Last night at WHS, our graduating seniors from the METCO Program offered reflections on their time in Wellesley. This is the second year we have organized this program and once again I believe everyone in the audience experienced a range of emotions that included frustration, inspiration, and a deep admiration for the resilience and courage of our students. While I was disappointed that some students recounted examples in which our system failed them, I was heartened by other examples of our staff showing great care by believing in our students and holding them to high standards. (I have to give a shout-out to Rita Bourne, our WHS colleague, who was mentioned by several students as someone whose tough love—while not always appreciated in the moment—was exactly the type of commitment that helped these students succeed.)
I was also struck by the challenges these students face in navigating relationships between the Boston and Wellesley communities and how this reality has shaped their identities. One student, Paris Sanchez, addressed this dynamic in his comments focused on “code switching.” Here’s what he had to say:
Hi, my name is Paris Sanchez, And I’m going to be talking about my experiences, in the METCO program, and something known as code-switching.
‘MAIN POINT: Don’t be racist, Don’t be prejudice, Be accepting, Be yourself.
You can use the idea of sanctions (formal and informal sanctions) positive and negative.
Code-Switching: Spell out C . O . D . E – S . W . I . T . C . H . I . N . G
Has two definitions, one being the practice of alternating between two or more personalities, languages or varieties of language. The second being my life.
My life, ever since I have been in the METCO program, has been an endless series, or training one might say, of code switching. One personality entails kindness, maturity, responsibility and being grammatically correct. While the other, more aggressive with traits solely based around toughness, and the ideal I couldn’t care any less about… anything. Along with broken english.
Adapting to my environment in the inner city is what built that second persona. The fighting, the lying, the stealing, that I had witnessed or had been a part of. All of this is who I was at one point. But from seeing me now, as I speak what many I know tend to call “White English”, I would guess that not a single one of you could guess the amount of fights I’ve gotten in. Or ,in fact, any of the things that I’ve had to do. And this is mainly because I haven’t shown that side, or part of me because it’s not the norm here. I don’t have to be tough to be respected. The norm is, good grades, respect, kindness, most of the traits that I do prefer. And the point I’m making here is not the fact that, Suburbs=Good and Urban=Bad. There are many many kind, respectful people within urban communities, but based off of experience I believe that it’s valued a lot less. It’s taken for granted… which sucks… It sucks because it’s what I value most in a community. That feeling of safety. And that feeling of safety, or danger, will ultimately coexist with how I act. This bothers me greatly because, why should I have to talk and act a certain way based off of the people that I’m around? Based off of the environment I’m in? I believe that some form of Code Switching resides within all of our lives. Whether it’s drastic or extremely subtle; and I believe that, to an extent, Code Switching makes a lot of sense. Hanging out with friends versus addressing your boss about.. Just about anything. Or maybe even just something as small as speaking to your only spanish speaking relative, then conversing with your only english speaking relative right after. But where I draw the line is when a good friend of mine makes fun of me for “speaking white.” For being literate? Articulate? And it’s funny because I immediately switch it up. I begin speaking broken English again like. “ haha yo whatchu talkin ‘bout.” in hopes he forgets that just a moment ago I was speaking a language foreign to him. And now to turn the tide. Switch up the sides. I’ve also been in situations where I’m walking with friends and I slip resulting in “Yo, it’s brick outside” or “it’s mad hot”… “or something as small as “ight bet” after they ask me to go to the library with them. And then I get hit with the correction, usually being “what?”, “that’s not right” or “that’s not grammatically correct.” resulting in my embarrassed laughs or some form of apology in order to retract what I had said. …But what I want to say is “No, I think it is, I’m not speaking your english, but that doesn’t mean I’m speaking the wrong english.”, “broken english isn’t wrong, It’s just not the same.” At the end of the day It’s all about acceptance. How we as a society have to learn to understand and accept where people come from and how they act and speak. It all ties up together, into a category. This being, informal and formal sanctions. Norms. There are norms that society has constructed in order to separate the normal and the abnormal. Which is interesting because although society has these set norms, what is normal for some people may not be what is normal for others. Yet people feel the need to express their distaste for someone doing something as NORMAL as expressing themselves. In turn making them change, adapt or conform to your norm. The norm that would make one feel less like an outsider.
With METCO I believe that we can make this change. The more we integrate urban community kids with suburban community kids the closer we’ll get to this norm of complete acceptance. Thank you.
Thank you to Paris and to all of our seniors for sharing such deeply personal reflections last night. And thank you to all of our staff who challenge and support our students every day throughout our district. Have a great weekend.
04/07/17 – Applications due for PAWS summer employment
04/07 – 04/26 – K-12 Art Show – Wellesley Free Library
04/12/17 – Annual Town Meeting – 7 pm WMS Auditorium
04/12/17 – Footnotes Dance Performance – 7 pm WHS Auditorium
04/13/17 – SC Meeting – Town Hall
04/14 – 04/21/17 – School Vacation Week
04/25/17 – SC Meeting – 7 pm Town Hall
Congratulations to Sarah Kess (Hardy/Sprague Art Teacher) on the birth of her daughter, Luna Mae Kess-Uygungil, who was born on April 3, 2017.
Support summer reading for METCO students and books for the school libraries
Wellesley Books is hosting a spring book fair, April 5-8, in honor of METCO’s 50th Anniversary with 20 percent of the proceeds going to Friends of Wellesley METCO Inc (FWMI). FWMI will use these funds toward the summer reading program, in which books are given/mailed to all METCO students to read over the summer. This program was started at Bates, and has been expanded throughout the district. FWMI would also like to offer the summer reading titles to each school library so they are available to all students year-round.
We hope you will have the chance to stop into Wellesley Books during this time (Wednesday – Saturday, 9am-9pm) and use the attached coupon. Thank you!
K-12 Art Show on display now until April 26th
Closing Reception and Awards Ceremony, Tuesday, April 25, 5-7
The Moving Company presents Footnotes Dance Performance
Wednesday, April 12th @ 7PM – Katherine L Babson Jr Auditorium at Wellesley High School.
“Footnotes” is a dance performance collaborative featuring both professional dance companies and local schools. Performances range from Jazz to Contemporary Ballet to African and Contemporary Modern, just to name a few. Student choreographed pieces will be showcased by the Moving Company. In addition to the Moving Company, Footnotes includes performances from WHS Step Squad, Dana Hall, Cambridge School of Weston, Rhode Island College, the WMS Moving Company, the Mini Movers and an award winning Chinese folk dance troupe.
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students K-12, free for seniors. Available online or at the door.
ATTENTION: Wellesley Walkers
You are invited to join the Wellesley Walkers for the spring walking program. The kick-off meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26th at 3:30 pm in the Selectmen’s meeting room in the Wellesley Town Hall. The walking program will run from April 30th through May 27th, and is free, fun and filled with benefits. All program participants will receive a goody bag at the start of the program and will be eligible for random prize drawings throughout the program.
Sponsored by the Wellesley Health Department and the Human Resources Department, the walking program is geared for individuals from all walks of life. If you are a serious walker, a casual walker or a walker “wanna be”, please consider joining the Wellesley Walkers for our spring walking program
If interested in participating this spring, even if you can’t make the kick-off meeting, and in order to reserve your goody bag, please let Cheryl Daebritz know by Thursday, April 20th. (Late enrollment is always accepted however, goody bag not guaranteed.)
Contact info: cdaebritz or (781) 431-1019, ext. 2246
C&I Proposals Now Being Accepted for Summer 2017 and the 2017-2018 School Year
We are seeking C&I Projects whose focus is to develop or refine curricula and/or innovative teaching practices resulting in products that can be shared with colleagues. Priority will be given to proposals aligned with the Strategic Plan and the District Goals: Social and Emotional Learning, Tiered Systems of Support, Creative Schools and Cultural Competence.
For more information on the District Goals, please click here and/or review your school’s School Improvement Plan.
We are seeking C&I Proposals whose focus is on specialized instructional inclusive practices, e.g., co-teaching models, and/or emotional/social/behavioral support systems.
To access a fillable C&I Proposal Form, please click C&I Proposal. Proposals can be initiated by administrators or by teacher groups who have worked with your department head. C&I Proposals are due no later than Friday, May 5, 2017.
- For Regular Education proposals, please submit to Gwen Cheek, Office of Teaching & Learning.
- For Special Education proposals, please submit to Lori Cimeno, Director of Student Services.
Approval notifications will be sent the week of May 22nd.
Teach at P.A.W.S. this Summer!
We are looking for instructors to teach the summer preschool program at P.A.W.S. for preschoolers with and without identified special needs, ages 3-5. Staff can opt to teach for 2.5 hours a day or 4.5 hours a day, Monday-Thursday, July 5- August 8. Click here for additional information on schedule and salary. Applications are due by April 7, 2017
2017 Summer Special Education Program
Elementary, Middle and High School Positions Available
We are looking for lead teachers, paraprofessionals, teaching assistants, and related service providers to teach WPS summer programs for Elementary School, Middle School and High School. Teaching experience and license within content, or related service area required. Familiarity with WPS learning goals preferred. Applicants for positions within academic strands must state their preferred grade level and content area. Times and days may vary based on programming. For information and an application for Elementary positions, please click here. For information and applications for the Middle and High School Positions, please click here.
Apply Now to Enroll Children of Non-Resident WTA Members in Wellesley Public Schools
Children of teachers or nurses residing outside of Wellesley shall be entitled to attend Wellesley Public Schools without charge for tuition on a space-available basis (Article 12, WTA Unit A Contract). If you are interested in this benefit for the 2017-18 school year, please click here to access the form. Once complete, please return the form, along with a letter of intent, to District Registrar Nancy Costigliola in Central Office or email it back to her at email@example.com. The Application and Letter of Intent Deadline is May 1, 2017.
Graduate Course Reimbursement Guidelines/Deadline
Course reimbursement funding of $30,000 is available to distribute in FY18 among qualified teachers. This funding is for graduate course work done to obtain a master’s degree and/or a teacher’s professional license. Newly added benefits this year allow course reimbursement for specialists including physical therapists and occupational therapists to recertify their professional or allied health license. The Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning must verify in advance that there are no further in-district specialist courses available in order for the specialists to apply for course reimbursement. To apply for this course reimbursement, please send by no later June 1, 2017, your name, evidence of your enrollment in an applicable master/doctoral degree program, name and description of the course, evidence of course cost (a billing statement), proof of payment (i.e. credit card statement, canceled check or receipt of payment), and transcript to Valerie Spruill, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Human Resources, spruillv. You will be notified of the amount awarded to you some time prior to the first paycheck in September 2017. Please note: all information must be received by June 1, 2017 or you will be disqualified for reimbursement. All courses must have occurred in the summer of 2016, fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 and have been completed by June 1, 2017. Any courses taken prior to the summer of 2016 will not count for reimbursement.
Insurance Benefits Information
Health and Dental Insurance Benefits information is handled by the Town Hall Benefits Office. 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.