Sunday, December 3, 2017

NewsNotes 12/3/2017

December 2, 2017  

In this issue:

From Principal Nardelli
Food Drive - A tremendous thank you to the many, many families who have taken the time to donate a wide variety of goods for this month's food drive.  We will be delivering the items in the next week or so and they will be much appreciated.  Thank you!

Communication Update - The PTO board and I agreed to make some changes to our communication methods with the hopes of streamlining things.  Over the past month or so, we have shifted to using the MYSCHOOLANYWHERE platform, which is also the site that houses our school directory.  You will now get NewsNotes, PTO postings, fundraiser information, etc. from this site.  I also post updates directly to my blog on the Horace Mann Website, which can be accessed directly by clicking on this link:

On occasion, families will still receive information about early release dates, progress reports, etc. from our district sponsored messaging system (Skyward).  Please let me know if you feel that are ways that we can improve our practices (

Staffing Update - A small team of people has spent the last couple of weeks interviewing candidates and watching demo lessons as part of our efforts to find a qualified educator take over for Ms. Bonzey during her maternity leave, which will begin in January.   After careful consideration and input from the team, I am excited to share that Sarah Pappo will be assuming lead teacher responsibilities when we return from the December break until the remainder of the school year.  Sarah has worked at HM for the past two years as a paraprofessional with the opes of one day having her own classroom. Throughout our search process and in her time at Horace Mann, Ms. Pappo has had many opportunities to lead whole group and small group instruction, and has demonstrated the ability to effectively manage a variety of learning environments in both K and 1 classrooms. In addition, Ms. Pappo spent last year working in Ms. Bonzey’s classroom and is familiar with many of the routines, structures, and strategies currently in place.  Please join me in congratulating Ms. Pappo on this opportunity.

FORJ Group -  This group of families in and around Newton has organized an effort to educate parents, children, and various communities about race racism, culture and identity. The following message is an update of upcoming activities for the group at Horace Mann.

Please consider attending our upcoming discussion event coming up next Tuesday, December 12 at Horace Mann from 7-9pm - check out the materials and RSVP here:

Newton SEPAC - Personal Safety Workshop

Agenda: A discussion about Personal Safety for families with children with Special Needs, presented by a Safety Officer from the Newton Police Department.

Location: Education Center, Room 210, Walnut Street, Newton, MA 02460
Date: Tuesday, December 5
7:15 - Networking
7:30 - Presentation begins

Student Connectedness Survey - For the second year in a row, the district will be conducting a student connectedness survey for all students in grades 3-12. The survey was created by NPS’s Data Team and NPS staff, administrators and faculty, and is designed to help us better understand how our students are supported by and engaged with curriculum, extracurricular activities, teachers, peers, and their school community. We will be administering this survey prior to the break. Parents of children in grades 3-5 should already have received information about the survey.  If you have any questions, please let me know at

Early Release Plan - This Thursday, December 7th, we have an early release for all staff.  Students will be dismissed at 12:30.  During this afternoon time, we are planning to have staff watch one of three videos focused on our equity work, followed by discussion activities.   We firmly believe that our own learning and reflection is central to our efforts to create a culturally responsive school.  The videos we have chosen will provide the opportunity for teachers to learn more about the diverse perspectives that our students and families bring to the classroom, and also talk about how these perspectives impact instruction and learning. Below I have provided a brief description of each video as well as a trailer link, in case you are interested in learning more.
The Color of Fear is an insightful, groundbreaking film about the state of race relations in America as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino and African descent. In a series of intelligent, emotional and dramatic confrontations the men reveal the pain and scars that racism has caused them. What emerges is a deeper sense of understanding and trust. This is the dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime. Shortly after the release of The Color of Fear in 1995, Lee Mun Wah appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in a one-hour special about his life and work. In 1999, The Color of Fear won the Golden Apple Award for Best Social Studies Video, National Education Media Awards.

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends-Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material. I Am Not Your Negro is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.

Over the course of eight months, sixty-four women representing a cross-section of cultures (Indigenous, African-American, Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian, European-American, Jewish, Latina, and Multiracial) came together to share their experience of racism in America. With uncommon courage, the women speak their hearts and minds about resistance, love, assimilation, standards of beauty, power, school experiences, and more. Their candid conversations offer rare access into multi-dimensional worlds invisible to outsiders. The abundance of photographs, dance, and music provides a sensual richness to this provocative piece.
Thursday, December 7
Staff Appreciation Breakfast
Thursday, December 7
12:30 p.m. Early Release
Tuesday, December 12th
FORJ Parent Discussion 
Dec. 25-Jan.1
Winter Recess
Visit the entire Horace Mann Calendar at
From the PTO

SAVE THE DATE: Mystery Dinner—February 3, 2018—calling all hosts!
Our 2018 Mystery Dinner is Saturday, February 3, 2018 and we need hosts!!  Those of you who have been a part of the Mystery Dinner in previous years know how much fun it is.  It's a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances, meet new friends, and connect with other HM parents; all while enjoying delicious food and supporting the school. Please consider opening your home for a dinner.

For those who need more info, a quick snapshot of the night:
It begins with a cocktail hour (6:30pm) where all attendees go to receive their dinner location and a list of people in their dining party.  Parties will then split up and go to their hosts' houses and enjoy a special dinner from 8:00-9:30pm.  Thereafter, all parties will reconvene at a mystery location for dessert. Being a host entails opening up your home to anywhere from 4-10 people (or more if your house can accommodate) for dinner.  You decide the theme and the menu for your party to enjoy.  Past dinners have ranged from home-cooked Italian dinners to surf & turf to Indian cuisine.  It can be as creative and involved as you wish.  It does not need to be extravagant--the point is to enjoy a good meal and to have fun! Note: it is preferred for hosts to get babysitters or have the kids at a friend's or family member's house during the dinner. If you are interested or have questions, please email Liz Kleinerman ( or Cathy Amos ( with any questions.