I write to share an update on our school reopening plans following important announcements from the state over the past two weeks. Last Tuesday, Education Commissioner Jeff Riley announced his plan to seek authority from the State Board of Education to require full, in-person learning for Grades K-5 beginning in early April. Today, the Board of Education voted to approve that request and districts throughout the state are working to meet this requirement, which should allow for a more unified model of instruction throughout the Commonwealth.
Additionally, Gov. Baker announced on Wednesday that Public School Educators and Staff would be further prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccinations beginning on March 11th. This was welcomed news for which we and many of our colleagues in the education community have been advocating for some time. (Members of our staff have already had some success signing up for vaccines through the CVS Website, which will help accelerate this process.)
So what does all of this mean for WPS? First, the transition to full schedules at our elementary schools will be more seamless than in many other communities, as our grades K, 1, and 2 students already attend full schedules, four days a week. In order to fold in grades 3, 4, and 5, the District will be expanding our weekly viral testing program to include students in grades 3-5. (All district staff already participate in this program as do students at WMS and WHS.) We will provide training and resources to parents at these grade levels before phasing in this testing program.
WPS will also be working to maintain six feet of social distancing wherever possible, but allowing a minimum of three feet of social distancing at school. A minimum of six feet will be maintained whenever students/staff need to lower their masks, such as during lunches and breaks.
While the district is still working with the Wellesley Educators Association to finalize some of the operational details of this expanded reopening plan, we expect to make a transition to a full, five-day, in-person schedule for grades K-5 beginning the week of April 5th. (Wednesdays will be a half-day of in-person learning.)
For our students/families in the Remote Learning School (RLS), the Commissioner has stated that an all-remote learning option will be allowed for the remainder of the year for those students in programs such as our RLS.
In order to communicate more details about this next phase of school reopening, WPS will be hosting a webinar for staff and the community on Thursday, March 11th from 7-8:30PM (https://wellesleyps.zoom.us/j/89116980611). During the webinar, we will be joined by experts from the medical community and Board of Health who have been advising the district and can speak to the evolving science related to the virus in schools as well as the vaccines.
Finally, we know that our community is equally interested in next steps for Grades 6-12. The state has provided fewer details at this point on the timing of expanded, in-person learning expectations at the secondary level. Recognizing the challenge of significantly larger student populations at WMS and WHS, along with more restrictive spaces, our team is continuing to work through the many logistical issues that must be solved before phasing in a full return, which we hope to accomplish later this spring.
Tying all of these elements together will be our continued vigilance in following safety protocols both inside and outside of school. We will also need to continue to employ a great deal of flexibility and understanding as we make these complex transitions. Working together as a school community, I’m confident that we can move forward safely and successfully in the weeks ahead.
3/09/21 – School Committee Meeting – Remote Online – 6:30 pm
3/14/21 – Daylight Savings Time Begins – Spring Forward!
3/30/21 – School Committee Meeting – Remote Online – 6:30 pm
4/02/21 – Good Friday – No School
The Second Annual 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge is Coming . . .
The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion will launch the second annual 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge from April 5- 29. The 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge (aka the Racial Equity Challenge) is simple: You (along with thousands of other people across the US) commit to deepening your understanding of and willingness to confront racism for 21 consecutive days. At the very least, the Challenge will raise your awareness. But for many participants it goes beyond that and changes the way they see and interact with the world. Commit to this year’s challenge here, and SAVE THE DATE to return to our website on April 5 for Day 1!
Questions Concerning Your Payroll Check or Deductions?
Questions have been raised concerning the changes in the amount received in payroll checks. Please note that for Massachusetts state tax purposes, only the first $2,000 of your retirement is deducted pre-tax each calendar year. When the $2,000 pre-tax limit is reached, all remaining amounts are taxed. The pre-tax amount is usually reached by the end of January.
If you have questions regarding your paycheck, please email the WPS Payroll Coordinator directly at email@example.com. Please do not respond to the email that is sent forwarding your payroll notice of direct deposit.
Timeline for WPS Enrollment of Faculty Children
Children of Units A and B members 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 and B Contract). Below is the timeline for submitting applications:
- March 1st: Interested applicants can submit a letter of intent with the one-page application to Asya Kibko, District Registrar, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note: You must be logged into a @wellesleyps.org google account in order to complete the form. You will receive a confirmation email with a copy of your response. The application will be available on the District website starting on March 1st. Forms are accepted starting March 1st until April 30th. Late applications will not be accepted. Placement decisions will be made at the end of May. Once notified of a determination, applicants will be provided an enrollment packet to be completed and submitted to the District Registrar.
If there are any questions, please reach out to Asya Kibko, District Registrar, at email@example.com. A survey will be sent out in March to confirm currently enrolled faculty children will be returning in school year 2021-2022.
Salary Lane Change Process Reminder
Effective November 1, 2020, a teacher must submit a Course Approval Form (CAF) if: 1) a course may lead to a lane change; or 2) a course is paid by District funds. Forms should be submitted at least 30 days in advance of the expected start date of the course. Course approvals are active from the date of approval through June 30th of the following school year (e.g., approved 1/20/2021 for a course starting 3/1/2021 would be active through 6/30/2022). Approvals are based on the course title and course description and cannot be exchanged for another course without prior written approval of the Superintendent or designee. A teacher has until June 30th of the following school year from the course completion date to submit the transcripts (e.g., course ended 4/1/2021 transcript must be submitted by 6/30/2022).
Human Relations Services
The Human Relation Services (HRS) can help. Wellesley Public Schools has contracted with HRS to provide up to ten free counseling visits for you and/or your family members. This program is designed to help you deal with stresses of life and work –including personal and family issues, drug or alcohol problems, and job related tension. It offers prevention and intervention to reduce these stresses and improve coping skills.
HRS is located at 11 Chapel Place in Wellesley and can be reached at 781-235-4950. This is a confidential service. Wellesley Public Schools is not aware of the names of employees or their family members who utilize this service.
Do you have a question for the WPS Human Resources Department? Email AskHR@Wellesleyps.org. The Human Resources Department is happy to assist you.
WPS Internal Job Postings on District Website
For all Internal Job Postings, please go to “Internal Job Postings” under the Faculty tab of the District’s website.