The Knightly News

Newtown Elementary PTO

Crazy Busy...

If you have zero time to read this month's edition, let's get right to the point and say: Spring Fling is May 14th (we need treasure jars and your help! Sign-ups coming soon!) and Teacher Appreciation Week kicks off this coming Monday with our flower sale. (Update: Extended to Tuesday!) That's what you need to know! Now, if you have a minute or two...

Good luck navigating May, with its crazy sports schedules, family committments and all the rest! Summer is only a blink away! Love, the NES PTO

Upcoming Events


2-6: Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week

3: Sixth Grade Pretzel Sale

6: Family Night at Trenton Thunder (registration closed)

12: PTO Meeting (7PM, Thursday, Library)


18: Chick-fil-A Spirit Night

20: Sixth Grade Pretzel Sale


1: Sixth Grade Pretzel Sale

​2: First Grade Welcome (details coming soon)

3: Field Day (rain date June 8)

9: End of the Year Class Parties

10: Last Day of School (Early dismissal)

Teacher Appreciation Week is Here (May 2-6)!

The first week of May is celebrated nationally as Teacher Appreciation Week, a time for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives. On behalf of the NES community, our Teacher Appreciation Week committee has put together the following plans for our faculty and staff. Also, please note: PTO volunteers will be selling flowers during lunchtime on Monday. Students may choose to purchase a flower for teachers or staff members ($1 per flower, participation is optional). Finally, many families like to send in their own personal cards and letters of appreciation, so feel free to do that as well! There are many ways to say it: We LOVE NES Teachers and Staff!


Bouquets of Appreciation: Students will have the opportunity to purchase flowers ($1 each) to present to their teachers or favorite staff members. The flower sale takes place during lunchtimes on MONDAY only (kindergarten orders will be collected from classrooms). If your family would like to participate, please submit the order form (available HERE) and money on Monday, May 2. Thank you!


Teachers will be treated to a breakfast hosted by Mr. King!


A Newtown Elementary tradition continues—teachers and staff will enjoy a healthy salad bar with fixin’s donated by our NES families! See the signup genius here for items that are still needed. Thank you in advance for your donations—YOU make this luncheon possible!


How sweet it is! NES staff will enjoy strawberry shortcake, our famous chocolate fountain, tea and coffee in the lounge!


Faculty and staff will take a coffee and bagel break in the lounge, participate in the Teacher Appreciation Raffle and also receive a special gift.

Special thanks to TAW committee members Yolande Zeitsman, Ali Weinstein, Amber Sciascia, Carolyn Lavelle, Kelly Schaffer, Robin Duchnowski, Elizabeth Arteaga, Jill Kiefer, Leyla Capitelli, Beth Teitelman and everyone for their donations!

King of the Castle

A Ten for the Five Point Scale!

Mr. King, Principal

If you have attended any of the parent workshops Mrs. Cook and I have been facilitating, you have probably heard about the 5 Point Scale. Mrs. Cook and other staff members are using this to help pinpoint our students’ emotions or behaviors related to emotions. Basically, the scale provides a way to assign a number that correlates to the intensity of the emotions and related behaviors a student may exhibit. In the March PTO newsletter, Mrs. Cook focused her piece on this scale. Mrs. Cook and I also hosted a parent workshop on the use and applications of the 5 Point Scale in the home setting.

Our focus on positivity and resilience has much to do with recognizing and understanding your emotions, so you can deal with them in a productive and proactive manner. Of course, asking elementary age students to identify their “emotions” is challenging. This is where the 5 Point Scale comes in. The scale helps to identify emotions in a more concrete manner. It helps students recognize how their emotions affect their behavior, and in turn, how their behaviors affect themselves and others. The scale also helps students recognize when and how their emotions may be intensifying and leading to trouble. The most beneficial part of the 5 Point Scale is that it provides a common language for talking with students (and adults) about emotions.

During our recent workshop, more than twenty attendees joined us in learning how the scale can be used to support parents and students at home. We had a fantastic discussion about the reality and challenges related to parenting and dealing with common emotions and scenarios in a positive and proactive manner. I cannot thank our guests enough for their willingness to share, help each other, and honestly admit that help is needed. During our 90 minute discussion, we were reminded that most emotions are natural, and with some forethought, can be addressed in a logical, proactive, and positive manner. We also learned that it is most important for adults to model how to recognize escalating emotions and manage them in a productive manner. We were reminded that the only things we can really control are ourselves and our reaction to everyday challenges. Finally, we discussed that learning how to manage emotions takes patience, practice and time!

How is all this related to learning? Learners need a safe place, an environment built on trust, and a clear head so they understand the information that they learn, make connections, and retain these lessons. Positive emotions, the feel of our classrooms and our school have so much to do with our success!

Learn more about creator Kari Dunn Buron and the scale at the following website – Don’t let the reference to the autism spectrum fool you, this scale is for everyone!

PTO Updates

Elections for the 2016-2017 PTO Executive Board took place at our last general body meeting on April 13. We are very pleased to announce next year's board members: Kelly Schaffer and Robin Duchnowski (co-Presidents); Kari Lazaro (First VP); Britt Perry (Second VP); Yolande Zeitsman (Treasurer); and Leyla Capitelli (Secretary). Congratulations!

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6. See the TAW Committee's plans (above). Click here for the salad bar signup genius. Click here for a flower order form (due Monday, May 2). EXTENDED to Tuesday, May 3.

Spring Fling is on Saturday, May 14th, 11-3PM. This year, we are time-warping back to the 1950s. Come dressed in your rolled jeans and polka dots (if you dare!), or just come ready to have fun. We'll have tons of fifties themed games, activities, an obstacle course bounce, food, music and much more. The all-staff pie eating contest will take place at 2 PM, followed by the announcement of raffle basket winners at 2:30 PM. We are currently collecting treasure jars--please send them in and keep them coming! This Fling game is a NES-favorite. For details on how to make a treasure jar, click here. Click HERE for a Sign-Up Genius for Fling volunteers. For ticket information (pricing, pre-sale tickets, paypal, etc.), follow this link.

Great job, NES! We collected a mountain of clothing and household goods at our Big Brothers, Big Sisters Drive on April 2. Thank you to everyone who donated. Together we raised $608.85 for our school! Special thanks to NES parent Pat Hehir for generously bringing over a tent to keep us dry in the rainstorm!

Over three hundred and forty NES dads and students started off their April Fool's morning together at our annual Donuts with Dad event on Friday, April 1. A few observations: Dads need their morning coffee (even more than moms!); and next year we need more donuts! Thanks to all those who attended!

FInally, we would like to recognize the three very important women who make everything run at NES: Mrs. Bedard, Mrs. Remar and Mrs. Torrisi. Administrative Professionals Day was Wednesday, April 27th. Thank you for all of your hard work, knowledge and patience. You are awesome!

Do you have a comment for the PTO? We'd love to hear your ideas, concerns or suggestions. Please email us!

Mrs. Cook's Corner

Dear Parents,

Mr. King and I have presented 4 workshops this year focused on better understanding your child’s behavior and needs. During these workshops we also presented information on collaborative and proactive problem-solving solutions. I frequently refer parents to Dr. Ross Greene’s website, so they can better understand this research-based approach to understanding and helping children. This month’s article provides a summary of Dr. Green’s approach. Stay tuned for Tips for Kids in next month's newsletter. It might help you change the perspective.

  • This approach has been implemented with success in families, schools, inpatient psychiatry units, therapeutic group homes, and residential and juvenile detention facilities.
  • Key theme of the model: Kids do well if they can because doing well is always preferable to not doing well.
  • Challenging behavior in kids is best understood as the result of lagging cognitive skills; for example flexibility/adaptability, frustration, tolerance, problem solving, etc. It is important to identify the specific expectations a child is having difficulty meeting and help him/her solve those problems. Problem-solving should be proactive most of the time.
  • Challenging kids communicate that they’re struggling to meet demands and expectations by whining, pouting, sulking, withdrawing, crying, screaming, swearing, hitting, spitting, kicking, throwing, breaking, lying, stealing, and so forth.
  • What a child does when he’s having trouble meeting demands and expectations isn’t the most important part. Why and when he’s doing these things are much more important.
  • The best way to reduce dramatic episodes is by working together with the child to solve the problem – collaborating – rather than imposing adult will (Plan A). If we solve problems through imposition of adult will, then we’ll only increase the likelihood of challenging episodes. It’s better to solve those problems collaboratively so the child is a fully-invested participant. Solutions are more durable, and (over time) the kid--and often the adults as well--learn the skills they were lacking all along.

Steps for solving problems collaboratively (Plan B).

  • The Empathy step – involves gathering information from the child so as to achieve the clearest understanding of his or her concern or perspective on a given unsolved problem. (“I’ve noticed that …, what’s up?” or “Help me understand.”)
  • The Define Adult Concerns step – the adult shares his/her concern or perspective on the same unsolved problem. (“The thing is…” or “My concern is…”)
  • The Invitation step – involves having the adult and kid brainstorm solutions so as to arrive at a plan of action that is both realistic and addresses the concerns of both parent and child. (“I wonder if there is a way we can solve this problem.” “What have you or I done in the past that has made things better?”)

Article summary adapted from A More Compassionate, Productive, Effective Approach to Understanding and Helping Behaviorally Challenging Kids by Dr. Ross Greene.

Words to Live By

This month, we resume our list of favorite"precepts"--rules about really important things--which was inspired by the novel, Wonder. These mottos and uplifting ideas were compiled with the help of our teachers and staff and we have been sharing them throughout the year. Enjoy!

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”—Walt Disney

Jennifer Frawley, 3rd grade

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."—Thomas Alva Edison

Mrs. Battipaglia, 4th grade

"Believe deep in your heart that you are destined to do great things." --Joe Paterno

Mrs. Vaughn, 5th grade

“It’s nice to be nice!”

Miss Antonelli, Instructional Support

“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”

Kate Chiliberti, Literacy Specialist

“Nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal.” –The Indigo Girls

Anne Marie Ownings, 5th grade

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.”—Corrie Ten Boom

Mrs. Lisa Lohwasser, Literacy Specialist

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dorothy Braun, ELL

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”—Ben Franklin

Jennifer Frawley, 3rd grade

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."—Winston Churchill

Mr. King, Principal

"Kill 'em with kindness!"

Mrs. Kurek, 1st grade

“Be the reason someone smiles today!”

Mrs. Annie Coolahan, 6th grade

Thanks for reading!

The Knightly News is a publication of the Newtown Elementary PTO.