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

New Gift Policy for NPS

We know you want to give your teachers everything and show them ALL the appreciation they deserve. We know. But there are rules to follow.

A new Staff Gift and Solicitations Policy has been approved by the School Committee.  The policy is now available on our website under the School Committee link.

Below is the policy:

The Newton Public Schools Staff Gifts and Solicitations Policy is updated and incorporates current Massachusetts Conflict of Interest Law M.G.L. c. 268A. This replaces the earlier 1991 policy. STAFF GIFT AND SOLICITATIONS POLICY

Newton Public Schools allows a group gift to an individual staff member only if the gift is identified as being from the entire class, the identity of the givers and the individual amounts are not disclosed to the recipient, and the gift does not exceed $150 per school year.  This differs from a gift for the classroom (*).

Individual gifts of appreciation in the form of sentimental tokens are allowed.  Gifts of commercial value are not permitted. 

NPS allows and encourages giving to charitable organizations such as school PTO’s or the Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher Program which honors staff while supporting our schools.

For any questions about this policy and our procedures, please contact the Department of Human Resources.

*Please see the Equity Policy for information on classroom gifts or donations.

Heather A. Richards

Director of Human Resources

Newton Public Schools

100 Walnut St., Newtonville, MA  02460

Ph: (617) 559-6005

Fax: (617) 559-6010

Final PTO meeting of the year on Thursday June 11 at 7pm

PTO MeetingWe have our final PTO meeting of the year on Thursday June 11 at 7pm. We hope that you can make it. Free babysitting will be provided.

The agenda will be as follows:
– propose budget for next year
– vote in new members
– review of the year
– discussion of fundraising plan for next year

Melissa Chatfield (nominated for Co-President) is a first grade teacher in the Newton Schools and the parent of one child at Burr (Henry, first grade) and two future Burr attendees (Will 4yrs, James 4mos). Melissa has been a room parent, a member of the Playground Committee, and has volunteered for a variety of PTO events/fundraisers including the Online Auction and the Move-a-thon. She is looking forward to working with the Burr community as a board member.

Justine Fialkosky (nominated for Co-President) is the mother of Sophia (1st Grade) and Jillian (incoming Kindergarten). Justine works full time at State Street Global Advisors within their Marketing department. Justine has been actively involved in Burr PTO events including, the Online Auction and Pie Fundraiser. Justine is looking forward to becoming more involved with the Burr PTO and Community.

Marion Heller (nominated for Secretary) is the mother of Casey Wong (K). She works part-time as a writer and editor, and is very excited about becoming more involved with the Burr PTO.

Laura Sexton (nominated for Fundraising Coordinator) is the parent of one child at Burr (Emma- Kindergarten), and one rambunctious 3-year old boy Colin who can’t wait to go to Burr. Laura works full-time as a financial analyst and is lucky to work remotely/from home. Laura and her husband Brandon have lived in Auburndale for 2 years. Laura is an avid runner and volunteers and runs with the Dana Farber Cancer Research marathon team. She looks forward to joining the PTO board, and to 8 more years with the Burr school community.

Sherri Sonia (nominated for Education Support Coordinator) – Sherri works Full-Time at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Patient Access, and is Mom to Jimmy Sonia, a rising Junior at North, Jack Sonia, a rising 6th Grader at Day, and William Sonia, a rising 4th Grader at Burr. Sherri and her Husband Jim live in the house that Jim grew up in, in West Newton along with their two furry kids, Roxy and Chase. Sherri organized the 5th Grade fundraisers this year and has volunteered for more field trips, room parenting, and other school events than she can count.

Guolin Alex Wen (nominated for Treasurer) – the father of Sidney (8 at BB&N) and Albert (1 at Burr). Alex has volunteered at Burr in the classrooms and he has been coaching soccer players at Newton Youth Soccer for 5 years.  He also has been actively working towards bringing cultural pride to Chinese minority group. He looks forward to working with the Burr community as a PTO member.

Thank you so much to these awesome members of the PTO for stepping up to serve on the Board. Everyone appreciates it!

See you in the Cafetorium.

Free Babysitting Services are available from Burr alumni in the Music Room. Refreshments will be provided by our wonderful hospitality team.  

Burr Garden – Summer HELP!

The Burr Garden is planted!  Your kids all worked so hard and we had lots of fun getting our hands dirty.


Now, we need your help to keep it thriving. Please join our Summertime Burr Family Garden Club we’ve got a sign up genius here for you. 

This is a flexible gig and you help out when it’s convenient for your schedule–after work, on weekends, whenever…it’s a great way to stay connected to Burr after school ends!  

The Burr garden is Auburndale’s de facto community garden–other community gardens have waiting lists for plots and then you have to make a full commitment.  Here, you are the garden keeper for just one week and someone has already done all the hard planting work for you!

Lets have a great summer in the Garden :-)

From the desk of Ms. Johal – June 9, 2015

June 9, 2015

Dear Burr Families,

We only have 12 days of school left before the start of summer vacation! This is such a busy time of year for parents, teachers, and children. There are so many celebrations of learning planned as teachers work to wrap up the school year and prepare their students to move on to the next grade. The fifth graders will be visiting Day Middle School on June12, and the students in grades K-4 will Step Up to meet the teachers at the next grade level on June 23. We hope that these transition visits will help alleviate the anxiety that some children may feel about graduating to the next grade level and build excitement about returning to school in September.

We have started working on class placements for next year. The teachers all put a lot of time and effort into weighing all of the factors that help create an optimal learning environment for each student. We have received input from some parents, which we will consider during this process. I thank you all for respecting the staff’s professional judgment about the best possible learning environment for your child next year. The class lists will be in draft form until late August because enrollment fluctuates throughout the summer and one student moving in or out of the district can significantly change the make up of a group.

We will let you know of your child’s placement in late August. Class placements, once they are sent out to everyone, are final. Changes cannot be made since they seriously compromise the balance that we work so hard to achieve. The class lists will be emailed, unless you request that we mail a paper copy to you. Consequently, it is important for us to have your most current email address. This newsletter has been sent to the primary contact address currently listed in our records. This will be the email address that we will use to send out class placements in August.  If you want placement information sent to a different address, please let us know by emailing the correct address to

Classroom Staffing for Next Year

We will have a few staffing changes for next year:


            Kindergarten: Ms Frail, Ms. Mc Mahon, New Hire

            First Grade:    Ms. Espinal, Ms. Fitch, Ms. Golden

            Second Grade:            Ms. Procaccini, Ms. Field, Mr. Gaita, Ms. Roberts

            Third Grade:   Ms. Canning, Ms. Collins, Ms. Oh

            Fourth Grade:             Mr. Glode & Mrs. Harrington, Ms. Robinson, Mrs. Miller

            Fifth Grade:    Ms. Cooley, Ms. Harris, Ms. Moran & Ms. Finn


We will have two co-taught classrooms at Burr again next year – one in fourth and one in fifth grade.  This is determined each year as we consider the best way for us to meet the needs of the students at a grade level. A co-taught classroom is one in which a general education and special education teacher co-teach all of the children.  Having a special education teacher in the classroom full-time allows us to provide special education services right in the classroom in all curriculum areas. The students in the other two classrooms at that grade level also benefit from the expertise of this special educator because curriculum adaptations that she makes are shared across the grade. We have found this model to be highly successful in meeting the needs of individual students.  Kaylan Finn will be the special educator in the fifth grade co-taught. Kaylan has been one of our learning center teachers this year supporting the students across the grade levels including our fifth graders.  Ms. Moran will partner with Ms. Finn in the co-taught classroom. I am confident that they will make a great team. The fifth grade team is looking forward to having Kaylan join them.

As you can see above, Ms. Rudek will not be returning to Burr next year.  She has accepted a position in Boston Public Schools.  Qiana has been a great asset to the kindergarten team and our staff. She tells me her decision was a difficult one because she has loved working at Burr, but the move to Boston Public School is one for her personal and professional growth. Please join us in in wishing Qiana well as she makes this transition. We have already scheduled interviews to ensure that we can tap into a rich pool of applicants.

We also have a few changes in our special education staffing. Ms. Hutchinson, Ms. Carboneau, and Ms. Sherman will not return to Burr in the fall. Ms. Hutchinson and Ms. Carboneau will be working at the Franklin School. Ms. Hutchinson has elected to make this change for more opportunities within the district for professional advancement. Ms. Carboneau has decided to take a part-time childcare leave and will only be working at one school. Ms. Sherman, who came to us from the Perkins School, has decided to return there next year.  She will also be pursuing an advanced degree as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. Those of you who have had the benefit of having these ladies work with your children know that they are skilled and caring educators.  I wish them luck and know the schools they are going to are lucky to have them.

I am happy to report that Emma Fogg will be the inclusion facilitator at Burr in September. Some of you probably know Emma from previous years when she worked as a behavior therapist at Burr. Last year Emma completed her teaching certification in Moderate Disabilities and secured a learning center position with the Newton Public Schools. She split her time between the Williams and Peirce Schools.  She is excited about coming back to Burr.  I will keep you all informed as we fill positions that have been vacated and two that have been added (a part-time ELL teacher and a part-time literacy specialist). 

 Be sure to check the Burr website and classroom newsletters for upcoming events and activities. Much will be going on during the next few weeks to celebrate the work the students have done all year. I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming weeks.




Report Card Access:  Report Cards will be available to parents through the ParentCONNECT web-based portal on Monday, June 22.    


Planning Ahead:

Early Release Dates for Next Year: 10/8, 1l/5, 12/3, 2/3, 3/10, 5/5

Open House: 9/3/15

Curriculum Night:  10/1/15 



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Color Day is June 2nd

group-of-kids-clipart-Happy_Kids_clipartOne of the Burr events most loved by students is fast approaching!

Color Day is Tuesday June 2nd and the raindate will be Thursday June 4th.

Events will take place from 9:30 – 11:30 am followed by popsicles for all students.

Ms. Michna will need help to run all activities. Since there will be a lot going on at each station please do not bring younger siblings to the event. You will also need a completed CORI form. You need to be at the gymnasium at 8:45. Ms. Michna does not send a confirmation to volunteers. If you return the Volunteer Form she expects that you will show up :-)

You should have received the volunteer form in your folder but I have also attached it here.

Your child’s teacher will email you and send home a notice in your folder with your child’s color assignment.

Have fun out there! But remember to be safe and wear sunscreen and a hat.

Please contact with any questions.

The 2nd Annual Move-A-Thon!

Burr School Move-a-thon!

Friday, June 12th

Who: Burr students

What: A student fundraiser that both celebrates fitness and raises money for some continued improvements to our school.

When: Friday, June 12th (each grade will participate at time listed below)

Where: On the Burr School field

Why: Because kids can make a difference too!

The students at Burr School are taking up the challenge to both celebrate fitness and raise money for the Phase 2 of the playground improvements.  These include rubberized matting under the Tanenbaum, new benches and possibly improvements to the garden area

The entire Burr School will participate in the Move-a-thon on Friday, June 12th by “moving” around the Burr field.  Students can choose how they move (walk, jog, run, skip, dance, jump rope, etc.) with the goal of moving around the track the entire time. 

Sponsors can pledge an amount per lap or pledge a total amount for completing the event.  After the Move-a-thon, students will return to their sponsors with their results and collect their pledges.  If every student collects $25.00 in donations, the students could earn over $10,000!

Grade Level Move-a-thon Times:

9:00 AM Grade 4 & Ms. Espinal’s first grade

10:00 AM Grade 5 & Grade 2 & Ms. Golden’s first grade

11:00 AM Grade 3 & K (1/2 hr) & Ms. Fitch & Mr. Gaita’s first grade

All proceeds from this event will directly benefit Burr School Students.

Find the pledge form HERE!

Upcoming Creative Arts & Sciences Programs

Creative Arts and Sciences presents: Tsongas Industrial History Center’s Exploring the Immigrant Experience For 4th Grade classes
Thursday, May 28, 2015

A presenter from the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell, Massachusetts will bring in artifacts and oral histories of early New England immigrants for students to examine. 

The program covers themes of immigration such as the decision to leave, the journey, hardships in America, Americanization, and preserving culture. Students also explore how immigrant groups have helped to shape American culture.  The presenter distributes artifacts and information about a particular immigrant that relate to the above topics.  Students are asked to give a brief oral report about this immigrant and can create a “quilt” as a conclusion to the information they learned.

Classroom times:

Ms. Miller’s class    9:30am- 10:30am

Mr. Glode & Ms. Harrington  10:30am  – 11:30am

Ms. Robinson     1pm – 2pm 

Creative Arts and Sciences Welcomes New England Aquarium Tidepools Alive! Kindergarten Classes Friday, May 29th

Tidepools Alive! is an informative live presentation of sea life by the New England Aquarium.

Students use their five senses to imagine the beach, tidepools, and seagulls. They also learn about and interact with live seastars, snails, mussels, clams and hermit crabs.

Kindergarten Class Times In the Music Room:

Ms. Frail  9:00-9:45 

Ms. Rudek  10:00-10:45  

Ms. McMahon  11:00-11:45  

Creative Arts and Sciences presents: Sound Program
 For 4th Grade classes

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What is Sound? How is it made? How does it travel? Why do different objects make different sounds? Why do things sound different under water?

On Wednesday, June 3rd the Science Discovery Museum will visit Burr 4th graders and will answer these questions and MORE!

Presentations will be held in the classrooms and parents are welcome to attend. We are NO LONGER able to accommodate younger siblings at these presentations. Thank you for understanding.


Classroom Times:

Ms. Miller’s class    9am – 9:45am

Mr. Glode & Ms. Harrington 10am  – 10:45am

Ms. Robinson     11am – 11:45am

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. 

From the desk of Ms. Johal – May 26, 2015

Dear Families,

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weather during our long weekend. It is finally warm enough for me to send out my annual clothing and footwear reminder. I am particularly concerned about children wearing inappropriate footwear. Flip-flops in particular cause many falls, stubbed toes and can be uncomfortable on the wood-chipped playground. Spaghetti straps, bare midriffs, low cut pants, and very short skirts are also not appropriate dress for school. If your child is not meeting these guidelines we may call you to bring in something else for him/her to wear. Please help support our expectations for appropriate school dress.

I’d like to thank those of you who have supported our Student Council’s efforts to raise money for the victims of the earthquakes in Nepal. Last week, we were able to collect over $800.  The Student Council members voted to donate the funds to the Society of Ex-Budhanikantha Students (SEBS). This organization was recommended by a Burr family from Nepal. The following is a blurb from their website

Society of Ex-Budhanilkantha Students (SEBS)

SEBS was formed in 1982. We are a volunteer organization with the main aim to provide social service to the community of Nepal and help in its development. We organize various programs in the field of education and health like Nationwide Scholarship Program, health camps etc., to help the people who are in need. We are based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Our North American branch is based in Virginia, USA as SEBS-North America and is recognized by us as our sole representative in the region.

 Student Council will continue their efforts to raise money in two ways:

  1. A Burr family generously donated a pair of GREEN MONSTER Red Sox tickets for the game against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, June 5th. The Student Council will be holding a raffle with these tickets. The tickets are valued at just under $400.  Please look for the order form in your child’s backpack today, Tuesday, May 26th. Tickets will be $20 each. We have decided to limit the sales to 100 tickets. This means that $20 gets you a one in a hundred chance to win GREEN MONSTER Red Sox seats! The drawing for the winner will be at the end of the day on Friday, May 29th. I hope many of you will consider buying a ticket and helping the students with their quest to support the victims in Nepal.
  2. Students will set up a table outside the school during arrival and dismissal time to collect donations of cash or checks made out to SEBS-North America.


Have a wonderful week.


PTO Board Available Positions

Dear Families,

Next year’s PTO board is going through a major transition! We have 2 board members moving out of Newton and 3 members have completed their 2-year term!

We are looking for a Co-President and Education Support Coordinator. Board members are responsible for attending 4 board meetings (held in the evening at someone’s home) and 4 PTO meetings held at Burr. 

Being part of the PTO Board allows one to participate in major decision making for the Burr community. I have thoroughly enjoyed it! It has honestly been much less demanding than I expected.  

Co-President: It will be my final year; looking for 1-2 people to join! If there are 3 Co-Prez we can take turns attending various meetings, etc. 

Education Support Coordinator: Supports many of the committees that are self-sufficient- this individual will communicate with committees and help with scheduling dates, etc.

Please see the link below for a full description of PTO board positions:

Feel free to contact me or any current board member with any questions . 


Sloane Goldhagen

PTO Co-President

Burr Garden Classroom and Summer Help

11169868_10206932872266030_7837062402691373971_nSpringtime at Burr…’tis the season for our beloved Burr Garden Classroom. If you enjoy gardening (or have always wanted to learn more about it!), we invite you to join us for some good old fashioned fun in the dirt n’ sun.  Over the upcoming weeks, every class at Burr will visit the classroom and plant a garden with a different “theme”.  We’re always looking for parents to assist in their kids’ classes as they plant their gardens (especially in the younger grades–lots of little green thumbs require many helping hands on deck).  Please let Marlene Gibson know if you think you might like to join us.  Younger siblings are welcome–please come a few moments before your child’s class is scheduled. 

Here are the tentative dates/times for our gardening sessions:

Thursday, May 21

10:15 – 10:50 — K McMahon

1:10 – 1:40 — 1 Golden

1:45 – 2:20 — 1 Gaita

2:25 – 3:00 — 3 Canning 

Tuesday, May 26 

8:45 – 9:20 — K Rudek

9:30 – 10:05 — 2 Roberts

10:15 — 10:50 — 4 Miller

11:00 – 11:35 — 2 Field

11:50 – 12:25 — K Frail

Friday, May 29

8:45 – 9:20 — 4 Robinson

9:30 – 10:05 — 5 Moran

10:15 – 10:50 — K Fitch

11:00-11:35 — 4 Glode/Harrington

11:50 – 12:25 — 5 Cooley

12:30 – 1:00 — 2 Procaccini

1:10 – 1:40 —  1 Espinal

1:45 – 2:20 —  3 Collins

2:25 – 3:00 —  3 Oh

If you can’t make the planting sessions, but would like to join our Summertime Burr Family Garden Club we’ve got a sign up genius here for you. 

This is a flexible gig and you help out when it’s convenient for your schedule–after work, on weekends, whenever…it’s a great way to stay connected to Burr after school ends!  (The Burr garden is Auburndale’s de facto community garden–other community gardens have waiting lists for plots and then you have to make a full commitment.  Here, you are the garden keeper for just one week and someone has already done all the hard planting work for you!)