ForWard - October 9th 2015

Contact Group(s): 





The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

October 9th 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
  • October 12, No School for Columbus Day
  • October 16, 8:30 am, Meeting with Matt Hills, School Committee Chair, in the After School Room
  • October 17, Mystery Dinners (RSVPs due October 14) 
  • November 4, 9:30 am in the Library, School Picture Retake Day (rain or shine)
  • November 5, 5th Grade Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
  • November 5, Early Release Day
  • November 11, No School for Veterans' Day
  • November 21, Kindergarten Potluck Dinner

Mystery Dinner - October 17th
Invitations are out!  You should receive an invitation in your child's folder, so please look for it!  RSVPs are due Wednesday, October 14.  Don't miss out on this great event!  We have a great evening planned -- filled with great company and great food.  If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Schwarzberg at   
Leave your RSVP Card and check in the box in the Ward lobby or Click here to RSVP online.

From the Principal's Desk
Dear Ward Families,
I hope you enjoyed reading about our first all school Community meeting in last week's ForWard!
Food Policy:
It is beneficial to review certain school policies as the new school year starts. Today: Newton's Food Policy, as it is practiced at Ward School to ensure a safe and healthy environment for students.
Key points:
  • We hold students accountable to the "no food sharing" guideline to avoid students sharing foods with potential allergens for others.
  • We have both  "hummus" and "nut" tables in the Café where students with these foods sit. The school nurse, Valerie Carroll, has joined me on the first days of school to reinforce these practices and to help guide students to these tables. There are typically several children at these tables so no one is isolated.
  • Teachers reinforce these guidelines in their classrooms during snack and as a pre-lunch conversation, especially in the primary grades.
Café and Ordering Lunch:
Lunch time is an important part of the day for our students. Not only do students eat so they are energized for the afternoon, they also have time to socialize at their tables with peers. Fifth graders, as older students, are tasked with exploring tabletop conversations with peers at the beginning of each month when they change seats. This allows them to have conversations tied to a prompt for a few minutes so they can get to know one another. Ask your fifth grader what the prompt was this month. Students share the ideas from these conversations back in the classroom.
If your child buys lunch, milk, or a snack, please monitor the balance of on-line account you set up with money deposited. Ms. Ingrid, our lunch manager, is restricted to the offerings she can give if there is no money on the account. We will always make sure your child has food; the selection may not be their first choice if there are no funds in the account. Please discuss with your child the types of food you approve s/he purchases as we do not monitor the selection - Ms. Ingrid makes sure students do take all that is included in the lunch purchase.
First grade families: if you heard that purchased food was late in being available - that issue has now been remedied. Students have time to eat....slower-eating students are allowed to take food out to recess, if necessary. The lunch monitors cue students to eat and before it is time to clean up so students do have time to eat. We are aware that some students spend time chatting so they are encouraged to balance eating and chatting time. 
If you have any questions at all regarding food and lunch, please contact your child's teacher or me - we are more than happy to respond.
With warm regards,

Is your CORI/SORI up to date? If you have not completed a CORI/SORI in the past 3 years, and wish to volunteer at school or as a field trip chaperone, you must submit the forms (available on the PTO foyer desk at school and on the NPS website) to the main office no later than 1 week prior to the event.
Please see Susan Tempesta in the office with your driver's license and completed CORI or SORI form for processing.

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!

Boxtops for Education 
Please be sure to check all your boxes at home for Box Tops for Education Box Tops. Believe it or not, each Box Top is worth $.10! And all the funds stay directly at Ward for the PTO!

Last year we raised almost $200 just for collecting the Box Tops. So, start clipping today and please leave your Box Tops in the box in the front lobby. The first deadline for submission is November 2nd!

Ward T-Shirt Sales
The Ward School t-shirts were a huge hit!  Thank you to everyone who purchased shirts for supporting the school.  We had such strong demand that we sold out and took pre-orders to place a second order.    The second batch of shirts is due to arrive late next week.
If anyone is interested to purchase a Ward t-shirt for his or her child, you may email Shelly Straight Nissen (
Youth sizes Small-Medium-Large
Colors:   Royal Blue, Red, Dark Pink, Kelly Green, Purple (all with white Ward logo)
Ward T-shirt sales are a fund-raising opportunity.  Thank you in advance for helping support Ward School!

Exciting School-Wide CASC Events This Fall
CASC (Creative Arts and Sciences Committee) has planned exciting and engaging activities this fall around African Arts.
We will be hosting a school wide concert on October 21st.  Crocodile River Music brings the African Diaspora to life for students in Trinidad 2 Timbuktu. Expert musicians take the students on a journey that starts in Africa with the music and rhythms that originated there in African tribal and ritual drumming.  Students "travel" around the world, exploring the calypso, reggae, flamenco, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban music and dance styles that have blossomed from these African musical roots.
After the concert students will have the opportunity to participate in dance workshops. Traditional West African dance is an expression of culture in its purest form, high-spirited, rhythmic dance experience. Accompanied by live drumming, the workshop brings together body, mind and spirit in an energetic union of the music, dance and oral tradition of the people of West Africa. With the great variety of movement and nuance, students will engage every muscle of their body. With the invigorating connection with the drums, they will engage every part of their spirit. 
On October 27th- 31st, The Gallery of African Art will provide a visually stunning traveling exhibit of African art encompassing various regions, tribes and traditions of the African continent, with an emphasis on West Africa. This diverse collection is crafted by hand in a variety of media, including stone, bone, fabric, wood, shells, clay, bronze, beads, raffia, and gourds.  Students will be receiving a tour of the exhibit during their art class.  We hope you will come by and see visit the exhibit.
Stay tuned for more exciting events from CASC this year,

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners 
Hosts Needed for Grades 1-4
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.  Invitations for the Kindergarten dinner on November 21 will be going out in about a week, and the 5th Grade dinner will take place on January 9, 2016.  

Upcoming Discussion 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 After School Room.

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!  

Please send any questions to:
Linda Gillespie, Co-chair -
Diana Cohen, Co-chair -
Shelly Straight Nissen, Treasurer -

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:

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.

Lunch Monitors Needed
Lunch monitors needed at the Newton elementary schools listed below. These are great hours for a stay-at-home parent/grandparent or anyone who wants to work a couple of hours a day. The hours range from 2 ¼  - 2 ½ hours per day at $13.14 an hour.  Please call the school directly to set up an interview.
Angier ~ 617 559 9300
Burr ~ 617 559 9360
Williams ~ 617 559 6480
Underwood ~ 617 559 9660
Horace Mann ~ 617 559 9510
Franklin ~ 6 17 559 9480
Ward ~ 617 559 6450
Cabot ~ 617 559 9400
Lincoln Elliot School ~ 617 559 9540

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
A program of the Newton Public Schools since 1972.

Newton Inspires
Newton Schools Foundation will present the fifth annual Newton Inspires: An Evening of Ideas and Community.  Since 2011, Newton Inspires has been uniting Newton residents for an evening of discussion with some of Newton's brightest, most accomplished and most interesting community members.
This year's program features headliners, Anita Diamant, author; John Harthorne, founder and CEO, MassChallenge; Billy Starr, founder and executive director, Pan-Mass Challenge; Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO, TripAdvisor; Roger Berkowitz, president and CEO, Legal Sea Foods; and Neil Swidey,  journalist and author.
The program will take place Monday, November 9, 7-9:45 p.m. at Newton South High School.  It is FREE for Newton residents, $15 for non-residents, and this year high school seniors are welcome to attend. Space is limited, so advance registration is highly recommended. For more information on the program and to register, go
In addition to the six headliners these speakers will participate in this year's program:
Rev. Brandon Crowley - Senior Pastor, Myrtle Baptist Church
Barbara Erickson - President, The Trustees of Reservations
Dr. Giovanni G. Fazio - Senior physicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
David Fleishman - Superintendent, Newton Public Schools
Lachlan Forrow - Physician and Medical Ethicist
Candy Kosow Gold - Producer
Christopher Landrigan - Pediatric Hospitalist & Patient Safety Expert
John Mahoney - Director of Undergraduate Admission, Boston College
Ronald Prinn - Professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT
Genevra Stone - Physician & Olympic Rower
Denise Swidey - Chef & Culinary Producer
Hugh Wolff - International Orchestra Conductor
NSF thanks these businesses for supporting Newton Inspires by donating food and beverages:  Anna's Taqueria, Baker's Best Catering, Better Life Food, Fleck Coffee House,, L'Aroma Café & Bakery, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Rancatore's Ice Cream and Yogurt, Rosie's Bakery, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market.

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  or email Gail Sommer at