ForWARD - January 31st, 2020

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The John Ward Elementary School PTO Newsletter

January 31, 2020

Dear Ward Parents,


Welcome to the new edition of the Ward Elementary School Newsletter ForWARD for the 2019-2020 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
  • Third Grade Potluck Dinner - January 31
  • Fourth Grade Potluck Dinner - February 1
  • Morning Coffee with PTO - February 7
  • Ward Community Meeting with Superintendent - February 12
  • Second Grade Potluck Dinner - February 29
  • Shake Shack Donation Day - March 26
  • International Night - April 16 
  • Ward Annual Art Show - May 20
  • Ward Night at Red Sox - May 27

Newton Safe Routes to School
Newton Safe Routes to School reminds families that pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. All our schools have high traffic volume in the morning and most children are pedestrians for part of their route to school, whether they walk from home, walk over from a nearby street (, walk to the bus stop, or walk from the Blue Zone ( 
The following guidelines are adapted from the National Safety Council. However you get to school, put your phone down and pay attention. More at #ShareTheRoad.
Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard in a crosswalk or intersection. Sometimes young children need more time to cross the intersection than the light allows. 
  • Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians. 
  • Do not pull into driveways to turn around, especially near schools. You may not see a child on the sidewalk approaching on bike or on foot. 
  • Be extra cautious when backing up.
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas. School Zone speed limits are 20 mph. 
  • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way. 
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way
Sharing the Road with School Buses
  • If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Never pass a bus from behind - or from either direction if you're on an undivided road - if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist.
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
  • If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this.
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
  • Check side mirrors before opening any door.
Reminders for Pedestrians
  • Whenever possible, walk on the sidewalk; if no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic.
  • Follow the rules of the road, obeying all traffic signs and signals
  • Cross streets at crosswalks.
  • If no crosswalk is available and your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, making eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles and wait until they wave you through.
  • Stay alert - avoid cell phone use and wearing headphones or earbuds.
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight at night.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up

Morning Coffee with PTO
February 7th at 8:30am 
PTO school wide meeting - we will be discussing Ward School PTO Budget and where is the money being spent.
All parents/guardians are welcome to attend.

Joint Learning Opportunity for Ward Parents and Staff:
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
three-tiered framework to improve and integrate all of the data, systems, and 
practices affecting s student outcomes every day. PBIS creates schools where all 
students succeed. Click here for more information on PBIS.  
Interested? Please sign up here:

Winter Walk and Roll to Ward Day
Students across the state will be committing to walking/biking/bussing to school during the first week of February. At Ward we will celebrate with our annual kindness themed walk. 

Walk, Bike or Bus to school with your kindness hearts (handout in folders this Friday!) any time between February 3-7th and place your hearts inside the box in the front door. We will celebrate the kindness accomplishments and all the walking and rolling with a beautiful mural of hearts.  

2020 Art Show
The Annual Art Show will take place on May 20, 2020 from 5-6:30pm. 

If you are interested in framing art work (this can be done from home!), or helping with setup or takedown, please email Betsy Blazar at

Last Chance: Ward Night at the Sox
The Ward School Community will gather for a fun night at Fenway on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Order forms are coming home in backpacks or can be found here. First come, first served. 

Deadline: TODAY, January 31st and must be returned to the Red Sox box in the lobby. 

Lost and Found
The Lost and Found is located in the school entrance foyer. Please have your child check for missing items or come in to school and check out the Lost and Found (after signing in at the office). Please consider writing your students name on sweaters, jackets, lunch boxes, water bottles, etc. Items not picked up will be donated every other month. 

The next pick up date will be 02/14/2020.  

If you have any questions, please contact Sandra Kelley at

Ward School on Twitter
Did you know that you can follow Ward School on Twitter? If you have an account or plan to make one, follow us: @ward_elementary.

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

Newton School Committee Meeting Update
This update is for the 1/13/2020 Newton School Committee meeting: 

Newton FORJ Book Group 
(Families Organizing for Racial Justice)

Tuesday, February 25th:

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by: Beverly Daniel Tatum

Newton Free Public Library,  Room B, 6:30-8:30 pm
Adult discussion
Sign up at:

Wednesday, April 29th:

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Newton Free Public Library,  Room B, 6:30-8:30 pm
Adult discussion

There is no childcare at these events.

Contact: Jennifer Dirga ( with any questions

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.