ForWard - March 17th, 2017

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

March 17, 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
  • Online Summer Camp Auction - March 18-21
  • International Night - March 23
  • Ward After School Applications Due - March 31
  • Spring Auction - April 29
  • Newton Serves community service day - April 30

From the Principal's Desk
Beginning in April, students in grades three through five will be participating in the next generation of MCAS testing. We do not believe in extensive test preparation; our goal is for students to show what they know. Our curriculum is based on the core curriculum required by the state, so students are well prepared in terms of content for the test.  Since our students are not accustomed to taking multiple choice tests, we believe that students should learn general test taking strategies, such as reviewing all the answers prior to making a selection, reading questions carefully to clarify what the question is asking, and becoming familiar with a variety of question formats. This year, students in grades three and five will continue to take the pencil and paper test; however, fourth graders are required by the state to take the computer version. Fourth grade students will be learning to navigate through the test and become familiar with the computer tools available.  All tests are untimed; the state expects that it will take 60-75 minutes to complete each session. We will have a room available for students who want additional time.  
Prior to administering the actual test we will be conducting a "test of the test" for fourth graders to be sure our computer system can manage the load.  This will also provide fourth graders with a short practice test.  Fourth graders will learn how to access the test and answer some sample questions.  Students will also have experience using the toolbar, such as the highlighter and answer eliminator tools. During the test, students will be allowed to receive help in using these tools should they require it.  On Monday, March 20, we will be conducting our "test of the test." To do so, we will be asking all students and staff to power off their cell phones and turn off any other electronic devices to make the best use of our WiFi.
I look forward to seeing you at International Night on March 23 in our gymnatorium.

March Madness Summer Camp Online Auction!
March 18-21
  • Camp Cody
  • Fesseden Day Camp
  • Camp Meadowbrook
  • Steve & Kate Summer Camp
  • School of Rock
  • All Newton Music School
  • Linx
  • GPS Soccer Camp
  • and more..
All proceeds benefit the Ward PTO.  Register for online auction:
*  Address fields are not necessary for registration.  You have the option to pay by Credit Card.   However, Checks are preferred.
Questions? Contact:

International Night
Pack your bags and book your flight, it is almost time for Ward's International Night!
Please mark March 23 as your chance to travel around the world in 1 night!
We need volunteers for set up in the gym beginning at 3pm on March 23,  If you can assist, please email Lisa at
If your child attends Ward After School, there will be pizza for sale so that they can eat dinner before the event.
We can't wait to travel the world with you on March 23...don't miss the chance to celebrate Ward and its diversity!

Applications for Ward After School, 2017-18
Ward After-School is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year!
Applications have been emailed to current families.  For families new to our program, you can email us at to request an application.  Applications are due by Friday, March 31.
Some important things to note about the application process:
  • We have a two-day minimum for enrollment for Grades 1-5, no exceptions.
  • There is a $50 application fee.
  • Applications are due by March 31.  This is a REAL deadline!
  • Tuition costs will be determined by the number of applications received.  To see the current year's rates, please email the director.
  • Our program strives to accommodate all who apply by the deadline.  However, we may receive more applications than spots available in accordance with our child care license.  A waitlist may be necessary.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at, or 617-965-3087. Thank you!

Volunteers Needed: Art Committee
The Art Committee needs volunteers to help with the following jobs through out the rest of this school year. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. 

 After a quick tutorial, volunteers can take materials home to do the framing at their leisure. Once framed, the student art work will be displayed at Ward and The Education Center

Changing Exhibits:
Help Mrs. Broder by taking down and putting up student work on the board(s) in the hallways at Ward.

Art Show:
The Committee is currently looking for more members to help with the planning, set up and takedown of the Annual Art Show to be held at the end of May or early June.  If you cannot commit to being on the Committee, please consider volunteering just  for set up or takedown.  Set up is the Tuesday afternoon before the Wednesday opening. Takedown is early morning after the show closed.

Please contact Elizabeth Roller Apgar at if you are interested in helping.

Understanding Our Differences:
Intellectual Disabilities Unit
On March 13, the Intellectual Disabilities unit of the UOD program was presented to the 5th grade. Students were given introductory presentations and took part in a number of hands-on activities. We were fortunate to have 2 students from Newton North High School as our guest speakers.
A big thanks to our wonderful parent volunteer team of Aoife O'Dwyer, Marsha Marchant, and Marilyn Berman.
Many thanks also to our 5th grade teachers, Amy Magna and Lisa Addleman, the classroom aides, and our principal Audrey Peller for their support.
If you are interested in volunteering for the final 5th grade UOD unit on Autism on Monday, May 8 (11am-1pm) please contact Alexandra Novina:

For more information:

Parent Advisory Council for Special Education
The Newton Parent Advisory Council for Special Education is having its next meeting on March 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm at The Education Center, 100 Walnut Street in Room 210.  This meeting is a rescheduling of the March 14th meeting which was canceled due to snow.
"Everything you always wanted to know about Student Services and Special Education in Newton and were afraid to ask"
The NewtonSEPAC Board Officers invite you to join us in an open conversation and Q & A session.  No topic is too small or insignificant.  The agenda will include a presentation of proposed amendments to our by-laws, and then an open conversation with questions and answers.
7:15 pm Light refreshments and networking
7:30 pm General Meeting
9:00 pm  Adjourn
Please rsvp to and include a topic of interest, if possible.

GELF Dinner is April 1st
Help fund low-income students to participate in Newton Public Schools' life-changing travel opportunities; come to the GELF Dinner!
GELF will hold its annual not-to-be-missed community event, featuring an amazing 5-course gourmet meal (cooked from scratch on-site!!), paired fine beers & wines (featuring Sam Adams beer pairings, a major hit last year!), dancing (with a great live band featuring our own Katani Sumner), 150 like-minded community members, table service by Newton administrators, and a fabulous raffle. Buy your tickets by March 13th and get access to an exclusive early bird raffle for homemade ice cream and waffle cones!
You may pay online here: (scroll down to the bottom for the PayPal button) or send a $150/person check (made payable to Newton Schools Foundation with GELF in the memo line) to Newton Schools Foundation, ATTN: Diane Greer, P.O. Box 590020, Newton Centre, MA 02459.
Whether you are coming or not, please consider donating to Support a Teacher to attend the event ($100/person) or making a tax-deductible donation, all possible here: GELF is also looking for volunteers any time between now and April 1st--please email Samantha Mandel at if interested. Thank you for your support.

School Committee News
Agendas for upcoming School Committee meetings may be found here . The next meeting will be held on March 27, 2017 at 7 pm at the Education Center on Walnut St. in Newtonville.

Talking to Children About Race
On Wednesday, March 22nd, Newton Public Schools will host a forum entitled "Talking to Children about Race: Why and How?" The session, designed for a K-5 parent audience and led by Horace Mann Elementary teacher Mike Feldstein and METCO director Maricel Sheets, will:
  • Allow reflection of your own experiences around issues of race and racism
  • Demonstrate the importance of early conversations with children on race
  • Provide "how-to" help for guiding children and answering challenging questions
  • Highlight resources available to help parents and families navigate the issues
The forum will be held at Angier Elementary (1697 Beacon St.) from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. An RSVP is not required, but will help the district plan for materials and activities. Please RSVP here:

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:
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

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"


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.