*MONDAY DECEMBER 11th: FAITH LEADERS JOIN SCHOOL LEADERS
I encourage you all to attend Monday’s meeting at in the Weston Middle School Library.Let’s join together in an open discussion with Weston’s faith leaders and our school leaders to heal, to ask, and most importantly to listen.
WMS FUNDRAISER A HUGE SUCCESS: November 18th was dedicated to fun and fundraising for the Weston Middle School. Co-chairs Catherine Revzon and Gemma May launched a first-time-ever online fundraiser with an all-day auction featuring great holiday cuisine packages from local vendors, WMS faculty and parents. Nearly $12,000 was raised thanks to generous bidders and donors. Importantly, with no overhead, every dollar raised went directly to WMS PTO Philanthropy in support of school programs to enhance the WMS educational experience including guest speakers and authors, an outdoor beautification program, funding for Odyssey of the Mind and much more.
KEY FACTS: Internet Safety and Your Middle School Child
The WMS Library Think Tank was packed with parents and questions during the November 14th PTO program featuring SRO Mogollon who spoke at length about Internet Safety and our Children. Following are some key discussion points from that program. (Officer Mogollon will launch a website with details on this and other issues impacting our children—keep scanning The Link for more information.)
*The average Middle Schooler is receiving up to 4,000 text messages a month—not just text but photos too. (Some photos are sexually explicit—yes, even in Weston! This now carries strict legal penalties whether your child initiates the photo or is a recipient who forwards it to others. Your child should delete any photos of this nature and report it immediately to avoid legal issues. This can be done confidentially within the school—“ratting” should not be an issue as no names will be disclosed.)
*Social media (SnapChat, Facebook and Instagram are the top three) are HUGE time wasters pulling hours away from studies, physical activity and the development of real (not virtual) social skills.
*Phones are getting harder for parents to monitor—they are designed for kids to hide information they don’t want parents to see. (For example, watch out for “Finstagram”--a fake Instagram account now available to hide images and messages. “If your child is using a third party text messaging app or has two calculator icons on his/her phone—ask why!”)
*Self Esteem at Risk: Officer Mogollon reported that social media is designed to become rapidly addictive. Side effects of this addiction include reduced self-esteem, increased anxiety and decreased ability to bond with peers.
*Safety Sacrificed: Social media can easily be used to allow predators access to our children —and our children will never see the risk. Sites such as Whisper include private chat rooms and are used by pedophiles to stalk. “Recently a child pornography ring in Fairfield was caught using this site,” Officer Mogollon said. Omegle and Kik are other apps/sites that provide your children with the opportunity to “talk to strangers”. They think it’s safe. It’s not.
*What Can We Do? Be vigilant. Pay attention to your child’s activities on their devices and to what is on the devices themselves. Communicate openly with them and develop a dialogue of trust. Limit the time they spend on social media. “Tools such as Life 360, TeenSafe, Spyzie and Bark alert parents to inappropriate social media interactions.”
Weston PTOs joined in support of this innovative program held on November 29th at 7pm in the WHS Auditorium. The program featured expert Vipin Thekk, Director of Parent Changemakers and Partner with Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The two hour session generated a lot of positive energy, questions and group participation. Topics such as pros and cons of social media, parent-child communications, empathy, adaptability and creating child leaders were discussed in depth. The session was taped and an online viewing site will be posted shortly. Please also go to: www.gettingsmart.com/2017/03/equipping-students-to-lead-in-our-rapidly-changing-world/ for more information.
SUPPORT THE WHS SGA: Buy your comfy sports blankets today! CLICK HERE
THE RISKY TEEN YEARS
On November 2nd parent and school leaders gathered at the Weston Middle School for a special evening seminar on strategies for dealing with teens. The seminar was led by Diana Clark, JD, MA of Turnbridge. Clark noted that “Once somewhat predictable, teens are often described by parents as strangers whose moods are erratic and dramatic.” Clark discussed “normal” teenage behavior vs. behavior that deviates from the norm and healthy ways to address concerns. The program was sponsored by the Weston Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Community (a WPS-based group that, guided by District leadership, is making a positive difference in our schools via drug and alcohol awareness and teaching enhanced coping and communications strategies). For more information visit: www.familyhealingstrategies.com/about
Book Fair Brainstorm…
A fresh idea for a Book Fair—one designed especially for Middle School Students with better resources, less “must attend” expectations and a social atmosphere--is under consideration for PTO funding. Tentative launch date is late spring 2018. Interested? Contact Jennifer Merced at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS…
*MONDAY DECEMBER 11th: FaithLeadersJoinSchool Leaders—a healing discussion
Tuesday, January 9th, 9:45 a.m. WMS Library; PTO PROGRAM: “A Taste of Middle School Life”—join us for our regular 9:45 PTO meeting in the library and then quickly head to the cafeteria for an update from our own Andre Santelli and a tasting at the cafeteria tables!
Tuesday, February 6th, 9:45 a.m. WMS Library; PTO PROGRAM: “Budget Update” featuring Dr. McKersie and BOE Members.
Tuesday, March 6th, 9:45 a.m. 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 a.m. 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.