Hard to believe it’s December 1st! I hope you found Monday’s Professional Development Day valuable. Ken Kay had important messages for us about 21st Century Learning and why our work in this area is so critical. It’s important to note that this work around the 4 C’s has been well underway in our district for some time. Two recent examples that stand out are from our elementary schools.
In early November, third grade students at Hardy exhibited work in which they had to design structures that could withstand various natural disasters. Students showcased some ingenious designs for a number of scenarios, including homes that could survive hurricanes and floods. Listening to the students describe their projects, it was clear that they had to consider the science behind their challenge and through trial and error, amazing creativity, and great deal of collaboration, determine the best path forward.
Additionally, I learned of a collaboration between fourth grade teachers at Fiske and Bates who decided, with their students, to take on the problem of erosion at Morses Pond. Traveling to the site, taking measurements, and dealing with a great deal of environmental science, these students are in the process of developing recommendations that they will share with the Town.
The teachers who facilitated these units participated in project-based learning (PBL) training last summer offered by the Buck Institute for Education. This opportunity was made possible through a grant we received from the Wellesley Education Foundation (WEF). In short, the kind of 21st Century teaching and learning that Ken described is not new to us and we are excited to expand and deepen our approach in this area across all schools.
So what’s next? First, I know many of you described how important it will be for us to engage our parent community, with some recognition that there may be skepticism about the changes we want for our system. With this in mind, and through the generous support of WEF, Ken Kay will be returning to Wellesley on January 22nd to engage in follow-up work with staff and provide an evening talk for our community. We also plan to include working sessions for parents after the talk where they will engage in a Profile of a Graduate activity, similar to what we have already done internally.
Second, between January and June, our goal is to formally develop a District-wide Profile of a Graduate (POG) that we present to the School Committee for approval. To accomplish this, we plan to assemble a large development committee comprised of students, staff, parents, and other key community members, to develop a draft that we will then share with our community for feedback. With this work in hand, we will begin working on a new strategic plan next year with our POG as its foundation.
Once again, I want to thank our Teaching and Learning team, particularly Chelsea Bailow, for all of their efforts that made Monday’s PD day possible. I also want to thank the 85 members of our staff who led sessions throughout the day, sharing their practice with colleagues.
On a final note, I want to remind staff that on Thursday, December 7th, we will be presenting a preview of our FY19 Budget proposal (to staff only) at 3:30PM in the WMS Auditorium. I think at this point you have likely heard that we are faced with a number of difficult budget challenges, both in this current year and in our FY19 budget planning, and we want to be sure you understand the elements of what we will be bringing forward to the School Committee the following week.
Thank you for all that you do for our students and have a great weekend!
12/05/17 – SC Meeting – 6:30 pm – Town Hall
12/07/17 – FY19 Budget Presentation to Staff – WMS Auditorium
12/12/17 – SC Meeting – 6:30 pm – Town Hall
12/15/17 – FSA Enrollment Deadline (see below)
12/25/17 – 1/1/18 – Winter Break
Condolences toPeg Toce (WMS Guidance Secretary) on the loss of her mother, Ruth Cialdea, on November 25, 2017.
IMPORTANT FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) INFORMATION
Open enrollment ends 12/15/2017 – no exceptions
The Town of Wellesley will be changing its plan year for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to coincide with the plan year for the other Town benefits (July 1 – June 30). Below is some important information as to how this will impact FSA signup for calendar year 2018 and beyond.
In order to make the switch from a calendar year to a benefit/fiscal year on July 1, the regularly scheduled FSA period will be shortened and an additional open enrollment period with a new plan year will be added. Moving forward, the FSA open enrollment period will coincide with the open enrollment period for health insurance. The open enrollment is usually in the spring, with a July 1st effective date.
FIRST FSA PERIOD: 1/1/2018 – 6/30/2018*
The open enrollment for the first FSA period for calendar year 2018 ends at 4pm on December 15, 2017. The plan year for this FSA enrollment period is limited to 6 months and will only cover services incurred from 1/1/2018-6/30/2018. As a result, the maximum amount that employees will be allowed to sign up for will be $1,325 for medical expenses and $2,500 for dependent care expenses. The current FSA plan allows for a $500 rollover from one plan year to the next for the medical FSA option only. This option is still available for those who have money left in their medical spending accounts on December 31. In order to qualify for the rollover, employees will need to re-enroll in the medical FSA for calendar year 2018, even if it’s just for $.01.
*This is a one-time shortened period necessary to transition the FSA plan year to July 1st.
SECOND FSA PERIOD: 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019
The next open enrollment for FSA will occur at the same time as the open enrollment for the other town insurance plans. FSA open enrollment at this time will allow for the full IRS amount of $2,650 for medical expenses and $5,000 for dependent care expenses and will cover services incurred from 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019. This will be the regular open enrollment period.
The current FSA plan allows for a $500 rollover from one plan year to the next. This option is still available to those who have $500 or less in their medical spending accounts. In order to qualify for the rollover, employees will need to re-enroll in the medical FSA for calendar year 2018, even if it’s just for $.01.
Those who sign up for or already have a medical spending account have access to a pre-loaded debit card (the Benny card) that can be used on the spot to pay for incurred medical expenses. As a reminder, expenses you are seeking reimbursement for from the HRA cannot be put on the Benny card. More information on this can be found in the attached documentation.
All enrollment forms are to be sent to Cafeteria Plan Advisors (CPA) directly. The contact information for CPA is as follows:
Cafeteria Plan Advisors, Inc.
420 Washington Street, Suite 100
Braintree, MA 02184
Questions can be answered by the Town Hall HR department by calling (781) 431 – 1019, ext. 2244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
New WEF Website and Online Grant Application (OLGA) Upgrade
The Wellesley Education Foundation launched its new website the week of November 20th. This means OLGA – the Online Grant Application – has some new elements. Please refer to the attached PDF for more information about this transition. Don’t forget to apply! Last year, WEF awarded over $242k in grants to WPS.
Grant applications are due January 5th, so now is a great time to submit your application at wefgrantapplications if you have questions. Please note: The new link referenced above is not available until end of day on
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.