement strategies to help the issue.*


What if my child is having trouble paying attention to remote learning?

Just as in the classroom, teachers will be differentiating their instruction to meet the needs of each individual child. If your child is having trouble focusing during the remote learning time, your child’s teachers will try different strategies such as a learning choice or a movement break. Remember to collaborate with your child's teachers. We truly want the best for all of our students.


What will the classrooms look like once we are back at school?

The biggest difference children and families will notice is the absence of extra furniture. Each room will have approximately 10-12 student desks that are 6 feet apart in rows and facing the teacher. The teacher will have a teaching space with all of their teaching materials in front of the whiteboard. There will not be extra tables for small groups of children or soft items such as bean bags or couches.

SUMMER READING 2020!!!

It came to our attention that it may be difficult to locate all of the Summer Reading Assignments on the WMS website. We have a bit more time for reading with school starting on September 22, so we wanted to be sure everyone knew the summer reading expectations.




Literacy/English Grades 6 - 8 - Whole School Read: One School, One Book The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (required). This assignment is now due 9/28 (not 9/14).


Literacy/English Grade 6: All incoming 6th graders will read the One School, One Book selection: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and one more book of their choice. You can use this list from the local library if you need recommendations.


Literacy/English Grade 7: All incoming 7th graders will read the One School, One Book selection: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and also completes the summer assignment explained here.


Literacy/English Grade 8: All incoming 8th graders will read the One School, One Book selection: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and also complete this assignment.




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TOP 5 WAYS to make the MOST of Summer Reading! Here is a resource that summarizes all of the summer reading assignments and options for students entering grades 6, 7, and 8 at WMS. Please keep in mind, the One School, One Book (1S1B) The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, as well as the "JOTS" writing assignment is a required text and assignment for all students entering WMS. More details about the assignment, as well as tutorials on how to take a good jot can be found at: www.wms1s1b.org. If you have questions about accessing the ebook, please email our WMS Librarian, Leah Maroni-Wagner at leah.maroniwagner@watertown.k12.ma.us. If anyone has questions about the summer reading assignment, please contact our WMS Literacy Coach, Kellie Spillane at kellie.spillane@watertown.k12.ma.us.


Thank you to the TEEN Librarians at Watertown Free Public Library (WFPL) for compiling the lists of recommended summer reading books for rising middle school students. These suggestions are attributable to Carey Conkey & Kelly Deneen, WFPL Librarians. Also a special thank you to our own WMS Librarian, Leah Maroni-Wagner, who customized one of the grade 8 summer reading lists to provide extensive options for students entering grade 8. There is sure to be a book that will match the tastes of many readers this summer! If you would like a personal recommendation for a book over the summer, the librarians at WFPL will certainly help you!


Remember, middle schoolers still LOVE to be read to --thank you for taking special time this summer to read together as a family.


2020 SUMMER READING - TOP 5 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT!

Big picture

YEARBOOKS ARE IN!

I sent an email a couple of weeks ago to those families who ordered yearbooks. You may pick up your yearbooks at the WMS Main Office Monday - Friday from 9-11 am and 1-3 pm.


If you are unsure if you ordered a yearbook, please call the main office at 617-926-7783 to confirm.

**EMERGENCY ALERTS**

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.

Watertown Middle School

While we are out of school, please email with any questions, or text/call my work cell (617-631-6807)

Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.


Thank you,

Donna Martin, Principal