The Weston School Committee is looking for volunteers to serve on the Superintendent Search Subcommittee. The Superintendent Search Subcommittee will have eight members.
We are pleased to inform you that Anne Mitchell, Gina Ladocsi and Bhanu Srinivasan are the newest members of the Middle School Council.
Elementary students received a form in backpacks describing how to order the personalized teacher notepads. Proceeds benefit the Weston/METCO Family Friends Program. Order by Friday, October 2. Click above for more information.
We invite you to assist in the evaluation of the special education programs and processes in the WPS. Friday, 10/16, 9am during the regularly scheduled PAC meeting at Case House. Also 10/20 at 5pm at Case House
PLEASE NOTE: Elementary Routes have been changed this year - we consolidated a route on the north side of town and added a route on the south side. Click above to access routes.
This is the Year and Just Start have become catchwords we are using this year to remind ourselves that to move forward, to bring about continuous improvement, and to change the way we teach and learn, we have to take a risk and begin. Just Start is actually the title of a book written by a former president of Babson College, Leonard Schlesinger, which argues that entrepreneurial thinking and action allows us to embrace uncertainty and create our future by taking action and learning as you go. We don’t win or lose, we win or learn. Our administrative team read and used this book to help define our goals for the year. We shared and encouraged our leaders and teachers to also use this year to ‘just start’ to adapt existing pedagogy, practice and programs to help students learn differently and creatively. So a ‘just start’ mindset is taking hold. Even Matt Damon, is on board. In one of the final scenes of the recently released movie, The Martian, he tells a group of new astronauts that when you need to do something, you just start and solve problems one at a time along the way until you get where you want to go. We are not going to Mars, but we are moving forward. Let me share with you just two of examples of this here in WPS.
Senior Buddies. During a summer workshop, High School English teacher, Henry Moon, and Woodland School kindergarten teacher, Susan Cohen, envisioned a partnership of literature and literacy learning opportunities pairing seniors and kindergartners. To further the partnership, Country School kindergarten teacher, Thomas Flaherty-Dawson joined in the initiative. At the first meeting held recently at Country School, the students were paired, spent some quality time getting acquainted, made bookmarks, then read and discussed Green Eggs and Ham. In this amazing afternoon, we found humor (“he’s so tall he must go to Field School”), the bookends of WPS (Kindergarten and Grade 12) coming together, seniors learning to “teach” beginning readers thus needing to deeply understand the content, and 5 year-olds and 18 year-olds finding common ground around which to communicate. Next month the group will meet at Woodland School, and then in December the kindergartners will travel to the high school to culminate this rich experience. Teachers Moon, Flaherty-Dawson and Cohen just started and teaching and learning changed.
Elm Bank. Dr. Price and the entire staff of Country School just started this summer to expand the learning environment beyond the classroom. With a focus on integrating science into our students’ total learning experience, Country School faculty and students participated in bring the outside into the classroom and classroom to the outside. Guided and led by K-5 Science Coordinator, Susan Erickson, the students and staff of Country have partnered with Elm Bank Horticulture Center in Wellesley to create ‘being-there’ experiences to enrich the understanding of plants, habitats, and our environment. When an entire school shares a common learning experience, the opportunities for extension continue to grow. Dr. Price, Ms. Erickson, every teacher and staff member at Country School took a risk, just started, and are now taking off.
There are more such examples that are happening at each of our schools in this transitional year in WPS. As educational entrepreneurs, we believe it’s time for all of us to Just Start.
Dr. John Brackett
Schools are open and we are ready to ‘just start.’ Despite temperatures in the 90s and a faulty smoke detector at Woodland School just as students were about to enter on day 1, the opening was really quite smooth. I sense most everyone is happy to be back and develop the routines for learning that will carry us throughout the year.
Recently my son moved to Florida. He shares with me every chance he gets that he does not understand why everyone doesn’t live there. (I’ll admit that last winter I started to agree with him.) He sees all that is good from his perspective which probably masks his understanding of some of the reasons we happen to love New England which I tell him when he begins recruiting us to Sarasota.
Although I’ve only been in this position since July, I confess that I share some of my son’s myopic perspective when it comes to our schools. I see the quality of the students we graduate, the breadth and depth of the curricular and co-curricular programs available to students; I’ve grown to know the quality of educators we have working in our classrooms and offices each day and their commitment to students, and I’m really excited to see the total commitment to a kids-first culture. Why would anyone not want to live here?
Like my preference for New England over Florida, I acknowledge that some parents have reasons they prefer other schools over ours. It would help us greatly if we knew what those might be. Maybe we don’t have the right program; maybe there is a perception that we dropped the ball in some way; maybe the family has a long tradition of independent schooling that is important to continue. Whatever the reason, it’s important to us and I’m hoping those who have made the decision to not enroll in WPS will share that information with us. It will also be helpful to hear from those who chose to move here why they selected Weston.
In the next few weeks, we intend to reach out to those families who have chosen other schools for their child. We will also touch base with families who have moved in to start this school year. We will administer a survey but also hope families will engage in an “exit” or “entry” interview with district administrators so that we can gather deeper information. This is not a sales pitch or putting pressure to come back. We want to get better. We will report this data, without names of course, to the School Committee later in the year. Continuous improvement is a hallmark of an excellent district and that certainly is part of everything we do. If you have something you think would help us grow, please don’t feel you need to wait until we ask, we would love to hear from you. My email address is email@example.com.
Schools are open and the learning, by students and adults, has begun.
Dr. John Brackett