ForWard - September 8th, 2017

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

September 8, 2017 

Dear Ward Parents,

Welcome to the first edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD for the 2017-2018 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
  • Curriculum Night - September 14
  • Back to School Picnic - September 19
  • Pizza Night at Bertucci's - 
    October 3
  • Mystery Dinner - October 14
The Picture Day has been changed to a future date. Notifications will be sent out as soon as it is scheduled.

 Ward Health, Safety & Fitness: 
Safe Routes to School & New Programs! 
The Ward PTO is committed to providing health, safety and fitness opportunities for the children in our community, and we have a lot of wonderful programs planned for the 2017-2018 school year! We're thrilled to welcome Heartbreak Hill Running Company as the corporate sponsor of these efforts. See more below about the Family Runs we have planned with HHRC this year!
  • Look out for a brand new, Ward parent designed Safe Routes to School Map in the PTO packet coming home to you that details the safest walking and driving routes, as well as approved parking and rolling drop off (Blue Zone) areas.  Please keep for reference throughout the year. 
  • Review the Blue Zone flyer to make sure it's the right choice for your family before you decide to use this area for drop off or pick up.  
  • Walk to School Wednesdays: the first Wednesday of each month, starting in October, are school-wide Walk to School days with fun activities for all students (regardless of how you arrived at school!).  Throughout the school year, we encourage families who are able to to get in the habit of walking at least once a week, perhaps on a Wednesday?! 
  • BOKS (Building Our Kids Success) is a new before-school fitness and education program we'll be implementing this school year.  Research shows that physical activity in the morning gives kids a brain and body boost that helps them throughout the school day.  Look out for more information soon on volunteer trainings and participation details and contact Sara at for more info. 
  • Family Runs! We've partnered with neighboring business, Heartbreak Hill Running Company, to create a monthly family run program for families with children of all ages throughout Newton.  One Saturday per month, HHRC staff will lead a non-competitive fun run on the carriage path of Commonwealth Avenue appropriate for kids and adults of all fitness levels. It's a great way to spend time outside with your family, get some exercise and learn new skills.  Look out for more info on dates soon! 
  • Girls on the Run: we are hoping to begin a chapter of this national program at Ward this year. The program is geared towards girls in grades 3-5 and focuses on building confidence, character, compassion and competence. We're looking for parent volunteers and interested girls, so please let us know if you might like to help get a Ward GOTR group going this year. Contact Becca at  
Read more about how research shows that physical activity can help kids learn in this recent New York Times WELL/Family article.  

Ward Directory


We're working hard to put together the 2017-2018 Ward Directory and need your help to get it ready for use online and ready for printing so you can have a reference copy at home! 
  • Connect Online:
    Existing Ward families can log on here anytime to access directory information, even before the new school year's printed directory is complete.  If you're a new Ward family, you'll be able to logon once you've verified your information (see below). Use the email address you have on file in the directory (your main Ward communication email address) and re-set the password if you've forgotten it.  
  • Verify Your Information! Please look out for an email verifying your information for the directory! It will come from the "myschoolanywhere" system and/or one of the PTO directory volunteers and may land in your spam folder.  Please check for it, as this is the only way we can confirm your contact details to be included in the directory.  At this time, you'll be able to choose preferences for privacy (i.e. include home address, cell phone, etc.). We recommend that all families include at least one email address so that other parents can connect with you.  
  • Advertise! Advertising in the Ward Directory is a great way to reach our 250+ families all year round!  If your business, or the business you work for, is interested in reaching our audience and promoting your services, please contact Becca at for more details.  Deadline is September 11th, 2017!

Ward Community Connections
Ward Community Connections is a new committee of the Ward PTO focused on building bridges among families within the Ward community. Our goal is to work to ensure that all students and families feel welcome, included and respected within the walls of our school and beyond. 
  • We want your feedback on what activities we should focus on this year, and how we can begin to forge stronger connections! Some activity ideas: 
    • Facilitated family events, similar to Dynamic Diversity Night held in the spring of 2017; 
    • Establishing a Boston Buddies program;  
    • Movie screenings and discussions for students and families;  
    • Resource Sharing: books, websites, tools and events for kids, parents and teachers that emphasize tolerance and becoming community upstanders. 
  • For more information, please contact Angela Brooks ( or Becca Schulman Havemeyer (

Support Artsonia
Mrs. Amy Broder, Ward's Art Teacher, has teamed up with Artsonia, the world's largest online kid's art museum -- to display your students' artwork. 
  • You can choose from dozens of different items: mugs, water bottles, t-shirts, sketchbooks, notecards, phone cases, just to name a few -- personalize them with your child's artwork, and instantly you have an original keepsake gift! 
  • As an added bonus, this is a school fundraiser and the Ward School Art Program receives 20% of each sale.
Please keep an eye out for a permission slip link that will be emailed to you in the next two weeks. Once you have filled this out, check your child's page, and encourage friends and family members to support Ward, and your budding artist, by buying Artsonia products for all of their gift-giving occasions. 

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to ask Lena, Mrs. Broder, or call Artsonia directly -- (800) 869-9974. To find out more, visit

 Volunteer Opportunities in PTO
Parent participation is the cornerstone of the Ward School experience. Becoming involved with school activities is a great way to build connections with other parents and teachers and feel a part of the Ward community. For many roles it is helpful to have multiple volunteers so please consider volunteering this year.

Look for more information in this week's flyer or contact Diana Cohen at, Gabi Kroszynski at 

  or Lisa Schwarzberg at for more details.

 Ward School Pizza Night at Bertucci's in 
Newton Corner on October 3
Please plan to arrive between 5:30 and 6:30 pm to have dinner with your classmates and their families!

15% of proceeds donated to Ward School PTO

 Hosts Needed for Mystery Dinners
Ward's Mystery Dinners will take place on October 14.  If you are willing to host a dinner, or the appetizer or dessert parties, please contact Beth Hicks at or Alexis Giannakopoulos at

 Hosts Needed for Grade Wide Potluck Dinners
Every year, the PTO coordinates dinners for the parents in each grade so that we can all get to know each other better.  We're looking for hosts for every grade's dinner (except 5th grade).  The host's job is to open your home to about 40 adults, send out the email invite (with the email list we'll give you), and provide paper plates and utensils and drinks.  The guests will bring all of the food.  These are adults-only events; kids stay at home.  
If you're willing to host, please email Kathy Shields at, and we can find a date that works for you.

 Advertise in the 2017-18 Ward School Directory!
Advertise your business to the Ward Community by purchasing an ad in the 2017-2018 Ward Directory which will be printed and distributed at the end of September.
This is a cost effective way for your business to reach our families and support the PTO. 
In addition to offsetting the cost of printing the Directory, proceeds will go toward PTO funding including Creative Arts & Sciences programming and technology updates.  
A: Full  Page  $500 - 8.5" x 11"  
B: Half page landscape  $250 -  8.5" x 5.5"
C: Quarter page portrait  $150 - 4.25" x 5.5"
D: Eighth page landscape  $100 -  4.25 x 2.5
Email Linda Gillespie at with any questions about directory ads.

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.