From the Principal January 14, 2019

Dear Peirce Families,

I hope that 2019 is treating all of you well!  The Peirce Team is excited to have an extended stretch of school days uninterrupted by snow so that we have strong momentum through this crucial learning time as we approach the halfway point of the school year.  Although the weather is not hampering our work, illness is taking an unfortunate toll on our students.  Please see an important note below from our School Nurse, Chloe Ainley.  We hope that all who are sick recover quickly and that everyone else avoids “the bug.” 

            As we pause this coming weekend to recognize the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are mindful of the many ways in which our world is still broken and the importance of each one of us finding ways to work for the peace, justice, and well-being of all.  At Peirce, we take seriously our mission to grow our students as excellent people in both academic and social-emotional learning.  We do this through our partnership with families and our joint commitment to learning together and nurturing our children to be people in whom we can place our hope for a better future.  Next week, I invite all of you to expand our collaboration in this work by joining us for Dynamic Diversity Night at Peirce.  Below Nurse Chloe’s message, please find the information sent home from our PTO last Thursday, including a link to RSVP.  Many Thanks to Elsa Janairo and the FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) Team for planning this important evening!

Progress Reports: We are soon approaching Day 90, the school year’s mid-point, and teachers are currently finalizing Progress Reports.  The reports will be available online for parents on Thursday, January 31st

From our School Nurse, Chloe Ainley: The school nurses are seeing the usual uptick in winter illness – colds, stomach bugs and fevers. It remains important for families to keep sick kids at home, in accordance with school policy. Students cannot return to school until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours, without medication like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin. These guidelines are also good common sense for adults in the workplace. The checklist below can help families determine when to stay home and when to return to school or work.

Along with the symptoms mentioned on the checklist, here are additional symptoms to stay home with:

  • 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

The Newton school nurses monitor illness in the schools and are available for any questions or concerns. It’s important to notify the school nurse of any diagnosed condition such as influenza or strep throat. It may seem elementary, but in conjunction with a flu vaccine, thorough handwashing is the best way to prevent all kinds of illness including the flu.

How to wash your hands:

Wet~your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Lather~your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub~your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse~your hands well under clean, running water.

Dry~your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do~not~eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals. 

Flu vaccination for all people age 6 months and older continues to be recommended. It’s not too late get a flu shot. Call 617-796-1420 to make an appointment for vaccination with the public health nurse at City Hall.

Some information adapted from and

Peirce FORJ Dynamic Diversity Night

Talking about Race with Our Children

  • Do you wonder what’s appropriate to talk about with your young child in terms of race, identity and culture?
  • How do you help your child when a prejudiced comment or action happens at school or in the community? 
  • How do you actively teach your child about multiple identities while also helping your child see the inherent oneness of humanity?
  • Do you wish you could practice some of these conversations before having them with your child or another adult? 

 If you would like to explore these topics, come join us for the “Dynamic Diversity Night” on January 24th at 6:30-8:30PM in the Peirce gym with Parent Coach and Social Justice Educator, Amy Behrens, M.Ed., Co-Founder of FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) and Gillian Van Delft, Equity Education Specialist, Courageous Conversations Facilitator, and METCO Counselor for Newton Public Schools.  

Parents, guardians, and teachers are welcome to come ask questions, share stories and engage in conversation about race, racism, identity and culture.  You will walk away with resources, new connections, and greater confidence in talking about these issues with your children, students, and other adults. 

If you are unable to find childcare for the evening, there will be a volunteer available to supervise children in an adjoining room.  Light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages will be served!

We look forward to seeing you then!  Please RSVP here: to give us an idea of numbers for materials and refreshments.  

Absences:  If your child will be absent from school for any reason, please call the Student Absence Line at 617-559-9650 before 8:00.  Also, please be sure that teachers have accurate information about dismissal routines for your child.

Early Release Dates: Please note that the following Wednesdays and Thursdays will have dismissal at 12:30 for the purpose of professional development and conferencesFebruary 6th, March 21st, and May 9th.

Parent Coffees:  Our next PTO/Principal Coffee will be held on Friday, February 1st, and we will welcome Superintendent David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee as a part of their annual visit to Newton schools.  Future coffees will be held on March 15th and May 10th.

Winter Concert Coming Soon!:  Please mark your calendars for the Fifth Grade Band/Strings/Chorus Winter Concert.  The concert will be held on January 29th  (snow date: February 6th).   There will be 10:00 a.m. (for students and staff only) and 7:00 p.m. (for families) performances.

Spring Concert Dates:  Please mark your calendars for the Fourth and Fifth Grade Band/Strings/Chorus Spring Concerts.  The Fourth Grade concert will be held on May 22nd. The Fifth Grade concert will be held on May 29th.   There will be 10:00 a.m. (for students and staff only) and 7:00 p.m. (for families) performances.

With best wishes,

Mark Chitty