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

Game Night Success!

Thank you Burr Families for Making the GameNight a success.  What a great way to come together as a community and support the fifth grade class. 

If you were not able to attend or you wish you had ordered a game and did not, here is your chance.  Attached is an order form.  Please complete the form and send it in by Wednesday, January 28 with cash or a check made out to Burr PTO.   Mark the envelope Game Fundraiser.  

Click here for a list of what some of the classroom teachers wish for.  if you would like to purchase a gift for your child’s teacher.  

Please email Jody Klein at if you have any questions.

Sincerely, The Grade 5 Fundraising Team

Upcoming Creative Arts and Sciences

Kindergarten Presentation on Friday January 23rd
The Mass Audubon/Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary will present Winter Survivors to:

 Ms. Frail’s Class 9:00- 9:45

Ms. Rudek’s Class 10:00- 10:45

Ms. Mc Mahon’s Class 11:00- 11:45

In the Music Room

 A Mass Audubon/Drumlin Farm educator will present the Audubon Ark Traveling Wildlife Program to Burr Kindergarteners. The classes will explore how winter is a challenging time for wildlife. Using wild animals, the Audubon teacher will discuss different coping mechanisms animals use and physical and behavioral adaptations that are helpful for survival. Migration, hibernation, and staying alive will be the focus.

The woodchuck and kestrel will be featured in the program. The presenter will substitute another animal if they are not able to bring the woodchuck due to hibernation.


5th Grade Creative Arts and Sciences Presentation

On Monday, January 26th at 10am The Museum of Science will present Forces & Work To 5th graders in the Cafetorium

What is work?  Fifth graders will learn how forces create motion, understand what work is, and discover what simple machines have in common and how they help us perform a large amount of work with minimal force. They’ll use mechanical advantage to turn a wheel and axle against a stronger opponent, haul their classmates across the room using pulleys, and find out if they can lift a teacher using a giant lever.


Parents are welcome to attend, but no younger siblings

Creative Arts and Science programs are fully funded by the Burr School PTO please. Thank you for your cooperation.

BLOP – Burr Loves Our Planet returns on Wednesday


Entering its 5th year, BLOP Wednesdays!

Burr Loves Our Planet (BLOP) is a Burr community tradition aimed at reducing the amount of lunch waste we generate, while encouraging kids to think about the environment.

BLOP is led by 5th grade volunteers!

 How can your kids participate?

Wear something green.

Consider walking to school

Pack a waste-free or low-waste snack and lunch.

If you buy lunch, see what you can reuse or recycle.

 Here are a few ideas for those who pack their snack/lunch:

  • Use a lunch box, not a paper or plastic bag
  • Use a refillable drink bottle instead of disposable bottles.
  • Use a Reusable Snack Bag!
  • Avoid plastic bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and prepackaged foods.
  • Sturdy containers prevent “squishing.” (Write your child’s name on it!)
  • Resealable containers make it easy for children to save uneaten food.
  • Use a cloth napkin instead of paper.
  • Pack reusable utensils instead of disposables.
  • Purchase lunch foods in larger containers instead of single-serving pkgs.

    blopgearJust in time for our first BLOP Wednesday, you’ll be glad to hear that Burr Loves Our Planet (BLOP) products will be on sale this week and next on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    T-shirts will be $10 and new water bottles $5 each (see picture). Water bottles will be in by Jan 27th.

    So look for the highly motivated 5th graders selling these Green Goodies before school each day outside Ms. Moran’s room. Buy a T-shirt that promotes eco-friendly practices, a reusable water bottle that cuts down on plastic waste… or both!


From Ms. Johal: MCAS and PARCC Testing Information and Schedule

MindyThis year students in grades 3, 4, & 5 will be taking the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment for College and Careers) tests in ELA and Math instead of the MCAS and Grade 5 will take the Science and Technology MCAS. I want to make you aware of the testing dates so that you can avoid scheduling any appointments for your child(ren) that may conflict with these plans. Rescheduling the testing is always complicated and takes children way from other scheduled activities.


PARCC Progress Based Assessment (PBA)

ELA Math
Grade 3

Session 1: March 16

Session 2: March 18

Session 3: March 19

Grade 4

Session 1: March 17

Session 2: March 19

Session 3: March 20

Grade 5

Session 1: March 16

Session 2: March 18

Session 3: March 20

Grade 3

Session 1: March 31

Session 2: April 1


Grade 4

Session 1: March 31

Session 2: April 2


Grade 5

Session 1: April 1

Session 2: April 2


PARCC End of Year (EOY)

Grade 3

Session 1: May 4


Grade 4

Session 1: May 5


Grade 5

Session 1: May 4


Grade 3

Session 1: May 6

Session 2: May 7

Grade 4

Session 1: May 7

Session 2: May 8

Grade 5

Session 1: May 6

Session 2: May 8

MCAS Science and Technology

Grade 5

Session 1: May 12

Session 2: May 13


From Ms. Johal: Welcome Back/New Lunch & Recess Schedules

MindyHappy New Year to you all! I hope everyone had an enjoyable break. The students came back to school full of vacation stories that they were eager to share. It is always a joy to see them return from a break energized and happy to see their teachers and friends again. Personally, I have always loved coming back to school in January because it is a great time for reflection and goal setting. Children are well settled in their classroom communities, and are very familiar with the routines and structure that their teachers have put in place to scaffold and extend their learning. Teachers have developed solid relationships with the students and their parents, and can forge ahead with exciting projects and activities. We can all capitalize on foundations that have been developed during the first half of the school year.  Parents can help prepare their children for a successful transition back into school routines by reminding them of school rules and behavior expectations. It is our collective responsibility to help students develop solid study skills and habits that will enhance their learning and interactions with others. I urge you to sit with your child and encourage him/her to set some goals and priorities for his/her academic and social growth during the coming months.

I would like to remind everyone that the school doors open at 8:20 AM. Students are unsupervised before this time. I have noticed a few students have been dropped off closer to 8:00 AM. If you plan to bring your children to school early, please be sure to stay with them until they are safely in our care.

Lunch and Recess Schedule Changes

If you have a child in grades 2-5, you may have heard about some lunch changes we experimented with in December. With increased enrollment, lunchtime has become a noisy experience where children have to yell to be heard by a friend sitting across the table. As you can imagine, the supervising staff also find this time to be the least enjoyable part of their day. Last month we tried having one grade level go to recess while the other had lunch. (Formerly, both grade levels scheduled for a lunch block together went to recess first and then came in for lunch.) We gave both groups the experience of having lunch first to see which they preferred and which we found to be most successful. After gathering feedback from staff and students, we will implement the following change to our lunch schedule:



11:45 -12:00 Grade 4 11:45: 12:05 Grade 2
12:05 – 12:20 Grade 2 12:00 – 12:20 Grade 4
12:25 -12:40 Kindergarten 12:25 – 12:50 Grade 1
12:50 – 1:10 Grade 1 12:40 -1:00 Kindergarten
1:05 – 1:20 Grade 5 1:05 – 1:25 Grade 3
1:25 – 1:40 Grade 3 1:20 – 1:40 Grade 5


5th Grade Fundraisers – Fenway Night & Game Night

Game Night featuring GameWright Games: Friday 1/23 6-8 at Burr

GameWright is a local company that has brought you Rat-a-Tat Cat, Rory’s Story Cubes and Forbidden Island, just to name a few. We will be playing some of those beloved games, and they will also be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the 5th Grade Class.

Snacks and an opportunity to also purchase some of that really cool Burr School Gear will also be available. (Come on, you know you want some comfy PJ pants!!)

More details and a flyer will be in the backpacks, but save the date…Friday 1/23 6-8 at Burr.

Burr Spirit Wear will also be on sale at Game Night. Order form here.


Join your classmates, teachers, family, and friends for a night of fun at Fenway Park!

Friday April 17th at 7:10pm

Event Cost: $31*

*$4 will benefit Burr Elementary 5th Grade 

Deadline for orders is January 26, 2015 

Use this form to get your RedSox Tix!

Questions: Sherri Sonia –

CAS Program on Wednesday


Turtle’s New Home: This original story by puppeteer Deborah Costine, follows Blanding the Turtle in search of a new, safe wetland habitat.  A road has been built between her pond and the high sandy hill where she goes every spring to lay her eggs.  When she meets young Castor the Beaver, eager to build a dam and create a new pond, she sees that her problems might be solved.  Students will also meet Blanding’s friend, the Blue Spotted Salamander, as well as a boy named Edward and his nature-loving babysitter Rachel, who teaches Edward how to look closely at nature for signs of animals and their activities.

Deborah begins the program by passing around branches with real beaver teeth marks. She introduces each animal character and shares age appropriate facts about the animals. Ms. Costine researched and wrote the script, created the set and the puppets. This show supports the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Biology.

Turtles New Home Flyer copy


Brought to you by the PTO and the Creative Arts and Sciences team.

Library Gift Book Program

Library Gift Book Sale

Dear Burr Families,

Are you looking for a great way to support our library? Would you like to support our teachers for the holidays but aren’t sure how? Check out our new gift book program! Using this website, you can donate a gift book to one of our teachers or staff or choose a birthday book for your child. You can also access the donation site from the Burr library page.

1) Choose a book from our wishlist.

2) Write your dedication to a teacher or your child in the bookplate section on the website. The book vendor will insert the bookplate with your dedication inside the book.

3) The book will be mailed to the Burr library ready to check out by your child or the teacher it was purchased in honor of. The book then becomes a gift to the Burr Library and can be checked out by other students and teachers to enjoy for years to come!

Thank you for supporting our library!

Ms. Lawton

Library Teacher

Gift For Burr – There’s still time


We are very thankful to the 100 Burr families who have helped us raise $20,281 towards are goal of $35,000 for the Gift for Burr. There’s still time to make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year. Does your company have a matching gift program? If so, you can double your gift. Get your matching gift forms in before December 31. Our Tax ID # is 043574938. 

We wish to emphasize that our greatest desire is to have every Burr family make a contribution. Whether you can give $1 or $1000, we ask you to participate to help us meet our goal of EVERY family at Burr making a contribution. Not a good time of year to make a donation? Please consider making a “pledge” instead and send in your check in the new year. Please email our committee at with any questions.

Please send in your check in your child’s folder today or click HERE

to donate by credit card online.

Remember: Gift for Burr is the ONLY major fundraiser each year for the PTO’s annual operating budget. Every child benefits from all that the Gift for Burr makes possible. We need every family to contribute to make this campaign a success.

Thank you from the GFB Committee

A message from Ms. Johal – December 8, 2014

Dear Families,

We have 12 days of school before December vacation and I’m sure many of you have a lot going on as you prepare for the holidays. Here at school the students and teachers are also busy. Please excuse the length of this newsletter as I share some of what is going on:

Burr School Core Values

Our new Core Values at Burr are Compassion, Respect, Perseverance, and Teamwork. Each month we focus on one value and really delve into what it means. Last month’s focus was compassion, and this month we are exploring respect. To highlight our work on compassion we read the book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” which in a very simple and clear way shows how kindness towards others fills both your bucket and theirs. We invited students to record acts of kindness they witnessed at school. These were collected in grade level ‘buckets’ that were pinned onto a bulletin board outside the Burr library. A few times a week fifth graders shared examples from the buckets over the school intercom. At the end of the month we had recorded over 300 acts of kindness and filled so many buckets along the way. Here is an electronic version of the book for your enjoyment: You may want to watch or read it with your child so you can use the same language at home.

This month students learn how they can show respect for each other, themselves, and the environment. The fourth graders in Mr Glode and Ms. Harrington’s shared their learning about respect with an Animoto presentation at our monthly All School Meeting to help ‘kick off’ this focus. We also tied in National Inclusive Schools Week, which was nationally celebrated last week. Our Respect for Human Differences Committee led the way by supporting and encouraging teachers to plan activities during the week to highlight our community’s commitment to inclusion. Each classroom teacher read books with themes of inclusion and discussed the messages within them with students. Teachers also assigned an activity for students to complete at home with their families to encourage conversations at home so you too can support this important work. Please ask you child about his/her learning about compassion and respect.

New Playground

The children have been enjoying the new playground for a few weeks now and LOVE it. Thank you to so many of you who contributed so generously. Not only did you all have to work to raise a large amount of money, but you also volunteered hours of time helping during the building of the structure. I’d like to extend a special thank you to the Playground Committee members: Meg Salgado, Jen Frankel, Eric Freidman, Jason Wong, Melissa Chatfield, Greg Thompson, Kristen Frohn, Justine Fialkosky, and Jay Ryan. You all worked so hard to motivate us and keep everything on track.


Currently we are working on coming up with some safety rules for the new equipment. Each classroom teacher worked with his/her students to come up with a set of rules and these are currently posted in our cafetorium where everyone can see them.  Before the December break some representative from the new Burr Student Council will help come up with one set of rules for all students to follow.  Often times there is an increase in injuries when children play on new equipment. Children are learning to navigate new structures and are figuring out new ways of moving their bodies and engaging in safe and fun play.  We don’t want to limit this experimentation with these rules, yet we do want to remind children to be aware of those around and how their actions may compromise their safety and that of others.

 We have enjoyed mild weather for the most part, but inevitably the temperature will dip with increasing regularity in the coming months. Please remember to dress your children appropriately for the weather.  We will go outside for recess every day, except when the most bitterly cold air masses are in place.  Children are expected to wear coats and long pants (not shorts!) when we go outside in cold temperatures.  All children should also bring hats and gloves, and boots and snowpants are an expectation for them to play in the snow. Please label all items with your child’s name so they can easily be return to him/her if left around the school.

Lunch Changes

You may have heard from your child that we have made some changes during lunch. With our increase in enrollment, we now have over 140 students in the cafetorium during each lunch because two grades eat at one time. This has meant that the noise level in the café is often extremely loud and for many children, overwhelming. Last week we started to experiment with some other structures. We are currently having one grade level at a time in the café. This means that one group has recess before lunch and the other has recess after lunch. So far the reports are favorable. I will check in with students and staff during the next few weeks to see if the change continues to have a positive impact.

Hour of Code

We live in a world surrounded by technology and we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. Despite this reality, only a tiny fraction of students are learning computer science, and less are studying it than a decade ago. At Burr we continue to explore ways to leverage technology to enhance student learning, and to consider how our programming prepares them for future success. With these goals in sight, Burr School is joining in on the largest learning event in history, The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14). Last year, 15 million students tried computer science in one week. The Burr librarian and technology specialist will support teachers in this work. If you would like to learn more about this initiative, check out   We are looking forward to a great week of learning and exploring the world of code together.


Parent Principal Coffees:

If you missed the curriculum presentations given by Burr specialists (art, music, library and technology, and PE teachers) or the cyber safety presentation given by our librarian and technology specialist, please check out the information posted on the Burr School Website:

Specialist Curriculum

Cyber Safety

Superintendent Fleishman and some Newton School Committee members will join us at our next Parent Principal Coffee on January 23, 2015. Please put it on your calendar because it is a great time to have Burr specific conversations with our district officials and find out more about district goals and initiatives.

Student Council

This year we started having a Student Council at Burr School. We decided to have 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade representatives. Each of the 3-5 classrooms have a K-2 buddy classroom that they will also represent. The representatives were randomly selected with the only criteria being that student show interest and that we have a boy and girl from each classroom. At fifth grade we have three representatives from each classroom because we felt it was important they have a larger presence.

The following are the representatives until February vacation:

Grade 3

Canning & Frail: Katie Kotz & Nathan Gallo

Collins & Rudek: Alessandro Della Corte, Maria Filippelli

Oh & Mc Mahon: Greer Wheeler, Rohan Iyengar.

Grade 4

Robinson & Golden: Nicholas Marrucci & Ysable Aligan

Glode/Harrington & Fitch & Espinal: James Thurber & Lucia Capello

Miller & Gaita: Sean O’Neill and Kristyn Vasselin

Grade 5

Cooley & Roberts: Danilo Talisayon , Julia Tulimieri, Tia Joseph

Harris & Field: Morgan Gallivan, Max Goldman , Nina Bobby

Moran & Procaccini: Meriame Rochd, Marion Carter, Anders Erlandson

We had our first meeting last Wednesday and the members decided their first social action would be a Holiday Drive to support families in need. You will be hearing more about how you can help within the next few days. New student council representatives will be selected for March through June.