Category Archives: From the PTO

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

Why the PTO is not organizing the back-to-school supply kit program this year

After last year’s not so great experience – to say the least – of delayed delivery, mixed up orders, general disappointment and a lot of headache, we decided to rethink why we were ordering school supply kits.

The main reason was convenience! Who likes long lines shopping for school supplies in the summer? Also, it was a fundraising opportunity for the PTO.

But then again, to what cost? It was a lot of work for the PTO volunteers (between organizing the program and delivering the kits) for not as much raised money. Families were paying more than regular prices. And most of all, it was wasteful: we were purchasing supplies we didn’t really need – a new calculator every year?

When we really think about it, most of the items in the list do not need to be purchased. We already have a calculator, rulers, scissors at home. Most of us have extra pencils and pens. And the binders, they are pretty much the same every year –  they just need to be emptied and cleaned, and they are good to be used again. Even notebooks can have a second life by taking out the pages that were written on – usually there are many left for at least part of the new school year.

So for 2018-2019 we will be approaching the school supply list in a different way. We will try to avoid the hot summer shopping lines by not going shopping. We can save money and help reduce our impact on resources and waste. And it can be a great teaching opportunity for our children, about sustainability and consumption.

Lets get together and celebrate the 2017-2018 School Year

All are invited to our last meeting of the year, when we are going to celebrate the 2017-2018 school year with light refreshments and good talks! We would love to see you there!

This is a great time for rising 8th grade parents to learn about all of the 8th grade activities next year and how they can get involved. Rising 6th grade parents will have the opportunity to get to know their new PTO and what we do for the school and the students.

We will present the 2018/19 budget and show how the PTO uses all the money raised by our community. The incoming leadership will be brought forward for a vote of Bigelow parents, guardians, teachers and staff. We still have open positions to fill!! If you would like to become more involved in the strategic aspect of the Bigelow PTO, helping direct and manage the overall program for 2018/19, you are encouraged to join the board or one of the committees.

PTO Annual Meeting
Monday, June 11th 2018, from 7pm to 8pm
Bigelow Library

Proposed 2018-2019 Officers and Nominating Committee Members

  • Co-Presidents – Jessica Gilmartin and Jennifer Weber
  • Vice President Fundraising – Una Simmons
  • Co-Treasurer  – Michelle Welford and one open
  • Co-Secretaries – Joana Canedo and Kara Peterson
  • Co-Presidents elect (in preparation for 2019/20)  – two open  
  • Nominating Committee** – Tracy Carroll and Lisa Schwartzberg
  • Nominating Committee – from Ward feeder school – Lisa Schwartzberg
  • Nominating Committee – from Lincoln-Elliot feeder school – open
  • Nominating Committee – from Underwood feeder school – open
  • Nominating Committee – from Lincoln-Elliot feeder school – open
  • **One member of the Nominating Committee serves as the Chair and one member of the Board of Directors is appointed by the Board to serve on the Nominating Committee

Please look here for committee positions still open.

Hope to see you all there!

Teacher Appreciation Tea on Tuesday

Please remember to drop off all items at the teacher’s lunchroom at Bigelow no later than 12:30 PM on Tuesday (perishables can be placed in the refrigerator there). If you prefer to drop off items the night before, please contact Magda Duchnowska at or 617-548-1600.

YOU CAN STILL SIGN UP to donate or volunteer by clicking HERE.

  • It is most helpful if items are brought in disposable containers.
  • We ESPECIALLY need volunteers to help set up and break down. Set up is at 12:45 and clean up is at 3:00

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Teacher Appreciation Chair, Magda Duchnowska, at

Thank you again for helping us show our appreciation for our teachers and staff.

Step-Up Day – Friday, June 8th

Please mark you calendars for Step-Up Day, Friday, June 8.

Grade 6
 All 6th graders will be dismissed early.
~ 11:30am dismissal – to make space for the Stepping Up 5th Graders
The usual bus routes will run then.

Grade 7
Seventh graders have a full day
~ 2:45pm dismissal – Regular Schedule

Grade 8
Eighth graders also have a full day.
~ 11:30am – 2:30pm – step up to Newton North High School
~ 2:45pm dismissal – from Bigelow Middle School

The usual bus routes will run again for 7th and 8th graders at 2:45pm.  A flyer is attached.

9th Annual Newton SEPAC Special Educator Awards

The SEPAC Special Educator Awards are presented to Newton faculty and staff members who have done exceptional work with students receiving special education services. Parents, guardians and students may submit nominations and may nominate any staff member who they believe has done exceptional work. In the past, we’ve had regular education teachers, special education teachers, aides, BT’s, secretaries, principals and custodians receive awards.

Please note that the awards do not identify you or your child by name, to preserve the child’s confidentiality. Only the honoree is given the name of the person who nominated him or her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 6:00 pm
Newton North High School Cafeteria
457 Walnut Street

8th Grade Families – Directory information

Newton North High School uses the same online directory software that we use here at Bigelow (MySchoolAnywhere). We will be authorizing their account to automatically import graduating students from our account so that no student is overlooked. This would be a great time to log in and make sure your information and share settings are up to date. Just login to:

If you still have children at Bigelow next year, you will be able to select which school to view upon logging in. If your child is not moving on to Newton North, please be sure to let the Newton North administration know so they can have the PTO remove your child from the directory. Let us know if you have any other questions about this.

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

Volunteer with the Bigelow PTO next year!

The PTO Board is looking for new members, please consider joining an active group of parents who help strengthen our community ties! Would you like to become more involved in the strategic aspect of the Bigelow PTO, helping direct and manage the overall program for 2018/19?  All Bigelow parents and guardians, including those of incoming 6th graders, are encouraged to join the board or any committee. We have the following openings, and anyone is welcome to volunteer for PTO activities at any time:

  • Co-Treasurer
  • Co-Presidents Elect (in preparation for the 2019/20 school year)
  • Teacher Appreciation co-chair
  • Nominating committee members (one per feeder school)
  • METCO representative
  • Newton SEPAC Liaison
  • 6th Grade Potluck Chair

The proposed slate of 2018/19 Board members will be voted on at our final PTO meeting of the year on June 11th.  Serving on the Board is a great way to meet other Bigelow parents and help out at your child’s school.  Please contact us at if you are interested in learning more.

The first Bigelow Civics Day was a success

Bigelow Civics Day was attended by parents, school administrators and members of the school committee and city council last Tuesday, May 22nd. 8th grade students on Team E presented the advocacy projects they worked on as part of the Generation Citizen pilot program lead by Ms. Singers, Grade 8 History/Social Science Teacher.

Jean Singers would like to thank all those who attended for making the day so wonderful. More information here.

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