ForWard - January 20th, 2017

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

January 20, 2017 

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
  • 1st Grade Parents' Potluck - Saturday, January 21
  • 4th Grade Parents' Potluck - Saturday, January 28
  • Early Release Day - Wednesday, February 1 (Ward's Girl Scouts will be selling cookies at pick up time)
  • PTO Meeting with Superintendent Fleishman - February 3, 8:30 am
  • Last Day to Buy Ward Night at Fenway Tickets - February 10 (or earlier if sold out)
  • Winter Break - February 20-214
  • Ward Night at Launch - March 3
  • International Night - March 23

From the Principal's Desk
We all look forward to lunch to nourish our bodies and connect with friends.  I want to clarify some questions concerning school lunch periods that have been raised by parents, and explain why we follow the procedures that are in place.
The time allotted for lunch/recess in grades 1-5 is 35 minutes.  This is in accordance with the Time and Learning regulations set by the state which require 990 hours of instructional time each year.  Lunch and recess do not count as instruction nor do transitions between classes such as Art and Music.  This translates to 20 minutes per day for snack/recess and 35 for lunch/recess.  If students have a "working snack" in the morning, it allows them to use their 20 minutes for recess.
We have three lunch periods beginning at 11:45.  Two grades eat at each lunch.  One grade goes out for about 15 minutes, lines up and goes to the cafe to eat.  The other grade eats first and then goes outside.  If students do not finish their food, many teachers allow students to finish their lunch during quiet time in the classroom which usually follows lunch.  Students who eat first can finish their lunch on the bench or picnic table outside.  In grade five, the policy is "eat when you are hungry" as long as you do it in an appropriate manner.
Students readily admit that they do not show the lunch staff the same level of respect as their teachers.  This is sometimes true for substitutes as well.  We want to be sure lunch is a safe experience and that our core value of respect is upheld.  Eric and Connie supervise lunch and recess along with support from aides in our building.  We are in the process of incorporating Responsive Classroom language and practices during lunch and training our lunch staff to be consistent with classroom practices.  Eric and Connie are following the same rules as our teachers; students must use respectful language and must be silent to enter the building and walk through the halls.
We realize that lunch is an important social time for students.  At times students are more interested in talking with friends than eating.  Adults do walk around the cafe reminding students to eat, and give a 5 minute warning prior to the transition back to class/to recess.
I have talked with our School Council and met with each of the fifth grade classrooms to allow students to voice their concerns and be part of the solution.  As a result, Mr. Eric will be allowing the students who are lining up appropriately to go inside and start lunch.  Students agreed that they don't always follow the rules and that by lining up quickly and quietly we could avoid unnecessary delays.  They agreed that they need to follow the rules on a consistent basis.
We continue to look for ways to make lunch both enjoyable and safe given the restraints of time.  Both eating and recess are important parts of our students' day, and we want them to be relaxing and safe.
Audrey Parad Peller

School Council Notes
The School Council met on January 11.  We discussed the school lunch time, ways in which to improve the lunch experience for students, and ways to keep consistent expectations for students throughout the school day.  We will next meet on February 13, and at that meeting we plan to discuss revisions to Ward's school handbook, follow up on conversations about lunch, the new MCAS test, and arrival and dismissal routines.  If you have any questions, or would like to provide feedback about any of these issues, please feel free to reach out to any of the parent members: Christine O'Neill, Beth Hicks, Lisa Kirby and Kathy Shields.

Upcoming Potluck Dinners
The next potluck dinner, for 1st grade parents, is tomorrow, Saturday, January 21, at 6 pm.

The last potluck of the year, for 4th grade parents, is next Saturday, January 28.

PTO Meeting with the Superintendent
The PTO will be hosting a meeting with Newton Schools Superintendent David Fleishman, and members of the Newton School Committee on Friday, February 3 at 8:30 am. In order to optimize our time with the Superintendent, please send topics of interest to Diana or Lisa in advance of the meeting.

Ward Night at Fenway Park
Come join us for our Ward School Night at Fenway Park on June 9th.  Due to popular demand we have a limited number seats (up to 100) so it is first come first serve.  Flyers went home this week and we will stop selling tickets by Feb. 10th (or earlier if we sell out).  Any questions can contact Diana at

2017 Bi-Annual Spring Auction
Save the Date: April 29, Putterham Grille in Brookline
This is one of Ward's premier social events.  The Ward School Spring Auction Committee hopes to raise $25,000 to fund technology, creative services, and additional supplies for the library, playground and classrooms.
In the slight chance you're thinking, "Gee, Sounds great . . . How can I help the Auction Committee?"  We're so glad you asked.
  • Data entry for bidding software
  • Audio visual support
  • Emcee the live auction
  • Prep/breakdown
  • Event check in and out
Auction Items Needed
  • Fitness memberships, camp vouchers, children's activities, host a golf/tennis outing
  • Services - chefs, pet sitters, babysitting, interior design, tutoring, home repair
  • Gift cards
  • Vacation homes
  • Tagged goods (scarves, bags, jewelry, sports memorabilia)
  • Tickets to sporting events or shows
  • Wine Pull Event, wines over $30
Sponsorship is great exposure for your business.  We have many opportunities for advertising via our new auction website along with printed event material.  Please inquire for more information.
  • Platinum - $1,000
  • Gold - $500
  • Silver - $250
  • Bronze - $125
Please email, if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.  Please consider supporting our school and taking advantage of this opportunity by contributing whatever you can.

An Easy Way to Make Money for Ward
Do you have those brown boxes coming to your house too? Amazon Prime?  Amazon Video?  Amazon Music?  Amazon everything? Whatever the reason, please use this link when you are shopping at Amazon.  It is an easy way to support the Ward School PTO:

Please remember that you need to re-click this link or save the address each time you shop at Amazon. 

Or you can set up your computer / phone to support the PTO at and search for John Ward School, and this will store your selection.

Or you can go to the Ward website- and click on "shop amazon"


Ward Night at Launch!
Save the date for a great kids night out! On March 3 from 5 to 9 pm, the Ward School will invade Launch Trampoline Park in Watertown. Launch will donate 25% to Ward School. Please save the date for a great night out! More information to come closer to the date. 

Responsive Home Workshops
Are you struggling with your child(ren)'s behavior at home?  The tools of Responsive Classroom can be used to help create a calm, supportive and encouraging environment at home too!  These overview workshops are open to the public and no registration is required:
Tuesday, January 31 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Wednesday, March 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Wednesday, April 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Thursday, May 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
The January 31 workshop will be held in the Williams Elementary School Auditorium, at 141 Grove St. in Auburndale.  All other workshops will be held at the Education Center, room 210 at 100 Walnut Street in Newtonville. 
For more information, please contact Amy Kelly at

School Committee News
Agendas for upcoming School Committee meetings may be found here . The next meeting will be held on January 23, 2017 at 7 pm at the Education Center on Walnut St. in Newtonville. 

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.