Category Archives: From the PTO

Back-to-School Supplies at Bigelow – getting green

The end of the year is around the corner and we are all thinking about summer, yeah! However, before we all go, the PTO would like to invite you to start thinking about school supplies – in a more sustainable way.

This year the PTO will NOT organize the back-to-school supply kit program. Instead, we invite you to try to reduce your school shopping list by reusing items that are still in good conditions. This can save money, will reduce waste and it can be a great opportunity to embrace our sustainable values, with our children. There’s a reason reduce & reuse come before recycle– not just because it sounds good, but it’s the order in which we should approach sustainability.

This is our suggestion. Working with your students when school is over:

  • Empty backpacks, pencil cases, binders, folders.
  • Clean everything (a swipe of rubbing alcohol can remove marker and make things look like new).
  • Organize pens, pencils, markers, scissors, calculators, etc.
  • Take out the used pages of notebooks and evaluate if the notebook can be reused in school or at home.
  • When the school supply list arrives, compare the list with what you have organized and cleaned. You might find out that there’s very little to buy!

Here are a few resources:

Mr. Livingston’s BIG Bigelow Final Concert

Dear Bigelow Families,
After 40 years in NPS, Mr Livingston is retiring. We want to make this as special as possible for him. Two options:

1) Share a memory of Mr Livingston for his memory book. Was it Ghost Chickens in the Sky? How to extricate a pick from inside a guitar? Watching him demo the double bass? What memory of Mr L makes YOU smile? Submit a memory of Mr L to the email! Please do so by next Wednesday, June 13.

2) Wednesday, June 13 at 7: Mr Livingston’s Big Finale Concert! At Bigelow in the gym, reception to follow. RSVP HERE.

PLEASE share this event with Newton friends – Mr L has taught in 7 schools for 40 years, so you never know who had him! Your quick note or presence at his concert will be the gift of a lifetime to the man whose presence in school was a gift to so many people.

Calling all 7th and 6th grade parents and friends!

Chaperones needed for the 8th Grade Dance, on June 21st. It is a tradition at Bigelow for 7th grade parents and guardians (6th grade parents are welcome as well) to chaperone the 8th grade year-end dance. This year the dance will be on Thursday, June 21st, from 7-10 in the Bigelow Cafeteria. We have two shifts available (7-8:30 pm and 8:30-10 pm) and need four people per shift. If you are interested in volunteering please email the PTO at Thank you!

Summer Reminders from the School Nurse

Medication Pick-up: Parents of students who have medication stored in the health room should pick it up by the last day of school, June 22. All medication (pills, epi-pens, inhalers, etc.) not picked up will be discarded. Please plan ahead to pick medication up so it is not wasted! Medication may not be carried home by the student — it must be picked up by an adult. School nurses will not be available after June 22 to return medication to families. 

Medication Order Reminder: All medication orders expire at the end of the school year. If you are visiting your child’s health care provider during the summer, consider requesting a new medication order for your child. All medication, prescription or over-the-counter, requires an order. The Medication Permission Form and the Medication Policy are both available online at

West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease Prevention: Mosquito and tick-borne diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease occur in Newton residents. Take steps to avoid getting sick!

  • Mosquito repellant not only works for mosquitoes, but helps repel ticks as well. Use a repellant with DEET, and follow label instructions for concentrations appropriate for children.
  • Avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito hours, particularly once West Nile Virus has been detected in the mosquito population.
  • Remove containers around your home (tires, kid pools, pots, tarps) that could allow mosquitoes to breed.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors and remove them immediately to avoid disease transmission.

Shoo the flu! Seasonal influenza vaccine will be offered this fall during the school day to students and employees. The flu shot (no FluMist again this year at school) will be available to all students in Kindergarten through grade 12, by parental consent only. Consent and screening forms will be posted at by early September, in preparation for the fall clinics. Insurance information will be requested, but all students are welcome to receive the vaccine at no charge.

The flu clinic date for Bigelow Middle School will be Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Forms (available in Sept.) will be due to the school nurse by Monday, October 22, 2018. This schedule is confirmed unless the flu vaccine supply is delayed, in which case the school nurse will notify families of an alternative date once the vaccine arrives.

Have a happy and healthy summer!

Sue Schy, Bigelow Nurse

Thank you to all those who helped with the Teacher Appreciation Tea

A warm thank you to all that contributed your time and delectable food to the Teacher Appreciation Tea this week. The teachers and staff at Bigelow enjoyed the wonderful spread. A special thank you to Magda Duchnowska for leading this effort for us!!

THANK YOU: Akiko Schultz, Alexandra Novina, Alexis Giannakopoulos, Amy Kendall, Ana Kales, Andrea Hemment, Anna Olivella, Anne Reenstierna , Aoife O’Dwyer , Beth Hicks, Beth Secinaro, Claudia Doherty, Debbie fredberg , Frankie Kervin, Heather Pozen, Heidi Gardner, James Bryant, Jinglei Mei, Joanne Simpson , Judy Kelly, Krista Corr, Kristin Golden, Kristin Heyer, Lena Sheehan, Lisa Camesano, Macy Tubman, Maren Rossman, Maria Farrah Howell, Marianne Votta, Meridith Welch, Michelle Welford, Pongha Smith, Shelagh Heurtebize, Terri Bancroft, Tracey Wolfsdorf, Tripti Thomas-Travers, Zlatev

An “edible arrangement” especially prepared for the Bigelow Middle School teacher and staff by a 7th grade parent

Headed to Newton North? Class liaisons needed!

Looking for a way to get to know Newton North? The PTSO is looking for several volunteers to serve as class liaisons for the incoming 9th grade class. A class liaison is a parent representative for the grade. There are three liaisons per grade and this is normally a four-year position. Class liaisons communicate with the PTSO, with the school, and with parents in the grade. They also work together to host one teacher appreciation breakfast per year. Please contact to volunteer. Thank you!

Honor a Bigelow graduate or staff member

From Patty Summa, Bigelow Library Teacher

Honor a Bigelow graduate or staff member this June by supporting the Bigelow Library! How? Choose a book to purchase at the Support Our Library page. A bookplate including the honoree’s and donor’s name will automatically be placed inside the book. Supporting the library in this way helps to keep the library collection relevant and interesting for our students. In addition, a donation will sustain our goal to promote a love of reading throughout the Bigelow community. It is a great way to honor a graduate or thank a staff member. The company, Bound to Stay Bound Books, binds the books in such a way that makes them more durable and last longer. Consider donating today to help support the Bigelow Library! Thank you for your support.

Link to purchase a book: Bound To Stay Bound Book Drive

Don’t miss your chance to thank teachers and staff who made a difference to your child this year!

Making a donation to Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher program is a great way to do this. To donate online and to find out more about the programs NSF funds, go to Donations are tax-deductible and go toward enhancing educational excellence, including teachers’ professional development, initiatives to close the achievement gap, and new curricula and learning opportunities throughout Newton’s schools. One of the programs funded by NSF is the ADL School Peer Leadership program at Bigelow. Teachers, as well as their Principal and the Superintendent, will be notified of this honor, and if you donate by JULY 31 their names will appear in a special notification in the Newton TAB.

Health updates from the Health and Human Services Commissioner

Before you head off into summer mode, I wanted to share a few updates particularly relevant to families with school-age children.

Smartphones: Thinking of getting your student a smartphone this summer? This letter targeted to elementary school families highlights research and resources available to help parents navigate this decision in the context of their own family’s values and circumstances. Additional information relevant to students of all ages is available on the Newton Public Schools website, including suggested guidelines from Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Summer Food: Backpacks filled with a few meal’s worth of nonperishable items will be available this summer for students at locations throughout Newton. The program – a collaboration between the Church of the Redeemer’s FUEL program and the city – is an effort to bridge the food gap for students who may rely on school breakfast and lunch during the year. Backpacks may include bread, peanut butter, canned fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. Nut-free bags can be requested. The locations include: Health and Human Services Department, Church of the Redeemer, West Suburban YMCA, The Boys & Girls Club, Crystal Lake, Gath Pool, Newton Free Library, and many more!

What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet? Be a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic. Misuse of prescription drugs is a common way for teens and adults to start down the road of addiction. The most typical place young people get access to prescription drugs is their home medicine cabinet. A few simple steps taken by adults can have a significant impact. Immediately and safely dispose of unused medication. Two Newton locations are available year-round: the Newton Police Station and Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Here are additional tips, and specific addresses and resources.

Have a great summer!

Stay healthy,

Sue Schy, RN, MSN
Bigelow School Nurse