ForWARD November 1, 2013

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

November 1, 2013 

In This Issue
Mark Your Calendars
From the Principal's Desk
And Now a Word From the PTO
School News
Newton News
Community Classifieds
Ward School Quick Links and Contacts
Ward School
Ward PTO Home
Ward PTO Calendar

Ward School: 617.559.6450
Childwatch: 617.559.6470

Dear Lynda  Bentley,


Welcome to the latest edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD. 


* To stop receiving this newsletter, or update your email information please use the links at the end of the newsletter.



Ward School Banner

Mark Your Calendars  

    • Thursday, November 7 - EARLY RELEASE, 12:30pm
    • Thursday, November 7 - cARE Committee Event, 12:30pm
    • Monday, November 11 - Veteran's Day, NO SCHOOL
    • Friday, November 15 - 5th Grade Potluck, 7pm
    • Tuesday, November 26 - 5th Grade Circus, 9am @Ward 


From the Principal's Desk  


Next week I will be joining the Newton Principals and Central Office staff for our annual Institute.  The focus of our work this year will be on Teaming.  Kitty Boyles  (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Vivien Troen (Brandeis) will join us to discuss their book, The Power of Teacher Teams.   This is a follow up to our work this summer which included a visit from Amy Edmondson, author of Teaming.  At the school level, teachers have formed Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at each grade level or discipline.  In doing so, we are working to create a collaborative culture.  Our focus is improving the quality of teaching and learning by examining student work and other data to assess student understanding, reflecting on feedback, and sharing best practices to plan effective instruction.  I look forward to working with my colleagues as we engage in this exciting work.
On November 26, our fifth graders will present their annual circus.  This event was first instituted by Ms. Belcher and has become one the favorite Ward School Events.  All acts are developed by the students working in small groups.  Students draw upon skills they have developed through the Physical Education program as well as new skills, such as juggling, that they are exposed to during their fifth grade year.  The audience is always in awe of the amazing acts, and younger students leave the circus talking about what they want to do as fifth graders.  You are welcome to join us in the gymnatorium at 9:00 AM. Please remember to allow enough time to buzz in / sign in at the main office before heading to the gym.  



Audrey Parad Peller
John Ward Elementary School
10 Dolphin Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459

 And Now a Word From the PTO



Mystery Dinner Thank You!!!

A big thank you to everyone who helped make the 2013 Mystery Dinner a huge success! The sixth annual Mystery Dinner was once again an evening filled with much enjoyment where friends had a chance to connect and new friends were made. For those of you we missed at this year's event, here is a re-cap of the night's activities:


At 6:00pm over 125 people gathered for the Appetizer Party at the stunning home of Elizabeth & Coleman Benedict. A special thank you to Elizabeth & Coleman for the sensational party that kicked off the evening's festivities and for hosting so many of us in their home. Everyone had a wonderful time socializing and enjoying the live music and the delicious spread of food and beverages. It was hard to leave, but...


It was 8:00pm and time to head to the surprise dinner destinations that were revealed during the Appetizer Party. The themed dinners took place at 10 different Ward School homes. An enormous THANK YOU to the hosts who generously volunteered their homes and took such care to prepare these amazing dinners:

  1. Oktoberfest: Susan Fabry & Lothar Windels together with Beth Panella & Rob White
  2. Brazilian Nights: Raquel & Herlen Alencar
  3. The Best of the South End: Marc & Roberta Laredo together with Deb & Todd Vogel
  4. An Evening in Paris: Valerie & Jeff Pontiff
  5. American Bistro: Gail & Eric Fitzgerald together with David & Debbie O'Rourke
  6. Land & Sea Delights: Cindy & Earl Henry
  7. Taste of Siberia: Olga & Eugene Demler
  8. Fall Delights ~ The Best of Seasonal Fare: Claire & Christof Marre together with Aidan & Aiofe O'Dwyer
  9. Venetian Cicchetti with a Wine Pairing: Jessica Dumphy & Mark Manfredi together with Jen Rugani & Frank Huckabone
  10. Mediterranean: Erik & Laurel Britt-Webb

After dinner, guests reconvened at the final stop of the evening; the Dessert Party, held at the home of Alexis & Charlie Giannakopoulos. Another special thank you to Alexis & Charlie for a spectacularly fun end to the evening! This part of the evening lasted until well after midnight as people recapped their meals, danced and enjoyed the yummy drinks and desserts, many of which were donated by guests. Thanks to all of you for putting together such an amazing array of fabulous desserts!


And last but not least, special thanks to Jessica Gilmartin for organizing this fantastic event! Having such a generous community makes such a positive impact on our Ward School Community. Thanks to all of you who participated. In the end, it was a wonderful evening for all and almost $6,000 was raised for the Ward School PTO. A great night! The evening's proceeds will help support the many programs funded by the PTO.



This week in the Garden

The Spring Flower bulbs we planted last week have thankfully not been disturbed by the squirrels, but we would ask that people be mindful that all around the fence, flower bulbs are sleeping so when shoots start to emerge in spring please don't step on them.


This week we have begun our class gardening schedules by distributing garlic cloves to this year's 1st grader's from the planting they did as kindergartners. We then used the remainder of the crop to plant anew with the current kindergartners so that next year they too shall have some garlic to bring home that they've grown themselves. Charles Geiss gave a wonderful talk to the two grades of children about the cycle of garlic and how it is a sustainable crop to grow in the garden.



***Upcoming Events***


CARe Committee

Our next CARe Committee event scheduled for Thursday, November 7th is FULL. In the next week you will be able to sign up for the December 5th event. More details to follow. If you have any questions please email Alison Best @



Grade-Wide Pot Luck Dinners

The grade-wide pot luck dinners start this month. Save the date and line up a sitter. Here is the schedule for each grade:

  • Kindergarten, hosted by Laurel and Erik Britt-Webb, date TBD
  • 1st Grade, hosted by Diana and Anatoli Shabashov, held sometime in January
  • 2nd Grade, hosted by Beth and Bill Hicks on Saturday, February 1st
  • 3rd Grade, host needed!
  • 4th Grade, hosted by Heidi Gardner and Ivan Matviak on Saturday, January 25th
  • 5th Grade, hosted by Christine & Jim Elder, on Friday, November 15th


Please note the location change for the 4th grade dinner. Also, invitations for the 5th grade dinner were sent out via Evite last week. If you haven't received your invitation, please contact Christine Elder at If you can host the 3rd grade pot luck or have any questions, please contact Beth Panella at
Note that this is a parents-only event - no children please.








 School News
5th Grade is selling Gift Wrap! 
We have kicked off our first fundraiser -- Gift Wrap Sale -- of the year to help raise money for the many fun activities the 5th grade class gets to experience -- the circus, the musical, yearbooks, special T-shirts, school gift, and community service project, to name a few of the special events.


Sale from October 28 - November 14th at

Choose "Friends and Supporter", and enter Ward School #104435.  Click on "Do not want to assign credit", so you can bypass student name section. (Ward School will still get credit.) 

Looking for Spare Instruments 

Ward does not have any spare musical instruments for children to use when they forget and leave their instrument at home. Many elementary schools have some old spare instruments but they are not provided by the school system. Most of them have been donated by the community.

If you have spare flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, violins or other instruments, it would be very helpful for our music program. Please contact Geoffrey Wadsworth, Ward's Instrumental Music Teacher to donate.

A Message from Newton Public Schools  

The Newton Public Schools considers applications for students to transfer to schools outside of their home district. It is the goal of the school system to grant to the degree possible requests for out-of-assigned district placements. Impact on enrollment, staffing and space availability now and in the future are key considerations. Out-of-assigned district placements for students who wish to attend a school in Newton other than his/her district school are limited. Such placements will be made on a space available basis only. In addition to Newton residents, members of NTA Units A, B, C, D, E, NESA, or the Custodial union may also apply for placement of their children in a Newton Public School.


Approval for out-of-assigned district placements is subject to space availability in the requested school and grade, and for all subsequent grades as well. Expected class, team and school sizes will be based on the most recent projections by the School Department. Size will be considered for both the requested year and for any future year for which the School Department provides projections. 

Applications for the following school year must be submitted on forms which are available beginning November 18, 2013 in Room 218 at the Education Center. Parents/guardians requesting out-of-assigned district placements should call 617-559-6105 for information. Applications will also be available on-line at in our For Families section.

Completed applications, signed by the in-district principal, can be submitted no earlier than March 1 and no later than May 1. Those received after May 1 and before Labor Day may, under special circumstances, be considered for placement after all other placement decisions have been made. Applications may be mailed in or brought to the Education Center.

The goal is to announce out-of-assigned district decisions as close to June 1 as possible. Students approved for out-of-assigned district placement should understand that the course assignment process has begun prior to June and that they may not receive their first choices in course selection. Parents are responsible for their child's transportation to and from the out-of-assigned district school.

For more information about the Out-of-Assigned District Policy, please visit our website  

Shop at and give back to Ward School

Follow this link when you are shopping on Amazon and 10% of the proceeds will go to Ward School.


Boxtops for Education

You can raise money for Ward School by clipping boxtops and by shopping at

Stop and Shop Rewards Are Back! 
Help Ward School raise money. Stop and Shop will donate money each time you shop if you register your card as follows:


Go to:



Select "Register your Card",
Enter the first three letters of your last name and  your Stop and Shop Card Number
Click "Continue to Listing"
Enter the Ward School Number 08887
Click "Register my Card"

Thank you  = now start shopping!                




Newton News and Events


Friends of Waban Hill Reservoir: Join us! The Waban Hill Reservoir, located at the end of Ward Street just a few blocks from the Ward School, has been turned over by the MWRA to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The City of Newton has expressed interest, with support from Mayor Warren, our aldermen and our State Representative, Ruth Balser, in buying this five acre site and turning it into accessible open space that everyone can enjoy.


A "Friends of Waban Hill Reservoir" group is being formed to support the City's process of purchasing the Reservoir and also take an active role with the land after purchase.  


If you would like you join this group, please come to our first meeting:

First meeting of the Friends of Waban Hill Reservoir:

November 7th at 7pm at the home of Gail & Peter Silberstein

55 Woodlawn Drive, Chestnut Hill


Please contact Linda Gillespie with any questions ( or 917-685-5121)




Newton Cradles to Crayons Drive: November 2nd - 17th


To ensure that 500 local children in-need have the essentials to be safe and warm this winter, Mayor Setti Warren invites Newton community members to join in the Newton Community-wide Collection effort in support of Cradles to Crayons. Something as simple as cleaning out your closets can have an enormous impact. The coat that your daughter has outgrown or the pants that are now too short for your son can bring warmth to the life of a child.


From November 2nd - 17th, you can make a difference by dropping off new and like-new children's items - clothing, winter coats, shoes, books, toys, and baby gear - in the 24-hour access collection unit brightly marked by Cradles to Crayons banners in the Newton City Hall parking lot across from the Public Library.


At this time of year, non-profit Cradles to Crayons receives hundreds of requests each week for essential items like clothing, shoes and boots, hats and gloves, and coats. The power of working together as a community will enable Cradles to Crayons to fulfill the requests from thousands of children across the Commonwealth who would otherwise be forced to go without these critical winter items.


For more information go to




Parenting Our Daughters Discussion Group: "How to Be a Woman": Parenting Our Daughters Through Adolescence - A peer-led discussion, support and activist group for Newton mothers of tween/teen daughters who are interested in figuring out how to best empower, support and protect our girls. Goals of the group include: To get current information and share our own experiences on various topics relevant to raising teen girls today (e.g. body image, media images, mental health, dating, sexism and harassment). To be a safe place for moms to share questions and concerns about their daughters or the local teen community. To develop an action plan to address each topic directly and to share our insights with others. To be a starting point for positive social change - hopefully, with a sense of humor!


Kick-off meeting: Thursday November 7 from 7:30-9:00 pm at Samadhi, 796 Beacon St, Newton Center (near B Street restaurant). For more information or to RSVP, please contact: Kim or 617-558-0092




Newton Schools Foundation Hosts Evening of Ideas and Community: Some of Newton's most talented, captivating, and forward-thinking individuals will converge on Newton North High School on November 19 for the third annual Newton Inspires-An Evening of Ideas and Community, sponsored by the Newton Schools Foundation (NSF). The free community event will take place Tuesday November 19, 7-9:30 at Newton North High School.


Newtonites representing an array of fields and interest areas will address topics ranging from business, education, science, health and medicine, to journalism, architecture, arts, entertainment and culture. Attendees select three 30-minute speaker sessions from among 19 choices. At the end of the evening, participants and speakers will gather to debrief and reconnect over coffee and dessert.

The event is free and open to Newton residents, but speaker sessions fill up quickly, so register early! Donations to cover costs are accepted on the website. For a list of speakers, to register and for more information, go to




Fostering Executive Function Skills: presented by Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP


Thursday, November 7, 2013, 7:00pm

Newton North High School, Lasker Auditorium



Does your child...

            complete his/her homework, but forget to turn it in?

            seem overwhelmed when faced with a long term project?

            have trouble managing his/her time or materials while performing home or school tasks?


Learn strategies to help your child to efficiently manage his/her own tasks, time, space, materials (while keeping everyone's emotions in check!)


What is Executive Function?

Executive Function skills are the core set of cognitive skills required for planning, completing, and evaluating the completion of tasks, as well as overseeing our communication exchanges. These skills include functions that control behavior; such as attention, motivation, and emotional self regulation, as well as functions that guide behavior; such as planning, organizing, monitoring, reasoning, problem solving and flexibility.


Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP has over 16 years of experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and case management of children, adolescents and adults with language learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, executive dysfunction, Asperger's disorders and social pragmatics. Ms. Ward holds a faculty appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she provides instruction to graduate level students in the assessment and treatment of individuals with traumatic brain injury and other cognitive communication disorders.


Sponsored by Zervas Elementary School PTO, and NewtonPAC for Special Education




Snow Shovel Opportunities: Each year the City of Newton assembles a list of pay-to-shovel and volunteer shovellers for Newton residents.

PAY TO SHOVEL: the student provides contact info and area they are available to shovel, the list provided to the resident includes first names only, phone numbers and people available in their area. NO e-mails are given out. The list is a referral list. The resident and student decide on the price.


VOLUNTEER LIST: the student provides contact info and area they are available to shovel. The student's info is given to a Senior Center Staff person who matches up residents in need of a volunteer with available students.


To be paid to shovel:

To Volunteer:




Noodle Tasting Festival: Oodles of Noodles

Sunday, November 10, 11am - 4pm, Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.

A Noodle Tasting Festival where you can taste Korean, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, Italian, Vegan noodles and more! Vote for your favorite noodle dish prepared by local restaurants. Also: arts & crafts activities for kids, and local martial arts, music and dance performances. Also featuring a photo exhibit on American and Korean Peace Corps volunteers sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Boston & the Friends of Korea. Noodle tasting tickets are available for $8 adult/$4 child - or at the door for $10 adult/$5 child.



Community Classifieds


Girls Basketball: Newton Girls Basketball Associations (NGBA)

Registration is underway for the upcoming Newton Girls Basketball season. Join the more than 500 players from second graders through Eighth graders who play NGBA basketball. This is a recreational basketball league for Newton girls and girls attending Newton schools with fun for beginners and experienced players alike! Games are played on Saturdays for all grades, starting early December and continuing into mid-March.


Scholarships are available based on need; please see the website for details.  To register, obtain additional details and to find out more about the league, please visit our website at


$15 Late Fee for Gr3-8 after 10/27; Grade 2 after 11/2


Have you seen the Top 10 Reasons to play NGBA?

Top 10 Reasons to Play NGBA Basketball this Winter

10. No goalkeepers to block the shots

9. Great exercise

8. Participate in another team sport

7. Learn basketball skills

6. Make new friends!!!

5. Off-season cross training for soccer

4. Entertainment for parents on Saturdays

3. Girls get new sneakers

2. The March Madness tournament rivals the NCAA?s

1. It's really a lot of fun!!!!




Winter Basketball: Registration is now underway for the 2013-2014 Season. The Winter Basketball Program is something the Club prides itself in. It has helped the development of young players throughout Newton for many years. It is one of the few organized basketball programs that offers leagues for kids ages 6 - 18. Many club members begin their basketball careers playing at the Mighty-Mite level and continue playing up until the senior level. Each league is structured to provide the right amount of teaching and support for the specific age group. The teams for each division are balanced by age and ability to make for a competitive and enjoyable experience for all.


You can register for elementary and middle school basketball leagues at this link. Deadline for registration is November 22. For new Club families, we wanted you to be aware that basketball comes free with your membership. This is one of the few programs at the Club for which you have to preregister. As always, no child will ever be denied membership if they can't afford to pay.   Families who need aid may apply online as well.



There will be a free basketball clinic at the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton on Saturday, November 9th, 2013. Newton North High School Coach Paul Connolly and Coach Joe Killilea from Newton South High School will conduct this year's clinic. There is also a special presentation by Salve Regina University Women's Head Coach, Cori Hughes.


The Club's annual free basketball Clinic will be held on Saturday, November 9th.

Age 6 to Grade 3   9:30am - 11:00am

Grades 4 & 5         11:30am -   1:30pm            

Grades 6, 7 & 8     2:00pm -   3:00pm

All Ages                 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Participants should wear sneakers and appropriate playing gear for participation in drills and scrimmages. For more information email Les Whitham, Program Director


The John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club is looking for a few more volunteer coaches and referees for its intramural and Inter-Club Basketball Programs. Here is your chance to have a positive effect on the life of a child! All levels of experience accepted.   For more information contact Les Whitham, Program Director at




Experiential Learning Programs: This winter, The Chyten Center in Newton is offering a wide variety of experiential learning programs on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.


In our Saturday morning Imagination Authors program, Chyten students design a fantasy world with imaginative characters, plot, settings, conflict and resolution. Working together, they then actually write and publish their own book!


Also on Saturdays, students in our Career Time class play the role of doctor, lawyer, architect, journalist, scientist and mayor.


On Sundays, students are young entrepreneurs as they start with the germ of an idea for a business and take it through the entire entrepreneurial process in the Shark Tank Jr. program.


On Sunday afternoon, students create and manage their own fictional baseball team. In doing so, they learn invaluable math lessons that include fractions, decimals, operations, pre-algebra, geometry and more!


For more information, go to or call 617-559-9931 and ask for Education Director Matt Bowling.




Winter Programs: Newton Parks and Recreation has several upcoming programs for the Winter of 2013/2014.


Below is a description of some of our programs. Additional program information can be found on the Newton Parks and Recreation website at Online registration is available at


December School Vacation Program

It's like summer camp in the winter for children in grades K - 6. Located at the Newton Centre Hut, children can participate in sports, arts and crafts, inside games, outside games, gym activities, and daily special events. December 26, 27, 30, and 31 2013 from 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM (extended day available to 5:30 PM).


Family Trip to Disney on Ice - December 27th

Coach bus leaves the Albemarle Field House promptly at 6:00 pm and returns at approximately 9:30 pm. Passport to Adventure - Embark on the ultimate sightseeing vacation with all your favorite Disney characters in Disney on Ice presents Passport to Adventure. Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy as you explore the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage under the sea with Ariel and all her aquatic friends; tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy, before flying to Never Land; and travel to Hawaii to visit Lilo and Stitch. Upbeat music, lovable characters and exciting destinations make Disney on Ice presents Passport to Adventure a vacation you'll never forget.


Nashoba Valley Ski and Snowboard Program

Join us for our six week learn to ski and snowboard program on Tuesday afternoons for grades 3 - 5 or Friday evenings for grades 6 - 12 starting in January, 2014. Each program provides coach bus transportation from Newton to the Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA. Participants that already know how to ski or snowboard may sign up for the lift ticket only option, all others should sign up for ski or snowboard lessons.  


Newton South Recreation Complex

Operated at the Newton South High School, the Newton South Recreation Complex offers a variety of programs for youth and adults on Sundays in the winter. Sign up for Quick Start Tennis, Cardio Tennis, Ninjaneering with Lego, Badminton Instruction, Family Badminton, Zumba, Open Workout and more. The Newton South Recreation Complex runs on Sundays starting January 5, 2014.




Fall Concert: Newton Family Singers presents its Fall Concert! We Got the Beat! NFS Rocks The Talking Heads, R.E.M., and Other Icons of the MTV Generation.


Amid the synthetic drums, the parachute pants, the Sony Walkmans, the MTV videos and the aliens phoning home, a number of beautiful songs were written that stand the test of time. Now the Newton Family Singers will rock the house with music that Gen Xers (and those who love them) will remember well -- hits from The Talking Heads, The Go-Go's, Journey, R.E.M. and more. Come along and enjoy songs of love, existentialism, environmentalism and just plain fun. With new choral arrangements by our music director, Chris Eastburn, NFS remakes the familiar for old and new fans alike.


Sunday, November 17th, 4pm at the Newton Highlands Congregational Church Auditorium, 54 Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands. Bring your family and sing along!

Tickets are available online at  Questions? Email us The Newton Family Singers are an intergenerational ensemble celebrating family, community, and American folk music.




Childcare Center: Open House, Newton School for Children Childcare Center


A school for children 15 months to five years

25 Lenglen Road Suite 2, Newton, MA 02458, (617) 965-1705

(The center is located at the end of the parking lot behind Our Lady Help of Christian's Parish)


Open House Dates:

Thursday November 7th 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Friday November 8th 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. and 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Saturday November 9th 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.




Personal Chef: Too Busy To Cook -"Bringing Families Back to the Dinner Table" Personal Chef- cooking in your home contact - Eileen Rielly


ForWARD Submissions 

Next deadline:  Tuesday, November 12th at noon for the November 15th issue.

Please send articles to

The ForWard will now be distributed electronically on the first and third Friday of every month instead of monthly as in past years.  On weeks when the full newsletter is not distributed, This Week at Wardwill be used to inform you of dates and events in the upcoming week.  We hope that a single email each week will help you keep track of important dates and events.

The Ward PTO, at its discretion and as space is available, may permit announcements to appear in the ForWard from not-for-profit organizations that offer a direct service to children/families in the Ward community and from for-profit individuals or businesses that offer a direct educational service to children/families in our community. The Ward PTO may edit announcements and does not endorse any individuals or business whose announcements are published.     

About NPS TAC Support for PTO Communications 

Volunteers from the Newton Public Schools Technology Advisory Council (NPS TAC) are helping to set up and support PTO communications, including this system used by the Ward PTO.  
Learn more here.