ForWARD - May 18th, 2018

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

May 18, 2018 

Dear Ward Parents,


Welcome to the latest edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD for the 2017-2018 school year.  PLEASE READ THIS VERSION INSTEAD - WHEN ANNA GOES ON VACATION, LISA MESSES EVERYTHING UP!  SORRY EVERYONE!

* To stop receiving this newsletter, or update your email information please use the links at the end of the newsletter.

Ward School Banner
  • Anna back from vacation - May 21! (Hope you had a great time!) My apologies to everyone for a poorly formatted ForWard this week!
  • Teacher Appreciation Luncheon - May 22
  • PE Showcase - May 30
  • 5th Grade Bike Safety Ride - June 4
  • Color Day - June 5
  • Spring Picnic - June 5 (rain date June 6) ** NOTE THE NEW DATE
  • Ward PTO Volunteer Appreciation Party - June 7
  • Ward Night at the Sox - June 8 - SOLD OUT
  • Last Day of School - June 22

From the Principal's Desk 
I know there has been disappointment that the new playground equipment was off limits for students.  On the first day back from April break several students used it unsafely.  As a result, the staff and I had multiple safety concerns.  We wanted to have specific rules for using the structure before we allowed students on it.

The fifth grade students developed rules and created a video, which all the classes have viewed before they went out to recess last Thursday.   I am happy to say, the structure is now open for student use.  Please watch the video and discuss the rules with your child/ren:

We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day for our Evacuation Drill. The students were escorted by Officer Lazarakis as they walked, as a school, to Temple Emanuel and back.

If anyone hasn't been by the school lately, please come by and see what the Newton Serves parents have done with the front of our building. It looks amazing! They deserve a big shout out!

Volunteers Needed for Next School Year 
Have so much free time that you just don't know what to do?  Have 100 hobbies and looking for another one?  Need an outlet for all of your creative and fundraising energy? We are here to help!

We are starting our planning for next year and hope that YOU will play a role.  Please sign up for a volunteer role here here and make next year a success!

Our community is as strong as those that support please be a supporter next year!

One of many exciting opportunities is our Spring Auction Chair. The auction happens every other year and is our biggest PTO fundraiser for the school year, as well as a ton of fun and a great night out. 

Without your support, this position will go unfulfilled...much like our PTO funds.   Don't think someone else will do it....Don't let the PTO struggle next year, help us out and step on in! The Spring Auction is for YOU!

Spotlight on School Health from Valerie Carroll
As the end of the school year approaches, we thought we would share some school health updates and some "by the numbers" highlights from the year so far. As of this month, the professional nurses in each of the 23 Newton Public Schools buildings have completed more than 61,000 office visits with students from preschool through grade 12. Of those, approximately 9,600 are unique student visits. With just over 13,000 students in the district, this means that 73 percent of the student population has had at least one visit with the school nurse for a reason other than screening. Reasons could include anything from illness, injury, emotional needs or medication administration. More than 94 percent of those students have returned to class after their visit with the school nurse to continue learning for the day. The nurses have completed more than 18,000 health screenings including vision, hearing, postural, body mass index and substance use. Some other school health facts include:
  • 1,225 lost teeth
  • 3,839 headaches
  • 11,225 medication administrations
  • 3,231 Flu shots at school
  • 10 epinephrine administrations
  • 2,948 abrasions
  • 4,591 bumps/bruises
As you can see by this glimpse of how busy the district's health rooms are, we are pleased to share that three additional full-time school nurses will be part of the school health team beginning next school year. The health room door is open to students, staff and parents anytime. The Newton school nurses are proud to participate in the academic achievement of all students. After all, students must "learn to be healthy and be healthy to learn."

Bicycle Safety Training for 5th Grade
Dear 5th Grade Parents,
Bicycle safety training is coming up in P.E. led by Ms. Pargoli and a Safety Officer from the Newton Police Dept.  This will consist of classroom training and an actual bike ride around the neighborhood so they can practice what they've learned.  Ms. Pargoli is coordinating this but asked me to recruit some volunteers to assist each class.  We need at least 4 volunteers per class on Monday, June 4 (with a rain date of June 11).     

Here are the times for each class:

9-9:40 Ms. Addleman
9:40-10:20 Ms. Pike
10:20-11 Ms. Soucy

Please arrive 10 minutes early and bring your own BIKE AND HELMET TO ACCOMPANY THE CLASS ON THEIR RIDE.

A permission slip was sent home last week from Ms. Pargoli along with further details on bringing your child's bike and helmet to school that day.  

***So that we can include as many students as possible on the ride, we will need extra bikes and helmets.  On the permission slip, it will ask you if you'd be willing to let a child from another class borrow your child's bike during the class time or if you could bring in an extra bike.  That way we can cover any students who don't have a bike or can't bring it to school that day.***

Please let me know if you can volunteer to ride with your child's class or to bring in an extra bike or helmet.

Best regards,
Linda Gillespie

Ward PTO Volunteer Appreciation Party
Please join us to celebrate a great year for the Ward PTO!  Please stop by for a drink and a bite to eat.  We look forward to seeing you then!
Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm at Linda & David Gillespie's house - 41 Woodlawn Drive
Please RSVP to Linda at or to Gabriela at if you have't done so already.

Understanding Our Differences
Blindness & Low Vision
On Mon May 7, the Blindness & Low Vision unit of the UOD program was presented to the 3rd grade. Students were given introductory presentations and took part in hands-on activities. A wonderful guest speaker also discussed his experience with blindness with the students. 
A big thanks to our wonderful parent volunteer team: Rasha Shimy, Val Beaver, Nat Harrison, Maria Grossi, Marilyn Berman, Diana Karthas, and Gabriela Kroszynski. Many thanks also to the 3rd grade teachers and other staff members for their support. If you are interested in volunteering for the UOD program please contact Alexandra Novina:

Newton Memorial Day Parade
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Starting at 3pm at Newton North
You can also join the Scavenger Hunt!  More info here:

Final Family Run of the Year-THIS Saturday 9:30 AM
Join us to have fun, get some exercise and show our gratitude to our partner, Heartbreak Hill Running Company, for starting this program with us.  We'll leave from HHRC on Centre Street at 9:30 this Saturday 5/19/18. Families from other schools are welcome, please spread the word!  

School Committee Update


Don't forget to join us this Sunday for our first School Committee "Virtual Office Hours" starting on May 20th at 8PM.  It's a chance to ask questions and get to know your representatives from the comfort of your own home.  Save the date!  

Upcoming Meetings:
  • May 30th @7PM: Public Hearing and Vote on School Choice, Elementary Principals' Update, Special Education Update.
  • June 11th @7PM: Year-End Report: Superintendent's Goals, Vote: EDCO Board Member, Fiscal and Operational Update and Facilities Update.

Curious to find ways to strike a healthy balance for kids growing up in this digital age? On Wednesday, May 23, join a panel of experts from Newton-Wellesley Hospital's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry department for a screening of Screenagers. This award-winning documentary film is designed to spark a conversation between adults, students, and schools about navigating the benefits and challenges of increasing technology in our lives.  Film screening will start at 6:30 pm. An open Q & A discussion with Newton-Wellesley's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry experts will immediately follow at 7:45 p.m., featuring:
  • Susan Swick, MD, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Michael Jellinek, MD, Medical Director, Psychiatry, Director of Collaborative for Healthy Families and Children
  • Nicole Danforth, MD, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Richard Ginsburg, PhD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Parents are invited to watch the film with their children (recommended for ages 10 and older).
Newton-Wellesley Hospital Shipley Auditorium 2014 Washington Street, Newton
This event is free and open to the public. To register, please call 617-243-5900.

Make Money for Ward When You Shop on Amazon
Simply bookmark this new link and click it every time you want to shop on Amazon:
Qualifying purchases made through the link above result in a payback range of 4% - 8.5% on total purchases.

But you have to click the link EACH time you go to shop as the cookie expires after 24 hours.

Newton Kids PMC Ride Sunday, May 20 from 8-11 AM
The Newton Kids PMC Ride is back and better than ever! Get your bike ready to roll for this fantastic event on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Rider and volunteer check-in begins at 8 AM. Two-wheeled riders will zoom around a one-mile loop on Wells Avenue in Newton as many times as they can from 9-10 AM. The 3-wheeled and balance bike crowd will tear it up on a separate tot course. Be sure to stick around for the POST-RIDE PARTY starting at 10 AM. There will be food, face painting, bike decorating, raffles, and more. This is a great way to get kids involved in raising money for an amazing cause. All proceeds go towards cancer research and patient support at the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber.
Click here to register:
Too old to ride but want to support the event? We need you to VOLUNTEER:

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.