Category: From the Principal

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.

Principal’s Weekly Update

Hello Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Today, November 28th, thirty-three children arrived to school late at Memorial-Spaulding. Tardiness causes undue stress for children, as well as missed opportunities for social connections during morning meeting, and missed instructional time.  Please make every attempt to have your child to school on time.  

Invitation from Dr. Henry Turner at Newton North High School to hear Dr. Sanjiv Chopra (Internationally renowned motivational speaker and author,  Professor of Medicine and former Faculty Dean, Harvard Medical School).  Check out the invitation HERE

Fitness Peek Week is Coming!  Click HERE for details

Would you like to know more about Inclusion at Memorial-Spaulding?  Please join me and the Special Education Parents Advisory Council on December 7th @ 8:30am in the Cafe.  For more information click HERE

Did you know the Memorial-Spaulding Cafe received several upgrades over the past couple years?  A new ventilation system has been installed, as well as a fresh coat of paint.  It is looking good and the air is moving!

Three questions to ask your child everyday in order to foster conversation.  Check it out HERE

Reminder: Integrating the Arts Morning is Friday @ 8:30am.  All parents are invited!

Principal’s Weekly Update

A Bubble presentation occurred last Friday.  It was an amazing event for all our students.  Thanks to the Leif Family for facilitating this wonderful event.

Our annual Halloween Party is coming up this Saturday at 4pm.  I hope to see you there!

Responsive Home Workshops will be offered again this year by the Social Emotional Learning Department.  Click HERE for more information.

Enjoy your week!


Principal’s Weekly Update

Office Dawn Fleming of the Newton Police Department conducted a bike safety presentation with all students over the past two weeks.  Her message included various ways to stay safe while biking, including wearing a helmet at all times. Ask your child what he or she learned from Officer Fleming.

Communication is one our school’s Core Values.  At a recent All School Meeting we discussed the important elements of this skill.  We focused on “using your words” (sharing feelings with others) and “listening” (using your eyes, ears and body).  We will be focusing on communication this year and how it can benefit our entire school community (students, teachers and families).

Principal Coffee – Memorial-Spaulding Sped PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to meet this Friday – October 20th @ 8:30 am in the Cafe. All parents of current special education students are invited to attend.

Facilities Update: The arrival of our new front doors and benches have been delayed due to various national weather issues (hurricanes and flooding).  I have been informed the new doors should be installed over Thanksgiving break.  The benches have arrived and should be installed within the next couple weeks.  During the month of November we will have several trees planted in the front of the building.

Although it was a bit chilly this morning, it sounds like our beautiful weather will continue throughout the week.  Not too hot, not too cold – good weather for learning!  Have a delightful week.

Principal’s Weekly Update

This year, the Newton Public Schools will provide interested elementary school families with opportunities, information and resources on talking to children about issues of race, culture, and identity. Upcoming meeting Oct 10th. Click HERE for more information.

Principal Coffee – Memorial-Spaulding Sped PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to meet on October 20th @ 8:30 am in the Cafe. All parents of current special education students are invited to attend.

Sodexo, our Food Service Company, would like your feedback.  Click HERE to complete the online survey.

Smile! School Picture Day is coming up – October 10th.

Principal’s Weekly Update



Open House is coming up Wednesday!  Click HERE for details.

Looking for a parent volunteer for School Site Council.  The Council consists of 2 parents, 2 teachers and the school administration. The primary responsibility of the Council will be developing of the School Improvement Plan – using data from last year’s Vision Forums.  We will meet a total of 6 times throughout the year. Please email me if you are interested.

Covered bike parking is available at school.  With the front lawn project, the PTO generously donated a bike rack which has been placed in the front of the school. See picture HERE.  We are planning Bike Safety presentations for early October. If your child wishes to bike to school, please review appropriate safety rules and ensure he/she has a helmet to wear.

Principal Coffee – Memorial-Spaulding Sped PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to meet on October 20th @ 8:30 am in the Cafe. All parents of current special education students are invited to attend.

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

Unsure if you need a new CORI this year? Check with Francie (617-559-9600) or  You may not volunteer without an up-to-date CORI on file.

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,

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