WMS/PTO Newsletter 
 
April 2015

principalsmessagePrincipal's Message 


Dear Parents/Guardians: 

 

It is hard to believe how much a smart phone has changed my life and how reliant on it I have grown over the last five years.  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 place limits on my own phone habits, however, such as no phone time during dinner, when I am visiting with friends or family, or when going to bed at night.  These limits help me seek balance in my life and model healthy use for my kids.  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 impose self-monitoring 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 and limits around them.

 

Why is it so hard for students to put down a cell phone?  I have seen students sitting in groups after school, all completely engrossed in their phones, not talking to or making eye contact with their peers around them.  While they are physically present, they are choosing not to connect with their friends and that feels worrisome.  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, it is easy to see how addictive the texting exchange can become and can even trump in-person interactions.

 

During a consultation with Dr. Mark Kline of Human Resources Center this past week, our school counselors and administrators discussed other issues created when teens have 24/7 access to cell phones.  We explored 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 any adult would 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 was made via cell phone in the wee hours of the night - even on school nights.  The ever-present cell phone is preventing much needed sleep and allowing 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, then they need a break from cell phones.  They also need uninterrupted sleep time, 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.

 

Respectfully,

 

Betsy Gavron

 

 

Links to Resources for Parents:

 

2015 Best Cell Phone Parental Control Software Review
 

2015 Best Parental Software Review

Dr. Suzanne Phillips, "Teens Sleeping with Cell Phones: A Clear and Present Danger"

 

Dr. Gail Gross, "Teens and Technology: Managing Cell Phone Usage"

ReportcardsQ3 Report Cards  

April 15 - Acknowledgment Forms Due  

 

Report cards came home last Friday, April 10. Please be sure to return the acknowledgment portion to your child's homeroom teacher by Wednesday, April 15. Thank you!

TechnovationTechnovation Club  

Meets Fridays Starting May 1

See Ms. Monahan on April 14 at Lunch    

 

Want to create change in your world? Work with your friends on solving a problem you've seen in your community by developing an app.  No coding experience required!  Your team could enter next year's Technovation Challenge to compete against teams in US and around the world. To learn more visit technovationchallenge.org and see Ms. Monahan in the computer lab during lunch on Tuesday, 4/14. Club will meet Fridays from 2:30-4:00 starting May 1st

SOS7th & 8th Grade Parents  

April 27, 28 & 29 - Signs of Suicide Curriculum 

 

Our WMS Wellness Curriculum called S.O.S. (Signs of Suicide) will be presented in 7th & 8th grade wellness classes on 4/27, 4/28, and  4/29.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this new curriculum, please do not hesitate to contact your child's guidance counselor.

WithdrawalMoving? Private School? 

 
If your family is moving from Wayland, or if you've decided to send your child to private school next year, please be sure to submit a student withdrawal form to your child's guidance counselor at your earliest convenience so that we may begin the process of preparing your child's records for transfer.  Many thanks!

  PTOPTO News 
 

PTO News

 

Attention current 6th grade parents/guardians!  Are you interested in becoming a 7th grade Parent Representative next year?  It is a great way to be able to stay involved in some of the "inside school" activities with your student.  7th grade parent reps assist in organizing staff dinner for back-to-school night in the fall as well as Cape Cod Parent night in the late spring.  Please email pegtrentini@gmail.com if you have any interest or questions.  

 

Our next PTO Board Meeting is scheduled for May 28th.  We will be voting on a variety of budget items as well as the Board for the 2015-2016 school year.  If you are interested in joining any of our committees, Board or would just like to know more about opportunities, please email Peg Trentini at pegtrentini@gmail.com.  All are welcome to the May 28th meeting - even if just to observe.


 ArtistArtist of the Week
 

 

 

"Tiger" by Nathaniel Ames

Medium: Water Color and Pencil

"Animals are beautiful creatures."

 

 
RemindersReminders  
News items from previous email
 

Reminder8th8th Grade Parents - Reminder  

April 17 - Deadline for Override Paperwork   

 

The deadline for submitting override appeal paperwork (student statement and supporting evidence) for 9th grade course recommendations is Friday, April 17. The school's override process is outlined HERE. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher.

8th Grade Breakfast  

April 17   

 

Thank you 8th grade parents for your great response to our call for help with the 4/17 8th Grade Breakfast! Just a few needs remain.  If you'd like to help please visit our Volunteer Spot page HERE. 

reminder676th & 7th Grade Parents - Reminder 

Forms Due by April 27   

 

2015-2016 Course Recommendations Forms for all current 6th & 7th grade students are due to homeroom teachers no later than Friday, April 27.  If you wish to discuss a recommendation, please contact your child's teacher.  

6th & 7th Grade Parents - Reminder   

May 15 Deadline 

Student Placement Requests 

 
Considerable thought and effort are given to student scheduling here at WMS. It is a highly complex, intricate, and time-consuming process.  Parents may make specific placement requests under the following circumstances:
  • If you have concerns about a teacher based on an older sibling's experience, you may request a different teacher for your child. You may not, however, request a specific teacher.
  • If your child has had difficulty with a specific student which has negatively impacted your child's ability to learn, you may request that the children be placed in separate clusters.

To be considered, all placement requests must be sent to betsy_gavron@wayland.k12.ma.us no later Friday, May 15, and must include your child's first and last name, and grade in September. Although we will work hard to honor your request, we cannot make any guarantees.

parccPARCC & MCAS Testing 

Schedule Available   

 

The complete 2015 PARCC & MCAS testing schedule can be found here.  If at all possible, please avoid scheduling appointments for your child on his or her testing dates. Many thanks!

geesMr. Gees' After-School Photo Clubs 

A Few Spots Left 

 

There are just a few spots left in Mr. Gees' popular after-school photography clubs. Photo Clubs start the week of April 27. Details are online HERE .  Registration forms are on the website and the process will be overseen by Wayland School Community Programs at 508-655-6403. For questions, please contract Mr. Gees at:  Conrad_Gees@wayland.k12.ma.us.

lostfoundLost & Found 

April 17 - Unclaimed Items Donated  

 

Now is a good time to have your child check our lost and found. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity at 2:30 p.m. on April 17, as is our custom prior to each of the school vacations (December, February, April, and June).

 dates Upcoming Dates
  • 4 /13 - 4/16:   8th Grade D.C. Trip
  • 4/15:  Q3 Report Card Acknowledgement Forms Due
  • 4/17:  8th Grade - Deadline for Override Paperwork
  • 4/17:  8th Grade Breakfast
  • 4/20 - 4/24:  Spring Recess  NO SCHOOL
  • 4/27:  Deadline for 6th/7th Grade Course Recommendation Forms
  • 4/27 - 5/01:  Wellness Week
  • 5/05:  5th Grade Parent Meeting, WMS Auditorium, 7:00 PM
  • 5/09:  Florence Adler Walk/Run
  • 5/15:  Deadline for Student Placement Requests
  • 5/15:  Q4 Progress Reports