ForWard - February 12th, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

February 12, 2016 

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
  • February 15-19 - No School for Vacation Week
  • February 27 - 3rd Grade Parents Potluck Dinner
  • March 4 - PTO Meeting
  • March 5 - 2nd Grade Parents Potluck Dinner
  • March 10 - 12:30 pm, Early Release Thursday

Online Camp Auction - Ends at 5 pm TODAY!
The Ward Online Auction ends today at 5 pm.  Click here to view all items!
Your child could be Principal for a Day!  Click here to bid on this item generously donated by Mrs. Peller, and your child could rule the school on Color Day!
In addition, we are also auctioning off the front and back covers of the Ward Directory, where your child's artwork could appear next fall.
Other items include Fessenden Camp, Chestnut Hill Camp, B.C. Camp, Babson Sports Camps, YMCA Camp, and Beaver Family Swim Club.  Bid and you might be able to get one of these camp sessions at a big discount!  All proceeds go to the Ward PTO operating budget to fund technology, creative arts and sciences programming and more!
If you bid on any items, you'll be automatically entered to WIN two Celtics tickets.
Bidding ends TODAY at 5 pm.  Bidding is open to the public.  Once notified, winners may pay by credit card or check.

Please email with any questions.

From the Principal's Desk
I want to share with you a recent communication regarding progress reports  from my colleague Mark Chitty, Principal of the Peirce School.  Mr. Chitty served on the committee which designed our current reporting system.  I hope this helps to clarify the structure and intent of this report.
 In this season of mid-year progress reports, we are all taking a close look at how children are performing relative to our grade-level benchmarks. Parents have reviewed reports indicating that children have either reached benchmarks ("3") or are working toward them ("2" or "1") with varying amounts of growth needed. In some cases, a "4" may indicate that a student is performing significantly beyond grade-level expectations.
As we use Newton's benchmarks (indicated by "3" on the progress report) to make our instructional decisions, I am occasionally asked by parents why we do not focus on "4" as the standard for all students. This is a very good question and is often driven by our shared desire to see all students in a competitive position in the long term for future educational opportunities. I frequently answer this question by saying that we focus on instruction and assessment on our benchmarks because, as a school district, we have started with the end in mind and set high standards for where we want our high school graduates to be in terms of their skills and knowledge. Teams of teachers, administrators, and curriculum coordinators started with the High School expectations and dialed back to determine expectations for each grade level at the Middle and Elementary levels, all the way to Kindergarten. This setting of benchmarks is done in alignment with the Massachusetts Common Core Standards, and our state is consistently a strong performer on national measures such as NAEP and SAT. Due to the extensive time, energy, and reflection invested in this curriculum process at both the state and district levels, we operate with the belief that our grade-level benchmarks are exactly where students need to be at each stage in order to move forward with confidence, and ultimately leave high school with a very strong preparation for college and career.
While individual students may demonstrate proficiency significantly beyond expectations in the specific areas of Math, Music, Reading, and Writing and receive a "4," we invite families to join us in celebrating the accomplishment of reaching the very high standard set by our state and district as indicated by "3" and supporting students who have not yet reached this benchmark. Students who reach each grade-level's benchmarks are strongly prepared for the next grade level, and our Fifth Grade benchmarks indicate strong preparation for Middle School.
Upcoming events:
Please spread the word.
Our annual Kindergarten Information Night will be held on March 1 from 7 to 8 PM in the Library.
Math Morning will take place on April 11.
Audrey Parad Peller

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners 
Save the date for these upcoming dinners:
3rd Grade - February 27
2nd Grade - March 5

Teacher Raffle
The TEACHER RAFFLE is coming to Ward School very soon! Once again, Ward School teachers and staff are donating their time and creativity with unique activities for our children. All funds raised help the Ward School PTO support ongoing programs such as Creative Arts and Sciences, purchase new equipment and supplies for the classrooms and library, and much more! Details about ticket forms and the Teacher Prize List will be shared later this month when this exciting fundraiser launches. Questions? Please contact Stephanie

Upcoming School Committee Meetings 

The School Committee will meet on  February 25 at 6 pm, and March 14, 17 and 28 at 7 pm.  All meetings take place at the Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Newtonville.  An agenda for the upcoming meetings is available here.

High School Start Times is an independent group of Newton parents, co-founded by Ward parents Jeff Pontiff and Heidi Gardner, who are concerned about high school start times. All Newton parents are encouraged to join their email list and keep abreast of high school start time developments. 
Please contact Jeff Pontiff with any question at:

Special Offer for Ward Families - Harlem Globetrotters 

Following up on the success of Ward Night at the Celtics, the PTO has obtained this special offer to see the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters, as the team celebrates its 90th anniversary world tour.
A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry, and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages.
Discount tickets are available for select seating options.  Pricing ranges from $19-$166 per seat.
Saturday, March 12, 2016 7:30pm
Sunday, March 13, 2016 1:00pm
To order online, please click on the following link. Your promo code is 16GLOBETROTTERS296.  More information is available on the PTO websitehere
To order over the phone, please contact Alexandra Bottone  with the TD Garden at 617-624-1822 or  Please mention this offer and leave a daytime phone number.

Save the Date for Pizza Day

There will be a special Ward School Pizza Day at Bertucci's in Newton Corner onApril 5th from 11:00am to 10:00pm.
On that day, Bertuccci's will donate 15% of all spending to Ward School. More details will follow soon.
If you have any questions about this event, please contact Lisa Schwarzberg at

Save the Date for a Spring Community Event

There will be a special Ward School event on the evening of May 12.

We need volunteers to help plan and execute this special event.  If you would like to be a part of the event committee, please contact Laurie Ufland

Please Donate to the Annual Fund
Dear Ward Families,

If you haven't yet donated to the Annual Fund, we still need your contribution to purchase 10 new laptops to replace aging ones in the upstairs cart.  These laptops are estimated to cost $10,000.  This is in addition to other technology items identified by Principal Peller as items the Ward PTO can purchase for Ward School this spring and it supplements technology that NPS is earmarking for Ward.

Please donate today so that we can buy these laptops and get them into service this school year.  Don't wait to the end of the year!
A VERY BIG THANK YOU to all those Ward families who have already made their Annual Fund contribution for this school year.


Contributions are tax-deductible.  

DONATE ONLINE TODAY.  Or drop your check in the box in the lobby made out to "Ward PTO."  
Please help us to hit our goal by donating today so that we can stop sending these Annual Fund solicitation messages.

Warm Regards,
Linda Gillespie (

Newton Creative Arts and Sciences
APRIL 8, 2016
Newton's Creative Arts & Sciences presents an evening with this year's Concert Series performer, Crocodile River Music. Come celebrate the global music experience that students enjoyed this fall. Crocodile River Music brings the music of Mali, Brazil, Spain and Trinidad, and the instruments and dances that celebrate these cultures to Newton. Join musicians from Bamako, Mali and Boston, Massachusetts for an evening of world class entertainment in your own backyard. Complimentary wine, beer, and light fare round out what is certain to be a fabulous event for a 21+ audience.
Tickets are $35/person and go on sale February 22.
Contact Stacey Moriarty with questions:

When:   April 8, 2016, 7 to 10 PM
Where:  Newton South High School, 140 Brandeis Rd., Newton Centre, 02459

No one under 21 will be admitted.

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.