Category Archives: From the PTO

Share the road with our students

Newton Safe Routes to School reminds families that pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. All our schools have high traffic volume in the morning and most children are pedestrians for all or part of their route to school, whether they walk from home, walk over from a nearby street (Park & Walk maps), walk to the bus stop, or walk from the Blue Zone.  The following guidelines are adapted from the National Safety Council. However you get to school, put your phone down and pay attention.  #ShareTheRoad.

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard in a crosswalk or intersection. Sometimes young children need more time to cross the intersection than the light allows.
  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
  • Do not pull into driveways to turn around, especially near schools. You may not see a child on the sidewalk approaching on bike or on foot.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up.
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas. School Zone speed limits are 20 mph.
  • Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

  • If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist.
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this.
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
  • Check side mirrors before opening any door.

More at www.newtonsaferoutes.org.

Let’s make our Hoedown a Success! Donate Auction Items

Our Big Night Hoedown is on March 28, 2020, and the evening will include line dancing and a silent auction.

In preparation, we are actively seeking donations for the auction. Your support and help is critical to making this event successful. We need 60 items and we are asking that each grade donate 20 itemsMore information here.

Download individual donation form here.

  • Can you donate a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant, workout site, movie theatre?
  • Or would you be willing to ask a local business for a donation?
  • Do you have tickets to a sporting event or concert?
  • Can you cook and host a meal, football game, or cocktail party?
  • Do you have a vacation house getaway you can donate?
  • Would you like to donate a wine basket, an Italian Dinner basket, Lottery Card Wreath, Car Detail Basket, Moscow Mule Basket, Olive Oil Basket, Game Night Basket? Just to name a few ideas!

Download an individual donation form if you want to donate an item OR help us by soliciting local businesses for a donation – download and print a business solicitation letter and form here.

Please drop off auction items along with the forms at our drop off site:
Alexia Giannakopoulos
81 Montrose Avenue
Newton, MA 02458

Please contact committee chairs, Cheryl Abramson (cherylzabramson@gmail.com) and Alexia Giannakopoulos (alexiag5@yahoo.com), if you have any questions.

Thank you in advance for your support of this event.

Thank you to all who donated to the 19-20 Annual Appeal

Thank you to everyone that donated to Bigelow’s 2019-2020 Annual Appeal. The Bigelow Community is amazing!

Due to your generosity, we have raised over $6,000 for our Annual Appeal campaign so far and are almost at our goal of $7,000. If you haven’t already, please donate today to help us reach our goal so that we can fully fund all our initiatives!!

To make your gift online by credit card go to www.bigelowpto.org or send a check to: Bigelow PTO at 42 Vernon Street   Newton, MA 02458

THANK YOU!!!!!

Thursday: Teacher and Staff Appreciation Luncheon

The Bigelow Teacher and Staff Appreciation Luncheon will be this Thursday, February 6th, in the Library.

It is a great way to take a moment to thank the amazing teachers and staff at Bigelow for all they do for our children. Bigelow families provide the food, beverages, plastic serving utensils and flowers for this event. Please, consider making a contribution to the luncheon, or help with set up and clean up.

We still need some volunteers and donations for this appreciation event.

To donate or volunteer please sign up HERE.

  • Please send in your favorite lunch food! Salads, sandwiches, entrees – whatever you think our wonderful teachers and staff will enjoy.
  • It is most helpful if items are brought in recyclable containers.
  • All items may be dropped off on the morning of the luncheon in the teacher’s lunchroom (in the library) or put in the refrigerator there.
  • Please drop off all items no later than 10:30 AM on Thursday. Note: if you intend to bring a hot item, you will need to bring it already heated and ready to serve as we do not have the ability to reheat at the school. In that case, you should bring the item closer to 11:15.
  • Items can also be dropped off at Susan St. Pierre’s home, 28 Ballard St., Newton, until 10 PM on the evening of February 5th.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Teacher Appreciation Chairs, Susan St. Pierre at sestpierre@gmail.com, Karen Yee (karenmdonahue@gmail.com), or Charlene Gillespie (chargillespie@gmail.com).

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

Anti-idling signs are now posted around the school

This is a message from the Bigelow Green Team:

“Anti-idling signs are now posted around the school.  It is against the law to sit in a parked car with a running engine and it pollutes our air. Kids – tell your parents to turn their engines off while they wait for you!

The Bigelow Green Team ordered anti-idling signs from the MassDEP Green Team in December and the signs were installed by the City on January 28th.

What is idling? It is when a driver leaves a vehicle running while parked. (And all the unhealthy fumes pollute the surrounding air).

More on idling at Newton Safe Routes to School.

More on car pollution and health:
BBC: VIDEO: How do you breathe less pollution on school run?
I Turn It Off
VIDEO: Vehicle Idling at Schools

Bigelow Green Team Presents to the School Committee

On Monday, Jan 13, the Bigelow Green Team went to the School Committee meeting and spoke about their initiatives and concerns.

“Thank you for listening about how we are trying to make Bigelow more sustainable and reduce Bigelow’s carbon and plastic footprints. Our team first organized in the spring of 2019, and we have already accomplished a lot.

We have ordered anti-idling parking signs from the state to be placed around our school, and they are getting posted soon! Bigelow now collects and recycles markers through Crayola’s ColorCycle program.  In October, we sent over 600 old markers to Crayola for recycling. We placed a paper only recycling bin in the copy room for teachers to better ensure the paper gets recycled. We are working with the custodial staff to solve the problem of incorrect items placed in the recycling bins, as these bins all get emptied into the trash. We are planning an Advisory Activity to better educate the Bigelow community about the choices they make and how this impacts our environment. We wrote a letter to Christine Flutie at Whitsons about our concerns.  We heard back with pretty discouraging news that none of our requests or ideas are being considered. It sounds like this is mostly due to cost issues.

Our first concern is that Meatless Mondays are full of meat! Today is supposed to be Meatless Monday, and sausages were served for lunch. More bottled water options seems to have INCREASED single-use plastic waste at Bigelow.  And plastic utensils are still offered at each meal. We have not seen the reusable food containers that Whitsons promised, and also they have added even more plastic containers to some of the lunches. For example, burgers used to have a wrapper, and now sometimes they are placed in wrappers and then inside a plastic box too.

Thank you for listening to our initiatives and concerns.”

See presentation hereBigelow Green Team 1_13_20

Grade 6 CAS Presentation: Greg Mone on the Writing Process

On Tuesday, 02/04/2020, author Greg Mone will be talking to 6th grade classes about the Writing Process. This program is supported by the PTO thanks to your donations!

Mr. Mone is the author of four published novels and scientific articles for magazines including Popular Science, Atlantic Monthly, Wired and Scientific American. He adapted The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, for young readers, and recently co-wrote three books in The Science Guy series with Bill Nye, The Science Guy.

Mone’s large-group presentation is designed to entertain, educate and inspire, and begins with a focus on science and technology journalism before turning to fiction. Utilizing a variety of visual components, he takes students through the entire process of writing a book, from the initial idea through the planning, creative writing, and revisions, to the finished work. He stresses the importance of becoming an expert in whatever subject you write about, whether it’s brain surgery, flying cars, surfing, or family history.

“Fantastic. So engaging. He really knew how to grab 10-11 year olds… Great lesson in explaining the importance of planning, editing, and revising.” — Hingham, MA, Elementary School

Traffic at Bigelow: The safety of our children is paramount

From the Bigelow Parent Handbook, p. 33

Bigelow Middle School is located on a busy corner.  Please use extra caution when dropping-off and picking-up children by car at the school.  Drive slowly and yield to pedestrians. Do not use your phone while driving. The safety of our children is paramount!

We encourage students to walk or ride a bike to school. 

When transporting children to and from the school by automobile, it is important to obey all traffic signs and parking regulations in the area.  In particular:

  • Please drop-off students in the Blue Zone on the right hand side of Park St, and please pick up students after school on Park St.  Please pull over to the curb and pull as far forward as possible along Park Street. Drivers should not leave their vehicles.
  • Please turn the car engine off. Idling is against the law and car fumes are bad for kids health. Turning the engine off can reduce children’s exposure to pollutants, save money, help the environment, and avoid a fine.
  • Please do NOT park on the left hand side of Park Street to pick-up or drop-off.  It is marked “No Parking.”
  • Please do NOT stop in the middle of the street to drop-off or pick-up students.  This blocks the flow of traffic and is unsafe.
  • Please do NOT block the entrance to driveways or parking lots.  Be respectful of our neighbors’ property and access.
  • Please do NOT park and leave your vehicle in the designated bus pick-up zone on Vernon St.
  • Please respect the speed limits posted in the school zone.
  • Please park in the handicapped parking spots in front of the school only if you have handicapped tags.
  • Please inform all family members and caregivers who pick-up or drop-off children at Bigelow of these procedures.

Park & Walk map provided by Newton Public Schools.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon is February 6th

The Teacher Appreciation Luncheon is an annual event organized by the PTO in early February. It is a great way to take a moment to thank the amazing teachers and staff at Bigelow for all they do for our children. Bigelow families provide the food, beverages, plastic serving utensils and flowers for this event. The event is held on an Early Release Day, and teachers and staff can enjoy a joyful lunch time. They absolutely love and appreciate every aspect of this day!

In 2020, the Luncheon is on Thursday February 6th. Set up is at 10:30am and clean up is at 2:30pm. If you would like to volunteer your time that day, please note that this is an early release Thursday! To donate or volunteer please sign up HERE.

  • Please send in your favorite lunch food! Salads, sandwiches, entrees – whatever you think our wonderful teachers and staff will enjoy.
  • It is most helpful if items are brought in recyclable containers.
  • All items may be dropped off on the morning of the luncheon in the teacher’s lunchroom (in the library) or put in the refrigerator there. 
  • Please drop off all items no later than 10:30 AM.
  • Items can also be dropped off at Susan St. Pierre’s home, 28 Ballard St., Newton, until 10 PM on the evening of February 5th. 

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Teacher Appreciation Chairs, Susan St. Pierre (sestpierre@gmail.com), Karen Yee (karenmdonahue@gmail.com), or Charlene Gillespie (chargillespie@gmail.com).

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