Monday, November 12, 2018

NewsNotes 11/12/18

November 11, 2018

In this issue:

From Principal Nardelli
Veterans Day Thoughts: Knowing that we have a number of parents and family members who have served our country in the armed forces, I wanted to briefly acknowledge and thank our HM families and also draw a little attention to their service:
"This week we honor the men and women who sacrificially serve, protect, and defend our country. First known as Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson set aside the day of Nov. 11 (the first anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending WWI) to recognize and thank our American soldiers for their service. This day was declared a National Holiday in 1938 and in 1954 the name was changed to Veteran’s Day to honor all American Veterans. Therefore, we take this day to commemorate and celebrate the brave, loyal, and selfless American soldiers and their families for giving us the opportunity to live freely in this great country."
Below are a few quotes:
  • "On this Veteran’s Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.”    ~Dan Lipinsky

  • "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”  ~ Jose Narovsky

  • "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”   ~ John F. Kennedy

  • "Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world. They have been tested in ways the rest of us may never fully understand...On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve..."  ~ Barack Obama.

On a related note, I am also sharing a poem titled Be Thankful…My hope is that these words will be a reminder to all of us that the challenges we face in our lives have the power to help us grow, gain strength, and create opportunities that may not have existed otherwise.  All too often as parents we worry that adversity will hurt or damage our children in a way that they cannot overcome.  In reality, it is during those times that children can demonstrate how strong they are...

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

~Author Unknown

4th/5th Grade Math/Screen Time Feedback - I apologize for the delay, but if you attended our evening workshop a couple of weeks back, I’ve created a 2 minute survey for people to fill out.  Your feedback will help us think about future sessions on these topics.  Click on the link here:

Staff Learning at HM - During the months of November and December, we will be looking at the biology of the brain to help us better understand how children learn, specifically in environments where students feel safe vs. threatened, welcome vs. alienated, valued vs. overlooked.  Building upon the work of Zaretta Hammond in her book titled Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, our goal thus far has been to focus on the role of the school and classroom environment in fostering learning opportunities for all students.   Moving forward, we will also begin using what we learn about brain research to look much more closely at instructional strategies that will maximize learning for students as well.  I will share more details as we get further into this work.

The Naming Committee for the School on Nevada Street seeks comment from parents, school staff and members of the community regarding its preliminary recommendation on an appropriate name. Please see these options for providing your input and listening to discussions:
  1. School Committee Meeting discussion November 14th, 7:00 pm in Room 210, 100 Walnut Street
  2. School Committee Meeting discussion & VOTE November 28th, 7:00 pm in Room 210, 100 Walnut Street
The Naming Committee welcomes written comments sent to

Understanding Our Differences - This month, 4th and 5th grade students have taken part in the first UOD modules of the year.  The goals of UOD are:
  • Children learn to be more inclusive and friendly;
  • Children become more accepting and allies of those with disabilities;
  • Children with disabilities and their siblings are less likely to be bullied, teased or isolated;
  • Children meet and learn from individuals with disabilities;
  • Children become more comfortable around people with all kinds of disabilities.
The first 4th grade unit was on Chronic Medical Conditions including Allergic Conditions, Asthma, Diabetes and Epilepsy modules.
Key themes:
  • Allergies, asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy are not contagious.
  • These conditions are chronic and can usually be managed with proper medical care, medications, advance planning, and lifestyle adjustments, but there is presently no cure for any of them.
  • Allergies, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy are “hidden” conditions. You cannot tell by looking at someone whether he or she has any of these conditions.
This past week, 5th graders learned about Intellectual Disabilities.  This unit introduces the concept of intellectual disabilities, and helps students understand the causes and how they affect the functioning of the brain. Students learn that people with intellectual disabilities have hopes, dreams, and goals like everyone else and are able to live very productive lives.
Key themes:
  • People with intellectual disabilities can do many things, but it sometimes may take them longer to learn how to do them.
  • People with intellectual disabilities are unique but have can have multiple challenges, including language, academic, social and motor skills, and activities of daily living.
  • Name-calling is hurtful and cannot be confronted passively. Students are encouraged to use modern language and be a friend and an ally.
  • The importance of sensitivity and respect for children and adults with intellectual disabilities is emphasized.



Picture RETAKE Day
Wednesday, November 14

5th Grade Families
Thursday, November 15

Early Dismissal
Wednesday, November 21

No School, Thanksgiving Recess
Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23

Visit the entire Horace Mann Calendar at

From the PTO

Just in time for the holidays, you can order delicious coffee cakes from My Grandma's of New England Coffee Cake company. These decadent cakes (you may have nibbled some at the Book Fair breakfast) make a great gift and a perfect brunch item for a holiday morning. They stay fresh for two weeks and freeze for up to a year. And, the best part is, more than 30% of the profits go right back to the Horace Mann PTO. Click on the link below to order. (Paper forms are available in the Office if you want to sell at work or in your neighborhood. )

Details: Cakes are $12 each. Sale runs through Tuesday, December 4. Cakes will be available for pick up in the front of school on Tuesday, December 18 from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, December 19 from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. and Wednesday evening (time and place TBD.) We also deliver to D. A. D. cubbies!

Horace Mann Food Drive
Centre Street Food Pantry

Dec. 3rd-7th

Time to register for a night at 
The Paint Bar!
Thursday, January 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Register here:

Join Horace Mann parents for some fun pub trivia!
Details coming soon. Check you email!

Horace Mann is moving to the Carr Building 
Horace Mann is scheduled to move to the Carr Building in September 2019.
We know there are many questions about what to expect with regards to the move, facility enhancement, technology and many other areas. In order to help us communicate accurate information, Mark Nardelli will answer your questions through regular updates via email and news notes. Please list any questions you have about the move below. Thank you!

Quick Links
Don't forget to use our rewards programs when you shop! Money raised goes towards the PTO. Thanks!
You can also pay your dues online if you haven't already. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day Middle School Student Services Information Session

F.A. Day Middle School Student Services
Parent Info-Session

5th Grade to 6th Grade Transition Process for Students with
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

DATE: Wednesday, November 28th

TIME: 6:30pm – 7:30pm

LOCATION: F.A. Day Middle School Library

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of students at F.A. Day Middle School feeder pattern elementary schools (Horace Mann, Burr, Franklin, Cabot, Peirce) are invited to meet with Mike Thurm, Assistant Principal for Student Services, for a discussion about the transition to middle school process for 5th grade students with IEPs.

No RSVP Necessary

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Early Release Thursday at 12:30

Please note that this Thursday, November 1st, we will have an Early Release  at 12:30 for ALL STUDENTS.

Classroom teachers will use this time to hold parent/teacher conferences. 

We will also be training special ed staff and behavior therapists in a citywide workshop opportunity.

NewsNotes 10/26/2018

October 26, 2018

In this issue:

From Principal Nardelli
International Night Photos

Assembly - At our October Assembly, we shared a story called  All Are Welcome  by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman to kick of a community-wide project called “I A From”.  Each year,  5th grade students write a poem called “I Am From” which details things that are important to our students, their families and their communities.   At assembly, several of our students read lines from their own poems.  Here are some examples:
  • “I am from writing stories and using my creative mind to make a masterpiece.”
  • “I am from doing Israeli dance on a big stage in front of a supportive crowd.”
  • “I am from mama’s Thai food with different varieties of delicious food that feels like it was from food heaven.”
  • “I am from Mt. Washington and its pretty view of the White Mountains. It feels cold and windy at the  summit.”
  • “I am from Ramadan to fasting without one drop of water to drink or eating one crumb of food.”
  • “I am from the loud and busy city of Boston.”
  • “I am from the island of roaring engines of motorcycles in Dominican Republic.”
  • “I am from escaping Singapore heat to the cool water.”
  • “I am from the sound of the piano notes floating out of the living room."
For our school-wide version of the “I Am From” project, each classroom will talk about the different communities that we belong to (school, family, church, neighborhood, team) and share some of the things that are important about being part of a community. In addition, each child will get an autumn leaf and write a statement describing one or two things that are important to know about them.  We will then hang the leaves all around the school as a way to display the diverse experiences and traditions that makeup our school population.
Carr School Update for October 
  • This coming Monday, October 29th, the School Committee will take public comments on plans for keeping the Horace Mann name as we move to the Carr School building next year. The preliminary recommendation from the School Committee is to take the Horace Mann name with us to the new building. I will be in attendance, along with a few parents who have offered to come.  For more information, please click on the following link:
  • This month, I will be assigning classrooms to teachers and work spaces for non-classroom teachers.  We will visit the building in November for a staff tour and to meet with Cabot teachers who are now using the space.
  • I have met with Steve Rattendi, the Interim Director of Technology for Newton, to discuss the technology plan for Carr.  He will be gathering information over the next few weeks, and will provide me with an update on the current inventory at both HM and Carr, as well as some thoughts about our move.
  • An agency hired by the district is currently in the process of doing a comprehensive inventory of everything in our building (bookcases, tables, etc.)
  • We have sited a likely location for the installation of a “Gaga Ball” structure at the Carr School property.  If you aren’t sure what Gaga Ball is, click this link:

MCAS - If you are the parent of a current 4th or 5th grader, you should have received results from last spring’s MCAS test administration. If you have not yet received them, please let me know.  We have scores here at school and can provide you with a copy of the mailing that was supposed to go home last week.  A few comments regarding the exam, including some basic information:
  • Students in grades 3-8 take the MCAS exam each year.  In all grades, students are tested in math and literacy (reading and writing).  In grades 5 and 8, students are also tested in science/technology. In high school, students must pass math, literacy, and one of the science content areas in order to be eligible for a diploma.  
  • The tests are quite challenging, particularly prior to high school.  Your child's performance on the exam may or may not be a reflection of their performance in school.   They are a snapshot of your child's performance on that day.  Our teachers use a much broader sample of work, assessments, observations, and other criteria to create a picture of your child's strengths and areas for growth as a learner. 
  • The MCAS test has been evolving over the past 5-6 years.  The state is still formulating and piloting questions, and trying to establish appropriate cutoff levels for what it means to MEET EXPECTATIONS.
  • At Horace Mann, we do not teach to the test.  A few weeks ahead of time, we provide some sample questions and give students a chance to become familiar with the test using the online practice tests.   
  • Last year’s test was the first time 3rd graders were asked to take the test on a computer. Keyboarding, making math calculations electronically, scrolling, etc. were new to most students.  We will spend more time on some of these skills in grade 3 this year.
  • Thinking about all of the above, if you have concerns about your child’s scores, please reach out to me and/or your child’s classroom teacher.  I’m happy to have a conversation and look at other data points to build a more complete picture of your chid’s progress in school.  

Creative Arts And Sciences - This past week, we had a CAS performance for the whole school called The Voci Angelica Trio.   The Voci Angelica Trio sang in eight languages and covered a lot of territory, performing songs from Haiti, Nigeria, Libya, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Ukraine, Venezuela, and the Appalachian region of the United States. The children sang, danced, clapped and whistled along as invited.   Here are a few images of the performance:



Early Release
Thursday, November 1
12:30 p.m.
Visit the entire Horace Mann Calendar at

From the PTO

Thank you to all who helped make  International Night 2018
such a huge success!
This night never fails to exemplify the wonderful diversity we have at our school. 
But a special thank you to our International Night Committee, Shanu Mehta, Ellen Farwell, Al Beevers, Kate Carpenter BernierSree Rapolu, and Leah Even Chorev.

Thanks for coming to the Book Fair!
This year's book fair reached our goal of more than $18,000 and helped put thousands of dollars worth of books in our classrooms. Thanks to all of the volunteers for staffing, setting up, and cleaning up. Thanks to all of the parents who shopped the fair. And, thanks to Mr. Tynes and D.A.D. for sharing the gym with us. Finally, please don't forget to support our sponsors: My Grandma's of New England Coffee Cakes, Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, Belmont Springs, and UPS Newtonville.

We are offering a few cold-weather items to be delivered just in time for the holidays. Order through the school store by November 7. Please let Mr. Nardelli know if you need financial support. Go Hawks! 

Horace Mann is moving to the Carr Building 
Horace Mann is scheduled to move to the Carr Building in September 2019.
We know there are many questions about what to expect with regards to the move, facility enhancement, technology and many other areas. In order to help us communicate accurate information, Mark Nardelli will answer your questions through regular updates via email and news notes. Please list any questions you have about the move below. Thank you!

Quick Links
Don't forget to use our rewards programs when you shop! Money raised goes towards the PTO. Thanks!
You can also pay your dues online if you haven't already. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

4th and 5th Grade Evening Workshop

Title 1 Evening Workshop

Session 1: Math - Investigations Overview

Session 2: Screen Time

Thursday, October 25th - 4th and 5th grade families

6:00-7:30 pm

Workshop Details

  • This evening is geared towards parents of 4th/5th grade students. 

  • Each session will run approximately 40 minutes.  

  • Parents will have a chance to attend both sessions on the same night.

  • Free childcare and pizza will be available.

  • We will run a similar workshop for families in grades 1, 2 and 3.  Date is TBD.

Math - Introduction to Investigations

  • Introduction and overview of the Investigations Math program and our expectations.

  • Interactive introduction to multiplication and division concepts for Grades 4 and 5.

  • Tips on how to help your child at home with some key concepts.

  • Technical advice on how to access the Investigations program at home.

Screen Time - Advice for Parents and Caregivers

  • Explore the latest trends in social media, online gaming, etc.

  • Advice on how to set screen time limits.  

  • There will also be an interactive tutorial on using the new IOS screen time controls. 

  • For non IOS users, we will also talking other ways to limit screen time from a technical perspective.

  • Sharing of resources and opportunity for discussion/Q & A.

Monday, October 8, 2018

FORJ Meeting - Tuesday 10/16

Come to Horace Mann at 7pm this Tuesday, 10/16, for a parent discussion group.  

Come join your fellow parents and caregivers as we discuss racial equity and bias in the classroom, on the playground, and in the conversations we have with our children. Building on the mission of FORJ, our school discussion group will meet 4 times this year at Horace Mann, and each time we will review a short video or podcast together and talk through our reactions and how our understanding of race impacts how we parent. This discussion group is adults only, no kids.

Tuesday, 10/16/18: Led by Lena Zuckerwise  (grade 1 parent)
Topic - Racial equity at school and in the classroom

Other meetings in the series:

Tuesday, 12/11/18: Led by Lucia Panichella (grade 1 parent)
Topic – Immigration 

Tuesday, 2/12/19: Led by Kate Carpenter Bernier (grade 3 parent)
Topic – TBD

Tuesday, 4/9/19: Led by TBD 

Topic – TBD

Questions, please email organizer Cedar Pruitt – (Grade 1 and 4 parent)

NewsNotes 10/8/2018

HM School Values - Over the past several weeks I’ve been trying to capture some of our students doing things that reinforce our values.  Below is a sampling of photos of our students doing just that.  

Weekly Recycling and Picking up Trash (Respect for our School)
Engagement (Lifelong Learning)

Blue Zone - This past week we nearly had a tragic incident take place during drop-off time.  A child exited the left side of a vehicle parked in the blue zone and almost got hit by a passing car.  I know we are all busy, but by taking a moment to slow down and following a few simple precautions, we can prevent potentially devastating outcomes.
A few tips to follow:
  • Please don’t double park in the blue zone area
  • Never let your child enter or exit a vehicle in a passing traffic lane.
  • Please stay off the grassy side of Albemarle Rd.  It is very dangerous to have children crossing the street during arrival and dismissal time.

International Night Reminder - On Friday, October 12th we will be hosting our annual event in the gym.  Its a great chance to share something about your family and your traditions.  If you’d like to sign up to host a table, click the registration link here:
If not, please consider attending with your family.  There’s lots of great food from around the world, as well as a chance to meet new people.  There will be a place to read stories, and even share a song. We’d love to see you there.

Parents and Technology -  For those of you who have iPhones/iPads in your home, there’s good news for parents who are struggling with managing screen time.  If you upgrade to the newest operating system (OS12), there is a new feature in SETTINGS titled SCREEN TIME.  This feature enables parents to set schedules for device use, set restrictions on content, limit specific APPS, etc.  Here’s a link to an article with more details:
Literacy Update - Now that assessments are complete, students in grades 1-3 will be provided with targeted small group learning opportunities depending on the level of need.  Here is an overview:
  • All students will be in a small guided reading group (2x/week, 3x/week, or 4x/week). 
  • Students requiring more support will be enrolled in LLI (Leveled Literacy Intervention). Students are grouped by level into groups of three students, which will meet 5 times per week for 30 minutes.
  • In addition to the above two groups, some students will also receive additional phonics instruction (roughly 15 minutes per day 5x/week)
  • Finally, for those students with more intensive learning needs, we have our Reading Recovery intervention, which involves 5x30 minutes per week in a 1-1 setting.
Feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher to find out more about your child’s reading services. All of this is available through regular education (not special education or an IEP).
Responsive Home Workshop for parents of Kindergartners 

Parent Info Session -  Massachusetts Anti-bullying Law:  IEP and School-wide Strategies to Prevent Bullying of Students with Disabilities
Thursday, October 18
Location :Education Center
100 Walnut Street; Room 210
7:15-9:00pm (networking at 7:15, presentation starts at 7:30)
Please RSVP to 

This workshop will address the significant changes in special education practice that are a result of the state’s anti-bullying prevention law,  focusing on both school-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments for students with disabilities and statutory provisions that require IEP Teams to address bullying of students with disabilities.

About the speaker:
Johanne Pino is a full time project coordinator at Mass Advocates for Children (MAC) where she engages in outreach and provides information and technical assistance to parents and professionals. As a peer leader, she has worked for many years as an advocate for her children with disabilities.