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Wayland school officials look to explore private land for school bus parking

Wayland Town Crier 4/29/17: Wayland school officials look to explore private land for school bus parking. Schools officials hope to explore privately owned parcels as they look for a site to park school buses. “We’ve been struggling over the last few months to find an appropriate spot to park the buses once their current location is no longer usable because of the River’s Edge project,” Superintendent Paul Stein said. The district parks buses at the former municipal septage facility on Rte. 20, but that property is slated to become a housing development. Stein said the district expects it will have to stop parking buses there in about a year.

Wayland Resident Wins Scholarship for Promoting LGBTQ Inclusion and Acceptance in School

The following was submitted by Greater Boston PFLAG

Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer people) is pleased to announce that Wayland High School senior Abigail McCarthy was awarded the 2017 Elsie Frank Scholarship Award at Pride & Passion 2017, the organization’s annual benefit and auction held April 27 in Boston. The scholarship is awarded annually to high school students who have demonstrated leadership in improving their school climate for LGBTQ youth and their allies.

McCarthy led a successful campaign by students to create a gender-neutral bathroom at Wayland High School to ensure the safety of transgender and gender non-conforming students. McCarthy did outreach to teachers and administrators to explain how the facility would create a safer atmosphere at the school, educated classmates, and when a group of parents voiced opposition to the proposal, McCarthy penned an op-ed for the school newspaper reiterating the case for the transgender-friendly restroom.

“I recognized my privilege to use the bathroom in safety and I knew it was my responsibility to help others who lacked that privilege,” McCarthy wrote in a scholarship application essay.

McCarthy has been accepted to several colleges and intends to double major in English and Environmental Analysis. McCarthy would eventually like to work as an editor or publisher.

“We were pleased to honor Abby for working to create a safer environment for transgender and gender non-conforming students at Wayland High,” said Val Frias, Greater Boston PFLAG Executive Director. “Students learn best when they are acknowledged and accepted for who they are, and when they can safely access all school facilities in the same manner as their peers. We commend Abby for making LGBTQ inclusion and acceptance a priority at school, and we’re inspired by Abby’s leadership.”

Greater Boston PFLAG’s Elsie Frank Scholarship is named in honor of the late mother of former Massachusetts congressman and openly gay man Barney Frank. Mrs. Frank, who died in 2005, was a member of Greater Boston PFLAG’s Honorary Board and a lifelong advocate for the rights of marginalized people. The organization began awarding scholarships in 1998 and renamed them for Mrs. Frank in 2007. Greater Boston PFLAG annually awards a total of $15,000 to Massachusetts high school seniors for their education.

McCarthy was honored with three other Elsie Frank Scholarship recipients at the 15th annual Pride & Passion, which drew more than 1,000 attendees to the Boston Marriott Copley Place. At the event, Greater Boston PFLAG also honored Josh Kraft, Nicholas President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, with its Cornerstone of Equality Award.

The Mary L. Johnson Travelship Award is unique among teacher honors

Mary’s father, Bob Johnson flanked by his son, Tom, and Superintendent Dr. Stein, with Richard Weingartner looking on.

The Mary L. Johnson Travelship Award is truly unique among awards honoring a Wayland teacher or, for that matter, among awards honoring any teacher anywhere.   The award is presented in memory of Wayland High School graduate Mary L. Johnson (WHS ‘81) who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.   The Johnson family established the Mary L. Johnson Travelship to honor annually a Wayland Public School teacher who “loves children, respects them, and helps them grow beyond themselves.”

Since 1990, the teachers selected have been career educators who “teach for teaching’s sake and have devoted their lives to sending Wayland’s youngsters off in new and exciting directions.” It affords teachers the opportunity to travel on journeys that might not otherwise be possible. The award plaque itself befittingly consists of an antique compass and lauds the recipient “for helping a generation of Wayland youngsters find their own true north.”

This year’s award, the 30th in its history, went to retiring Dramatic Arts teacher Richard Weingartner.  At the award ceremony, Superintendent Paul Stein started the meeting by talking about what is special about this award noting, “I’ve always thought it’s one of the most incredible professional honors that I’ve ever heard of.  It is truly a gift without strings, that just says we want to honor folks who very much have a passion for teaching, love kids, do the hard work of challenging and supporting them.”  He added, “Just to have this kind of gift that says:  Take it, do what you want with it.  The irony is that the specialness of what results ends up being much more valuable than just prescribing a certain kind of award.”

Mary’s father, Bob Johnson, and two of her siblings, Anne Johnson Evans and Tom Johnson, were there for the award presentation, with Tom awarding the plaque and conveying the family’s appreciation for Wayland’s teachers. Bob thanked the teachers and appreciated the thanks they have shown him, and noted that the one person who hasn’t been able to thank anyone is his daughter, Mary.  He proceeded to read a poem, to “say something that Mary might say” were she there:

To Mr, Sir, To Mrs, Miss, and Ma’am,
To each of you who always give a damn
Teach me, teach me, help me learn,
help me make the fires burn
Deep inside me
Help me know how to live and love and grow
Give me wisdom, strength and will,
I thank you then, I thank you still

As has become tradition, the room was filled with an all-star cast of 15 of the prior 29 winners, teachers whose careers spanned years from the 1960s to the present. Each of them spoke describing their travels; collectively these were trips which covered Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, Alaska, Hawaii, other locations in the United States, and even Disneyworld.  All expressed their gratitude and described the life-changing impact that their trips had for them.  One teacher talked about going to Lockerbie and seeing Mary there everywhere, finding her name remembered in memorials.

Dr. Stein spoke with wonder about the purpose of the award, noting that “it’s an affirmation because it really came out of a tragedy having to do with travel — and we are currently living in a time when travel, particularly to foreign countries, is no longer the safest thing to do anymore; it’s not carefree.  But this award, given where it started — and this hadn’t occurred to me in the past — really says, ‘You know what? I’m gonna stare you down in the face and we are going to make this award about travel.’  I think that’s incredible. And as I’ve said, given the times we are living in, it’s more important now than ever; I’m so appreciative of that element as well.”

White House speechwriter visits

Wayland Town Crier 4/13/17: White House speechwriter visits. Sarah Hurwitz’s experiences on a Wayland school trip to Washington, D.C., helped shape her career path. In politics, “I knew you could actually do a lot to help people,” said Hurwitz, a Wayland High School graduate who served as a speechwriter for the Obamas during their eight-year tenure in the White House. Hurwitz, who is now a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, returned to her middle school on Thursday to answer questions from current eighth-graders who are preparing for their own trip to the nation’s capital next month.

Wayland Teachers Association & Wayland School Committee announce contract agreement

The following was submitted by the Wayland Teachers Association and the Wayland School Committee:
The Wayland Teachers Association (WTA) and the Wayland School Committee are pleased to announce a new three-year labor agreement has been reached. Collective bargaining between the School Committee and the WTA, which represents the District’s approximately 260 full- and part-time teachers and other licensed professionals, is required by law and involves negotiating over hours, wages, and working conditions for all Wayland teachers.
After about 8 weeks of negotiations, a tentative agreement between the two parties was reached on March 22.  On March 30, the WTA held a meeting for association members, who after review of the settlement, approved it.  The School Committee then approved the agreement on March 31.
The new contract covers the next three years, from July 2017 through June 2020.
The major point of the agreement within the new contract involves salary increases.  For the 2017-18 school year, each teacher will receive a salary increase of 2 percent.  For the final two years of the contract, the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school year, each teacher will receive a 2.25 percent salary increase.  These amounts are before step and lane increases.
The WTA and School Committee believe that the agreement was reached due to many hours of hard work and a candid exchange of information.  All parties showed mutual respect for the pressing issues facing each constituency and a willingness to compromise to reach a fair settlement.
Feel free to contact any of us with questions or concerns.  As always, thank you for your support.
Wayland School Committee
Ellen Grieco
Barb Fletcher
Jeanne Downs
Kim Reichelt
Kathie Steinberg

Wayland school district adding security cameras

Wayland Town Crier 3/27/17: Wayland school district adding security cameras”. The school district is adding additional security cameras at its schools. “These new cameras are all exterior cameras; none are in the buildings themselves,” Superintendent Paul Stein wrote in a message. “They will be recording visual images, not sound. We believe that they will serve as a deterrent and, in the rare cases in which this is necessary, as a way to investigate accusations of criminal activity.”

Wayland School Committee backs Unobskey

Wayland Town Crier 3/26/17: Wayland School Committee backs Unobskey. The School Committee on Sunday backed Gloucester Assistant Superintendent Arthur Unobskey to become Wayland’s next superintendent. After about two hours of discussion, the committee voted unanimously to enter negotiations with Unobskey.