Category: From the Principal

Principal’s Weekly Update

Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I am happy to report that morning arrival continues to go extremely well. The hallways are calm and students are quickly transitioning to class and getting into their school day. Teachers report being able to take care of incidental items with students (such as visiting classroom library, morning lunch count, etc.) and embarking upon morning meeting promptly at 8:30 – 10 minutes earlier than last year. As a result teachers and students are reporting they feel less rushed and able to actually engage in the community building work and the academic preview/reinforcement embedded in morning meeting time. Thank you for supporting us – and your children – during implementation of this new policy.

Open House is coming up next week!  Click HERE for details.

Please refrain from taking your child away on vacation during school days. Absences create learning gaps that can be quite challenging for a child to overcome.

Your child came home talking about difficult moments at school…now what?  Check out this helpful resource for parents.  Click HERE

Obstacle challenge coming up at Memorial-Spaulding – Saturday, October 7th. Details HERE To register:

Kindergarten students who are staying after school to play on the playground must be supervised by a parent or other caretaker.

Unsure if you need a new CORI this year? Check with Francie (617-559-9600) or

Need to change dismissal plans during the school day?  Please call or email Francie. Teachers may not have the opportunity to check email during the day.



Principal’s Weekly Update

Memorial-Spaulding Families,

We are off to a good start with our new arrival plan. Teachers are starting Morning Meeting right at 8:30am. Please ensure your child is at school on time each day.

Administrative Policies and Procedures are outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. Should you have a question – you may find the answer here.

Do you have a 4th grader who likes to visit National Parks?  Check out this great way to have great experiences and save money!  Click HERE

Instrumental music is a great way to grow as a musician, thinker and a collaborative team player. All 4th grade students are eligible to learn a wind instrument.  More information HERE and HERE

A new math curriculum is coming!  Newton Public Schools has adopted Investigations. This new program will be implemented in grades 3 and 4 this school year.  Click HERE for a letter from Jennifer Shore, our Math Coordinator.

Flu clinic coming to Memorial-Spaulding on Sept. 26th.  Click HERE for more information.

All bus riders should complete the Bus Behavior Contract.  Each bus rider was given a copy of the contract to read and sign. If your child rides the bus and has not yet completed the contract. Please click HERE to download – and send to school with your child.

Our afternoon buses are nearly full.  Therefore there is no room for additional “hop on” riders.  If your child is planning a play date with a friend, please make sure you arrange for transportation – other than the school bus.

The First Six Week of School is a component of Responsive Classroom that allows students to fully learn routines and expectations, as well as develop a sense of classroom/school community.  A letter explaining our work is available HERE.

Are you CORI’d?  If you are wondering if you are on the approved CORI list, please ask Francie ( or 617-559-9600).  If you need to complete a CORI form, please see Francie in person and bring a valid ID (drivers license or passport).

The tree near the Art Room is not for children to climb after school.  The tree is sustaining damage from children climbing – and we have had a few children injured.  The school is not liable for any injuries sustained while climbing the tree.

Do you wait for your child at the front door for dismissal?  If so, please stand back from the doors – several teachers are dismissing from this location.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Glass water bottles are not ideal for school.  Broken glass bottles can create a safety hazard.

Thank you for helping to create a smooth transition for your child and a great opening of an exciting new school year. I look forward to seeing you at Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 27th!



Principal’s Weekly Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Today was a spectacular first day of the school year at Memorial-Spaulding.  The positive energy and excitement in the building was palpable.  I am grateful to be your principal and I look forward to an outstanding school year!

The remainder of this message is a repeat of information sent on Monday morning.  Below are some items to help you prepare for the new school year.

Arrival Changes: Families will be permitted to walk students into the building during the first week of school. Beginning Sept. 11th, all students will need to say goodbye to parents at the doors. Extra personnel will be available at both the front and back entrances to greet at assist parents and children.  

Dismissal: Your classroom teacher will provide information on where to meet your child afterschool (grades 1-3).  Grade K dismisses at their exterior doors by the playground. Grades 4 and 5 dismiss students directly from the classroom. Please inform your child’s classroom teacher how your child will be dismissed each day (bus, parent pick up, Extended Day program, etc.).

Blue Zone:  Our Blue Zone has been expanded once again.  The yellow curb access point was removed over the summer.  Remember Blue Zone is for quick drop (or pick up) and go. Drivers should not exit their cars in the Blue Zone.  There is a Blue Zone on Brookline Street in front of the school and near Oak Hill Street in the opposite direction.  You may also drop/pick up students at Clifton Path behind the school.  

Elimination of crossing guard:  The guard position at Dedham and Oak Hill Streets has been eliminated due to lack of use.  Please see NPD letter HERE.

School Bus:  Students will receive a bus pass.  If your child is slated to ride the bus, we will put him/her on the bus unless we have written notification (delivered to the classroom teacher) that plans have changed.  For last minute changes please call Francie (617-559-9600).

Summer upgrades:  New concrete work in front of the school which has been designed for functionality, better aesthetics and easier access into the building.  New front doors are on the way and should be installed sometime in September.  Three new benches were donated by the 5th grade class of 2017 and will arrive within the next couple weeks.  

Thanks to Jon Sneider for designing and planting new landscaping!  A big thanks to Robin Welch, Katharina Elbert, Margie Ross-Decter and the entire Beautification Committee for their hard work on this project.  Weston Nurseries provided new plantings at a big discount.

Other summer upgrades include: newly painted cafeteria, auditorium ceiling re-painted, hard-top on playground painted (thanks to the PTO).  New equipment in the art room.  

I have just discovered new LED lighting will be installed in the kindergarten hallway this coming year.  

We start the school year with 457 students in 22 classrooms (one additional 3rd grade classroom over what we had last year).  Our class sizes range from 18-24 students.  

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Principal/PTO Coffees – Tuesday, Sept. 5th and Wednesday, Sept. 6th @ 8:30am.  All parents are invited – please stop by and say hello!  Location: Cafeteria.  
  • Family “Back to School” Picnic and Movie Night – Saturday, Sept. 9th at 6pm.  On the field beside the playground.  
  • PTO Meeting – Tuesday, Sept. 12th @ 7pm.  Please plan to join us!
  • Kindergarten Soccer – Saturday, Sept. 16th on the playing field at Memorial-Spaulding.  Look for more information to come on the PTO website.
  • ELL Parent Coffee – Tuesday, Sept. 26th in the Extended Day Room @ 8:30am.  This event is open to all families whose children receive English as a second language instruction!  
  • Back to School Night – Wednesday, Sept. 27th from 6-8pm.  This is an opportunity to meet your child’s classroom teacher and our subject-specific specialists – and learn about our curriculum!

All weekly updates will happen via this website.  You can self-subscribe to receive an email sent to your inbox each week.


Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Weekly Update

Thursday is an early release day (12:30) for all students

Math MCAS testing is taking place this week for all students in grades 3-5.  If your child is testing this week, please ensure an on time arrival.

If you are visiting our school for anything more than a quick drop off – remember to sign in at the Greeter’s Desk or the Main Office.  All visitors to classrooms should be wearing a yellow Visitor Badge.  Please remember our greeters are volunteering their time in order to make our school a safer place.

Incoming Kindergarten Parent Information Evening – May 15th @ 7pm

Memorial-Spaulding has been awarded a Boston University grant in order to further our work with integrating the arts into curricular areas.  Congratulations to Art Teacher,  Alexandra Etscovitz and the entire Arts Integration Team for their commitment to this work!

Thursday is an early release day for all students.

Principal’s Weekly Update

The student placement process for the 2017-18 school year will begin in early May. Please read the Placement Letter and access the Parent/Guardian Input Form.

The Superintendent’s Forum: Talking with Children about Race was a success! If you would like to get involved and/or continue the conversation click HERE.  There is a broken link on this item regarding contact information.  That link is working HERE.

The Cape Town Youth Choir will visit us on Friday of this week. They will take up residence at Memorial-Spaulding for much of the day, visiting all classrooms to teach students about South Africa, and performing a concert for 3rd and 5th grade. You can check them out here:

MCAS is going well!  Please be sure your child is well-rested and ready for testing day. Click HERE to check out the entire MCAS testing schedule.

Please let us know if your child will be absent from school: 617-559-9617 (Absence Line).

Students must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school. For the continued health of all students and staff, please do not send your child to school when ill.

Have a wonderfully wet, rainy week!

Principal’s Weekly Update

Dear Families,

This year all third, fourth, and fifth grade students will take the new statewide assessment, MCAS Next Generation. This will replace PARCC, which students took for the past two years. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is requiring that all grade 4 students take the Computer-Based Test (CBT) with the goal of students in all grades taking the CBT by the year 2019. At Memorial-Spaulding, we elected to have students in grades 3 and 5 take the Paper-Based Test (PBT) this year.

With the adoption of another new test, we have been thoughtfully preparing students for success. We believe that the high-quality instruction we provide students each day is the best way we can prepare them for external assessments. That said the MCAS Next Generation test format and testing situation are different from students’ routine experiences and we have been working to familiarize students with the test format, the types of questions, and the vocabulary. We have taken this approach for test preparation, as we do not want to “teach to the test” and/or create unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Over the past few weeks, teachers in grades 3, 4, and 5 have presented practice tests to students and posed guiding questions to allow students to learn about and explore the test. Examples of guiding questions include:

  • What types of questions do you see?
  • What are you being asked to do?
  • What words do you notice?
  • Do you see any words that other kids might not know?
  • What do you notice as you tried to record/enter your answer?

After students had time to explore the tests, teachers spent some time in class teaching strategies to help students feel comfortable and confident during the testing situation. Strategies included reading test directions, unpacking questions, and using a reference sheet. Teachers have reassured students that throughout the year they have learned the content to help them be successful. To minimize stress, teachers will also share with their classes that the results of the assessment are used for multiple purposes such as, planning for growth in future years and determining if additional shifts in our curriculum are necessary.

Thank you for your continued support. If you have questions, please do hesitate to ask.

Upcoming MCAS testing dates: English/Language Arts – (Grade 3 = 4/3, 4/6, 4/7) (Grade 4 = 4/4, 4/5, 4/6) (Grade 5 = 4/3, 4/5, 4/7)


Principal’s Weekly Update

Important drop off and dismissal reminders for drivers:

You may not park in the Blue Zone during drop off and dismissal.  The idea is to “drop and go”.  Think “STOP, DROP and ROLL”   Click here for more information on the Blue Zone

The bus lane is for buses only – not student drop off.  There is one handicapped accessible parking spot in the bus lane.  Please do not pull into the bus lane unless you have a handicapped placard and intend to park in that spot.

In the days I have been out front I have witnessed two minor “fender benders”.  Please be careful!

Do not pull into the parking lot during school hours.  This creates an unsafe situation for children who are transitioning to and from recess.  When retrieving your child from kindergarten, please park on the street.  

We are ALL responsible for the safety of our children.  Please ensure you are adhering to rules and procedures in order to help us maintain a safe environment.

Principal’s Weekly Update

The International Fair was a great success.  Many thanks to those parents who were responsible for coordinating this event!

You are invited: Talking to Children about Race: Why and How:  March 22nd at Angier School (7pm)  Click HERE for more details

If your child’s dismissal plan is changing on any given day, please remember to send a note to your child’s teacher.  If we do not have a note from you, we will dismiss your child as per his/her regular routine.

I hope you are safe and warm on this cold, snowy winter’s day.



Principal’s Weekly Update

Welcome back to school! I hope you had a wonderful vacation week.

Kindergarten screening is coming up on March 7th and March 15th. If you have an incoming K student and have not yet registered for a screening appointment, please call Francie to schedule your visit @ 617-559-9600. If you know of a family who has not yet registered, please encourage them to call us! The greater number of students we screen will support lower class sizes.

Our annual International Festival will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, March 9th. What an inspiring way to celebrate the diversity of our school and the world around us! This amazing event teaches all of us to embrace our differences and celebrate our common humanity. To make this year the best year ever, we need YOUR help. Please sign up  to host a table and/or a performance at If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Lia McKay at

International students are in need of host families. Click HERE for more information.

Please join Superintendent David Fleishman for a presentation on talking to children about race – why and how.  Wednesday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. at Angier Elementary.

If your child will be absent from school, please call the absence line: 617-559-9617.

Enjoy the warm weather!

Principal’s Weekly Update


Thanks to our parents and staff members who presented on Inclusion at Memorial-Spaulding back on January 12th. At the end of the evening I felt grateful to be in a school community that is committed to supporting all students. I have included a few slides HERE to give you a brief overview of the evening. Click HERE to access a helpful parent resource called: My child came home talking about difficult moments at school…now what?  I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Please take a look at our Responsive School Bulletin Board in the main hallway. You will find useful information, as well as our article of the month. Check out this month’s article on Logical Consequences by clicking HERE

Upcoming Responsive Home workshops!  This workshop will help you understand the approach we are using at school and how you may be able employ similar strategies at home. Check it out HERE

I am resending the January Health Newsletter.  Of course the most effective way to prevent sickness is to wash hands. Click HERE to read access the newsletter. Stay healthy!

You are invited to a community forum: “Talking to Children about Race: Why and How?” to be held on Wednesday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. at Angier School (1697 Beacon St.) Click HERE for the Superintendent’s invitation. You must RSVP for this event.

Stay safe on this snowy evening.