From the Principal – January 22, 2018

Many students arrived this morning with much excitement about the Patriots victory!  This week marks the mid-point of the school year, and we continue to focus on both the academic and social/emotional development of our students.  You will receive feedback about both of these learning domains when Progress Reports are released on Monday, February 5th.  Our goal is for each child to develop a deep knowledge base, effective communication skills, and strong social/emotional intelligence.  We are eager to partner with you in celebrating and strategizing as we move toward this goal.

Tomorrow, our Fifth Graders, under the direction of Christen Fitts and Tom Sheppard, will present their Winter Instrumental and Choral Concert.  Those of us who have heard them practicing know that parents are in for a treat at the evening performance!

Kindergarten Information Night:  On Monday, February 5th, we will have an information session for parents of incoming Kindergartners at Newton South High School at 7:00 p.m.  More information about the Kindergarten registration process can be found at  Registration and Screening appointments will be held on the mornings of March 6th and March 13th at Peirce.  If you have an incoming Kindergartner and have not already scheduled an appointment for one of those mornings, please call Mrs. Carey at 617-559-9630 to do so.

 MCAS Schedule:  We have recently finalized the MCAS Testing Schedule for Grades 3, 4, and 5. Third Graders will take a paper-and-pencil version of the test, while Fourth and Fifth Graders will take the computer-based version.  We ask that families please keep the following dates in mind when scheduling appointments:

Grade 3 English Language Arts:  4/25 and 4/26

Grade 4 English Language Arts:  4/10 and 4/12

Grade 5 English Language Arts:  4/9 and 4/11

 Grade 3 Math:  5/18 and 5/21

Grade 4 Math:  5/16 and 5/17

Grade 5 Math:  5/14 and 5/15

 Grade 5 Science:  5/23 and 5/24

“Why Money Matters” Fair- Volunteers Needed!:  On Wednesday, March 28th, Peirce will hold Why Money Matters, a parent-run Education Fair, in the gym.  Parent Coordinators Puja Vohra and Star Lew are organizing this event and are searching for presenters.  If you are a Peirce parent and work in the Finance or Banking field, we invite you to join our presentation team!  If you can help or would like more information, please contact Puja Vohra ([email protected]) or Star Lew ([email protected]).

 Courageous Conversations about Race:  In his Welcome Letter to families in August (available on the NPS website), Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman wrote, “Now more than ever, we must be intentional about the work we have long been doing in support of racial justice, equity, and social and emotional learning. The work is imperative if we expect our graduates to be thoughtful and engaged citizens of an increasingly diverse, complex and connected world.”  At Peirce School, our professional team is taking this charge with great seriousness, and we are devoting all of our Early Release Days (excluding Parent-Teacher Conference Days) and a portion of each month’s staff meeting to learning how to have Courageous Conversations about Race.  We believe passionately that schools are a healing agent in our world that is too often characterized by divisiveness and brokenness and that the social/emotional curriculum is just as important as the academic curriculum.  We also believe that we are not able to fully do the work of social/emotional learning without engaging in honest discussion about issues of racial justice and equity.  A Peirce School leadership team has engaged in training with similar teams from other schools in our district, and this team is leading the school-based professional development work for the rest of our staff.  We see this professional learning as embedded within our school’s ongoing commitment to building a healthy school culture and fostering a community in which all students learn to be effective communicators and feel a strong sense of connectedness.  I look forward to sharing more about what we are learning, and I look forward to dialogue about this important topic.

Traffic Reminder:  Many thanks to everyone for observing safe traffic behavior in our rear driveway and parking lot.  During the cold months, we see an increase in people driving students to school.  It is essential that students be dropped off only at the curb and that no one park or drop off students in the middle of the driveway.  We also request that parked cars be left on the street rather than in our lot, which is needed for staff members.  Please also avoid parking in the drop-off lane, which blocks parents from dropping off students safely.   We depend on all adults in the community to follow these rules so that we can keep students safe!

Community Building Project- Help Needed!  Inspired by the success of our school mural, our art teacher, Georgia Smith, is embarking on an all school community building project and is seeking the assistance of any parents with experience in the fields of architecture or city planning and/or a parent who would be interested in serving as a project assistant/liaison for an all school project.  If you are interested in learning more you can email her at [email protected].

 School Council:   Our School Council, an Advisory Group comprised of parent, staff, and community volunteers, will meet at 7:45 a.m. on the following dates:  March 6th, April 3rd, and May 8th.  All meetings are held in the school library and are open to the public.

 PTO/Principal Coffee Dates:  You are invited to join the principal and PTO Presidents for coffee on Friday, February 9th, at 8:35 a.m. in the Art Room.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee will join us that day as a part of their annual tour of Newton schools.  Future coffees will be held in the Art Room (8:35-9:15 a.m.) on March 16th and May 11th.   

Early Release Dates: Please note that the following Wednesdays and Thursdays will have dismissal at 12:30 for the purpose of professional development and conferences: February 7th, March 8th, and May 3rd.

 Spring Concert Date:  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.