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Originally delivered on 4/20/2020 4:15 pm

SUBJECT: WHS THE WORD April 20, 2020


Monday, April 20, 2020

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President's Message


2020-2021 WHS PTO Nominees 


President's Message

Dear PTO Parents,

The contents of this abbreviated issue of The WORD is forward focused.

Philanthropy Chair Kristana Esslinger has put together an overview of the PTO’s philanthropy contribution to the school since 2013, as well as a list of the highlights from the midwinter Philanthropy Long Range Planning meeting that was open to all members. Take a few minutes to read through Kristana’s report and reach out to her with any comments, questions or suggestions about areas in which you would like to see the PTO focus its philanthropy efforts in the year ahead.

Our Nominating Committee, made up of PTO members Casey Saussy (chair), Shawn Amato, Candace Kuzma, Debbie Morvillo and Angela Zielinski, has put a lot of time and energy into assembling a strong board for the 2020-21 school year. The slate, presented below, will be voted on at the May General Meeting. Thanks to our Nominating Committee for their dedication to the process and to all the parents who have stepped up to be part of our PTO boards. Next year will be one that presents some unique challenges, given the effects the pandemic has had on education in Weston and beyond. I am confident that the boards selected to serve in 2020-21 are well qualified to meet those challenges.

Stay healthy. Stay home. #Weston Strong





As you know, we are almost at the end of the budget season. We thought this would be a great opportunity to share the Philanthropy work of your WHS PTO.


Over the last 7+ years, the WHS PTO has donated over $316,000 to our school! We have made our greatest individual contributions to the following that impacts a large % of our students:  the recent renovation of the College Counseling Center, the enhancement of the Library/LLC and related work/study areas, the Stadium Lights and Pixelot Camera (NHSN), CASE Study Room for Academics, Science Lab, TV Studio, Art Tables and Engraver, Technology, Band Instruments, and Auditorium Lighting. This comprised over 60% of the total donated in this timeframe. We continued to support smaller requests during this time as well.

It should be noted that when we receive a request we not only look at ensuring it can impact a large number of our students, but we also look at how we have spent our funds in the past to ensure we are benefiting different areas within the school - academics, arts and music, technology, student services, etc. When we look across the various categories/departments during this same time period, we see the following results in the attached below diagram (FYI - the legend starts at the top right and works its way around the circle clockwise).  

Please use this link for the full report and details by year and category.

Special WHS Philanthropy Meeting

On Tuesday Feb. 25th, we held a special WHS PTO Philanthropy meeting to review past donations and brainstorm for the future. We had 15 people from our WHS PTO General Board in attendance in addition to Principal Lisa Wolak! It was a very productive discussion focused on the goals of the school and the mission of the PTO.

Looking Forward

We started this future thinking discussion by having Prin. Wolak talk to us about the school's Action Plan - which many of us did not know they had!  It is updated annually.
- She did a great job explaining how it is organized  - school level goals and actions, and by department. Each teacher will also have their own goals.
- She spent time highlighting real examples of how the new DBT is being used in practice during the year - by CILs, teachers, and counselors.
- There is a continued focus on the school's goals to focus on our students social-emotional well-being and providing a healthy learning environment.

Prin. Wolak shared some thoughts about the Climate Survey.  
- While on paper it was positive overall, she is planning on digging into areas of "neutral" as a place for improvement.  
- Outcomes of this analysis may result in 'asks' of the PTO.

Prin. Wolak also shared that beginning with the current Freshman class (2023), CT has established guidelines for the "Portrait of a Graduate" comprised of Mastery Assessment Credits.  
- This includes things like writing portfolio, analysis/critical thinking skills, creative thinking, presentation skills, and fitness/CPR/first aid.
- While our curriculum already covers a number of these areas, WHS is ensuring that the curriculum and other advisory activities will fulfill all of these requirements.

So the question we discussed in our session was how can we align to the WHS mission by taking a look at the bigger picture and long term goals?


We put it all out there to have nothing be off limits - big or small, mainstream or innovative, etc.  So here is the list in no particular order!!

- Security Kiosk (request from students) - All students are given an ID and they use that to sign in/out of school instead of signing their names.  Good use of technology and more accurate information as well as giving them an ID if they do not yet have a permit/license.
- Physical Spaces - Music Studio and Practice Rooms (big effort but impacts high % of students) as current room is inadequate, rolling desks/chairs (to enhance flexible learning in the classroom but lower priority), 2nd Courtyard ($) but students only seem to use the first, other?
- Professional Development/Building Capacity - The theme here was to invest in the greatest assets of the school (our teachers!!!).  We/Lisa needs to ask each department what they need the most in this context.  Textbooks? Training? Other?
- Healthy Learning Environment - what opportunities exist in this area?
- Spirit/Student Life - Homecoming Floats and the MidTerm Breakfast were very well received by the students at a relatively small cost.  What else can we do in this area?  Little things can have a BIG impact!!!!

We welcome all ideas - so please read through this and share anything else you thing we should consider in the new school year and beyond.

Kristana Esslinger
WHS Philanthropy Chair


2020-2021 WHS PTO Nominees

Executive Board 

President: Janet Hoffman

Vice President: Sharon Ferraro

Secretary: Ann Kyle

Treasurer: Jen Morse

Board of Education Representative: Kristina Esslinger

Communications Chairperson: Livia Berardinelli

Philanthropy Chairperson: Laura Schlossberg

Past President: Anne Troxell

General Board

12th Grade Class Representatives: Amy Cohen, Sandy Hart, Jodi Sacchetta, Angela Zielinski

11th Grade Class Representatives: Jennifer Atsumi, Kristen Brooks, Sam Leuzzi, Ali Melito

10th Grade Class Representatives: Janet Hoffman, Maggie Kins, Jennifer Socha, Maureen Weinbrum

9th Grade Class Reps (4 year): Christine Harris, Carlye Nussbaum

9th Grade Class Reps (1 year): Kristen Rinaldi, Jackie Spitzer

Bricks Fundraiser Chairperson: Open

Bylaws Chairperson: Shannon Nordlinger

College Test Prep Course Chairperson: Stephanie Morris

District Website Manager: Appointed

Election Day Bake Sale Chairperson: Kerrie Steel Rubin, Patricia Manea

Membership Chairperson: Patrica Manea

Memorial Day Road Race Chairperson: Open

New Family Liaisons: Ami Carpenter, Sarah Crawford

Online Bake Sale Chairperson: Julia Brennan

Publicity Chairperson: Christine Walder Ferreira

SPED Liaison: Leslie Morgan

Staff Appreciation Chairpersons: Rasha Dove, Michelle Hankin, Beth Lubliner

Webpage Manager: Christine Walder Ferreira