From the PTO Co-Presidents
We hope everyone enjoyed the first full week of school in what seems like a very long time. Don’t let the spring-like weather fool you – winter is coming and Blue Zone Safety is very important.
Please do not let kids exit the car on the street side and allow them to cross without the crossing guard outside of the crosswalk. Remember, there are no u-turns allowed on Pleasant Street.
Special thanks to Jess Poscover, Liz Bouvier, Sara Penn, Lara Bethke & Marty Smith for their coordination and planning of another successful Trivia Night! Thanks to all families that attended and had a great time.
Next week we kick off our second biggest PTO fundraiser of the year, the annual On-line Auction. The auction runs from January 18 – 28. Liza Harris, Meredith Tzouros., Carol Ann Delmonico and our tireless auction team have been busy gathering many items from donors for you to bid on, and all net proceeds go to the Mason-Rice PTO. If you’d like to host an event, need help thinking through a potential idea, or have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com. (Note that we will limit the bidders for your event to Mason-Rice parents only.) To learn more about the Mason-Rice online auction, click here or visit: http://masonrice.org/
committees/fundraisers/online- auction/. The success of our fundraisers ensures we can continue to provide classroom support, fund enrichment programs and host school events like our Fall and Spring Picnics.
We have provided more information on the NPS Equity Policy below. We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with it as a stakeholder in the Newton Public Schools. The Equity Policy Meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:30 pm in the Centre. We hope many families can join us to discuss the changes to the Equity Policy for 2019-2020 school year.
Will Adams, Jas Rai & Leslie Ziarko Valera
Key Dates & Upcoming Events
FRIDAY, 1/18 – PTO Board Meeting
MONDAY, 1/21 – Martin Luther King Day – No School
WEDNESDAY, 1/2 – MONDAY, 2/4 – Cradles to Crayons Donation Drive
FRIDAY,1/18 – MONDAY, 1/28 – Mason-Rice Auction
WEDNESDAY, 2/6 – Early Release
SATURDAY, 2/9 – Cradles to Crayons Volunteer Shift
SATURDAY, 2/9 – Annual M-R Mystery Dinner
THURSDAY, 2/14 – PTO Board Meeting
MONDAY, 2/18 – FRIDAY, 2/22 – February Break
MONDAY, 3/11 – FRIDAY, 3/15 – STEAM Week
ONGOING: Friday Morning Drop-In at Central Cafe and Restaurant (761 Beacon) starting at 8:30am during the winter months.
NPS Equity Policy Education
The Equity Policy meeting with representatives from the School & Equity Committees will be held on Wednesday, January 23 at 7:30 pm in the Centre. We hope many families can join us to discuss the Equity Policy for 2019-2020 school year.
Some of you may be wondering why this meeting is important. A good first step is understanding the categories of the Newton PTO budgets and what items fall into what areas. This graphic below (or PDF here) provides an overview of where elementary PTOs can and can’t spend their money. The yellow areas are considered equity spending – which means they are capped in an attempt to broadly equalize investment across all 15 elementary schools. The caps listed – $15 per student for technology and $80 per student for Curriculum Support – go into effect for the 2019/2020 school year. The caps were created by looking at the median spend of PTOs.
As far as changes, in previous years, technology was not capped. PTOs could make technology investments up to the standards established by the Newton Public Schools. For example, we invested in two sets of Chromebook carts in June of last year. That investment was approximately $15K. Based on our project enrollment of 462 student next year, our technology cap will be $6,930 in the next school year.
In addition, the Curriculum Support area has been previously capped at about $106 per student. In this year’s budget, the PTO proposed spending approximately $47,155 in total or about $96 per student. Next year, our expected enrollment is 462 students so our Curriculum Support equity cap will be $36,960 with a max of $80 per student. As a result, we will need to make some decisions as a PTO what to fund and not fund as we go into the budgeting process for next year. We will plan to provide more detail on the line items in M-R equity spending in the Notes next week.
If you are interested in the equity topic, we encourage you to have one member of your family attend the presentation and discussion on January 23. We also encourage you to voice your questions and concerns to the PTO presidents by emailing masonricepto@gmail.
com or attending next week’s PTO Meeting on Friday, January 18 following drop off.
From the PTO
MASON-RICE ONLINE AUCTION – ONE WEEK AWAY!
The annual online auction will go live next Friday, January 18! We have some new fun and unique items this year that we can’t wait for you to see! There are new “Mason-Rice only” events – like a John Hughes-themed parent movie party, writers workshop, semi-private yoga instruction, March Madness and Beer night, original art work done by Mason-Rice parents and Reggae Night in Newton Centre – just to name a few! Plus, the annual favorites, like Tacos and Tequila, Dodgeball, Basketball with the Principal, etc. And, of course, tons of camp discounts, fitness class passes, restaurant gift cards, theater tickets, and SO MUCH MORE!
Last call for donations! Did you get any gift cards from the holidays that you won’t be using? Have a last minute idea for an event you’d like to host? Let us know asap at firstname.lastname@example.org! We prefer to get all donations by Tuesday, January 15 but we can take them even after the auction has started.
Also, we often need extra hands in the last days before the auction to pick up auction donations, help package auction donations or follow-up with potential donors. If you have time to help, please let us know at email@example.com.
CRADLES TO CRAYONS – DONATION DRIVE NOW THROUGH 2/4 AND VOLUNTEER SHIFT 2/9
Please join fellow Mason-Rice families for a volunteer shift at Cradles to Crayons (C2C) on Saturday, February 9 from 10am – 12pm. (Arrive at 9:45am). All children ages 5+ are welcome to volunteer. Please sign up at www.signupgenius.com/go/
5080e4eada82aa75-cradles. If your plans change, update the sign-up so other families can join us.
The C2C shelves are bare in January so it’s a great time to go through your closets, attic, basement, and/or garage to find new or like-new children’s items to donate. Then put your toy, shoe and clothing donations in the C2C box in the M-R lobby by 2/4 or if you are volunteering, bring them with you to C2C on 2/9. You can learn more about their most needed items here. If you have any questions, please email Marci Shyavitz. Thanks!
PARENT SOCIAL COMMITTEE UPDATE: MYSTERY DINNER HOST SIGNUP!
Book your sitter for the 7th Annual M-R Mystery Dinner to be held Saturday evening February 9, 2019! This is a fun, adult-only event – come alone or as a couple! All attendees meet at Louisa and David West’s home (20 Morton ROAD – NOT Morton Street) for appetizers and drinks from 6:00-7:30PM. Then we all will break into small pre-assigned groups of approximately 8-10 people for dinner at various parents’ homes from 7:30-9:30PM. The dinner house is a “mystery” until that night! Then the party continues as we all come back together for dessert at 9:30PM at Heather and Hari Sundrum’s home (205 Homer Street).
Thank you to all who signed up to host at your home. We are now opening up signups to attend. We ask that all attendees who sign up bring BOTH a food AND a drink item to one of the three houses that evening. So, sign up to bring either a drink and appetizer to the appetizer house OR wine, salad and bread to the dinner house OR a drink and dessert to the dessert house. Please also indicate whether you are attending solo or as a couple (1 or 2 people). The dinner hosts are volunteering their time, food and home, so we ask that guests please do their very best to attend once they RSVP yes. If an emergency arises on the day of the event, please call or text Jessica at 617-899-2851 so we know if someone cannot attend at the last minute. We ask too if you have to cancel last minute you make the best effort to buy or make and drop off the food and drink
items you signed up for. Please sign up here to attend: 7th Annual M-R Mystery Dinner Attendee Sign Up
SUPPORT M-R WHEN YOU BUY FROM STOP&SHOP OR PEAPOD!
Been on Needham St. lately? Did you notice the new grocery store? It’s a Stop&Shop and they have an A+ School Rewards program! Mason-Rice benefits anytime you purchase from the store or receive PeaPod delivery to your home. To join the program, register your Stop&Shop membership card online at https://stopandshop.com/
sign-up/ and choose Mason-Rice as your school. Every time you use your membership card to purchase from Stop&Shop or Peapod through March 16, you’ll generate donations to Mason-Rice.
MASON-RICE PARENTS STEAM WEEK – MARCH 11-15
During this week, caregivers and parents are invited to come into the classroom and present on any topic related to Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts or Mathematics. Signup will open soon. We encourage caregivers to create hands-on presentations and to coordinate with teachers to ensure that topics are age and classroom appropriate. Caregivers, we encourage you to begin thinking about the STEAM topic you’d like to present in your child’s classroom and please mark these dates in your diary. Contact STEAM week committee — Aedin Culhane and Sharon Topper — for more information.
GIRLS ON THE RUN – LAST CALL FOR PARENT VOLUNTEERS
This is a last call for parent volunteers for Girls on the Run (Spring ’19) – we need your support! This fabulous after school program is targeted to 4th and 5th grade girls. We build confidence and develop relationships over games, good conversations, and of course, running! Volunteer responsibilities include providing healthy snacks for 15 girls, and attending at least one practice per week (TBD based on volunteer availability). You are welcome to run with the girls, but this is not required- your supportive presence alone makes an impact. If interested, please email Emily Discenza.
TRIVIA NIGHT THANK-YOUS!
On Monday evening, M-R parents joined together for our Second Annual Parent Social Trivia Night at Union Street. Thank you to our fantastic hosts, Lara Bethke, Sara Penn and Marty Smith for a fun night. Congrats to first place team “Big Rascals”, and team members Will Aguilera, Brian Neumann, Shawn Konary, Patrick Moriarty and Kevin Spector, pictured with their Trivia Night First Place Award.
Outside of Mason-Rice
NEWTON SOUTHEAST LITTLE LEAGUE SPRING 2019 REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!
Registration for all divisions (T-ball through Majors) is now open for students who reside within or attend private or public schools within the public school district boundaries of Memorial-Spaulding, Mason-Rice, Bowen, Angier, Countryside and Zervas. Children who attend one of these schools but live out of district may participate in NSELL’s program under Little League’s 2019 rules without a waiver.
T ball: ages 5-6 (pre-K and K)
Farm: ages 7 and 8 (one division for age 7/1st grade and one division for age 8/2nd grade)
AA: age 9 (3rd grade)
AAA: ages 10-11 (4-5th grade)
Majors: ages 10-12 (4th-6th grade) are eligible (selection by draft)
Majors Registration Ends January 15th!!!
All other divisions (except T ball) open through Feb 15th
T ball accepts registrations through April
We are offering a $30 early bird discount for T-ball for players registered before February 1, 2018.
SIGN UP FOR NEWTON YOUTH LACROSSE!
Sign ups for Newton Youth Lacrosse spring session for grades 1-8 are taking place through February 1. Register early to be guaranteed a spot by clicking this link or going to newtonyouthlacrosse.com. Questions about registration, coaching and volunteer opportunities can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW ENGLAND CAMP FAIR – 2/10
The New England Camp Fair will hold its 4th annual event on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at Underwood School from 11:30am – 2:30pm. The Camp Fair is FREE and open to the public, and brings together camps serving kids ages 5-14. Bring your camper(s) and engage with staff from 20+ premier day and sleepaway camps from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut. Participating camps run the gamut, including traditional day and overnight camps, sports camps, theater camps, computer camps, fencing camps, arts camps, as well as many other themed camps. Visit www.newenglandcampfair.
org for a complete list of camps attending. Parking and refreshments are also free! If you have any questions, feel free contacting the Underwood PTO.
SIBSHOPS WITH JF&CS
WILLIAMS PTO – EVENING SPORTS CLINICS
Winter Session 2 Now Open for Registration
Registration is now open for Multi-Sports, Futsal (soccer) and Basketball clinics with Be Ahead of the Game at the Williams School! Winter Session 2 runs from February – March. Click the links below for full details and to register. Sign up now to get the early bird rate while there’s still space! Open to children from all schools.