ForWard - October 21st, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

October 21, 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
  • Kindergarten Potluck Dinner - October 22
  • Pizza Night at Bertucci's - October 25
  • School Lunch Tasting for Parents - October 27, 8:30 am 
  • Halloween Hoot - October 31 at 8:45 am in the gym
  • Walk/Bike to School Day - November 1
  • 5th Grade Teacher Appreciation Breakfast - November 3
  • 2nd Grade Parents Potluck Dinner - November 5
  • Tanglewood Marionettes CASC presentation - November 7, 8:45 am

Mystery Dinner Thank You
Thank you to all the adults that attended Mystery Dinner and made it such a huge success!  A special thank you to Beth Hicks and Alexia Giannakopoulos for arranging the entire evening - you did such a great job!  We also want to send a huge thank you to Dave Grossman and Mary Jo Sisk for hosting the appetizers, and to Bill and Beth Hicks for hosting the dessert.  We also want to thank the families that graciously held dinners in their homes: 
Erin & Bill Kenneally and Andrea & Jeffrey Burger
Cheryl & Christoffer Abramson
Allison & Balaji Gandhi
Raquel & Herlen Alencar
Rachel & Ron Blankstein
Maayan & Rami Arbili
Diana & Toli Shabashov and Andrea & Greg Youman
Kevin Oxendine & Katherine Marcot 
Cindy Henry &  Shana Smythe
Lubov & Robin Greenwood
Charlie & Alexis Giannakopoulos
Becca Schulman Havemeyer & Will Havemeyer and Josh & Caroline Beer.
The Mystery Dinner is a great tradition kept alive by everyone's involvement, and thanks for making this a great Ward community night.  

Ward Directory Thank You
We want to send a huge thank-you to Linda Gillespie for her enormous efforts in putting together our school directory for this year.  She solicited advertisements from local businesses and worked for weeks compiling the family listings and school information. 

Pizza Night at Bertucci's
Please join us on Tuesday, October 25th for a school-wide pizza night. Bertucci's in Newton Corner will donate 15% of your bill to the PTO. Please bring your family and friends for a great night out. Bertucci's is located at 275 Centre Street.
This event is all day! The only thing you need to do is tell them you are with the Ward School.  You can eat in, order for delivery, or take out - as long as you tell them, it will benefit the Ward School.
We are encouraging Ward families to come for dinner between 5:30pm and 7:30pm so that we can all be together for a fun night!
We will have a fun raffle including: 1) Ride to school from Ms. Lieberman plus delivery of her famous chocolate chip cookies, and 2) Ice cream date with Ms. Pqrgoli. Raffle tickets will be $10 each and 6 for $50.
Please contact Lisa Schwarzberg with any questions at 917-327-6132 or

School Lunch Tasting for Parents
On October 27 at 8:30, chefs and other representatives of our school's new lunch vendor will be present in the Ward Cafeteria.  They will have samples of some of their menu items available for tasting and would be happy to take your feedback on those items, and your general comments about the school lunch menu.  Please join us if you would like to join in that conversation.

Please contact Diana Cohen with any questions at

Ward School Directory - Printed Version, Online Access and Mobile App
Printed Version: You should have receive your printed copy of the Ward Directory this week in your child's take home folder.  Note, Kindergarteners will receive their copy in their take home folder today (Friday).

Online Version: Access the online version by going to:  Login with the email address you have listed in the Directory.  You will be able to re-set your password by clicking "Forgot Your Password."  Please book mark that link.  

Mobile App: You can also download the Mobile APP version for use on your mobile device by searching for "My School Anywhere" in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
2nd Copies: If you need a second copy for a second household, please see Ms. Tempesta in the main office.  
Thank you to Newton North student, Piper Mamis, for her work on the directory as a part of Newton North High School's Graphics program.
Please email with any questions. 

Teacher Appreciation Breakfasts
The Teacher Appreciation Breakfast sponsored by the 5th grade families will be on Thursday, November 3. Look for more details, and a sign-up sheet, coming soon!

School Committee News
Agendas for upcoming School Committee meetings may be found here . The next meeting will be held on October 24 at 7 pm at the Education Center on Walnut St. in Newtonville.
One of the School Committee's projects this year is the High School Start Time working group.  The school committee's charge to the group was to define the necessary changes to make a later high school start time happen in Newton.  Some of the options under consideration involve changes to elementary and middle school start times.  Please find additional information here ( or here (

CASC Presents: The Dragon King
by the Tanglewood Marionettes
On Monday, November 7, at 8:45 am, for all grades, the Ward PTO's Creative Arts and Sciences Committee presents the Tanglewood Marionettes' performance of The Dragon King. 
The Story:  A terrible drought has overtaken the land, and all the world has turned brown and lifeless.  This production is based n many Chinese folktales - an underwater fantasy that tells the tale of an intrepid grandmother who journeys to the bottom of the sea in search of the elusive Dragon King, and the answers to why he has forsaken the land above.  The program includes cultural music and many themes such as respect for differences, compassion, kindness and perseverance.
Tanglewood Marionettes are renowned for creating enchanting, theatrical experiences with their exquisitely hand-crafted scenery and marionettes.  They offer a repertoire of classically presented fairy tales and myths presented by highly skilled puppeteers. 
CASC programming is funded by your generous contributions to the PTO.  Thank you for your support. 

Heads Up on Ballot Question Related to Education
The Massachusetts Authorization of Additional Charter Schools and Charter School Expansion Initiative, also known as Question 2, is on the November 8, 2016 ballot in Massachusetts.  This item is related to charter school expansion, and we encourage you to educate yourself on the matters related to Question 2.  You can find additional information about the ballot question here.

Kindergarten and Second Grade Potluck Dinners
The kindergarten dinner will take place this Saturday, October 22.  The second grade dinner will take place on Saturday, November 5.  Mark you calendars and book your babysitters!  If you did not receive an invitation, please email

Start the bidding-
Announcing the start of our 2016/17 auction planning!
On April 29, 2017, Ward will hold our next bi-annual fundraising auction. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to support technology, Creative Arts & Sciences as well as classroom set-up and playground equipment at Ward. Before we reach out to the general public, we wanted to reach out to our dedicated Ward Community. Here is how you can help:
  • If you own a business, or know anyone who does, we are looking for sponsors.  We have gold, silver and bronze level sponsorships available.
  • If you own a vacation house that you are willing to donate as a silent auction item.
  • If you have tickets to sporting events or the theater that you are willing to donate for a silent auction item.
  • If you are a member of a country club and are willing to donate a golf outing.
  • If you, or someone you know, owns a restaurant, spa, retail shop, etc. and are willing to donate a silent auction item.
  • If you are willing to be a part of the auction planning committee.
This is a great project based job that you can work on at home on your schedule. Contact Ruth Somers, if you would like more information on sponsorships, have an item you would like to donate or want to join the committee.

Special Education Parent Advisory Council
The Newton Parent Advisory Council for Special Education is holding its next meeting on Monday, October 24, 7:30 pm. in Room 304 at The Education Center, 100 Walnut Street.  Light refreshments and networking begin at 7:15pm.

Running A Parent Advisory Council for Special Education:  Legal requirements and ways to improve the PAC's function.  Expert speaker:  Leslie Leslie from FCSN. (Federation for Children With Special Needs).  Leslie is an excellent speaker and trainer.  We are inviting PAC Officers from surrounding towns to join us.
This is a key meeting for anyone who wants to become more involved in the PAC. It is especially recommended for anyone who is considering running for a PAC office in elections in January 2017.

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.

Newton Inspires:  A Newton Schools Foundation Event
Twenty-one Newton luminaries will regale audiences at Newton Schools Foundation's sixth annual Newton Inspires: An Evening of Ideas and Community on Monday, November 14. Since 2011, Newton Inspires has gathered Newton residents for an evening of discussion with some of our community's best and brightest.
This year's program features headliners NPR's Tom Ashbrook; MIT Koch Institute's Tyler Jacks, Entrepreneur and Social Enterprise Philanthropist Dick Simon; 7NEWS Sports Director Joe Amorosino; Harvard Business School Professor Kathleen McGinn; Chef David Punch; and food writer Andrea Pyenson; along with more than a dozen other Newton stars.
Newton Inspires is FREE to Newton residents and $15 for non-residents. Space is limited so register early. The event is on Monday, November 14, 7-9:30pm at Newton South High School. Refreshments will be served. To register, go to
This year Newton Schools Foundation welcomes The Village Bank as our lead sponsor. Newton Inspires is also supported by premium sponsors Chestnut Hill Realty, The Street Chestnut Hill and TripAdvisor.  For a full list of speakers and sponsors, go to For more information, call 617-559-6120 or email

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.

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.