Author Archives: Newton PTO Council

Make your route to school safer

International Walk & Roll to School Day is coming up the first week of October. In preparation, Newton parents – what is it that keeps you or your children from walking or biking safely to your destination? Be part of the solution and alert the City of Newton via Newton 311.

Potholes, sidewalk repairs, traffic signal not working, faded or missing crosswalks, shrubs overtaking the sidewalk. Snap a photo to include if you can, note the location, and submit to Newton 311 at  You can also call 311 from your landline, 617-796-100 from cell to report problems.

Make Newton safer for everyone! Brought to you by the Newton Safe Routes to School Task Force. To learn more visit or email

Volunteers Needed for Halloween Window Painting Contest

Beside trick-or-treating, the next best thing about Halloween in Newton is our beloved Halloween Window Painting Contest for 3rd – 8th graders, which this year is enjoying its 20th Anniversary!

The Cultural Development Office very much needs volunteers to tape up the orange assignment sheets to the village store windows on October 24th or October 25th. With hundreds of students signed up every year to paint in six villages, your help is needed to keep this wonderful community event going strong.

Please give two hours of your time, email Lori Lass at or call 617-796-1540.

Story Starters

Story Starters is an eight-month program that supports families to become more brave talking about race and skin color. It is a local Newton-based program for 3-5 year-old kiddos in the Newton area. It’s designed to be accessible for families who are just starting to talk about race with their kids. The program helps families of all races practice day-to-day family conversations and actions toward racial justice and equity.
Program participants receive:

  • 8 books featuring a racially diverse range of protagonists (one book a month)
  • Conversation guides for parents
  • Books lists to support further exploration and conversation
  • Additional parent resources on how to start and deepen family race conversations
  • Invitations to three family events and two parent events to build skills and foster community
  • Registration ends on September 23rd, so register today!

If you have questions about the program please contact Ellie Axe at To learn more about the program visit

Register here Participation includes suggested donation, with full and partial scholarships available.

FREE Family Art Drop-In

Drop in – everyone makes art! Visit the New Art Center for an exciting free program for children with their parents, grandparents, or guardians. Explore two art-maker spaces; different projects each time!

This is a work-together program; children must be accompanied by an adult. Learn more at or call 617-964-3424.

Theme: Animal Creations
October 6th, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, FREE! Drop In Anytime

Theme: Tremendous Trees
November 17th, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, FREE! Drop In Anytime

New Art Center in Newton
61 Washington Park, Newton

EveryBody Sign: ASL Classes for All!

EveryBody Signs will offer three classes this fall. Their mission is to teach language to help build a bridge between the Deaf and hearing communities. For details, please email

Mondays 5:45 – 6:45 pm teen/adult class, 6:45 – 7:45 pm children’s class, Sundays 10:00 – 11:00 am younger children and family class.
Auburndale Community Library

Looking for a volunteer community service opportunity?

Volunteer at the Centre Street Food Pantry!

• Their mission is to provide consistent access to nutritious food to over
300 families per month in a dignified and sensitive environment.
• They serve families from Newton, Brookline, Brighton, Watertown,
Waltham, Needham, Wellesley, & West Roxbury.
• Times for volunteering include three Monday mornings/month, 8:00 –
9:30 am; various shifts every Tuesday, between 12:00 – 8:00 pm; and 1st Saturdays of
the month, 11:00 am – 2:00  pm.
• Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to volunteer. Volunteers 12-15 years old must be
accompanied by a parent or guardian while at the pantry. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old to help clients shop, but there are lots of other tasks at the pantry.
• A short one-time training is required to volunteer. Please go to this webpage to register:
• For more information, contact

Connecting kids with MentorBuddies

Check out MentorBuddies, a tutoring business which enables parents of young children (typically ages 5-13) to browse, contact and book lessons with Newton teens in academics, sports, music, coding, and more! The website has over 100 highly qualified mentors in 36 skill areas for parents to choose from, primarily from Newton North and Newton South.

At $25.00/hour, Newton parents can have their children mentored by varsity and state-ranked athletes, talented musicians, and honors/AP students. Kids who use MentorBuddies benefit from having an older successful teenage “buddy” as a role model.

MentorBuddies was started last year by a Newton North student to connect local talented teens with younger students in the Newton public school system for fun, educational, and affordable at-home lessons. Since then hundreds lessons have been provided.

To learn more, see or contact

PSAT Bootcamp

High school students preparing for the PSAT and SAT are invited to attend a PSAT Bootcamp being offered by expert tutors and Newton parents, college math professor Neil Hatem and ELA/SAT teacher Erin Giesser. During these sessions, students will receive strategies for taking the Reading, Writing and Math sections of this timed test. Students will build skills and increase confidence so that they enter take tests with knowledge and self-assurance.

Sessions are offered September 22nd, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, October 6th, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm and October 14th, 4:00 – 7:00 pm in Auburndale. Fee is $150/session. Classes limited to 15 students. Students make take one or several sessions. Please contact Erin at for more information or to register.

Newton FORJ Book Group

The Newton FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) Book Group will meet 6:30-8:30 pm. Between now and the end of the year, the books will be:

September 24th,  Oak Hill Middle School library
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

October 24th, Oak Hill Middle School library
Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey

November 18th, Brown Middle School library
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

December 16th, Brown Middle School library
Nonfiction choice: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates or
YA choice: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

For more information, please contact Jennifer Dirga at There will be no childcare available at these events.

Middle School Racecar Crash Course

Beaver Works will be running a Racecar Crash Course on Saturdays on the MIT campus and they are looking for students who must live local and be able to attend all sessions.

Specifically, they’re looking for girls in grades 6-8 who are interested in learning about robotics and programming. The program is completely free! No prior experience is necessary and lunch is provided.

See attached flyer or go to for more information. The link to sign up for the program is

They we will also run another program in the spring that will be open to both males and females.