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.