WMS Parent Newsletter

WMS Newsletter 
Wolf
3/24/20

Principal’s Message
Hello WMS Families,

I speak for the entire WMS staff, when I say that our new reality has been a challenge for everyone.  Students, staff, and parents have had to completely readjust their daily lives and be more creative in how we currently deliver instruction to our students.  As challenging as this has been, I am proud of the way our school community has responded. Even though school in the traditional sense has been canceled for the remainder of the year, learning will still take place for students.  More information will be forthcoming about our plans for the remainder of the year as they relate to grading, high school credits, and how we will distribute refunds for all field trips that have been paid for.

Students, I know you all have experienced a range of emotions from excitement to uncertainty, but know that we are still here for you.  Your teachers and counselors are a few clicks away if you have a question or just want to say hello. You may not get an immediate response because some of them have their own children at home just like you are with your parents, so please be patient.

Parents, I am sure juggling child care, home schooling, and your own telework situations is probably pushing you beyond your limit at times.  I would like to reiterate that we are all in this together and the staff is working diligently to help create as much of a sense of normalcy as they can under the current conditions. Prior to dismissal on March 13th, students were asked to take all of their belongings home, including instruments.  I am aware that some students were not present and still need to collect their belongings so we will be providing opportunities for students to collect them. If your child was not able to collect their belongings, please contact your grade level administrator via email so they can schedule a time for collection next week beginning at 8am.  The following dates have been designated for pre-arranged locker visits only.

  • Grade 6: Monday, March 30th – Contact Mr. Koutsouftikis (john.koutsouftikis@apsva.us)
  • Grade 7: Tuesday, March 31st – Contact Mrs. Osler (jody.osler@apsva.us)
  • Grade 8: Wednesday, April 1st – Contact Dr. Ellis (latisha.ellis@apsva.us)

Due to the need to ensure that we adhere to appropriate social distancing protocol, we ask that only one parent and no siblings accompany a student to collect their belongings. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS made.  

Once again, thank you for your flexibility and strength during this challenging time.  I am confident we can overcome this most recent challenge in our nation’s history as long as we continue to work together as a community.  GO WOLVES!

Library
Library Resources and Skills
WMS students have access to online databases for research, e-books, e-audiobooks and electronic magazines – all from their iPads. All students have had instruction on how to access these resources using Canvas or through the library website. This flyer, e-resources_WMS, reminds students of the various resources available and how to log in to them.
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Any student who uses social media is exposed to information that is incomplete, sensational, and/or inaccurate. We teach students to vet online information through the CRAAP test (developed by librarians at California State University, Chico):

  • Is the information Current?
  • Is it Relevant?
  • Who is the Author and is he/she an authority?
  • Is it Accurate?
  • What is the Purpose for its publication?

While students know they are expected to use this tool for academics, we hope they use it in their personal online experiences as well.

If your child comes to you with concerns about something found online regarding COVID-19, please remind him/her to use the CRAAP test and share these reliable sources of information for them to gauge accuracy.

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If you have any questions or concerns, please email Sherry.Lord@apsva.us and Diane.Tan@apsva.us.

Counseling 
School Counselors are available daily to ask questions or address concerns families and students may have.  Students have access to school counselors through Canvas as each grade level has a specific counseling page with contact information.  For families, email is the best way to communicate with school counselors during normal school hours.

Students can participate in Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, by clicking on the module in their grade level School Counseling Canvas page.  Students will be able to learn more about people impacted through substance use and test their knowledge of drugs and alcohol in a game of Jeopardy!  Later this week, we will be posting a pre-recorded presentation on Substance Abuse Awareness on our Parent Coffee page.

Parents, here are a couple of links to support you and your student(s) at home:

Ms. Pugliese
Hi, Grizzlies & Coyotes! I hope you and your families are staying healthy at home. I can imagine you are missing your daily routine and being able to see friends– please know that it is just as difficult for me as I miss seeing your smiling faces at WMS! Be sure to take some time each day to do something positive for yourself or for others such as practicing some mindfulness or writing an email of gratitude to a teacher. I am available via email at : ashley.pugliese@apsva.us or you can message me through our 6th grade School Counseling Canvas Course. I’d love to hear from you! — Ms. Pugliese

Ms. Boyers
Hello Panthers and Mystics!  I second what Ms. Pugliese said about missing your friends, but it’s so important that you’re following the social distancing recommendations.  Now is the time to appreciate being able to relax at home and spend some time with family.   Those of you with pets may find that time with them helps to calm any anxiety you may be feeling.  This is also a great time to learn a new life skill, or prepare to give back to our community…find a new recipe to try, learn how to check air pressure in a car tire, or clean out closets of outgrown toys or clothes to donate once it’s safe to do so.  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns (or even just to say hi!) at: johanna.boyers@apsva.us or via either the 6th or 7th Grade School Counseling Canvas Course.

Finally, here’s some pics of how I’d hoped to represent my two grades at our Pep Rally.  Fingers crossed we’ll still get the chance to make it happen.

Tie-dye shirt that has the image of a wolf head The back of a tie-dye shirt with "6&7"

Stay healthy everyone! –Ms. Boyers

Ms. Kenney
Capitals and Wizards! How are we all hanging in there? I hope well. I echo the words of our other awesome counselors! These are odd times which calls for a skill we sometimes forget is so important, keep in perspective what you have control over. You can only control your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, which also includes how you react to others. So remember to be kind to yourself by following the social distancing recommendations, self care like taking time to relax (however that looks for you), reaching out to friends when you don’t get to see them and trying something new to keep growing and stretching your mind and body. Also remember to be kind to others! Reach out to someone you know might be feeling alone. Remember, even though you can’t come to my office and plop down on my couch, I’m still here if you need me. I would also love to just hear how you are doing. You can message me through the 7th Grade School Counseling Canvas Course or email me at elise.kenney@apsva.us. Be well and stay healthy and safe! –Ms. Kenney

Ms. Brenckle
8th Grade Hello Cavaliers, Hokies and Patriots!  How is everyone doing? I have missed seeing each of you this past week. I am sending positive vibes to each and every one of you.  That being said, this is an odd time for all of us. Sometimes in crisis we are trying to manage our own fears and anxiety and it’s hard to stay positive. Keep things in perspective! We all need to help one another so remember to be kind to one another, especially online.  Reach out to family and friends but follow the recommendations for social distancing.   Start a journal. Take a long walk.  Play a board game. Read a book!  (Yes, I know what you are thinking but take a break from the electronics for some time each day.) I want to know how you are doing so please send me an email through the 8th Grade Counseling Canvas course or email me at gretchen.brenckle@apsva.usBe positive and stay healthy! – – Ms. Brenckle

Technology

  • Please take a look at the APS Learning at Home website: https://www.apsva.us/learning-at-home/. There are additional links for online resources for families.
  • Please have your child continue to submit WMS Student Tech. Help Request form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd0fvFxqR2i7xTgnto1eb8UolPhPw0Jkt1XgVI3Y_BHN2oA8Q/viewform
    • Ms. Solomon will email families to help troubleshoot any issues remotely.
    • If the iPad gets damaged while school is closed, please have your child complete this form, but will need to hand in his/her iPad to school when the building is open and/or school is back in session. Please put the iPad in a gallon bag to be handed in when school is back in session.

 

Gifted Services
Greetings WMS families! Hope you all are remaining healthy and learning something new daily. Parents THANK YOU for stepping in and stepping up to the plate. Your efforts are not going unnoticed. Please note that the collaboration with core content teachers to modify, accommodate, and/or enrich lessons to meet the needs of ALL students will continue to ensure that lessons are appropriate based on student need. As you all continue to explore the varied activities provided, please be sure to explore the critical thinking and creative extensions listed below.

RAFT is a writing strategy that helps students understand their roles as writers, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the topic they’ll be writing about. By using this strategy, teachers encourage students to write creatively, to consider a topic from a different perspective, and to gain practice writing for different audiences. RAFT: COVID-19

Writing Prompts Inspired by the New York Times
Students Can Respond to Daily Writing Prompts, Inspired by The New York Times. Each week The Learning Network offers a dozen new ways for students to practice reading, writing and thinking using Times journalism. These writing prompts keep students reading, writing and thinking critically during these uncertain times, The Learning Network offers a dozen new writing prompts each week, all based on Times articles, photographs, illustrations, videos and graphs, about a wide array of issues, including internet memes, climate change, the #MeToo movement, racism, the 2020 election and healthy habits. All of these activities are completely free for everyone.

Stay healthy, positive and productive!

Comments, questions, and/or suggestions? Please feel free to email the RTG at melissa.edme@apsva.us

Messages from your Assistant Principals

6th Grade
Hello 6th Graders.  I hope this email finds you healthy and everybody is doing their part to keep themselves, their families, and the community safe.  I miss seeing you drag yourselves into the auditorium at 7:20 AM; I miss seeing you interact in the hallways; I miss watching you work hard and participate in class; and I miss asking you all to clean up in the cafeteria about 20 times per day! I was hoping we would reunite soon until we received word on Monday that we would not return to school for the remainder of the year.  However, learning still will and must continue to take place. In the meantime, please take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by your teachers. They worked hard last week to remind you to turn in missing assignments and finish the 3rd quarter on a positive note. For the next three months your teachers will provide activities and assignments to keep your minds sharp and keep you occupied for at least part of your day with school work.  It is important that you create a schedule that works for you and your family and continue learning in whatever shape or form that will be moving forward.

The most important thing right now is for all of us to stay healthy.  WMS is here for you. Please reach out and let us know if you have any questions or if we can help in any way.  My positive thoughts and well wishes are with you all.

Sincerely,
Mr. K

7th Grade
Hi 7th grade! I echo all that Mr. K has said. First, I hope you all are well and staying healthy and busy. Continue washing your hands and practicing social distancing. Get outside every day and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. And remember – just because we’re home doesn’t mean we can’t connect with one another! Check your Canvas courses regularly – your teachers are beginning to post lots of opportunities to participate in Canvas Conferences, chats, Quizlet Live – all kinds of ways to connect with your learning and with each other. School’s not out! It has just moved home for a little while. So this is your chance to practice some organization and self-discipline skills. Make yourself a schedule, stay on top of your coursework, connect with your teachers and counselors, try to learn or do something new every day. Speaking of learning or doing something new every day: I have some challenges* for both you and me this week (I will post my answers or pictures to these challenges in next week’s newsletter):
Monday – Interview a family member
Tuesday – Measure the area and perimeter of each room in your house (or choose a few rooms to measure)
Wednesday – Be completely silent for 30 minutes, then write about the experience
Thursday – Use one type of paper (constant), build three different paper airplanes (independent variable) and test to see how far they fly (dependent variable) 
Friday – Stay up late and stargaze, if the sky is clear! 

Smiles,
Ms. Osler*
source: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ld7ng4o6knn7iub/WWIdeasForAtHomeLearning.pdf?dl=0

8th Grade
Hi Grade 8! I hope that this message finds you all healthy and safe. I trust that each and every one of you completed and turned in all of your Canvas assignments on time. Please continue to check for updated daily messages and assignments this week and next week. Some of your teachers have elected to post assignments based on your A, B schedule. Don’t worry, they will let you know in advance when the assignments are posted and the due date. It is a little weird not starting my morning in the gym with you and dropping by your lunch tables to chat. A lot has changed in a short time. Thank you in advance for your continued commitment to your studies as we evolve from the daily school bell schedule to virtual learning. You can begin practicing for the transition to high school: 1) you are taking on more responsibility; 2) by managing your time;3) planning to complete assignments; 4) proactively communicating with your teachers and seeking support when needed. Take advantage of your new and flexible schedule. Go for a walk, a run, complete a difficult puzzle, work on your jump shot, bike a few miles, learn two new words a day, complete chores without being asked to do so or choose one thing that you personally want to get better at and practice! There are many ways in which to schedule your day! Oh, wait! I almost forgot! You can also tour a museum, view a Broadway play or visit the zoo! Below are a few links.

https://airandspace.si.edu/events/sun-new-light
https://nationalzoo.si.edu/visit/self-guided-zoo-tour-english
https://www.weareteachers.com/best-virtual-field-trips/

Be well,
Dr. Ellis