The Squire

April 2018

Westbrook Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Amy Gallagher, Lead Teacher

Up Coming Events


6 - WMS Drama Club Production at 7 pm

6 - End of Q3

7 - WMS Drama Club Production at 2pm

9 - Start of Q4

10 - BOE Meeting at 7 pm

16 to 20 - No School - April Vacation


1 - ELA SBAC for Grades 7 & 8

2 - MATH SBAC CAT for Grades 7 & 8

3 - MATH SBAC PT for Grades 7 & 8

8 - BOE Meeting at 7 pm

8 - ELA SBAC for Grades 5 & 6

9 - MATH SBAC CAT for Grades 5 & 6

10 - MATH SBAC PT for Grades 5 & 6

15 - SCIENCE SBAC for Grades 5 & 8

17 - Incoming 5th Grade Parent Orientation at 5 pm

17 - PTO Meeting at 7 pm

22 - Music Concert for Grades 5 & 6

24 - Music Concert for Grades 7 & 8

28 - No School - Memorial Day


1 - Grade 7 Field Trip to the Mark Twain House

1 - 8th Grade Dance

8 - 8th Grade Field Trip

12- BOE Meeting

26 - Last Day of School - 12:15 Dismissal

** Remember to check the school calendar on our website for the most up to date information on school events **

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The Principal's Desk

The Squire - The Principal's Desk April

February Student of the Month

Giovanna Silva - Grade 5, Kevin Villeda - Grade 6, Maggie Izzo - Grade 7, Mackenzie Marshall - Grade 8, Hannah Wrubleski - Spanish, Faizah Ahamed - Art, Trinity Plott - Family and Consumer Science, Emily Downie - French, Hunter Krebs - Technology, Julia Kukta - Band, Matthew Hampton-Valentin - Chorus, Jacqueline Leake - Physical Education, Elliot Koplas - Health

March Student of the Month

Emily Bonner - Grade 5, Olivia Palumbo - Grade 6, Daniel Genovese - Grade 7, Alex Zanzalari - Grade 8, Deja Hunter - Spanish, Matthew Izzo - Art, Lisa Litevich - Family and Consumer Science, Gianni Salisbury - French, Samuel Freeman - Tech, Jacqueline Leake - Band, Destiny Hayes - Chorus, David Murphy - Physical Education, Jack Ouellette - Health

Student Shout Outs!

Congratulations to Kyle M. who qualified to compete in the state round of the Geography Bee! He will be going to Central Connecticut State University on Friday, April 6 to represent WMW.

Congratulations to Charlie S. who raced at Gunstock against other athletes from all over New England!

Congratulations to the following students for representing Westbrook Middle School's musical talents on March 10th at the Southern Region Music Festival.

Representing the concert band were Henry A., Gianni S., Norah H., and Trevor J.

Representing the flute ensemble were Alexandra Z., and Sofia F.

Representing the jazz band was Gabe M.

Jack F. also was selected to perform with the Concert Band but was unable to play as he had a prior engagement.

All students worked hard and represented Westbrook well at the festival. Please view the attached video for a short recap of their day.

WMS Annual Spelling Bee News

Congratulations to 8th grader Jeremy K. who was the winner of our annual Spelling Bee on February 16, 2018, defeating 15 of Westbrook Middle School’s best spellers! Jeremy proudly represented Westbrook Middle School at the Connecticut Spelling Bee at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford on Saturday, March 10th. He faced fierce competition against 40 spellers from across the state and did an amazing job, making it through 6 extremely challenging rounds.

Congrats, Jeremy!

CABE Award

Jami Sacco and Gianni Salisbury have been selected as Westbrook Middle School’s recipients of the 2018 CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education) Student Leadership Awards. They were chosen for their willingness to accept challenges, capability to make difficult decisions, concern for others, ability to work with others, willingness to commit to a project, diplomacy, ability to honor a commitment, and their personal integrity.

Jami is a conscientious and reliable student who quietly leads by example. She welcomes teacher feedback and always perseveres in her learning. Jami works well in cooperative groups and partners well with classmates of all ability levels. She often takes a leadership role in the group, keeping her peers focused on the task at hand. Her positive attitude, consistent academic effort, and outstanding character make Jami an ideal choice for the CABE Student Leadership Award.

Gianni is self-motivated and driven to succeed. She embraces challenges, understands the value of hard work and is committed to putting forth her best effort each day. Gianni possesses a high level of self-discipline and the courage to make good choices. Her outstanding academic record speaks for itself, but her personal standards and service to the community are exemplary as well. A scholar, an athlete, and a musician, Gianni is a most deserving recipient of the CABE Student Leadership Award for the positive influence she has at WMS.

CAS Scholar Leader Award

Julia Farnoli and Sammy Freeman have been selected as recipients of the 2018 Connecticut Association of Schools Scholar-Leader Award. CAS established the Scholar-Leader Award in 1985 to give public recognition to students from each middle school in Connecticut who have demonstrated scholarship and leadership in school and the community. The award honors students whose record of academic achievement and service is truly exemplary, whose personal standards and accomplishments are models for others and who possess high levels of integrity, self-discipline, honesty and courage. Julia and Sammy will be honored with other CAS Scholar Leaders at an awards dinner on Monday, June 4th, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

Spring Reminders from the Health Office

  • If your child ill, please notify the school office of their absence by 8:00am.

  • If your contact information has changed, please notify the school so that you can be reached in the event of an emergency.

  • Physicals: I am still collecting the state required Comprehensive Physical for 6th and 10th grade students. This is mandatory and needed to move on to the next grade. Please turn the blue form with immunization record into the health office as soon as possible. Blue forms are available in the health office and on the website if needed.

  • Immunization Records: All incoming 7th graders must show proof of the following vaccinations: Polio (3 doses), MMR (2 doses), Hepatitis B (3 doses), Varicella (2 doses), Meningococcal (1 dose), and Tdap booster (1 dose). This is mandatory and needed to enter the 7th grade level. Please submit the documents to the health office as soon as possible. The only exception is for medical or religious reasons and notarized documentation of refusal is required.

  • Medication: If your child currently has medication in the health office, it must be picked up no later than June 28, 2018. Per school policy, medications can only be released to a responsible adult. If your child’s medication is not picked up in the requested time frame, it will be destroyed in a non-recoverable fashion.

  • Concussion: If your child sustained a concussion this year, please be sure that there is a clearance note from the doctor on file in the health office. If unresolved the state-mandated protocol will continue into the next school year per the guidelines set forth by the Connecticut Concussion Task Force and the CIAC.

  • Sports: If your child is playing sports or would like to try out, a Comprehensive Physical (blue form) must be completed every thirteen (13) months. The box next to “Participate fully in athletic activities and competitive sports” must be checked. The health office needs a copy on file in order for your child to participate/try out.

Please have your child eat breakfast and pack healthy snacks for school. There is an increased amount of children coming to the health office complaining of headache and stomach ache due to not eating breakfast. The health office does not have a supply of food to feed those who do not eat breakfast daily. The school does offer breakfast service and reduced pricing is available to those that qualify. Students who do not eat breakfast feel tired and dizzy, complain of headaches and stomach aches, and have poor concentration. Breakfast improves school performance and increases focus.

Guidance Department

Regular school attendance is one of the key factors in promoting student achievement. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.

We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically. Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent, which means 18 or more excused or unexcused absences in a school year. Please also remember any absences after 9 need documentation to be deemed excused. The support staff is active in assisting student attendance through notifying parents of absences in written and oral communication, and support services. Accumulated absences may result in referrals to the Service Review Team.

Please refer to our school handbook for specifics on Connecticut state law regarding attendance. If you have questions or concerns that we can address or assist with, please don't hesitate to reach out to our guidance support staff at 860-399-2010.

Unified Arts

Music Corner

The bands and choirs are working hard preparing for the Spring Concerts in May.

The 5th and 6th graders will be performing on May 22th, and the 7th and 8th graders will perform on May 24th.

As usual, all concerts start at 7:00 PM and are held in the high school auditorium.

Mr. Talmadge and Ms. Bellizzi are putting together a plan for 7th and 8th graders to attend a live musical this Spring. Last year, the 7th and 8th graders toured the Goodspeed Opera House and got to view a world class production of a Broadway Musical. This year, the music department hopes to take the tour, engage in a discussion about, and see the Tony Award winning Goodspeed production of "The Will Rogers Follies." Stay tuned for more details.

In April, the 8th grade band and the high school band will have a combined rehearsal in the middle school band room followed by an ice cream social in the cafeteria. This will be an excellent opportunity for our middle school students to start making their transition to the high school band. This rehearsal and social is a maiden voyage for us, as we've not done this before; we think it will be a very positive experience for students.

WMS Band

Family and Consumer Sciences

The students in second semester Family and Consumer have been busy! Students have recently completed units on personal finance, babysitting and consumerism this winter. Enrolled sixth graders successfully cared for eggs as part of their childcare unit. Seventh grade students explored marketing techniques and designed packages. While the eighth grade students used their personal finance skills to create and use a budget to design a bedroom. Family and Consumer Science is currently studying sewing in all classes. Students will follow patterns and directions to create various useful objects for the home and personal use.

Library News

April is Library Media Month! Bookmark submissions from the first annual bookmark contest will be featured in the library. Select from the many creative, colorful bookmarks designed by our students!

Do you write poetry or consider yourself a songwriter? Is there a favorite poem from another author that you would like to share with other students? Come down to the library during on-team time to share in an informal poetry slam.

It’s finally here! Be part of Westbrook Middle School’s NBA (Nutmeg Book Award)! Join students across the state to select the 2018 Nutmeg winning books for both Intermediate and Teen level by voting this month. If you have read in a particular category, you are eligible to vote. Most students read a 2018 Nutmeg books for their summer reading. Students will be voting in the library media center during language arts classes. Get in the Game! If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Goad at .

Working with R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, author, Jennifer Nielsen, visited with 7th and 8th grade students and spoke about being a reader and writer and how it forms our lives. She introduced the first in her new YA series, The Traitor’s Game, with a comparison of traitors and heroes in our own history. Her presentation was both compelling and inspiring. Students who pre-purchased the book met with the author after the presentation for a book signing. Come down to the library and check out a copy! You won’t be able to put it down. Students interested in participating in the book discussion of The Traitor’s Game, see Mrs. Goad. We’ll be looking for her new historical fiction book due out this summer! Springtime is Reading Time!

Students in the 6th grade wrapped up their civil rights unit with a Breakout Box activity testing their knowledge of the 1960’s era, research skills, and math word problems. Before beginning, students brainstormed strategies for success with an underlying message of teamwork - listening to all members, divide and conquer, and most importantly – persistence. By the second day, all teams had successfully located and solved the clues to unlock the directional, word, number, and date combinations releasing Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Birmingham jail! Not sure what students enjoyed more - the challenge of the game or dressing in 60’s and listening to Motown music!


Edward Hopper was a prominent American realist painter and print maker who said, “If I could say it in words there would be no reason for art.” This quote reflects what Westbrook Middle has done these past three months… expressed themselves through their artwork.

Fifth grade drew quick contour renderings where they learned to add onto their mistakes instead of erasing them. They did this assignment with large graphite sticks. Additionally, they created a series of Wayne Thiebaud inspired cupcakes, another influential American artist who depicted popular diner food in the 1900’s. Students then constructed a Henry Matisse sculpture where they used a balloon, paper and modge podge. Students are now completing a printmaking project with a subject of their choosing. I am extremely proud of the effort on all of their projects.

Sixth grade completed Pop art candy pictures where they used mixed media to draw their favorite candy. They learned about popular artists of this art movement and how their work served as a time capsule for American pop culture. They are currently finishing large scale value paintings called “peering up” where they draw from the perspective of lying down on the ground and looking up at the sky on a snowy or fall day. Many students were inspired by 8th grades Jackson Pollock’s splatter paintings and decided to add the technique to enhance their paintings.

Seventh grade completed multiple projects as well. They created surreal one point perspectives of different fantasy worlds, each of them unique and different. They also learned about Salvatore Dali and some of his paintings which contributed to the art world, and made clay phone or device holders with ornate designs. Currently, grade seven is working on pen and ink dragon eye drawings where they learned how the dragon influenced China’s culture.

Eighth grade has completed a variety of projects as well. They finished animal soap carvings which was not easy! They also completed silhouette pictures and are working on Independent projects of their choosing. We took a field trip to the high school art room to see some of their independent projects and draw inspiration. I am excited to see their finished projects.

-Mrs. Colagiovanni

Technology Education

Eighth grade students sand, sand, and sand their wood projects to perfection!!!!

Grade 7 - Seventh Grade students design fins for their advanced rocketry project.

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Sixth-grade students complete their Tic-Tac-Toe Game boards. Students hand saw, laminate, measure, mark, sand, drill and put a finish coat on their Game boards. Students have started to create an instruction manual outlining all the steps to make a gameboard, for future classes.

Physical Education

In physical education we will be starting to go outside so pack your warm clothes. Capture the flag, tennis, track and field, and softball will be in store for the spring. Bring on the warm weather!!

Señora Ferro's Spanish

Señora Ferro's Grade 8 Spanish

Students just finished up a chapter on technology and using the preterite tense. They learned about cyber cafes in Argentina and talked about their similarities and differences to those we have in the USA. Students will be learning about how makes plans with people, accept and decline invitations, and continue with the preterite tense.

Señora Ferro's Grade 7 Spanish

Students have been talking about clothing stores in Spain and comparing them to stores in the USA. They are learning how to ask how much something costs, about euros, and clothing vocabulary.

Señora Ferro's Grade 6 Spanish

Students are learning about school related vocabulary. They can say what they like to do verses what the have to do using tener que expressions. They are currently working on a project using tener and tener que expressions in Google classroom. I have a few students that wanted to make an appearance in the Mr. Wyre's newsletter this month. Take a look below as they work on their projects

Sr. Donovan Spanish

The 5th grade has done a very nice job transitioning into a Spanish immersion classroom. We are studying classroom objects, days of the week, and months. In class, we use a variety of video clips, songs, and games to enhance the acquisition of the language.

The 6th grade has begun learning about time, class subjects, and we will soon dive into the verb tenere along with conjugating AR verbs in the present tense.

The 7th grade has begun learning about seasons, colors, expressions with tener, and clothing. We will be learning about stem-changing verbs and direct object pronouns in the near future.

The 8th grade has been learning vocabulary concerning technology, the past tense of verbs in all forms, and positive/negative phrases. We will soon begin vocabulary dealing with fun activities around the city along with the past tense of the irregular verbs ir, ser, and hacer.

A typical week begins with some Monday motivation, practice reading/writing, then listening, reviewing numbers, using technology, fun interactive games, and video clips to enhance the current topics. The class is conducted primarily in Spanish, so students have the opportunity to speak in the language each day on a variety of interests. There are many great resources such as Duolingo, Quizlet, and many others that can be found on my website.


In grade 5 - Students have transitioned very well into a French immersion classroom. They are working on a skit project (such as lesson, game show, challenge, etc.) so they can put to use what they have learned so far. They will also create a slideshow to explore something about the French culture they're curious about or interested in.

In grade 6 - Students will make a story book in which they will use the structures and vocabulary learned in class.

In grade 7 - Students will be part of the French Café. They will also make a French dish or dessert. Near the end of the school year students will create a video via which they will teach to or review with their classmates a specific aspect of this year's French curriculum.

In grade 8 - Students will all be part of a mini-play in which they will use the structures and vocabulary learned in class.

Grade 5


Grade 5 students are studying the dynamic relationship between the Earth, Sun and moon. Gravity and inertia keep the solar objects in orbit. These 3 - D blocks are a fun way to track the phases of the moon. Can't wait for the next lunar eclipse!! Science Rocks!!!!!

Language Arts

In Language Arts we have just launched our Opinion Writing Unit. What would you do if you found $100.00 on the ground? Would you look for the owner? Simply pocket the money? After reading an article about this topic, students had to determine what “side” they were on. This lead to a lively class debate! Each “side” had to cite their most convincing argument from the text to support their claim. We will continue to work on effective presentation techniques. Another recent highlight was when Mr. Bialicki’s Teen Leadership class from the high school came to our class! They discussed kindness & friendship, linking the topic to the book Wonder. These students prepared a slide/video show which engaged students in a dialogue about what kindness looks and feels like. The presentation ended with a worksheet where students had to identify various personal traits and characteristics they possess. We were so thrilled with the insightful answers and discussions that we are planning another kindness session before the school year ends!


In February of 2018 Grade 5 Mathematicians continued to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to the hundredths, using concrete models, drawings and their understanding of place value. Students continued to explore the many patterns in multiplication as they practiced the multiplication algorithm to fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers. In addition, students discovered patterns when multiplying a number by powers of 10 as well as patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10. Throughout March of 2018 students found whole-number quotients when dividing up to four-digit dividends with two-digit divisors using long division. In the final week of March students applied their understanding of decimals to practice dividing them.

As we begin April with falling snow, students can illustrate division models, display their calculations by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models, as well as check their solutions with the inverse operation of multiplication. In addition, students began dividing unit fractions by whole numbers along with dividing whole numbers by unit fractions, as they solve more rigorous multi-step math problems.


Tenth Annual Geography Fair

Once again I would like to thank all the parents, family members and friends who came out for our 10th running of our “World Famous Westbrook Middle School Geography Fair!” However, I think most of the thanks goes to all of the 6th graders who participated in this great event. Their displays, attitude and enjoyment of the night is really what made it such a huge success this year!! I hope everyone who came out learned something about a new nation around the world and enjoyed the evening as much as I did!

Thank you again,

Mr. Garrity

Peer Edit: “Students Helping Students”

The day before the Geography fair, students brought their boards down to the library for a peer edit before the big night. Students are given a questionnaire for each board they visit and are looking for any last minute adjustments, improvements or changes that could be made. They also are asked to compliment something about each board they visit. This allows students to have several people give them feedback on their projects before the DREADED grading process happens.


In Mrs. Wengefeld’s language arts class students worked in small groups to rescue Martin Luther King Jr. from Jail. This was a culminating activity, after reading historical fictions novels, surrounding the civil rights movement. Breakout is an academically focused escape room. Players used teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked box.
Break Out EDU

Grade 7

Science: Students have begun their Life Science unit, with the first lessons focusing on cell structures, diffusion and osmosis, photosynthesis and cellular respiration. They are completing a lab about osmosis, using eggs and various liquids to measure the egg’s circumference, volume and mass. Changes to these are indicators of osmosis. Each student will write a report analyzing their data. Once we’ve completed these lessons, we will begin studying human body systems, including skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular and nervous systems.

Language Arts: Students successfully wrapped up their non-fiction book clubs in March, with an emphasis on identifying text features, text structures, and facts vs. opinions. We are now in our Argumentative Writing unit, using our non-fiction book club texts as a source for topics and evidence. After April break, we will begin our Poetry Unit, as well as a review for SBAC

Math: Students applied their knowledge of percents to determine mark-ups, discounts, profits, gratuities, tax, and total cost. The students studied price fluctuations (multi-step increase, decrease) and learned that if an item is marked 50% off and there is an additional 50% off, the item is NOT free. Our next unit of study is two and three-dimensional geometry.

Social Studies: In seventh grade we have been learning about early American leaders and their contributions to the newly formed United States of America. Beginning with George Washington, we studied precedents our first President set, and how his warnings regarding political parties and forming permanent foreign alliances were not heeded by subsequent leaders. We briefly looked at John Adams’ presidency as well as the rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Next, we studied some of the successes of Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, including the Louisiana Purchase and the Corps of Discovery Expedition. Students spent time composing a historical letter, song, poem, or movie review to commemorate the Lewis & Clark Expedition, with a focus on the contributions that Sacagawea made during this journey. We then examined Jefferson’s second term which led to problems with foreign policy and trade, causing the War of 1812, sometimes known as “The Forgotten War”. Our next unit of study will be on Westward Expansion, with a focus on the Indian Removal Act during Andrew Jackson’s time in office.

Grade 8

1,100 Books and Counting

Since last June, our 65 8th graders have read over 1,100 books. That’s an average of 17 books per student! Students have been tracking their personal reading data and determining their average number of pages read per night. All students are using this information to set goals for themselves and many of the students are striving to to read 20, 30, 40, and even 50+ books this year! We have been carving out time for 8th graders to read daily and have filled our classroom library with a robust array of high-interest texts. Every week we are discussing our reading lives and the importance of making reading a habit. We use a mix of engaging read alouds, book talks, and audiobooks to engage students in powerful stories. Ask an 8th grader about their reading life and book recommendations.



Family and Consumer Science Club

The Family and Consumer Science club continues to honor students who have been recognized as a Student of the Month by hosting several breakfasts each year. The next meeting will be on April 24. Students in all grades are welcome and encouraged to join.


The 2017-2018 WMS yearbook is on sale for $22 until May 23rd. Additional order forms are available in the middle school office. Here is a sneak peek at the cover design by eighth grade student, Emma Demers. If you have any clear pictures from sporting events or concerts, please email them to

Link to buy a yearbook:

Student Council

The month of March had the WMS Student Council focused on two great initiatives!

On Friday, March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the student council celebrated Read Across America Day by collecting gently used books and $1.00 donations to get books to those in need. English classes spent time cozying up in our jammies with great books. The book donations will be distributed to local organizations that get books into the hands of children. Monetary donations were used to buy children’s board books that are going to go into care packages for babies born in Westbrook. The student council will be working on assembling these reading care packages at our next meeting.

Our second initiative was spearheaded by Evan Migdole, our student council president. Evan had the idea to support the Valley Shoreline Animal Welfare League. He brought in donation bins and students and teachers across the school brought in an impressive array of cleaning supplies, pet food, kitty litter, and animal treats. The student council is so grateful for the support our staff and students have shown in our efforts to give back to the community.

Next month, the student council will be working to plan our May dance with the help of 7th graders, Brooke Milburne and Ava Ciarcia, who would like to raise money and awareness for a charitable organization in Mexico that is close to their hearts.