WMS / PTO Newsletter
March 13, 2017  

Message from Principal Gavron

Dear Families,

Last month I found myself sitting at a Wayland Middle school basketball game surrounded by WMS students who had come out to support the team.  Throughout the game, I was struck by the mesmerizing pull students’ phones had on them even though they were at an exciting game surrounded by friends.  They would look up from the devices occasionally, see a play, and cheer on a classmate, but the primary focus was definitely the phone.  I was taken aback by how how they were opting for the cyber-world over the physical world.  It caused me to think about my own phone use and what the experts recommend for teen cell phone use.

I am well aware of the ways the smart phone has changed my life.  I have grown reliant upon it.  It is my window into my calendar, my email, the news, the weather, driving directions, as well as staying in touch with colleagues, family, and friends.  As an adult I have found the need to consciously limit my own phone use, however, such as no phone time during dinner, when I am visiting with friends or family, or when going to bed at night.  These parameters help me seek balance in my life and model healthy use for my children.  For many students middle school is the time when they get their first cell phones.  For some students their first phone is a smart phone, which gives them unfettered access to the worldwide web and all the wonderful and terrible things it holds.  Like me, students quickly come to depend upon the devices, which can preoccupy their attention. Students are less able than adults, however, to independently impose limits on their usage. The social pressure that is created by phones and unlimited access and overuse can add to stress, anxiety and interference with sleep.  It is important for parents to know how their children are using cell phones and have clear rules, limits and monitoring structures in place around them.

Why is it so hard for students to put down a cell phone? How can they be glued to it when surrounded by friends and an exciting ball game? In her article entitled “Teens Sleeping with Cell Phones: A Clear and Present Danger,” Dr. Suzanne Phillips explains, “Neuro-imaging has shown that back and forth texting floods the pleasure centers of the brain, the same area that lights up when using heroin. The emotional disruption of a real or perceived negative response, however, necessitates more texting to repair the mood, to fix the feelings of rejection, blame and disconnection.” Given the impact on the brain’s pleasure-center, one is able to see how addictive the texting exchange can become and can even trump in-person interactions.

When school counselors, administrators and I consult with Dr. Mark Kline of HRS (Human Resources Service), who specializes in teen technology addiction, we discuss issues that stem from teens having 24/7 access to cell phones.  We consider the phenomena of cell phones exacerbating an over-stimulating middle school environment.   The social demands of friendship at this age are overwhelming and concurrently romantic interests begin to preoccupy the minds of many students.  A couple of periods spent observing the lunchroom and one can see this reality first hand.  With the advent of unlimited cell phone access (outside of school hours), there is often no down time from the social pressure.  Peers expect texts to be answered in real time and instagram postings to be commented upon.  Dr. Phillips notes, “At an age when self-esteem hinges on peer acceptance, being caught in the demands of always being available is difficult.  Many teens report stories of friends getting insulted, angry or upset if a text message or phone call is not responded to immediately.”  That is an incredible amount of pressure for students to bear.  It can lead to heightened anxiety and interrupted sleep.

When Mr. Benzie or I receive reports of students’ worrisome online behavior, more often than not we find that the time stamp of mean or inappropriate posting has been made via cell phone in the wee hours of the night - even on school nights.  The ever-present cell phone prevents much needed sleep and allows students to make impulsive decisions that have significant consequences.  Once it is posted, it never truly can disappear.  Limiting access to the cell phones can prevent reckless decisions and texts and literally keep students out of trouble.  Additionally, nighttime is often a time when teens feel most vulnerable.  A sad, lonely child may express unhappiness through a text that can cause a friend to worry about his or her safety.  We’d rather have a student who is truly in pain wake up a parent to get help rather than reach out to an unequipped friend who is then left with incredible worry.  The sleep deprivation leaves all parties anxious and exhausted.

Believe it or not, teens frequently experience relief when parents impose limits on cell phone time.  Dr. Gail Gross explains in her blog post entitled, “Teens and Technology: Managing Cell Phone Usage,” that “studies show that kids actually like having times set by parents because it also gives them a socially acceptable ‘out’ from having to be tethered to their phones for their friends 24/7.”  A break from the phone is critical.  Dr. Suzanne Phillips notes, “Research has found that major cross sections of the brain become surprisingly active during downtime. Private time without stimulation allows the brain to synthesize information, make connections between ideas and foster development of a personal self.”  If we want students to grow and learn in healthy ways,  they need cell phone-free time.  They also need uninterrupted sleep to recharge, which a buzzing cell phone just doesn’t allow.

I do not bring my phone to my bedroom, but leave it charging in my office, knowing that in the event of a real emergency I will get a call on my landline.  If I, as an adult, need that physical distance to prevent interruption to my sleep, teens need it too.  If you are going to provide your child with a cell phone, just like we asked you to create a chromebook family contract to govern use, we encourage you to set up explicit rules around cell phone use.  Don’t be afraid to impose limits, rules, and monitoring expectations.  In doing so you will give your kids the gift of down time from social pressures and a good night’s sleep.  Don’t expect a “thank you,” but know that you are doing your child an important service.

If you are interested in discussing these and other technology-based conundrums further, I invite you and your middle schooler to join me in attending the community viewing of the documentary Screenagers in the High School auditorium Thursday, March 30th at 7:00 as the PTO sponsors this showing and a subsequent discussion facilitated by Dr. Mark Kline of HRS. To register, send your name, the number of attendees in your party, and a contact email address to WaylandMiddleSchoolPTO@gmail.com.  It is sure to be an important and valuable conversation.


Betsy Gavron

You can find more resources at common sense media at commonsenmedia.org

WMS News
Staffing Change

We wanted to let you know that we have had a staffing change at WMS. Melissa Ansley will be taking over a teaching assistant position from Matt DeCarlo. Ms. Ansley recently served as long-term substitute science teacher and we welcome her back to the WMS team. Mr. DeCarlo also taught one math class which will now be taught by Rebecca Poulo, Math Coach, Math Curriculum Leader, and Algebra teacher here at WMS.
Thank you. 
For Parents/Guardians of 6th Graders
World Language Selection
Due by March 16 at 7:00 PM
We hope that after an exciting World Language week your students came home ready to share their ideas about their language choices for next year! Please discuss their choices with them and fill out the online form found HERE by March 16, 2017. Thank you!
For Parents/Guardians of 8th Graders
8th Grade Parent Night at WHS
March 15 at 7:00 PM
An 8th grade parent meeting will be held to go over 9th grade course selection. For more information on the Parent Course Recommendation Timeline, click  HERE . 
The not-quite-dead overrun Wayland Middle School in this year's Spring Musical


written and composed by our very own choral director, Dr. Stephen Murray.

It's the late 1960s, school's out for the summer, and the teenagers of Ocean View High are ready to surf, sun, and have some fun.  Their favorite hangout is Barnacle Betty's Beach Club, adjacent to the nuclear power plant owned and operated by the evil Ivana Ratnick.  But, oops!  Cindy Sue, the head cheerleader, accidentally gets some nuclear slime on her hot dog instead of pickle relish, and soon the beach is swarming with pom-pom wielding zombies!  The school football players, nerds, hippies, and the local biker gang rally to stop Ivana and the atomic attackers and save the world!

Staffer Tom Large directs,
with choreography by Klara Sands and art direction by Peter Curran.

Performances of  POM POM ZOMBIES will be given at:
Wayland Middle School Theater 
201 Main Street
Wayland, MA
at the following dates and times:

Wednesday, March 22 at 2 pm
Thursday  March 23 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 24  at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 25 at 12:30 pm

Tickets are $5.00 for students and $10.00 for adults. 
Tickets may be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to show time. 
There is no advanced sale or reserved seating. 
Senior Citizen admission is free for the  Wednesday  matinee at  2 pm .
Students Participate in National Mathematics Competition

Back in November, students at Wayland Middle School participated in the American Mathematics Contest 8 (AMC 8). This is the entry-level contest in the American Mathematics Competitions program administered by the Mathematical Association of America, a group composed primarily of university mathematicians from around the country.

Ten students scored high enough in the contest to place in the top 5% of middle school math students nationwide and were invited to continue on to the next level of competition.  Congratulations to the following students for their participation in the American Mathematics Contest AMC 10B last month. The AMC 10 contests are for students in grade 10 or below. 
Lucas Alvarado (8th grade)
Jonathan Chung (8th grade)    
Simon Goode (8th grade)
Hannah Han (7th grade)
Eugene Jiang (8th grade)
June Kim (7th grade).
Mingle Li (8th grade)
Andrew Zhao (7th grade)
Kevin Zhao (7th grade)
Elizabeth Zhong (8th grade)
  Special congratulations go to Eugene Jiang for being the school winner, and to Eugene and Kevin Zhao who are the recipients of the AMC 10 Young Student Certificate of Achievement.  This certificate is awarded to students in grade 8 and below who score a 90 or above on the AMC 10.  
Students impress in Annual Science Olympiad!

The WMS Science Olympiad team once again had an impressive showing at this year’s state meet.  We earned 4th place out of 30 participating middle schools during the annual Science Olympiad tournament on March 4th at Assumption College!

The team members included 8th graders Areeb Ahmed, Lara Bencsics, Kristen Bestavros, Jet Chung, Ryan Lee, Mingle Li, Nicholas Lien, Zach Marto, Jack McCahan, Ryan Murdock,  Atharva Weling, Jiming Xu, Aiden Zhang, Allen Zou;

7th graders Misha Boyko, Donovan Edwards, Ryan Fennelly, Kevin Luo, Jason Shu, Seabert Wang, Jonathan Zhang, Andrew Zhao, Kevin Zhao, and Ashley Zhu;

6th graders Cal Harding, Bryn Leonard, Justin Mao, Amelie Martin, Nandhana Nair, Om Paithankar, Anika Shridhar, and Bella Thoen.

Notable awards given to our competitive team members:

1st place (gold medal): Jack McCahan and Ryan Murdock in Meteorology

2nd place (silver medal): Ryan Lee and Jiming Xu in Dynamic Planet

2nd place (silver medal): Lara Bencsics and Donovan Edwards in Microbe Mission       

3rd place (bronze medal): Jet Chung and Jiming Xu in Ecology

4th place ribbon: Lara Bencsics and Jack McCahan in Rocks and Minerals

5th place ribbon: Atharva Weling and Aiden Zhang in Hovercraft

5th place ribbon: Ashley Zhu and Allen Zou in Optics

6th place ribbon: Ryan Murdock and Jiming Xu in Invasive Species

6th place ribbon: Lara Bencsics and Kristen Bestavros in Scrambler

6th place ribbon: Ryan Lee and Atharva Weling in Wright Stuff

Notable awards given to our alternate team members:

2nd place ribbon: Amelie Martin, Nandhana Nair and Bella Thoen in Experimental Design

2nd place ribbon: Amelie Martin, Nandhana Nair and Bella Thoen in Scrambler

2nd place ribbon: Nandhana Nair  and Anika Shridhar in Write It/Do It

Congratulations to all the Olympians for a successful competition!

WMS & the World Language Department
THANKS the PTO Cultural Enrichment Committee!
Students kicked off world language week with world-class entertainment thanks to our PTO! The quartet from The Handel & Haydn Society presented their program "Voices of the World" with music from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. We thank the PTO for bringing this wonderful show to our middle school students and staff! Bravo!
Bus Driver & Crossing Guard Appreciation Breakfast
Middle School Cafeteria
Friday, March 24, 9:00-10:00 am

Join Wayland’s PTO boards as we thank our bus drivers and crossing guards for all that they do to get our students safely to and from where they need to go.  Whether your child walks to school, rides the bus, plays sports, or has enjoyed a field trip on the bus – we couldn’t do it without these folks!  This year the Middle School is hosting the event, and there are three ways that you can help:

●Volunteer to help at the breakfast by donating food, supplies or time on March 24th.  We are using SignUp.com (formerly VolunteerSpot.com).  Visit our link, review the options and choose the spot(s) that you would like: http://signup.com/go/7yG9GG .  You will not need to register an account or keep a password to sign up.

●You or your student can write a personal thank you note to your bus driver or crossing guard.  These can be dropped off in the elementary school offices by the end of the school day on Wednesday, March 22, or can be dropped off/mailed to Amy Simmons at 18 Parkland Drive, Wayland, MA 01778.

●Consider a $10 donation, instead, to help offset the cost of the breakfast and the simple gift bags for each driver/guard.  Please make a check payable to “Wayland PTO” and mail to Amy Simmons, 18 Parkland Drive, Wayland, MA 01778.

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 in the High School Auditorium.  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 suggested $5/family donation will be collected at the door to offset the costs of the event.

To register, send your 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.

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

For Parents/Guardians of 7th Graders from Nurse Nims
Vision and Hearing / BMI Screenings
March 13, 14 & 16

V & H: We will be conducting our annual state mandated  Vision and Hearing Screening for 7th graders only on 3/13, 3/14 and 3/16/17.
Please be sure your child brings or wears any prescription glasses or contact lenses to school on the testing dates above. 
Testing will be held during student study periods on one of the above dates. Only abnormal screening results will be reported in a letter mailed home to parents.  

BMI: Massachusetts schools have measured the heights and weights of students since the 1950’s.  According to the state’s Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening Regulation, passed in April 2009, schools must now collect the heights and weights of students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10 and use that information to calculate BMI.  BMI is a measure that is used to show a person’s “weight for height for age.” Just like a blood pressure reading or an eye screening test, BMI can be a useful tool in identifying possible health risks.
We will be conducting BMI Screening for 7th graders only on 3/13, 3/14, 3/16/17 and all screenings will be performed by a Registered Nurse in a private setting.
To  excuse your child out from any of these screenings, please send me a written note before 3/13 with your child's full name, grade and which screening(s) you are excusing them for this year.  I will be out of my office conducting screenings on these 3 days.

Marcia Nims, RN, BSN

  Artist: Kaitlynn LeBlanc
Grade: 8
Medium: Acrylic on canvas with foil
All Grades
3/22: Spring Musical Pom Pom Zombies @ 2:00 PM
3/23: Spring Musical  Pom Pom Zombies  @ 7:30 PM 
3/24: Spring Musical  Pom Pom Zombies  @ 7:30 PM 
3/25: Spring Musical  Pom Pom Zombies  @ 12:30 PM 
3/30: PTO presents Screenagers @ 7:00 PM at WHS 

6th Grade
3/16 - Henry X-Country Ski Trip - it's on!

8th Grade
3/15: 8th grade Parent Night @ 7:00 PM WHS
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