ForWard - April 29th, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

April 29, 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
  • May 1 - Ward Serves Day, 9 am to 4 pm
  • May 4 - Garden Day.  Need volunteers - see below
  • May 5 - Walk/Bike to School and Crossing Guard Appreciation Day
  • May 5 - Early Release Day
  • May 6 - Last day for Lost & Found clean-out
  • May 12 - Ward Spring Party! 6 pm on the playground, details below
  • May 25 - Annual Spring Art Show.  Details coming soon!

Clothing Drive to Benefit Catie's Closet!
Clothing drive to benefit kids in need ages 4-18
April 25th thru April 29th

Catie's Closet builds "walk in closets" inside high need schools, for students in grades Pre-K through 12, so that kids have immediate access to what they need, free of charge. With this need met, students stop worrying about fitting in, and start focusing on school.  With your help, Catie's Closet can continue to grow and help kids across Massachusetts.

Please donate new and gently used clothing in:
Youth Girls and Boys Sizes 4-20
Teen Girls and Boys Sizes XS to XXL
T-Shirts, Hoodies, Pants, Gym Shorts, Shorts, Sweatpants, Jeans, Sweaters
New Socks and Underwear are also appreciated
Donation Boxes located in the lobby
MassChallenge's prestigious Diamond Award Winner for 2014

Sign Up for Ward Serves Day!
Sunday, May 1 from 9 am - 4 pm
Please bring your family and friends to help improve Ward during our annual Ward Serves Day!  We had a terrific turn out last year and would like to keep the momentum going -- all are welcome even if you can only serve for an hour!

This is a great and fun opportunity to do some community service together with your children and get to know other Ward families.

We need volunteers to help with:
  • painting the teacher's lounge and several offices
  • the Ward Garden
  • school landscaping, mulching and planting
  • spreading new woodchips around the playground
  • leaf raking
  • trash pick up around the school
  • and collecting and donating food for the Newton Food Pantries
This year we plan on replanting the garden bed in the front of school along with making the whole grounds look better. The Fifth Grade are also planting a butterfly and bee haven outside the library.  We'll need volunteers to bring rakes, gardening gloves and tools, shovels and a few wheel barrows for spreading woodchips around the playground.  Please mark your tools with your name so they won't get lost!

If your family would like to help paint, please wear old clothes.  Please let us know if you are willing to be a Paint Project Captain!

Please email Cheryl Abramson or Lisa Gilinksky with any questions!

Lost and Found Clean-Out

The Lost and Found is overflowing!!  Please come and collect all of your abandoned (mostly winter) clothes and other items.  After next Friday, May 6, all remaining items will be donated to Cradles to Crayons. 

Spring 3rd and 4th Grade Clay Show 
Where:  Ward School Library
When:  April 26 - May 6
Please stop by the library and see the amazing work done by your children under the guidance of our dedicated art teacher Amy Broder.

Ward Garden Day - May 4
Garden Day is next Wednesday, May 4.

All 16 classes at Ward will be planting some wonderful vegetable plants and learning about where food comes from. Each class has just 20 minutes in the garden so we appreciate any help from parents particularly with younger classes. Please ask your teacher what time your child's class is scheduled for and come along. 
If you are planning on participating in Newton Serves at Ward on May 1, don't forget to bring your garden gloves and tools to help out. Don't forget to label your tools! 
Looking forward to a fruitful Spring!
The Garden Team

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
The PTO is sponsoring a teacher appreciation luncheon on Thursday, May 5th to honor all of the Ward teachers and staff who have been so dedicated to our children this year.  The teachers and staff will be given small gifts at the luncheon. Thank you to all of the families who contributed throughout the year to our teacher appreciation events!

Walk/Bike to School and 
Crossing Guard Appreciation Day
Celebrate Spring with Ward's Walk/Bike to School & Crossing Guard Appreciation Day on Thursday, May 5th!  We'll have great giveaways for walkers & bikers and encourage you to personally thank the Ward Crossing Guards who work to keep your children safe each day! Our Ward Crossing Guards are: 
Christine Gentile- Waverly Ave @ Lorna Road
Anne Siegal- Ward Street @ Waverly Ave
Cheryl Amendola- Ward Street @ Hammond

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Becca Schulman Havemeyer at

April Update from CASC
April has been a very busy month for CASC at Ward.

On April 5th, the 5th graders enjoyed a visit from Wingmasters and are now experts on owls and their environments.

On April 7th, we were honored to bring Ruby Bridges to Ward to speak with our K-2 students and then the 3-5th grade.  Ruby shared her story in an age appropriate in meaningful way with all of Ward.  Our students left her program understanding how much was accomplished when the Southern schools were integrated.  Our older students were given a sense of empowerment and the understanding of civil rights in the United States.

On April 11th- the 1st grade enjoyed a visit from local children's author Emilie Boon.  They learned quite a lot about the writing process.

On April 26th- Honeybees and the Art of Beekeeping was presented by Birgit deWeerd to the Kindergarten.  They were so excited to learn about how honey is made and bees are kept!
On April 28th- Valerie Tutson- a storyteller with African and African American stories visited the 5th grade.
Additional programs are scheduled for May and June!
If you have any questions, please forward them to .

From the Nurse's Desk
Clean it out or lock it up! Prevent access to substances that could be abused!

Don't forget your medicine cabinet when it comes to spring cleaning this year. Getting rid of unused or expired medication helps prevent accidental overdose or misuse and abuse.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. More than half of people who misuse prescription drugs got them from a friend or relative with a prescription, or took them without asking. And about 80 percent of heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.
April school vacation week and then summer vacation often lead to more time alone in the home for kids. So once you've cleaned out the medicine cabinet, keep cleaning the rest of the home for other substances that could be abused. Inhalants such as gases, fuels, products with solvents and anything in an aerosol can (like air freshener or whipped cream) are often the first substance children try. Children in elementary school and up have been found using them.  Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance by teens, so if you choose to keep it in the home, keeping it secure is important.  
Prescription medication (pills only  - no sharps or liquids) can be disposed of at Newton Police Headquarters, 1321 Washington St., anytime, or as part of National Take-Back Day behind Police Headquarters on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Information provided as part of Newton PATH, Mayor Warren's multidisciplinary team committed to confronting the public health opioid epidemic. For more information and resources, visit 

Ward Spring Party for the Whole Family!

It's spring time at Ward School!  Bring the family and join the Ward School Community on Thursday, May 12th at 6:00 pm, outdoors at the playground and tennis courts. Complete with organized games, food and interactive DJ entertainment, this event is not to be missed.  Show off your basketball skills at the long shot challenge and compete with other families on a life size Jenga game, just to name a few.  What a great way to kick off the season! Dinner will be provided and RSVP's will be required so we can plan accordingly.

You can help!  Volunteers are needed to assist with setup, food stations, overseeing games and clean up.  

Please contact Laurie Ufland at

Additional information to follow in the coming weeks.

Understanding Our Differences - Volunteers Needed
The 5th grade is having their final Understanding Our Difference Unit on May 12, 2016 from 1-3 pm on Autism.  5th grade parent volunteers are needed and any volunteer parents in other grades are more then welcome to also volunteer.  It is a great way to see how a program goes for future UOD units in 5th grade.  Please contact Beth Newman if you can help out on May 12. or (617) 331-7108 

Annual Spring Art Show
Mark your calendar!  May 25th is the ANNUAL SPRING ART SHOW!
Watch for details soon.

High School Start Times - Working Group Survey
The Newton Public School District has formed a working group to explore pushing back the high school start times in future school years. A critical piece of this exploration is gathering feedback from families on the impact of potential changes, both positive and negative. 
You should have received an email with a link to the survey on Tuesday, April 12th, via SurveyMonkey with email address: 

. Please complete this survey to provide the district with information about your family related to high school start times. If you did not receive the survey, please send a message to the email address above and request a link.  For additional information, please visit:

New items have been posted on the High School Start Time web page including:
1) April 2016 School Committee presentation about the revised timeline
2) Additional data from the student survey
3) Timeline for the rest of the year, including a Community Status Update on May 23, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
4) Some additional links to health and wellness information
Please visit the web page for more information.  (You can also click through right from the district's main web page!)

Upcoming School Committee Meetings 

The School Committee will meet on May 9 and 23, at 7 pm.  All meetings take place at the Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Newtonville.  An agenda for the upcoming meetings is available here.

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6
Time for Honor Thy Teacher
May 2-6 is Teacher Appreciation Week! What better time to recognize your child's teacher(s), classroom aides, specialists, and school staff through Newton Schools Foundation's Honor Thy Teacher Program.
Honor Thy Teacher is a great way to say "Thank You" to the wonderful men and women who motivate, educate and inspire our kids to be the best they can be.When you recognize teachers and staff through Honor Thy Teacher, you'll also be supporting the Newton Public Schools.
NSF celebrates teachers and staff by:
  • Notifying honorees of your gift
  • Sharing honoree names with the Superintendent and Principals
  • Listing all honored teachers and staff in a full-page display in the Newton TAB
Suggested donation is $25 per teacher/staff member, which will help NSF fund innovative and creative programs throughout Newton's schools. You can donate on line by visiting the NSF web site or by check made out to "Newton Schools Foundation", P.O Box 590020, Newton, MA 02459. Be sure to include the name(s) and school(s) of those you wish to honor. Elementary school parents may complete the flyer that went home in your child's backpack.
Questions? Call 617-559-6120 or email
Tell Newton's teachers, "We appreciate you!"

Please Donate to the Annual Fund
Dear Ward Families,

If you haven't yet donated to the Annual Fund, we still need your contribution.
In addition to funding classroom technology, such as ipads and computers not paid for by the Newton School Department, your donation funds wonderful Creative Arts and Science programs and much more.  Click here to view the full PTO budget if you'd like to see exactly what your contribution pays for. 
Contributions are tax-deductible.
Warm Regards,
Linda Gillespie (
Diana Cohen (

Make 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. 

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 the Community Notes page maintained by the Newton PTO Council.  Click here to link to their website, which you can search by category.