I am producing my bulletin early this week as I am leaving for China on Wednesday with a group of New England superintendents and other educators. While there, we will be meeting with education officials and visiting a number of schools. I hope to leave with a better understanding of the Chinese education system as well as to explore possible opportunities for students and/or staff exchanges in which we may participate in the future. I look forward to sharing my reflections with you later this month!
I am writing to you on the morning of Election Day, with no clear sense of what the outcome will be later tonight/tomorrow. Like so many Americans, I am eager to move past this election. Never in my lifetime do I recall a period filled with more acrimony, division, and rhetoric that would not be tolerated in our schools, let alone in a process to select the next President. Regardless of who wins this contest, I hope this election challenges us to pause and reflect on our core values as a nation and to be reminded of the example we are setting, particularly to our children. I am deeply troubled by a political environment where there seems to be no accountability for one’s words, where opinions are substituted for facts, and where respectful discourse appears to be an antiquated notion.
The late Mario Cuomo said famously, “You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose.” We have surely been lacking in poetry for the past year! In fact, I fear that government service, once seen as a noble calling, may now be seen by our youth as quite the opposite. John Gardner, President Johnson’s Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, who wrote and spoke so brilliantly about the virtues of civic leadership, would be appalled.
How do we reverse these disturbing trends? Our public schools are certainly part of that answer. We must continue to support the development of curious, compassionate, and critical minds in our classrooms. You’ve often heard me talk about the need to engage our students’ heads, hearts, and hands. I’ve seen this work throughout our district in each year I have served with you. And, frankly, what gives me hope is that perhaps our students of today will be inspired by what they have seen and experienced in your classrooms as they become the leaders of tomorrow.
Have a great weekend and thank you for all that you do for our students each day.
11/15/16 – School Committee Meeting – 7 pm – Town Hall
11/23/16 – Flexible Spending Accounts Sign Up Deadline (see details below)
11/23/16 – Early Release – Thanksgiving Break
11/28/16 – Professional Day
11/29/16 – School Committee Meeting – 7 pm – Town Hall
Congratulations to Jacque Martell (Bates Visual Arts Teacher) on the birth of her daughter, Evelyn Christine Colcord, on November 4, 2016.
First Annual Empty Bowls Project – November 17, 2016
6 – 7:30 pm, WHS Faculty Dining Room
Hosted by the Wellesley High School Wheel Throwing Intensive Students, Empty Bowls is a national grassroots movement to help end hunger. Tickets are on sale now for the First Annual Empty Bowls Project hosted by the Wellesley High School Ceramics Department. If you are interested in attending, please email Amie Larson (larsona for tickets. Cost: $10 for soup OR $25 for soup and a handmade ceramic bowl. The proceeds made will be donated to the Wellesley Food Bank on behalf of the Wellesley METCO program’s 50th Anniversary.
FSA SignUp Reminder!
Open enrollment for the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for both Medical and Dependent Care related expenses runs from now until November 23, 2016. Please click here for more information on FSA. Also, employees who have access to health insurance elsewhere due to a spouse’s open enrollment or a qualifying event may be eligible for money back through the Opt-Out Program. Forms and information on both the FSA and the Opt-Out program can be found here.
Please be advised that if you are signing up to start or continue a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your enrollment form needs to go directly to Cafeteria Plan Advisors (CPA). If you send your FSA form to the Human Resources Department at Town Hall, it will be returned to you. Town HR office cannot process FSA enrollments.
Health Insurance Opt-Out Program Reminder:
Receive up to $4,500 per benefits year!
Did you know that you can receive up to $4,500 for opting out of the Town of Wellesley’s health insurance plan if you have coverage available elsewhere? You can receive up to $2,250 for an individual plan, or $4,500 for a family plan, per year, if you meet the following criteria:
- You are currently enrolled in a Town of Wellesley health insurance plan and have been a participant for 2 years immediately preceding the opt-out.
- You have health insurance coverage available elsewhere, most likely through a spouse.
- You sign up for the opt-out program using the application found online.
Please go to www.WellesleyMA.gov, click on the Human Resources page and go to the Employee Benefits link on the left for more details! Payments will be made in June of each year for the previous year and are pro-rated based on date of enrollment in the opt-out program. Offer ends June 30, 2018.
Ready for Retirement: For members retiring in 2017
The MTRS staff will be presenting our popular seminar, “Ready for Retirement,” across the Commonwealth in November and December. “Ready for Retirement” is a free, optional, two-hour program (4-6 p.m.) designed for members retiring in 2017. We’re reaching out to soon-to-be retirees before the retirement season starts so that when you begin the application process, you will know just what you need to do and when.
- the retirement application process and the benefit calculation formula,
- timelines and service expectations,
- first payment information,
- health insurance, tax and working after retirement issues, and
- cost-of-living adjustments after you retire.
Please note: Personalized account information and pension estimates are not offered during these sessions.
To attend, simply choose the date and location that is best for you, and then register online. We hope to see you soon!
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Tuesday, November 15; Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School auditorium
NORTON, Wednesday, November 16; Norton Middle School auditorium
CHARLESTOWN, Thursday, November 17; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room, 2nd Floor
WOBURN, Tuesday, November 29; Woburn High School auditorium
CHARLESTOWN, Thursday, December 1; MTRS Main Office, Presentation Room, 2nd Floor
LUDLOW, Thursday, December 8; Ludlow High School auditorium
All Benefits Information
Benefits information is handled by the Town Hall Benefits Office. All benefit inquiries should be directed to Joanne Liburd at JLiburd or by calling 781-431-1019 extension 2244.
WPS Internal Job Postings on District Website
Please be aware that we added a new feature called “Internal Job Postings” under the Faculty tab of the District’s website. We will post all of our internal jobs under this website tab. Therefore, you will no longer see internal job postings in the bulletin. This new way of posting will allow us to post internal positions any day of the week.