ForWARD - September 28th, 2018

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

September 28, 2018 

Dear Ward Parents,


Welcome to the new edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD for the 2018-2019 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
  • Flu Clinic - October 3
  • Walk and Bike to School - October 3
  • Columbus Day, No School - October 8
  • Picture Day - October 12
  • Mystery Dinner - October 13
  • Ward Night at Celtics - October 22
  • Kindergarten Potluck Dinner - October 27
  • 4th Grade Potluck Dinner - November 30
  • 5th Grade Potluck Dinner - December 1

Message from School Nurse
Hello Families,
As we move into peak cold and flu season, I wanted to send out a quick reminder for any students requiring inhalers at school. If your student needs an inhaler at school and you have not already done so, please bring it in along with the completed medication permission form signed by the parent and the prescribing physician. 
Also, flu vaccine forms are due October 1st!
Nurse Aja

Hosts Needed for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Grade 
Potluck Dinners
We're still looking for Hosts for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade dinners.  If you'd be willing to host, here's some more information.  
These nights are a great way to reconnect and socialize with the other parents in your child's grade. You choose the night between now and January.  We'll guide you through the planning and invitation process.  Your home should have enough space to accommodate approximately 50 adults in an informal setting.  Hosts only need to supply paper goods and drinks and the guests will bring food based on assignment.   Arrangements should be made for kids to stay home. 
If you're interested, please email Laurie Ufland and we can find a date that works for you.
The following dinners are confirmed.  Email invitations will go out soon!
Kindergarten - October 27th
Fourth Grade - November 30th
Fifth Grade - December 1st

PTO/Principal Coffee
Thank you for attending the 1st PTO/Principal coffee of the school year. It was great to see so many parents!
Once a month, we intend to have a meeting with different content, and to hear updates from the PTO and the principal about the school.

Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
The Newton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Newton SEPAC) is a state-mandated body for providing feedback on special education and also provides resources for parents.  Additional information can be found on their website and in their brochure.  They also provide an online discussion group where parents can share information or suggestions.  

Please contact the Ward liaison, Chris Millikin (, with questions or for more information. We will have a SEPAC meeting at Ward in October to introduce Chris and open the floor for questions. Date will be posted in one of the upcoming newsletters.

International Walk and Bike to School Day
October 3rd is International Walk and Bike to School Day! We will celebrate at Ward by offering a small prize to children who walk, bike or bus to school in the morning. 
Help us build a healthy community alongside others from Newton and around the world."

PTO Spring Auction Starts Now
Dear families,

If you are new to the school, welcome to Ward! If you have older children, you may already be familiar with the bi-annual PTO spring auction. The auction is an event that serves two purposes. First, we raise a significant amount of money for the PTO. The auction, together with the Annual Fund appeal and the Mystery Dinner supports the vast majority of PTO expenses. Second, the event itself is intended to be a night of fun, excitement, and community-building.

This year, for the first time, we are separating the auction from the party. We will be holding an online auction during the late winter, followed by a Gala event in the early spring. Hopefully this will allow us to enjoy the Gala in a more festive spirit once the majority of fundraising has been accomplished.

You may be asking yourselves at this point, "What can I do to help?". It's a good question because none of this will be possible without your contributions. Luckily, we have some suggestions for you:
  • Are you connected to any local businesses that may be willing to donate to our auction? Gift cards, goods, services, etc are all great auction items. Now is the time to call in some favors!
  • Are you the owner of a business, a season ticket holder, or a vacation-home owner? Would you like to make a direct contribution of your services to the auction?
  • Are you willing to help solicit contributions around town?
Please be in touch with us at the email address below or in person at school. We hope each family is willing to help make this Auction/Gala a success. Small items add up, and we welcome all donations. However, even if you're not able to help procure auction items, we have two more suggestions:
  • Bid generously in the Winter Auction, and
  • Attend the Spring Gala (Date and location TBA)!
Best wishes for a wonderful year,
Susan St. Pierre, Caitlin Cusick, and Magda Duchnowska, auction co-chairs. 
We can be reached at

Volunteer in Library During your 
Child's Class Library Time
You can sign up to help out during your child's class library time. Parent volunteers are needed to help with circulation, shelving and student library projects.  

Click here to sign up.

Questions? Please ask Linda Gillespie or stop by the library to speak directly with Sheila Packard, Library Teacher, or email her.

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.

The payout percentage Ward receives on purchases through the Amazon Associates program (using the link above) is much greater than the payout percentage received through the Amazon Smile program.  
Questions?  Contact Linda Gillespie.

Community Posts

Food for Families - Free Backpacks with 
Breakfast and Lunch Essentials
Weekends and school vacations can be a significant hardship for families without access to school-supplied breakfast and lunch. The City in partnership with the Newton Food Pantry is offering FREE backpacks to families. The backpacks are filled with breakfast and lunch essentials at community locations to help ensure that all our families with need have adequate food on the table throughout the school year. 

Here is a list of the locations to pick up a free backpack:
Newton Health and Human Services (City Hall - 1000 Commonwealth Ave.)
Fire Station 10 (755 Dedham St.)
Newton Boys & Girls Club (675 Watertown St.)
Newton Free Library (330 Homer St.)
The FUEL program will also be providing FREE backpacks of breakfast and lunch essentials at some Newton Public Schools this year. The backpacks are designed for a child to have breakfast and lunch on the weekends. 
To request to have FUEL backpacks at your school, contact or call the Health Department at 617-796-1420.
For more information on food programs or for additional services offered by the City of Newton Social Services division, visit or call 617-796-1420.

Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ)
FORJ ( is holding its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, October 2, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM at Angier Elementary. The agenda includes an update from Superintendent Fleishman on anti-racism work being done in the district and discussion of plans for the coming year. There will also be time for Ward parents to meet as a smaller group. 
RSVP here or email here.

Newton School Committee Update
Dear Friends,

We hope that the school year has started off well for you.
This update is for the 09/17/2018 Newton School Committee meeting: 
  • Liam Hurley, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, was joined by Julie Kirrane, Director of Business and Planning, and Sean Manion, Director of Finance to present the FY18 Final Fiscal and Operational Report. In summary, FY18 ended with a small surplus and a healthy carryover to help this year's budget. Our first look at the FY19 Fiscal and Operational Report will take place in October.
  • Liam Hurley and Julie Kirrane were joined by David Stickney, Director of Facilities, to present an update on our summer facilities work, as well as the FY19 Update to the Long-Range Plan and the Capital Improvement Plan. A notable takeaway was the incredible amount of work done over the summer.  Over 250 projects were completed in 34 days, a testament to the Public Buildings and Facilities teams' great efforts.  Another key discussion point was the revised long-range facilities timeline. The time estimates for projects were extended based on recent experience, and project order has been updated based on conditions and enrollment pressures.  The next major school projects will be Lincoln-Eliot and the NECP (150 Jackson St), Countryside, Ward, and Franklin.  Discussion included ideas of smaller projects at Ward and Franklin that could help improve living conditions at these buildings while they await their major renovations.
  • Stephen Marshall, Grants & Business Analyst, presented a list of grant awards and gifts.  The School Committee votes unanimously to accept these donations. 
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve the Superintendent's Assessment, the FY19 Systemwide GoalsMinutes for 9-4-2018, the FY19 School Committee Goals, and Anping Shen as our new MASC/MASS Conference Delegate.
Next Meeting:
  • October 1st @7PM: High School Start Time Update, Full Day Kindergarten Discussion, Student Assignment Working Group Discussion, MASS/MASC Resolutions Discussion.
We hope you 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

Upcoming Events at Historic Newton
Drop in for a day of old-fashioned fun at our annual hands-on family festival. Try 19th century activities, including butter making, cider pressing, and candle dipping. Jump into a burlap sack for a race or play the hoop-tossing game of graces. Enjoy ice cream from Cabot's and a bake sale.
Location: Jackson Homestead and Museum, 527 Washington Street
Admission: Free
Information: 617-796-1450
Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Everyone is invited to enjoy free admission to our museums.
Locations: Jackson Homestead and Museum, 527 Washington Street, and the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, 286 Waverley Avenue
Admission: Free
Information: 617-796-1450
Wednesday, October 31, 4:30-6:30 pm
As you make the rounds with children on Halloween night, please stop by the Jackson Homestead and Museum for treats and free museum admission tickets that may be used throughout the fall. Enjoy trick-or-treating at the historic home that is part of the neighborhood!
Location: Jackson Homestead and Museum, 527 Washington Street
Admission: Free
Information: 617-796-1450
Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Everyone is invited to enjoy free admission to our museums.
Locations: Jackson Homestead and Museum, 527 Washington Street, and the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, 286 Waverley Avenue
Admission: Free
Information: 617-796-1450

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.