Weston schools principals’ report for October

The principals of Weston’s public schools discussed activities and events for October in their monthly report.

Weston High School

On Monday, Oct. 2, Weston High School welcomed 26 students and faculty from its sister school in Qingdao, China. The guests visited classes, participated in homecoming events, and went on a field trip to Yale University during their stay.

At homecoming, students engaged in two community service efforts. The school hosted a Harmonies for Hurricanes concert featuring student performers, including the Chinese guests. The concert was a collective effort by various clubs  including Student Government, Tri-M Honor Society, National Honor Society, French Club, Young Progressives, and National Arts Honor Society. The evening raised $5,000 for hurricane relief for the United Way.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, students and staff partnered with the Shatterproof organization by participating in the Fairfield Challenge Rappel. More than 40 student volunteers worked this event while seven adults from Weston High School rappelled down a building at Beacon Harbor Point in Stamford. Team Weston raised more than $8,000 for Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to prevention and treatment of drug addiction as well as advocating for expanded access to treatment and recovery programs. By participating in this event, staff and students demonstrated their commitment to the Shatterproof motto: “Together, we are stronger than addiction.” Weston High School will continue to partner with Shatterproof on this issue.

The Writing Center is off to a busy start with 112 students having appointments in September, with 60% of them first-time visitors to this school year. Faculty members Jessica Gleason and Elizabeth Davies visited 23 classrooms to introduce the Writing Center and help students set writing goals. They worked with all of the ninth grade social studies classes to help students craft thesis statements for their document-based questions.

Weston Middle School

Astronomy is a new unit for seventh graders this year. The alcoves of the seventh grade classrooms were curtained off to create a place where one source of light could serve as the sun. To understand how light from the sun illuminates the moon and its various phases, students held a sphere (the moon) over their head and moved it around themselves (Earth). Students were able to use the model to confirm that the moon orbits the Earth in the counterclockwise direction.

Each Friday, the school has a 25-minute advisory period during which students meet in small groups with a faculty member. This year, during advisory time, the focus was on emotional intelligence, following the “ruler” approach developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. During a recent advisory lesson, students listened to a series of musical sound clips and noted various emotions that the music evoked. They were then asked to place that emotion on a grid, indicating whether the emotion was pleasant or unpleasant and whether it represented high or low energy.

School Resource Officer Joe Mogollon met with eighth graders to discuss how to stay safe in the digital age. He shared examples of consequences that occur when students make bad decisions when using social media. He will be giving presentations to seventh and sixth graders at a later date.

Weston Intermediate School

To support upcoming social studies units on Native Americans and Connecticut geography, fourth grade students participated in workshops about life as a Native American. Instructors from the Stamford Nature Center led students through several hands-on activities that let them experience firsthand some of the tools and natural materials used by the Native Americans to support their everyday lives. Students listened to stories and native folktales, and learned how early Native Americans met their need for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment — the forest woodlands.

This year, fifth grade students were invited to run for a seat on the WIS Student Council — a group of student leaders who will act as liaisons as they plan and coordinate various school functions, including community outreach, fund-raisers, and the promotion of school spirit. Interested students were required to complete an application and deliver a two-minute speech to their peers. Classes then voted for their representatives. As a result, WIS has a group of students eager to make an impact. In the first two weeks working together, this group has already planned and is in the process of launching a student disaster relief fund-raiser, a school-wide campaign to raise funds for students who have been negatively impacted by the recent natural disasters.

Hurlbutt Elementary School

Hurlbutt kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms added new reading units based on the Teachers College Reading Units of Study. This summer, several teachers from each grade level met to preview the units and to begin to prepare for grade-level implementation.

Kindergarten classes began the year with the new unit, “We Are Readers,” supporting the desire, belief, and identify of young students as readers. Beginning on day one of school, the goal is for kindergarten students to see themselves as readers. Students will be taught strategies and habits to support their reading development through a variety of lessons.

A fund-raising event for the North House Playground will be a gala held at Rolling Hills Country Club on Friday, Nov. 3. At the gala, there will be dinner, dancing, and a silent auction.

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