Happy October, Wheelock!
We are so fortunate to live in New England and have the chance to enjoy such fantastic weather at this time of year. I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy some relaxing family time!
Recently Dr. Marsden shared the new School Committee Homework Policy with families. As a member of the SEL subcommittee, along with teachers and parents, who created the document, I am very proud of the recently approved School Committee policy. Of course as with anything new, your feedback to us will be important and could lead to tweaks as we move forward. As a point of clarification, at Wheelock we have many practices, procedures or processes but only School Committee approved documents should be referred to as a policy.
At the elementary level, a significant change was that reading and math fact practice is no longer in addition to the 20 minutes (gr. 2) or 30 minutes (gr. 3). Teachers may assign reading or math fact practice as homework as part of the 20 or 30 minutes or they may decide on a given night, that reading or math fact practice could be the only homework. We also have cut back on our grade 2 projects, leaving only the Science Fair as a grade 2 project for this year.
At Wheelock we never have never assigned home work during vacations or holidays so that was not new for us. We also are working within our own Wheelock SEL committee to discuss consequences for students who do not do their homework. We are not keeping students in from recess. We have embraced current research and have alternatives to taking recess, for any disciplinary reasons.
Teachers will be asking parents to provide feedback as to the amount of time their student is taking for their assignments as we work to gauge how much time a typical student takes to complete an assignment. Parents have the latitude at any time to stop their student at the 20 or 30 minute mark and let the teacher know. We want this information so we can be sure that homework assigned does take the correct amount of time for our students. Thank you for your support!
SEL at Wheelock
Once again I am representing Wheelock as an administrator on the District SEL Committee. I join many other Medfield teachers, parents and administrators who recognize the need for this important work. We are excited for the new year and what we hope to accomplish. This year we will look at School Schedules, Student Well-being, Staff Stress and SEL Curricula.
At Wheelock, we have formed a school-based committee to look at student and staff well-being, Mindfulness and student behavior strategies. Currently Mrs. Alberts, our Speech-Language Pathologist and Mrs. Johnson, our School Psychologist, are teaching their annual Social Thinking lessons to all classes. At Wheelock, using the same language is helpful as we work with our students. We also have ideas for supporting our staff and already have an opportunity for staff to take yoga after school, if desired. We will be changing up our behavior matrix and we have a pretty inspiring plan which we will share with you in the future! We already have a mindful moment as we start each school day with mindfulness music. Many teachers use the app, Go Noodle, which also has mindfulness music and videos.
Over the summer a great group of teachers and guidance staff including Kelly Farrell, Grade 2 teacher, created some wonderful mindfulness lessons that teachers will be embedding in their practice. We are examining our discipline practices, as we no longer take recess as a consequence. We will be examining the research and making some changes as the year goes on.
This week we welcomed our Chinese visitors to Wheelock. Hosted by Ms. Tang, our Mandarin teacher, these middle school students did a wonderful job presenting Chinese culture to our elementary students. Everyone enjoyed their visit. Thank you!
Have a great weekend!