Monday, December 3, 2018

NewsNotes 12/3/2018

December 3, 2018

In this issue:

From Principal Nardelli

I Am From: On display in our long first floor hallway are the I Am From Leaves that our students created last month.  Below are some images of our display.


Early Release Day Reminder:  There is an early release scheduled for this Wednesday, December 5th.  Students will be released at 12:30.   During this time, staff will be engaged in a few important initiatives:
  1. For the first part of the day we will continue our work on the importance of understanding culture in creating a welcoming and engaging school environment.
  2. The second part of the afternoon will include small group work.  Some examples include:
    • Our grade 2 team will be looking at math assessment data and upcoming units in the new Investigations math program.  
    • 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teams will be getting together as one large group to look at how we teach students to write in response to text they are reading.    

School Connectedness Survey: Recently, a letter was sent to all families from the Superintendent’s office describing our annual School Connectedness Survey.  These surveys are administered to all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students each November/December.  While we do not see individual student responses, the results give us a sense of how students feel about their experiences at our school.  If you have questions, we have copies of the survey available in the main office.

Carr School Update:  On November 28th, the School Committee voted to keep the Horace Mann name as we move to the building on 225 Nevada St.  Here is the official announcement:

Also, below is a brief update on some of the questions that have been coming in about our move:
  • Questions about crossing guards/intersections - This is an important item on our to do list for late winter/early spring.  We have requested a traffic study to determine potentially dangerous intersections as well as where new crossing guards will need to be allocated.  At this point, no decisions have been made. 
  • Questions about bussing - The city anticipates that a bus route may be created to address longer travel distances from those families residing closer to West Newton.  Again, no decisions have been made yet, but will be addressed this spring.

Winter Weather: Now that the cold weather has arrived in earnest, please remember to dress your children appropriately for the weather.  We go outside for recess every day, except when the most bitterly cold air arrives. Children are expected to wear coats and long pants when we go outside in cold temperatures.  Children should also bring hats, gloves/mittens, boots and snow pants as we will be outside when the snow arrives. We recommend labeling all items with your child’s name so that we can limit items in  the Lost and Found barrel.

Holiday Celebrations: We've been drawing attention this fall to the various practices and traditions celebrated in the lives of our families here at HM.  In thinking about the normal exposure of the more prominent holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas), we've asked teachers to be purposeful in class about discussing other celebrations that come up during the school year that are important to people from other cultures.  For example, a fair number of students have shared the fact that they do not dress up or trick-or-treat during Halloween.  We also learned that not everyone has turkey on Thanksgiving.  On Friday, some 5th graders shared games, writing, and food traditions that their families take part in during Hanukah. While the items I shared may not be new information for many of us, we do feel that giving students a chance to share their traditions is an important part of establishing a welcoming environment.  The goal is not to censor or squash the celebrations of the majority, but to acknowledge and celebrate cultural traditions that reflect the reality of our community.

School Committee Gift Policy: On a related note, I realize that many families wish to express their gratitude to staff members.  I want to remind you of the Massachusetts Ethics Reform laws regarding gifts.  The law states that “municipal employees may not accept gifts and gratuities valued at $50 or more” (per year). “A group gift for a teacher/classroom where individuals contribute smaller amounts cannot exceed $150.” Classroom supplies/contributions do not fall under this policy. I ask for your cooperation in adhering to this policy. If you wish to express your gratitude to a staff member, cards or notes are greatly appreciated.  Other alternatives include purchasing a book for the library or making a donation to the Newton Schools Foundation. Each of these can be dedicated to honor a special staff member.  Thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness.


Staff Appreciation Breakfast
Wednesday, December 5

Early Release
Wednesday, December 5
12:30 p.m.

FORJ Meeting
Tuesday, December 11

No School, December Recess
Monday, December 24-Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Visit the entire Horace Mann Calendar at

From the PTO

LAST CHANCE to 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!

The Fourth and Fifth Grade Social Action Committee is running a coat drive in connection with the
Food Drive this week. 
Coats will be donated to Cradles to Crayons
They are accepting winter coats in good, clean condition 
Sizes Infant to Adult Small
Drop in front/back lobbies of school 
DECEMBER  3rd-7th
You can also click on the link below to donate directly to Cradles to Crayons Amazon Wish List 
Don't forget the Horace Mann Food Drive
to benefit the 
Centre Street Food Pantry
December  3rd-7th

Time to register for a night at 
The Paint Bar!
Friday, January 11 at 6:30 p.m.
Register here:

Mystery Dinner—Saturday, February 2, 2019—Calling all dinner hosts!

We are also looking for an Appetizer Host, please contact Liz Kleinerman or Tracy Kane for details.  Contact information listed below.

Our 2019 Mystery Dinner is Saturday, February 2nd and we need dinner 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.  Dinner host deadline is Friday, December 14th.

For those who need more information, a quick snapshot of the night:

At 7pm on the evening of the event, you and the other attendees will gather at one large appetizer party,  where you will receive your mystery envelope revealing your dinner destination, host, and theme. At 8pm, everyone will proceed to their dinners,  we will all enjoy delicious food and get to know each other better. After dinner around 10pm, everyone will reconvene for dessert and coffee at a new (surprise) location.
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!  If you are interested or have questions, please email Liz Kleinerman ( or Tracy Kane ( with any questions.
Save the date, get your childcare lined up, and get ready for some fun!

Box Tops

Thanks to everyone who submitted Box Tops this fall. Those little scraps of paper raised $200 for the PTO! Please keep clipping them and sending them in to your child's teacher. The next deadline is in March.
Don't forget to start your holiday Amazon orders at! Choose Horace Mann PTO as your charity and a percentage of your purchase comes back to HM.

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.