ForWard - November 6th, 2015

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

November 6, 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
  • November 6, 3 pm - 4th grade Bake Sale Extended
  • November 11, No School for Veterans' Day
  • November 21, Kindergarten Potluck Dinner
  • November 21 - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new park at Waban Hill Reservoir (Ward St & Manet Rd), from 11 am - 12:00. Featuring activities for kids & a food drive.
  • November 25, School closes at noon - Thanksgiving Recess
  • November 26-27, No School for Thanksgiving Recess
  • November 30-December 4 - Ward Book Fair

4th Grade Bake Sale Extended - One More Day
Get your treats today, Friday, November 6th, in front of the school at 3 pm. All bakery good cost $1. Proceeds benefit the Cradles to Crayons hat and glove drive. 

From the Principal's Desk
Dear Ward School Families,
Last Friday's 'Halloween Hoot' sing-a-long was just that, a hoot! Under our music teacher, Ms. Rapa's direction, the fifth grade chorus led us in this fun-filled all-school experience, with each grade taking turns to share their songs with the audience.  It was great to have so many families join us, and we all squeezed in!
With Halloween now in the past, looking forward here are some updates for you:
Mrs. Peller's Return:
I am happy to share that Mrs. Peller has started to transition back to Ward this past week. Next week, I will be at Ward in the mornings and Mrs. Peller will be here in the afternoons.  We overlap midday to transition together.
I want to thank all of you for welcoming me to your school community. I have enjoyed my time here tremendously and will be sad to say good-bye!  As I shared before, I have been able to ease into Ward's routines due to the open and welcoming community Mrs. Peller and the teachers have created.  It has been a pleasure to get to know your children, and I will miss them. I plan to come back to visit during the fifth grade circus in December. Thank you all again!
As the holiday season approaches and at the end of the year, families often wonder how to show their appreciation for their teachers' work. It is certainly not an expectation that families engage in gift-giving. That being said, teachers always appreciate a supportive handwritten or email note at any time.
For those who want further information: the Newton Public Schools has published guidelines for gift giving in the Students' Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, p. 30:
Newton's School Gifts for Teachers Policy:
If a gift for an individual educator is being considered, Newton Public Schools encourages only "class gifts" (not to exceed $150) as long as the gift is identified as being from the class and the identity of the givers and the individual amounts are not identified to the recipient. This differs from a gift for the classroom (see School Committee's Equity Policy on NPS website). Individual gifts of appreciation in the form of sentimental tokens are allowed.  Personal gifts of value to staff are not permitted.
There are two other avenues: the Library Teacher, Sheila Packard, always welcomes having books donated to the library in a teacher's honor.  If this interests you, contact Mrs. Packard who, with your donation, can purchase a book of your choice or you can provide the selected book.  She will then create a nameplate for the inside cover of the book: "In Honor of Ms./Mr. Teacher from the XYZ Family."
The PTO also welcomes donations to their annual fundraisers.  Contact the PTO if this  interests you.
Finally, the Newton Schools Foundation holds an annual "Honor Thy Teacher" campaign as described on the NSF webpage:
Although Honor Thy Teacher officially runs April through June, you can always support teachers' efforts and honor their dedication to our children by donating to the annual "Honor Thy Teacher" Campaign.  Funds raised from the Honor Thy Teacher Campaign will go directly to support educational programs and professional development throughout the entire district with an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), K-5 Literacy, Environment/Sustainability, Closing the Achievement Gap, Global Learning and Social/Emotional Development.
The NSF webpage also offers directions for donating in a teacher's name.
As always, if you have any questions or wonderings, please contact Mrs. Peller or me.
Have a great weekend!
My best,
Eva Thompson
Interim Principal

Grand Opening of Waban Hill Reservoir Park
Come to the grand opening celebration for the new Waban Hill Reservoir Park, with Mayor Setti Warren.  The new park is at the intersection of Ward St. and Manet Rd and the ceremony will be held at the northwest corner of the reservoir at Manet Rd. and Reservoir Dr.  Festivities are from 11 am to noon on November 21.  Family fun following the ribbon cutting; face painting & bounce slide.  There will also be a food pantry collection: Please bring a non-perishable food item to support the Newton food pantries.

2 Volunteers Needed for Understanding Our Differences!
Many thanks to those of you who have kindly offered to volunteer for the UOD (Understanding Our Differences) program on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 12:30-3:00pm.
I am in need of 2 more volunteers to help run the two (simple, easy) small group activities with the 4th graders.
Parent volunteers from ANY grade are more than welcome!
This unit, Chronic Medical Conditions: Allergies and Diabetes, will include:
- 2 presentations
- 2 small group activities
- A student guest speaker from Newton North High School who will share his personal experience with Type 1 diabetes.
UOD is a great opportunity to:
- Share time with your child and his/her classmates.
- Get to know other parents.
- Be a role model for inclusiveness.
- Learn to see the person not the disability.
- Learn more about the topic being presented through training and curriculum provided by the UOD program.
Understanding Our Differences is a nonprofit organization working in partnership with the Newton Public Schools to provide a unique and creative disability awareness program for elementary school children in grades 3-5.  Presented by volunteers, the program promotes inclusion, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and individual differences at our schools and in our community
Interested in helping out? 
Contact: Alexandra Novina, 4th Grade Coordinator,
Want to know more?  Visit:  

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners 
Hosts Needed for Grades 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 several 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.  The 1st grade dinner will happen on a date TBD in January.

Cradles to Crayons Hat and Glove Drive
Help Cradles to Crayons collect 6,000 hats and gloves for local children in need.  For thousands of children in need, staying warm in winter is a struggle.  Help protect kids in your community by collecting new hats and gloves to keep them warm.

Bring new children's hats and gloves to the bin in the Ward School Lobby from November 2 to December 23.  You can also ship directly to Cradles to Crayons, Attention Mo Reilly, 155 North Beacon St., Brighton, MA  02135.  

Cradles to Crayons provides children living in low-income and homeless situations with the essentials they need to thrive - at home, at school, and at play.  For more information, see

Upcoming Thanksgiving Food Drive
Be on the look out for the Thanksgiving food drive benefiting the Centre Street Food Pantry.  More information to come next week.

Annual Ward Book Fair
The annual Ward Book Fair is coming ... November 30-Dec. 3 ... just in time for the holidays. Remember this is a PTO Fundraiser. A portion of the proceeds is used to purchase new books for the library and the classrooms in addition to supporting other PTO events. 

Packets should have gone home with your kids this week. Extras are on the table in the lobby if you still need one.

We need help from you to ensure that the fair is a success. We are looking for volunteers to help set up, staff and break down the fair. There is a sign up sheet attached to the packet that went home. Please leave the completed forms in the "Book Fair" box in the lobby.

Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Cindy Henry -
Shana Smythe -

Ward School Celtics Night - Save the Date
The Ward School night at the Celtics- Friday January 29th , 2016 at 7:30pm.

Flyers will be distributed to the child's classroom.  For more information please contact Diana Cohen at or Erin

Ward Art Committee Needs New Members!
The Art Committee needs your help.  Each May, we honor the arts at Ward with the annual Ward Art Show.  This event showcases the amazing art your children have worked hard to create.  
The time commitment is minimal.  We prepare all year long for this special celebration by stapling and framing artwork, but we can't do it without the help of parent volunteers like you. 
No Art Experience is necessary!

Particularly for parents of children in grades K-3 - the Ward Art Committee needs some fresh faces! Many of our volunteers' children will be graduating this year and we need to pass the baton to the younger grades in order to keep the Art Show alive.

Please contact Deb Gilpin at to find out how you can get involved.

Mrs. Packard Needs Your Help in the Library 
Parents, your help in Ward Library classes would make a big difference! Volunteers are needed to help with checking in books, shelving, finding requested books, research projects and making sure our new self-checkout system works smoothly. Library classes are only 30 minutes long and volunteers can really do a lot to help students be successful library users. 
Signup is easy: click on VolunteerSpot on the library website. 
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

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!

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.

Community News and Advertisements  
If you're looking for news about local educational and non-profit events, or services offered by local tutors, merchants, and other service providers, check out theCommunity Notes page maintained by the Newton PTO Council.  Click here to link to their website, which you can search by category.