149 Pleasant Street
Newton Centre, MA. 02459
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Mason-Rice Notes 11/2/18

Mason-Rice Notes 11/2/18

Mason-Rice Notes 11/2/18


Dear Families,


This week marks the successful completion of our ninth week of school.  This past week, on Friday, October 26, our fifth graders had Understanding Our Differences, learning about physical disabilities. It was a very successful workshop. Thank you very much to all of our parent volunteers: Mayuko, Jenna, Jessica, Macy, Ingrid, Thomas, Sonal, Mary, Jenni, Brian, and Francoise, as well as our fifth grade teachers for their support. The most inspiring part of this experience was our guest speaker Oskar, a fourth grader here at Mason Rice. Oskar poignantly shared, “I did not think about being different for most of my life. You have to keep on going. You cannot think of it all the time. You have to have a life and be happy.”


On Wednesday, October 31 our entire school community truly enjoyed watching our kindergarten students walk the halls in their clever and creative costumes during our Kindergarten Parade.


The upcoming week is always one of the most exciting weeks of our school year with the Book Fair arriving.  Mason-Rice is a community that truly loves books and loves reading.  This year the Mason-Rice Book Fair will run from Tuesday, November 6 through Friday, November 9.  Our beloved Pajama Party Read Aloud is scheduled for Thursday evening, November 8, from 6-7:30pm.  I am looking forward to reading Spooky Stories to students this evening.  Our Book Fair is held in The Centre, meaning that lunches will be eaten in our classrooms.  So that every student may participate, families may apply for waivers based on financial hardship.  All waiver applications are confidential and are available upon request; please contact the Mason-Rice School office directly at 617-559-9570.  Please note that parents are welcome to shop before or after school, or during the school day when your child’s class visits the Book Fair (see hours in the flyer).  Please remember to sign in at the front office first.


It is a Mason-Rice School tradition to support the annual Gift of Giving campaign during the holiday season (see below).  While this program supports families throughout the Boston metropolitan area, the Mason-Rice PTO is also always ready and willing to support anyone within our community who has a need.  Should your family need support as we enter the winter months, purchasing warm clothes, coats or boots or helping meet a holiday gift need for your child please do not hesitate to contact me.  Our efforts will be coordinated through Susan Kass, our social worker, and all will be kept strictly confidential.


What to do: If you are interested in receiving holiday support, you may contact me or Susan Kass at susan_kass@newton.k12.ma.us or by phone at (617) 559-9570 by Friday, November 16, 2018.


I wish you all a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing many of you at our Pajama Party Read Aloud next week.



Jake Bultema



From the PTO

Dear Parents,


It’s hard to believe we closed out October.  We hope everyone who celebrated Halloween had a safe and fun filled night.  Our Kindergarteners were in full costume for their annual Halloween Parade on Wednesday, and they were the hit of the school.  Thank you to all the parents and staff who helped.  Want to get extra Halloween candy out of the house? A donation box will be in the M-R lobby from today through Wednesday of next week. Candy will be donated to a charitable cause.

As we say goodbye to October, we’re sorry to say we missed our goal of closing out our Dues Campaign – but we are getting really close.  Thank you to the 157 families that have helped raise $36,818!  We are 92% percent of the way to $40,000.  Currently only 45% of our families have contributed. If we can get 34 families to each give $100 (or more!) – or 100 families to

each give $50, then we can reach our goal…and you never have to hear about dues again until next fall! 

(That’s a win-win for all of us!)


If you have been putting off contributing, thinking that your contribution isn’t needed – or just haven’t made it a priority, help us make this the LAST appeal. Please take a moment today or tomorrow to write out a check and drop it in the lobby or click the PayPal link on the website and give the amount that you are comfortable giving.  It is our goal to close this out by next Friday, November 9. Thank you in advance for supporting Mason-Rice.


The Mason-Rice Book Fair will begin next Tuesday, November 6 and run to the end of the week. This is a wonderful opportunity to build excitement for literacy in our children.  By now you should have received a flyer in your child’s folder, detailing hours of operation for parents, as well as the schedule for individual classroom visits.  Our Centre is transformed into a buzzing and bustling ‘bookstore’ for both parents and students to enjoy, peruse, and purchase books. Parents can enter the building and visit the Centre during Book Fair Hours, which start at 7:45am Tuesday through Thursday and Friday at 10am.  Parents are also welcome to join their child during his/her scheduled classroom visit.  Please be respectful of teachers and staff and use your time in the school to enjoy the Book Fair only


One of the highlights of our Book Fair is the Pajama Party Read-Aloud on Thursday evening from 6:00-7:30pm. Children are encouraged to wear their comfiest PJs and visit our classrooms, where parent volunteers and guest readers will entertain them with fantastical stories. See the more detailed post below for information regarding classroom visit times, the PJ Party Read-Aloud, and ways you can volunteer.


Tuesday, November 6 is election day, and the annual 5th Grade Election-Day Bake Sale will take place.  For all Mason-Rice parents and caregivers, the school will open 10 minutes early and delicious goods will be on sale.



Have a wonderful weekend,

Will Adams, Leslie Ziarko Valera & Jas Rai

PTO co-Presidents



Key Dates & Upcoming Events


TUESDAY, 11/6 – 5th Grade Bake Sale & Voting Day


TUESDAY, 11/6 – FRIDAY, 11/9 – Mason-Rice Book Fair


THURSDAY, 11/8, 6-7:30PM – Annual PJ Party and Read Aloud


MONDAY, 11/12 – Veteran’s Day – No School


TUESDAY, 11/13 – Gift of Giving begins


FRIDAY, 11/16 – Game Night


WEDNESDAY, 11/21 – Early Release at 12:00PM (Please note the earlier time)


THURSDAY, 11/22 – FRIDAY, 11/23 – Thanksgiving Break – No School


THURSDAY, 11/29 – Principal Coffee at 8:45AM

Please Note:  Friday Morning Drop-Ins take place every Friday on the Mason-Rice playground weather-permitting.  All are invited.  Please put it in your calendars as a standing meeting and attend whenever you can!


Next Week’s Events: Book Fair & Bake Sale




Our fifth graders will be graduating from Mason-Rice before we know it! Join us in raising the funds to give them a truly special graduation. The Bake Sale is our MAIN class fundraiser of the year (minus this year’s Haunted House event!), with all proceeds going toward graduation activities (e.g. the yearbook and DVD, graduation reception, class party, teacher gifts and a gift to our wonderful school).


This year we have some special treats from very talented bakers who would like to take pre-orders. Please access the online link here and submit your order by Today, Friday November 2nd.



The gluten-free and allergen-free baked goods being offered at the bake sale will not have been produced in a dedicated facility, and will not be served in prepackaged servings, therefore, there is possible risk of cross-contamination, (even though all the items being sold will be nut free).


Because of these risk factors, the gluten-free and other allergen-free baked goods at the Mason-Rice bake sale cannot be guaranteed as safe for individuals with Celiac disease and/or other life-threatening food allergies.  If you are sending your child with money to purchase a baked good please consider any allergy conditions, in short, better to not have them purchase than take the risk or please accompany them to purchase. Again, safety first.


The Book Fair is always a very fun time with lots of buzz and excitement for books & reading! The Centre at Mason-Rice will be transformed into an AMAZING children’s bookstore. Every child will have an opportunity to shop with their classmates, so please make note of the date/time of the visit on the flyer which came home with your child last week. Parents are welcome to shop with or without your children, just remember during school hours to sign-in at the office first. Mason-Rice and the PTO thank you for your support!



Wear your pajamas to school and join us for cookies and stories time! Don’t miss this very fun family event on Thursday, November 8, 6pm to 7:30pm. Join special guests who will be reading stories for all ages. Parents can browse, mingle and shop the Book Fair during story time. Hope to see you there!


We can’t run the Book Fair without YOU! We need lots of help throughout the Book Fair whether it’s during school hours, after school or at the PJ Party on Thursday night. There are so many different ways to volunteer during the Annual M-R Book Fair – and it’s fun too! Please volunteer here:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4ca5af2e5-masonrice3 


If you have any Book Fair questions, contact Eleni Firkusny (espheeris@hotmail.com) or Laura Kay Hughes (lkhughes42@gmail.com).



From the PTO




Assemblies will begin in November, which means that Musical Mornings are back as well! Musical Mornings is a chance for students to perform in a friendly, informal setting for classmates at the beginning of each assembly. Assemblies will take place on alternating Tuesdays for grades K-2 and for grades 3-5. They will run from 8:30 to 9am. Please note that there will be eight assemblies for each grade. Slots fill up quickly at the end of the year, so sign up for an earlier slot

today! To sign up, click on one of the links below.


K-2 signup

3-5 signup


Questions? Feel free to contact Amy Cobaugh (amycobaugh@yahoo.com) for grades 3-5 or Jay Wood (jayfwood@verizon.net) for grades K-2.



Planning holiday cards and gifts? During the month of November, if you buy cards or other holiday items through www.minted.com, you’ll get 15% off and Mason-Rice will receive 15% of the purchase price as a donation when you use the code: FUNDRAISEMASONRICE. Happy online shopping!




This holiday season we will again run our GIFT OF GIVING program to fulfill wishes for children in need. This wonderful tradition for our families and our community will begin on Tuesday, November 13, and details will be coming home in your child’s backpack soon. We are always in need of a few volunteers to help distribute mittens at the school entrances, wrap items, and deliver gifts. If you can help, please contact Jay Wood (jayfwood@verizon.net) or Michele Niepel (michele@niepel.net).



The 7th Annual M-R Mystery Dinner (an adult only event) will be held Saturday evening February 9, 2019.  All attendees meet at one home for appetizers and drinks from 6:00-7:30PM.  Then we all break into small pre-assigned groups for dinner at various homes from 7:30-9:30PM.  Finally, we all come back together for dessert at 9:30PM at another home.


We are currently looking for the following volunteers:


ONE volunteer to open their home for the APPETIZER portion of the evening, ONE volunteer to open their home for the DESSERT portion of the evening, and MULTIPLE volunteers to host the DINNER part of the evening.   We will open up signups for attendees in January.  For more details, and to sign up to host, click here: Mason Rice 7th Annual Mystery Dinner- Appetizer/Dessert/Dinner Hosts Signup 2/9/19


Please contact Jess Poscover (jesskatz@yahoo.com) or Liz Bouvier (lizbouvier@hotmail.com) if you have any questions.


From the Art Room



Art Teacher, Emily Discenza, and the Mason-Rice Green Team would like to transform your unwanted items into art.  Raw materials can be dropped off in the labeled barrel in the entrance hall.  If you need to coordinate a drop off for a larger volume of items, please email Ms. Discenza.  Useful items for the art room include:

· Wood scraps

· Yarn, string, ribbon

· Fabric scraps, swatches or samples

· Toilet paper & paper towel rolls, egg cartons

· Packing materials

· Foam board or mat board

· Scrap metal

· Newspapers, magazines, catalogs

· Greeting cards, postcards

· Unwanted technology items

· Mini figures, party favors


Outside of Mason-Rice



LUKE’S LIGHTS 2018 – 11/10

6-11PM,  65 Graycliff Road, Newton Center



It’s that time of year! We will be spreading light, laughter, and love on November 10th. Come join us for a Pot-Luck supper, kids craft activities, buy lights, bring friends, eat, dance, sing, and help spread Luke’s spirit through this incredible

family friendly event.


LUKE LIGHTS SAVE LIVES – More than a quarter of the world’s population has no access to clean, affordable light. That’s 1.6 billion people either living in the dark or, almost worse, relying on toxic fire-hazard kerosene lamps. Together we can change this. Our compact solar LED lamps have already illuminated nights and lit a way to improved education, literacy and health in over 65 countries. You can help change a life. And light the world. Tickets $20, $10 under 13, available at the door. If you cannot attend the event, but would still like to make a donation, head to lukeslights.org and click donate.








The opening night for Wheelock Family Theatre’s performance of Gooney Bird Greene and Her True Life Adventures is this Friday, October 26th and features Mason-Rice alum Ava Lyons (and sister to Mason-Rice 5th graders Jake and Chloe Lyons). Ava will perform as Felicia Ann, a classmate of Gooney Bird, and the show runs approximately 90 minutes. Gooney Bird Greene and Her True Life Adventures is an adaptation by Kent R. Brown of the Lois Lowry book that charts the quirky course of Gooney Bird, a new student at Watertower Elementary with a flair for the theatrical. Gooney Bird inspires her classmates to maximize their own self-expression through wearing brightly-colored mismatched ensembles and telling wildly imaginative stories that are 100% true. There will be 16 performances between October 26th and November 18th, with shows available to the public mostly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Wheelock Family Theatre’s website can be found at https://wheelockfamilytheatre.org/. Tickets can be ordered from here or you may be able to find discounted tickets at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/993442/prm/Sox9. Additionally, tickets for the Saturday 10:30am shows are discounted at $15.




My daughter, Maddie, a Mason Rice alum and current 10th grader at Newton South is available for occasional babysitting. She is amazing with kids (out of diapers, up to two at a time, for now) and is working in the daycare at South. She lives in Newton Center and does not have a car yet, but will be driving this summer. If interested in meeting her, you can email me (Lynne Xerras) and I can put you in touch with her – lbxdcx@yahoo.com. Thanks!






Jessica Hughes



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