WMS/PTO Newsletter
January 2018
In this Issue:
  • Principal's Corner
  • WMS Art Show
  • Gift Card Fundraiser Results
  • SEPAC Meeting
  • PTO News
  • Artist of the Week
  • Reminders - MCAS
  • Dates
Dear WMS Families:

Early adolescence is a messy time. Bodies are changing, hormones are kicking in, and brains are developing at an incredible rate. Students are often awkward at this age, and they have not fully polished their conversational toolboxes. In an effort to be funny, fit in, or secure a place on the social ladder, students can make unkind comments (some of which would make your jaws drop) without really thinking through the impact of their words. The fallout can lead to hurt feelings or simmering resentment. Frequently kids are oblivious to the cruelty of their words.  Sometimes they have trouble even believing that a comment is upsetting when it is pointed out in the spirit of educating by a caring adult. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase, “I was just joking,” when I have brought attention to a hurtful remark, then I could retire tomorrow. Students often perceive a comment was not offensive because the recipient laughed along or did not speak out against it. Yet the recipient’s tears that have broken through in my office throughout the years, tell the flip side to that story and confirm the reality of the damage done by thoughtless comments time and time again.

As a faculty we have devoted hours of inservice time partnering with Amy Behrens and Ed Walker from IDEAS (Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students) to studying the impact of what Columbia University Professor, Dr. Derald Wing Sue terms microaggressions (Dr. Sue is author of the book Microaggressions in Everyday Life). Dr. Sue defines microaggressions as being 

“brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages
to certain individuals because of their group membership.” 

Microaggressions are often unintentional but reflect negative underlying beliefs or assumptions about a group. Our faculty worked with Amy and Ed to better understand microaggressions and develop the tools to teach students about them.

A microaggression might make more sense through an example. I’ve heard a boy comment, “He plays like a girl.” The female athlete who overheard this comment found it completely insulting and infuriating. Then the boy seeing her facial expression said, “Just kidding.” The hurt didn’t go away for the female athlete and was actually compounded by this deflection. “I was just kidding” is a common way students try to undo the fact that they have said something that is upsetting to another person. While it is an attempt to get the speaker off the hook, saying “just kidding” doesn’t permit the speaker to take responsibility for the affront and leaves the other person still feeling hurt, angry, misunderstood, or disappointed. 

Gender is just one of many categories into which microaggressions fall. Other microaggressions could include but are not limited to areas such as:

Race/Culture
“You eat rice every day, right?”
“Your English is so good.”
“Where are you really from?”

Gender
“She doesn’t look like an engineer.”

Religion
“So you don’t celebrate_________?”

Learning
“You don’t even take a language?”
Often times, it’s not just the question (like one above) that was asked. It’s the number of times the question is asked, or assumed, as well as the context itself. Additionally, it’s also the tone of the question which may feel negative, like a put down, even if it is asked out of genuine curiosity. For example, a Wayland resident student asks a Boston resident student, “Do you live in an apartment,” unaware that this student’s family owns their house (and that he has heard this question countless times). The Boston resident student is left feeling frustrated about the stereotypic assumption that has been made, and the underlying implication that living in an apartment would be negative.

As parents, you may want to learn more about the topic of Microaggressions so you can support our work on the home front. Here is a short 2-minute video resource that allows you to hear directly from teens about the impact of microaggressions. In fact, our faculty began our own journey of furthering our understanding of Microaggressions by hearing directly from a dozen current 8th grade Wayland Middle School students about microaggressions (and sometimes macroaggressions) that they have experienced in and out of our school system. Based on their very moving stories, teachers felt compelled to act and launch courageous conversations to educate students about this critical topic. 

As humans, we all have committed microaggressions, often unknowingly, due to having grown up in a sea of unconscious bias and being fed a steady diet of stereotypic messaging about various groups of people. Being aware of this is the first step in preventing hurtful slights against others. In order to realize the potential of BERT - Belonging Empathy Respect and Trust - the ideological underpinnings of our Wayland Middle School community - we have a responsibility to help students understand microaggressions and their impact. Over two or three TAG sessions this month we plan to teach students across the grades to identify microaggressions and to learn productive ways to respond to microaggressions as bystanders. We want to help our students develop the skills and confidence to interrupt microaggressions and support the person on the receiving end. Through video, role-play and unpacking stereotypic comments that happen in our community, we hope to help our students grow their empathy and further understand of the many facets of identity, so we can continue to foster a safer, kinder and more inclusive community for learning. 

Respectfully,

Betsy Gavron
WMS Art Show
February 3 to 27
Wayland Public Library

Throughout the month of February, the Wayland Free Public Library will host a display of student artwork from Wayland Middle School. Over forty young artists will be featured in this mixed-media exhibition, representing grades 6, 7 and 8. 

An opening reception is planned from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm on Sunday, February 4 in the downstairs Raytheon Room of the library. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Pete Curran, visual art educator, at peter_curran@wayland.k12.ma.us. 
Gift Card Calendar Fundraiser
Results Posted in January

Be sure to check our website announcements page each school day for the exciting results of our Gift Card Calendar Fundraiser. Thank you to all who participated!
SEPAC Meeting Reminder
January 18, 7:00 PM
Town Building, School Committee Room

Topics:
  • Annual Presentation - Special Education Regulations & Parents Rights
  • Sensory Integration - What is it? Speaker: Janet Kaplan, O.T., WPS
PTO News
Make Sure Your in the Loop
Online All School Directory

Need to contact other parents in the school district? Register your family in MySchoolAnywhere. This is an online directory of families in the Wayland school system. You can search by first name or last, by school, and by grade. This is how you get in touch with other parents and let others get in touch with you! For everything you need to know and to get the APP for your phone:

Superintendent Budget Presentation
January 9, 8:00 AM
WMS Library

Dr. Unobskey will be doing a presentation explaining his recommended school budget for 2018-2019 at 8:00 AM on January 9. Please RSVP for this event if possible to  waylandmiddleschoolpto@gmail.com.
Middle & More Coffee
January 16, 8:45 AM
WMS Library

Please join us on Tuesday, January 16 from 8:45 to 9:45 AM in the Middle School Library for our next Middle & More Coffee on  Math, Science, World Languages and Placement Process. We will be joined by department heads and Ms. Gavron for an overview of the curriculum in these departments, including plenty of time for parent Q & A. Any questions or comments can be directed to the coordinator, Sejal T. Srinivasan at  sejsri@gmail.com
MLK Dinner
January 19, 6:00 PM
*Auction Items are still needed - see below*

The Boston Parent Council presents the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner and Program. All are invited to attend and participate.
  • volunteer during the dinner
  • volunteer to bring a dessert
  • donate an item for the special SILENT AUCTION to celebrate Wayland’s 50 years as a METCO town

The program includes performances by school choruses, a jazz band and a fashion show. There will be crafts for kids, historical displays and a silent auction.

Menu: Caribbean meal with choice of jerk or fried chicken, rice and peas, mac and cheese, beverage and dessert

Location: Wayland Middle School, 201 Main Street
Date: Friday, January 19
Time: 6:00 - 9:30 PM
Dinner at 6:00  / Program starts at 7:15 
Please pay at the door: Adults $15, Kids $8, Vegetarian $12

Volunteer
We are looking for Wayland and Boston parents to volunteer that night to set up, donate desserts, prepare salads on site, serve food, and clean up.
For questions, contact Michelle Mathis at bostonparentcouncil16@gmail.com
Please sign up here:  http://signup.com/go/caTURCA

*Silent Auction Donations
We are in need of silent auction donations from both communities. Suggestions for donations include gift cards, sports tickets, baskets with themes OR individual items that would go into baskets with these themes (movie night, reading, kitchen, bath and beauty, sports, gourmet food). If you are a business, we will showcase your business card and/or information. For questions, contact Jen Pearlman at  jenpearlman00@gmail.com .

If you would like to donate something for the silent auction, please fill out this form. MLK SILENT AUCTION DONATION FORM

Thank you for your participation and support! All proceeds will benefit the Boston Parent Council to support the Wayland Metco Program. Sponsored by the Boston Parent Council with support from Wayland PTO.
ARTIST of the WEEK
Artist: Sophia Fantoni
Grade: 8
Medium: Digital photography
Reminders from previous emails
2018 MCAS Dates

Please mark your calendars. If at all possible, we ask you to avoid scheduling appointments for your child on his or her testing dates. Many thanks! 

6th Grade
ELA: 4/2 and 4/3
Math: 5/7 and 5/8

7th Grade
ELA: 4/9 and 4/10
Math: 5/10 and 5/11

8th Grade
ELA: 4/26 and 4/27
Math: 4/30 and 5/1
STE: 5/3 and 5/4
Dates to Remember
ALL GRADES:
1/16 - PTO Middle & More Coffee, 8:45 AM, WMS Library
1/19 - MLK Celebration, WMS, 6:00 PM
1/26 - Q2 Ends
2/1 - Middle & More, A Sporting Chance w/Dr. Evans, 7PM
2/2 - Q2 Report Cards

6th GRADE:
2/5 - Henry Cluster, Weston Ski Track Trip
2/8 - David Cluster, Weston Ski Track Trip
2/9 - Thoreau Cluster, Weston Ski Track Trip

7th GRADE:
1/29 - Cape Cod Parent Night, 7:00 PM, http://wmsrlc.blogspot.com/
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