WMS Community Bulletin 3-25-20

EXCELLENCE*EQUITY*COMMUNITY

Watertown Middle School 2019-2020

Hello Watertown Middle School Community,


I hope this update finds you and your family, both near and far, healthy and well. I am thankful for the technology that allows us all to connect on a regular and more personal basis through Facetime, Zoom, etc. I know I'm old, but I'm sure some of you remember the days before social media, and when long-distance calls were very expensive! I am also so thankful for everyone continuing to work for the communities: first responders, doctors, nurses, all personnel in hospitals, grocery store and pharmacy workers, restaurant workers, custodians, trash collectors and factory workers. Please forgive me if I am leaving someone out, but I appreciate the risks they take at work each day to take care of our health, safety and basic needs! I would also like to thank Nurse Michelle and Ms. Lewis for many of the images in this bulletin, and I will have more in the future from our guidance counselors and social workers!


WMS International Cookbook Information


Social Distancing

We need to follow Governor Baker's "stay at home" order and continue to practice social distancing. It is crucial in helping to "flatten the curve" and slow the spread of the virus. I am sure it is challenging to keep your teens from gathering in face-to-face groups of friends, but it is critical that we do so. Routines will help you to achieve this more easily, and you can see sample ways to do that on the same Extended Learning Opportunities website. I know some teachers have been suggesting routines to your students as well.


We will get through this together as a Watertown Middle School Community who is part of the amazing Watertown Community as a whole. Please do not hesitate to reach out - we are here to help.


Take good care of each other,

All my best,


Donna

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Remote Learning Updates

I will start this update with some thank yous as well. Thank you to all of the teachers, IAs, admin. assistants, custodians/maintenance, food service workers, nurses, IT dept., administrators and other school personnel who have been working together diligently to put together learning and technology support and food support, etc. for all of our students and families! Such a wonderful team effort! Thank you also to students, parents, and guardians for working with us as we learn this "new normal"! There have been and will continue to be highs and lows for all of us, but it is comforting to know we have each other and will persevere and be successful as a WMS community!


We are halfway through our first week of remote learning, and I would say we ALL have been learning a great deal about how to best communicate and work together in this new situation. As a school and a district, we have been having many discussions and ZOOM meetings to determine what will be most effective for students and families during this time, and it is an evolving process. Here are some important facts for all students and families to know, and more will be coming:


  • Students should be checking their email every day for updates
  • HR teachers sent out an initial email to all students. If you have not responded, please do.
  • Students should be checking their Google Classroom sites daily as well. Please respond to your teachers. Just like exercise keeps our bodies healthy, learning keeps our brains healthy and growing!
  • Clusters are working together to streamline their suggested work so that it is easily accessible to parents as well as students. I will send more information about this by the end of the week.
  • Not all teachers' and/or clusters' guidelines will look exactly the same. If you have a particular question for a teacher, please email.
  • If you have any concerns about your child, please reach out to their guidance counselor.
  • Ashley Cohen, grade 6, ashley.cohen@watertown.k12.ma.us
  • Amanda Skypeck, grade 7, amanda.skypeck@watertown.k12.ma.us
  • Tom Cloherty, grade 8, thomas.cloherty@watertown.k12.ma.us

Community Meetings and Expectations

Many teachers and students have started meeting on ZOOM or Google Hangouts/Meet for face to face Community Meetings, and it has been great to "see" each other and re-connect and catch up with each other. :) However, there are certain expectations we have for these meetings. The teachers have conveyed them to the students, but we ask that you please reinforce them with your child(ren).

  • Please follow school dress code (no pajamas)

  • School appropriate language and behavior

  • Respect each other during the meeting

  • Students (and teachers) have the option to turn off their video if they are more comfortable participating that way

  • This is a fun way to re-connect, but we also need to keep it school/professional. Everyone should be sitting up as we would in a classroom. It is possible to change the background of the video if you would rather no one sees your location. (side note: my daughter is doing remote learning for her college now, and she hasn't quite unpacked yet... so she put a background in so that her classmates did not have to see the state of her room behind her desk...) :)

  • Should anything inappropriate occur during the Community Meetings, the teacher will report the behavior to Mr. Del Porto or me, and parents/guardians will be contacted. The incident will be recorded just as if we were in school.


If you have any questions, please reach out to your child's teacher or me. If you have technology issues or questions, please reach out to Mr. Del Porto at jason.delporto@watertown.k12.ma.us

Physical Education (PE) and Health Classes Information

Looking for information from Health and PE? All information will be posted on Google Classroom. We will provide weekly learning and enrichment activities for you to participate in while away from class. If you discover your child(ren) are not in a Health and/or Physical Education Google Classroom yet please join using the codes below.


Health Education Class Code: 5laucot

Ms. McLaughlin- Physical Education Class Code: mf3lwnf

Mr. Johnson- Physical Education Class Code: qrdd4ra

Google Classroom Codes for Art and Grade 8 Drama

Class: Code: Teacher:

Drama Grade 8. qo7vngv Laurie Ellington


8th Grade Art zp7hi7w Karen Stern


7th Grade Art kvg3nsk Karen Stern


6th Grade Art pbwbypp Karen Stern


Advanced Art worejy6 Karen Stern


(my apologies for the formatting!)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources

The SEL section of the WPS Extended Learning Opportunities website is up and running, and it is fantastic! Check it out here: WPS Social Emotional Learning Resources

Updates from Ms. Maroni-Wagner in the WMS Library

The direct webpage address for the WMS Extended Learning Library resources is https://bit.ly/wmslibextend and is also linked at the top of my Library website.


On the page are instructions and tutorials for the following platforms:

  • How to borrow eBooks and audiobooks from the Watertown Middle School digital collection (Destiny Discover)
  • How to search, browse and borrow eBooks and audiobooks from the MLS Commonwealth eBook Collection (Sora)
  • How to search, browse and borrow from the WFPL digital collection (Overdrive). As Rashmi emailed earlier, the WFPL has expanded their collection recently.
  • How to search, browse and borrow from Hoopla


Students only need their school email & address to borrow from Destiny Discover and Sora. Students need a library card to use Overdrive or Hoopla. All these platforms are accessible via web browser, but also have apps for tablets and phones.


Great news- ALL MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS can sign up for a Boston Public Library eCard online, and can use Overdrive, Hoopla and much more! To get a BPL eCard, visit bpl.org/ecard. This information is also posted on my webpage, and I created a tutorial on how to get a BPL eCard, sign up for the WFPL digital collection, and sign up for Hoopla (linked on the webpage).


These resources are a starting point. Stay tuned for info on book clubs, author read-alouds, summer reading updates, and more.

Watertown Library Updates - Let's all get Reading!!

Many of you have asked how to help...

One important way to help is by donating to the WATERTOWN FOOD PANTRY.


The Watertown Council on Aging administers the Watertown Food Pantry, which provides food assistance to any Watertown resident in need.


LOCATION: The Food Pantry is located at the rear of the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church at 80 Mt. Auburn Street. The entrance to the Food Pantry is around the left corner of the church (formerly St. John's) from the parking lot at the side of the building, basement level. Look for the Watertown Food Pantry signs.


DAYS and HOURS: The food pantry has changed their days and hours due to COVID-19. They are only open Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm until further notice. This is a link to the town website with the information.


https://www.watertown-ma.gov/250/Watertown-Food-Pantry


CONTACT: Call the Council on Aging/Senior Center at 617-972-6490 for more information, to volunteer, and to donate.

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Dr. Galdston's Update 3-24-20

Here is the information that Dr. Galdston sent out last night:


Good evening WPS families, faculty, and staff:

During this extraordinary time we find ourselves in, I want you to know how much we all appreciate your compassion and patience as we join together in support of the children. As we settle into this new virtual educational reality, I want to share a few updates and reminders with you.


Elementary and Middle School Conferences

The elementary and middle school conferences that were scheduled to begin tomorrow are postponed with new dates to be determined. Our staff are currently engaged in learning how best to work in an online environment and therefore are not able to provide feedback to parents/guardians about student performance at this time. When we return to school, we will reschedule our conferences and look forward to these important opportunities for partnering together on your child(ren)’s education.


School Nutrition

Our wonderful School Nutrition Department is providing breakfast and lunch for all families who need this support. Please stop by the High School faculty parking lot off of Broadway Street between the hours of 11 am to 1 pm to pick up the meals. All we are asking for is your name and the number of lunches your family needs. Currently, we are providing meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you are not able to pick up these meals, but could use them, please email lunch_line@watertown.k12.ma.us. I am most grateful for our school nutrition workers and custodians who are keeping this operation open during the closure!


Extended Learning Opportunity Website

As a reminder, the WPS Curriculum Team has created a helpful and extensive Extended Learning Opportunity Webpage for your use during the closure, which includes grade-level specific resources, digital learning opportunities and social/emotional learning resources, all of which can be accomplished at home. This webpage is intended to be a guide that you can adjust to meet the needs of your family as you support your child or teen in balancing on-screen and off-screen tasks while they are out of school, and is supplemental to what our teachers are providing students in their communications. Our goal is to enrich and reinforce learning, and to support you as you are home with your children. If you need a device for your child to access the online resources, please email your principal this week.


Community Meetings

Beginning this week, our teachers will hold Community Meetings in an effort to reach as many of our students as possible. Not only are the Community Meetings a great way for teachers to check-in with your children, but it also allows us to continue to narrow down the number of students who may not be able to connect, which is critical to our success with remote learning activities. Community Meetings will offer our students a chance to reconnect and be social with each other with our staff there to facilitate the conversation. We will be using Zoom and Google Classroom or Google Hangouts for the meetings, and teachers will send out information about the meetings via email. If your teacher uses Zoom, these meetings are live and will not be recorded. Teachers will provide guidelines and norms for the Community Meeting and we ask that you please have a conversation with your child over appropriate behavior during these group meetings.


As always, I will update the community as soon as we have any information to share from the Commissioner of Education.


With great appreciation,

Dede Galdston

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