WMS / PTO Newsletter
February 13, 2017  

Message from Principal Gavron

Dear Families,

Our annual January House Block celebration to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a very special tradition at Wayland Middle School. This year was no exception.  Students shared written, artistic and musical tributes inspired by Dr. King's work that were truly inspirational. In this newsletter, I share with you the remarks I offered our school community as my small part in this wonderful day.

Respectfully,

Betsy Gavron, Principal


Good morning.  A picture is worth 1000 words.  That is the expression that popped into my mind when I laid eyes on the artistic portrayal of Dr. King that Elizabeth Zhong created for today’s assembly. Elizabeth so beautifully captured for me why it is so important to pause from our everyday routine each year to honor and pay tribute to the great man who is our 8th grade house mentor.  Today, we reflect on his work and his character and consider the mark he left on our world. Today we look to King for inspiration and consider the ways in which we might honor his legacy through our own actions of service and the marks we leave behind. 
  Dr. King was an inspirational leader who lived at a time when black men and women were not afforded the same Civil Rights as their white counterparts. In the 1950s and ‘60s, riding buses, lodging in hotels, using public restrooms, and voting were among the everyday activities that were not equally accessible to all citizens of our country.  Unable to accept the discriminatory societal conditions, King united Americans to demand the equality promised in our Constitution.  Racially charged taunts and physical violence were the norm as King and like-minded activists risked their lives to challenge unjust laws and practices through peaceful protest.  In the face of hatred and intolerance, King said, quote, ““Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” King’s life work was to promote love, hope, unity, and freedom in the face of hatred, and he was unwavering as he sought a peaceful means to realize the promise of these ideals to carry our country forward. Elizabeth captured this echoing his words “Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” Kings inner strength and good left a permanent mark on our country long after he left this earth.
 
  Elizabeth’s drawing and King’s famous words led me to think about the visual display in Mr. Curran’s art classroom aside King’s silhouette and the question he challenges us with, “How do we leave our mark?” 
 In Mr. Curran’s art room he teaches you the skills to express your ideas and your creativity through artistic outlets so that you might share with others your imaginative spirit.  Mr. Curran challenges us to recognize that we impact the world and to think deeply about what marks we want to leave behind.  This can feel hard.  At times when I look at the problems facing our world they feel so big and overwhelming – just like when King was alive.  You might ask yourself, “What can I, a sixth, seventh or eighth grader at WMS do to make a difference?”  We all have a sphere of influence, however, and have the power to touch others’ lives. Given that, I encourage you to think about what will you paint on your metaphorical canvas to leave behind? Can you be deliberate in considering the impact you have on our community? Will you ask yourself, “Can I ensure that WMS will be just a little bit better because I have been here?” Today as we remember Dr. King, I ask that you think about his famous words,” “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

  Throughout your middle school journey your teachers provide opportunities for you to make a difference in the world in the hope that you will find value and joy in serving others, and make it a priority in your life.  King’s commitment to service has led the eighth grade team to re-structure how eighth graders spend this day this year.  In addition to further exploring justice and injustice, they have dedicated a significant component of today’s experience for our eighth graders to adding some color to our community as they give back and serve the elementary schools.  Today many eighth graders will visit former teachers and help them out by sitting along side students and reading with them one-on-one, or assisting elementary students in math stations.  Our eighth graders can leave a positive mark by spending time and connecting with younger students in our district. I imagine dinner conversations throughout our community tonight that highlight excited elementary school children describing how the big kids from the middle school came and helped them today. I predict all involved in this enormous act of service will feel enriched by the experience and have positive memories etched in their minds.  Other eighth graders will support our custodial staff to make our middle school a little bit brighter and shinier.  Today is just one of many opportunities to leave a mark. 

  Just last week eighth graders finished their reading of Bruiser with an empathy walk, which ultimately brought hundreds and hundreds of food items to our local food bank at Parmenter.  Back in December, eighth graders engaged in a house block of service involving a diverse range of projects based on student interest.  Assembly lines requiring coordinated teamwork resulted in 250 “carewiches” that we provided to the Salvation Army in Framingham, feeding hungry citizens who may have fallen on hard times. Homerooms tapped into their culinary skills cooking ten home made meals, which included crockpots full of stew, cornbread, and brownies for local families in need of assistance.  Many students looked to brighten the days of soldiers serving over-seas to protect our freedoms, by writing them letters of thanks for their service.  Other groups wove bracelets to sell to benefit Room to Read, which provides access to books for students without them overseas. We are well on our way to reaching our $7000 goal to build a library in a developing country.  Some students reached out and connected with older members of our community playing BINGO and talking with residents who visited from Sunrise Assisted Living.  As students marveled at the stories of their lives, the delight was clearly mutual.    Other 8th graders served our school by sharing their artistic creativity; transforming the 8th grade area into a decorative winter wonderland. 

  While today I have spotlighted some of the 8th grade specific projects, acts of service like these are echoed in 6th and 7th grades as well through efforts of the holiday helpers, GSA club, LARKERS, Wayland Cares, gardening club, and community service club that engages in projects such as gathering supplies for buddy dog or running sports clinics for elementary students. School-wide we commit to composting and recycling, collecting candy for troops, and food drive. In the big picture, we hope that through our work with you in clubs, classes and grade level activities we inspire an ethic of service as global citizens. Our wish is that you will make a habit of finding ways to leave your positive mark today, tomorrow and well into your future. We want you to see your capacity to affect positive change.  As King suggests, we invest the time and energy in empowering you to do real good in our world and experience the satisfaction of doing so.  Through these efforts we grow both students’ minds and hearts, nurturing an ethic to help others and take responsibility for bettering their world.   

  These powerful acts of service are the obvious work.  These are the big outreaches where the conditions are provided to improve the community and leave marks of beauty.  To really dig deeper, accept King’s challenge, and answer his question “What are you doing for others?,” we need to think about our daily commitment to this work.  How do we leave our mark quietly, day in and day out? I recently ready a book Ms. Galvani recommended to me entitled, The Summer I Saved the World . . . in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz. In it thirteen year old Nina Ross, who is feeling a little adrift, stumbles onto a personal challenge to determine whether or not anonymously doing one small but remarkable good thing each day for someone in her neighborhood makes a difference in her community.  Planting flowers, baking brownies, and sewing a torn superhero cape shifts the energy in her world. Without being a spoiler I encourage you to see how she creates a new landscape for her community, touching lives and strengthening personal connections.  Imagine how amazing our school could be if we all embraced Nina’s quiet challenge. 

  We all have choices to make every week, every day, every hour.  What mark will I leave on my canvas? How do I treat the people around me?   Will I use my brush to build someone up or cut someone down? Can I commit to knowing someone more deeply, by being curious about her humanity? Will I take the time to see a classmate for who he is and get to know his story? Who is the real girl sitting beside me in English class or the boy who I share my music stand with in band?  What makes him tick? What do my classmates hope for? What do they dream about? What are they afraid of?  How do they celebrate the joys in their life?  What would MLK want to know? What would Nina Ross do? What will I do?  How will my interactions with the people in my community mark their world?  Will I be remembered with a smile because the picture I painted with my palette made their world just a little bit brighter? How can I leave the world a little better today for my having been here?

  Like Elizabeth sharing her artistic portrayal of King to introduce this assembly, several eighth grade students will leave their mark on this assembly today through their written words to honor, poetry to inspire, or their song and art to touch your heart. Today they put themselves out there to share their hard work and talents with you and leave Wayland Middle School just a little bit better because they were there.  As we pause to continue to honor Dr. King’s legacy, think about how you too can commit to leaving WMS and the people in it just a little bit better because of you. Thank you.
This week at WMS
String Jamboree
WHS Field House
7:30 PM
Band Fest
WHS Field House
7:30 PM
For Parents of 7th Graders
Paperwork for Cape Cod Trip Due: 2/17/17
Permission Slips were given to students on Friday, February 10th. Please make sure these are filled out and returned to the students homeroom teacher by this Friday, February 17, 2017. Thank you!
Reminders From the Office
Morning Drop-off in Winter and Inclement Weather
It's very important that parents who drop their student(s) by car use the overflow lot in the morning and afternoon. During the inclement weather traffic can get backed u on Route 27. Please help to keep the traffic on Main Street moving. Click here for Traffic Procedures. Thank you!
Lost and Found
February 14 - 17, WMS Front Lobby
Lost and Found Items will be in the front lobby for this week before winter vacation. Please encourage your student to look for their misplaced items. Items left unclaimed will be donated to the PTO's Green Team as is our custom at the start of each vacation. 
PTO

Screenagers Registration Info!
The PTO is excited to be sponsoring a screening and discussion of Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age on Thursday, March 30, at 7:00 pm.  There will not be a daytime screening for students – we suggest that parents/guardians and their students attend the evening event together.  This is NOT a drop-off event, and parents are asked to sit with their students.  The post-screening discussion will be moderated by Dr. Mark Kline, the Clinical Director of Human Relations Service in Wellesley.  A $5/family donation is suggested.

To Register:
Registration is now open for Wayland Middle School families.  To register, email your name, your student’s name, the number of attendees in your party, and a contact email address to WaylandMiddleSchoolPTO@gmail.com.  We will respond with a confirmation that we have received your request.

For non-WMS attendees, please follow the same instructions, and we will begin a first come, first served waitlist.  On March 1, we will fill in available spaces from the waitlist (in the order they were received), and registration will then be open to the general public until the screening. 

Please contact us at WaylandMiddleSchoolPTO@gmail.com with any questions, and check out the movie trailer here: Screenagers Trailer.

ARTIST of the WEEK
Artist: Alisa Melnikova
Grade: 8  
Medium: Pencil & Colored Pencil

Alisa designed a "Google Doodle"
in the style of author & illustrator, Shaun Tan, in his book The Arrival

UPCOMING EVENTS
All Grades
2/13: String Jamboree @ WHS Field House 7:30 PM
2/16: BandFest @ WHS Field House 7:30 PM
2/17: Winter Recess begins @ 2:20 PM
2/27: Classes resume

6th Grade
2/13:  Henry Ski Trip - POSTPONED. New date after vacation.
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