What is the Mason-Rice PTO?

The Mason-Rice Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, Inc. (“Mason-RIce PTO”) is a non-profit organization and was incorporated in Massachusetts in 2001.

As stated in its Articles of Organization, the Mason-Rice PTO’s purpose is to:

  • foster communication, understanding, and cooperation among parents and teachers in order to benefit all children in the Mason-Rice school;

  • encourage parent involvement in Mason-Rice school life;

  • support the efforts of the principal, faculty, and school council in providing an optimal educational experience for students;

  • provide support and services to the school community; and

  • promote and encourage the support of public school education in the City of Newton.

How do I get my information into the directory?

You can add your information to the Mason-Rice Directory by clicking this link or copying and pasting the following link into your browser:  https://masonricepto.membershiptoolkit.com

How can I volunteer at school?

We love parent volunteers at Mason-Rice. We welcome all parent volunteers. Volunteers who fulfill their role on school grounds or on field trips must have a current CORI form on file at the main office.

How do I get up-to-date information about Mason-Rice happenings?

One of the primary ways the PTO communicates are through the home page of its website, including events on the calendar.  We encourage you to check masonrice.org and its calendar listings regularly.

The second way that the PTO communicates is through its newsletter, and other email blasts.  We strongly encourage you to read all emails from the PTO so that you can stay informed.  All parents should sign up for the relevant group lists by registering for a Membership Toolkit account and making sure your contact information is correct. Room parents also use these lists to update parents on their child’s classroom happenings.

Mason-Rice PTO is on the socials! Join our private Facebook group or follow us on Instagram. See page bottom for links.

If you are have completed the signup form but are not receiving any emails, please email masonricedirectory@gmail.com.

Where do I see my child's progress reports?

Progress Reports are posted in the Aspen system two times per year. You will receive a notification when your child’s Progress Report is available.

Before School

What should my child bring to school?

A full-size backpack is needed by most children, including Kindergarten. A backpack is helpful to carry books, a lunch box, folders, and winter clothing. Every child should bring a snack, and a lunch if he/she is staying until 2:50pm and is not getting a lunch from the school lunch program.

Does my child bring snack to school?

Yes, your child should have a nut-free snack every day.

Start of School

What time does school start?

School instruction begins at 8:10am for all students. The first bell will ring at 8:10AM.  The second bell will ring at 8:20AM.

We will be maintaining the same arrival and dismissal procedures that we have had in place the past few school years. For arrival, all classroom teachers at all grades will be picking their class up at their designated spot (see image below) at 8:10AM or shortly thereafter and walking their class into the school and to their classroom.

Children who arrive late (after 8:20 AM) must check-in with the main office before making their way to the classroom. See map below for where to line up for each classroom.

How should my child get to and from school?

We strongly encourage walking at Mason-Rice.  Mason-Rice is lucky to be a very walkable neighborhood.  85% of children live within a mile of the school. There are 5 crossing guards to make certain that the major crossings are safe.  The sidewalks from these crossing guards all the way to school are shoveled by the city to make certain they are passable year round.

Other options:

  • Children may be dropped off and picked up by car. Read more on parking around Mason-Rice as well as The Blue Zone below.
  • Children who live further than a mile or in a safety zone can ride the bus for FREE.
When and where does my child catch the bus? Is there a charge for the bus?

In the morning, children who ride the bus will exit the bus around 8:00AM and wait at their arrival location with the other children in their class.

In the afternoon, children who ride a bus will meet in either the Centre or Room 19 (depending upon the bus/van they will be riding) where a staff member will check their name on a clipboard before walking them onto their bus/van.

Children must have a bus pass to ride the bus. Please click HERE to apply for a bus pass.

What is the Blue Zone?

The Blue Zone is the blue curbed areas directly in front of the school on both sides of Pleasant St. These are areas for a QUICK drop-off or QUICK pick-up of your child.  THERE IS NO PARKING.

Drivers should turn off their cars when waiting at pick-up but not get out of the car. Children need to be able to independently enter and exit the cars from the sidewalk.

If you child needs a hand-off from a teacher or needs help getting in, you should not use the Blue Zone.

For a full overview of the Blue Zone rules, check out the Blue Zone page.

Where can I park?

We are lucky that Mason-Rice is surrounded by many places to park all within a few blocks of school, including Tyler Terrace, Chapin St., Park Lane, and Hancock St.

There is NO PARKING in the school parking lot during school hours. It is for staff only.

During School:
What to Bring, Lunches, Food Policy

How does the school lunch program and payment work?

As of 2023, the state of Massachusetts is offering free school lunch to all kids. There are several options to choose from each day.

A menu is posted every month here:  https://www.fdmealplanner.com

Type in Newton > Newton Elementary, MA > lunches

Whitsons has expanded the elementary meal options this year so that students will have the following five options each day:

  • option #1 = daily hot lunch
  • option #2 = daily cheese pizza or grilled cheese (will rotate monthly) 
  • option #3 = sunbutter and jelly 
  • option #4 = bagel lunch 
  • option #5 = weekly cold (examples = deli sandwich or salad)

Each morning, you child’s teacher will ask how many kids plan to take the school lunch that day. They do this to get a head count for planning purposes. Your child can take school lunch every day, or every once in a while. It is completely up to you and there’s no need to sign up ahead of time. 

In the lunch room, each child will have a card labeled with their name. They use this to “buy” their lunch. All first lunches are free. Sometimes older kids (this applies more to middle and high school) are hungrier and therefore get a second lunch, and that will be charged to your My School Bucks account (myschoolbucks.com). Every child who takes school lunch will use their card, regardless of cost. This is done to help the district keep track of quantities and to help with planning. 

Whether you send lunch with your child or if your child takes school lunch is up to you. However, it’s best to communicate a lunch plan with your kids. Younger kids are often distracted by a different menu than what’s in their lunch box, and the lunch staff will never stop a child from taking school lunch. As a family, make sure your child knows the plan for lunch each day. 

If you do pack a lunch, make sure it is nut free. Mason-Rice is a designated nut free school.

What is Mason-Rice's Food Policy?

Many children at Mason-Rice have severe nut allergies. As a result, we are a nut-free school. Please do not pack products with nuts in your child’s lunch. Please read the Mason-Rice Parent Allergy letter 20-21.

In addition, Mason-Rice school maintains a “no sharing/no trading food’”policy, including eating utensils. Except in certain limited situations related to the class curriculum, food is not allowed for class celebrations including birthdays, holidays and the last day of school.  When used as part of curriculum instruction and holiday celebrations, food is used judiciously. Parents are to be advised of any school activity that requires the use of food well in advance of the project or activity.

End of School

What time do students get out of school?

Students are released at 2:50pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All elementary students get out at 12:20pm on Wednesdays. In addition, the day before Thanksgiving and the last day of school are a 12:10 release time. Check the PTO calendar for any additional early release days.

Where do I pick up my child?

For dismissal, all classroom teachers at all grades will be walking their class outside to their designated spot to dismiss them at 2:50PM (12:20PM on Wednesdays).  Mason-Rice staff and/or classroom teachers will provide additional details before the beginning of the school year about the dismissal location for your child’s class.  If you are picking up from the main doors, parents and caregivers are asked to stand on the grass across the driveway from the main door to leave room for children to exit. If you are picking up from the main doors, parents and caregivers are asked to stand on the grass across the driveway from the main door to leave room for children to exit.


After School

Is there an after school program for my child?

Please contact the MRASP (Mason-Rice After School Program) Office for more information. After School programs are offered for all grades Kindergarten to Grade 5. Contact MRASP at 617-244-7260 or contact Joshua Friedman.

Does Mason-Rice have any after school enrichment classes?

Newton Community Education, part of the Newton Public Schools, hosts many classes at Mason-Rice and many other Newton elementary schools.  Check out the NCE website.

Non-Routine Stuff

What if my child will be absent or late?

If your student will be absent from school for any reason, you must notify the school by calling the Student Absence Line at 617-559-9580 and leave the following information:

  • Date
  • Student’s name
  • Student’s teacher
  • Reason for the absence

Please do not call the main office regarding student absences. If you have a planned absence, please notify your child’s teacher in advance.

What are considered excused versus unexcused absences?

This student attendance and absence procedures document includes clarification on absences that are considered excused and unexcused. It also includes an FAQ to answer common questions. Find it here: Student Attendance and Absence Procedures.

The following are examples of absences that are considered as unexcused.

  • Family Vacation – Students out of school for a family vacation e.g., Disney trips, family events, including weddings, international travel, etc.
  • Private School/College Visit – Student visiting a private school/college or other non-NPS school program during regular school hours.
  • Traveling – Family travel for non-vacation reasons e.g., parent sabbatical, ski school. Students who leave Newton for extended periods will be withdrawn and should re-enroll when they return.
  • Other Examples – Student stays home from school to not attend a field trip or participate in a planned curricular event.

Newton Public Schools has updated and clarified K-12 student attendance and absence procedures to ensure alignment across levels and compliance with school committee and state guidance.

What if I need to pick my child up early from school?

If possible, let your teacher know in advance that your child will be picked up early.

If you need to pick up your child early, they must be picked up at the school by an adult. Students cannot self-dismiss.

To pick up your child:

  • Use the buzzer at the front entrance and let the office staff know who you are dismissing.
  • Sign your student out in the dismissal log located just outside the main office.
  • Office staff will call your child’s classroom, tell the teacher that they are being dismissed and call them to the front lobby.
What happens if my child becomes ill during the school day?

Becky Brooker is Mason-Rice’s nurse. If your child becomes ill at school, he or she will go to the nurse’s office. If Becky determines that your child is too ill to stay at school, you will be called and asked to pick up your child.

In case of emergency during the school day, will the school contact me?

Yes, utilizing the SchoolMessenger communication system. SchoolMessenger utilizes data (phone and email address) entered into the district’s student information system (Aspen).  Please make sure your home, office and mobile numbers are up to date in Aspen.  See the NPS website for additional information. 


How can I find out if school is cancelled?

Cancellations are made by 6:00am by the Superintendent, although there may be times when decisions can be made the previous evening.

Newton utilizes a telephone and email communication system to notify parents of cancellations, delays or other issues. In case of a school closing or a delayed opening due to the weather, the district will call the number(s) designated by you in Aspen and send a message to you via email as well. Cancellations or delays will also be posted on the district website — www.newton.k12.ma.us — as well as major TV and radio stations for their lists of cancellations.