2018 SUMMER UPDATE
Split and Advisor Lists
Math and Art/Music/PE groupings will be announced in the fall. When you look at class lists, please remember (and remind your children) that in Middle School students work in a variety of groups over the course of their school day. We consider ourselves one community and do our best to organize groupings so everyone has a chance to work with as many people as possible.
This year Todd Johnson will be joining the Middle School as an 8th Grade Writing Coach. He and Emma will work together to help students build their writing skills in all genres. Among other things, Todd is an author and father of Audrey (in Beth’s class). We are excited to welcome him to the WMS Faculty!
All Middle School Play
This year there will be one Middle School play for 6th, 7th and 8th graders together. Rehearsals will start promptly in September and the play will be performed in mid-December. Students and families interested in the play should know that this is a serious commitment. Barring illness, students involved in the play should be available on all Tuesday and Friday afternoons until the performance. Director Laura Hutchins will be at WMS to speak to students about the play the second week of school, and she will also attend Back to School Night on September 13th to answer parent questions.
Middle School Handbook
We ask parents to look closely at the Middle School Handbook and review it with children before school begins. The most important developmental task for students this age is to learn to become responsible members of a community. Our program has been carefully designed to give your child many opportunities to do this. The items in our handbook state WMS’s values clearly, and talking about what’s included should generate good family conversation. It’s important that both parents and students read and discuss the handbook, as well as the student agreement before the school year begins.
Conferences and Conference Forms
Those of you with children already in Middle School understand that parent conferences are handled differently at our level. We stress to students that they are the people most responsible for their own learning. For this reason, parents, students and teachers all participate in conferences. Our first conference takes place the week before school begins and give us the opportunity to discuss goals for the year. We will sign the Student Agreement at this conference, so please come with any questions you have. Your child’s advisor will contact you soon to find a time that is convenient to meet.
Your child should read Before School Questionnaire and answer the questions carefully, in writing. Their written answers get circulated to all Middle School teachers so we can understand and support your children to the best of our abilities.
If you are wondering which school supplies your children need to purchase, please refer to the 2018 Supplies Needed list. Items not listed here will be provided by your child’s advisor as part of our organizational program.
After School Options
There is an Activity Sign Up sheet that needs to be filled out. We offer a variety of after-school programs in Middle School and encourage all students to participate.
Athletic teams meet three days a week at WMS: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Students at all experience levels have fun participating in our sports program. Offerings in the fall include soccer, cross country/ running and outdoor club. Outdoor club will be run by Nora Hulton and will meet on Wednesdays this year.
In addition to athletics, we offer a variety of art and music options as well as study halls four days a week. Art Lab will meet every Tuesday from 3:30-5:00. The play will begin rehearsing on September 14 and rehearsals take place on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3:30-5:00. Our Middle School chorus will continue to meet on Wednesdays, again during the school day. Music Lab will take place after school on Fridays from 3:30-5:00. In the winter and spring a redesigned Theater Lab (more of an emphasis on acting lessons) will take place on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00. We’ll send information about that later in the year.
Please discuss which activities your child might be interested in and bring the completed sign-up sheet (along with answers to the questionnaire) to your conference.
The 2018-19 Middle School calendar is available online, but we thought it might be helpful to give extra attention to some dates early in the year. Sixth grade students begin on Tuesday, Sept. 4, but stay home on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Seventh and eighth grade students return to school on Wednesday, Sept. 5. On Thursday, Sept. 6, everyone comes to school and our regular schedule begins. WMS calendars are structured so that parents are able to subscribe to individual calendars to help you only see what applies to you and your family.
Back to School Night will be held on Thursday, September 13 this year. This evening is an opportunity to meet your children’s teachers and to hear specific plans for their upcoming year. Life in Middle School tends to get busy and most parents find this a helpful way to gain an overview of the year. This year’s Back to School Night will also be a social kick-off to the year when we officially welcome Carney to the WMS community.
Parents of seventh grade students should note that there is an overnight camping trip from September 20-21 (Thursday to Friday). This trip is the kick-off for our Hero’s Journey program, which is an important part of our seventh grade curriculum. There will be an informational meeting on the morning of Sept 17 for all parents interested in learning the details but, in the meantime, you can read about it in the handbook. We will be talking about it more at Back to School Night.
Our annual Outdoor Education trip will be at Camp Hazen in Chester, Connecticut from October 1-5. We’ll send home information about the trip when school begins, but eighth grade students will be leaving on Monday, Oct. 1 to organize and plan activities. Sixth and seventh graders will join them at camp on Tuesday, Oct. 2. We all return to WMS on Friday, October 5, in time for dismissal.
Helping our students learn to navigate their social lives on the internet is an area of much concern at the middle school level. Because of this, we ask for outside help and sponsor yearly presentations for our students and parents. This year’s presentation is for WMS students and parents and is scheduled for October 23. Seventh and Eighth grade students and their parents will meet with Scott from 8:30-9:30. Following that will be a 45 minute session specifically for parents. From 10:15-11:15, fifth and sixth grade students and parents will meet with Scott. We suggest that parents of fifth and 6th grade students attend the 8:30 session as well. Scott will go into more detail with our older students and it is a good idea for all parents to hear what he will be sharing. Scott Driscoll has proven to be a wonderful speaker and we find his guidance to be very helpful. Please follow up with a discussion at home after this presentation.
If you have questions or concerns before school starts, please feel free to call or email Kerry Dorton, Assistant Head of School for Education or Tom Fahsbender, MS Director of Curriculum & Teacher Supervision. We look forward to seeing you at the end of the summer.
Print out the following, complete each and bring them to your pre-school conference:
- 2018 Before-School Questionnaire (answers need to be typed on a separate piece of paper)
- 2018 Activity Sign-Up Sheet
Read and discuss the following: