PTO Notes 04-11-21

Apr 11, 2021 | News

The PTO needs help! The PTO leadership is looking for volunteers and leaders for next year’s PTO. There are lots of roles to fill including PTO board seats, committee chairs, and committee members. Stay tuned for more details soon.

In This Edition

New & Upcoming

PTO Board Meeting: Thursday at 7:30p

Join us this Thursday evening for our monthly PTO board meeting on zoom. 7:30p. Zoom link here (meeting ID: 864 7645 0057 & passcode: [see e-mailed Notes]). All are welcome!

Sign Up & Keep Our Community Healthy

Following this week’s positive COVID-19 case in our school, we want to again remind all families that NPS STRONGLY ENCOURAGES families whose students are participating in in-person learning to enroll their student(s) in the COVID-19 testing program. Testing is one of the best ways we have to quickly identify infection and reduce the possibility of in-school transmission. Testing began at Mason-Rice last week, but it’s not too late to join! 

Here are 3 reasons to enroll:

  1. It’s easy to sign up! Complete the Consent Form in the Aspen portal for your child to participate (here’s the link!). 
  2. It’s painless to administer! This is NOT the “touch your brain” swab! This is a sample taken from the front of your nose with a Q-tip like swab. It’s super-fast and painless. Students are sent home on Monday with an at-home test kit. They swab their nose on Tuesday morning and return the test to school that morning. Easy peasy!
  3. It makes a difference! The more students who participate, the better data NPS has on infection rates in our community. This means NPS can quickly identify infection, reduce the risk of in school transmission, limit quarantines, and keep our schools, athletics and other important activities open for the rest of the year!.
  4. Bonus reason: This testing program is FREE to all families! 

Note: Once you enroll, it may take a week for your child to receive their first Monday kit.

Also note: The asymptomatic pooled testing, detailed here, is a separate consent process from giving consent for Nurse Becky to administer a rapid Covid test in school should your child becomes symptomatic at school.

Thank you all for doing your part to keep our kids, teachers, and community safe!

Virtual CAS AuthorFest Concluded

Our AuthorFest came to a great conclusion this past week with Brian Lies. Previous guests were Vita Murrow, Eric Velasquez, Jerry Craft, Susan Tan, and Scott Magoon. Many thanks are owed for such a successful event!

Thank you to our amazing parent community for funding this wonderful event! It is because of money raised through the Book Fair, the Annual Fund, and other fundraisers that we were able to host these authors and provide every Mason-Rice student with a book! 

Thank you to all the room parents for organizing book read-alouds/discussions.

And most importantly, a HUGE thanks to Martine Bennett and the entire CAS team for working tirelessly to make this event happen.

Order Bill’s Pizza (for delivery or pick up!) thru Tuesday and 10% will go to supporting M-R students & teachers!

Until April 13th, Bill’s will donate 10% of ALL Mason-Rice orders to the PTO! This is an easy way to support the PTO and our Mason-Rice community! Ordering is simple:

Order by phone: Call (617) 964-1116 and mention Mason-Rice when ordering

Order online: On the menu, click “Fundraiser” on left toolbar, select ‘Mason-Rice Elementary School.’

April Break with E&B Classes

Join Emma and Bessie, two M-R fifth graders and business owners, for some fun over April Break! Choose between a virtual coding class, a lacrosse lesson, or a virtual fun time. All virtual events will be on zoom, and Emma will work out a location with you for the lacrosse lessons. Email us with questions, or see more details and sign up here!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls in Support of Rainforest Action Network

Mason-Rice alum, Maria Garrett, is an 8th grader at Brown Middle School. For Earth Day, she’s selling homemade cinnamon rolls to raise money for the Rainforest Action Network. Order cinnamon rolls fully baked or order a kit to assemble and bake yourself at home. Each kit contains the dough (fully risen and ready to roll), the filling, and instructions for baking, including a video tutorial!

  1. $20 for each 9-inch pan of cinnamon rolls or baking kit.
  2. Choose April 17, 24, or 25. We’ll deliver to your home by 11:00 am.
  3. Email your order to Maria by April 14. Include your address and preferred delivery date.

All profits from this fundraiser will go towards the Rainforest Action Network.

Reminders & Updates


Mason-Rice FORJ has had a successful year thus far! We’ve held monthly meetings, grown our listserve to 30 interested parents and attended city-wide workshops.  We’ve focused our energy on learning, listening, and connecting this year. We want to invite anyone who is interested in continuing this work and being part of connecting these conversations to action within our Mason-Rice community come to our upcoming meeting: Thursday, April 29th at 7:30-9:30pm.

Zoom: ID 883 2079 1344

Passcode: [see e-mailed Notes]

As we close this year, we are seeking new leadership! If you are interested in thinking through our meeting agendas and connecting with other Mason-Rice parents to support our community to talk about race and racism, please email Janelle Phillips.

A+ Literary Magazine is Looking for Submissions

A+ Magazine is an annual publication that showcases original works by current Mason-Rice students, including stories, poems, drawings, comics, puzzles, jokes, photos, interviews, reviews and more! All submissions are welcome!! This year, A+ Magazine will be published online and in full color, accessible to all Mason-Rice families at no charge! Click here to see to see last year’s A+ Magazine.

How to submit your work: Email submissions to A+ Magazine. Artwork or photos should be in jpeg format. Be sure to include student’s name and grade with submission.

Also, all 4th and 5th grade students are invited to submit artwork for the magazine’s cover! The parent editors will determine the final cover, but all cover entries will be included in full size and in full color in the issue. 

Parents are expected to review all of their child’s submissions to assure appropriateness of content, being mindful that the audience includes kindergarteners, parents, grandparents, teachers, and family friends of many backgrounds. Students are representing Mason-Rice through their work.

Submission deadline: Friday, May 14th. 

Questions? Email the A+ Magazine team.

Parent Volunteers STILL Needed: Calling all STEAMers!

The STEAM team met last week to imagine how M-R can host a STEAM event despite the restrictions of Covid. We are planning an end-of-year, STEAM-inspired outdoor family fun day that will be held on a weekend in June, and we’d love your help in planning it! We don’t know what the activities will be yet, but we are envisioning an event with multiple stations, multiple time slots (to meet COVID-protocols), and lots of fun. 

We need more parent volunteers! Can you help? Please reach out to Sharon Topper or Molly Perencevich. Ideas welcome!

Join Us! Mason-Rice SEPAC

We encourage families with children supported by an IEP or 504 to join the Newton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Newton SEPAC), an all-volunteer organization of parents of children with disabilities in the preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, and in private schools who meet to ask questions and share knowledge about special education programs, issues, policies, regulations, and resources. We maintain an online discussion group and meet monthly online. If you are interested please reach out to Lindsay MacAuley Friedberg for more information.

Buy Your Spiritwear for Spring!

The Mason-Rice Spirit Store is still open!

T-Shirts @ $15: We have t-shirts in two styles: navy with the Mason-Rice logo in color on the front or heather blue with the Mason-Rice logo on the back. Available sizes include: 

  • Kids sizes S, M, L
  • Adult sizes S, M, L 

Sweatshirts @ $30: We also still have some hoodies available. Sizes include: 

  • Kids size L
  • Adult sizes XS, S, and M

To purchase, email Katie Gaines. All proceeds go to the Mason-Rice Fifth Grade Graduation Fund.

Free: Breakfast and Lunch for Families

For the 2020-2021 academic year, FREE breakfast and lunch is available for ALL students. There are grab-n-go options for in-person pick-up or separate pick-up locations at the high schools for virtual learners. 

See the City of Newton’s website for updated information on pickup locations and other important updates.

NPS Calendar Reminders

Friday, June 18: The City of Newton is observing Juneteenth on Friday, June 18. The Newton Public Schools will be doing the same to observe this important day in our history with no school on this day.

Tuesday, June 22: Last day of school for students.

Support the Businesses that Support Us

Give Back: Business of the Week

Mason-Rice’s annual online auction is usually the PTO’s biggest fundraiser. This year, because of the pandemic, we are not hosting the auction. Instead, in each week’s Notes, we are spotlighting the amazing businesses that have generously supported our auction year after year. We hope that now, during their time of need, you will consider patronizing those who have consistently supported our PTO.

Don’t forget to support the previously-spotlighted businesses! You can find them in the past Notes on our PTO webpage.

Camp Cody

Camp Cody (in Freedom, NH) is a premier traditional New England summer camp with 2 and 4-week sessions for boys and girls.  At our spectacular location, campers develop independence, build self-confidence, make friends, and have great experiences. Check out our website for videos, photos and more information here.

Minted Promotion Now Available All Year!

We are excited to announce that Minted’s holiday promotion will now be offered year-round! Enjoy 20% off Minted cards & gifts throughout the year when use unique promo code [see e-mailed Notes] at checkout, and 15% of each order will be donated back to the PTO.

Disclaimer: this is a special code created exclusively for fundraising for M-R PTO community and is not meant to be shared publicly with coupon or deal sites.

Year-Round Promotion Benefitting the PTO

We are excited to announce a new, year-round fundraising promotion from Mabel’s Labels just in time for more in-person school days, spring sports, and summer camps! Just follow these simple steps and Mabel’s Labels will donate 20% of sales from your order to the PTO!

1. Go to Mabel’s Labels homepage and click “Support a Fundraiser”

2. Type and select “Mason-Rice Elementary School PTO”  in the menu

3. Shop your order and check-out as usual

4. Mabel’s Labels will automatically donate 20% of the order back to the PTO!

Update on Amazon Partnership

The PTO hopes everyone in our community will use Amazon Smile, a ‘set-and-sail’ opportunity that allows Amazon members to select a nonprofit that will receive ongoing donations. Once the nonprofit (Mason-Rice Elementary School PTO) is set in the membership profile, it doesn’t need to be updated ever again!

To sign up for AmazonSmile:

1. Visit AmazonSmile and sign in with your credentials.

2. Choose and select Mason-Rice Elementary School PTO as the charitable organization to receive donations.

3. Start all of your Amazon shopping at the Smile homepage, versus The shopping experience is the exact same, but your purchases will qualify for Smile commissions to the PTO.

To turn on AmazonSmile in the Amazon Shopping app:

1. Make sure you’re signed up for AmazonSmile in web browser.

2. Open the Amazon Shopping app and find “Settings” in the main menu (☰).

3. Tap on “AmazonSmile” (under “Programs & Features”) and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile in the app.

4. Shop at usual!

Stay in touch. Stay informed. Get involved!

At home or in school, we are Mason-Rice Together!

Mason-Rice Elementary School PTO
149 Pleasant Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459