Thoreau Elementary School

*Belonging *Excellence *Engagement *Inclusion *Innovation

Family Updates - November 2023

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Home of "Henry Husky"

Big picture
Big picture

Have You Signed Up Yet?

Big picture

The Thoreau Turkey Trot Is Coming November 22nd!

Big picture

Principal's Message

Dear Thoreau Families,

It's hard to believe we're already in the month of November! It has certainly been a positive and productive first couple of months with so much to celebrate. I'm grateful to teach, lead and learn alongside such talented children. Our school is a place filled with bright minds, creative spirits, and boundless potential. It's a privilege to witness their growth and development, both academically and personally. Each day I'm inspired by their enthusiasm for learning, kindness towards one another, and determination to explore. Every child is unique, with their own strengths, interests, and abilities. It's our mission to nurture and support individual talents, helping them become confident, responsible, and compassionate individuals. I've witnessed firsthand students at Thoreau excelling at band and orchestra, before school BOKS athletics classes, theater and the arts, and certainly academics! This is evident during my daily classrooms walkthroughs, as students eagerly demonstrate what they know and explain their thinking across all subjects. But one of the most noteworthy elements of our school is the inclusive culture that exists, allowing students to bring their best authentic selves to the learning environment every day. When children feel comfortable to be themselves and take academic risks, the very best learning occurs.

* Parent-teacher conferences will take place next Thursday November 9th and there will be no school for students. Our goal is to connect with 100% of families during the conference window either in-person or remotely. If you'd like to meet with a member of the administrative team, guidance team, specialist team, or any other staff member, please reach out.

* Friday November 10th is Veteran's Day and also a no school day for all students.

* On October 31st, we had a very special visit from our Japanese friends. The Concord-Nanae partnership has been ongoing for decades and is a relationship that greatly benefits our school community, especially our students. During this recent visit, our guests visited classrooms to forge new friendships and learn about each other's culture and language. I've included more information and photos from the visit below.

* Thank you so much to all those who have donated to our PTG recess equipment drive. Every class in the school discussed their ideas for how to make recess more fun for everyone. They developed a list of requests by class and then community members had the chance to donate specific items. Here's the link to a PTG sign-up to help support a recess equipment project:

* Thoreau is partnering with Open Table to engage in a November food drive, which has begun. I hope you'll consider donating items listed on the graphic below to support a noble cause.

* Our newly elected TES student council has been invited to speak at the next school committee meeting on 11/7. You can attend in person or tune in via Zoom if you're interested in seeing student leadership in action! The link can be found below.

Link To SC Meeting:

Meeting ID: 995 8312 4886

Passcode: 030310

* We had a record number of donations this year from the Concord Community! Our grand total was 118 55-gallon bags of clothes, shoes, books, and winter coats. Thoreau Elementary contributed 20 FULL 55-gallon bags throughout your collection. These donated items will go directly to Massachusetts children and families living in homeless or low-income situations.

* CHA, the vendor selected to conduct the feasibility study, has been on premises assessing the current state of the grounds. Stay tuned for a survey and forum date for a chance to give your input.

* The days leading up to Thanksgiving, we will have a school spirit week. On Monday, students can dress up in their favorite sports team attire. Tuesday will be superhero day and students can dress as a pretend or real superhero in their lives. The day before Thanksgiving, we're hoping everyone wears their Thoreau gear to show school pride!

* It's National Family Literacy Month and you can find some information below.

* Through your generous donations, our PTG annually provides enrichment and support here within the Thoreau Elementary School and broader community. Already in the 2023/24 school year the funds have been put to use for community-building events (such as the Ice Cream with Principal Sparks, Movie Night, and more), enrichment for student learning (author visits, in-school science "field trips", etc), Staff Appreciation events, and special initiatives that place the children at the center of it all (Recess Equipment Initiative and shed purchase). Parent volunteers work to create opportunities for the children to be engaged, empowered, and supported. This year, as a part of the appeal, the PTG is hoping to achieve 100% participation from Thoreau families. Your support, in any amount, makes a difference! With each family donation you will help us to bring Henry the Husky mascot home - here at Thoreau with the children who are learning what it means to be... a Thoreau Husky.

* Our new clothing bin is located outside nearest the dumpsters. If you have gently used clothing, accessories, footwear, or linens that you're looking to get rid of, I hope you'll consider donating to a great cause.

* If plans to student dismissal occur, please send an email to the classroom teacher and secretaries (can be found below) as early as possible. A note in the child's backpack can also be helpful. We ask that all changes take place prior to 2PM. If your child attends the Concord Rec program and there are changes made, please alert Concord Rec and the school. All visitors must ring the buzzer and check in at the main office with our secretaries for safety reasons. Thanks for your assistance with this.

* Work is well underway to revive our mascot, "Henry Husky". Be on the lookout for student representations around our school and a mid-year visit from Henry himself!

* As you may be aware, our school district has welcomed many students from the homeless shelter. If you're interested in supporting the shelter's efforts, you can donate here:

* The following staff members and contact information may be of interest to you. - Administrative Assistant - Administrative Assistant - School Counselor - Assistant Principal

With Gratitude,

Principal Sparks

Concord-Nanae Partnership

Big picture

5th Grade Student Council

Big picture

November Food Drive

Big picture

Open Table Food Drive

We are gearing up for our annual Open Table Food Drive! Below are all the dates and details.

Open Table has requested a specific list of items that will meet their current needs in the pantry. A flyer is attached for your own reference and a similar version will be sent out via the TA and in student backpacks. We expect that some students may bring in items that are not listed. No need for you to monitor what students bring in - Open Table will gladly accept any and all donations, but we are working to communicate the items that they need most.

Open Table asked us how many years our food drive has been running – anyone know?? We’ve been involved for the past three years, but we know it predates us! We’re happy to deliver a coffee/tea beverage of choice to those that help us figure it out!

Important Dates

Thursday 11/2 and Friday 11/3

Banana boxes delivered to school and distributed to classrooms

Monday 11/6

Food Drive begins (see attached flyer)

Friday 11/17

Food Drive ends

Monday 11/20

Open Table picks up donation

Students will bring items into the classroom. If the banana box you are provided fills up, please

email Mike and/or notify one of the night custodians so they can replace your full banana box with an empty one.

Mike will set up a table outside the office (where movie voting took place) in the event any caregivers bring in donations themselves.

We are excited to get this annual effort underway and appreciate your support! Please reach out with any questions or concerns!

Julie Lynch,

Colleen Bixby,

The Boosterthon Fun Run Is Coming!

Big picture
Big picture

Photos From October

October Fun

Our Nanae Friends

5th Grade Play

All K-2 Students Have An Account To Access From Home

Big picture
Big picture

A Message From Mrs. Levesque - TES Guidance Counselor

Growth Mindset

The practice of building a child's growth mindset in school has been happening for some time now. But as a parent or caregiver you might wonder, what exactly is a growth mindset and how can I promote it at home? Here is a helpful article that addresses these questions:

Encouraging a Growth Mindset in Children: Resources for Parents

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! For those of you who do not know me, my name is Rachel Levesque and I am the school counselor at Thoreau. I support students emotionally, socially and behaviorally. I also help connect families with community resources and financial support. Please feel free to reach out to me at

The start of the school year is very exciting and a time when a foundation is laid for growth. Some families wonder about the new year ahead and what it will mean for their child. The following is a link to a guide from Responsive Classroom which outlines common developmental traits for children ages 4-14 in three different areas.

Responsive Classroom Developmental Traits

A more detailed version of this can be found in the book Yardsticks by Chip Wood.

Here's the town resource guide as well:

A Message From Nurse Sequeira

Hearing, vision, and BMI screenings will begin in the Health Office next week. Screenings will be performed through November. If you'd like to opt your child out of any screenings please send me an email @ or call my direct line at 978-318-1300 ext. 3316.

Entry Plan

Building Request Form


Want to Learn More or Become Involved with the SEPAC?

The Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is a volunteer group of parents and guardians of children with a disability from ages 3 - 22. Our purpose is to serve as a resource to families, to foster an inclusive culture in our schools, and to advise our districts on issues that affect the education of our children.

Membership is free and open to all parents and guardians of students with a disability and other individuals interested in special education from the Concord, Carlisle, and Boston communities.

We welcome new members!

We are also looking for liaisons to each of our districts’ special education programs, from CIPS to CCHS! If you’re interested or would like more details, send us a note at

Big picture

CMS Speaker Series

The Concord Middle School PTG and School Council welcomes Kati Preston, a Holocaust survivor, speaker, activist and author on Monday, November 13, at 6:30pm. The Concord Middle School community is trying to inspire one parent/guardian/adult family member and a CMS student to come to this speaker series. It's the hope of Concord Middle School to inspire a greater and deeper conversation at home about the themes and topics that are part of this speaker series. CMS is also opening this night and series to parents and older students across Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District. Also, an older student or member of the CPS/CCRSD can come alone. Please RSVP here.
Big picture

Raising Healthy Kids In A Digital World

Watch the replay and download conversation starters

Weren't able to join the webinar? Watch the webinar replay and access conversation prompts to start meaningful conversations with your kid or teen about healthy technology and social media use.

Many thanks to those who were able to attend! We hope you'll join us for future webinars, including Parenting Strategies for Kids with ADHD on December 6 at 7pm ET. Registration link to come. Visit here for a list of other upcoming webinars.

About this webinar series: This virtual workshop was offered as part of a webinar series hosted by our mental health partner organization Cartwheel. Each webinar is designed to support parents and caregivers with practical skills to feel more confident in connecting with the children in their lives.

About Cartwheel: We partner with school districts to provide students and families with rapid access to mental health assessments, evidence-based therapy, medication management and consultation, and parent/guardian guidance. All of our services are via telehealth with licensed clinicians. We are committed to providing affordable care for everyone - including uninsured families and those covered by Medicaid. To learn more about Cartwheel's services, please contact a member of your school’s counseling or guidance team.

Big picture

From Our DEIB Director

A message from The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Families:

The first installment of Mr. Nyamekye's DEIB Newsletter is now available. Pages 9-14 highlight important DEIB-related updates as we begin the 2023-2024 school year. CLICK HERE to access the newsletter via Canva OR CLICK HERE for the PDF version of the newsletter via Google Drive (no sign-in required). A shared vision and commitment to our DEIB work is critical to sustaining our efforts across the school community. Our coalition requires continued collaboration, partnership, introspection, input and feedback. To facilitate this, we encourage you to continue using the DEIB Feedback Form, accessible via the following link: Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Nyamekye if he can be of any guidance or assistance.

Big picture
Big picture

Care Solace

If you or a family member are looking for help with mental health or substance use, Care Solace can help you quickly find treatment options matched to your needs regardless of the circumstance. Care Solace is a complimentary and confidential service provided to students, staff, and their families by Concord-Carlisle Regional School District. Care Solace’s team is available 24/7/365 and can support you in any language.

If you would like to use Care Solace to help you find a provider:

  • Call 888-515-0595 available 24/7/365

  • Visit and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.

Nearly one in five children in the United States will experience mental illness in their lifetime (source: Center for Disease Control). World Mental Health Day, honored annually on October 10, was created to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilize support to improve the mental health of people around the world.

This year’s theme, “Mental health is a universal human right,” highlights the importance of global well-being in all aspects of governmental policy. The last few years have been taxing on the population, and many global citizens feel their mental health needs to be more of a priority - especially in those countries where so many are displaced or surrounded by wars.

In the United States, barriers to mental health services remain a significant hurdle to getting support. Advocating for equitable mental health systems for all will lead the path to positive global outcomes.

Concord-Carlisle Regional School District is committed to raising awareness about mental health and equitable access to quality mental health services.

Concord-Carlisle Regional School District partnered with Care Solace to support the well-being of students, staff, and their family members. Care Solace is a complimentary and confidential care coordination service that can help you quickly find mental health or substance use treatment options matched to your needs, regardless of circumstance.

If you would like to use Care Solace to help you find a provider:

  • Call 888-515-0595. Multilingual support is available 24/7/365

  • Visit and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.

How Care Solace Calms the Chaos of Mental Health Care

Mystery Science Video For Kids

Book Recommendation & Read Aloud

COVID Guidelines

We will continue to follow the CDC's guidelines of requiring a 5-day quarantine for a person who tests positive from the onset of symptoms, with a return to school on day 6, assuming the person has been fever-free for 24 hours, without fever-reducing medications. They will also be required to mask through day 10.

We will be offering rapid antigen testing again this year for students and staff who present with COVID-19 symptoms during the school day. If their test is negative, as long as they are fever-free and feeling well enough to be at school, they can remain at school but should be advised to test again before returning to school the next day. It is still an honor system.

Also, there are no restrictions if COVID is in the household for family members. It is a choice to mask or not. It is quite common that not everyone in the home becomes positive.

We will send formal notifications if there is a cluster of cases (4-5) in one place to help people be informed. The district will no longer have a COVID dashboard.

CDC does indicate there will be a booster available this fall. We will provide updates about that as we have them.

Important Dates

Big picture

Lunch Room Volunteers

Lunch Volunteers and Composting Info


Come join our composting efforts at Thoreau! We need volunteers to assist us during lunch to help students sort all of their leftover lunch items into the appropriate receptacles - compost, recycling and trash.

LUNCH: MTThF 11:50-1:30 (you do not need to stay for the entire time)

Colleen Bixby -
Julie Lynch -

Composting in the Schools

Why Compost at Home and School?
Food waste is not trash- composting food scraps helps make healthy soils! Composting is nature’s recycling system that can be done at home with food scraps, grass clippings and leaves. Our schools partner with Black Earth to turn food spoils into nutrient- rich soil that stores carbon and moisture. This process diverts waste from entering landfills or incinerators (key sources of potent greenhouse gasses). Check out the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection for helpful resources on composting.

Composting basics:
At Home: Build or purchase your own composting station (available from the Town of Concord) or subscribe to a curbside service like Black Earth. Mix layers of “greens”: nitrogen-rich, moist foods and “browns”- carbon-rich paper, dry leaves” to compost effectively in your backyard.

At School: Check in with your students about the lunches. Ask them if it’s easy to compost their food scraps and napkins and to recycle their milk cartons and other items? Do they dump out all liquids into a special bin, before they recycle and compost? For older students- here is a list of Black Earth’s compostable items.

Earth-friendly tip: Avoid buying single-use plastic products that are fossil fuel-based and rarely recycled. Recent reports from 2022 state the plastic recycling in the US is broken.

PTG News

PTG Executive Board Announcements

Welcome 2023/24 Thoreau Families!

Your PTG Executive Board and many committees have been busy in the background this summer making preparations and collaborating with staff for another fantastic year. A few things to note...

PTG Meetings will be held (hybrid) between 12-1pm once monthly (no December meeting). PTG Events Calendar includes all meeting dates and agendas. Sept 22nd will be our first meeting date - we hope to see YOU there!

Interested in rolling up your sleeves with us? We always have room for helping parents - please reach out to committee chairs or the leadership team (PTG Roster).

Leaders Needed! This is a critical year for new volunteers in both the President and Vice President roles (we are both sadly in our final eligible year of service). No experience necessary and mentorship included! A fantastic way to immerse yourself in the parent and school community.

You can always reach the PTG President at as a place to start for questions if you aren't sure who to ask.

PTG Executive Board

Erin Sahacic - President

Natalia Sternberger - Vice President

Elizabeth Morrison-Howe - Communications

Sandeep Pisharody - Treasurer

* PTG Calendar -

* Sign-up for the PTG membership toolkit -

Contact Information

Justin Sparks, Principal -

Julie Basler, Assistant Principal -

Lauren Canale, Secretary -

Kellie Byrne, Secretary -

Rachel Levesque, Guidance -

Sara Sequeira, Nursing -

Michael Bordonaro, Head Custodian -