December 2014
WMS/PTO Newsletter

In this celebratory season of giving, what better to highlight than the incredible generosity of the Wayland Public Schools Foundation (WPSF). Their mission states, "WPSF has established a tradition of innovation in our schools by funding grant proposals submitted by Wayland teachers and staff for cutting-edge programs that would otherwise go unfunded."  Each fall members of the Foundation cull through numerous grants written by teachers across the district to impact teaching and learning.  I am thrilled to share with you the thirteen exciting, innovative ideas the foundation chose to fund this year to enhance the educational experiences of our middle school students.

  • Best Tools for the Job: New Computers for Middle School Music - This grant provides a very important upgrade to the music department computer lab.  New computers will allow our students to access music notation software (Finale Note Pad), music production software (Garage Band and Audacity), and music rehearsal software, (Smart Music) with hardware that has appropriate processing speed and memory capacity.  This grant enhances our students' ability to make beautiful music. - Steve Murray and Bethann Monahan
  • Band Room and Cafetorium Technology Enhancement - The WMS band room and cafetorium will receive a technological makeover with the installation of a projector and double-sided screen.  Computer-generated visuals will enhance demonstrations of rhythmic and melodic concepts and allow for seamless integration of instructional and performance videos into band rehearsals and sectionals.  In addition to improving the band curriculum, the projector and screen will benefit the greater school community as the double-sided screen can be viewed during meetings and performances in the cafetorium - Rebecca Wellons
  • WMS MakerMobile - We are excited to bring "Maker" capability to WMS.  MakerSpaces are communal project spaces with a focus on exploration, experimentation, collaboration, and accomplishment. Projects are open-ended and may range from sophisticated, technology-infused inventions to basic, handmade crafting. A MakerSpace is a safe space to learn and experience, in which students take ownership of their learning. The spaces challenge users, or "Makers," to re-define a typical learning environment in order to implement student-driven STEAM projects, differentiate learning experiences, and provide opportunities for personalized academic inquiry. Our team has designed an innovative approach that will bring the Maker experience into the classroom through the MakerMobile. Housed in a wheel-mounted cabinet, a MakerMobile will utilize its portability to bring the MakerSpace to the students, allowing integration of the Maker mindset across disciplines. - Peter Curran, Sara Ravid, Stacey Reed
  • Technovation Tablets - This grant provides funding for 25 Google Nexus 7 Tablets and apps to launch a Technovation club.  "Technovation" is a technology entrepreneurship program and competition for young women. Teams work together to imagine, design, and develop mobile apps then pitch their "startup" businesses to judges. When the after-school Technovation Club is not in session, the tablets can be used to pilot "Google Play for Education" as a means of purchasing and delivering content, such as apps and books, to students. Google Play's management system is supposed to be more efficient than that of Apple's, deploying material quickly to classrooms. - Bethann Monahan
  • "I See What You're Saying!" - With this grant we will purchase a specialized printer that will enable teachers to create a myriad of rich visuals to complement, enhance, and extend student learning. We know from research, professional development, and classroom practice that visual texts are often the clearest communicators of information. Visuals throughout WMS are vital tools to focus student learning and to clearly articulate and provide pictorial representation for abstract concepts.  This grant helps us be explicit in our teaching practices, turning the big idea of a lesson into a poster, advertising its core message. The printer will also allow us to capture and print photographs from on and off campus field experiences. - Ellen Jacobs, Alayna Coates, Susan Chisholm, Carrie Dirmeikis, Sara Ravid, Peter Curran, Jake Montwieler, and Bethann Monahan
  • WMS Multimedia Corner - The new WMS Library Multimedia Corner will house a computer with 2D design and multimedia editing software. Students will have the opportunity to create visual and multimedia projects there. This technology will help students share knowledge in an audio-visual manner for class projects such as a WMS house mentor project or for real life applications, such as creating Chromebook how-to resources. Learning the software may also pique students' interest in pursuing further training at WHS or through WayCam. - Sara Ravid
  • Developing Growth Mindset Through Brainology - Brainology is a program for students in grades 5-9, designed to teach "students that they are in control of their brain and its development. Most important, Brainology shows students how to apply this lesson to their schoolwork. It gives them a practical set of skills and strategies for tackling academic challenges." ( This grant will fund online Brainology accounts for our sixth graders to use in study halls, and organizational skills classes to help students develop an understanding of their brain and actions they can take to develop their intelligence and achieve at high levels. The blended learning format is an innovative approach to actively empower students with knowledge about their learning. - Betsy Gavron
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Convention -Every year, the National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics holds a convention to address topics affecting the teaching and learning of mathematics.  This year we are very lucky to have the convention in our back yard: Boston. The convention's theme this year is "Effective Teaching to Ensure Mathematical Success for All," and WPSF funding provides all members of the WMS math department choices of over 700 sessions, roundtable discussions, and workshops.  Of particular interest to our teachers are the sessions addressing the implementation of the Common Core Standards.  - Donna Sumner and Rebecca Poulo
  • Getting Centered Meditation for Middle School Students - Today's stressful pace of life leads students to need to develop skills to self-calm and find their center.  This grant provides training to our Wellness teachers from former HS Biology teacher and meditation specialist Helen Rainoff, who has been trained in meditation and has practiced daily for over 28 years  Helen will also spend three classes with 8th graders, teaching them guided meditation and mindfulness. This work will allow teachers to make meditation an ongoing component of the 7th and 8th wellness curriculum. - Natalia Araszkiewicz
  • Cellos for WMS Orchestras - This WPSF grant allows the WMS orchestra program to purchase four new cellos.  Since cello students do not bring their own instruments to school, they rely on the school having quality instruments in good condition.  As our orchestras continue to grow, we need to supplement our current supply of cellos in order to properly outfit the orchestras.  This grant will also allow us to replace some instruments that are in disrepair. - Whitney Tandon
  • Engineering in the Math Classroom: Design a Better Windmill - This grant allows us to bring STEM education opportunities into the 6th grade math classroom.  We will purchase windmills with which we can experiment in our classrooms.  The ultimate goal is to use these windmills to pose "real world" problems that require mathematics to solve.  - Michael Kotin
  • Boys' Book Club - In an effort to support the growth of boy readers, we have conducted a "boys' book club" over last year and a half. This grant funds eight copies of ten new titles for club members to read together.  Through the book group we can provide a safe place for our young male readers to engage in honest discussion about important issues not limited to but including the following:
    • What does it mean to be a friend?
    • What does resilience look like?
    • How do stereotypes function for both boys and girls?
    • What does courage look like?
    • How do healthy relationships evolve over time?

- Carrie Dirmeikis and George Benzie

  • Diminishing Anxiety by Improving Students' Sense of Time - This grant allows for the purchase timers for the students in 6th grade math.  Students will use the timers to see if they help them develop a better sense of what five or ten minutes truly feels like.  The hope is that this tool will help students better manage their time -- both in and out of the classroom.  -Michael Kotin

On behalf of all of the grant recipients and the student beneficiaries, we thank the Wayland Public Schools Foundation from the bottom of our hearts for providing such amazing learning opportunities. You can learn more about how to get involved with WPSF at



Betsy Gavron




It has come to our attention that a number of WMS students in grades 6-8 are using the website, which is a forum in which people can anonymously ask questions and post comments - basically a chat room. The anonymous nature of the discussion on creates two big concerns particularly when it comes to middle schoolers. First, it is a public forum and therefore a prime target for predators, Second, the anonymous nature of the question and answer can lead to a lack of filter or perceived accountability for an individual's comments. It can quickly become a forum for inappropriate discussion topics including ranking WMS girls from 1-10 based on appearance and making lewd, hurtful or inappropriate comments, etc. This kind of posting is not in keeping with BERT and violates the anti-bullying legislation. There is a real danger for emotional trauma and the potential for bullying and harassment is enormous. Please know that the official website policy requires users to be 13 years old to have an account. 


Social media is tricky ground at this age, and each family needs to make the rules that reflect their expectations and values.  I would highly recommend, however, close monitoring of all of your child's accounts. Please make time to engage in conversations around why some postings people make online are so hurtful and offensive. Students are accountable for what they write in cyberspace, and once it is out there it can never really go away.  Reminders of LARK (Legal Appropriate, Responsible and Kind) should be frequent.  Encourage your child to ask herself or himself - Would I want this said about me or my family member?  Think before you post. 

If you need help with online behavior please don't hesitate to call us.


Betsy Gavron, Principal

George Benzie, Assistant Principal


Artist of the Week

Acrylic & Pencil


"I made this painting to represent differences. Hopefully my picture shows people that we are all different but the same, as well."

Jenna Brandaleone 


Our 12/11 Chinese Food Tasting Festival was a delicious success! Hosted by our 7th & 8th grade Chinese class students, their teacher Ms. Chang, and the World Language Department, our students, staff, and parents tasted a wide variety of scrumptious Chinese dishes, while being serenaded by students in Chinese song! 

As part of our reading and study of Bruiser, students have been thinking and talking about the role of empathy in our lives. In support of this exploration, each of our ten 8th grade English classrooms collected non-perishable food and household items for donation to Parmenter Food Pantry.  Ask your 8th grader about "walling-in" Mr. Benzie!

Progress Report Portal 
Closes on Friday 12/19

The iParent Progress Report portal opened on Friday 12/12 and will remain open until Friday 12/19.  iParent problems? Forget your password? Just contact Ramah Hawley and she'll be happy to help you.
An Important Meal  

Nurse D'Amico is concerned with the number of students she sees complaining of head and stomach aches and reporting that they've skipped breakfast.  

When mornings are rushed, grab-and-go meals like a waffle with almond butter, a boiled egg, or fruit can make breakfast easy and portable. Along with sleep and exercise, eating breakfast is one of the best ways to improve concentration in school. 

If your child isn't ready to eat breakfast soon after waking up, try a healthy nutrition bar in the backpack for a morning snack.

Wayland Bylaws 
No Dogs on School Grounds  

91-5.D.5 Unless the school principal gives permission in advance, no dog may be on school grounds from 30 minutes before classes begin until 30 minutes after classes end. At all other times, the dog may be on school grounds only if it is on a six-foot or shorter leash. A dog is not violating this prohibition if it remains within a vehicle.

91-5.F Every dog keeper is responsible for expeditiously removing any dog feces the dog deposits anywhere except on its keeper's private property, on other private property with the property owner's permission...
Library News 

Introducing WMS Library Vacation Volunteer Day!
Worried about missing WMS over vacation? The WMS family is invited to RSVP for our first WMS Library Vacation Volunteer Day! Projects range from cataloging materials to rearranging books to checking inventory to preparing for our new Multimedia Corner (thanks, WPSF!).

To help with planning, please RSVP on our form by 8PM on Saturday, December 27. First-time parent/guardian volunteers should file a completed CORI form with the main office before the start of vacation. 

From the LARK's Nest

Students are invited to vote in our Chromebook Care and Use Poster Contest. Posters can be viewed in the school's front display case and online. Online voting is open through the end of the school day on Monday, December 22nd. The LARKers also remind all students to make sure to plug in CBs to charge every night. If a Chromebook won't be used for a couple of days over vacation, make sure to shut it down, and then charge it at the end of vacation.


Jan. & Feb. in WMS-WHS-WPL Teen Library Advisory:
The WMS-WHS-WPL Teen Library Advisory group will be taking apart old technology in January... and using it to making Steampunk creations (including jewelry) in February! Students in grades 6-12 are invited to join for one or both of these sessions sponsored by the Friends of the Wayland Public Library and
 an LSTA grant awarded by the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners.. For more details, RSVP and permission forms, see the WMS Library Website


From the Wayland Public Library:

Coming in January! Conrad Gees will teach a 4 session photography workshop for students in grades 6 to 8 that will explore different photographers in the areas of landscape, portrait, and documentary. The last session will be devoted to sharing the images students have made during the course.  As part of the workshop Mr. Gees will teach students how to manipulate their images on iPhoto.  

Sessions will be held at the Wayland Public Library on four Wednesdays: Jan. 14Jan. 21Jan 28 and Feb. 25 from 1:45 to 3:45.  


Requirements: a digital camera...Wayland Public Library has two cameras that can be borrowed... Students will be working on MacBooks provided by the library.


Students may take the Wayland School bus from the middle school to the library, if they let Youth Services Library Pam McCuen know in advance. (We just need to reserve seats on the bus.)  Also, please let Pam McCuen know if you will need to use one of the library's digital cameras.  She can be reached at 508-358-2308 or at


Registration opens on December 16 and will be online from the Wayland Public Library's events calendar.  Limited to 12 students. Registration is for the full 4-session workshop.


This workshop is federally funded by an LSTA grant awarded by the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners.

Our Lost & Found Overfloweth... 
Items donated to charity on 12/23

Now is a good time to have your child check for missing items in our lost and found as the piles are getting quite high.  

We've moved lost and found items temporarily to the main lobby for prominent display. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity at 2:30pm on Tuesday, December 23, as is our custom prior to each of the school vacations (December, February, April, and June). 

PTO News

Shout out to the winners of the Genevieve's Fundraiser Pizza Party!

Thank you to ALL who participated in the Genevieve's fundraiser this fall!  The following homerooms will enjoy a pizza party for raising the most funds in their grade!  Thank you all again!


Grade 8: Homeroom 121 - Ms. Sumner & Mr. Rivera

Grade 7: Homeroom 147 - Ms. Duesterberg & Ms. Jacobs

Grade 6: Homeroom 107 - Mr. Kotin & Ms. Villatoro


PTO Mini-Grants

The PTO Board will be sending out requests for Mini-Grant applications next week to the faculty and staff at WMS.  If you would like to be part of the grant review process, please don't hesitate to reach out to Peg Trentini --   We will be meeting during January to review the applications.  We will keep everyone posted on the grants that are awarded!  


Back-to-School Supply Kits

Thank you to everyone who filled out the School Supply Kits Survey. The PTO is happy to announce that there was a very positive response to offering pre-packaged school supplies so we will offer them for next year. We are working with the staff to fine tune supply lists for each grade and will fill the kits with good quality supplies. Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions about the program! More information will come this spring on how to order the kits online.