From the Principal- January 10, 2017

Dear Peirce Families,

            I hope that the new year is off to a great start for all of you!  After one week back from vacation, we are settling into routines and looking forward to months that are often a remarkable period of student growth.  We are a couple of weeks away from Day 90, the school year’s mid-point, and teachers are currently finalizing Progress Reports.  The reports will be available online for parents on Monday, February 6th

            We have recently finalized the MCAS Testing Schedule for Grades 3, 4, and 5.  Grades 3 and 5 will take a paper-and-pencil version of the test, while Fourth Graders districtwide will take the computer-based version.  We are pleased to return to MCAS after two years with PARCC, and we look forward to using this new version of the test to assess student progress and refine our curriculum and instruction.  We ask that families please keep the following dates in mind when scheduling appointments:

Grade 3 English Language Arts- April 26, 27, 28

Grade 4 English Language Arts- April 4, 5, 6

Grade 5 English Language Arts-April 3, 13, 25

Grade 3 Math- May 4 and 5

Grade 4 Math- May 8 and 9

Grade 5 Math- May 2 and 3

Grade 5 Science- May 10 and 12

Can You Help Us??  On Wednesday, March 22nd, we will hold our parent-run STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) Fair in the gym.  Parent coordinators Jay Bhawalkar and Gabriel Kreiman are organizing this event, and we are searching for presenters!  If you are a Peirce parent and work in a STEM-related field, we invite you to join our presentation team.   It is a six-hour commitment as students will visit the fair with their grade-level peers and cycle through stations in small groups.  Volunteers will need to be available 8:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m. for this one day.  All you need is a professional connection to a STEM-related field and a passion for sharing an interesting aspect of your work with children.  As with our Health and Arts Fairs in previous years, we hope to spark children’s imagination while giving parents a chance to share their expertise in our school setting.

    If you are able to help on March 22nd, please contact either Jay Bhawalkar (J_Bhawalkar@yahoo.com) or Gabriel Kreiman (gkreiman@gmail.com).

Two Notices From our School Nurse, Mandy Bass:

 January 2017 Health Newsletter

Coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, oh my!

Winter illness is abounding, as is often the case during the colder months.

Here are some Stay Healthy Tips:

Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness.

  • Wash your hands often — when they are dirty, before eating, after using the restroom and after sneezing into a tissue
  • Use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are ok to use when your hands aren’t visibly dirty, but hand washing is preferable
  • Make it fun with kids – sing a song and model thoroughly soaping up!
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea — “the stomach bug” – are often transmitted via a fecal/oral route, meaning virus is shed in the stool, gets on hands, and then enters the body through the mouth. Thorough hand washing after using the bathroom helps prevent this type of illness.

Cough Etiquette

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands – use a tissue or your elbow

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Stay away from people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

If your child unfortunately does get sick, please follow the illness policy. A student will be excluded from school if he/she has:

  • A fever of 100° or greater in the past 24 hours
  • A communicable disease diagnosis
  • A cold in the active stages – coughing, sneezing, nasal drainage
  • A sore throat and/or swollen neck glands
  • Vomiting or diarrhea in the past 24 hours
  • Acute pain that requires relief by narcotic medication
  • An undiagnosed rash or skin eruption

Nurses monitor illness patterns so please contact the school nurse:

  • If you are uncertain if your child should come to school
  • To report illness when keeping your child home

Adapted from http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing

 

 BMI Screening Notification

The BMI Screening Program will be take place over the next month, starting Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 57 and 105 CMR 200.000) require that public schools collect height and weight measurements of students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10.  These measurements are used to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a screening tool to monitor students’ growth and development and identify possible health risks.

Your child’s screening will be supervised by the school nurse and each student’s privacy will be respected at all times.  Your child’s height, weight, and BMI measurements will be recorded in your child’s school health record and kept strictly confidential.  The screening results will be available to parents/guardians upon request.

If you choose not to have your child participate in the Growth Screening Program, please contact the school nurse by January 10, 2017.

Here are some simple standards for a healthy lifestyle for children:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables; drink more water and less sugary drinks
  • Spend no more than 2 hours per day on “screen time” (TV, video games, computer use, etc.)
  • Get at least 1 hour of physical activity per day

In support of your efforts to promote healthy eating and active living, you may find the following websites helpful:

http://www.keepkidshealthy.com

http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/

http://www.mass.gov/massinmotion

Please feel free to contact the school nurse with any questions you have about the BMI screening.

From our Librarian, Jamie Lightfoot:  Did you know that when parents are involved at school, the performance of all the children at school, not just their own, tends to improve?  Have you wanted to volunteer at Peirce but can’t commit to a weekly schedule? Here is your opportunity to volunteer by reading a book and giving a book talk to students about the book!

The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award is a program run by Salem State. The concept of this award is that a committee of teachers/librarians appoints titles every year, and students in Grades 4-6 can vote for the book they want to win.  In order to participate in the voting, students must read five of the titles before voting in March. Students vote during library class. The winning book is then announced in April.

Throughout January, I am looking for parents (or grandparents, older siblings, etc) to come in to Peirce during 4th and 5th Grade library classes and book talk one of the 25 books on the MCBA list. My hope is this will increase interest in reading during a time when it often drops for many children.

If you would like to sign up to read one of the books and then give a 5 minute book talk to a class during their library time, please do so by clicking the sign-up link below. A list with all the titles is also linked below. Put your name next to the title you’d like to read (1 person per title).  I have ordered a copy of each book, so, once they are in, I will let everyone who signs up know they can pick the books up in the library. The times for 4th and 5th Grade classes are also on the sign-up. You can sign up for one or several of the classes to give your book talk.  We have time for 3-4 book talks per library class.

2017 Nominated Book List

Click here to learn more about the books

Click here to sign up​​​​​​​                                                  

Save the Date!    Dr. David Fleishman, Superintendent of Schools, and members of the Newton School Committee will be visiting Peirce at the Parent Coffee on Friday, March 17th, 8:30-9:15 a.m., as a part of their annual tour of Newton schools.  They look forward to speaking with members of the Peirce community.  Come join us for coffee and conversation!

Parent Coffee Dates:  You are invited to join the principal for coffee on Friday, January 13th, at 8:35 a.m. in the Art Room.  A major topic for coffees this year will be the Responsive Classroom program, which we use as a key part of our social-emotional learning and culture-building at Peirce.   Future coffees will be held in the Art Room (8:35-9:15 a.m.) on February 3rd, March 17th, and May 5th.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee will join us at the March 17th Parent Coffee.

Early Release Dates: Please note that the following Thursdays will have dismissal at 12:30 for the purpose of professional development and conferences:  February 1st (Wednesday), March 9th, and May 11th.

10Concert Dates:  Please mark your calendars for the Band/Strings/Chorus Concert dates.  The dates are:  January 24th (Snow Date of January 26th) for Fifth Grade only and May 30th for Fourth and Fifth Grades.   There will be 10:00 a.m. (for students and staff only) and 7:00 p.m. (for families) performances on both dates.

 

School Council:   Our School Council, an Advisory Group comprised of parent, staff, and community volunteers, will meet at 7:30 a.m. on January 12th, March 16th, May 11th, and June 8th.  All meetings are held in the school library and are open to the public.

From the Principal- December 19, 2016

Dear Peirce Families,

            It is an exciting week as we prepare for vacation and holidays!  If your child will miss any part of this school week, please let us know in advance so that we can plan accordingly.  I wish you all much happiness in your time with family and friends.

 From our School Nurse, Mandy Bass:  The cold weather causes dry skin and chapped lips for many of our students.  If you are looking for another little gift for Hanukkah or Christmas, please consider chap stick, hand sanitizer and a small tube of hand lotion. If left in lunch boxes or backpacks, it would not be a distraction during the day, but it would be a great opportunity for children to prevent issues around dry skin and promote self care at snack time or lunch time. 

 From our Librarian, Jamie Lightfoot:  Did you know that when parents are involved at school, the performance of all the children at school, not just their own, tends to improve?  Have you wanted to volunteer at Peirce but can’t commit to a weekly schedule? Here is your opportunity to volunteer by reading a book and giving a book talk to students about the book!

The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award is a program run by Salem State. The concept of this award is that a committee of teachers/librarians appoints titles every year, and students in Grades 4-6 can vote for the book they want to win.  In order to participate in the voting, students must read five of the titles before voting in March. Students vote during library class. The winning book is then announced in April.

Throughout January, I am looking for parents (or grandparents, older siblings, etc) to come in to Peirce during 4th and 5th Grade library classes and book talk one of the 25 books on the MCBA list. My hope is this will increase interest in reading during a time when it often drops for many children.

If you would like to sign up to read one of the books and then give a 5 minute book talk to a class during their library time, please do so by clicking the sign-up link below. A list with all the titles is also linked below. Put your name next to the title you’d like to read (1 person per title).  I have ordered a copy of each book, so, once they are in, I will let everyone who signs up know they can pick the books up in the library. The times for 4th and 5th Grade classes are also on the sign-up. You can sign up for one or several of the classes to give your book talk.  We have time for 3-4 book talks per library class.

2017 Nominated Book List

Click here to learn more about the books

Click here to sign up                                       

Save the Date!    Dr. David Fleishman, Superintendent of Schools, and members of the Newton School Committee will be visiting Peirce at the Parent Coffee on Friday, March 17th, 8:30-9:15 a.m., as a part of their annual tour of Newton schools.  They look forward to speaking with members of the Peirce community.  Come join us for coffee and conversation!

 

Parent Coffee Dates:  You are invited to join the principal for coffee on Friday, January 6th, at 8:35 a.m. in the Art Room.  A major topic for coffees this year will be the Responsive Classroom program, which we use as a key part of our social-emotional learning and culture-building at Peirce.   Future coffees will be held in the Art Room (8:35-9:15 a.m.) on February 3rd, March 17th, and May 5th.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee will join us at the March 17th Parent Coffee.

 

Early Release Dates: Please note that the following Thursdays will have dismissal at 12:30 for the purpose of professional development and conferences:  February 1st (Wednesday), March 9th, and May 11th.

 Concert Dates:  Please mark your calendars for the Band/Strings/Chorus Concert dates.  The dates are:  January 24th (Snow Date of January 26th) for Fifth Grade only and May 30th for Fourth and Fifth Grades.   There will be 10:00 a.m. (for students and staff only) and 7:00 p.m. (for families) performances on both dates.

 School Council:   Our School Council, an Advisory Group comprised of parent, staff, and community volunteers, will meet at 7:30 a.m. on January 12th, March 16th, May 11th, and June 8th.  All meetings are held in the school library and are open to the public.

 CAPP Program Meeting:  Parents of students in Grades K, 2, and 5 are invited to an informational meeting about the Child Assault Prevention Program, which is brought to Newton Elementary Schools by volunteers working with Family Access of Newton.  The meeting will be held on Friday, January 6th, 8:45-9:45 a.m. in the Angier School Library, 1697 Beacon Street.

From the Principal- December 12, 2016

Dear Peirce Families,

            As we head into our final two weeks before Winter Vacation, I hope that this season of holidays and changes in routines brings peace and joy to everyone.  We are thankful for the privilege of joining you on the amazing journey of nurturing your children’s growth as students and citizens.  We look forward with anticipation to the wonderful things that will happen for our school community in 2017.

            Last Friday, we gathered for our December Town Meeting and enjoyed a presentation from Fifth Graders about having a Growth Mindset.  Everyone in the school recently read the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, and Fifth Graders presented several skits based on the content of this book.  They taught us strategies for handling frustrations and reminded us that each mistake is an opportunity for growth.  We continue to reinforce this Growth Mindset message for students in both academic instruction and social/emotional development so that they develop habits of reflection and perseverance.  We want them to focus on the effectiveness of their problem-solving strategies rather than relying on their perceived innate abilities.  A couple of years ago, staff members and many parents read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.  If you have not read this book, I encourage you to do so!

            As the weather of the past week has demonstrated, winter has arrived.  Children need to be prepared for playing outside in snow and in cold temperatures.  They will need to have the 5 Snow Gear Essentials:  1. jacket  2. hat/hood  3. gloves  4. boots  5. snowpants   Please plan ahead with your children so that they are prepared for the cold weeks ahead!

            As we enter this season of holidays and vacations, we ask that families please be mindful of the Newton School Committee’s policy stating, Newton Public Schools allows a group gift to an individual staff member only if the gift is identified as being from the entire class, the identity of the givers and the individual amounts are not disclosed to the recipient, and the gift does not exceed $150 per school year. This differs from a gift for the classroom.  Individual gifts of appreciation in the form of sentimental tokens are allowed. Gifts of commercial value are not permitted. NPS allows and encourages giving to charitable organizations such as school PTO’s or the Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher Program, which honors staff while supporting our schools.”

            Please see the paragraphs below with information about upcoming events and important dates.  Fourth and Fifth Grade Parents, please note the change of information regarding concert dates.  I wish you all a happy and healthy vacation with thanks for the opportunity to be your partner in your child’s education.

With best wishes for the New Year,

Mark Chitty

                                         

Save the Date!    Dr. David Fleishman, Superintendent of Schools, and members of the Newton School Committee will be visiting Peirce at the Parent Coffee on Friday, March 17th, 8:30-9:15 a.m., as a part of their annual tour of Newton schools.  They look forward to speaking with members of the Peirce community.  Come join us for coffee and conversation!

Parent Coffee Dates:  You are invited to join the principal for coffee on Friday, January 6th, at 8:35 a.m. in the Art Room.  A major topic for coffees this year will be the Responsive Classroom program, which we use as a key part of our social-emotional learning and culture-building at Peirce.  Future coffees will be held in the Art Room (8:35-9:15 a.m.) on February 3rd, March 17th, and May 5th.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee will join us at the March 17th Parent Coffee.

Early Release Dates: Please note that the following Thursdays will have dismissal at 12:30 for the purpose of professional development and conferences:  February 1st (Wednesday), March 9th, and May 11th.

Concert Dates:  Please mark your calendars for the Band/Strings/Chorus Concert dates.  The dates are:  January 24th (Snow Date of January 26th) for Fifth Grade only and May 30th for Fourth and Fifth Grades.   There will be 10:00 a.m. (for students and staff only) and 7:00 p.m. (for families) performances on both dates.

School Council:   Our School Council, an Advisory Group comprised of parent, staff, and community volunteers, will meet at 7:30 a.m. on December 15th, January 12th, March 16th, May 11th, and June 8th.  All meetings are held in the school library and are open to the public.

CAPP Program Meeting:  Parents of students in Grades K, 2, and 5 are invited to an informational meeting about the Child Assault Prevention Program, which is brought to Newton Elementary Schools by volunteers working with Family Access of Newton.  The meeting will be held on Friday, January 6th, 8:45-9:45 a.m. in the Angier School Library, 1697 Beacon Street.

From the Principal- November 28, 2016

Dear Peirce Families,

            I hope that all of you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend.  It was wonderful to see many of you along the route of our Friendship Walk last Wednesday, and the children participated with enthusiasm in our Sing-Along following the parade.  I look forward to hearing their stories about holiday travels and other adventures as I visit classrooms and see them in the hallways this week!

With only twenty school days left until our next break, we are taking advantage of every moment for learning. Thank you to everyone for helping us have a strong start to each school day by getting your children to school before 8:30 a.m.  We are now entering the season when more gear is required [e.g. coats, hats, gloves, snowpants (soon!), and boots (soon!)], so please help your children plan ahead for an on-time start each morning.  Thank you also for encouraging and supporting their independence with morning routines, including the management of materials. 

            One final request as we head into the winter months is that all adults please review and follow our parking/drop-off procedures.  Adults should never drop off children on Temple Street.  Drivers should drop off children only at the curb in the back parking lot.  Please note that the curb is not available for parking, and the lot should be reserved for staff members.  If you need to park and enter the school, please park on one of the streets surrounding the school.  These rules are essential for keeping all children safe, and we appreciate your cooperation.

            Next week, we will complete the first third of our school year!  Fall conferences ended a few weeks ago, and mid-year progress reports will come home at the beginning of February.  Please continue to review work and information sent home by teachers.  If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s progress toward grade-level benchmarks or other aspects of your child’s experience at Peirce School, please do not hesitate to reach out at any time.  We are eager for feedback to help us better facilitate your child’s growth and strengthen our communication with all of you..

            In this season of gratitude and reflection, I am thankful to be a part of such a vibrant and supportive learning community.  It is a pleasure and privilege to be your principal.

With best wishes,

Mark Chitty

Private School Applications:  As families are considering private school applications for the 2017-18 school year, we respectfully ask that reference/transcript requests be given to Peirce staff as early as possible (preferably by December 1st) so that they may be completed well ahead of application deadlines.

Parent Coffee Dates:  You are invited to join the principal for coffee on Friday, January 6th, at 8:35 a.m. in the Art Room.  A major topic for coffees this year will be the Responsive Classroom program, which we use as a key part of our social-emotional learning and culture-building at Peirce.   Future coffees will be held in the Art Room (8:35-9:15 a.m.) on February 3rd, March 17th, and May 5th.

Early Release Dates: Please note that the following Thursdays will have dismissal at 12:30 for the purpose of professional development and conferences:  December 8th, February 1st (Wednesday), March 9th, and May 11th.

Concert Dates:  Please mark your calendars for the Fourth and Fifth Grade Band/Strings/Chorus Concert dates.  The dates are:  January 24th (Snow Date of January 26th) and May 30th.   There will be 10:00 a.m. (for students and staff only) and 7:00 p.m. (for families) performances on both dates.

School Council:   Our School Council, an Advisory Group comprised of parent, staff, and community volunteers, will meet at 7:30 a.m. on December 15th, January 12th, March 16th, May 11th, and June 8th.  All meetings are held in the school library and are open to the public.