Category: From the 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.

Principal’s Weekly Update

My School Bucks: I understand some families believe their school lunch bill inaccurately reflects purchases made by children. I spoke with Rachel Oppenheimer, Newton-Sodexo General Manager, about the situation. Rachel invites to you to contact her directly with any concern about your bill. She asks that you contact her via email. Please be sure to include your child’s name and school. Her email address is:  Here is the link to the Newton-Sodexo website:

Staff List:  Please check out our staff list on the PTO website. You will find teacher names, classroom website and blog links as well as email contact information. Here’s the link:

Superintendent and School Committee Visit: Please join us on Friday, January 6th @ 8:30am for a PTO coffee with Superintendent Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee.

Mark your calendars:  Memorial-Spaulding staff and parents are working on a special parent presentation about Inclusion – January 12th @ 7pm.

Winter Concert Coming Up: Tuesday, January 24th featuring  5th Grade Chorus, 5th Grade Band, and Orchestra (day only). 9am for the school and 7:30pm for families (Please note the time changes.) Students should report to cafeteria at 7pm  for the evening concert wearing black and/or dark bottoms and a white and/or light top. All students are expect to attend. If your child has a conflict that evening please email Ms. Rapa (

Just a reminder: Friday, December 23rd is a full day of school.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with peace, joy and love.

Principal’s Weekly Update

LED lighting is being installed now!  Our new lights will be dimmable and will save on the school’s energy bill.  Our 5th graders will be experimenting with/studying different modes of lighting (including LED) and compare energy usage.  They will present their findings to the school sometime this winter.

Did you know that our school has 455 solar panels located on the roof which provides approximately 40% of our annual energy needs.  Check out our solar panel website by clicking HERE

Please remember to dress your children appropriately for winter weather.  We go outside for recess every day, except on rainy days and extremely cold days (below 20 degrees with wind chill factored in). 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 if they wish to play in the snow.  Please label all clothing items with your child’s name.

Have you checked the Lost and Found lately?  We have quite a number of items on the shelves.  Please take a look (or ask your child to look) if you are missing something.  The Lost and Found is in the main corridor.

Please do not park in the Blue Zone.  A simple rule to remember is “stop, drop and roll.” Stop your car, drop off your children (sidewalk side only) and roll on!

Save the Date:  Memorial-Spaulding staff and parents are working on a special parent presentation about Inclusion.  January 12th @ 7pm.

Just a reminder that December 23rd is a full day of school.


Principal’s Weekly Update

****Early Release Thursday (12:30 dismissal)****

Fitness Peek Week will be held from December 19th-23rd during your child’s PE time in the gymnasium.

We would like to invite you to Memorial Spaulding’s Fitness Peek Week.  This is a time for families to see how hard their children are working on their FITNESS levels in Physical Education.  Come join the fun by participating in a variety of fitness stations during your child’s P.E. time. 

Throughout the fitness unit, students learn about the 5 Components of Fitness, which include; Cardiovascular Endurance, Muscular Strength, Body Composition, Flexibility and Muscular Endurance.  Grades 3-5 have created personal fitness goals, while grades K-2 are using a variety of exercise equipment for the first time.  During the fitness unit, we also talk about incorporating exercise and healthy eating into your daily life, which will allow you to live long-healthy lives. 

We are so proud of the effort all of the students put into reaching their goals and the energy they exert on each fitness station, I know you will be too! 

Thank you, Shannon Komow (Memorial-Spaulding PE/HW Teacher)

Lost and Found is getting quite full of items (including a set of car keys!)  Please take a look, or encourage your child to look for lost items.  Lost and found is located in the main entry corridor.

Back Wall Repaired:  Thanks to DPW for repairing our back retaining wall.  Thanks to those who contacted me about this issue.  If you happen to notice a building or grounds issue that presents a safety concern, please send me an email.

Save the Date:  Memorial Spaulding staff and parents are working on a special parent presentation about Inclusion.  January 12th @ 7pm.

****Early Release Thursday (12:30 dismissal)****