WMS Newsletter
December 2017
In this Issue:

  • Message from Principal Gavron
  • Basketball Final Tryout
  • Chinese Food Festival
  • Flu Vaccines
  • Lost & Found
  • Absences
  • Gift Giving Policy
  • Stop & Shop A+ Rewards
  • PTO News
  • Reminders
  • Artist of the Week
  • Dates
Dear WMS Families:

One of my favorite things about Wayland Middle School is our commitment to learning in the field. Sometimes we mean this literally, such as when we pause in the spirit of Thoreau to enjoy the New England winter, celebrate wellness, and cross country-ski through fields with our sixth graders. And other times it simply means learning outside our building and taking in experiences that could not be replicated within our four walls. Regardless, every time we leave the school it is a deliberate move to connect student learning with the real world. As a homeroom teacher in the 8th grade Martin Luther King house I was able to travel with our 8th graders to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (EMK) for the first time last month and support our students as they participated in one of our newest field experiences. Becoming immersed in the roles of a United States senators allowed students to bring to life their classroom learning about the United States Constitution and how our government works. This field exercise connected directly with the big picture goals we have for our students of fostering citizenship and civility.

Upon entering the Kennedy Institute our facilitators escorted our professionally dressed students into an exact replica of the United States Senate chamber. From the opening moments facilitators were in character, greeting our newest “junior” senators and outlining the Senate’s work of the day. The session in the chamber began by having our students take the oath of office and they were “sworn in” as mock US Senators.
Each student received a tablet, which they were asked to quickly personalize with selfies. Students then read individualized profiles about “themselves.” Each tablet included unique information about his or her identity, which indicated the state each student represented, his or her party affiliation (Republican, Democrat or Independent), and an overview of the issues that mattered most to his or her party, the people whom they represented, and him or herself. For example, did a Senator prioritize civil liberties, regulation, national security and/or privacy? How did he or she feel about technology? Oil? Tourism? Or immigration? Throughout the day students would be expected to return to these key areas as they considered issues that emerged in their work.

Next, our facilitators explained that the primary task for the day to be voting on whether or not to renew the PATRIOT Act. Our simulation leaders built on prior learning, that had been previously prepped in the classroom, exploring a bit more about the PATRIOT Act. The PATRIOT Act was a law passed in the wake of 9/11, crafted to strengthen domestic security and increase the power of law enforcement agencies to identify and stop terrorists. In October of 2001, in the recent aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the original PATRIOT Act was passed with sweeping bipartisan support, as 98 out of 100 US Senators voted it into law. Over time, it has been seen much more controversially. Supporters of the law contest that it has been essential in many investigations leading to arrests of terrorists, while critics believe it has allowed for government overreach, and threatened the civil liberties of the people it was designed to protect.

After the overview, our 8th grade senators then broke up into subcommittees to engage in the business of the day. The first task of the subcommittee I joined asked about twenty of our student senators to interview a “presidential nominee” to become the US Ambassador to the United Nations. This was a real-life example of the important checks and balances between executive and legislative branches of government. Students worked in small groups to craft interview questions to learn where the President’s nominee stood on issues important to their constituents like privacy, national security, and jobs. The question and answer session helped students determine if they believed that the President’s candidate should be brought to a vote before the whole chamber. Our candidate for the UN post impressed the senators, winning their confidence and trust. By about a ⅔ margin, our subcommittee agreed that the full Senate should vote whether to approve the candidate or not. The candidate coming out of our neighboring subcommittee was not met so favorably, and her candidacy failed to win the support of the subcommittee by one vote. Therefore, that Presidential nominee never made it to the full chamber for consideration. Subcommittees elsewhere interrogated an expert to learn which provisions might be beneficial to add to the PATRIOT Act.

My group’s next task was to join the neighboring subcommittee and caucus by party affiliation to discuss the addition of possible amendments to the PATRIOT Act. Each party weighed and civilly discussed three possible amendments for inclusion in the final Act. They debated which of the three best met the priorities of their party and state, and might also win some bipartisan support across the aisle. The sub-group of “Democrats” chose to put forth the following amendment to limit the power of law and order: “Intelligence agencies need a court order to get customer information from communications companies.” Across the room the “Republicans” landed upon, “The US will screen shipping containers at their foreign port of origin,” in hopes of strengthening national security. Each political party then collaborated to co-write persuasive speeches that one or two of the members of their party volunteered to give in order to argue for their amendment to the PATRIOT Act. 

Upon returning to the full chamber, our student senators first voted to confirm the presidential nominee and appoint a new UN Ambassador. 
Then our student senators passionately delivered their impressive prepared speeches - a tall ask in front of 100 peers. One group even had the task of filibustering the deliberations. At the conclusion of the speeches, in the final vote of the day, our student senators elected to renew the PATRIOT Act by a vote of 54 to 44 (with a few senators breaking from their party affiliations based on state priorities). More important than a legislative victory or defeat, our students were offered an engaging opportunity to simulate the experiences of our elected officials and to see firsthand how the laws of our nation are created. I hope students left inspired to let their voices be heard and commit to a lifetime of civic responsibility that includes engaging in informed voting and even civic activism. Additionally, I hope they saw how even highly contested issues and positions could be argued respectfully and with civility.  As parents and guardians, this experience provides a wonderful springboard for you to engage your student in discussions about the factors that shape your voting decisions and share your personal thoughts on civic responsibility. Who knows, this field experience may inspire one of our current eighth graders to someday follow in the footsteps of another former WMS student and WMS teacher, who just announced his Massachusetts campaign for a State Senate seat in 2018.


Betsy Gavron
WMS Boys Basketball Final Tryout
Grades 7 and 8
TODAY, Monday, December 11

Study Hall: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Final Tryout: 3:30 - 4:45 pm
Chinese Food Festival
All Welcome! WMS Cafeteria
Wednesday, December 13, 2:00PM

Our 7th and 8th grade Chinese Language students are happy to present our fifth annual Chinese Food Festival on December 13. They cordially invite the community to partake in this event, starting at 2:00PM in the Middle School cafeteria. It is an afternoon filled with authentic food and student performances of kung fu, lion dance, and ribbon dances. We hope you can join us!
Flu Vaccine Forms
Deadline Wednesday, December 13

If you would like your child to receive the flu vaccine from our school nurse, please be sure to get your flu form to her (on paper, not electronically) no later than 12/13. The form and complete information can be found here: http://whs.wayland.k12.ma.us/for_families/health_services
Lost & Found
Deadline: Friday, December 22 at 2:30PM

Please have your child check for missing items in our Lost & Found, or come and take a look for yourself! 

Unclaimed items will be donated to charity (to the Wayland Schools' PTO Green Team Textile Recycling Project) at 2:30 PM, Friday, December 22, as is our custom prior to each of the school breaks (December, February, April and June).
Holiday Travel Absences

If your family's holiday travel plans involve your child missing school on either side of the break,  please  remember to let the office staff know. You can always notify us as much in advance as you'd like ~ there's no need to wait until the day of the absence. We have two notification methods to choose from:
WPS Gift Giving Guidelines

As the holidays approach, we want to remind families of WPS' gift giving policy, which can be found on our website The Wayland School Committee recommends: "In lieu of gifts to individual teachers, parents are encouraged to make contributions to school support organizations such as the PTO, CAPA, Boosters, and the Wayland Public Schools Foundation."
Stop & Shop A+ Rewards
$1,237.07 earned to date!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! In just 2 months WMS has earned $1,237.07 from our Stop & Shop shoppers.

If you haven't registered your card yet, the rewards program doesn't end until March so there's still plenty of time. Go to https://stopandshop.com/school-rewards/

A great way to give to those in need is with your children by your side! Have your kids pick out a gift or two when you shop the WMS Gift Drive for tweens and teens who won't be with a family for the holidays - they reside in a home for kids who have experienced trauma and abuse. With your own children's help, you can make the holidays brighter for one of these children. Please give! Tax deductible and ships direct just click this link  http://a.co/8PDzBf2

Contact Jenny Harding, Barrett Brountas, Peg Burgess or Colleen Morneweck with and questions or visit WMS PTO Facebook page. 
Middle & More Coffee  
January 16, 8:45 AM
Please join us on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 from 8:45-9:45 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

Reminders from previous emails
Please Update Your Contact Information

Please be sure to update your email address and phone number in Home Access Center so that you'll receive school closing and other important notices. Click on "Registration" and then "Edit" next to "Contacts." eSchoolPlus Family is now up and running.
Annual Drive for Coats for Kids!
December 4th - January 7th
WMS Front Lobby

Please donate to Coats for Kids! We will have boxes in the front lobby to accept your donations. Thank you for helping to keep others warm during the winter season!
Artist: Bethany Foreman
Grade: 6
Medium: Collage
Dates to Remember
12/13 - Chinese Festival, WMS cafeteria, 2:00 PM
12/14 - MS/HS Chorus Concert , HS, 7:30 PM
12/15 -  Q2 Progress Reports on eSchool at 2:30 PM
12/18 - MS/HS Orchestra Concert & Art Exhibit, HS, 7:30 PM
12/22 - Winter Break begins at dismissal
1/02 - School Resumes
1/19 - MLK Celebration, WMS, 6:00 PM

6th GRADE:
12/11 - WMS 6th Grade Concert , WMS Auditorium, 7:30 PM

7th GRADE:
1/29/18 - Cape Cod Parent Night. 7:00 PM, http://wmsrlc.blogspot.com/
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
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