As Kindergarten Changes, Superintendent Assures That Children Will Have Recess, Unstructured Time

With Watertown Public Schools officials’ efforts to add programs such as Spanish lessons and social and emotional learning to the day of kindergartners, many parents in town worried that their children will not have enough unstructured time or recess. 

More than 360 parents signed a letter written by a Lowell School parent who was concerned that kindergartners in Watertown would only have one recess each day and no free-choice, unstructured time. Rachel Danford, who wrote the letter, spoke at Monday’s School Committee meeting, saying that research shows that kindergartners do better when they have two recesses each day. Superintendent Dede Galdston responded in a letter she sent to parents and posted on the Watertown Public Schools website, and spoke at Monday’s meeting. She said a misconception about the schedule for Watertown kindergartners changing may have arisen due to a sample schedule shared with parents in the spring. She added that the district has not done a good job explaining how the new curriculum initiatives will fit into the kindergarten day.

13 WHS Students Get Summer Internships Through Watertown Community Foundation

The Watertown Community Foundation provided the following piece:

The days of lolling at the town pool are just a memory for this year’s Watertown High School internship awardees. No sooner had school ended than students began rolling up their sleeves to:
• dig in the community gardens
• teach acting skills to youngsters
• learn the legal profession
• perfect their presentation skills
• spend one-on-one time with seniors
• measure trees in town
• greet hospital patients and their families

In 2015, when the Watertown Community Foundation and the Watertown High School Guidance Department launched this unique summer internship program for our town’s high school-age students, we had no idea how quickly it would grow! From just five students in 2015, it has nearly tripled to a record 13 students in the program this summer. Watertown students find an internship that can provide them with meaningful work experience. They commit to working 120 hours over the course of the summer and are paid a stipend at the end of the work experience.

Pair of Watertown Residents Named to Their College’s Dean’s Lists

Two Watertown residents were recently named to their college’s Dean’s List. Student at Savanah College for Art and Design
Emerson Shaye O’Connor was named to the Dean’s List at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., for spring quarter 2018. Emerson is seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising with a minor in Fashion Design. She is the daughter of Julie MacDonald of Watertown and Jonathan O’Connor of Newton. Named one of Kaplan’s “25 cutting edge schools with an eye toward the future,” the Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., and in Lacoste, France.

Comcast Awards Watertown Grad Scholarship for Academics, Community Service

The following release was provided by Comcast:

Watertown’s Kaitlin Tracy was one of 103 Massachusetts students to receive a 2018 Leaders and Achievers Scholarship. The program, funded by the Comcast Foundation, is a one-time, $1,000 scholarship awarded to the best and brightest high school seniors for their community service, academic performance and leadership skills. Since 2001, more than $28 million has been awarded to nearly 27,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers Program. “Our Leaders and Achievers Scholarship winners are exceptional students who are committed to academic excellence and community service,” said Tracy Pitcher, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Greater Boston Region. “We are honored to recognize their achievements and excited to support them as they continue their educational journeys.”

Comcast, joined by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, recognized the students at a special event held at the Massachusetts State House today. Added Lt. Governor Polito, “Our administration is committed to helping students across the Commonwealth receive a quality, affordable education and we are pleased to have partners like Comcast assist in those efforts. We are proud of this year’s Leaders & Achievers Scholarship recipients for their community service, academic performance and leadership skills and look forward to their future growth and successes.”

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who strive to achieve their full potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools, and who serve as models for their fellow students.

Winners of 50th Annual Lt. Paul J. Sullivan Scholarship, Other Awards Announced

The following information was provided by the organizers of the Lt. Paul J. Sullivan Scholarship:

Congratulations to the 50th Anniversary Lt. Paul J. Sullivan Scholarship award winners. A record $23,000 was presented to these 10 wonderful young men and women. Awards were presented on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Sons of Italy, Watertown. 2018 Lt. Paul J. Sullivan Scholarship Winners
Elizabeth Powderly, of Watertown, 2018 Lt. Paul J. Sullivan Scholarship Winner, Watertown High School, attending Penn State. Emily Koufos, of Watertown, Lt. Paul Sullivan Scholarship in memory of Paul Cusick, Watertown High School, attending the College of the Holy Cross.

Hosmer Students Participate in Program Designed by Boston Society of Architects

The following piece was provided by the Leaning By Design organizers:

Students at the Hosmer Elementary School in Watertown recently participated in a 6-week Learning By Design program, which was created using a curriculum provided by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Foundation and facilitated by Hosmer parent and architect Dynelle Long, and Hosmer Elementary School art teacher, Hae-In Kim. According to the BSA Foundation, Learning By Design “encourages children to explore and formulate ideas about the people, architecture and design of their own communities as they learn the fundamentals of design thinking through hands-on

The program, held at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, provided 19 students with the opportunity to reimagine the neighborhood surrounding their school. To do that, students participated in an architectural walking tour, identified goals and building types for their community, and worked in teams to create a scaled box-city model of Mt. Auburn Street with recyclable materials. Students used their math, science and technology skills to analyze what works well about their current community, generate design concepts for their new plans, evaluate their design work, and share their reimagined community with classmates and guests.

LETTER: Exhibit Shows Examples of High Quality Early Childhood Education

I have been a Preschool and Pre-K teacher for 15 years. I am happy that the scientific and economic research that shows the life long positive impacts of quality early childhood education is starting to lead to more investments and expansion of early childhood programs in Massachusetts. However, I am always leery this will come with a push down of the K-12 education model of education into early childhood. High quality early childhood education is not tracing letters, using flash cards, sitting still for long periods, or preparing kids for future standardized tests. High quality early childhood education allows young children to build on their innate curiosity about the world to become mini-researchers who are guided in their research by well-trained early childhood educators.

New Principal Selected for Watertown Middle School, Along with Lowell Assistant Principal

Watertown Superintendent Dede Galdston announced appointment of the new Watertown Middle School principal and the new assistant principal at Lowell Elementary School. Donna Martin has been selected as the new WMS Principal. She succeeds Kimo Carter, who is leaving after 13 years to become assistant superintendent in Weston. The superintendent also appointed Candice Whitmore as the assistant principal at Lowell School. This is a new position for the 2018-19 school year (Fiscal Year 2019).