Category: From the Principal

Principal’s Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather. With all the rain we have recently received, sunny days are all that much more special – and the fall colors are beautiful.

A few quick items for you this week.

Thursday is an early release day. All students will be dismissed at 12:30pm. Please plan accordingly.

NewTV Program featuring Margie Ross-Decter – “School Matters”.  Margie would like to film a few students for a very brief clip that will be shown on the program. If you would like your child to be a part of this group (and be on the TV show), please come to school on Thursday at 12:30pm (Early Release Time).  You must be present for your child to be filmed on Thursday. To see the pilot episode of the show, click HERE

We now have a Friday Morning Student Concert Series happening at our school featuring students who have accomplished an intermediate or advanced playing level on their instrument. My hope is that this will take place every Friday morning in the Main Hallway.  This past week we enjoyed the work of pianist Norman Lu.  Ask your child if s/he heard the music last week. Thanks to Aytul Farquharson (Parent Volunteer) for coordinating these events!

Once again we are dealing with the tragedy of gun violence, this time in Pittsburgh. We, at school, do not raise the issue unless students come in talking about it – and we generally speak with students on an individual basis. We are careful not to inadvertently inform children who may know absolutely nothing about these sorts of tragic events. For some advice on how to talk with children about such things click HERE.

Might your family qualify for free or reduced lunch?  If so, you can complete the application by clicking HERE

This school year, the City of Newton is providing bags of non-perishable food for Newton families in need. The bags will be filled with staples to help insure that all our families with need have breakfast/lunch fixings on non-school days. Click HERE for more information

Responsive Home Workshops to be held at the Education Center. This is an amazingly practical and effective approach to help children develop the internal motivation to work hard, be kind and make good choices. We use the Responsive Classroom/School approach at Memorial-Spaulding (along with all Newton elementary and middle schools). It is something worth checking out. For more information click HERE

Imilonji KaNtu Choral Society will visit us next week for a concert (grades 3-5) and sharing time for all students (K-5). They are visiting the US from Soweto, South Africa. Thanks to Boston City Singers Youth Chorus for sending their visitors our way! See and hear the chorus HERE

Enjoy this Halloween Day!

Tom Morris, Principal




Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

A few quick items:

Back to School Night is Thursday evening! This is your opportunity to visit the classroom and learn more about your child’s day at school.  If your child is in grades K-2 you should arrive at 6:00pm. If your child is in grades 3-5 you should arrive at 6:40 (and report to the auditorium). Click HERE for more detailed information.

Memorial-Spaulding Flu Clinic is Wednesday, October 3rd. I highly recommend your child receive the flu vaccine. Please click HERE for more information and HERE for the necessary forms.

School picture day has be reschedule to Monday, October 15th.  

Kindergarten Families only: Amy Kelly, NPS Director of Social/Emotional Learning will present a special workshop just for you! The workshop highlights the Responsive Classroom approach and how you can harness these powerful ideas at home. Click HERE for more information.

Thursday is a 12:30 early release day for ALL students.  

Enjoy this rainy, dark evening.


Principal’s Update

Greetings Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope you have been able to get outside and enjoy this beautiful weekend weather.

Thanks to Sue Welch and Amy Severance for providing great resources to engage children in academic work this summer – and prevent the dreaded “summer slide”.  Click HERE for literacy ideas and resources and HERE for math.  One additional idea brought up by a parent: When going on a driving trip allow your child to listen to the first part of a book on tape.  If they like the story, then give them the book.  Sounds like a brilliant way to support your child’s summer reading.

The instrumental music demonstration is coming up this week!  3rd graders will have the opportunity to see, hear and touch an array of band instruments.  Given the fact the music inspires a myriad of life-long learning skills, I encourage you to seriously consider this option for your child going into 4th grade.  Registration paperwork will be coming home this week with all 3rd grade students.  Click HERE for more information.

Is your child (currently in grades K-4) not coming back to Memorial-Spaulding for some reason?  Please let us know by emailing Francie:

The International Fair was a great success!  Thanks to the many volunteers who dedicated their time and energy to pull off this event.  Between the amazing food and cultural activities, the outstanding performances (60 acts with costumes, poems, dances, instrumental performances and singing) and those who helped to set up and clean up – this was a quintessential Memorial-Spaulding evening.  Much appreciation to all!

As you may know, we have been allocated an additional 4th grade classroom for next year.  This means we will have four 4th grade classrooms, and we lost one Kindergarten allocation.  Like this year we will have twenty-two classrooms at our school.  Please click HERE to see next year’s staffing list.

Color Day is Tuesday – please make sure your child has sunscreen and a water bottle.

Family end-of-year picnic with Food Trucks!  Friday, June 22nd starting at 12 noon on the Memorial-Spaulding field.  Please join us!  (All students are dismissed at 12 noon on Friday, June 22 – last day of school.)

Principal’s Update

Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope you are enjoying the warm summer-like weather.  It has been wonderful for students to be outdoors – not only for recess, but for learning experiences.  We have several nice outdoor learning spots – including Kayla’s Garden.  It is my hope to one day build a functional outdoor classroom learning space in the Garden. Stay tuned….

Color Day 2018 is coming up on Tuesday, June 5th.  Color Day is a Field Day experience where our children spend the morning outside engaged in activities that call for strategy and teamwork.  In order for this day to be successful we need more parent volunteers.  Come spend the morning outdoors and have fun with us!  (Color Day ends at 12 noon).  You may click HERE to sign up as a volunteer.  WE NEED YOU!

The Newton Special Education Parents Advisory Council is currently accepting nominations for Newton faculty and staff members who have done outstanding work with students receiving special education services.  Click HERE for more information.

Pokemon Cards Banned:  It has come to my attention that some students are bringing Pokemon cards to school during the day.  Please know that Pokemon cards are not permitted in school (or on the school bus).  If a child needs to bring cards to school for any reason, then they must be in the backpack during the school day – and bus ride home.

Have a delightful evening.

Principal’s Update

Hello Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Happy Wednesday!  With only 6 1/2 weeks of school remaining, we are in the throws of planning for next school year.  The student placement process has begun and we are starting to work on options for next year’s school schedule. At the same time, teachers are working hard to make sure students are well prepared to advance to the next grade level.

Student attendance rates have been very good lately. For the past few days we have had only 6 children absent for the school day! This means there are 450 children in attendance and (even though the weather is getting warm) they are quite focused on learning. When children are in school on a consistent basis we see dramatic increases in overall student achievement.  Nice work parents!!  Keep ’em coming!

Boston City Singers Youth Chorus will visit Memorial-Spaulding on Monday, May 21st in order to audition children for their 2018-19 season. This is the organization with whom I travelled to South Africa last summer.  They consistently provide high quality programming and amazing opportunities for young singers.  Check them out HERE.  Parent permission form to audition is required.  Access the form HERE.  Forms should be returned to our music teacher, Caroline Frick.

Many thanks to the Social Event Committee for an amazingly wonderful evening this past Saturday at the Dedham Hilton. This was an wonderful opportunity to have fun and get to know one another outside of the school setting. Much appreciation for all the hard work it took to pull of such an event in a few short weeks.

Last week I asked that parents send students to school with a plastic water bottle instead of glass (due to the fact that glass can be dangerous if it breaks). I have been asked to mention the possibility of bringing in an metal water bottle – which is more environmentally friendly. The next time you are in the market for a children’s water bottle, consider metal.

Our grounds are looking good!  Thanks to Robin Welch, Katharina Elbert and the entire Beautification Committee for their hard work.

Enjoy the beautiful day!

Principal’s Update

Memorial-Spaulding Families,

It would seem that summer has arrived!  As the temperature rises, please made sure your child comes to school with a water bottle.  We prefer you send a bottle that is plastic – not glass – as we have had a few broken glass bottles this year.

This is National Walk/Bike to School Week!  Our Safe Routes to School volunteers will be at both the front and back entrances on Friday with fun swag to hand out to children.  Given the beautiful weather – please consider walking/biking to school as much as possible between now and the end of the year.

Gardening/Grounds Clean Up Day is scheduled for this coming Saturday between 1-3 PM.  Please join us!  Bring your rake, hoe, shovel and gloves – and come make our school look beautiful.

Now that the weather is turning nice, I need to remind you that the playground/field is not accessible to visitors during school hours.  This includes kindergarten students/parents who are dismissed at 12:30.

It is time to start planning to student placement in next year’s classes. Please click HERE for a letter explaining the process and HERE for the parent input form. You are invited to complete a form if you believe it is necessary – however it is not required. Should you wish to complete a form, it is due back to school by Friday, May 4th.

Dealing with your too much screen time with your child?  HERE is something that may be of interest  Check it out.

Have a great day – and enjoy the weather!

Principal’s Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope you had a wonderful school vacation week. It seems as though warm weather has descended upon us and, hopefully, spring has truly arrived.

We have finished our English Language Arts MCAS testing (except for a few make up sessions) and will embark upon Math MCAS starting Friday, May 4th.  See upcoming MCAS schedule HERE. Please make every effort to have your child in school on time on his/her testing days.

It is time to start planning to student placement in next year’s classes. Please click HERE for a letter explaining the process and HERE for the parent input form. You are invited to complete a form if you believe it is necessary – however it is not required. Should you wish to complete a form, it is due back to school by May 4th.

School gardening day is this Sunday from 1-3 PM. Please join us as we work to make Memorial-Spaulding look beautiful. Bring your garden gloves, wheel barrel, shovels, rakes, clippers, and small buckets to help spread mulch, clear away leaves. (Put your name on your tools.) Sign up here by April 25th and get a free t-shirt! Bring your friends…it’s going to be lots of fun!

Opportunity for Memorial-Spaulding Families to have fun this coming weekend at a Podcast Playdate. Check out the invitation HERE. A few tickets are still available.

Speaking of fun, our annual 5th grade vs. staff volleyball game will happen on Friday afternoon. Thanks to Ms. Komow for organizing this awesome event each year.

Have a productive week!

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Dear Families,

Memorial-Spaulding Community Gala: I have been asked by the PTO to reach out to you regarding our upcoming Community Gala event. An important part of our school’s vision is to create and foster a sense of community at Memorial-Spaulding. Saturday, May 5th will be an evening to celebrate our wonderful school community and get to know one another. All teachers have been invited to attend at no charge. Please consider sponsoring a teacher’s ticket. You may purchase tickets for yourself and donate a teacher ticket through the link below. Please consider joining us on May 5th @ 7pm at the Hilton in Dedham. I hope to see you there!

Folk Dance Share: This week our wonderful music teachers, Ms. Ghantous and Mrs. Frick, invite families of K-3 students to stop in for a music lesson on Folk Dancing. Click HERE for the schedule. Please join us if you can.

MCAS: ‘Tis the season for MCAS testing in grades 3, 4, and 5. Please be sure your child is at school on time and ready to go on his/her testing days. Click HERE for the schedule.

Other Upcoming Events:
International Night (Rescheduled) – May 31
Color Day – June 5

I hope you are having a delightful weekend.

Warm regards,
Tom Morris

Principal’s Weekly Update

Dear Families,

From time to time it is essential that we review school safety/security protocols.  In this way, we can all take responsibility for keeping our children safe and focused on learning during the school day.  I would like to remind you of several aspects of safety in our school.

School Security: 

Ways that staff can help keep us safe:

  • Office personnel will closely monitor the door cameras prior to buzzing a visitor into the building.
  • Staff should greet visitors in the hallway and direct them to obtain a visitor’s badge.
  • All staff will continue to practice lockdown and shelter-in-place protocols with students.

Ways that parents can help keep us safe:

  • Sign in every time you enter the building during school hours – either in the main office or at the greeter’s desk in the main hallway.
    • Please treat our greeters with respect and follow their directions.  They are volunteers and have been instructed to require everyone to sign in and out.
  • When dropping off something for a child, you must leave it with a greeter or in the main office with Francie.
  • Obtain a yellow visitor badge and wear it during your stay.
  • Sign out when leaving the building.
  • If you are in the building for any reason and happen to encounter an adult who is not wearing a visitor badge (or NPS Identification Tag), please ask if you can help – and direct them to the office.

Food Safety: According to the Newton Public Schools Policy, food is not permitted for student celebrations and children are not permitted to share food during snack and lunch.  We have many children with potentially life-threatening allergies. Please help us keep everyone food safe.

Health Safety:  Prior to sending your child to school, please be sure he/she has been fever free for 24 hours.  Access the latest letter from the Newton Health Department HERE

Kindergarten registration packets are available in the main office for any family who needs one.  Please stop by and see Francie you are in need of a packet.

If you are traveling for the break, have a safe and enjoyable trip.



Principal’s Weekly Update

Dear Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope you are staying dry on this very rainy afternoon. Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Cynthia Paris visited our school this morning. She and I toured several classrooms to observe teaching and learning. She noted the positive, productive buzz in the building and students highly engaged in learning. This child-centered, academic atmosphere is commonplace at Memorial-Spaulding!

Please join us on Thursday morning @ 8:30 am in the Cafe for a Principal’s Coffee focused on Social-Emotional Learning.  Psychologist, Dr. LuAnn Keough and Social Worker, Sally Mazur will discuss ideas and resources that promote student’s social and emotional development and well-being.

Kindergarten Screening dates are set for March 6th and 14th. All incoming K families should call Francie to set up an appointment on one of those days.  617-559-9600.

MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) will be administered in April and May to all 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Our goal is to have all students here during MCAS testing days. Click HERE to access the testing schedule. Please let your child’s classroom teacher know if you will be away on one of your child’s testing days.

Informational Evening for All New Families: All new families (K-5) are welcome to attend an informational evening on May 17th @ 7pm in the auditorium. This is an event for parents only (not students). Whether you have an incoming K student, or you are new to our school community with older child(ren) – you are welcome to join the PTO and Principal to learn more about our school community.  No RSVP necessary.

Our annual International Festival will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, March 8th. 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 at to get involved and represent you country/region/culture by 1) Hosting a Table 2) Performances

We are looking for a HUGE showing of countries this year. If you have a country that you are from, you have family from, or you just have an interest in, please come help us explore the amazing cultures around us! If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Lia McKay at  Thank you! – The International Festival Committee

Have a productive and happy week.