ForWARD - October 2nd 2015

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ForWard

The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

October 2, 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

  • October 7, International Walk to School Day
  • October 8, Early Release Day
  • October 12, No School for Columbus Day
  • October 16, 8:30 am, Meeting with Matt Hills, School Committee Chair
  • October 17, Mystery Dinners (Invitations Coming Soon!)
  • November 21, Kindergarten Potluck Dinner

Earn money for Ward when you shop at Amazon  
 
Shop at Amazon and up to 10% of your purchase goes to Ward.  Please bookmark this page and click here every time you shop on Amazon.  A percentage of your purchase (which varies by category) will automatically go to Ward. This link explains how much of your purchases go to Ward!

Still Searching for Hosts for Ward's Mystery Dinner 
   
We are still searching for hosts for Ward School's Mystery Dinner!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 6:00pm for a great adult night out.  Are you willing to host a small and casual dinner (8-10 people)? It doesn't require a lot and we are willing to help!  If so, please contact Lisa Schwarzberg at lschwartzberg@gmail.com to help support one of our school's best events of the year!  Invitations will be sent home with students shortly so be on the lookout!

From the Principal's Desk
   
Dear Ward Families,
 
Our first all-school Community meeting was a success! To create a picture for you:On Monday at 8:30, we met in the gymnatorium where students sat with their class facing the front. Filing in there was a buzz of excitement; with enthusiasm many students waved silently to friends and siblings. They have learned well the meaning of "silent waves" instead of calling out to friends.
 
Two fifth grade representatives kicked off the 15-minute meeting: welcomed the audience, led everyone in singing the Ward School song, and then we all said the Pledge of Allegiance. They then modeled a welcoming greeting, "Good morning kindergartners" and the audience cheerfully greeted back, "Good morning Ward School!" All grades were welcomed in this manner to foster an affirming sense of belonging to a group.
 
Then, Ms. Addleman, a 5th grade teacher, invited students with September birthdays to stand to a round of applause. After the meeting, these students met me at my office to choose a colorful pencil and eraser, a tradition at Ward. Summer birthdays will be honored in June.
 
Finally, the much awaited meeting of Families: Ms. Addleman called off Familygroup numbers and faculty members led their members to their classroom spaces. As an example, my Family, group #26, consists of 12 students K-5. 
 
During the 15 minutes we met in our Family groups, all teachers led students through the following experiences:
  • We introduced ourselves and played a familiar get-to-know-you game.
  • We discussed the topic of the month, Safe Hallway Behaviors. The students shared what hallway behavior "Looks like" and "Sounds like".  Examples: Looks like: "silently waving to friends", Sounds like: "Quiet." The purpose of this exercise was to surface what expected hallway behavior is - children benefit from specific examples and common language descriptions.  
  • In my Family, we also talked about what a 'community' is - students agreed "a group of people who take care of each other".
Students will have an opportunity to build relationships through these "family" groupings. They will be part of the same Family for their duration at Ward. Naturally, each year new kindergartners join and fifth graders depart.
 
Promptly at 9:00, fifth graders escorted our kindergartners back to their classrooms - the beginning of partnerships and taking care of one another!
 
Key additional information - Setting All School Rules (aka Norms, Commitments for adults):
 
Last week, each classroom agreed upon rules to govern their supportive functioning as a classroom community. Then representatives from each classroom met in grade levels to combine rules to have 3 rules for the grade level. Then I had the privilege of meeting with the grade level representatives so that we could combine six sets of rules to form one set for the whole school. After 50 minutes of really thoughtful and creative discussion, we agreed on the following:
  1. Respect all living things (people, plants, animals) wherever you are.
  2. Work hard, persevere.
  3. Be safe with yourself and others wherever you go.
  4. Take care of classrooms, materials and building property.
This all-school Responsive Classroom work has been so rewarding for my Ward colleagues and me. Engaging students in processes to enhance the social and emotional well being of our school community can only make it even stronger. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact your child's teacher or me.
- Eva Thompson

PTO Budget 2015-2016
  
Please click here to view the PTO's operating budget for 2015-2016.  You'll notice that our biggest source of funding ($24,000) this year is the Annual Fund Drive which will kick off later this fall.  We need every family to participate in the Annual Fund Drive in order to meet this goal!  
 
And, to get a better sense of where your money goes, please note the three biggest line items this year: 
  • $5,000 for classroom technology replacement (upgrading outdated or broken equipment)
  • $14,000 for creative arts & sciences programming
  • $6,000 for classroom setup (teacher reimbursements)
Please remember that all contributions stay at Ward!  
Click here to view the PTO budget.  
 
Please send any questions to:
Linda Gillespie, Co-chair - linda_bentley@yahoo.com
Diana Cohen, Co-chair - dicohen@deloitte.com
Shelly Straight Nissen, Treasurer - straightnissen@gmail.com

Walk to School Day - Wednesday October 7th 
 
Enjoy cider and coffee as we celebrate International Walk to School Day.
** Students who walk or bike to school that day will have a chance to enter a RAFFLE for a WARD T-SHIRT!**  If you have any questions about this event, please contact Lisa Kirby at lisakirby@gmail.com.

Upcoming Discussion for Ward School Parents with 
Newton School Committee Chair, Matt Hills
Matt Hills, Chair of the Newton School Committee and former Ward School parent, will be coming to Ward for an informal discussion with Ward parents on Friday morning, October 16th at 8:30am.  This is a great chance for Ward parents to meet Matt and to discuss any concerns they have about the school system and to get updated on topics including:
  • The school building projects, 
  • Buffer zones/changes to elementary lines, 
  • PARCC vs. MCAS and other testing related topics, 
  • The status of the teachers' union contract, 
  • The overall financial state of the system, 
  • And, other priorities with the NPS.  
Please mark your calendars:  8:30 am, Friday, October 16th, in the Ward Gym.

Upcoming School Committee Meetings
 
The next two meetings will be on October 13 and 26, 2015, both at 7 pm at the Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Frazier Room (#210), in Newtonville. The agendas for these meetings are not yet available, but will be posted by the day of the meeting. A link to the agenda, when finalized, is available in the Meeting Materials drop-down box on the following page: http://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/2227.
  

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners 
Hosts Needed for Most Grades
 
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 send an email invitation, 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 kburdetteshields@yahoo.com  if you can host one of the pot luck dinners for your child's grade.  We have a volunteer to host the kindergarten dinner, but are still looking for volunteers for other grades. Kindergarten parents should be on the lookout for an email invitation in the next week.

Ward Teacher & Staff Appreciation

The PTO - Teacher & Staff Appreciation Committee is responsible for organizing and coordinating monthly breakfasts and the year-end luncheon and gift honoring the 70 amazing teachers and staff at our school. The families in each grade sponsor a breakfast by bringing in the requested food/sundry items the morning of the breakfast for the entire staff to enjoy.  In May, we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week with a catered luncheon and individual gifts made possible by your DONATIONS and PTO funds.  
 
Emails will go out to each grade approximately 2 weeks in advance of the breakfast with a sign-up link for the desired breakfast items.  We will be kicking off the year with the 5th grade breakfast on Thursday, November 5th.
 
Additionally, we are asking for each classroom to donate about $25 towards the end-of-the-year gift that is presented in May at the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.  If each family donates just $1, we can present each Ward School Staff member with a memorable gift that shows our appreciation and support for their daily hard work with our children.  We will be collecting donations throughout the year . . . details to follow.
 
Thank you in advanced for your support and generosity in making our Ward staff feel extra special!!!  Please let us know if you have any questions:
 
Beth Hicks - Grades K & 4th - beth.hicks71@gmail.com
Rachel Gatoff - Grades 3rd & 5th - rachelgatoff@gmail.com
Maritza Jones - Grades 1st & 2nd - pastranajones@gmail.com

New Class! Chess at Ward Begins 10/16
 
You asked...we listened! Newton Community Ed has added a Chess class at Ward.  Sign up today to learn the basics or expand your knowledge of this remarkable game of strategy that had its origins in India over 1500 years ago. Learn the principles of chess, positional tactics, and basic to advanced moves, according to your level of ability. Through games played in class coached by an experienced chess master, you'll gain the confidence to play well against any opponent, and come away with new appreciation and respect for one of the most wonderful games ever invented. Students at all levels are welcome, but you must know how each piece moves before starting this class. Grades 1-5.  Fridays (10/16-1/22), 3:15-4:15. Course code: KE102-F15-WA. Minimum: 6 students. Register at newtoncommunityed.org or give us a call at 617-559-6999.

Save The Date - Celtics Night
  
Ward School goes to the TD Garden to see a Celtics game on Friday night, January 29th, 2016.  More information on tickets to come in the next few weeks.

One to One Program
  
Could your first through sixth grade child benefit from the consistent, caring friendship of a Newton teenager?   Newton's One to One Program has an enthusiastic and responsible new group of high school juniors & seniors from Newton North and Newton South High Schools. If you would like the opportunity to have your child matched this academic year with a "Big Brother/Sister", please call or email Nancy Holczer, Program Director by the end of October for more information. Sooner is better through.  Please leave a message when calling 617.559.9460 with your name, address, and phone number or email info to Nancy at Nancy_Holczer@newton.k12.ma.us
A program of the Newton Public Schools since 1972.

Newton Child Assault Prevention (CAP) Program 
Seeking Volunteers 
19 Continuing Education Credits available for MSW's.
 
Are you someone that believes that all children have the right to be "Safe, Strong and Free?" If so, then join our dynamic team of trained CAP volunteers who are committed to teaching children in the Newton Elementary Schools the skills that they would need to stand up for themselves if faced with a situation involving verbal, physical or sexual assault. We are now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 school year. The next multi-session training begins on October 17th.  For more information please visit our website at http://familyaccess.org/family-support/child-assault-prevention  or email Gail Sommer at sommer@familyaccess.org.

Raise Money For Ward While You Shop!
 
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. 
 
Target
Earn 1% for Ward When You Use Your Target Red Card! If you already have a Target Red Card go to https://rcam.target.com/ 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 http://www.target.com/redcard to learn more about the benefits of the Red Card including how Target will donate up to 1% of your REDcard purchases to Ward.

Get Your Ward Gear
 
Show your Ward spirit and earn money for Ward in the process. A portion of each sale goes back to Ward. There are items available for every member of the family: t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, hats, water bottles, onesies and more.
Visit the Ward store by clicking here.