ForWard - November 20th, 2015

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

November 20, 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 21 - Kindergarten Potluck Dinner
  • November 21 - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Waban Hill Reservoir Park (Ward St & Manet Rd), from 11 am - noon
  • November 25 - School closes at noon - Thanksgiving Recess
  • November 26-27 - No School for Thanksgiving Recess
  • November 30-December 4 - Ward Book Fair
  • December 3 - Early Release Thursday
  • December 4 - 8:30 a.m., PTO Meeting

From the Principal's Desk
This has been my first full week back at Ward.  Thank you all for giving me such a warm welcome.  Special thanks go to Eva Thompson for being an amazing Interim Principal.  The school year got off to a smooth start thanks to her leadership and our incredible staff.  I'm thrilled to be back and am quickly catching up on all the happenings of the past months.

We are all deeply disturbed by the recent acts of terrorism.  I know that families have different views as to whether they want their child exposed to this information. Expert opinions vary as well.  In talking with our staff, we believe that this discusssion should not take place at school in the younger grades.  Teachers in grade five begin to incorporate current events into their curriclum using age appropriate information from CNN Student News.

Whether or not you choose to have discussions with your child is a family decision. Please realize that our community is divided on having such conversations with their children. Most parents of young children do not want them exposed to discussions pertaining to acts of war or terrorism.  When we overhear these discussions amongst children, teachers often find that information is misunderstood.  When this happens, teachers will do their best to clarify basic concrete information to children and inform parents of any such conversations.

On Tuesday our entire school was treated to our annual fifth grade circus.  Working in small cooperative groups, our fifth graders used skills they have developed through our physical education curriculum mixed with their creativity and talent to create their own acts.  Jugglers, acrobats, clowns, and ribbon dancers were among the acts presented.  We are grateful to Ms. Belcher for delighting our audience with another wonderful circus.

If your child is currently in grades 4 or 5 and took the PARCC exam last spring, you should be receiving scores in early December.  They will be mailed to your home from our central office.  At our next PTO meeting on December 4, I will be talking about our performance on the most recent PARCC and answering your questions about the test.

If you wish to send invitations for your child's birthday, family information is printed in the directory so that invitations can be mailed or emailed home -- birthday party invitations should not be handed out at school.  Thank you for your cooperation.
Audrey Parad Peller

Grand Opening Celebration of a Brand New Park - 
Close to Ward!
Bounce Houses & Face Painting!
This Saturday, Nov 21, 11:00 am

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 just a few blocks from the Ward School and the ceremony will be held at the corner of Reservoir Drive & Woodlawn Drive.  Festivities start at 11:00 am on November 21.  Family fun following the ribbon cutting including face painting, bounce house and bounce slide.  There will also be a food pantry collection--please bring a non-perishable food item to support the Newton food pantries.

Food Drive for the Centre Street Food Pantry 
Was a Big Success!
We had over 50% of Ward families participating and brought four full carloads of food over to the Centre Street Food Pantry!  A big thank you to Maritza Jones and Ruth Somers for coordinating. 
The Centre Street Food Pantry is in need of volunteers on Tuesday afternoons and on the first Saturday of every month.  Kids are welcome to come help as well.  It's a great way to volunteer as a family.  Please email them in advance if you would like to volunteer at:  You can also follow them on Facebook where they post their food and volunteer needs as they come up.  Please keep the food pantry in mind throughout the year:  11 Homer St. Newton Centre, 617 340 9554.

Lost and Found
Please check the lost and found for any of your children's missing coats or clothes.  The lost and found rack will be moved to near the library during the book fair to make it easier for you.  Following the book fair (around December 4) all items left in the lost and found will be donated to a local charity.

Annual Fund Drive
We are kicking off our Annual Fund Drive which funds the majority of our budget each year including:
  • Creative Arts and Sciences programs and speakers
  • Community events
  • Classroom supplies 
  • Library support 
  • The Ward garden
  • Classroom technology including laptops and ipads.
Historically, the PTO has funded nearly all of the laptops and iPads used in Ward classrooms. Each year we continue to update and replace older hardware and fund any new technology requested by Principal Peller.  
Without the financial support and time contributed by Ward families, none of these activities would be possible.

Please contribute either online at the PTO website  (via credit card).  Or by dropping a check in the box in the Ward lobby--made out to Ward PTO.  
Contributions are tax-deductible.  

Questions? Please contact:
Diana Cohen ( or Linda Gillespie (

Book Fair Is Coming Soon!
Ward's annual Scholastic book fair is coming -- November 30th to December 3rd -- Mark your Calendars!

Proceeds from this event will be used to purchase books for the library and classrooms as well as fund programs for the PTO.

We are still looking for volunteers to help staff during set up on Monday morning, November 30th, break down on Thursday, December 3rd, AND during children's classroom times. Please complete a volunteer form and leave in the box in the library or send us a quick email.

Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Cindy Henry -
Shana Smythe -

Upcoming School Committee Meeting
The next School Committee meeting is next Monday, November 23, at 7 pm at The Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Newtonville.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Heads Up from the Safe Routes Task Force!
The Mayor's Transportation Advisory Group and Dept. of Public Works are testing a new way to get citizen input on streets scheduled to be redone in the near future.  The meeting will look to get input from all road users and do it in time to enable citizen input to be better included in the final design.  Now is the time to let your voice be heard for safer streets for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists, young and old. 
The meeting is Thursday, December 3 at 7 pm in the City Hall Cafeteria.
The following streets IN THE WARD SCHOOL DISTRICT are scheduled to be redone in 2016 and will be reviewed: 
  • Hammond Street from Commonwealth to Ward 
  • Braeland Avenue (initial look as this is not scheduled to be redone until 2017) 
Other streets outside the Ward district will also be reviewed:
  • Lowell Ave from Washington north to Walnut
  • Crafts Street
The meeting will include breaking into tables to discuss the problems you now face on these stretches. Residents and aldermen will also be included.  Feedback will be summarized and shared relative to each of these roads.
If you are not able to attend, please pass along any feedback on these streets to Alicia Bowman at before December 3. 

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners 
The Kindergarten dinner is this Saturday, November 21.  
Save the date for these other dinners:
5th Grade - January 9, 2016
3rd Grade - January 23, 2016
1st grade -  January 30, 2016  
We'll have dates soon for the 2nd and 4th grade dinners. 

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

November is National Diabetes Month
Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes. Knowledge of the warning signs and early detection is an important weapon against the disease and its complications.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes:
These symptoms can occur suddenly and must receive immediate medical attention.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination, sometimes exhibited by bedwetting (in large quantities)
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Sweet, fruity odor on breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue (weak and tired)
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Confusion, Stupor, Unconsciousness
Type 2 Diabetes:
These symptoms occur gradually and must receive immediate medical attention.
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs, feet or fingers
  • Darker patches of skin usually in neck folds
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow healing sores or frequent infections
  • Any of the symptoms listed under Type 1 diabetes
Many of these symptoms can be related to illnesses that are not associated with diabetes. This should be discussed with a health care provider.
For more information, talk to your school nurse or visit:

Responsive Home Workshop
Practical strategies to promote positive behavior at home.

The tools of Responsive Classroom can be used to help create a calm, supporting and encouraging environment at home too!  Open to the Public - No Registration Required!  Workshops will be held on:
  • Thursday, December 3 - 9-11 am
  • Thursday, January 21, 6:30-8:30 pm
  • Tuesday, February 9, 9-11 am
All sessions take place in Room 210, The Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Newtonville.

Join us to learn useful steps for creating a Responsive Home, including: 
  • Family Meeting
  • House Rules
  • Interactive Modeling
  • Positive Language
  • Logical Consequences
  • Choice
  • Quiet Time
The workshop will be taught by Amy Kelly, District Leader of Social and Emotional Learning, Newton Public Schools.

For more information, please contact Kathy Marchi, SEL Department, or 617-559-6139.

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!

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.