Phyllis Theermann

How many times have you been “stuck” in school traffic?

Students enrolled in, and/or entering, the Wellesley Public Schools, St. John’s or Tenacre Schools have the opportunity to register NOW for transportation services for the upcoming 2019 – 2020 school year.

In accordance with State regulations and School Committee policy, free transportation will be provided for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 residing more than 2 miles from your school. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility based on your address, please go to the Wellesley Public Schools website at www.wellesleyps.org and click on the “Students & Families” tab at the top of the page. A drop down menu will appear on the right hand column under “Information & Services.” Scroll down to and click on “Transportation.” You will see “Bus Eligibility by Street.” Click on that selection and an alphabetical list by street will appear.

Fee-based transportation services are available to all other students for only $2.89 a day (roundtrip). That translates to $521 per student, with a family cap of $1,142. In other words, when there are more than two children in a family participating in the fee-based transportation program, the fee for the third child is $100 and any additional child thereafter is free.

For Wellesley High School families, know that there are TWO MORNING BUS OPTIONS.

In order to participate in the program, parents must complete the registration process through the online fee payment system and agree to the Bus Conduct Rules for Transportation. The deadline for online registration with payment in full is April 5, 2019.  Requests after the April 5, 2019 deadline will result in your child being placed on a waiting list and processed on a space available basis in the order in which they are received.

Bus routes will be sent to all registered students on or about May 15, 2019. Once paid in full, the seat is committed and assigned to your student/s. If you change your plans for use of the transportation service, fees are not refundable.

A waiver process has been established for those families who are eligible by income level or are currently receiving state assistance. If you have any questions about the waiver process, please go to the Wellesley Public Schools website at www.wellesleyps.org and click on the “Students & Families” tab at the top of the page. A drop down menu will appear. Under “Information & Services,” scroll down to “Financial Assistance Information.” Families requesting a waiver should apply on or before the April 5, 2019 deadline. A seat will not be assigned until all forms are completed, reviewed and approved.

To register and pay online please go to www.wellesleyps.org; under the “Students & Families” tab, under “Online Payment & Registration” click on “Lessons & Transportation.” You will be brought to the login screen. Enter your Username and Password, press Login and then click on the photo of the yellow school bus. If you don’t remember your login information, click “Need Login Help?” and we will send it to you. If you don’t have an existing account, please click on “Create an Account” and proceed to enter your family information. You will be notified with a username and password.

Riding the bus is a safe, cost and time effective means of transportation.  Turn the old saying “you are not in traffic, you are traffic,” around by registering today.

Kelly Caiazzo

The STEM EXPO’s Sustainability Challenge is back. Get ready Wellesley students!

Submit your project promoting a local resource, policy or behavior change that makes Wellesley greener. These can be in the form of an advertisement, op-ed or essay, video commercial, infographic, poem, music or another form of audio/visual artwork. Convince your audience that it’s a great way for them to help the environment!

Entry Criteria:

  • Submissions are welcome from K-12 students who are residents of Wellesley and/or enrolled in the Wellesley Public Schools

  • Deadline to enter is Friday, March 15, 2019

  • Entries must be entirely original content (no clips from movies or other videos)

  • Videos must be shorter than 3 minutes, essays must be fewer than 500 words, and infographics or advertisements must be legible on a single 8.5×11 page

  • Entry must explain the problem that you are proposing to solve, and how promoting a current local resource, policy change, or behavior change will make Wellesley greener.  The entry must provide a convincing argument for the positive impact this resource or activity can make.

  • Entries may be submitted by an individual, or a team of up to 3 students

  • Entries must include appropriate citation

Entry Submissions:

  • Submit your entry here

  • Entries to be uploaded on the WEF website must be less than 100mb

  • Submitting your entry authorizes [Wellesley Green Schools, etc.] to post either the submission, or a photo thereof, on display in public arenas in the township – including but not limited to public libraries, school display cabinets, or on the STEM Expo website.

  • Winning entries for Elementary, Middle and High School levels will be selected by Wellesley Green Schools

  • Winners will be recognized at the Wellesley STEM Expo on April 6, 2019 and receive a VIP tour of a featured exhibit, and have their project published in town newspapers by the Wellesley Education Foundation

Questions that Projects Should Answer and Topic Ideas

Questions to Answer:

  • What environmental problems does this organization/resource/behavior change help solve? Provide data or examples of how the environment is negatively impacted by this problem.

  • What is the positive impact of your topic? How does it help solve the problem? Be as specific and concrete as possible.

  • What can Wellesley residents do to help or how can they participate? Convince them this resource deserves their support or participation!

Resources:

The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator:

https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

The EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator:

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/household-carbon-footprint-calculator

The Water Footprint Calculator:

https://www.watercalculator.org

The Footprint Network:

https://www.footprintnetwork.org/

Remember to cite your sources when you’re providing specific data! We’ll accept any style citation, provided it’s clear where data in your project came from.

Topic Ideas:

Here are some ideas to get you started!

Reuse:

How can buying second-hand clothing reduce our environmental footprint? Create an ad for Shopper’s Corner, the Second Hand Store at Schofield: https://www.facebook.com/schofieldshopperscorner/

Or, create an ad for another reusability resource in town, such as the Wellesley Free Library (https://www.wellesleyfreelibrary.org/) or the Wellesley RDF reusables area (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhLOHGydhUM)

Gas Leaks:

After explosions in our state and general unhealthy aspects of gas coming into the state and into our homes, Wellesley’s NRC is concerned about gas leaks. Could you make Wellesley residents aware of this problem and to encourage national grid to fix them? Wellesley Gas Leaks: https://www.wellesleyma.gov/449/Gas-Leaks

Reduce Plastic Waste:

Reduce waste – use less plastic.  China is refusing more and more recycling, explain the plastic problem and provide some ideas and solutions for reducing plastic consumption in our town. What else can we do besides #SkipTheStrawWellesley:http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/skipthestrawwellesley/?

Transportation:

What are some options in town for reducing our reliance on single-occupancy vehicles? (Commuter rail, school buses, town bus, MBTA or carpool, walking, biking, etc.) Create an ad explaining the impact of transportation and providing some solutions. Or, create an ad explaining the effects of idling and encouraging people not to idle:http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/no-idling/

Environmental Food Choices:

How can making some easy switches with what we eat and how we dispose of leftovers add up to a positive impact for our planet? Meatless Mondays: https://www.meatlessmonday.com/ , Wellesley Public School’s Food Recovery: https://wellesleyma.gov/1127/School-Recycling-and-Food-Recovery The Wellesley RDF Food Waste Drop-Off Program:https://www.wellesleyma.gov/899/Food-Waste-Program or why to buy local food from The Wellesley Farmer’s Market:https://www.wellesleyfarmersmarket.com/, Shrink your food footprint: http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/shrink-your-food-footprint

Protect our Pollinators:

What we plant and the type of chemicals we use on our lawns and gardens has a real impact on our eco system. What happens to the lawn chemicals we use? How can we support pollinators in our community? Resources: Safer Lawns Initiative: Pledge to Be Pesticide Free – http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/pledge-to-be-pesticide-free/ and Sustainable Wellesley’s Milkweed for Monarchs: http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/milkweed-for-monarchs/

Energy at Home:

What are some ways to conserve our energy or get it from a more sustainable source? Resources: Wellesley’s Power to Choose Program: https://www.wellesleyma.gov/261/Voluntary-Renewable-Energy, Get a Mass-Save Home Energy Assessment:  https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/energy-assessments/homeowners/, Solar Panels:

Protect our Resources:

Did you know that we have groups in Wellesley that work together to protect our waterways from litter, chemical runoff, etc? Explain what they do, why it’s important, and how residents can help. The Wetlands Protection Committee: http://ma-wellesley.civicplus.com/421/Wetlands-Protection-Committee, Friends of Brookside: http://friendsofbrookside.org/

Sample sustainability submission (credit Stella Glassenberg of Wellesley, MA)

Citations:

http://darksky.org/light-pollution/

https://www.globeatnight.org/light-pollution.php

https://newrepublic.com/article/120624/nasa-photos-show-light-pollution-us-during-christmas-holidays

www.wellesleyma.gov/914/Smart-Outdoor-Lighting

 

Judging Criteria:

Submissions will be scored on a scale from 1-5, based on the following criteria:

  • How well does the project explain the problem and its environmental impact, using data / examples?

  • How well does the project provide a specific solution to the problem, with data or examples on how this organization/behavior/resource makes a positive impact?

  • How compelling, convincing and creative is the project?

  • Are sources cited, does the project meet length requirements, and does it have correct grammar and data?

A winner will be selected by panelists from Wellesley Green Schools from each school level (Elementary (K-5), Middle (6-8) and High (9-12)).

***Green Communities

The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) agreed to fund both projects in Wellesley’s Green Communities Designation Grant proposal. A grant award of $137,250 will go toward an exterior light-emitting diode (LED) retrofit on the Department of Public Works (DPW) campus that will upgrade 116 lights, and an energy audit of the Town’s water and wastewater systems. The audit is expected to identify energy conservation measures that the Town will propose in future Green Communities grant applications.

***Sustainable Development Guidelines

The SEC is reviewing development and building guidelines and policies for cities, towns and colleges across the United States. The information gleaned from this review will inform the process by which the Town of Wellesley writes its own sustainable development guidelines.

***Transportation

Our new Assistant Superintendent, who will join the school department in July, currently directs the Weston Transportation program that is in house and she is very knowledgeable on the subject. The Transportation Working Group is meeting with the Transportation Director of MAPC (regional planning agency for eastern MA) to be briefed on a variety of issues including: collaborative models, the latest technology (e.g. a potential pilot for anti-idling equipment), school transportation models, programs to reduce single vehicle trips (e.g. bike sharing) and potential access to metrics that would better measure our success directly in Wellesley. Immediately afterwards, Ellen Gibbs, Chair of the Selectmen, will convene a meeting with the three local colleges to explore whether collaboration is possible on transportation programs.