WMS / PTO Newsletter
November 7, 2016

Message from Principal Gavron

“School should not reflect what society is, but rather school should model what society should be.“ 

- Dr. Lorraine Monroe from her book Nothing’s Impossible

I frequently find myself mulling over Dr. Lorraine Munroe’s words of wisdom that you read above, particularly during this election season.  I think about her words as I consider how we use BERT to make explicit the very high bar we set in our learning community to define what we expect of students in order to create a safe learning environment. We aim for

  • Belonging - Students feel important and valued as members of their TAG groups as well as the larger middle school community.
  • Empathy – Students develop a capacity to understand and be affected by other people’s feelings.
  • Respect – Participants recognize similarities and embrace differences among members of the group.
  • Trust – Students feel safe to be themselves and express their opinions and perspectives.

These ideals are hard to achieve yet worthy of pursuit.  There are many outside forces pressing against them that can undermine our efforts.  Students live in a world in which they are bombarded by images and sounds from pop culture that run contrary to our norms.  Sitcoms, movies, and music are rife with racist and misogynistic humor and lyrics that some students want to try out.  Violence is chronicled throughout the world in the news, daily, modeling how differences can lead to hate. Even our political leaders struggle to engage in respectful discourse and regularly resort to the type of name-calling that would land a student in the office.  This may lead some to wonder why we expect more of our young adolescents.  Are our students capable of the kindness we demand?  We know their frontal cortexes are not fully developed.  We know they are struggling to work through issues of identity. We know that developmentally they are exploring how to have and use power.  Yet we don’t deviate from pursuing our ideal. We expect our students will make mistakes and miss the mark from time to time, and we use these as teachable moments and hold students accountable when language and actions are hurtful.  For it is when BERT is in place that students can feel truly safe in their learning environment.  As we know from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, physical and emotional safety is essential for students to take risks to learn and achieve at high levels. While laws against harassment and bullying guide us legally, it is the educational imperative about what is necessary for healthy learning to occur that keeps us teaching and aspiring towards BERT.

As political rhetoric amped up over the summer we knew coming into this election season that traversing the political landscape could be tricky. We knew students may have strong feelings about one or both of the major party candidates running for our country’s highest office.  So, we needed a framework that reflected BERT and our ideals to guide us in engaging in constructive, respectful dialogue.  Jake Montwieler, our Social Studies Curriculum Leader, offered out to staff the following definition of civility that has helped us frame our teaching and inform our conversations.

 “Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored.  And civility begins with us.”      
                                                                                                                                                                    - Institute for Civility in Government

We’ve relied upon this concept of civility at all grade levels to help us maintain a respectful atmosphere of curiosity and learning. We’ve considered a multitude of aspects of the presidential process at increasingly complex levels in higher grades. Students have learned what the electoral college is and how it works.  We have discussed the job of a delegate.  We have explored key ideological differences between Republican and Democratic platforms.  For example, how does the tension and between “personal freedom” and “group safety” influence political parties.  We have discussed some of the factors that shape one’s individual political ideologies – upbringing, culture, religion, ethnicity, media choices.  And the list goes on.  The process of electing a president is exciting to think about, and regardless of deep divides in political differences, the opportunity to cast a vote and have a say in electing political leaders to our country’s highest office is such a privilege and responsibility of citizenship that we can all find common ground around. 

I hope as you head to the polls you will discuss with your student(s) the issues that drive your decision-making and share with them how through casting your vote you aim to create the society in which you want to live.  We are excited to hold our mock election tomorrow, mirroring our national process and see who WMS students would choose as their next president.


Betsy Gavron

Picture Re-Take Day
Wednesday, November 9th
To have a picture re-take, students need to bring in their original photo packages in order to have the same package re-printed.  Anyone who didn't have a picture taken last month can obtain order forms in the office. There is no obligation to order prints - everyone can have a photo taken to be included in the yearbook.  
Boston Parent Meeting
November 7 th,  7:00 - 9:00 PM
Boston Parents are invited to meeting on Monday, November 7th at the Boston Police Headquarters, One Schroeder Plaza. There will be refreshments at  7:00 , followed by: 
  • Presentation of UNITED Goals by Dr. Paul Stein, Superintendent
  • Presentation of School Start Times by Kim Reichelt, School Committee
  • Activity for All – Facilitated by Brian Jones, Loker Principal
  • Report Out/Discussion
A School Committee meeting will follow. We look forward to seeing our Boston Parents there!

AFS Project Change

What change would YOU make in the world? If you're in grades 8-12, tell us your idea and you could win a full scholarship to go abroad. 

  • AFS Project Change – January 17 Deadline
    Students share their idea for a volunteer project that could have a meaningful impact abroad to address a major global issue. If their idea is chosen, they will receive a full scholarship to spend two weeks abroad with AFS making their vision come to life. All U.S. 8th to 12th grade students are eligible to enter via essay or video.  Nine additional winners will join the winning program.   

Enter Project: Change today!  http://bit.ly/2cx6Zhn

Visit afsusa.org for more study abroad opportunities.  


On MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14 from 2:30 - 4 pm,
will be held in the theater. 

All interested 6th, 7th & 8th grade students are welcome to attend!
This year's All-School Musical is...

At the first rehearsals, students will learn everything you need to know about the musical.
They will also sing songs and read scenes from the play to prepare for auditions!
The first three rehearsals dates are:
Monday, November 14 until 4 pm
Friday, November 18 until 4 pm
Tuesday, November 22 until 4 pm
The Musical Performance dates are:
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
For more information, contact:
Mr. Large (Director/Producer) thomas_large@wayland.k12.ma.us
Mr. Murray (Music Director/Author) stephen_murray@wayland.k12.ma.us
Rewards Program up and Running!
Our Stop & Shop rewards program has raised $639.23 from October 7th - 31st! Wow! Thank you for using this program to help WMS. If you haven't joined, please consider it - we have until March to earn cash for our school!                        A+rewards   
Reminder From the Office
Homeroom starts at 7:35. All students are expected to be present in homeroom at that time. Students miss announcements, team building and a smooth transition to their academic day when they are late. Please make every effort to have your student arrive on time. 


Gift Your Child

The PTO has now raised over 77% of our $15,000 fundraising goal for this year.  Help us reach our goal!  Visit the WMS PTO on Facebook to see some of last year’s grants in action around school.  Remember, this year the PTO will not be asking you to pay dues or to sell gift wrap or cookie dough – we instead ask that you Gift Your Child.  100% of your donation is tax deductible and eligible for matching gift donations, and every dollar directly supports the PTO’s many programs at WMS.  Donate today after registering at MySchoolAnywhere (the new online directory) or at http://waylandpto.org/middle-school-pto/donations-and-purchases/.  You can also mail a check (made out to “Wayland PTO”) to Wayland Middle School PTO, 201 Main Street, Wayland, MA 01778.  The suggested donation is $100 per middle school student.  

PTO’s Green Team Textile Recycling

Have you noticed the Clothing and Shoes donation box along the drop-off/pick-up line at the Middle School?  Wayland’s Green Team has partnered with Bay State Textiles to keep recyclable clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, backpacks and linens out of landfills.  It doesn't matter what shape they are in!  As you are cleaning out last year's shoes, boots, clothes, backpacks, etc., please consider bagging them and dropping them off in the bin conveniently located by the softball field and directly in the pick-up/drop-off line. 45% of the content is reused, 30% is turned into wiping cloths, 20% converted to fibers, 5% must be destroyed, and all donations generate funds for the Wayland PTO.  For a complete list of acceptable items for recycling, click here.

My School Anywhere

Be sure to register for the new, online directory at MySchoolAnywhere.com.  This directory will replace the traditional printed version, but directory information will now be parent-driven.  It is an OPT-IN system, and you MUST register to be included.  For directions on how to register, or for additional FAQs, please visit http://waylandpto.org/myschoolanywhere-online-districtwide-family-directory/

  Upcoming Events

Middle & More Coffee
November 21, 8:45 - 9:45 AM in the Library

The next Middle & More will be Monday, November 21st from 8:45-9:45 am in the library.  Betsy Gavron and the 6th Grade House Leaders will join us for a 6th Grade Check-In.  Even if you don’t have a 6th grader, please join us – the discussion is enriched by having parents of all grades involved.  You can find the entire year’s schedule of parent coffees at  http://waylandpto.org/middle-school-pto/middle-and-more-coffees/

PTO Appreciation

Thank you to Rama Ravi for organizing the teacher dinner and ice cream sundaes for 6th Grade Math Night last week, and many thanks to all of the 6th grade parents who donated food, supplies and time to help make the night so fun!

REMINDERS (from previous emails)
It's HERE! The WMS Calendar Fundraiser!
November 4th - December 10th

Last year’s Gift Card  Calendar Fundraiser was a great success and we are hoping to match or exceed the results this year.  Starting this past Friday middle school students received 5 calendars to sell. (We hope you will request more!)  Each  calendar has a suggested donation of $10. Patrons complete the information requested and students return each entry form with the $10. Each form is entered into the  drawing and is eligible to win a gift card EVERY day during the month of January.  Each day a name will be drawn from the entries and the winner will receive a gift card (value $100). The name is then returned to the bin making it eligible for future drawings. Since the gift cards are mailed to the winners and are for national chains, the Gift  Calendar makes a great present for out of town friends/relatives -  easy to send and easy to redeem

You can watch the Gift Card Calendar Fundraiser video prepared for students by WMS teacher Jada Williams:

All money raised by the Gift Card  Calendar Fundraiser is used for grade-wide field trips (to such places as Washington D.C., Cape Cod, NY Caves) that enrich our curriculum and provide learning experiences throughout all three years of middle school. The fact that we make all trips inclusive learning experiences (regardless of a family’s financial need) speaks to important values that make our school community such a special one. The Gift Card  Calendar proceeds enable the school to offer financial assistance to students to help them afford trips that may have been previously cost prohibitive.

This year's $100 gift cards:  Visa, MasterCard, Home Depot, Lowes, iTunes, Amazon, Cheesecake Factory, Sears, Ninety-Nine, TGIF Fridays, Outback, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Macy's, Best Buy, and Kohl's.

Volunteers Needed for The WMS Calendar Fundraiser!
November 7th - December 11th

Daily, we need parent volunteers to count the money and slips from each homeroom. We try to get two to three volunteers for each day and it usually takes (depending on volume) between 60 to 90 minutes to count and tally everything. 

We're using SignUp.com to organize our Calendar Fundraiser volunteers. Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:
  1. Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com: http://signup.com/go/AZ8aX5
  2. Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
  3. Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.
Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.
  Artists: Talia Camiel & Jessica Robinson
Grade: 8
Medium: Found objects, acrylic, plastic, wire, wood, board
Outside View
Inside View
All Grades
11/10: Q1 Ends
11/11: NO SCHOOL - Veteran's Day
11/18: Q1 Report Cards
11/23: Thanksgiving Recess - Early Release 11:15 AM
11/28: School resumes
CUB (Catch Up & Breathe) weekends: 11/10, 11/23
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