January 2017
Wayland Middle School/PTO Newsletter
Principal's Message
Dear WMS Families: 

Happy New Year!  Each New Year brings with it a fresh start and an opportunity for self-improvement.  Unlike some, I have never been good at to "giving things up" for my New Year's resolution.  Perhaps I enjoy my occasional wavy potato chip or serving of Ben and Jerry's just a little too much.  I have often, however, resolved to take something on to help myself, such as trying out yoga or even carving out time to take a Saturday afternoon nap.  This year, as I pondered where to focus my efforts, I found myself thinking about the amazing team of educators throughout the middle school who I am lucky enough to work with every day, and I saw my inspiration right in front of me.
In contemplating the skills of the WMS staff, I thought back to professional development expert Dave Castelline from Teacher's 21, who worked with our staff several years ago around effective teaming, and I recalled his reference to Lessons from Geese.  From Dave I learned that these amazing birds harness the power of physics and nature to fly in teams in consistent V formations to support each other and maximize the power of uplift to fly efficiently, with the least amount of collective effort.  They take turns to share the burden of flying in the lead and are deeply attuned to and empathic of the needs of others in the flock. They are known to stand by and protect a sick or injured goose. 

As I thought, I kept coming back to the final lesson Dave referenced about geese, which spoke to the ways in which geese honked for encouragement to spur on the lead goose to maintain its optimum speed.  Dave encouraged us as a faculty to "honk" more so we might lift each other up and spur each other on in this challenging work we do each day.  He asked us to pause and celebrate the many small successes that happen through our collaboration and in the day-to-day educational journey we are on with your children.  These little wins can get overlooked unless we pause, notice, and appreciate them.
I have learned a great deal by carefully observing the cohort of skillful honkers in our building.  For example, I have seen a student come into a teacher's classroom after finishing an independent reading book in search of another.  Rather than merely sending the child to the shelf to find the next title in the series, the teacher stopped chatting with me, so that she might focus 100% of her attention on the child, and engaged in an authentic conversation about the book. The feeling of being truly listened to was palpable. The teacher hung on every word and asked engaging questions to provide an opportunity for the student to articulate his thinking about the story.  The teacher's love of reading was contagious.  Then the teacher asked the child to think back to the start of the year and remember how hard it was for him to choose a book and stick with it.  She reminded him how he tended to start and abandon titles and struggled to have the stamina to even focus through ten continuous minutes of independent reading, often wanting to take water fountain breaks.  She then shared how she had seen his learning stance visibly shift over time.  She noted that he now saw himself as a reader and had grown his stamina for reading, a skill that would help him today, tomorrow, and well into his adult life.  She emphasized that it was important for him to take pause and celebrate the hard work that led to that achievement. That student walked out of the room with a new title in hand wearing a huge smile on his face, and I would argue a smile in his heart.  His confidence was up and he was eager to find more success.
It is too easy to let these moments slip away and meet the achievement of a goal with only the challenge of setting of the next goal.  When we have an opportunity to celebrate a success and name the specific skills or strategies behind the achievement, we should take it.  So, my resolution this year in both my personal and professional realms is to honk more.  How do I notice and name in the moment the successes and growth I see in teams, in teachers, in students, in my own children? Some students get lots of wins in a school day, and it makes this work is relatively easy.  Others, who may struggle mightily academically and/or behaviorally, need it just as much, however.  Don't get me wrong, I am definitely not advocating for generic, empty, or inauthentic praise.  People see right through that. I am however, promoting the work of actively seeking and catching people in their successful moments, naming those wins, and celebrating them. Finding and recognizing strengths help people build upon them.
I invite you to consider as parents how and when you might find this strategy to be beneficial with your own kids.  You might think of an area you have seen growth in for your student since September.  What new moves do you see them making?
Perhaps they are able to now
  • get out the door more independently in the morning,
  • manage frustrations with a sibling without yelling,
  • separate from tech devices without an argument,
  • initiate homework more independently,
  • do their chores without reminders,
  • find joy in practicing an instrument, or
  • be more patient with schedule changes.
Tell them you notice and appreciate the work that went into these changes.  Success breeds success.  As a side benefit, I imagine you will also find the inherent uplift experienced by the honker as well as the honkee.  Yes, I believe those geese are truly on to something. 
I wish health and happiness for you and your family as we launch into 2017.  I am grateful for the privilege of being part of your middle schooler's educational journey, for your ongoing partnership, and for the talented team of educators that fill Wayland Middle School.
Betsy Gavron

PTO News
The School Committee is looking for members of the community to serve on the Superintendent Search Screening Committee, and has asked the Wayland PTO to select four parents from our school district to serve on the Screening Committee.  The Committee's role will be the preliminary screening of applicants for the position of Superintendent of Schools.  The Screening Committee's responsibilities will include reviewing applications, conducting screening interviews and recommending candidates to the School Committee for further consideration.  NESDEC, the search firm working with the School Committee, will conduct an orientation with the Screening Committee concerning these responsibilities.
In addition to an interest in the Wayland schools, a member of this Screening Committee must commit to:
‚óŹMaintaining confidentiality about the candidates throughout and after the process has been completed; and
‚óŹMaking themselves available for a total of 20-30 hours of time from approximately Feb. 7, 2017 - March 7, 2017, including up to 10 hours of time to review application materials, and 15-20 additional hours of meeting time to participate in screening interviews as well as the decision-making process as to which candidates to recommend to the School Committee for further consideration.  Screening interviews most likely will take place during the evening hours, and possibly on a weekend, in mid to late February/early March.
In selecting members of the Screening Committee, the PTO will strive to achieve a cross section of the Wayland Public Schools community, with representation from all school levels.  Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Screening Committee is invited to send a completed application to Amy Simmons, Townwide PTO President, at waylandschoolspto@gmail.com by 5:00 pm on Friday, January 13, 2017 .  The application can be found here.  Please contact the PTO at the above email address with any questions.
Upcoming Events

Please join us this Thursday, January 12th, from 8:45-9:45 am in the Middle School Library for a Middle & More Coffee.  This month's topic is Math, Science, World Languages & the Placement Process, and we will be joined by department heads and Ms. Gavron to discuss both the curriculum in these departments, as well as the placement/choice process. Please contact Amy Simmons ( simmons221@comcast.net ) if you have any questions.  

You can find the entire year's schedule of parent coffees at: http://waylandpto.org/middle-school-pto/middle-and-more-coffees/

Wellness Week is coming! April 3 - 7, 2017!
Hello WMS Families!
Our annual Wellness Week is coming up  April 3-7th .  The goal of Wellness Week is to create an active and fun week that promotes a variety of Health and Wellness topics.  We would like to expose our students to new ideas, trends and/or concepts.  If anyone would be able to volunteer their time to present to our students, we would greatly appreciate it! Please directly email me at pamela_riddle@Wayland.k12.ma.us    if you would be able to participate in our Wellness Week.
Topics we are interested in:
  • Martial Arts
  • Personal Safety for kids
  • Fitness
  • Dance
  • Kickboxing
  • Or any others topics of interest!
Thank you,

The Wellness Staff: Coach A., Ms. Riddle & Mr. Wood!

Artist of the Week ~ Mira Mills
Grade: 8
Medium: Ink
Important Dates
1/12:  Middle & More Parent Coffee,  Placement for Math, Science &                     World Language @ 8:45 - 9:45 AM Library
1/16:  NO SCHOOL, MLK Day
1/20:  MLK Dinner @ WMS 6:00 - 9:30 PM
1/26:  Civil Rights Movie @ WMS 7:00 - 9:00 PM
            for 8th grade students and their parents
1/27:  Q2 Grades Close
2/3:    Q2 Report Cards

Reminders (from previous emails)                                     
Dismissal for Illness
If your student feels ill while they are at school, they MUST go see the nurse. Students should not text or call a parent or guardian from class to come to school and pick them up. They must see the nurse in order to be dismissed. If your student calls you, 
please tell them to see the nurse and if/when the nurse calls you, you may pick your student up. 
Thank you! 

Send a Note!
Though we encourage parents to make appointments afterschool, we know that sometimes students will have to leave during the school day.
1. Send a note.
2. Have your child bring it to the office before Homeroom.
3. The Office staff will give them a pass to show their teacher at dismissal time.
4.... and this is the good part - If we have a note with your signature, you can stay in your car and we will send your student out to you!

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 inclement weather
in the morning, 
Rt 27 can be backed up to Pequot Road! 
We need everyone's help to keep the traffic on 
Main Street moving. 
Thank you!