Sunday, April 23, 2017

NewsNotes 4/23/17

Storyteller Len Cabral shares his craft with our second graders.
Life in Ghana - also a 2nd grade CAS program where students learn about everyday life in this West African nation.
*Staffing Update: The following is the first of a few updates regarding teaching assignments for next year.  As you may recall, we are reducing classrooms for next year from 19 to 18. After much consideration and deliberation about what will be best for students, the following are the first round of changes: First, Kate Blanchard will be moving to first grade. Claudia Hoover will leave the co-taught model to have her own classroom in 4th grade.  We will continue to have one co-taught classroom in 4th* and one in 5th*. Here is the complete lineup of classroom teaching assignments for next year:

        K: Bonzey, Ferland, Seyferth
        1: Blanchard, Chatfield, Gower
        2: Bartley, Lewis, Sandison
        3: Bard, Harris, Rosen
        4: Berardi/Conley*, Hoover, Oldmixon
        5: Akdag/Dias*, Feldstein, Moore

Because of the reductions and the movement, we are actively trying to find spots for some of our staff who have been displaced. Unfortunately, Maddy Kenyon, Lauren Fischer, and Shayna Packer are in this situation.  I am doing all I can to support them in finding another spot in Newton.

I will also have several important updates about our special education programming to announce in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Cultural Proficiency Curriculum: As I mentioned in earlier editions of NewsNotes, we have spent a good deal of time developing lessons and unites dedicated to being proactive around how and when we teach students about race, ethnicity, gender, disability, etc. At some point soon I will share a couple of the lessons so you can see what we’ve been working on. Teachers will pilot some of the lessons this year, and implement the remainder next year. Our hope is to make our work available to the entire district.

Thought provoking article on “Redshirting” : The article gives an overview of what is meant be “redshirting” and talks about the pros and cons in light of some new research.  Enjoy: Grade Recorder Concert: A couple of weeks back, our 3rd graders performed live for the first time (for both the school audience and for parents).  Ms. Lotz and the students worked hard all year to learn a brand new instrument.  Many children are learning to read notes for the first time, learning various musical terms, as well as learning to perform in an ensemble group.  The progress the students made has been amazing and culminated in this terrific performance. Congrats to this dedicated group of children!

Talent Show: Another stellar group of performances were on display Friday night. As I mentioned during the show, I continue to be so impressed by the dedication and commitment of the artists. There is no doubt that they spend countless hours practicing, making mistakes, working through frustration, and getting better in incremental steps. The results on Friday were nothing short of phenomenal. Congratulations to all of the performers. Thanks again to Sudha Maheshwari, Melissa Meyerowitz, Lauren Gallagher, and Adam Brown for their efforts to put this great show together.

May 1, 2017 – With spring finally here, the kids at Horace Mann are back outside enjoying the fresh air and running, jumping, hopping, skipping, galloping and leaping over some rain puddles. Now is a good time for families to prepare to “make time for exercise.” Family hikes, family workouts, or any physical activity that involves the family unit will leave a positive and lasting impression on most children. The following is one of many links that will help you get started:

What’s been going on in Physical Education? - We have finished our striking and Volleyball Unit. The fifth grade took on some teachers in a great tournament of “Silent Elimination” last week. It was a great way to end the unit.

What’s Next? - We have started our massive unit on Fitness, Nutrition and the Systems of the Body with emphasis on the cardiovascular system. We will be focusing on food labels and comparing and contrasting the old and new ones that are soon to hit your grocery store. We will be learning about cells, DNA, and the amazing, incredible human body. The students will be working out with over 25 machines and pieces of fitness equipment.

Sneakers - Please make sure your H.M. student brings his or her sneakers on Physical Education class days.  Please no sandals, crocks flip-flops!

Student Helpers from North - All year long students from Newton North’s Special Education programs come in to help assist me in Physical Education classes. We have students every Tuesday and Friday. This continues to be an enriching program for our students and for the students from North, as well!

Save the Date - Fitness for Life is Friday May 26th!
(Rain Date - 6/2) For those new to Horace Mann, this is an event that happens only at our school. We reserve the entire Aburndale Cove for the day and celebrate fun, families, and fitness. This is an event that I encourage all families to participate in. It is a wonderful way to connect with the entire Horace Mann community. You will be receiving a lot of information next week.

Parent Helpers – WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are in need of parent helpers to be part of the set up and break down crew on May 26th for Fitness for Life. Please let me know if you are able to help out.

SET UP - This involves meeting Mr. Tynes at the Cove to unload the truck and set up the stations. If you are available we will meet at 7:00am. I will have a map, tools, and instructions for each station.

BREAK DOWN - At 1:45 we will begin breaking down the stations. We will load up the truck and head back to Horace Mann.  If you have a pick up truck and don’t mind throwing some stuff in the back, this will be a big help.

Four Tips for Family Members Who Coach - The students are just beginning to figure out how to use their amazing bodies. At Horace Mann, I encourage all children to give their best effort. As they grow and participate in sports, the right coach can shape, make, or break a child.
  1. Make sure you are familiar with child development and what research, data, and science says is best for a particular age group.
  2. Try not to punish with exercise (it is not what happens here in Physical Education class). Exercise should be meaningful and fun.
  3. Remember - it is about them, and you have a great opportunity to make a lasting impression.
  4. Make it fun and “make their day.”

In The Sprit of Sportspersonship,
Mr. Tynes

Sunday, April 9, 2017

NewsNotes 4/9/2017

From Mark's Desk

Earlier this month, a visit from the Museum of Science Traveling Program...experiments for our 5th graders!

Placement Reminder: Each year I offer families a chance to provide input into their child(ren)'s placement for the upcoming school year. The attached letter provides details about the process, as well as an optional form that you can fill out and submit to me. Feel free to print the form out, complete it, and turn it into the main office, OR, you can use the electronic version and email it back to me.

Forms are due THIS Thursday, April 13th

I've attached a Word version and a PDF version. Please let me know if you have any trouble using these links:



3rd Grade Persuasive Writing
: This week, 3rd grade students in Ms. Bard’s class shared their persuasive essays with me. The goal of the assignment was for students to choose an issue they were concerned about and then write a compelling argument for why something should change. Students wrote about a variety of issues, including the need for an elevator, better lunch options, improved bathroom facilities, and technology upgrades. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the topic choices, as well as the reasoning behind the arguments.

Food Service Feedback: On a related note, I am meeting with members of Sodexo this week to talk about food service at Horace Mann. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share please email me (before Tuesday) and I will pass them along. Another option would be to submit your feedback on the website. You can do so by clicking on this link:

Technology Use and Limit Setting: For any parents out there who have struggled with setting limits on the use of devices, here is a link to an article with some tips:

I would also add that at our house, one of the most effective ways that we limit device use is to have designated times (during the weekday and weekend) where devices can be used. For example, the kids get an hour on iPads after homework is done (4:30-5:30pm ish). We also have device free Sundays. In the summer, the kids can use them in the morning and then again at 4pm. Generally speaking, we lock the devices away during the unavailable times, minimizing the temptation!

Responsive Home Workshop: Are you struggling with your child(ren)’s behavior at home? Do you want to work towards creating a supportive, encouraging home environment? If so, attend one of Newton’s workshop. The next session is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12th from 6:30-8:30 pm. This will take place at the Ed Center (room 210)

MCAS Schedule:

ELA (Reading/Writing)
Grade 3 - April 25th, April 26th, and April 28th
Grade 5 - April 10th, and April 13th

Grade 3 - May 4th and May 5th
Grade 4 - May 15th and May 16th
Grade 5 - May 1st and May 3rd

From the PTO

Horace Mann Spirit Wear is ready to order!

We have a great selection of Horace Mann Hawks spirit wear items that you and your children will not want to miss. Get your Hawks gear in time for our end of the year, school-wide "Fitness for Life" so the kids can show off their school spirit! The order deadline has been extended to April 16 ensure delivery before Fitness for Life.

Use the link sent to you by email last week, or

Click below to purchase today:

Email Jon Mendicina ( or Karen Solari ( with any questions.

Talent Show Postponed!

You will have to wait a little longer to see our HM superstars perform their many talents. The talent show will now take place at Newton North High School on Friday evening, April 28th. Showtime will be at 6:30 pm sharp. More details about this move will be forthcoming. Please contact Sudha if this changes your ability to participate in this event (


It’s time again for community-building through service! Please join us on Sunday, April 30, from 12:30-3:30, for NewtonSERVES at Horace Mann. We will spend the afternoon working on various indoor and outdoor projects at the school including:
- mulching
- spreading new fibar on the playground
- fence repair
- barrier installation
- painting an office wall

If you are able to volunteer, please come! Volunteers can register at and select the Horace Mann School project.

 If you have any useful tools such as rakes, brooms, garden/work gloves, etc., please bring them with you. We hope to see you on April 30!

Thank you,
Ashley Sullivan & Kristy Moore