ForWard - October 23rd 2015

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

October 23rd 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 30, Halloween Hoot, 9 am, in the Gym
  • 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

From the Principal's Desk 
Dear Ward Families,
It was wonderful to see so many families walk to school on Wednesday, October 7 for International Walk to School Day. Thank you for your participation. Thank you also to the PTO leadership who spearheaded this effort. We hope you will continue to walk or bike often, even part of the way. There is nothing like a brisk walk on an autumn day!
Family and Community Meetings:
Theme: Caring for the Building
As I shared last month, we are continuing our effort to build community and engage students in thinking about the behaviors that make a good student and citizen in a kind and caring environment.
This past Monday, promptly at 8:30, students met in their Family Groups for 15 minutes. Students greeted one another by name, learned about each other's favorite outside activity, school subject, favorite animal, etc. Groups then discussed the posted school rules and generated ideas for how to care for the school building.
The 26 Families then all met in the Gymnatorium, sitting in their Family groups, for our monthly school-wide Community meeting. Two fifth graders served as 'Masters of Ceremony' leading the school in singing the Ward School Song, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and, with a round of applause, we acknowledged birthdays for the month. Fifth grade representatives from each 'odd' numbered Family shared ideas about how to care for the building: picking up trash, taking care of materials, cleaning up after oneself were some ideas mentioned. We all enjoyed this time together!
Halloween Sing-a-Long: a Ward School Tradition:
You are welcome to join us for our annual Halloween Hoot sing-along led by our fifth grade students and Ms. Rapa, music teacher. It will be held on Friday, October 30, at 9:00 in our gymnatorium for a brief sing-a-long. All students and parents are invited to wear costumes. If you cannot attend, not to worry - students enjoy this time together as a school!
Please follow the school guidelines to keep this a safe holiday for all students:
  • Keep it simple. Students should carry their costumes to school and be able to dress themselves in the classroom, not in bathrooms.
  • Costumes should be kid friendly, not frightening. No toy weapons are allowed.
  • Do not bring colored hair spray to school.
  • Children should not wear masks. We need to be able to identify all students quickly.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Recess Information:
As we all likely agree, recess is such an important part of the day as it offers students time to run around, play, socialize and, in general, take a much-needed break from the activities and thinking of the day. A few parents have wondered: can students play on the grassy field in addition to the tennis courts and mulched playground area?
Upon exploring this question, this is what I learned: due to staffing coverage constraints for lunch/recess, we have enough staff to safely supervise the tennis and playground areas. Going forward, when we have ample coverage, I will try to assign an extra person to monitor the grassy field so this can be an option on occasion. Safety is of primary concern so I want to be sure we are safely monitoring outside play areas. Please let me know if you have any questions or further wonderings.
Private School Applications:
If you are applying for private school for the 2015-16 school year, we respectfully ask that reference/transcript requests be given to Ward staff as early as possible (preferably by December 1st) so that they may be completed well ahead of application deadlines.
Thank you for Following Blue/Yellow Zone Guidelines!
On behalf of the school community, I thank all of you who continue to uphold the guidelines of the Blue/Yellow zones. The traffic flow has been much better apart from a blip here and there. We do appreciate your cooperation.
Mrs. Peller's Return:
Mrs. Peller does plan to return. As soon as I have dates for her reentry, I will share them with you. She is looking forward to being back with all of you!
Best wishes,
Eva Thompson, Interim Principal

Mystery Dinner
A big thank you to Lisa Schwarzberg for all her work in coordinating the Mystery Dinner this year!
The Mystery Dinner was a huge success!  We had a great turnout and had a fun night out!  Thanks to all of you, we were able to raise over $10,000!  Thank you to everyone who came out to support the event, and extra special thanks to all of the amazing hosts that made this event a reality:  
Jenessa and Jeremy Freid
Jen Rugani and Frank Huckabone
Beth and Bill Hicks
Laurie and Jon Ufland
Raju and Vijaya Tatituri
Robin and Luba Greenwood
Jyoti and Martin Peters
Lisa and Chris Kirby
Sara and Josh Ross
Ruth and Jeff Somers
Rachel and Ron Blankstein
Erin and Bill Kenneally
Amy Cook and Gianluca Corsetti
Roberta and Marc Laredo
Val and Ben Beaver
Sukanya and Supreo Ghosh
Lisa and Josh Schwarzberg
Also big thanks to Linda Gillespie and Diana Cohen for their unending support for planning this event!
The results of the raffle are in and thank you to everyone for participating!
  • Grand prize winner: 2 Celtics tickets plus dinner for 2 at Barcelona:  Val and Ben Beaver
  • Runner up: $50 gift card to 51 Lincoln: Ruth and Jeff Somers
Congrats!  We can't wait to see you all next year at the Mystery Dinner!

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners 
Hosts Needed for Grades 1, 2, and 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 were sent two weeks ago.  The 5th Grade dinner will take place on January 9, 2016, and the 3rd Grade dinner will take place on January 23, 2016.

Sign Up to Help in the Library 
Please sign up to be a Library Volunteer! 
Here's how it works in 3 easy steps: 
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: 
2. Enter your email address. You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot. 
3. Sign up! Choose your spots.  VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy! 

Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact your room parent and they can sign you up manually.  If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Bosco

5th Grade Teacher Appreciation Breakfast 
Reminder to all fifth grade parents that the teacher appreciation breakfast sponsored by the fifth grade will take place on Thursday, November 5.  Please be on the lookout next week for an email from Rachel Gatoff to sign up for items for the breakfast.  If you have questions, contact Rachel at

Annual Ward Book Fair - November 30-December 4 
Save the date for this annual Ward event/fundraiser.  We need loads of help to ensure the book fair is a success.  If you are interested in helping, please let us know.  Contact Cindy Henry at or Shana Smythe

Halloween Safety - From the Ward Nurse
With witches, goblins and super-heroes descending on neighborhoods this month, it's important to remember a few safety tips to keep Halloween fun and safe for everyone.
  • Walk, slither, and sneak on sidewalks, not on the street or around parked cars
  • Look both ways before crossing the street to check for cars, trucks and low-flying brooms
  • Carry a flashlight to light your way
  • Adults or responsible teenagers should accompany trick-or-treaters
  • Save the candy eating for home when an adult can look through the treats
  • Throw away opened candy and be cautious of small, hard candy with young children
  • Keep the capes & other costume parts away from candles and feet that might trip
  • Use face paint rather than masks that can limit vision
  • Go only to houses with the lights on
Adapted from the American Red Cross

Upcoming CASC Events 
CASC (Creative Arts and Sciences Committee) has planned exciting and engaging activities this fall around African Arts.
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,

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!

Upcoming School Committee Meeting
The next meeting will be on October 26, 2015, at 7 pm at the Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Frazier Room (#210), in Newtonville. The agenda for this meeting is 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 followingpage:

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.