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An anticipatory update
Attachment NameAttachment SizeAttachment Date
Size: 60K
Last Updated: 2017/12/15
Sometimes the week before the week before the vacation moves more slowly than others.  Realizing how challenging any holiday preparation can be for adults, image how difficult it can be for children.  Very few are completely ambivalent towards any holidays they may have grown accustomed to celebrating; most are either very excited or highly dread the change in routines and the tremendous increase or decrease in social interactions that come with a vacation.  They feel the pressure and or excitement that adults do but they do not always know why or can articulate their feelings.  Inevitably, we see a rise in atypical behaviors at this time of year.  It does not excuse the behaviors but helps us to understand why some are exhibited and puts us in a better position to address them.  In other words, it makes the week before the week before move more slowly.

A handful of families had trouble accessing report cards last week.  For those of you who reached out to us, I appreciate your patience.  Hopefully, everyone was able to get a copy emailed if you weren't able to see it in iParent.  The host company, iPass, had some kind of error that impacted a number of schools and prevented some accounts from accessing the reports.  We could see that they were correctly posted from our access, but a few families were blocked for some reason.  If you have not been able to see a copy of your child's report card, please contact his or her guidance counselor or me directly and we will get a copy to you.  My apologies for any inconvenience that is might have caused.

The reports that I heard indicated that conferences went well this week.  While I did not get to interact with everyone who came in for an appointment, I did see a lot of smiling faces in the hallways and was able to chat with some of you over the two days.  It is a great opportunity to put some faces with names, but it is certainly not the only chance to communicate and meet if necessary.

Attached to this email is a separate letter from me regarding our MCAS Accountability Report from the DESE.  I am very happy to report that we are continuing to do very well as a school which is of no surprise to me as I get to watch the wonderful work being done by our students and staff on a regular basis.  The state assessments provide one piece of a very complex puzzle that we call adolescence.  It gives us specific information but does not provide a complete picture of our students, staff or school.  I value the data as it gives us information about student performance in targeted content areas, but I recognize the wide range of critical skills that it does not assess.

For those of you who may be curious about this year's timeline for the MCAS assessments, our plan for administering the MCAS exams is as follows:

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As a reminder, please save the date for a wonderful opportunity being held on January 16, 2018 at Westford Academy from the Challenge Success organization called The Well-Balanced Student. This is a very important presentation for parents of k-12 students taking place at Westford Academy from 6:30-8:00pm.  During the event they will address the idea that when we are too focused on grades and performance, we deny our teens the time and energy they need to tackle the demanding work of growing up.  In this presentation, you'll learn how you can establish a healthier home environment, reduce academic stress without sacrificing achievement, and increase your teenager's resilience, creativity, and well-being.  During the day on January 16, faculty members working with students in grades 6-12 will also participate in a similar program identifying the school's responsibility in supporting well-balanced students including a session dedicated to examining effective homework practices.

Enjoy the last weekend before the break,


Dr. Christopher Chew
Stony Brook School
Westford, MA 01886
(978) 692-2708

MSPTO Update
Arts & Education Programming
Thank you to the generous donations from parents and the hard work from the PTO team, we have had two fantastic programs so far this year. Our 7th grade teams visited Ancient Egypt on 12/8 and learned about pyramids and pharaohs. Be sure to ask them about this program! Click here to learn more about these programs.
These programs are not possible without your support. Please help us continue these programs in 2018 by donating today. We are less than 1/3 of the way to our need of $25,000 to fund these programs.
We are asking each family to make a one-time contribution of $50 per student or $80 per family, although any amount is appreciated – no amount is too small, donations are accepted throughout the school year, and 100% of all funds support the WMSPTO programs and activities.
PTO: No-Fuss Fundraiser
ATTENTION!!! We are in danger of having to cancel programs and activities for the second half of the year. The students and teachers need your support!
If just half of the families in our middle schools supported the No-Fuss Fundraiser, we would hit our goal. Half. #BeInTheHalf
How to donate?
1. WMSPTO, PO Box to WMSPTO, PO Box 625, Westford, MA 01886
2. Leave your donation in the Blanchard or Stony Brook school office in an envelope marked “WMSPTO”
3. Donate via PayPal here: please include your address, child’s name, grade and school in the “Add Special Instructions to Seller” line. Please also EMAIL this information to
We are asking each family to make a one-time contribution of $50 per student or $80 per family, although any amount is appreciated – no amount is too small, donations are accepted throughout the school year, and 100% of all funds support the WMSPTO programs and activities.
Double your donation by checking to see if your employer has a matching gift program.
All donations are 100% tax-deductible.
Email with any questions.
Amazon Smile
Shop Online? Support WMSPTO through AmazonSmile!
Shop on AmazonSmile and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the Westford Middle School PTO. Bookmark it!
Join the PTO
We are looking for volunteers to help organize teacher appreciation events, the annual Blanchard v. StonyBrook basketball game and the annual 8th Grade Celebration Event. Please contact us if you are interested in joining the PTO or come to our next meeting on December 19 at 7pm at 38 Chamberlain Road.

Recycle Your Shoes
Clean out your closets and make space for those new gifts - donate your shoes to ShoeBox Recycling!
Another way to support the PTO is by recylcing your shoes! Both middle schools are collecting gently-used, wearable pairs of shoes this year for a fundraising program called ShoeBox Recycling. Donated shoes are shipped around the world for resale and reuse. Our schools earn $20 for each filled box of shoes! This money goes directly toward funding our many activities, including arts and education programs. We are also partnering with The Mary's Community Thrift Store to increase our schools' profits.
Shoes must be in wearable condition, without holes in the soles, cannot be wet or mildewed, and must have shoelaces if they are necessary for the shoe to function.
Types of shoes ACCEPTED: Almost all types of gently used shoes including adult and children's casual shoes, dress shoes, athletic shoes, boots, work boots, and sandals.
Types of shoes NOT ACCEPTED: Shoes in need of repair, wet or mildewed shoes, heavy winter boots, ski boots, roller skates, roller blades, ice skates, flip flops, Crocs and bedroom slippers.
To help, please drop off gently-used, wearable shoes in the school lobbies. And thanks!

Westford Academy Trustees Scholarship fundraising event Four-Handed Illusions: An Intimate Evening of Laughs & Wonder to provide scholarships in all academic areas and financial aid to deserving students. Illusionists Joel Acevedo and Steve Kradolfer join their talents in a performance that is engaging, hilarious, and mystifying. Recently voted Best Theater Group by the Boston A-List, you will experience the wonder of magic right before your eyes. The show is a combination of intelligent comedy and amazing magic; a show you won't want to miss. Friday, January 19, 2018 at Westford Academy Performing Arts Center from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Ticket prices will be $40 per person. Student and senior citizen ticket price of $20 per person.
If you have questions, please call Lori at 781-953-3344 or register online at:

WESTFORD PARENT CONNECTION - Learn How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online - Join the Westford Parent Connection on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 (snow date Wednesday, January 10, 2018) to hear Dr. Elizabeth Englander present Helping Kids Navigate Social Media To Prevent Bullying And Cyberbullying. While our children are so-called digital natives, having grown up with technology, they do not necessarily have the requisite judgement yet to consistently make good decisions. Kids can be incredibly cruel to one another online, saying things to each other they would most likely never say face to face. And the results can be deadly.
Dr. Englander is the founder and director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) and is a psychology professor at Bridgewater State University. She often speaks to teachers, administrators, parent groups, and others who work with kids to help keep them safe online. Dr. Englander is very knowledgeable and presents a wealth of information and practical, compassionate advice. Her presentation, which will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Stony Brook Middle School, 9 Farmer Way, is free and open to the public. For more information about her, please go to For more information about the Westford Parent Connection, check out the organization’s website at or contact Mary Anne Seraphin at

DONATE LIKE A ROCKSTAR & HELP WPS MUSICIANS ACHIEVE FAME! Music touches all of us. It’s a universal language that unites us. For Westford students, music education provides essential skills that help build discipline, confidence, and a sense of belonging. At FAME (Friends Advancing Music Education), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of parent volunteers, we strive to enrich classroom and extra-curricular learning in general music, band, orchestra, and chorus at all grade levels in the Westford Public Schools. FAME is the primary organization to award scholarships to graduating Westford Academy seniors in recognition of their dedication and commitment to the study of music and music-related community service. In addition, we have helped fund music-related transportation, composition projects, music awards, sheet music and uniforms, and scholarships for summer music camps. To continue our work for the 2017-2018 school year, we need your help! Please visit the FAME website to make a one-time, tax deductible donation to FAME through our FAME-ous Fundraiser. This will be FAME’s main fundraiser and primary source of funding this year, replacing the Music Cafe and Dinner Dance. To donate by mail, print our form here and send it, along with a check, to: FAME, PO Box 627, Westford MA 01886. More information may be found at

Stony Brook Middle School  |  9 Farmer Way, Westford, MA 01886  |  ph: (978) 692-2708  |  fx: (978) 692-5391

Westford Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or homelessness.