*BREAKFAST COMES TO WMS! A pilot program featuring breakfast offerings to WMS students will soon be launched. At the January 9th WMS PTO meeting, WPS Director of Cuisine, Andre Santelli made this announcement to parents interested in learning more about the WMS cafeteria experience (for details, see below). “We’ve learned that many WMS children miss or skip breakfast. This negatively impacts their school day and their ability to learn,” Santelli said. He explained that the pilot program will start with cold breakfast options such as cereal, yogurt with granola, milk and juice. These will be made available in the cafeteria from the time the doors open around 7:10. “If this is successful, we may consider adding some warm options.”
*MEETING SUMMARY: WMS Cafeteria and Your Child: At the January 9th WMS PTO meeting, WPS Director of Cuisine, Andre Santelli, plus school dieticians and representatives from Chartwells led a Q & A session about food options and your child’s cafeteria experience. “Now that we are no longer bound by the federal food program, we have been able to introduce higher quality options. So while the menu may look similar, the ingredients are vastly improved from past years,” Santelli said. “For example, our beef is now GMO-free, organic, grass fed beef. We also make our own nut-free granola freshly baked in our own ovens.” Some parents raised concerns about the lack of challenge to our children’s palates. “We do introduce new meals from time to time. If they work, we keep them; if they don’t, we try something else. Our main goal is to ensure that all children are fed in a healthy balanced way. We have to be sure we have foods that appeal to everyone.” Questions were also raised about allergies and gluten free-options. Santelli gave examples of some gluten-free options but also emphasized that he and his staff are ALWAYS available and willing to meet with any parent to discuss special dietary needs. “We have several children with customized menus due to allergies or food sensitivities. We pride ourselves on our ability to do this.” After the meeting, parents were invited to tour the cafeteria. We noticed that it was clean and colorful. Santelli also explained that it is set-up like a food court to engage children’s interests in trying different options. For example, there is a deli where you can custom order your own sandwich or wrap; there is a salad section where kids can choose from a variety of grab-and-go salads; and there is a section featuring daily meal specials such as quesadillas or burgers which come with fruit and milk or water. There was some concern about the displays of chips and other snacks that were front and center for kids to grab. It was explained that the options are relatively healthy and that it is important for kids to learn how to make smart food choices (one bag of chips with lunch, not 10!). However, Mr. Santelli did note that parents can look up what their child has purchased each day and if there are problems with food choices, they can use it as a teaching moment. “Parents also have the option to block any food choice—for example, if they don’t want their children to buy chips, these can be blocked online and will not be accepted at cafeteria check-out.” For additional information, please contact Andre Santelli at AndreSantelli@westonps.org.
*PHILANTHROPY AT WORK: Successful fundraising efforts and thoughtful planning have made the WMS PTO Philanthropy Fund strong. All monies raised go directly to enhancing educational experiences for our children. So far this year we have approved funds for: The creation of a Tranquility Room for students to meet, discuss and work in a relaxed, supervised environment; additional cellos; co-funding of the Screenagers family evening movie event; and workshops plus a concert by Brice Kapel a renowned singer from Togo whose programs teach foreign language skills as well as lessons on global stewardship. Upcoming philanthropy votes will include a beautification program for the front of our school and a live stream video technology service to facilitate event broadcast (everything from sporting events, to plays, to graduation ceremonies.) PLEASE ATTEND PTO MONTHLY MEETINGS to ensure we have a quorum to discuss and vote on these important initiatives. Our next meeting is Tuesday, February 6th at 9:45 a.m. in the WMS Library Think Tank. All are welcome.
*EVENT SUMMARY: SCREENAGERS: WHS and WMS PTOs co-sponsored a major family film event on January 11th at 7pm—the first area screening of the hot new documentary Screenagers—a film about growing up in the digital age and the unique challenges this poses to children and parents (and the child-parent relationship). An informative discussion between parents, students, and school faculty leaders followed the screening. Below are some key tips from the film (for more information go to www.screenagersmovie.com)
4 Basic Rules to Consider:
1. No screens in bedrooms when kids and teens go to sleep (for younger kids, keep screens out completely). Fact: 75% of teens get inadequate sleep. The presence of devices disrupts sleep cycles.
2. Set time goals for studying without multitasking and then ensure kids take tech breaks. Fact: Multitasking is linked to less retention and poorer academic outcomes.
3. Eat family meals without devices. Fact: Face-to-face conversations improve mood and empathy.
4. Parents: Put phones and devices away in the car! Fact: More than half of kids report seeing their parents text while driving. Model responsible tech behavior or your kids never will.
3 Tips to Help your Child Build Self-Control:
1. Science shows that positive rewards work better than punishment. For example, if you observe your children focused while doing homework without a device, praise them.
2. Build times when tech is out of sight. Self-control is hard, so decrease temptations.
3. Use family time to let your kids share with you about the reasons they like tech in their lives—the more they feel understood, the more they will work with you on tech limits (one idea is to schedule Tuesday night family dinners called “Tech Talk Tuesdays”).
SCHOOL BUDGET REVIEW, 9:15-10:45 am on FRIDAY, JANUARY 19th in the WIS CAFETORIUM: Stay informed by joining Dr. McKersie, school leaders and your fellow parents for a bottom-line, easy-to-understand Budget Presentation that will help keep you informed as the process moves forward.
JOIN THE BOOSTERS EMAIL LIST! Looking to keep up with what sports teams are doing at the High School and when they are playing? Want to help Boosters continue to support our accomplished sports athletes? Want to stay current with the great things that Boosters provides our student athletes? Do you want to help Boosters during the special events they support like Special Olympics, the Kiwanis Turkey Run, and Relay for Life? If so, please join the Weston High School Boosters Club email list. Contact Tammy Roberts, President, WHS Boosters Club at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will gladly add your name (you can unsubscribe at any time). Please visit www.whsboosters.com for more information. It’s never too early to embrace our school spirit.
WMS BOOK FAIR COMING THIS SPRING!
Mark your calendars for May 16th-18th for the WMS Book Fair. Hours: 7:30-2:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with extended hours offered during Art Jam on May 17th from 6:00-7:30 pm to encourage parent participation. The fair will close on Friday morning at 10:30 am. Students will visit the fair with their English classes. Importantly, the WMS Book Fair is geared specifically towards the pre-teen and teen audiences and encourages literacy by introducing students and their families to books they may note otherwise encounter. The new vendor, Main Street Books (MainStreetBookCompany.com) allows WMS to customize the selection of books to ensure that every reading level is offered unique and appropriate reading options. For more information contact Jennifer Merced at email@example.com.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS…
Friday, January 19th, 9:15-10:45 am WIS Cafetorium: School Budget Review
Tuesday, February 6th, 9:45 am WMS Library; PTO PROGRAM: “Budget Update” featuring Dr. McKersie and BOE Members.
Tuesday, March 6th, 9:45 am WMS Library; PTO PROGRAM: “Drugs, Alcohol and your Middle School Children” with guest speakers SRO Joe Mogollon and WMS/WHS Social Worker, Megan Skelton.
Tuesday, April 3rd, 9:45 am WMS Library; PTO PROGRAM: “Hard Questions: Final Budget Update before Vote” featuring Dr. McKersie, Principal Doak, BOE Members and other budget leaders. This is the perfect opportunity for you to ask questions, get answers and formulate your own opinions.