ForWard - Sep 18th, 2015

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

September 18th 2015 

Dear Ward Parents,

Welcome to the latest edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD for the 2015-2016 school year. 

* 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 21, 5:30 to 7 pm - Back to school picnic
  • September 23, Yom Kippur, no school
  • September 24, 7-8:30 pm, Curriculum Night
  • September 25, 8:30 am, PTO Meeting in the Cafeteria - All are welcome
  • October 7, International Walk to School Day
  • October 17, Mystery Dinner

PTO Welcome Packets 
Dear Ward Families,
By now you should have received a Welcome Packet through your youngest child at Ward.  Extra hard copies are available on the table outside of the Main Office.  We want to make sure that everyone is aware of what is in the packet:
Important Dates
  1. PTO Meetings at 8:30am in the Dolphin Cafe on September 25th, December 4th, Feb. 5th , April 29th
  2. Back to School Picnic - Monday, September 21st, 5:30-7:00 pm on the Ward Field.  Knucklebones  will be back to entertain the kids!  This past Wednesday was the deadline to RSVP for pizza but even if you didn't RSVP you can still come but you must bring your own dinner.
  3. Curriculum Night - Thursday Sept. 24th, 7-8:30 pm 
  4. Mystery Dinner Fundraiser, Saturday, Oct. 17th - Please respond as soon as possible to Lisa Schwarzberg at if you would like to help host.
Newton School Calendar
                There is a great calendar on the Newton Website that provides all early release days, holidays, etc.  Here is the link.  Please make sure to mark your own calendar with all of the Early Release dates:  10/8, 11/5, 12/3, 2/3, 3/10.

Room Parent & Volunteer Forms
If you haven't yet dropped off your form to be a room parent or another type of PTO volunteer, please leave your form in the box on the table outside of the main office or email Lisa Kirby at  Room parents play a very important role so please volunteer today!  We need at least 2-3 room parents per classroom.

**Ward Directory - Confirm Your Family's Listing** 

If you haven't yet confirmed your family's contact info for inclusion in the printed version of the Ward Directory, please look for a confirmation email from "John Ward Elementary School <>" in your inbox or Spam Box.   If it's not in your inbox, it could possibly be in your Spam folder.  We need you to confirm your data, by clicking through the link at the bottom of that confirmation email, so that we can send it to the printer on Monday and distribute printed copies to all families by the end of the month.

From the Principal's Desk:
What's New? Ward School Community Meetings!
The Responsive Classroom approach is a way of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. Developed by classroom teachers, the approach consists of practical strategies for helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies day in and day out.
Guiding Principles: The Responsive Classroom approach is informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. Seven principles guide this approach:
  1. The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  2. How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  4. To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills that include cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  5. Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  6. Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.
  7. How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Family Community Meetings: 
As a part of the Responsive Classroom approach, we will be conducting monthly community meetings in which students will meet in small, mixed grade level groups with adults from the school. Each group is called a Family. Every teacher in the building and the principal will have a Family of 8-12 students and will meet as a Family for 15 minutes before and during the all-school Community meeting. Prompt arrival on Mondays will be important so that students are part of this meaningful community-building experience.
Each meeting will address an important community-building topic.  The topic for October is Caring for the Building. Students will be introduced to their Family just before our first Community meeting on October 5.
Family Community meetings are intended for students and school staff only due to space constraints - there simply is not enough room in the gym to safely accommodate the student and faculty body plus parents or relatives. We hope you understand.
To help families better understand what this experience is all about, we will share student examples of the topic in the ForWard after this first Community meeting.
We are looking "forWard" to this wonderful community-building activity here at Ward!  If you have any questions, please contact Eva Thompson, our Interim Principal.

There are certain vendors that make it easy to earn money for the Ward PTO:
Shop at Amazon and up to 10% of your purchase goes to Ward.  Simply go to and click through the Amazon link on the homepage every time you go to shop on Amazon.  10% of your purchase will automatically go to Ward.
Boxtops for Education
Last year we raised over $600 from Boxtops. You can help raise money by clipping Boxtops off of groceries and dropping them off in the Boxtops collection box in the Ward lobby.
Earn 1% for Ward When You Use Your Target Red Card!

If you already have a Target Red Card go to to designate Ward as your education rewards school and Target will donate up to 1% of your REDcard purchases directly to Ward.  And if you don't have a Target Red Card but are a frequent Target shopper, go to to learn more about the benefits of the Red Card including how Target will donate up to 1% of your REDcard purchases to Ward.


Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners - Hosts 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 socialize with the other parents 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 (although we'd like to have them all happen by January). This is not a sit down meal but rather more of an informal gathering. 
Please contact Kathy Shields at  if you can host one of the pot luck dinners for your child's grade.