John Ward Elementary School
August 14, 2023
WARD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: SEPTEMBER 15, 2023
Dear Ward Families,
It was another great week of learning and community building! The first six weeks of the school year are all about establishing community, learning and practicing routines and we are well on our way. While centering student learning, many teachers have also been partaking in professional learning and preparation for implementing the EL literacy curriculum which is being adopted district-wide in grades K-2 this year and throughout the elementary grades next year. In addition, Ward and several other schools are implementing this curriculum in grades 4 and 5 this year.
In response to feedback from families and to make your email inboxes more manageable, the Ward PTO and I will be alternating weeks for our newsletters. We will collaborate to ensure that we are communicating important in-school and community happenings. As always, we will adjust as needed.
L'Shanah tovah to those who celebrate-- And to all, wishing a happy, healthy, and sweet year ahead!
I look forward to seeing all who can make it to the fall picnic on Monday evening.
THANK YOU, MR. CASSIDY!
Ward’s Senior Custodian, Kevin Cassidy, announced his plans to retire at the end of September after nearly 9 years as a custodian for NPS and many more years as a caretaker and hotel facilities manager. Ward has been lucky to have such a caring and committed head custodian at the helm for the past 3 years. I will be working closely with the Facilities Department to secure a new head custodian and set up a smooth transition.
Let’s show Kevin the Ward Community love! Please take a moment as a family and/or individually to share your gratitude.
We need your help to send Mr. Cassidy off with messages of gratitude from our school community.
Families and staff members can help by sharing a brief video/photo message. Please share this with past school community members who may want to contribute!
Please upload a video to this Flipgrid about one of the following:
A Retirement to-do list ("I think your Retirement To-Do list should include traveling")
A Retirement Wish (I wish that your retirement is filled with spending time with your family and friends")
A Thank You Message (Thank you, Mr. Cassidy, for…!!)
NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE
BACK TO SCHOOL PICNIC: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Back to School Picnic-- THIS MONDAY!
Let's celebrate the start of the new school year together on Ward Field on Monday, September 18th from 5:30-7:00 PM. The PTO will provide pizza* for everyone along with fun games by Knucklebones. Don't forget a picnic blanket, refillable water bottles and some treat money for the Ice Cream Truck. Please note, *if your family requires dietary accommodations for pizza, it would be VERY helpful to let us know so we can order accordingly. Please complete this quick survey ASAP if needed. Also - we would welcome volunteers that can help with picking up pizzas and serving pizza slices. If you are able please email Caitlin Cusick at email@example.com.
FAMILY MUST DO: STUDENT INFORMATION UPDATE
Please login now to Aspen to update your student’s information and permissions. This review must be done every year so that the district has accurate and up-to-date information on addresses, emergency contacts, health records, etc.
It is also critical to review the permissions for the 2023-2024 school to indicate preference on utilizing and releasing student data, information, and photos.
Please update all records and permissions by Friday, September 29th. Here we have linked a document with directions for updating your information through Aspen.
SEEKING SUPPORT STAFF
SAFETY AT DISMISSAL
SAFETY FIRST - BLUE ZONE
SAVE THE DATES: WARD SCHOOL FALL EVENTS
School Picture Day: Friday, September 22
Friday, September 22 is Student Picture Day. If you would like to order pictures, please complete the picture order form and have your child return it to their classroom teacher by Thursday, 9/21. Ordering can also be placed online at www.coffeepond.com. You will be directed to select the location, Newton, MA, and then the school, Ward.
Or use the QR code on the form.
All students will have their pictures taken for school records. Each student will also receive a complimentary class picture. Pictures will be taken outdoors, weather permitting.
If you are in need of financial assistance to get a picture package, please contact your classroom teacher, Kadesia Woods (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Becca Brogadir (email@example.com) directly.
Back to School Curriculum Night, Thursday, October 5, 6:00-7:30 pm
Parents and guardians are invited to join us for Back to School Curriculum Night on Thursday, October 5. You will have an opportunity to visit your child(ren)’s classroom(s), hear from the classroom teacher about the class community and curriculum, and gather as a larger community in the gym to connect, meet school specialists, and hear from Mrs. Brogadir and the PTO.
SPOTLIGHT: Windows into Ward
4th & 5th Grade All-City Orchestra Opportunity
Do you love orchestra?
Join the Newton All-City Orchestra this year with directors Ms. Bergantino and Ms. de Geofroy!
We are pleased to announce auditions for the 2023-24 Season:
Auditions for All-City Orchestra will take place on Tuesdays October 3rd and 10th in the Bigelow Middle School music room. Please use this google form to sign up for an audition: ACO auditions registration 2023
The form will ask you to select three possible time slots. Keep an eye out for an email within the next week or two assigning your student a specific audition date and time based on your preferences.
Students will need to prepare:
1. 2-3 minutes of a solo piece
2. Two scales up to 3 flats and 3 sharps
Sight reading will be provided at the audition.
If you have friends who are interested in All City Orchestra, please share this information with them!
2. Rehearsal Info:
As in the past, All City Orchestra will rehearse at Bigelow Middle School in the music room (unless otherwise noted) from 3:30-4:45 pm. ACO is a weekly commitment and all rehearsals are mandatory. Rehearsals will start on Tuesday, October 31. We will send out a full rehearsal calendar after auditions have taken place.
We are looking forward to meeting you all!! Please feel free to reach out with any questions about ACO..
Ms. Bergantino and Ms. de Geofroy
COMMUNITY EVENTS, OPPORTUNITIES & LEARNING
STORY STARTERS- FALL REGISTRATION
Story Starters Fall Registration is open through September 17!
Author Janet Costa Bates will join us for our program kickoff!
Story Starters is enrolling families with children ages 3-8 to participate in our upcoming Fall program. Our eight-week Family Conversations Program is designed for parents who want to start and strengthen conversations about race with their young children. Story Starters gives families age-appropriate tools and skills to have meaningful conversations about race and racism. Story Starters families learn from educators, racial justice advocates, and each other.
Our program provides families with:
A bundle of 6 books tailored to your children's ages
5 caregiver guides full of research, resources, and family activities to support and deepen family race conversations
4 curated book lists to support further exploration and conversation
2 in-person family events and 2 virtual caregiver workshops
2 virtual office hours
A small, curated support network of current families and alumni to lean on and learn from
Special events to facilitate community connections
Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from September 15 to October 15, commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.
The term Hispanic or Latino (or the more recent term Latinx) refers to a person’s culture or origin — regardless of race. On the 2020 Census form, people were counted as Hispanic or Latino or Spanish if they could identify as having Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
Hispanic Heritage Month began as a commemorative week when it was first introduced in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown, then officially recognized by Congress in September of the same year. The push to recognize the contributions of the Latinx community had gained momentum throughout the 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its peak and there was a growing awareness of the United States' multicultural identities.
To learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month, click HERE or check out additional resources:
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
In the coming weeks, community members of the Jewish faith tradition will observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, will be celebrated beginning at sundown on Friday, September 15 - Sunday, September 17. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday. Shanah Tovah to all our community members who celebrate!
Yom Kippur 2023 begins on the evening of Sunday, September 24 and ends on the evening of Monday, September 25. School is not in session on Monday 9/25. Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. It is observed with fasting and prayer on the 10th day of Tishri. To our community members who observe this day, we wish you an easy fast.
Constitution/ Citizenship Day
ON THE CALENDAR & PLANNING AHEAD
Monday, September 18- Rain Date for Fall Picnic
Friday, September 22- School Picture Day
Monday, September 25- No School; Yom Kippur
Thursday, September 28- Early Release at 12:10pm
Staff Professional Development
Thursday, October 5- Back to School Curriculum Night; 6:00-7:30pm
Monday, October 9- No School; Indigenous People’s Day
October 24- November 8- Fall Conference Window
Wednesday, October 25- PM Fall Conferences
Friday, October 27- Ward Fun Run
Wednesday, November 1- PM Fall Conferences
Tuesday, November 7- Early Release at 12:10pm
PM Fall Conferences
Friday, November 10- No School; Veterans Day
Wednesday, November 22- Early Release at 12:10pm
Thursday, November 23- Friday, November 24- No School; Thanksgiving/Native American Heritage Break
Save this important link to the 2023-24 School Year Calendar page for your reference as it is frequently updated with calendar items through the end of the 2023-24 school year.
IMPORTANT FAMILY LINKS
Newton Public Schools (NPS)
Annual Student Information Update in Aspen
Breakfast and Lunch Menus will be posted here, type Newton in the search bar and then select “Newton Ward Elem, MA”
NPS Family Website Page, this page includes district news and quick links
Principal, Ward Elementary School