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

One-to-One Mentoring

Newton’s One-to-One Program, our very own “Big Brother/Sister Program” has been matching wonderful high schoolers with children in grades one through five for over 30 years.

If you think your elementary-aged child would benefit from a Big Brother or Big Sister in their life and you can you commit 2.5 hours each week to have your child meet with a high school mentor from November to May – you should contact us!

To get more information and to get started, please contact Rebecca Young, Program Coordinator, as soon as possible or 617-315-8733

2016-2017 Room Parents

2016-2017 Room Parents

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to be a Room Parent! (And a special thanks to everyone who is Room Parenting for two or more classes.) Any questions about Room Parenting? Email Beth Viveiros at


RUSSO: Melissa Chatfield, Burcu Eraslan
FRAIL: Monique De Jesus, Jenn Reale, Christine Dutt

MCMAHON: Tara Wilstein, Gina Quinn, Lisa Parker


ESPINAL: Kristine Munroe, Sharon Reilly, Ani Ross Grubb

FITCH: Molly & Spencer Poole, Joanna Burleson
GOLDEN: Sinead McAuliffe, Justine Fialkosky, Tamika Olsezewski


GAITA: Heather Baer, Deanne Salemme
ROBERTS: Lisa Parker, Jessica Sturtevant

FIELD: Leah Schwartz


CANNING: Michelle Frayman, Sinead McAuliffe

MACNEILL: Melissa Chatfield, Valerie Wastcoat, Sloane Goldhagen

OH: Tracey Carmichael, Janna Lacatell
TICE: Sharon Reilly, Christine Dutt, Justine Fialkosky


COLLINS: Felicia Falchuk, Deborah Hill, Lisa Parker
GUTTMAN: Denine Ledyard-Beaino
MILLER: Michelle Frayman, Ruchi Bhasin



HARRIS: Jennifer Perrigo, Beth Viveiros

ROBINSON: Isabelle Mathieu, Anne Lee, Sharon Reilly

COOLEY: Gabriella Della Corte, Deanna Salemme









PTO Volunteer Vacancies

Every year as families move on, the PTO is in need of volunteers to fill vacancies in many of our programs.  Please consider volunteering to help lead one of the following:

Spirit Wear Sales- Coordinate the sale of Burr Wear at events such as the Back to School Picnic, May Fair, etc.  Keep track of the current Burr Wear inventory and make recommendations for ordering new inventory as necessary.

Understanding Our Differences

UOD school coordinators organize the units regarding understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities.  Units occur once monthly in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.  There are usually 7-8 units per year.  Coordinating duties include scheduling the speaker for each unit from a list of approved speakers, gathering care giver or parent volunteers and providing volunteers scripts and materials for the break out activity sessions.  Coordinators may also introduce units and present activities when necessary.

Sleep Under

Collaborate with the Burr Staff to plan a babysitting/movie night hosted by the Burr staff.  Publicize the event, coordinate ticket sales, purchase necessary supplies, and coordinate a small number of volunteers for event set-up.

Book Swap

Coordinate the donation of books from each classroom prior to the book swap. Solicit volunteers to organize books prior to the event and to help on the day of the event.  Coordinate with teachers regarding schedules on the day of the event.  Coordinate the donation of leftover books to charity following the event.

Green Team – Help solicit and organize grade level volunteers to initiate green projects and awareness at each grade level.

Safe Routes to School– Attend city-wide “Safe Routes to School” events.  Organize/publicize events such as International Walk to School Day.

The Burr Wolf Fund: PTO Fall Fundraiser

Please look for the Burr Wolf Fund letter in your child’s folder this week. The Burr Wolf Fund is the PTO’s annual fall fundraiser that raises a significant portion of the PTO’s budget and  helps pay for the PTO’s two largest (and very important line items): Creative Arts and Sciences and technology.

Creative Arts and Sciences (CAS) provides multiple curriculum-aligned programs at each grade level. CAS is fully funded by the PTO. The PTO purchases technology, like interactive projectors, for use in classrooms. The PTO also funds other curriculum and enrichment programs, community building events, teacher supplies, the 5th grade fund and more.

You can contribute to the Wolf Fund by sending a check (made payable to Burr PTO) in your child’s folder or here.

If you have any questions, please email the Burr Wolf Fund team at






Be a part of the Pack… Contribute to the Burr Wolf Fund

Newsletter from Ms. Johal – 9/20/16

Dear Burr Families,

It was nice to see many of you at the Back to School Picnic last week. It’s always a nice time to catch up after the summer and for families to meet staff members in a casual and fun setting.

As you know, we have had two key staff positions to fill at Burr – senior custodian and music teacher. A committee of Burr staff members joined me in interviewing qualified candidates and we feel confident that both of our newly hired staff members will be great additions to Burr.

Dan Diaz will be the Burr Senior Custodian. Dan graduated from West Roxbury High School and attended the Franklin Institute of Technology. He worked as an electrician before coming to work for Newton Public Schools in 2007. Dan has worked at Newton North, Newton South, Franklin and Williams. He is very active in his community and has coached youth football for many years. As a coach he has been a positive role model for many inner city young men. During his interview at Burr he impressed us with his commitment to keeping his buildings in the best condition possible (just like Jack!) and to maintaining good relationships with others. Dan is also looking forward to getting to know the Burr students.

Emma Barker will be the Burr music teacher. Emma completed a Bachelors of Music in Music Education at Berkley College of Music in Boston. She completed her student teaching last year in Newton at the middle and elementary levels. Emma has also done a fine job as the substitute in music classes at Burr these past two weeks. I look forward to working with Emma and supporting her as she develops the Burr music program. Please join me in welcome both Dan and Emma to Burr.

This year Curriculum Night is on Thursday, September 29, from 6:30-8:30 PM. You will have a chance to meet all the Burr classroom teachers, specialists, special educators and curriculum specialists. This is a particularly important evening because it gives parents the opportunity to learn about their child’s teachers’ philosophies, goals, expectations, curriculum, and classroom procedures. We have found that Curriculum Night is our most effective means of communicating relevant and valuable information concerning your children’s overall program for the year; we strongly encourage all parents to attend this informative evening. Participating in Curriculum Night is one of the most important ways that you can come to understand, and thus support, your child’s education this year.

Please remember that this is an evening for parents and teachers, not students. In addition, please remember that there is not enough time during this evening to have individual conferences with teachers; parent-teacher conferences will take place in October and November.

The schedule for Curriculum Night is:

6:30-7:15 pm Grades K-2 classroom teachers present

Specialists present to gr. 3-5 parents

7:20-7:40 pm All meet in the cafetorium

7:45-8:30 pm Grades 3-5 classroom teachers present

Specialists present to gr. K-2 parents

*Please note – Specialist will present in the Burr library.

Lastly, I’d like to ask you all to look over the BLUE ZONE rules for arrival and dismissal ( These rules are in place for the safety of all our children and families. Recently, I have seen parents making dangerous U turns in front of the school during drop-off and pick-up times. I realize it is the beginning of the school year and we have many new families at Burr who are just learning the new routines. Please don’t take offense if another parent or teacher shares a safety rule with you. I ask for your patience with each other as we work together to get things running smoothly.

I look forward to seeing you all next week.


Mindy Johal

Creative Arts and Sciences Welcomes Brian Lies to Grade 2

New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Brian Lies has illustrated over 26 books and created the beloved bat series: Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Ballgame, Bats at the Library, and his latest, Bats in the Band. He shares his creative process, which evolves from “sloppy copies” to his final manuscript and artwork. He shows students his original artwork as well as his own childhood attempts at creating books and drawings. His presentation will help students to keep working on their writing and drawing, even when it becomes frustrating!

September 26

Grade 2

9 to 10: Roberts & Gaita
10:15 to 11:15: Field & Gaita

Join us! Parents are encouraged to attend, but no younger siblings, please.
Thank you for your cooperation.

This program was fully funded by your generous contributions to the Burr PTO and the Burr Wolf Fund.

To donate, go to and click on “Donate.” Thank you!

Picture day is Thursday, September 29th!

picturedayPicture Day is almost here! Thursday, September 29th.

Please make sure you fill out the order form that went home in your child’s folder or order online.

Coffee Pond order forms were sent home in folders last week. Please return completed order forms in your child’s folder by Photo Day on Thursday, September 29th.

If you prefer to order online, please follow the instructions on the form and print a receipt to send in with your child. The photographer takes the form or online receipt from your child on Picture Day, so please send it in.

Our Burr PTO gets a percentage of every photo purchased so consider ordering! We’re also looking for a few volunteers. . . can you help? If you have some time on Thursday morning (between 8:30am – 12:00pm) please let us know!

To volunteer or if you have any questions please email  Valerie Wastcoat for more information.

No Regrets: Newton and the Opioid Epidemic

Join Mayor Setti D. Warren and Rep. Kay Khan at the program No Regrets: Newton and the Opioid Epidemic. Featuring If Only, a short film by James Wahlberg and an interactive panel discussion with special guest Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and others affected by this epidemic.

For all teens and adults.

October 6th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Newton North High School, 457 Walnut Street

International Walk/Bike/Scoot Day October 5th

On Wednesday, October 5th, students across Massachusetts will join students all around the globe as they walk or bike to school in celebration of this worldwide event.  International Walk to School Day, or iWalk, is a great way to increase your level of community involvement. By walking, biking or scooting to school on October 5th, students, parents, school faculty, and other community leaders can connect with their neighborhoods, while at the same time showcasing walking as a fun and healthy form of transportation. Last year, Massachusetts saw record participation, with 320 schools taking part in the celebration. We hope this year will be even more successful than last year, but we need all of your help to make it happen. Be sure on October 5 th , to make the 20th anniversary of iWalk one for the record books!

In short, here are some excellent reasons to join in the celebration:

No long, blue zone waits!

Adding exercise to your family’s day.

Helping to eliminate pollution from the air.

Talking with friends and meeting new neighbors.

Maybe you’ll even want to make every day an iWalk record setting day!

Community Forum on High School Start Time-October 19th

Dear Families,

Last year, I shared information with you about the important work Newton is doing to examine the impact of high school start times on students. Since Newton began its work, several other districts across the state have begun to investigate whether a change in high school start time is right for their district. The growing interest in high school start time is a reflection of the compelling research demonstrating the unique sleep cycles of adolescents and the potential consequences of sleep deficit.

A working group spent the 2015-16 school year reviewing sleep research, investigating processes in other districts, and gathering survey feedback from Newton students, faculty, and families. Regular updates were provided to the School Committee, posted to the district website, and distributed via email. A final report with survey results and analysis was issued in June 2016. Click here for the full report End of Year Report.

From the research and feedback, the High School Start Time Working Group has created six potential “scenarios” for consideration. These scenarios move the high school start time later. Some impact only the high schools while others impact all schools in the district. These scenarios were presented to the School Committee on Monday, September 19, 2016 and can be viewed here.

The next step is for you, the NPS community, to provide your feedback on the potential changes to the start times. As a district, we want to hear your thoughts on the benefits, costs, and implications of any changes, as well as your feedback on the value of undertaking this effort. We have scheduled a community forum for Wednesday, October 19th at 7 p.m. at Angier (1697 Beacon St.) at which the Working Group will share information and listen to your feedback. We hope you will attend. We will also share information through PTO meetings this fall, as well as through school newsletters. To share you feedback directly with the Working Group, please send an email to: For more information visit the district website at

I look forward to hearing your feedback this fall as we consider whether a later high school start time is right for the Newton Public Schools.


David A. Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools