ForWard - September 12, 2014

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

September 12, 2014 

Dear Ward Parents,

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  

  • September 15th, Back to School Picnic
  • September 18th, Ward Curriculum Night
  • September 20th, National Seat Check Saturday
  • October 2nd, 8.45am, PTO meeting
  • October 18th, Mystery Dinner
  • October 20th, Picture Day

From the Principal's Desk  


Dear Families, 

I hope you enjoyed all the wonders of the summer. For me, it's been great catching up with life and having some quiet time with my family. On the professional side, our summer administrators' retreat included discussions about the impact of Carol Dweck's work on the growth mindset.  Our staff previously discussed Mindset when it was selected as our summer reading book, and applauded Ms. Dweck's focus on effective effort to enhance learning.  We will be reviewing her ideas and pursuing options for further implementing strategies that encourage this focus.  Along with several colleagues, I attended an institute at Lesley University on Leadership and Literacy.  I look forward to sharing some of the highlights with the staff in the coming year as we examine our practices in this area.  This summer we read Teasing, Tattling, Defiance and More which is part of the Responsive Classroom approach to discipline. I'm sure it will produce some lively discussion about the best ways to deal with these behaviors.

It's wonderful to see so many families walking to school. For those who arrive by car, please review the BLUE ZONE /BUS ZONE regulations. As the weather gets colder and traffic increases, we want to keep everyone safe and the traffic flowing. Never drop your child in the bus zone (curb painted yellow) in front of the school. All drop offs/pick-ups need to be made in the Blue Zone. Please respect our neighbors. Never block their driveways, even for a few seconds.


Dogs: we love them too, but...

I want to remind you about our rules for dogs and other pets:  

  • Due to allergies and student fears, pets are not allowed in school. 
  • Please keep dogs on a leash & away from the school entrance and Blue Zone.
  • Do not leave dogs unattended.
  • Always clean up after your dog.
I look forward to seeing you at Curriculum Night on September 18. Please note a slight change in the schedule which allows for a brief all grade assembly in the gym: 

7:00 - 7:35 PM:     Grades K, 1, 2 meet in their classrooms 

7:40 - 8:00 PM:     Gathering in the gym to meet the Ward Staff and learn more about plans for the 2014-2015 school year.

8:05 - 8:45 PM:     Grades 3, 4, 5 meet in their classrooms  

If you wish to review the Curriculum Overview for Parents prior to the event you can visit 


Warmest wishes,


From the PTO

The Ward PTO is a volunteer run organization that ensures our kids get the best school experience possible. The PTO runs community events and fundraising events that raise critical funds to support technology, Creative Arts & Sciences programs and classroom set up, just to name a few.
Our 2014-2015 board members are:
Cindy Henry & Linda Gillespie - Co-Presidents
Megan Flynn - Vice President
Shelly Straight Nissan - Treasurer
 Gail Fitzgerald - Secretary
We have a small and tireless team of dedicated volunteers but we need more help. Please let us know if you want to help and we will find a role for you. 
Contact Cindy Henry at if you are interested in joining the PTO team. Please join us for our first PTO meeting of the year which will be held on October 2nd at 8:45am in the After School Room at Ward. 

Grade Wide Pot Luck Dinners - Host Volunteers Needed

As in the past few years, the PTO would like to organize grade-wide pot luck dinners. These nights are a great way to meet and/or socialize with everyone in your child's grade. The evening is for adults only and hosts do not cook! They only need to supply paper goods and a big trash can and the guests do the rest. Your home should be big enough for approximately 50 adults to squeeze in (sitting on the floor or standing is fine.) You choose the night and it can be any month that works for you. This is not a sit down meal but rather more of an informal gathering. So no need to worry about having enough space.

Please contact Kathy Shields at if you can host. 

Mystery Dinner - October 18th

Please mark your calendars for this favorite annual event. The Mystery Dinner is our first fundraiser of the year, and a great opportunity to see old friends and meet our new families.
Hosts needed

Help support one of the best nights out for school parents while raising money to support our children's enrichment programs. Willing to host the appetizer party, small dinner (8-10 people), or dessert party? We need you!  

Please contact Lisa Schwarzberg: 917-327-6132.



Click through to the Ward store here to see items available for every member of the family: 
t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, hats, waterbottles, onesies and more. Show your Ward spirit and earn money for Ward in the process, with a portion of each sale going back to Ward. A special thanks to Ward mom Deb Gilpin for our awesome new logo!
Enter the promo code Wardschool during checkout to receive free standard shipping if you purchase two items or more. This special offer is valid Friday 9/12 - Friday 9/19.

NEW DATE - School Picture Day - Monday 20th October

Sorry for all of the confusion around the date for picture day. First the typo and now an actual date change. Picture day will now take place on Monday, October 20th. 

Room parents needed

If you would like to volunteer as a Room Parent, there is still time to sign up! Please fill in the form that came home or email Lisa Kirby at Thank you! 

 Garden News

We are still looking for volunteers to help in the garden this year. It's a really fun way to get involved and your efforts will have a very visible effect on the school as well as helping the kids to learn about where food comes from. If you'd like to sign up, please contact Aoife O'Dwyerat 

2013/2014 was a wonderful year in the garden. Despite the long winter, Garden Day in May was a huge success with every child helping to plant the seedlings which grew into the bumper crop of tomatoes, basil, peppers, beans, eggplants and beets which were enjoyed by so many of you over the summer.

Some special projects that happened last year were the 4th Grade Salad Bed, organized by Ms. Belcher and enjoyed by the entire grade when they got to eat the fruits of their labours in June. The 3rd Grade 'Three Sisters' Project, where we grew from seed beans, squash and corn which were then transplanted outside.

We also made some additions to the Butterfly patch to make a welcoming home for the 2nd Grade Butterflies when they were released.

Finally, the self sustaining garlic bed is entering its 4th year. Last year, our crop produced enough garlic to give every 1st Grader a clove of garlic to take home. We then planted the remainder of the crop with the kindergartners. This year, we think we will have enough to give each 1st Grader an entire bulb and still have enough to plant with our new kindergarten classes.

We welcome any thoughts or suggestions you may have so please get in touch.

Ward School Directory
 Child Passenger Safety Week
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 14-20. September 20, 2014 is National Seat Check Saturday. In honor of this day the Car Seat Technicians from the Newton Police Department will be performing installations and inspections for all parents, grandparents etc., who would like their child carseat inspected. There is no fee and there will also be a handful of free carseats available for families in need. The installations and inspections will be performed on Saturday September 20th from 8am -11am at the War Memorial Drive located at Newton's City Hall.