149 Pleasant Street
Newton Centre, MA. 02459
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Mason-Rice PTO Update 6/12/20

Mason-Rice PTO Update 6/12/20

Mason-Rice PTO Update 6/12/20

From the Principal

This information was sent from Aspen early this week and we wanted to share again.
We will be planning a virtual Step Up Day for Monday, June 15. Please be on the lookout for communication from your child’s classroom teacher with specifics about this.
On Monday, June 15 from 6:00-6:30pm (same date as previously planned) we will be doing a drive-by at Newton South High School to honor our graduating fifth graders in person.  Please have a sign with your 5th Grader’s first and last name to show at the end of the drive-by to pick up their diploma!
On Monday, June 15 from 6:45-7:30pm we will be doing a drive-by at Newton South High School for students in grades K-4.
Staff will be standing on the sidewalk along Brandeis Road in front of the high school, six feet apart, to congratulate students and families for a successful completion of our school year as you drive by in your vehicles.
We ask that you respect this time frame as we will be celebrating our fifth grade students earlier in the evening. Please use the following maps for the routes to

 and exit.

We would like for all families to be able to participate. If transportation is an issue for your family please reach out to myself directly and we will take care of this.
On Tuesday, June 16 our school, and all elementary schools in our district, will be offering a virtual Field Day. This will be the sole learning experience provided for this day, just as we do when we are participating at school. Beth Nohmy, and all Physical Education teachers across the district have been planning for this for several weeks and are eager to share what they have put together. Beth has been sharing information about this event for the past few weeks and will be providing the slides for it this week.
In addition, teachers will be planning a range of engaging, culminating activities throughout the week for classes to reflect upon the year and connect with one another.

From the PTO Presidents

Dear MasonRice Families,
In four days, we will be wrapping up another school year and what a year!!!
Thank you to all who voted for our budget and slate for next year.  We wanted to clarify some questions that came up regarding our budget.  First, we are carrying over surplus from this year to next.  That money is in our savings and will be used next year to offset parent donations/request.  We understand next year will be different and are taking into consideration how we raise/spend money.
We feel very strongly in supporting our M-R Chapter of FORJ.  When we created the budget in May, there was no volunteers to take on that role for next year.  We are delighted to have new leadership and hope to see more people stepping forward to get involved, and help this committee take an increasingly active role in our community.  We have money and will be supporting their initiatives in the coming year.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!! Your journey at MasonRice has been unique! When you started Kindergarten, we had a record 110.6 inches of snow and now you end 5th Grade quarantined! But you made it and are off to middle school. Best of luck to you in 6th Grade.
Congratulations to all our other grades who are “Stepping-Up” this year.
We are so proud of the perseverance and empathy these kids have showed through crazy times and even though there are many unknowns for the Fall we believe 2020-2021 will be a wonderful and safe year.  Some changes we will definitely see in the fall is better signage for no parking around M-R, an updated blue zone and more stop signs near crosswalks!
We try to thank all those that organize events just after they happen in our weekly letter.  We also want to thank those that do a job week after week and especially want to say a big thank you to those that get this letter and the Notes out each Friday keeping all of us well informed — Maureen Oates, Danielle Boudreau and David Jellinek — and to Jessica Hughes who updates masonrice.org.
Two additional roles that requires a year-long commitment is that of Room Parent and Creative Arts and Science. Thanks to our amazing Room Parent Coordinator, Amanda Mahajan, and all of the room parents across MasonRice for all you do.  The 2019-2020 room parents were Mayssam Ali, Martha Bixby, Danielle Boudreau, Yvonne Chen, Wendy Cohen, Sarah Cole, Io Cyrus, Sarah Deighton, Sylvia Eng, Lauren Engel, Jane Fan, Eleni Firkusny, Shawn Fitzgibbons, Karen Flood, Linda Helstrom, Laura Kay Hughes, Jon Hurwitz, Celia Ivanov, Susan Keefe, Justine Kelley, Kim Kinaka, Shawn Konary, Jackie Lee, Lindsay MacAuley Friedberg, Annie Madden, Amanda Mahajan, Megan McLean, Barbara Nestle, Michele Niepel, Christina Perez, Cecile Pham, Ruth Sakakeeny, Aurna Saraswat, Danielle Schreier, Molly Stearns, Eliana Vidan, Shana Zandman & Leslie Ziarko Valera. During this next week, please take a moment to thank your child’s room parents for their support throughout the year.
To our wonderful Creative Arts and Science Program coordinator Martine Bennett thank you so much for organizing all the fabulous authors, presentations and so much more that the PTO funds for all classrooms. The 2019-2020 Coordinators and volunteers to run these programs were: Gabrielle Billeter, Liz Bouvier, Wendy Cohen, Rebecca Diamondstein, Jenny Evans, Sarah Fogelman, Lindsey Friedberg, Sarah Housman, Karen Jacobson, Jess Johnson, Justine Kelley, Lucy Mermagen, Sara Orenstein, Molly Perencevich, Gina Rhee, Carel Ristuccia, Marci Shyavitz, Molly Stearns, Jenna Wang, Joan Wasser Gish and Yu Zheng.

And a thank you to the following Committee Chairs and Board Members who also work throughout the school year and haven’t been thanked yet:
  • John Gaines and McKenzie Howath, our co-Treasurers
  • Sarah Housman, Secretary
  • Maureen Oates & Danielle Boudreau, our co-Vice Presidents, Communication
  • Sharon Topper, our Vice President, Classroom, Teacher & School Support
  • Jenny Evans, our Vice President, Community Events & Outreach
  • Yasmeen Kazimi, our Vice President, Fundraising and for coordinating our online shopping initiatives including Minted, Tea Collection and Amazon Affiliates.
  • Sarah Housman & Sara Orenstein, our co-VP, Volunteer Management & Community Engagement
  • Rebecca Diamondstein, our buddy family liaison for new families entering MR after Kindergarten.
  • Amy Cobaugh and Jay Wood for organizing the Musical Mornings at the Star Assemblies.
  • Inna Adler & Sylvia Eng for running the school supply program.
  • Danielle Boudreau, Liz Bouvier, & Sara Orenstein for being this year’s Kindergarten liaisons.
  • Shawn Fitzgibbons for organizing the Late Arrivals and the following parent volunteers who greet students with a smile: Liz Bouvier, Jill Coppedge, Rebecca Diamondstein, Katie Gaines, Kim Kinaka, Anne Marie Oliphant, Annie Madden, Gina Rhee, Kate Wissel
  • Vera Tarbayeva for organizing all of the food we had at school events this year.
  • Christina Perez and Kate Wissel for chairing our Social Action.
  • Katy Anderson for counting our Box Tops.
  • Katy Anderson, Lauren Engel & Michele Niepel for their organization and upkeep of the Lost and Found.
  • Heather Friedman, Wendy Sheu, and Barbara Nestle for keeping us green and running the Green Team.

To our graduating board members, who are leaving MasonRice this year, Eleni Firkusny, Heather Friedman, Maureen Oates, Ruth Sakakeeny, Rob Swint and Leslie Ziarko Valera, thank you for all your hard work over the years and you’ll be missed next year!!!

Of course, that list can never capture all of the parents who have contributed their time, energy and financial support this year.  We truly appreciate all the amazing contributions by parents at and for MasonRice. It’s your involvement that makes MasonRice such a fabulous community.
If you want to get more involved in the PTO, please get in touch with one of our PTO Presidents for the coming year, Liz Bouvier and Lucy Mermagen.
The deadline to order next year’s school supplies is Tuesday, June 30. DON’T WAIT TO ORDER!!!  See below for more details.
Our last PTO Board Meeting of this year, is today June 12th at 8:30 am.  Please join us via zoom from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android with this link.
Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +13126266799,91830850127# or +16465588656,91830850127#
Or Telephone: Dial:  +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 918 3085 0127
Password: 161151
The last day of school is Thursday, June 18th.
We hope all have a great last week of school.
Have a safe and healthy summer!
All the best,
Liz Bouvier, Lucy Mermagen, & Leslie Ziarko Valera
PTO co-Presidents

From the PTO


Looking for something fun to do with your kids this summer?  Look no further!  We need volunteers to help take care of the garden throughout the summer.  Responsibilities include weeding, deadheading flowers, staking tomato plants and watering.  You can help yourself to herbs, flowers and occasional veggies.  Once you sign up you will receive an email with detailed instructions.  We will provide gardening tools and any other materials you might need.  We are looking for two families per week so that you can share the responsibilities.  Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. Thank you! Here’s the link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040a4ca8aa2da2f94-masonrice
Since we were unable to do our Bike Safety session at school this year, SRTS has created this on-line program. Have you heard of the ABCs?  Not those ABCs, but the ones that have to do with bicycling?  Join our friends from the MA Safe Routes to School program for a virtual bike session.  You will learn some tips to make sure you and your bike are ready for a full summer of biking in your neighborhood.  Our program is geared towards children in grades 3-6, but since it’s virtual, invite your family members of all ages to join in!
Also brought to you in partnership with Newton Safe Routes to School.
Pre-registration is necessary for this event,
please sign up here.  One registration per zoom account.  The day before the program you will receive a reminder email with the zoom link along with any further instructions.


We are very happy to announce that our school has won another gold award for our SRTS program and all our efforts with walking and biking and rolling to school. Special thanks go to Beth Ann Nohmy who has been amazing in organizing the pedestrian training for second graders and the bike training with the police etc for 4th graders. This year sadly we missed both due to coronavirus and we will come up with a plan on how to replace it.
Our bus drivers and crossing guards will get a collage from all Newton schools and and we have contributed with our own chalk art on street. This year the crossing guards will sadly miss the yearly celebration in person, nevertheless we thank them tremendously for all their great efforts in getting our kids to school safely. A great thank you also goes to all our appreciated bus drivers!
It has been an awkward SRTS year with our virtual walk to school days in April and May. We hope to see even more kids walk, bike and roll in September when we hopefully return to school
Hello MasonRice Community! Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) is a group of diverse Newton families helping our children learn about issues of power and inequality and how to stand up for racial justice. We seek to generate understanding and curiosity about differences in our society, and to work together towards racial equity. We strive to achieve safe and welcoming environments that enhance the well-being of all people. We promote healing and connection between individuals and communities. We speak out against injustice, support our kids to be upstanders, and take action to address bias and inequity. We offer lectures on race and diversity, discussion groups, community events, Dynamic Diversity trainings and more. We follow the lead from our communities and help families foster inclusion in our city and schools. FORJ is in all Newton Public School and other towns as well (Wellesley, Weston etc.). Anyone is welcome to join. There really is very little to do and the cause as you can see is an outstanding one. If interested in joining please contact Janelle Phillips who can share more information.

We Need You PTO Positions Available

We are looking for a someone who will manage deposits to the bank account. This role requires taking checks to the bank and also transferring money from PayPal & Square for transactions during the year and keeping a spreadsheet of all checks/cash. Besides attending monthly PTO meetings, this job can be done from home and is flexible.
We looking for someone to organize and coordinate the Room Parents in the Fall. The purposes of this role are to 1) recruit volunteers to serve as room parents for all classroom teachers, 2) communicate to volunteers specific information about the role of a room parents, and 3) serve as a liaison between room parents, teachers, and PTO and send communications as needed. The current coordinator has all the materials and information to share. This role also works with the librarian to schedule class volunteers in the library. This role usually hosts a meeting in the Fall with the Room Parents to discuss expectations for the year.

We are hoping to develop school spirit wear to help us feel connected while socially distant. We are looking for a graphic designer and/or someone interested in driving this initiative. Scope and goals to be developed in conjunction with the volunteer(s).
School Supply For Next Year
For the 2020-21 school year, MasonRice will be using the services of 1st Day School Supplies again. Please note that PTO has no information on how the school year will start in the Fall.  We all hope that our children will need supplies.
Given social distancing guidelines, school supply kits will be shipped to home this year.  We have worked with 1st Day to put a plan in place that allows you to do your back-to-school shopping risk free from the comfort and safety of your own home. You will receive the exact supplies your teacher requested including sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
This program is not a fundraiser and the prices are competitive. It’s easy and convenient- order today!

ALL orders must be placed ONLINE by Tuesday, June 30.

  • Just CLICK HERE, enter the school zip code 02459 and select MasonRice.
  • Choose your kit(s) for your child(s) grade(s) next year.
  • Enter your child’s name and Add to Cart.
  • Complete the shipping and payment information.
The kit will arrive at your house.  Please look out for communication in August about what to bring in on the 1st day of school.
If you have any questions about ordering, please contact Inna Adler or Sylvia Eng.
Our PTO willingly supports those families who might benefit from a scholarship for school supplies. Please contact Jake Bultema (jacob_bultema@newton.k12.ma.us) for assistance.

Outside of Mason-Rice

Incoming Brown Parents Special Education Meeting, Monday, June 15th from 7-8:30pm Kim Gallaugher, SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) Liaison for Brown Middle School, is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting!
Myself and three other parents whose children are receiving special education services at Brown Middle School will informally share information and our personal experiences with incoming parents. If your child has an IEP, 504 plan or other accommodations or if you are considering special education services for your child next year, bring your questions and drop in anytime!
If you cannot attend the zoom, send me an email – it will be recorded. Thanks and stay well – Kim Gallaugher, momofiggy@hotmail.com
Meeting ID: 796 742 0402
Password: Brown


If you are looking for a way to say “Thank You!” to your child’s teacher or other school support person as this extremely unusual school year comes to a close, please consider Newton Schools Foundations’ Honor Thy Teacher campaign. This program provides an opportunity for families to thank school personnel by giving a gift to the Newton Schools Foundation in their honor, while also complying with the Newton Public Schools’ teacher gift policy.
Newton Schools Foundation (NSF) is a non-profit organization that raises funds to enhance educational excellence throughout Newton’s public schools. Your gift will support NSF grants that go towards promising educational initiatives, professional development, and programs that close gaps in opportunity and achievement.
After receiving each donation, NSF will notify the honored teachers and staff of your gift, share the honoree names with the Superintendent and Principals, and list each of those honored on the NSF website and in the Newton TAB.
Look for a postcard arriving in your mail for NSF donation information.  You can also always make your tax-deductible donation on-line at www.newtonschoolsfoundation.org, or mail it to Newton Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 590020, Newton Centre, MA 02459. Please be sure to include the names of the teachers and/or staff that you are honoring.
The Newton COVID-19 Care Fund, established by many Newton community leaders, including Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, in partnership with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, will help families and individuals who have been financially impacted by this coronavirus pandemic.
The Newton COVID-19 Care Fund is designed to provide financial assistance to Newton residents, people who work in Newton, and families with children receiving childcare services in Newton or enrolled in Newton Public Schools who have been financially burdened by the pandemic. City of Newton First Responders who incur new childcare expenses or other expenses as a result of the crisis will also be eligible.
If you would like to donate or need help, please click here.

The Highlands After-School Program, just for middle school children, is hosting Zoom Open Houses for interested families.  The last open house is

Saturday, June 13 from 5-6:00 pm.  
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 812 9444 7229
Password: 342676
SPACE IS LIMITED! This is a terrific opportunity for parents learn more about the program as they plan for the upcoming school year. If you can’t make an Zoom meeting or would like more information contact: Rochelle Acker at 617-999-4617 or highlandsafterschool@gmail.com or visit our website: https://www.highlandsafter-schoolprogram.org

SPACE (Summer Program for Academic and Creative Endeavors) Camp, is a program run through the Newton Public Schools and has a long history of providing creative, fun, and engaging experiences for campers in Newton.
This year we decided to make SPACE Camp virtual. This was not an easy decision but we want to keep our campers, families, and staff safe. We know Virtual SPACE will continue to provide excellent and engaging programming for our campers. Our biggest hope is that Virtual SPACE can provide families with structure and stability for the month of July this year. You can find all the details about Virtual SPACE here.


Hi, I’m Rebecca Longo, a former MasonRice student, graduating from Newton North High School this year. I am looking for a position providing in home child care for any family that needs it over the summer. I have lots of experience working with children of all ages as a counselor and at my temple. Willing to work 6-8 hours a day, 4-5 times a week. My preferred rate is $15-20/hour. I can be reached at becslongo@gmail.com. Thanks!

Jessica Hughes



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