PTO Notes 3-28-21

Mar 28, 2021 | News

Did you miss the last PTO board meeting? Read the recap here.

Save the date for our next PTO board meeting: Thursday, April 15th, 7:30p on zoom. Zoom link to be sent closer to the date. All are welcome!


In This Edition

New & Upcoming

Contest: Safe Routes Yard Signs

Calling all Mason-Rice students! You’re invited to submit a design for a yard sign that brings awareness to being safe and being seen as a pedestrian and/or a cyclist. Focus your design on wearing bright/reflective clothing, wearing helmets, using crosswalks, and/or being aware of traffic, especially in and around school zones. Click here for details on how to participate. Have fun being artsy!

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.


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.

Reminders & Updates

Deadline Extended to Thursday (April 1st, 2021) for School-Wide Art Project!

Thank you to the nearly 2/3 of Mason-Rice students who’ve submitted self-portraits for our school-wide mural project! The PTO hopes all students will create Monochromatic Self-Portraits (See instructions.)

This is a project for students to do at home. The final collection will become a permanent installation in the school.

View this video with instructions and with some self-portrait inspiration.

If you have questions, please email Ms. Discenza or the PTO.

The deadline to submit portraits is extended to Thursday, April 1st. To turn in artwork, students can:
Bring it to the Mason-Rice office.
Hybrid students can give it to their classroom teacher.
Place it in a Ziplock back and drop it off in the mailbox at 32 Lakewood Road.
If you are not able to do any of the above please reach out to Rebecca Diamondstein to arrange alternatives.

FORJ: An Invitation to Join the Discussion on Racial Justice


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 emailed 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.

CAS AuthorFest Updates

  • Wednesday, March 31: RESCHEDULED: 4th graders will host Eric Velasquez, author and/or illustrator of Octopus Stew, Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and many more
  • Wednesday, March 31: 2nd graders will host Vita Murrow, author of Power to the Princess and High Five to the Hero. In preparation for Vita Murrow, the 2nd grade room parents held a lively book discussion group on Mar 24.
  • Coming soon: April 7th: 1st grade will host Brian Lies.

Note to all grades: Questions for each author can be submitted in advance through our AuthorFest portal (so all children get a chance to be heard).

Parent Volunteers STILL Needed: Calling all STEAMers!

The STEAM team met this week to imagine how we 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!

NPS Calendar Reminders: Early Release & Juneteenth


Monday, April 5 & Thursday, April 8: Students will be dismissed at 12:30pm to provide time for elementary school conferences.

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.

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.

Support the Businesses that Support Us

Give Back Business: Dots & Stripes Organizing 

Feeling overwhelmed by your space at home? Have clutter but not sure what to do about it?…

…That’s where we come in. Dots and Stripes Organizing is a home organizing business that helps our clients create functional spaces that work for YOU. At Dots and Stripes, we pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our clients and love helping them realize their own successes. Our organizers work with you to clear the clutter, help implement systems to optimize your space and to make items more accessible. From playrooms to garages to filing systems to kitchens, we help you organize it all.     

Dots & Stripes Organizing is owned by Mason-Rice parent Emily St. Martin! Check them out on the web or contact Emily to book your free consultation today.

Special Offer for Mason-Rice Families: Book a session by April 15th and receive 10% off your first session.

NEW! 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!

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 emailed 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.

Update on Amazon Partnership

Last week, Amazon Affiliates changed their operating agreement, making it no longer beneficial for the Mason-Rice PTO to participate in their program. We appreciate everyone who “clicked through” our PTO homepage in the past.

In lieu of participating in Amazon’s Affiliate program, the PTO hopes everyone 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