ForWARD - June 8th, 2018

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

June 8, 2018 

Dear Ward Parents,


Welcome to the latest 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
  • Ward Night at the Sox - June 8 - SOLD OUT
  • 5th Grade Bike Safety Ride - June 11
  • After School End of Year Party - June 12
  • Last Day of School - June 22

Thank you!
A beautiful night made possible by some beautiful people!  Thank you Robin Schwartz, Zlatena Simeonova, Diana Cohen, and Maria Grossi for planning the Spring Picnic and for bringing the Ward community together for a wonderful end of the year event.  
Thank you all for coming out to enjoy the fun, and for your support throughout the year.   

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!

Updates from HHS Commissioner, Deborah Youngblood
Before you head off into summer mode, I wanted to share a few updates particularly relevant to families with school-age children. 

Smartphones: Thinking of getting your student a smartphone this summer? This letter targeted to elementary school families highlights research and resources available to help parents navigate this decision in the context of their own family's values and circumstances. The full version of the letter can be found here. Additional information relevant to students of all ages is available on the Newton Public Schools website, including suggested guidelines from Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Summer Food: Backpacks filled with a few meal's worth of nonperishable items will be available this summer for students at locations throughout Newton. The program - a collaboration between the Church of the Redeemer's FUEL program and the city is an effort to bridge the food gap for students who may rely on school breakfast and lunch during the year. Backpacks may include bread, peanut butter, canned fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. Nut-free bags can be requested. The locations include: Health and Human Services Department, Church of the Redeemer, West Suburban YMCA, The Boys & Girls Club, Crystal Lake, Gath Pool, Newton Free Library, and many more!

What's in Your Medicine Cabinet? Be a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic. Misuse of prescription drugs is a common way for teens and adults to start down the road of addiction. The most typical place young people get access to prescription drugs is their home medicine cabinet. A few simple steps taken by adults can have a significant impact. Immediately and safely dispose of unused medication. Two Newton locations are available year-round: the Newton Police Station and Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Here are additional tips, and specific addresses and resources.

5th Grade Bike Safety Ride--THIS MONDAY JUNE 11
Dear 5th Grade Parents,

The re-scheduled 5th Grade Bike Safety Ride with Ms. Pargoli and Newton Police Safety Officer Dawn Fleming IS THIS MONDAY!

This is a reminder to please 
bring your child's bicycle to school on Monday morning and lock it up at the tennis court upon arrival.  Please make sure your child knows how to use the lock (combo or key).

A big thank you to all of you who generously said that your child's bike can be used by students in the other 5th grade classes who aren't able to bring in a bike on Monday.  If your child's bike is going to be shared with students from the other two classes, we will store it in the gym after the third class is finished so that it will be secured.  And then you can pick it up at the end of the day in the gym.  All other bikes will be re-locked on the tennis courts.  

Please don't forget to bring:
  • Bike - Please pump up tires and adjust the seat beforehand.
  • Bike lock - please make sure your child is comfortable using his or her lock.
  • And comfortable clothes to ride in.  
Ride Schedule: 
9-9:40 Ms. Addleman
9:40-10:20 Ms. Pike 
10:20-11 Ms. Soucy 

 Parents willl be at the tennis court on Monday morning to help with locking the bikes and checking in the bikes that are being shared.  

And thank you to the parents who volunteered to help with this event and to Ms. Pargoli for putting this program together.

We are looking forward to a fun and memorable learning experience for the 5th graders!   

Best regards,
Linda Gillespie

Newton School Committee Update
Dear Friends,
This update is for the 05/30/2018 Newton School Committee meeting:
With over 1800 views, our first School Committee "Virtual Office Hours" was a huge success.  We held our second one last night and you can view the video on the district Facebook page here:
  • To start, we held a public meeting and voted unanimously to decline participation in the Massachusetts School Choice program. To clarify, this is not related to school choice for Newton residents within the district. The School Choice program allows students from outside of Newton to apply to attend Newton Public Schools. It is a statewide program in which districts can choose to participate or not. This public meeting and vote is required by law and it is a decision that must be reaffirmed annually.
  • Toby Romer and Mary Eich were joined by Interim IT Director Tom Gwin, to provide an update on the One Student/One Device Pilot.  The pilot will continue next year when, starting in January, Chromebooks are planned to be distributed to the entire 10th grade at Newton North and Newton South. To learn more about the program and to view the presentation to the School Committee, visit:
  • Members of the Equity Committee presented an update to the Equity Guidelines.  Most notable changes to the guidelines were a lowered per pupil spending cap of $80 and the formation of a Working Group to consider pooled PTO funds.   
  • We had a chance to recognize Newton Public School students including:
    • Our Newton School Committee student representatives, Brooke Hackel, Michael Ryter and Max Teszler, all who are graduating this year.
    • The Newton North Graphic Design students who participated in the project to redesign the district logo: Arthur Dutra, Liam MacIntyre, Mia Patriacca, Emma Nephtali, Li Shandross and Grant Yee. A special thank you to Li Shandross for designing the logo chosen for district use.
  • Lastly, we unanimously voted to relocate the Horace Mann Elementary School to 225 Nevada Street, currently the site of the Carr Building, in September 2019. This was the official vote to affirm the long-term facilities plan we have been using.  
Upcoming Meetings:
  • June 11th @7PM: Year-End Reports: Superintendent's Goals and Systemwide Goals, Student Assignment Working Group (SAWG) Recommendation, Student Services Update, Vote: EDCO Board Member.
  • June 18th @7PM: SEPAC Update, High School Start Time Update, Fiscal and Operational Update and Facilities Update, Discussion of Superintendent's Assessment.
We hope you have found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website ( Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via
As always, we are very happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have. Please feel free to contact us via the email address below.
Have a wonderful week!
The Newton School Committee

Volunteers Needed for School Survey
Green Newton's Schools Connections Group in collaboration with Newton's Department of Environmental Affairs, needs volunteers to conduct a recycling survey on "waste, recycling and composting practices" in the schools listed above.
Volunteers from other Newton schools have offered to conduct the survey, which involves documenting observations by doing a walk-through of the school. Some questions may require communication with custodial staff, administrative staff, or faculty. We ask that volunteers read through the assessment BEFORE starting it, and please plan for a few hours or so to complete it in the next few weeks if possible.

The data to be collected will help to better focus city resources on significantly improving the sustainability of our schools. 

Please contact  to let us know if you are interested in volunteering for this project.

Newton Child Assault Prevention Program Seeking Volunteers for 2018-2019 School Year
Do you have three mornings a month free during the school year? Are you looking for a meaningful and fun way to make a difference in children's lives? If so, then join our dynamic team of trained CAP volunteers who are committed to using guided discussions and role plays to teach elementary age children in the Newton Schools that they have the right to be Safe, Strong and Free with their friends and peers, when they meet adult strangers, and with those who are trusted to take care of them. 

We are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. The next training begins on October 28th. 

For more information or an application, please visit our website at or contact Gail Sommer, Director, at 617-969-5906, ext. 143 or

2018 Dog Licenses and Off-Leash Park Permits
All dogs residing in Newton must be licensed by April 1st every year. Licensing lets people know that your dog has received the required vaccinations and is an assurance that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
For more information please go to

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.

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.