ForWard - December 23rd, 2016

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

December 23, 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
  • Winter Recess - December 26-January 2
  • Walk/Bike to School Day - January 3
  • School Start Time Survey Closes - January 3
  • 3rd Grade Parents' Potluck - Saturday, January 7

From the Principal's Desk
We will soon be welcoming incoming kindergarten families for the 2017-2018 school year and would appreciate your help spreading the word.  The District will be sending postcards to families identified by the city census who have a child who will turn 5 by August 31, 2017.  This year there will be two city-wide orientations for parents to learn more about the kindergarten program.  They will be held on February 6 at Newton North High School and February 8 at Newton South High School, both at 7:00 PM.  More information will follow.
This is our anticipated MCAS testing schedule for 2017.  While we do have time set aside for make-ups, it is best for students to take the test with their class. Please plan accordingly.
All fourth graders are required to take the computer version of the test this year. Students in grades 3 and 5 will be taking the paper and pencil test.  We are beginning to get information about the format and types of items that will be included this year.  You can visit the state website test design to see sample items.
Grade 3: ELA April 25-27; Math May 4,5
Grade 4: ELA April 3-5; Math May 8,9
Grade 5: ELA April 28, May 1-2; Math May 10,12, Science May 17,18
 Thank you for your generous support of the Fifth Grade Giving Tree Project to benefit Wayside Youth and Family Support Network. I truly appreciate your participation in this outreach project.  I know that your contributions will bring joy to many children.
It looks like winter weather is really here.  Please remember that we go outdoors when the temperature with wind chill is 20 degrees or less.  Please dress your child accordingly.  In order to play in the snow, children need snow pants and boots.  Our safety rules include staying off the ice and not throwing ice, snow, or snowballs.  We appreciate your help adhering to these rules.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a healthy new year!  
Audrey Parad Peller, Principal

Ward Annual Fund
Let's end 2016 and our Annual Fund campaign with a bang!  Donate online quickly and easily here.  All donors who contribute by Saturday, December 31 will be entered into a raffle for two tickets to the Ward Spring Auction on April 29, 2017!  You won't want to miss this fantastic event.
Thank you to all who've contributed thus far, and to those considering it!  Ward's students, faculty and administrators benefit from your generosity on a daily basis and will continue to do so in 2017.  Thanks for your support!

School Start Times - Survey Open Until January 3
The School Start Times Working Group is currently taking a survey to collect community feedback on a number of potential scenarios.  Some of these scenarios affect the start times of elementary and middle schools as well as high schools.  The survey will be open until January 3, so if you have feedback that you would like the Working Group to consider, please fill out a survey response before then.
This is a different survey from the one circulated last year!!  This survey specifically solicits your feedback on the scenarios under consideration. 
A link to the survey is here:
More information can be found at

Safe Routes to School - Walk/Bike to School Day
Ring in 2017 with our first Walk/Bike to School Day of the new year on Tuesday, January 3!  It may be chilly but we'll be out with new feet tokens and extra chains for anyone who has lost theirs.  It's easier to walk than drive in the snow, and more fun!

Calling All International Families!
Please consider hosting a country booth for this fun-filled educational evening, celebrating the diversity of the Ward School!
Ward School International Night 2017
Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
For those who are visiting your native countries this holiday season - please take this opportunity to bring back local and native crafts, authentic and interesting objects, national emblems, symbols and clothing to share and display in your respective country booths. What a great way to add to the Ward School International Night experience!
PLEASE CONTACT Cheryl Abramson or Zlatena Simeonova below if you are interested in hosting/co-hosting a booth or for any ideas/questions about this event.

Upcoming Potluck Dinners
Here's the schedule for the remaining dinners.  Invitations for the 1st, 3rd, and 4th grade dinners have been sent.  If you did not receive an invitation, please contact Kathy Shields at
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. 

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.