From the Principal's Desk - December 2nd, 2016

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From the Principal's Desk
Each summer our staff selects a book to read and discuss in the fall.  At our last staff meeting we discussed Little Girls Can Be Mean, Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert. The authors point out ways that young girls struggle with social interactions and group dynamics.  To support children, the authors outline ways that trusted adults can guide young children through a strong, supportive relationship.  This book is geared to teachers and parents, and offers practical suggestions for conversations and activities that support children as they deal with friendship issues. Our staff has found this book to be valuable in untangling some of the social situations that arise, we strongly suggest parents consider using this book as a resource.
 
Gift giving
 
As we approach the holiday season, many families wish to express their gratitude to staff members.  I want to remind you of the updated Newton School Committee policy regarding gifts.  The policy states, "Newton Public Schools allows a group gift to an individual staff member only if the gift is identified as being from the entire class, the identity of the givers and the individual amounts are not disclosed to the recipient, and the gift does not exceed $150 per school year.  Personal gifts of commercial value are not permitted. Individual gifts of appreciation in the form of sentimental tokens are allowed."
 
I ask for your cooperation in adhering to this policy.  Teachers feel awkward accepting gifts knowing that it is prohibited by the system, yet they also feel uncomfortable refusing a gift offered by a child or parent.  This also creates a confusing situation for students that follow the policy and see teachers receiving gifts from other students.  If you wish to express your gratitude to a staff member, cards or notes are greatly appreciated.  We realize how much time and effort goes into writing a sincere note of thanks and appreciation, drawing a lovely picture, or writing a poem.  Teachers truly treasure the pictures and notes they receive from families.  Other alternatives include making a donation to the Ward PTO or Newton Schools Foundation. Each of these can be dedicated to honor a special staff member.
 
Audrey Parad Peller, Principal