The latest announcements from the Principal, PTO, and NPS...

Water Testing Update 5/27/2016

May 27, 2016

Dear Burr Community,

I am writing with a brief update on the water testing at Burr. As you know, all hallway water fountains were removed on Monday to test water coming in from the walls into the fountains. The samples are currently being analyzed and we expect results on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. We will share those results with you once they are received. Based upon the results, representatives from the school, water, public buildings, and health departments will discuss next steps and develop a remediation plan that we will share with you.

We will not turn water fountains back on until we confirm the water is safe to drink. As a reminder, it is important to continue to use the bottled water provided. Students should not use faucets for drinking water.

We will hold a community meeting on either Monday, June 13th or Tuesday, June 14th to give you the opportunity to ask questions of health professionals, city officials, and school administrators. The date will be confirmed once we hear back from the physicians at Children’s Hospital Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit. I will email you early next week to confirm the date.

The city has created a website that contains all data received to date, as well as all communications – Additional questions can be directed to the Health Department at 617-796-1420. Please also feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you again for your patience.


Mindy Johal

Principal, Burr Elementary

PTO Meeting – June 9th at 7 PM

Please join us on Thursday, June 9th at 7 PM for our final PTO meeting of the 2015/16 year.

Next year’s budget will be presented and new PTO Board Members will be sworn in.

Thank you!

Back by Popular Demand..Spirit Wear and Popsicles

Back by Popular Demand..Spirit Wear and Popsicles!

We will be selling popsicles, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and magnets, this Friday 6/3 at 3:00 PM in front of Burr. **weather permitting**

Hoodie Sweatshirt $25

T-Shirts $15 

Magnets $6

Popsicles $1

The 7th Annual NewtonPAC Special Educator Awards

The Newton Parent Advisory Council (PAC) for Special Education is pleased to announce:

The 7th Annual NewtonPAC Special Educator Awards

June 13, 2016

Newton North High School Cafeteria

457 Walnut Street

 6:00PM: Buffet Dinner, Beverages, and Mingling

6:45PM: Ceremony (and Dessert)


The Special Educator Awards are presented to Newton faculty and staff members who have done exceptional work with students receiving special education services.  Parents/guardians and students may submit nominations and may nominate any staff member who they believe has done exceptional work; in the past we’ve had regular and special education teachers, aides, BTs, secretaries, principals, and custodians receive awards. 

Nominations are now open for the awards!

Please note that the awards do not identify you or your child by name, to preserve the child’s confidentiality.  Only the honoree is given the name of the family who nominated him or her. 

Please send your nomination to specialedawards2016@gmail.comwith the following information:

Your name and your email

Your school

Your school principal’s name and email

Name and email address of the SPED contact at your child’s school (inclusion facilitator/assistant principal)

Nominee’s name and email

A short nomination telling us about why your nominee is so special


·         Try to include details and examples if you can (try not to just say, “Miss Smith is great!”)  

·         Keep the nominating paragraph to 3 sentences (we plan to read this aloud at the ceremony).

·         Don’t use your child’s name. (If you do, we will edit it out for the award ceremony).

·         If you like, you may also include a longer nomination or a letter to your nominee (which will not be read out loud), and will only be given to the nominee with their award. 



1.      DON’T feel like you must nominate your child’s whole team to avoid hurt feelings. PLEASE only nominate those who have done exceptional work. 

2.      PLEASE nominate your educator ASAP (to enable your honoree to plan to attend the ceremony and bring family/friends)

3.      Did we mention to PLEASE nominate your educator ASAP??!!  (It will allow us time to know how many people are attending, and how much food to get).

4.      The deadline for the awards is June 3, 2016 (NO late nominations because we have to print the program professionally).

1.      On the night of the awards, you can have your photograph taken with your nominee (we will have a photographer present)!

Retirement Party!

Congratulations to Mr. Tobin, Ms. Guttman, and Mr. DeColo!

IMG_3147 IMG_3149 IMG_3148 IMG_3159 IMG_3156

Burr Water Letter 5-20-16

Dear Burr Community,

On Tuesday, we were informed that water from one drinking fountain at Burr tested higher than EPA actionable levels for lead (>15 ug/L). This fountain was located outside of the music room and showed a “first draw” test result level of 26.6 and a “flushing” test result level of 32. Immediately upon receiving this information, all water fountains at Burr were shut off and bottled water was made available to all students and staff.

On Wednesday, a second round of testing was conducted on all seven hallway water fountains at Burr. The testing results are attached. You will note that five of the seven water fountains tested above EPA actionable levels on “first draw.” After “flushing” for 10 minutes, all fountains tested below actionable levels.

To diagnose the problem, on Monday, members of the Building Department will remove all water bubblers and sample the water from the wall before it enters the fountain. Corrective action will be taken once the source of the problem has been identified.

No water fountains will be turned back on until measures have been taken to resolve the issue and the water is tested again to ensure its safety. During this time, it is important that students and staff use either the bottled water provided or water they bring from home.

As background, one fountain and one faucet are tested for lead and copper in two school buildings per year on a rotating basis. Burr School was included in this rotation in 2005 and 2010.

Should you have any questions about testing your child for lead levels, we encourage you to contact the Burr school nurse, Diane Best at 617-559-9364, or your child’s pediatrician. In addition, we will hold a community meeting at Burr at which City, health, and school officials will be present to answer your questions and address your concerns. We will be in touch early next week with a date and time.

Additional information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. We take the health and safety of Burr students, staff, and families very seriously and we are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.


David Fleishman

Follow Up Letter to Burr Community – 5.20.16 – FINAL.docx 

Burr Water Test Results.xlsx
Burr Water Test Results PDF

2016 Newton Schools Foundation Honor Thy Teacher

As the year begins to wind down, many of you are looking for a way to honor and thank the exceptional teachers and staff who have motivated, educated and inspired your students to grow and achieve all year.

As a way to show your appreciation to them, consider participating in Newton Schools Foundations’ Honor Thy Teacher campaign. This special program enables you to honor teachers by giving a gift to the Foundation in the name of the teacher. You may also choose to honor a special education aide, a fine arts or music teacher, or a coach or counselor who has made a difference in your child’s life. A suggested donation is $25 per teacher/staff member.

When you make your donation and identify the teacher(s) or staff you wish to honor, NSF will then:

· Notify the honored teachers and staff of your gift;
· Share the honoree names with the Superintendent and Principals; and
· List each of those honored in the Newton TAB.

You can make your donation on-line at You can also mail it to Newton Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 590020, Newton Centre, MA 02459.

Please be sure to include the names of the teachers and/or staff that you are honoring. A flyer that includes a donation form was sent to the homes of elementary school students in their backpacks last month, and will be sent again before the end of the year. A flyer will also be mailed to the homes of middle school and high school students (letters to senior student households have already been mailed).

Newton Schools Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds to enhance the quality of education in Newton’s public schools. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Water Testing Results

Dear Newton Community,

On Tuesday, we wrote to inform the Newton Community about the recent water testing conducted by the City of Newton in the school district buildings. For the past 14 years, in compliance with state mandates, the City of Newton has sampled the water for lead and copper in two school buildings per year on a rotating basis. This year, the City made the decision to test samples from all schools because of the national focus on water quality in cities, towns, and school districts across the country.

Attached you will find the results of the tests conducted (results pending at Carr as bubblers were tested later). As reported on Tuesday, all samples from school buildings fell below EPA actionable levels for Lead (>15 ug/L) and Copper (>1300 ug/L), with the exception of Burr Elementary. All water fountains at Burr have been shut off and bottled water has been made available to students and staff. A second round of testing was conducted at Burr on Wednesday and results are pending. A remediation plan will be put in place once the issue is diagnosed.

Out of an abundance of caution, the City will conduct additional testing at Horace Mann and Ward, where results at two fountains showed a level above 10 (EPA actionable level >15 ug/L). We do not believe there is reason to turn off the fountains at these schools given the result was below the actionable level. 

We are working closely with the Mayor and city officials to address water monitoring in our school buildings going forward. As always, the health and safety of our students, staff, and families are a top priority for the Newton Public Schools.


Setti D. Warren                                        David Fleishman

Mayor of Newton                                    Superintendent of Schools

Please select the following link for a pdf version of this letter: Water Testing Results.pdf

Please select the following link for the results of the testing: Water Quality Testing – District Results.xlsx
Water Quality Testing – District Results PDF

A Burr School Retirement Celebration

A Burr School Retirement Celebration

Thursday, May 26th from 4:30 – 6 PM

at the Burr School, 171 Pine Street, Auburndale, MA



Please join us to thank Jack Tobin (Senior Custodian), Ted DeColo (Instrumental Music Teacher), and Kalpana Guttman (5th Grade Teacher, Literacy Specialist) for their many years of outstanding service to our community!

Stop by to thank these retiring Burr School staff members personally, and to mingle with neighborhood friends.

Please help spread the word!

Questions –

Sampling for lead within Newton Schools 2016 – Burr School

Edited by the PTO: All the kids were told about it today and the bottled water is already at the school.


Dear Burr Community,

RE: Sampling for lead within Newton Schools-2016

We are writing to inform you that one of the drinking fountains at Burr Elementary School has tested high for lead levels. This result was received this morning, from tests performed two weeks ago, after the April school vacation.

We sampled the water from selected fountains in each of our school buildings. While not all results are back, Burr is the only school which has tested positive. The School Department and Public Buildings Department are taking the following actions at Burr:

1.    Water service has been shut off to all fountains.

2.    Bottled water will be supplied to the school until we determine the source of lead.

Burr is one of our newer school buildings and does not have lead pipes. This means that it will take some work to locate the source of the lead. We will need to understand the number of fountains involved, which will help us determine the source. We will not allow anyone to drink from these fountains until we are sure that the water in the school is safe. 

For more info on lead in water please visit the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) website at or the Department of Public Health (DPH) website at  

We will keep everyone informed as more information about the situation at Burr becomes available. If you have further questions please feel free to contact the Health and Human Services Department at 617-796-1420.


Setti D. Warren, Mayor and David Fleishman, Superintendent

Please select the link for a pdf version of this letter:  Sampling for Lead In NPS.pdf