ForWard - December 16th, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

December 16, 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
  • PTO Meeting - December 16, 8:30 am, After School Room
  • Last day to Claim Lost & Found Items - December 16
  • Last Day for Giving Tree donations - December 20
  • Winter Recess - December 26-January 2

From the Nurse's Office
Cold weather reminders
Now that the cold weather is here to stay, please remember to send your child to school daily with appropriate clothing and shoes/ boots for the weather. Hats, scarves, coats and mittens/ gloves along with warm shoes or boots should be worn/ sent with your child every day.
Let's Talk about Marijuana...
Some parts of the state's new recreational marijuana law take effect this month. Here are a few things to know about it, and some tips for talking with your kids.
  • The new law legalizes recreational marijuana use in small amounts for adults age 21 and older beginning Dec. 15, 2016. Other provisions including large-scale cultivation, manufacturing and retail sales don't start until 2018. It's important for teens in particular to understand marijuana use for them remains illegal.
  • Young people model adult behavior, so it is important to be thoughtful about what they hear adults say or see them do.
  • Research suggests that when young people ask their parents about past experience with drug use, sharing details may undercut the message that parents don't want teens to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Marijuana negatively impacts learning and memory, coordination and judgment. Some effects can last for days, especially in regular users.
  • Because teens brains' are still developing, regular use of marijuana may impair brain development, lower IQ, and increase risk of mental illness in those who are predisposed.
Information adapted from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. See for links to resources.

It's Lost and Found Clean Out Time!
The Ward Lost and Found is full again.  Please come claim your missing items before December 16.  Items remaining at the end of the day on December 16 will be donated to charity. 
The Lost and Found is presently located downstairs, but will be moved to the Book Fair next week.  Please claim your stuff!

Ward Annual Fund
We're so grateful to our Annual Fund donors and thrilled to count down to our final days this month.  We hope those of you who haven't had a chance yet will find time in this busy season to include a contribution to the Ward PTO in your end of year giving.  Donate online quickly and easily here.  
Congratulations to our two Learning Express Gift Card raffle winners! We'll be in touch via email to get you your gift!  As a reminder, for all those who contribute by Saturday 12/31, you will be entered into a raffle for two tickets to the Ward Spring Auction on April 29th, 2017, which promises to be a fabulous event! 
Please note that we'll be replacing all of the Ward car magnets that we've given out to donors with new stronger magnets.  Our vendor made a mistake with our order.  Our apologies!! 

PTO Meeting - December 16
We are focused on a few things for this meeting.  First - Every week our PTO newsletter editor, Kathy Shields, stays on top of all of the Ward happenings and sends out the newsletter to all of us.  We will get to meet Kathy in person.  She is looking forward to great things in her future - especially running for School Committee in the upcoming Nov. 2017 election.
Second - We will be discussing some of the upcoming events over the next few weeks and opportunities to volunteer in the future.
Third -  If you have never been to a PTO meeting before (including the Kindergarten parents -  Or if you are with a younger child in the morning -  This is the PTO Meeting for you!).  We welcome everyone including small children.  We will put some toys and coloring materials out for the children.  We need your help and involvement!

5th Grade Service Project:
Giving Tree to Benefit Wayside Youth & Family Support Network
Please drop off unwrapped donations in the boxes provided in the 5th grade classrooms. Please remember to include the tag that you took from the tree with your donation! Donations will be accepted until December 20th. Thank you for helping youth in need!

News from Creative Arts and Sciences
We have had a few busy weeks of CAS (Committee of Arts and Sciences) at Ward.  We brought two new programs into Ward.  Last Wednesday local children's sports mystery writer, David Kelley, came into our 3rd grade classes.  With humor he explained the writing process and reviewed the elements of mysteries.  Then on Thursday, our 4th grade enjoyed art lesson featuring on the Northeast region of the United States.  Teachers were much impressed with how much the lecture fit our curriculum.  Another art history lesson will happen this spring.
This week our 5th grade is enjoying their poet in residence, Lyn Hoopes.  Lyn is excited about working with the same group two years in a row and has seen much growth in these students.

Would you like to attend a CAS event?  Please feel free to check out and sign up for a program:

Robin,  Sukanya, and Tina

Looking for a Teacher Raffle Coordinator
We are looking for a parent to help facilitate The Teacher's Raffle for this year.  The timing is now through February.  We have the prior year's playbook that we can use as a guide for the current year.  Please contact Lisa or Diana if you are interested.

Understanding Our Differences
If you are interested in volunteering for the 5th grade Understanding Our Differences units in the spring, please contact Alexandra Novina,
  • Intellectual Disabilities:  Monday, March 13 (11 am-1 pm)
  • Autism:  Monday, May 8 (11 am-1 pm)

Upcoming Potluck Dinners
Here's the schedule for the remaining dinners.  Invitations for the 1st and 3rd grade dinners have been sent.  If you did not receive an invitation, please contact Kathy Shields at  Invites for the 4th grade dinner should be coming soon!
1st grade -- Saturday, January 21
3rd grade - Saturday, January 7
4th grade - Saturday, January 28

School Committee News
Agendas for upcoming School Committee meetings may be found here . The next meetings will be held on January 9 and 23, 2017 at 7 pm at the Education Center on Walnut St. in Newtonville.  
At the last meeting on December 12, the School Start Times Working Group made a presentation about community feedback collected so far.  At the School Committee meeting on January 23, the Committee will discuss potentially eliminating some of the scenarios being considered and focusing on those that appear to have the most advantages.  More information can be found at

Your generosity can make a difference for 
thousands of Newton students
Donations from generous Newton businesses and individuals like you are enabling Newton Schools Foundation to fund a vast array of new and enhanced educational opportunities for our kids! Thanks to your support:
  • 1,760 elementary school students have deepened their writing skills led by teachers trained by the NSF-funded Summer Writing Institute; this year middle school students are receiving similarly enhanced writing instruction.
  • 780 tweens and teens have broader access to social and emotional supports through NSF-funded middle school advisory programs.
  • 36 high school sophomores and juniors are taking exciting new interdisciplinary courses in STEAM through the DaVinci Program at Newton South, which was piloted last year and will continue to roll out to include seniors. At Newton North, 20 students/year are enrolled in an interdisciplinary Science and Society elective.
  • More low-income students and students of color are achieving in advanced mathematics as 110 middle and high school students participate in the Calculus Project.  An additional 30 rising seventh graders will enroll this summer.
Without your support, these programs-and many others funded by Newton Schools Foundation-would not be possible.
Your partnership with Newton Schools Foundation will continue the good work of the Newton Public Schools to pilot and launch initiatives that promote academic achievement, social/emotional wellness and equity for Newton students across all grades in our 21 elementary, middle and high schools.
Please consider Newton Schools Foundation in your decisions about charitable giving this year. Donate today!

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.