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Wellesley Public Schools (WPS) is receiving national recognition for its sustainability efforts and has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2019 Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee. WPS is one of only 14 school districts in the country to receive this honor.

The District Sustainability Award recognizes the innovative efforts developed by WPS to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and deliver effective environmental and sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states.

In early May, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded WPS with a Massachusetts Green Ribbon Schools award and then entered WPS into the pool of candidates for the U.S. Department of Education’s award.

“We’re extremely honored to receive this national attention,” said Dr. David Lussier, WPS Superintendent. “Promoting sustainability is a priority in our schools and our community. This recognition validates all the hard work and effort that many people across Wellesley—Town departments, students, faculty, parents, and local nonprofits—put into making the town greener.”

Some of the energy saving measures adopted by WPS include working to identify and improve the least energy efficient buildings, adopting recycling and food waste diversion programs that encourage behavior to save energy, and developing no idling campaigns and walk/ride to school days to promote alternative means of transportation.

To improve health and wellness, the Town of Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) began using “green certified” cleaning products in 2017. Buildings are maintained with an ionized water system (Orbio os3), which uses tap water in almost all cleaning applications and is the cleaning system available with the least carbon footprint, eliminating harsh chemicals and associated off-gassing.

And Wellesley educators have added thoughtful, strategic curricula across the district. Middle school students study earth science and have a global climate change unit as well as an interdisciplinary hydroponic gardening option. Wellesley High School offers an AP Environmental Science course and every other year, the community hosts a STEM Expo (a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math exposition) for students and families.

The District Sustainability Award will be formally presented to WPS during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2019.

In addition to Wellesley Public Schools, Boston Green Academy in Brighton, MA, and Ipswich Middle- High School in Ipswich, MA, are the other two schools in the Commonwealth to receive the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award.

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.

Phyllis Theermann

The Hunnewell School Feasibility Study Community Kickoff Meeting happens TONIGHT, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Wellesley High School Auditorium. The School Building Committee invites you to come hear about the Hunnewell feasibility study process and timeline, ask questions of the project consultants, and learn about future opportunities to engage and provide feedback on the project. Topics will include the educational visioning process, key features of today’s elementary schools, the approach to sustainability, swing space options, and ways stakeholders will be included as the Town develops its plan for the Hunnewell School. We are aiming for a net zero building.

The School Building Committee (SBC) is charged with conducting a feasibility study of options to substantially renovate or rebuild the Hunnewell School to meet modern standards for education. For more information about the Hunnewell project, the Hardy/Upham project, or the SBC’s responsibilities; or to subscribe to SBC news and announcements, visit: wellesleyma.gov/HHU.