ForWard - May 27th, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

May 27, 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
  • June 7 - 9 am to noon - Color Day 
  • June 7 - PTO End of the Year Party
  • June 17 - Ward Night at the Red Sox
  • June 23 -  Last Day of School - SCHOOL ENDS AT NOON

From the Principal's Desk
Dear Ward Families,
The spring is flying by!! As I visit classrooms, it is evident that students are actively engaged in learning throughout their day across all curricular areas. I have seen a variety of whole group, small group and partner work for math, social studies, reading groups and more. In writing, it is particularly clear how much growth students have made. The end of the year brings many opportunities to celebrate for information from teachers about any experiences planned for sharing and celebrating learning.
Mrs. Peller - An Update
We welcome back Mrs. Peller, who plans to return part-time starting next week. I will continue to be present during the mornings and Mrs. Peller in the afternoons. I look forward to continuing my time at Ward!
Placement for next year: The teachers, Mrs. Peller, and I are in the process of organizing class placements for next year. This is a very thoughtful, time-consuming process that takes several sessions. As you know, we include any information you, as parents, provide to us as well as all the information we have as educators about your child's academic, social, and emotional needs so that we create balanced classes for next year. As in past years across all Newton schools, parents will receive class lists in later August - we may have the date later in the year.
Teacher Assignments, Classroom Organizations:
In a June ForWard, Mrs. Peller or I will be able to share the number of classrooms and teacher assignments for next year as well as any other staffing updates. Enrollment numbers continue to change at some grade levels here and across the district, so we are all in a "wait-and-see" mode regarding enrollment numbers and their impact on the numbers of classrooms at grade levels.
Recess and Playground Update:
At Ward and all elementary schools across the district, we are committed to providing students as much time for physical activity as possible. As we all know, students need the time for fresh air, unstructured play, and social interactions. This "downtime" and opportunity to play has been shown to have positive effects on attention and readiness for academic focus and work. Teachers can readily attest to the positive effects of physical activity which is also well-supported by the research.
To that end, a morning snack and recess time is provided, typically 25-30 minutes; kindergarten is often longer at 40 minutes. Lunch and midday recess is approximately 35 minutes: 20 minutes for lunch, 15 minutes for recess. While transitioning time back and forth to play areas may vary for a variety of reasons, teachers try to maximize time outside. Newton has guidelines for time devoted to recess, snack, and lunch which our teachers keep in mind as they make decisions for their classes. They also take advantage of the good weather days and may extend recess a bit.
In the classroom setting, one can often see teachers lead students in movement breaks as they transition from one lesson to another or after sitting for chunks of time. This can look like running in place, stretching, loosening up, or shaking out one's limbs, as examples. Even these brief movement breaks often help students refocus. If you have any questions on this topic, please let me know.
As an aside, I am aware that Mrs. Peller and the School Council have begun in the process of revising the school handbook to reflect current practices such as this.
Upcoming Events:
Art Show - Wednesday, May 25
Many thanks go to Mrs. Broder for orchestrating this showcasing of student art. Talent abounds among our students; they take such pride in displaying their artwork for all to see. Thanks also to the many parents who helped prepare for this wonderful display.
Grade 5 Musical - Monday, June 6, 9:00 AM and 7:00PM
This exciting annual event led by Ms. Rapa, Music Teacher, is a fun-filled musical revue showcasing the musical talents of our fifth graders. The morning concert is for students only with the evening event for parents. Our space is constrained so we ask that parents enjoy this revue in the evening.
Color Day - Tuesday, June 7
This is a highlight of the year for many students. Under the direction of Sis Belcher, PEHW Teacher, students have fun in a day-long experience of playing cooperative games out on the field. Many parent volunteers make this day come to life by leading stations and helping out in other ways.
Progress Reports Go Live on the parent portal - Skyward-family access - June 21
This year there is a new online parent portal where you will go to read your child's progress report. The Technology Department for the Newton Public Schools will be sending you information about this site. They will provide you with parent access information, a video for using the online site, and more. They will make this information available by June 13 so you have time to play with the site including your password to get into your account to revise any contact information, and more. Progress reports will be made available to elementary families on June 21 through this parent portal. Paper copies will not be sent home unless you request one from our Office if you do not have access to your online account. So, watch for more information.
Last Day of Afterschool - Wednesday, June 22
Last Day of School - Students - Thursday, June 23, Early Release at NOON.
Last Day of School - Teachers - Friday, June 24, at noon.
Warm wishes,
Eva Thompson

Library Volunteers Needed!
Ms. Packard kindly requests parent volunteers to help in the library on either Friday June 3rd or Friday June 10th. Help is needed to put books in order. After a busy year in the library, our kids have enjoyed many books, and sometimes they don't always wind up in the right spot! The library needs as much help as it can get to put books back in their place. Please consider volunteering on either one (or both!) of these days. The more parent volunteers, the faster we can make the library ready for our kids in the fall! Please email Elie Bosco at with the dates you are available.

Now Accepting Parent Volunteers for Color Day!
Tuesday, June 7 - 9 am to noon
If you're interested, please email Dawn Davis at to reserve your spot to participate this year's Color Day.
One of the most treasured school traditions at Ward! Your children look forward to this fabulous day all year --  a  celebration of sports, good natured competition, and the end of the school year!  So, be an important part of your child's memory of their Color Day by being a part of the fun on Tuesday, June 7th.  Due to the popularity of this event, PRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO THOSE MOMS OR DADS WHO CAN VOLUNTEER FOR THE WHOLE MORNING. Please send requests to participate with your availability to
Feel free to bring along your camera! This is going to be the best one yet!!

Thanks to All the Art Show Volunteers
Thank you to all who truly helped our Ward School artists shine in this year's Art Show, especially our wonderful art teacher Amy Broder and this year's coordinator Deb Gilpin!

PTO - Planning for Next Year & End of the Year Party
On June 7, please stop by 76 Cotton Street at the home of Diana Cohen:

6 pm-7 pm -  Volunteers for next year.  We are hoping to bring together all of the volunteers for next year to answer any questions and talk a bit more about the timeline for next year's activities. 

7 pm-10 pm -  End of the year party for all of the volunteers that have made this past year a success -  with a big thank you to Linda Gillespie for all of her hard work and dedication .   
Please contact Diana Cohen with any questions.

Ward Night at the Red Sox - June 17
Tickets sales through the Ward School PTO have ended.  Diana Cohen will be in touch with you to distribute any tickets that have already been reserved.  If you are interested in attending and have not purchased tickets, please feel free to call the box office to inquire if there are any available tickets. 

Upcoming School Committee Meeting 

The School Committee will meet on Monday, June 6 and 20, 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 Time Working Group 
The Working Group will make its end of the year presentation at the School Committee meeting on June 20. 

We look forward to your attendance and ask you to encourage others to attend as well. For additional information, please visit the high school start time section of the NPS website at:

A Message from Newton PAC
Every year, the Newton Parent Advisory Council for Special Education (NewtonPAC) honors educators who have done exceptional work with children with special needs at the Special Educator Awards.  Parents, guardians or students nominate the awards, and everyone who is nominated receives an award.  This year will be our 7th awards presentation on June 13, in the cafeteria at Newton North.
The NewtonPAC recognizes that because the awards are parent-nominated, there will always be wonderful educators who do not receive an award in any given year.  We work very hard to get the word out about the awards to as many parents of kids with special needs as possible.
Thank you so much for your support. All the best, Eileen Sandberg, Chairperson, NewtonPAC.  For questions, contact

Honor Thy Teacher
It's that time of year! If you want to do something special for your child's teacher or other staff this year, consider the Newton Schools Foundation's Honor Thy Teacher program. Make a $25 donation (or any amount) to the foundation in the teacher's name. Teachers, as well as their Principal and the Superintendent, will be notified of this honor, and their names will appear in a special notification in the Newton TAB.  Look for a flyer in your child's backpack soon. Or go to to donate online. Donations are tax-deductible and go toward enhancing the quality of education throughout Newton's schools, including a summer writing institute for elementary school teachers and a music enrichment program. Read more about all of NSF's projects on our website!

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.