PTO Notes 4-3-21

Apr 4, 2021 | News


In-person students need to arrive at school at 8:20a. Tomorrow is also an early-dismissal day for parent/teacher conferences. All students will be released at 12:30p.

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

The PTO Needs You

Mason-Rice is defined by a strong, committed community of actively-involved parents. In that spirit, in the coming weeks, the PTO leadership will be recruiting and confirming volunteers and leaders for next year. There are lots of roles to fill including PTO board seats, committee chairs, and committee members. We need you to lean in and volunteer! Can you give an hour a week? An hour a month? A few hours semi-annually? We can use you in whatever capacity you can offer–roles vary and so does the commitment level per role.

More details will be shared in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please consider if you can join other parent volunteers in supporting Mason-Rice students, teachers, and families. Email the PTO presidents if you have questions or ideas for how you might help out next year.

Restaurant Series

This spring, order take-out and raise money for student activities and teacher support at Mason-Rice! The PTO is excited to have partnered with a set of local restaurants to launch a Restaurant Series.

Our restaurant series kicks off this week with Bill’s Pizzeria. From Tuesday, April 6th through Tuesday, April 13th, Bill’s will donate 10% of all M-R orders to the PTO.

More details & ordering information to be sent separately so watch your email.

Reminders & Updates

CAS AuthorFest Updates

Wednesday, April 7: 1st graders will host Brian Lies, Caldecott Award-winning author of The Rough Patch, Bats at the Beach, and Bats at the Library, among others.

This presentation concludes the Mason-Rice 2021 AuthorFest! Huge thanks to the teachers and the administrators for their support, and to the CAS team (Lindsay Friedberg, Molly Perencevich, Sarah Housman, Yu Zheng, Molly Stearns, and Sara Orenstein) for all their hard work!

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


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.

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 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!

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.


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!

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.

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: Johnny’s Lunchonette

Johnny’s Luncheonette has been a mainstay of Newton Center and the broader community for over 25 years and offers a wide ranging menu to a great diversity of diners. During the past year we worked hard to provide meaningful contributions to our community by initiating a soup donation program as well as help launch Feed the Fight Boston. The soup donation program served the clients of Newton at Home, the Newton Housing Authority, and the Newton Community Development Foundation. We have continued to provide soup to Newton at Home during the last few months as their population has been isolated this winter and is helped by both the soup and the volunteers who deliver it. When we weren’t able to serve our guests inside, we kept our doors open to the delivery drivers and customers picking up takeout should they need a few minutes of human connection. While we have always adhered to every safety protocol, we know that a pair of ‘smiling eyes’ can give someone a lift in a difficult day, during this challenging time and never wanted to stop offering that.

We provide safely distanced indoor dining and are excited about the expansion of our outdoor seating as the weather warms. We will continue to provide what our customers need–a diverse, thoughtfully sourced menu in a friendly atmosphere that welcomes everyone.

As we continue to look for unique ways to support our community we are currently offering locally made soup bowls for sale ($25) to benefit the Newton Food Pantry and Newton Art Center so please consider purchasing one when you stop by!

We are grateful for the outpouring of support during this difficult year and look forward to continuing to provide a dining space for our wonderfully diverse community.

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