Category Archives: From the 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.

Sincerely,

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

Principal’s Update

Dear Families,

I hope your week is going well and you are enjoying the warmer weather. Thanks to everyone who turned out on Sunday afternoon for the 5th Grade Charity Fair. The children raised $865.00 in total! The money will be donated to UNICEF to support families who are displaced by war. Congratulations to our amazing 5th graders on their successful fundraiser!

Now that Covid restrictions have been lifted in schools, we are encouraging parents to serve as volunteers for various activities and upcoming field trips. However, in order to volunteer in school, you must have an active CORI/SORI form on file. You can find the forms HERE. You must complete the form and bring it to Kim in the Main Office. You will also need to bring a current photo ID (drivers license/passport, etc). It takes approximately two weeks for new forms to be processed by NPS. Parents who do not have an up-to-date/active and clear CORI/SORI on file, will not be permitted to volunteer.

Interested in helping your child have a healthy relationship with technology? You may want to attend an upcoming event (this Thursday, April 14th) with presenter, Katie LeClerc Greer. More information HERE.

Looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day here in Newton? Check out an upcoming Earth Day Celebration at Newton City Hall on Sunday, April 24th from 1-4 PM. More info HERE.

SAVE THE DATE! The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to our school April 26-28. Join us on the evening of April 28th for an awesome Pajama Story-Time Party and free treats. Money raised goes right back to our school’s library. This is your chance to pick up books for summer reading!

The Memorial-Spaulding International Festival returns to an “in-person” event this coming May. You will DEFINITELY want to check it out! Please consider setting up a table and joining our diverse community as we share and learn about our wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. More details HERE.

SAVE THE DATE! New Family Evening with the Principal and PTO-Co Presidents – June 1st @ 7 PM. This event is for all incoming families and those who have not yet had the opportunity to visit the school in person. We will offer information about the PTO and it’s many programs and volunteer opportunities, school procedures and routines, open question time and a historical tour of the school facility.

In-person Color Day is coming back this year – June 8th (rain date: June 15th) For those of you who are new to our school, Color Day is similar to “field day” with outdoor games and activities for students. This event happens during the school day and will require several parent volunteers to pull it off. Stay tuned for more information.

The most recent newsletter from our FORJ organization is out. Check it out HERE.

Lastly, we have no cases of Covid-19 last week. This was a relief after having a total of 13 cases the week before. This current week, we have a total of 2 cases that have come to our attention.

If you are traveling for April vacation week, I wish you safe travels.

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

Thanks to those of you who came to our zoom meeting with Superintendent Fleishman and members of the School Committee. As you can imagine the hot topic for discussion was the NPS budget shortfall. We got much information that evening, including reminders about upcoming School Committee zoom meetings. The next meeting to include public comments on the FY23 budget will occur on Monday, April 4th @ 6pm. Click HERE for more details and zoom meeting information.

Last week we had one positive Covid case at Memorial-Spaulding. This week we have seen an uptick in cases. I will report out the totals on Friday afternoon.

Each year the graduating 5th grade class engages in a community service project in order to help others and make the world a better place. Previous events have included clean ups at local parks and reservations, school grounds improvements and volunteering at the food bank. This year our 5th graders will be running a Community Charity Fair in the school parking lot and upper field on Saturday, April 9th from 2-4 pm. Any family (K-5) is welcome to set up a table at the fair. All proceeds will go to organizations supporting families displaced by war. Click HERE for more information, including the sign-up link.

Our 1st graders will be participating in a community service project too! They will be holding a donation drive to support animals at the Dedham Animal Rescue League. Items to be collected: Cat and dog beds, towels, and blankets. New cat, dog, and small animal toys and cat/dog treats and food. A collection box will be inside the front doors of the school building. Please donate if you can.

Authorfest is coming up soon! Click HERE for more information. This evening event at Cabot School is open to all families, and the general public.

Newton South Sports Booster Club will be holding a 5K in May. Click HERE for more information.

Upcoming Events: MCAS starts Monday, April 4th with our 4th graders testing on that day. To see the entire MCAS testing schedule, click HERE. / School Spring Break: April 15-24th / Scholastic Book Fair will take place April 25-29, with the evening party happening on April 28th from 6-8 pm. / International Festival: Sunday, May 22nd from 1-3 pm. / In-Person Color Day! Wednesday, June 8th with a rain date of Wednesday, June 15th

That’s it for now! Have a wonderful remainder of the week.

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Hello M-S Families,

I hope you are having a delightful weekend. I spent most of the weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting with family and celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday. We had a very nice time.

It is hard to believe that exactly two years ago was the beginning of our school shut down due to Covid. We had no idea what we would be dealing with for the next two years! I am happy to report that the transition to our “mask-optional” policy has gone well. Some students continue wearing masks and some are happy to shed them. We have worked hard to ensure all students feel comfortable with whatever choice they make.

I have had a few questions from parents regarding specifics around masking. The most common question has been about the school bus. To clarify, masks are no longer required on NPS school buses. HERE is a link to the revised Health and Safety Plan which includes all information you need regarding Covid, masking, etc.. To make it easier to read, the changes are highlighted in yellow.

We have noticed many students arriving after school starts in the morning. Please make every effort to have your child at school on time each day. This makes for a good start to the school day and allows students time to connect with one another and their teachers. The first bell rings at 8:10 am and the late bell rings at 8:20 am. Teachers take attendance right at 8:20. Any child who enters after that time is marked tardy.

Authorfest is coming up! This is a citywide event that promotes reading by allowing children to get an up close view of the writing/illustration process with actual children’s book authors. Click HERE for more information.

FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) has a monthly newsletter. Click HERE to learn about their work – and coming events. Are you interested in joining the Memorial-Spaulding FORJ Committee? If so, send me an email and I will put you in contact with the liaisons.

That’s it for now. Have a productive and joyful week!

Tom Morris

Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

As you may know, the Newton School Committee has voted to to end the mask mandate and make masks optional in the Newton Public Schools. We have been using this slide deck with students. Take a look when you have a moment, so you are aware what we have been discussing with your children. Several parents have asked about safety measures for lunch and snack. To answer this question: We will continue distancing during our lunch and snack times. The cafeteria will remain and 1/2 capacity and students will continue to be eat with as much distance as possible. However, students will now be permitted to talk during lunch and snack.

The 2021 MCAS results are now out. Click HERE for more information.

Did you know that spring ASCA (After School Creative Arts) programming is now out and registration is open! Click HERE for more information.

Authorfest is coming soon! Click HERE to learn more information.

SPACE Camp is a summer program that is open to all children. Click HERE for more information.

Lastly, we have had no covid cases at Memorial-Spaulding since February vacation!

That’s it for now. I wish you a wonderful week!

Tom Morris, Principal

Principal’s Update

Good Evening Memorial-Spaulding Families,

I hope you had a nice school vacation week. I spent the week in the Bahamas, which was a lovely change of pace – and scenery.

I am sure you have been watching the news and following the situation in Ukraine. I have been thinking about ways to support our students who may be aware of what is happening and need to talk about it. I came across this information from PBS that may be helpful for you as a parent. As far as school is concerned, we generally do not initiate conversations (especially in the younger grades), however should it come up, teachers will open a short conversation and share age appropriate information with the children. In general, we acknowledge feelings that may arise and assure students they are safe. Should you have questions or need help with this matter, please let us know.

As you may have read, the Medical Advisory Group recently completed their recommendations for updated health and safety guidelines. The recommendations will be discussed on March 1st at the School Committee and they will vote on March 7th on any changes to the district masking policy. We will follow the current masking guidelines until the 7th of March.  Please continue to send your children to school with masks.

If you opted your child into the home antigen testing program, we ask that you administer a test on Sunday, February 27 and the second test on Tuesday, March 1st.  All positive COVID tests results should now be reported using this form: Form – Positive Result from At-Home Rapid Antigen Test.

I look forward to welcome your children back to school tomorrow! Have a good week.

Tom