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

Shop at “Just Next Door” on Wednesday December 3rd and 20% of Your Total Purchase Will Go to Burr!

Just Next DoorMark your calendars – Wednesday, December 3rd is BURR SHOPPING DAY at JUST NEXT DOOR!    Plan to check off loads of items from your holiday list at Just Next Door, Auburndale’s wonderful locally-owned card and gift shop. You can find a gift for almost anyone here – they have jewelry (including unique pieces from local artists), hostess gifts, stationary and gift books, holiday decorations, baby gifts, a large selection of Vera Bradley bags and accessories, wrapping paper, cards, and an expanded section of kids toys, all in one store.   Just tell the cashier “I’m shopping  for Burr School” and 20% of your total purchase value will go to Burr! This offer is good all day on Wednesday, December 3 from 9am to 7pm, so let’s take advantage of a great deal and spread the word to family and friends – just forward this email along! All they need to do is mention Burr and we’re on our way. Thank you and hope to see you there! (Just Next Door is located at 327 Auburn Street in Auburndale.)

Friends and Family

Dear Friend or Family of Burr Elementary School,

You have been forwarded to this information by someone who knows that you care deeply for a special student at Burr Elementary School.  If you are a grandparent, aunt/uncle, or close family friend of one of our students at Burr, you are part of our extended “Burr Family”.

We are asking you to consider making a donation to our Gift for Burr campaign this fall.  Our Gift for Burr program is our only major fundraiser this year.  Every penny raised through Gift for Burr goes directly to the Burr Elementary School.  Unlike traditional school fundraisers (such as sales of gift wrap, cookie dough, candles, or other goodies), there is no third party that profits from your donation.  Every dollar that you donate goes directly to benefit the school.

We invite you to visit our Gift for Burr website to learn more.  On the site, you can learn about all of the great programs and services made possible through Gift for Burr donations.  You can also view a heartwarming slide show of Burr kids taking full advantage of all that our school has to offer.

Here is what one Burr grandparent had to say about the Gift for Burr  campaign:

“Whenever I’m with my two granddaughters, I make a special point of talking with them about their schoolwork. I love seeing their enthusiasm for their studies, their teachers, and, of course, their schoolmates. And I can see from the level of work that is expected of them that they are getting a first-rate education. To continue its vital support, the Burr PTO needs to raise $35,000 this year. Our kids, the parents of our grandchildren, will bear most of this burden and raise most of these funds. But they need our help. Actually, our grandchildren are the ones who need our help. It’s their education that’s on the line. I am sending what I can to support the Burr School and hope you can find a way to send in a donation as well. I know our contributions in any amount will be greatly appreciated and put to very good use.  It is said it takes a whole village to raise a child. These days in America, it takes a whole family to educate one.”

We invite you to click on the red Gift for Burr links on this page to learn more about our campaign and to make a tax deductible contribution.  We thank you in advance for your support.


Jaye Schneider, Marlene Gibson, & Sloane Goldhagen

Co-Presidents, Burr Elementary School PTO

Creative Arts & Sciences – Brian Lies

Author/Illustrator Brian Lies will present to 2nd graders in the library today.

Ms. Procaccini & Ms. Field’s classes
8:45am – 9:45am

Ms. Roberts’ class
9:50am – 10:50am

New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Brian Lies has illustrated over 26 books and created the beloved series: Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Ballgame, and Bats at the Library, which was named top picture book of 2008.

He talks to second graders about his creative process, which evolves from “sloppy copies” through his final manuscript and artwork. He shows them the original artwork for his books along side his own childhood attempts at creating books and drawings. He motivates children to keep working on their writing and drawing even when it becomes frustrating.

Parents are welcome to attend, but no younger siblings please. Thank you for your cooperation.

Creative Arts and Science programs are fully funded by the Burr School PTO

From Ms. Johal’s Desk – October 27, 2014

Dear Burr Families,

It was great to see so many of you at Halloween Family Fun Night on Saturday. Each year, I am amazed at the transformation our creative volunteers manage to achieve. The lobby, gym, and cafetorium were completely “spooked up” on Saturday.  Many thanks go to Marlene Gibson and Louisa Hunt for coordinating and heading up the team that made it all happen. It was great to see seasoned and new volunteers joining together to ensure the event continue to be one of the most memorable and fun for the children at Burr.

As much as I enjoy seeing the children all dressed and in character, I ask that these costumes and props stay at home.  At school, they can be distracting and take time away from learning. The teachers and I appreciate your understanding in this matter. The kindergarten classes only will take part in a costume parade on Friday, October 31st. Kindergarten parents will get information about this event from their child’s classroom teacher.

Burr Family Quilt

Many of you have seen and value the Burr Family Quilt that is displayed in our school’s lobby. Children and parents walk by it daily and enjoy looking at the family pictures. The quilt was updated last year and needs annual attention. Currently, we do not have all of our kindergarten families represented, and we still have pictures of families who graduated last year. It will be most helpful to have two parent volunteers with children in kindergarten or first grade willing to take on this project. It is set up in an organized and systematic way and easily explained to whomever takes it on. Please contact me at the email below if you are interested in helping to keep our Family Quilt current.

Fall Conferences

This week we start the fall parent-teacher conferences. These conferences are a time for you and your child’s teacher to discuss initial progress, set goals for the first half of the year, and to talk about anything that is specific to his/her education.  Below are some suggestions for you to think about as you prepare to confer with your child’s teacher.  They were taken from publications of the National PTA and National Education Association and I share them with you annually because both teachers and parents find them helpful.

Parent-Teacher Conferences ~ Ideas for Parents

Getting Ready:  Talk to your child before the conference.  Find out what he/she thinks is going well; find out what he/she thinks are areas for improvement, and why.  Ask your child if there is anything he/she would like you to talk about with the teachers.  Make sure your child doesn’t worry about the meeting and that he/she knows that this is a typical expectation that the school has to facilitate good communication between parents and teachers.  Help him/her understand that you and the teacher are meeting together to share information and support learning.

Before you come to school, write notes to yourself about:

  • your child’s life at home, any significant changes or information you feel is important for the teacher to know
  • your observations and questions about this year’s curriculum
  • questions about your child’s progress
  • ways that you and the school can work together to help your child

The Conference:Some good questions to ask are:

  • What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner?
  • Is my child working up to his or her ability?  How is his/her effort?
  • Does my child participate successfully in class discussions and activities?
  • How well does my child get along with others?
  • How do you evaluate my child’s progress?  What standards will he/she be evaluated on for the January report card?

If the teacher says something you don’t quite understand, be sure to ask for an explanation. Ask the teacher for specific suggestions for ways to help your child to improve. This is the most important part of the meeting.  It will become your action plan.  It’s a good idea to end the conference by summing up decisions you have made together. If needed, ask to meet again.

After the Conference:  Start immediately on the action plan you and the teacher have worked out together.  Discuss the plan with your child; make sure that he or she knows that you and the teacher care.  To see if the action plan is working, watch your child’s behavior and check your child’s class work and homework.  (Young children need an adult to oversee their homework.  It’s important to look in their backpack every night!)  Stay in regular touch with the teacher to discuss the progress your child is making.  Meeting with your child’s teacher should help build strong parent-teacher partnerships – partnerships that are needed if you and your child’s teachers are to reach your common goal: helping your child get the best education possible.

I look forward seeing most of you between November 7-9 as we work together to help build our new playground. I thank you in advance for your efforts and encourage you to sign up to help if you have not done so already.



Traffic Safety Week


At the request of the principal and staff, the annual fall Traffic Safety Week will be held the week of October 27.  During Traffic Safety Week, parent volunteers help keep the Blue Zone moving and the “No Parking” areas clear during drop-off and pick-up. The Newton Police also stop by as part of the joint effort between the Newton Safe Routes Task Force and the city to reduce unsafe and illegal driver and pedestrian behavior in our school zones.

 Can you help? Want to get involved with Walk/Bike activities?

Send an email to:

Please visit the Safe Routes section of the PTO website for complete information on using the Blue Zone and about traffic safety around Burr, including a color-coded map of the area that you can view and print – please give a copy to anyone who picks up or drops off your child.

Halloween Family Fun Night


We still have many Volunteer Opportunities available for this spooktacular event. Helping hands are needed for Set Up, Actual Event and Clean Up. Please consider taking on a Volunteer Shift and/or Making a Food/Drink Donation.

Please sign up at

Please contact us with any questions.

Marlene or Louisa Hunt:

HFFN is a free event sponsored by Burr PTO and funded by your donations. 

Burr School Directory


This is your last chance to review or update your Burr Directory information!

In a few weeks, we’ll be publishing the Burr Directory, a printed booklet with student and family contact information that folks find indispensable for homework assistance, play dates, birthday party invitations and more.  The Directory is compiled by PTO volunteers and is printed and distributed to every Burr family each fall, paid for by PTO funds.


If you have not yet received an email from the Directory Editor, Cecelia Kwartler, with a snapshot of your family information to review, please contact her immediately at so that you can be sure to have your most up-to-date information in the directory.


Don’t miss this chance to make sure that your information is correct. Your kids depend on it! 

Creative Arts and Sciences Welcomes Author & Columnist Fred Bowen

Creative Arts and Sciences Welcomes 

Author & Washington Post Sports Columnist Fred Bowen on October 20th – 5th Grade

Author & Washington Post Sports Columnist Fred Bowen will present to 5th graders.

Ms. Cooley & Ms. Moran’s classes In the library 9:15am – 10:15am

 In Ms. Harris’s Classroom: 10:30am-11:30am

Fred Bowen had been a lawyer but started penning sports books for kids when he couldn’t find any good ones to read to his own children. His passion for making sports entertaining and accessible can be seen in the kids’ sports column he writes for The Washington Post.   Here’s how Fred describes his books, “Most of my books are sports fiction, but each one loops in real sports history and includes a bonus history chapter at the back.”  His presentation covers sports history and his process for writing a book which he lists on a board: get an idea, write it down, first draft or first try, show it to someone, listen, change it. For more information check out his website

 Creative Arts and Science programs are fully funded by the Burr School PTO.  Parents are welcome to attend, but no younger siblings please.  

Thank you for your cooperation.

Playground Party & Updates

Playground Demo – October 17th

The playground is scheduled to come down on Friday!! Let’s come together after school on Tuesday and have a party  – a Farewell Party for the playground. Bring a picnic or a snack and come play. The new one will be awesome but this one has served us all so well for so many years. Let’s all give it a great send off.

Playground Build – November 7th, 8th & 9th

And speaking of the new one and parties, please grab your sign up times to help build here! We need so many more people to raise this playground. We need you. Yes YOU! So far we only have 91 of the 300 people we need to get this built for our kids. Please take a look at your calendar and the sign up and see where you might be able to help.

Also, we have great news – BABYSITTING! So if that’s the bit that had you not signing up. Woooohoooo, right?! The school will be open and there will be movies and activities for school aged kiddos (no infants or littles in diapers). It will be run by Burr alums that are now in middle school and want to do their part – Yay! After you sign up to build send and email to and let them you’d like have your kids hang out at this fun supervised playdate and what times you’re building. So let the kids have some fun inside while we have all the fun outside :-) Who says we can’t make this a party too?!

Visit the playground site at

See you on the Playground :-)

International Walk to School Day – Wednesday


This Wednesday, Burr will once again join with all the Newton elementary schools – and thousands of children around the world – to participate in International Walk to School Day.  Make plans to leave the car at home and walk or bike with friends and neighbors!  If you can’t walk with your kids, arrange for them to walk with a friend. Taking the bus also reduces the number of cars on the road, so kids riding the bus are participating too!

Please make every effort to participate – the goal of this event is to show how much healthier and more fun it is to walk to school – and how much safer our school zone is without all the cars.  The hope is that after participating, families will continue to walk whenever possible. This event is sponsored by the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program and MassRIDES, which provides the handouts we’ll have for all the walkers, bikers, and bus riders!

Can you help the morning of the event? Want to get involved with other Walk/Bike and Safe Routes activities? Send us an email at