Thoughts for the year’s end…

Dear Families, 

It is hard to believe that we only have just a couple more days of school before the December recess!   So much is going on at school as parents, the PTO and staff work side-by-side to implement core academic and enrichment programs for our students.  

It is wonderful to be part of such a vibrant and committed community!  We cannot possibly write about everything but allow us to share a few of the highlights of what your PTO has done so far this year:

We began the year with a very well-attended Back-To-School picnic.  It was great to see both old and new faces to Memorial-Spaulding!!!

Our youngest students and their families weathered rainy Saturday mornings this fall for Kindergarten Soccer.  Thank you to our Kindergarten Soccer coordinator, Kyle Tager for organizing this fun and successful fundraiser which raised about $1500!  We also want to thank our volunteer coaches, who led our Kindergartners by showing them great sportsmanship and exactly which direction they needed to run in!  Jim Ladge, Michael Newman, Craig Lewis, and Jorge Villafuerte– you did a fantastic job!

Sandy Carney chaired picture day this year.  This is a lot of organizing moving parts, and she did it with ease. We thank her and her helpers  –Carrie Altman, Michelle Goldberg, Ali Newman and Sarina Katz for running this event so smoothly.

Memorial-Spaulding’s first ever Halloween Dance on October 29th was a huge success with games, face painting, costume contests and prizes galore!  It was a lot of hard work, which paid off so wonderfully!!  Thank you to Mona Wong, Jasmine Lai, Ala Berdichevsky, Masha Chausorsky and Megan Tager for all their time and efforts in planning this wonderful event!!!

Jill Herer and Jen Saada, our Social Action Committee chairs collected bags of candy from our community for children at Dana-Farber during Halloween. 

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who collected for UNICEF this past Halloween.  Together the students of Memorial-Spaulding raised $1099.34.  Amazing job!!!  Thank you to Jody Steiner and Sharon Shiner for organizing the overall collection!

The Mystery Dinner; November 12th chaired by Jonathan and Darby Kominick was a deliciously fun time!!!  Thank you to them, as well as to the hosts: Sharon Shiner, Danielle Lieber, Danielle BoemerJulie-Ann Goldblatt, and Krisztina Bukur-Doczy for such a well put together event which raised $925 for our school!!!

Thank you to the 87 families so far that have contributed to the PTO “Ask letter.  We have raised over $6,500 and look forward to at least doubling that by the end of the school year!!!!

The guest speaker at our All School PTO Meeting; November 17th was Jamie Zackery, Assistant Director of Diversity and Campus Programs at Wheelock College.  The topic was, “Embracing the Cultural Differences within our School Community”.  Jamie did a wonderful job! We are planning on having her come back again in the Spring and look forward to having more people attend this fun and interactive session. Some points Jamie addressed:

  • defining diversity/multiculturalism/stereotypes-identifying harmful/offensive words (Word Choice Campaign)
  • discussing our own cultural identities and the identities of others (activity)
  • identifying invisible diversity
  • exploring the diversity within Memorial-Spaulding.

The new Memorial Spaulding logo T-Shirts designed by our very own students are available for sale at just $10 for grey and $12 for black – in both  youth and adult sizes. Order forms are available on the website or in the front office. (Note:  black  shirts will be ordered and available in January.) Thanks to Michael Cassidy and Lisa Halm for spearheading these sales!!!

Understanding Our Differences was a huge success thanks to Matt Wilson and his parent volunteers.

Our first In School Creative Arts Program was well received by our students.  Thank you Danielle Lieber and Caren Elias our In School Creative Arts chairs for the exciting programs they bring to our school!

We welcome Emily Gordon as the New Co-Chair of Memorial Spaulding’s After School Creative Arts (“ASCA”) Program.  We look forward to what she will bring to the program and a successful two sessions!!  We know how hard a job this volunteer position is.  We thank Krisztina Bukur-Doczy and her husband Viktor for all their dedication and hard work.  Krisztina has just opened up her own private pediatric practice and we wish the very best of luck with her endeavors there!!!

Inclusive Schools Week (December 5-9):  Our Inclusion Committee led by Jessica Wilson, planned some great classroom activities for Inclusive Schools Week.   Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference and other factors.  Some  of the activities our children participated in as part of our inclusion week at Memorial-Spaulding included:

  • In art class, every child, grades K-5, wrote sentences about what “including everyone” means and illustrated  their ideas through drawing and painting. Some examples of the sentences are “Including everyone means to make everyone feel comfortable” (grade 2) or “Inclusion means listening to other people’s ideas, even if they are different from yours.” (grade 4). 
  • On Tuesday, 12/6/11, we had an Inclusion Assistant/Behavior Therapist/ELL Aides/Interns appreciation luncheon.  We invited all of these staff members to the lunch and thanked them for their hard work and dedication.  In addition to the lunch, the parents put together a favor for each aide as a thank you.
  • All students in grades K-5 learned the song “Namaste” by Joanne Hammil, a song about acceptance and respecting differences between cultures.  In the song, the children say “Hi” in 15 different languages. The entire school  sang the song at the December All-School meeting. 
  • The rope unit in Physical Education – In addition to vertical climbing, we also had horizontal climbing. The goal is to improve upper body strength and there are a variety of ways to do that. No one has to climb up. It is challenge by choice.
  • In the library there will be a display of books with a theme of inclusion. Kindergarten and 1st grade classes will hear stories that focus on inclusion. Older classes will be encouraged to select books from that collection.

This work is done daily in the classrooms at Memorial Spaulding School, and Inclusive School Week is a time for us to celebrate what is already done, to try out some new strategies, and most importantly, to reflect and focus on continued improvements. The most valuable lessons we can give our children are those that teach them to live alongside others with empathy and compassion.

Memorial Spaulding Social Action Committee challenged us all with Sponsor-A-Child for the Holidays.  Many gifts went out to children in need.  Thank you to Jen Saada, Janice Lipof and Jill Herer for a job well done.  Once again, Social Action unites us as a community in coming together to take care of those in need.

The PTO headed the efforts of an all school Class Gift.  The class gift is a Camera (similar to the “Flip”) capable of making videos and still photos.  We would like to thank Stacey Gabriel and Lisa Halm, our room parent coordinators, and all of our room parents who helped to organize and collect contributions.  We were able to raise enough money to buy cameras for every class in the school!

What to LOOK FORWARD to in 2012:

  • Budget Meeting presented by the PTO and Lisa McManus; January 6th, 8:30-9:30 am.  Want to know what your PTO’s fundraising efforts are for?  Ever wonder just what your PTO spends the money on??  Do you want to know why the presence and effectiveness of the  PTO in your school is vital??  Please join us.
  • First ever WINTER OPEN HOUSE to address the issues around Technology at Memorial Spaulding; January 12th.  We wil be discussing technology in our school and introducing new ideas for fundraising.
  • Kindergarten Dance; January 21st~A fun-filled afternoon for our youngest students and their families.
  • Parent’s Night Out; January 28th~Come on out, eat, drink and be merry with fellow parents for this adult only evening! 
  • Boston-Newton Families (“BNF”) Event; February 2012~Date, location and time to be determined

Just to name a few.

We thank all of the parents, grand-parents, care-givers and guardians of the students in the school who have volunteered their time to carry out the events that have happened and will happen this year.  So much goes on day to day, such as volunteers in our library, or classrooms, or in our ASCA program, and we truly appreciate every effort that is made!

We are a volunteer organization, and as such we are only as good as our volunteers!!!

As we quickly approach the December recess, we would like to wish all Memorial Spaulding families a very special holiday season.   We wish you a peaceful, happy, and healthy New Year.  We look forward to working with you in 2012!!!


Your PTO Co-presidents

Monica, Sharon & Megan