Category Archives: From the Principal

Principal’s Update

Greetings Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope your week is going well thus far. I am writing with a few updates and important items for this week. Happy February!

Thursday is a special early release day this week. All students will be dismissed at 12:10 PM. There will be no ASCA classes, however the Extended Day Program will be open immediately after dismissal. All faculty and staff at our school (and across the district) will participate in Culturally Responsive Instruction training. During tomorrow’s training we will be looking at strategies to build student independence in all aspects of the school day (academics and social-emotional realms). This is an important aspect of our work at Memorial-Spaulding and fits within our vision of creating a school where students are highly engaged, connected to their classroom and broader school community and working toward becoming independent learners.

Interested in learning ways to talk about about race and racism with your child? The story starters program may be of interest to you. “Story Starters gives families age-appropriate tools and skills to have meaningful conversations about race and racism. Story Starters families learn from educators, racial justice advocates, and each other.” For more information, click HERE.

All families are invited to a NPS budget forum on Wednesday, February 8th @ Newton North High School. Click HERE for more information.

A few weeks ago it was brought to our attention that the RRFB (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon) at Brookline/Spaulding/Hartman was not working correctly. The Newton DPW (Department of Public Works) has determined that the RRFB is defective and needs to be completely replaced. The new RRFB should be in place within the next few days. Additionally for this location, I have been informed that a “raised table intersection” will be constructed. This measure will provide traffic “calming” in the area and, with the RRFB in place, should allow for a much safer intersection.

For families who drop/pick up children on Clifton Road: I have been asked by the Newton Police Department to request you do not block someone’s driveway when you are dropping off your child. I have learned that some parents are parking and walking their child down Clifton Path. If you are going to get out of your car to walk your child in, please be sure you are parked in a legal spot – otherwise you are subject to being ticketed.

Just a quick reminder for bus riders: All students getting off the bus who are in kindergarten or 1st grade, must be met by an adult. Please click HERE for full details and procedures put in place should an adult not be present when the afternoon bus arrives.

Each year we receive a handful of school transfer requests. These are submitted for a variety of reasons. Should you be interested in learning more about the process, click HERE.

Lastly, we often hear the word ‘equity’ in conversations, on the news, during presentations/lectures and in magazine articles. This term is sometimes being used in the place of the word ‘equality’. I want to take this opportunity to share our definition of the word here at Memorial-Spaulding. We understand that equality is everyone getting the same thing. This is a good idea in theory – and is sometimes appropriate. However, we are continually striving to create an equitable educational experience for our students. That means we are: working to differentiate curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of a variety of learners, striving to give each child the level of support they need in order to be an engaged and successful learner – and making thoughtful decisions that allow our students to work toward becoming independent thinkers. HERE is a graphic that defines our thinking. As always, we appreciate your support as we work to create equity at Memorial-Spaulding.

That’s it for now. Have a great remainder of your week – and stay warm.

Tom Morris, Principal

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Principal’s Update

Greetings Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope the new year is off to a good start for you! We are now back into a good routine at school. When I visit classrooms I find teachers presenting outstanding lessons and students who are fully engaged in learning.

As you may know, the City of Newton has proposed an override measure to support various aspects of city operations – including school funding. We would like to invite you to a special forum to learn more about the override proposal. Please join us on Thursday, January 26th at 8:30 AM for an in-person event here at Memorial-Spaulding. This meeting will go until about 9:30 AM. Guests will include: Interim Superintendent, Dr. Kathleen Smith and School Committee Chairperson, Tamika Olszewski. Coffee will be provided. Please join us! (If you need translation services for this event send an email to and specify the language needed.)

Kindergarten Information Night is coming soon! February 28th @ 7PM. This event will be virtual. If you have an incoming K student and/or you know families of incoming kindergarten age children, please pass along this information. It is important that we know about all new students arriving in the fall in order to appropriately plan staffing levels for our classrooms. Click HERE for more information.

The SPACE Summer Program is now accepting students for summer 2023. Interested in learning more? Click HERE for info.

Do you have a child in kindergarten of 1st grade who rides the bus home from school? If so, HERE is some important information for you.

Unclaimed items in our lost and found have now been donated to a charity. However, items will accumulate again quickly. Please be sure your child’s name is on all items coming to school. This is very helpful when we are attempting to reunite items with their owner. Many thanks.

As always, thank you for supporting your child’s academic, social-emotional and artistic growth. I wish you a lovely evening.

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

At this time of year our students (and their teachers) have been working hard, and putting forth tremendous effort to make progress with learning. The past four weeks (since Thanksgiving) have been full weeks for us and allowed us to teach new material and make gains in the curriculum. We know that learning is both extremely exciting and exhausting at the same time.

Now we arrive at our December school break. This is time for all of us to step away, catch our breath and get some much needed rest. I wish you and your family a wonderful vacation. I hope your holidays are joyful and your travels safe. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

A few brief items of interest:

Kindergarten registration will open on March 1, 2023. If you have an incoming kindergarten student, or you know of a family that does, HERE is some important information for you.

Each year our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders take the MCAS test. This test helps us measure student progress and determine academic trends (both positive and negative) for our school. We use this information to plan appropriate next steps for our school and students. This is one of several data points that we use to measure our effectiveness as educators. Our MCAS Schedule is now set. If your child is in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade, please take a look and plan accordingly for testing days. Questions? Give us a call or send an email. We are happy to help.

The Newton Food Pantry is serving many families within Newton. They are always happy to receive help and financial donations. For more information, click HERE.

Interested in working to support racial equity and justice? The Newton FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) may be of interest to you. Click HERE to access their latest newsletter and discover various ways to be involved.

I wish you peace and joy this holiday season.

  • Tom Morris, Principal

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Principal’s Update

Greetings Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Here we are in December! It is truly amazing how quickly time flies. Between Thanksgiving and December vacation is four full weeks of learning. This allows for us to significantly move students forward with various forms of skill development. Please make every effort to have your child in school each day and arriving on time.

Memorial-Spaulding will be restarting our School Council in January. The School Council is a small team of teachers, parents and administration who come together in order to help develop the school’s improvement plan – and gather feedback from families to help us determine the overall direction of our school. School Council’s are required by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Council will meet 3 or 4 times between January and June 2023. Our meet time will be from 3:30-4:30 PM. If you are interested in serving on the Council and available during that timeframe please let me know by sending me an email.

This is National Inclusive School’s Week! We are fortunate to have a wonderful Memorial-Spaulding SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) who does amazing work to support us and our families in multiple ways. This coming week they have arranged for a staff luncheon to honor our teachers and support staff who work each day to create and facilitate an environment that is both inclusive and supportive. This week our internal Inclusion Committee (teachers) have planned various activities that will be promoted during daily morning announcements.

Have you heard about ST Math and how we are using it at Memorial-Spaulding? Newton’s Elementary Math Department uses ST Math as our supplementary digital math program. As educators, we think ST Math is great because it is based on neuroscience and can help change the way your child feels about math.

ST Math is carefully designed to be effective and challenging. Puzzles start out simple and get harder as your student progresses. To help your student solve problems, ask your student what is happening in the games and have them explain their thinking. Click HERE for more information.

Do you happen to know any college students who may be interested in working part-time at Memorial-Spaulding (or other Newton schools) as substitute teachers or lunch/recess monitors? We are still looking to hire for some of these key positions. If you know of someone who may be interested, please send them our way.

Our lost and found is overflowing! Please feel free to pop in and take a look anytime. Just ring the bell and let Kim know why you are here. Also, please label your child’s belongings with their name. This makes it much easier for us to reunite items with their owner. Lost and found contents will be donated to charity on Friday, December 23rd.

The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Memorial-Spaulding next week (December 12-16). For more information, click HERE.

Each year the Newton Public Schools conduct a student survey to determine how connected student’s feel to their school community. At the elementary level the survey is for grades 3, 4 and 5. We will be administering the survey between now and January 6th. Parents may opt their child out of the survey. If you wish to do that, please let your child’s classroom teacher know ASAP. To learn more, click HERE.

Reminder: Special early release day Thursday of this week. All students will be released at 12:10 PM. The faculty and staff will take part in district-wide training focused on Culturally Responsive Instruction.

That’s it for now. I wish you a productive and joyful week ahead!


Tom Morris, Principal

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Principal’s Update

Greetings Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Each day I spend time walking around our school and visiting various classrooms/learning spaces. In doing so, I am continuously reminded how very fortunate, and grateful, I am to serve as principal of this amazing learning community.

Memorial-Spaulding is a place where learning and growth happens every day and in a variety of amazing ways. As the principal, I have the opportunity to see the incredible work and accomplishments happening throughout the building. We are grateful for the tremendous support of our parent community. When parents and teachers work together, our students benefit greatly.

As you embark upon this holiday season, I hope you take some time to reflect on aspects of your life for which you are grateful. Your child’s teachers and I are very fortunate to have your children for over six hours each day. Our students bring the building to life in the morning – and the “learning energy” serves to sustain us. Thanks to our Memorial-Spaulding parents and caregivers for entrusting your children to us. We are grateful.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. We look forward to welcoming your children back to school on the morning of Monday, November 28th. Reminder: Wednesday’s dismissal is at 12:10 PM

With gratitude,

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

It was great to see you at our Back to School Night last week! As I mentioned that evening, it is wonderful to have parents back in the building. We missed you! If you were not about to make it, my slides from that evening are linked HERE. The PTO slides are linked HERE.

Does your child ride the school bus? If so, they must complete a Bus Behavior Contract and return it by Friday of this week (9/30). A paper copy of the contract was handed to all bus riders last week.

Do you need early morning care for your child/ren? If so, we have an Early Morning Program at Memorial-Spaulding that begins at 7:20 each morning. Click HERE for more information.

Our lost and found is beginning to accumulate items already. Please remember to label your child’s belongings (clothes, water bottles, etc) which will ensure items are returned to the rightful owner.

Newton SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) will present a special virtual workshop entitled: Basic Rights, Evaluation and Eligibility on October 18, 2022. For more information and to register, click HERE.

FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) has various events throughout the year to support our district’s work toward educational equity. Please check out their newsletter HERE.

Our partners at METCO have several interesting events throughout the school year. They have one coming up in mid-October that sounds very interesting. For more information, click HERE.

Does your family need help with internet access? If so, please check out a program called Affordable Connectivity. For more information, click HERE.

That’s it for now. I wish you productive and joyful week. Happy Rosh Hashanah for those who celebrate.


Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

I hope you found some time this past weekend to be with family and friends – and enjoy the summer weather. It is hard to believe summer is right around the corner. Happy June!

For those of us who work in schools, Spring is a time of transition. This can impact our students as they may begin to worry about leaving Memorial-Spaulding and starting anew in middle school. Our younger students may be anxious about which teacher they will have next year and will they have a good friend closeby – and some students are worried they will miss their school-based friends during the summer months. Obviously there are many potential stressors out there this time of year.

With some students, we have noticed an uptick in social/behavioral issues over the past few weeks. We absolutely attribute this spike to worry about impending changes. We have been working to ease anxiety by inviting students and families into the building for various events and volunteer opportunities, classroom work shares and school-wide events. Students report feeling more comfortable and less worried when they have a preview of things to come. If you have seen a change in your child’s anxiety level that causes worry for you, you may want to speak with your child’s classroom teacher to see if they are experiencing similar behavior. Our School Psychologist, Dr. Keough and School Social Worker, Callie Davis, are here to help if necessary.

In response to the events in Texas last week I visited many classrooms on Thursday and Friday. Most students were not bringing up the events in Texas. However it did emerge within a handful of classrooms. I was fortunate to observe a couple teachers speaking to children in clear and matter-of-fact terms. They tactfully acknowledged feelings of fear and worry, spoke about the various ways we keep our school safe, and then skillfully transitioned into an academic concept. Students who felt as though they needed to talk further with an adult were afforded the opportunity to do so. If you believe your child needs additional support regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

We have been busy winding down our current school year, while we are carefully planning for next school year. It is a bit like applying the car breaks and the accelerator at the same time! We are currently working on student placement into next year’s classrooms, teacher grade changes, master schedules and spring progress reports. As always, thanks for your support for us during this end of school year frenzy.

Good news! We continue to see less Covid cases in our building each week. Last week 7 positive cases were reported to the Nurses Office. This is a decline from last week’s 11 cases and the previous week’s 21 cases. Hopefully we are moving in the right direction.

Clothing donation bins are coming to the Memorial-Spaulding campus. Our bin will be located at the parking lot entrance on grassy area on the right side. For more information click HERE.

The Memorial-Spaulding summer book swap is coming up soon! It’s the perfect time to clear off the bookshelves and make room for new summer reading. For more information click HERE.

The Newton Special Education Parent Advisory Council is presenting a workshop on Neurodiversity: Understanding Children from the Inside Out. This coming Thursday, June 2nd from 8-9 PM. More information HERE

Newton Early Childhood Program – Open Enrollment!
NECP is now accepting applications for our community peers for the 2022-2023 school year. There are just a few spots left! Find the application here on our website: NECP application.
We will be moving to our new site at 687 Watertown Street during the 2022-2023 school year! With the new location, we may now be closer to your neighborhood and several of our Newton elementary schools. You can learn more about our new building here: NECP Building Project. We would love for you to be a part of this exciting new phase of NECP!

Enjoy the remainder of the week. We look forward to seeing you for some of our end-of-year events. I have compiled a list of several happenings that may be of interest to you. Check it out HERE!

All the best,

Tom Morris

Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

What amazingly warm weather we are having this weekend. I hope you have been able to stay cool. Looking ahead it seems we are in store for some cooler weather starting tomorrow. This is good news for those of us who work and learn in non-air conditioned schools such as Memorial-Spaulding.

As you know the International Festival has been postponed due to the extreme heat today. This event has been rescheduled for Sunday, June 5th. We look forward to seeing on that afternoon. For more information on the International Festival, as well as other end-of-year events at our school, click HERE.

You may have heard that due to enrollment decline our Assistant Principal, Andrea Youngsman, was slated to leave Memorial-Spaulding for another school in the district who had surpassed us with student numbers. Good news! Our enrollment for the fall has continued to climb throughout the spring and Andrea is now staying at our school! This is a turn-of-events for which I (and the staff) are extremely grateful!

Volunteering in school this spring? Any adult who volunteers in our school must have a current CORI/SORI form on file with the school. Click HERE to access the forms. In order to complete the process you will need to download and complete the forms, come to the Main Office with a valid ID (drivers license, passport) and Kim will take care of the rest!

EMPOW Studios is offering a discount for Memorial-Spaulding Families. For more information click HERE.

Do you qualify for free/reduced lunch, or other financial assistance? If so, you can now complete the form within Aspen! It is quick and easy. For more information, click HERE.

FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) has posted a newsletter that includes several events and items for your attention. You can access the newsletter HERE.

Thankfully, we saw a drop in the number of active Covid cases last week. Between Monday and Friday we had a total of 11 cases at our school. Given the uptick in cases over the past three weeks, you may wish to speak with your child about wearing a mask during the school day.

I wish you a wonderful week ahead – with productivity and joy!

All the best,

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mom’s within our school community. I hope you had a wonderful day – you deserve it!

We are beginning the work of placing students into next year’s classrooms. Although not required, parents are welcome to provide information for us to consider in this process. Click HERE to access the parent input form. Form input deadline: Friday, May 13th

SEPAC (Special Education Advisory Council) invites you to honor school staff who have made a positive impact on your child. This could be a teacher, bus driver, crossing guard, literacy specialist, etc. For more information, click HERE

The City of Newton Health and Human Services Department invites you to join a mental health information session on Wednesday, May 25th from 6-8 PM. For more information click HERE.

The Memorial-Spaulding International Festival is coming up on May 22nd from 1-3 PM. All M-S families are invited to participate – and set up a booth. For more information, click HERE.

The Wheelock Family Theater has announced it’s summer programming. If your child is looking for something to do this summer, consider one or more of their amazing programs. More information HERE.

That’s it for now. Have a wonderful week.

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Greetings Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Happy Friday! I hope you had a good week. A few brief updates for you this week.

We are beginning to work on student classroom placement for the 2022-23 school year. Although not required, parents are most welcome to provide input into our process. Teachers have a years worth of valuable information about your child which will inform next year’s classroom placement. If you would like to weigh in, you can do so by completing the Parent Placement Input Form. Deadline Friday, May 13, 2022.

Next week (May 2-6) is Teacher Appreciation Week! Thanks to our amazing PTO for organizing an event each day to show our teachers how much they are appreciated. Thank you!

Now that the weather is getting warmer, we have many children coming early (before school) and staying after school to play on the playground. If your child will be on school property before or after the school day, please make arrangements for an adults to be present to monitor your child (parent, guardian, relative, neighbor, friend, nanny, etc.). Please do not send (or leave) your child alone on school property immediately before or after the school day. Thanks in advance.

On May 10th, FORJ Newton will host its May Citywide meeting called In Search of Belonging: A Discussion with Palestinian-American-Newtonians.

We have had a total of 4 cases of Covid-19 this week at Memorial-Spaulding.

Lastly, a BIG thanks to Erika Downey and the many parents who volunteered to make the 2022 Scholastic Book Fair a reality. This is the first of several “in-person” community events this year. We LOVE being able to be together! Your work to facilitate this is very much appreciated!

I wish you a delightful weekend ahead.

Tom Morris, Principal