ForWard - September 29th, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

September 29, 2016 

Dear Ward Parents,

Welcome to the latest edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD for the 2016-2017 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
  • Tomorrow - PTO Meeting - September 30, 8:30 am
  • Forms due to participate in Flu Clinic - September 30
  • Walk/Bike to School Morning - October 4
  • Flu Clinic - October 5
  • Mystery Dinners - October 15, 6 pm 
  • Kindergarten Potluck Dinner - October 22
  • Pizza Night - October 25

PTO Meeting - Tomorrow Morning!
Please join us for the first PTO meeting of the year on Friday, September 30 (TOMORROW!) at 8:30am in the After School room downstairs at Ward.

We will meet for 45 minutes to kickoff the school year, discuss upcoming events, and solicit feedback for the PTO.  Joining us at this meeting will be Ellen Gibson, Newton School Committee member (Ward 1), who will be with us to discuss the High School start time changes under consideration.  Ellen will discuss the impact on elementary and middle school parents under the potential changes to start times, and is joining us to hear the Ward School parent feedback on the potential scenarios under consideration.

Please come one, come all and join us Friday morning.  We look forward to seeing you!

From the Principal's Desk
On Tuesday, we had our first school-wide community meeting.  Our focus this month is on appropriate hallway behavior.  After a brief gathering in the gym, students met in small groups with their multigrade school families. Each family had a morning meeting to get to know one another as well as to discuss what appropriate hallway behavior looks like and why we have these rules in our school. Overall, students seem to enjoy the family structure and interactions with a diverse peer group.

On our Early Thursday Release Day, our staff was joined by staff from the Franklin School for a Responsive Classroom workshop.  Amy Kelly, District Coordinator for Social/Emotional Learning, led the workshop along with teachers from our Responsive Classroom Leadership Team.  Our focus was looking at logical consequences to address inappropriate behavior.  For our new staff, we also offered training on positive teacher language to both redirect and remind students.

Within the next two weeks, PARCC results will be mailed home for students currently in grades 4 and 5 who took the test last spring.

Please do not allow your child to bring trading cards to school.  They are easily "lost" and can be the source of hard feelings.
Thank you!

Audrey Parad Peller

From the Nurse's Office
This is a reminder that the Ward flu clinic will be next week.

Only the flu shot will be available this year. The nasal spray flu vaccine, FluMist, will NOT be offered this year due to updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Forms are due to the school nurse no later than September 30th.
The Ward School flu clinic will be held on October 5th.

To sign your child up, please return both the Consent/ Screening Form and the Student Vaccine Administration Record/ Insurance Information Form to the school nurse by September 30th. To download the forms, please visit or you may pick them up in the health room.

If you have questions, please contact the school nurse, Valerie Carroll, RN at 617-559-6453. Forms may also be FAXed to 617-552-5563.

Safe Routes to School 
Please join us for our first monthly Walk/Bike to School Day on Tuesday October 4th! We'll also be celebrating International Walk/Bike to School week, so we hope you all can join in on the celebration. 

For families who regularly drive, we're asking you to consider dropping off at the corner of Mandalay and Dolphin so students can join in the fun and walk down Dolphin to school.  

If you have any questions, or want to help greet our student walkers and bikers on Tuesday AM, contact Becca:

Reminder about Live Parking Zone Rules
The Live Parking Zone is the area on Dolphin Rd. before you get to the bus zone. This zone is used to park a car to drop of a child ONLY WHEN the driver or operator is staying with the car.  It is to be used for parents who want to stay in their cars to watch their children walk into the school - but the driver must stay in or near their car the entire time.  Please do not park here and leave your car to walk your child in to school.  If that is what you want to do, you will need to find another area in which to park.  

Searching for Hosts for Ward's Mystery Dinner

Saturday, October 15 at 6 pm
We will be outside of school both before and after drop off on Tuesday morning October 4th collecting RSVP for the mystery dinner. Come sign up!!!
Will you host a small dinner party (8-10 people) or the dessert party?
Help support one of the best nights out for school parents while supporting our children's enrichment programs.
Contact Beth Hicks ( or 857-231-6892) or Alexis Giannakopoulos ( or 781-492-4500).
Invitations will be sent home in late September for the fun-filled evening that includes:
6:00 pm - Appetizers together
8:00 pm - Small groups for mystery dinners
10:00 pm - Dessert together
Here is your first clue for a fun night - get your babysitter now!

Pizza Night at Bertucci's
Please hold the date of October 25 for a school-wide pizza night. Bertuccis in Newton Corner will donate 15% of your bill to the PTO. Please bring your family and friends for a great night out. Bertuccis is located at 275 Centre Street.

This event is all day! We are encouraging Ward families to come for dinner between 5:30 and 7:30 so that we can all be together for a fun night!

We will also have a few raffle items there so get ready for some extra fun! 

Please contact Lisa Schwarzberg with any questions at

Grade-Wide Potluck Dinners - Hosts Needed!

Every year, the PTO organizes  grade-wide potluck 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 guests do the rest.  Your home should be big enough for about 50 adults to stand (this is not a formal sit-down affair - it's much more casual).  You choose the night, and we'll check it against the master calendar. 

If you would be willing to host a dinner for your child's grade, please email Kathy Shields, at  We are still looking for hosts for the second grade, third grade and fourth grade dinners.

The kindergarten dinner will take place on Saturday, October 22.  Mark you calendars and book the babysitters!  Invitations will be sent soon!

Ward Annual Fund 
We're kicking off our SHORT & SWEET Ward PTO Annual Fund effort in October! Please look out for info in your mailboxes and inboxes in the coming days! 

School Start Times Working Group 
For the last year, the School Committee has formed a working group to see if moving the high school start time later is feasible.  They have proposed a number of scenarios, and will be holding a public forum on the evening of October 19th. The name High School Start Time Working Group doesn't fully describe the group's work, as a change in start time for the high schools may result in a change of start time for both elementary and middle schools.  For more information, please visit the Working Group's website at
Also, agendas for upcoming School Committee meetings may be found hereUpcoming meetings will be held on October 5 and October 24 at 7 pm at the Education Center on Walnut St. in Newtonville.

Newton's One to One Program
Newton's One-to-One Program, our very own "Big Brother/Sister Program" has been matching wonderful high schoolers with children in grades one through five for over 30 years.

If you think your elementary aged child would benefit from a mentor in their life and you can you commit 2.5 hours each week to have your child meet with a high school mentor from November to May - you should contact us.

To get more information, please contact Rebecca Young, Program Coordinator, at  or 617-315-8733.

Calling Website Design Pros! 
Do you have experience in Web design?  The PTO is looking for someone to volunteer to redesign the PTO's website.  Your assistance would be a wonderful service to current and future Ward families.  Please contact Diana Cohen ( or Lisa Schwartzberg ( if you would be willing to undertake, or help with, this project.

Save Money, Save Energy and Support Ward's PTO
Newton Energy Savers (NE$) is a City and Green Newton initiative that helps to connect families to Mass Save Home Energy Assessments.  No cost assessments help to identify where homes are losing energy, check the health and safety of home heating systems, and offers instant savings measures, including free energy-saving light bulbs.

The approved Mass Save-certified contractor provides an opportunity to receive insulation and weatherization improvements that are subsidized by the utility at 75% off up to $2,000, and there is no-cost (up to 12 hours) for air sealing drafty spaces. The assessment is no-cost to homeowners, because of a small fee in each of our utility bills.

A contribution to the Ward PTO will be made by Green Newton for each completed assessment, so please call 781-436-2639 (mention Ward PTO) or visit if you have not had a Mass Save Home Energy Assessment within the past two years.

MGH Study-Coping Options for Positive Emotion (COPE)
The Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital is seeking volunteers to participate in a study on treatment for childhood depression called COPE. COPE is a therapy research study for children with depression that is funded by the National Institutes of Health.  The therapy is an evidence-based treatment that focuses on the provision of coping skills.  The therapy is provided at no cost and compensation is provided for interviews and parking.  If you are interested in more information, please visit the Massachusetts General Hospital website ( or contact Dikla Eckshtain, PhD, at 617-643-7821

Meet the Author at UOD Family Book Event Oct. 18

Join Understanding Our Differences for our exciting "Meet the Author" Family Book Event on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 7:00 p.m., at Newton South High School Auditorium.  Our guest will be Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, who will talk about and sign her award-winning middle grade novel, The War That Saved My Life.  The book is a story of triumph against all odds by a girl with a physical disability, set during World War II.Online registration for this author conversation and book signing is required and is now open at: 

Admission is free for children and NPS teachers and staff.  Requested donation is $10 at the door for adults. Program is 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Book signing follows. Books will be available for purchase at the event. 

For more information, contact us at

Newton Child Assault Prevention Program (CAP)
Seeking Volunteers
19 Continuing Education Credits available for licensed MSW's.
Multi-session training begins on Oct. 15
Application deadline is Oct. 7
Do you believe that all children have the right to be "Safe, Strong and Free?"  Join our dynamic task force of trained volunteer CAP Prevention Specialists committed to teaching children in the Newton Elementary Schools the skills that they would need to stand up for themselves if faced with verbal, physical or sexual assault. We are now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year.  CORI and SORI screenings required.  For more information please visit our website at  or email Gail Sommer at

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.