Category Archives: From the PTO

Bigelow Virtual Field Day

From the Bigelow Student Council (Jason Leone advisor) and PE department – 

As we near the end of this challenging year the Bigelow Student Council and Physical Education Department would like to invite all students (and families) to finish up school with a VIRTUAL FIELD DAY!

The Bigelow Field Day website has all of the information you will need to participate in the events that were part of the National Field Day: sites.google.com/newton.k12.ma.us/bigelowfieldday2020

Follow the links and videos on the website to pick your events, submit your scores, and upload your awesome videos/pictures! Start getting ready now. The events open on Monday, June 15, and close on Wednesday, June 17, 6pm.

We are almost there! Let’s close out the year with a ton of Bulldog Pride!

Curb-side Pick-up of Students’ Belongings starts Monday

Here is the procedure for returning your child’s belongings to you and collecting any school books from them. A “grocery store style curb-side pick-up” in the gym parking lot will happen on June 15-17. Before arrival, please read the following directions to keep everyone safe:

  • Students are encouraged to join you. This is a chance for them to say goodbye at a safe distance to some of their teachers on duty.
  • Arrive by vehicle only.  No walk-ins.
  • All passengers in the car should  wear a mask at all times.
  • Enter the Bigelow parking lot from the first entrance on Park St, and follow the one way path through the parking lot.
  • Place a sign on your dashboard with your child’s name, cluster and homebase before entering the parking lot.
  • Please put in a bag any school textbooks, library books, or other property of Bigelow and leave it in your trunk for easy retrieval.
  • Please remain in your car at all times.   Once in the pick-up zone by the gym, please open your trunk.  We will put your child’s belongings in your trunk.

At this pick-up, teachers will load your car’s trunk with a bag of your child’s belonging and will collect from you any school issued textbooks. library books, and other property of Bigelow.  Please check your home for any materials, and put them in a plastic bag with your child’s full name in it in your trunk so that we can easily retrieve it.

Download Curb-side Pick-up Schedule here. 

Curb-side Pick-up Schedule

Please note: If you have children in multiple grades or teams, you only need to attend one curb-side pick-up.  If you can not arrive at your designated time, please contact Kersten Raso at rasok@newton.k12.ma.us.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle School Supplies

While picking up your children’s belongings at school this week, the PTO invites you to think about school supplies in a sustainable way.  

This is a great opportunity to embrace our sustainable values with our children and show them how they can personally take climate action. Going together with the kids through their books, notes and school materials can be a valuable experience – in economic and environmental terms – and help reducing waste at the end of the school year by practicing the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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. Here are some tips to use with your child when cleaning out their school supplies:

  • Empty backpacks, pencil cases, binders, folders.
  • Clean everything (a swipe of rubbing alcohol can remove marker and make everything looks like new).
  • Repair or patch what you can. 
  • Organize pens, pencils, markers, scissors, calculators, etc.
  • Take out the used pages of notebooks and evaluate what can be reused in school or at home.

You will note that you can really reduce the purchase of new supplies because a lot can be reused next year. And we can all celebrate how much energy, water, resources and money we will have saved in our community! 

Check out more resources:

Principal’s Update on Active Anti-Racism Plans

From Mr. Todd Harrison, Bigelow Principal, Jun 12, 2020 –

Dear Bigelow Families,

It’s been another earth-shaking week.  I am reminded of the comment by historian Todd Gitlin who commented that during the rapid events of 1968, it felt like we were living in a kaleidoscope.

I want to give you an update on the emerging steps and plans that Newton, NPS, and Bigelow are taking to address with urgency the racism in society, our community, and our schools that we’ve all been reminded of over the past several weeks.

I met with my fellow middle school principals on Tuesday, and we worked on plans to integrate anti-racist professional development and anti-bias education for students into our plans for next year.  On Wednesday,  I met with the Bigelow boys and girls of color affinity groups to hear their thoughts and feelings.  On Wednesday night, the Newton parents group, FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice), held a large and successful zoom meeting attended by over 250 parents, principals, teachers, (and even a Bigelow student) to discuss racism in the Newton Public Schools.  Last night, I met with the Bigelow chapter of FORJ and we talked more about pro-active steps that we can take as a school community.

I’ve heard a lot of powerful comments and feedback at these meetings, and there’s tons of passion and commitment to act now.  I know that many of you are having similar heart-to-heart conversations with family and friends. This work is crucial as we continue to expand both our own understandings of racism and our own skills to communicate about it, in order to be able to lead this work with our students promptly and successfully.

As part of our big picture for this summer, in which there will be a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers to help prepare for the many challenges we face next fall, the middle schools plan to convene a group of teachers and counselors that will build out and build up our advisory program and develop a more robust active anti-racism curriculum as part of it.  We anticipate that all students will need more social-emotional support when they return in September, and our advisory program will need to play an enlarged role with more sessions and more time in response.

This, of course, does not negate the need to do so much more in so many other areas, but I want you to know about this initial step.  Things are moving, and I am sure they’ll be more.

The range of emotions is wide as we finish this unique school year.  History is happening daily.  I look forward to seeing you and your children–at a safe social distance–next week during our curbside pick-up days, and sharing a grand finale online graduation ceremony with all of you next Thursday, June 18, 7-8:30pm.  (Link and password are forthcoming next week.)   Please give your children a “Big-hello” for me.  We send them our collective embrace.

Best regards,

Todd

Planning for Summer and Fall 2020

From David Fleishman, Superintendent of Schools, June 10 – 

“We are not yet sure what the public health situation will be in September as we begin the next academic year. We do know the paramount importance of protecting the health of our students, staff, and the larger school community. Given this uncertainty, we are developing a plan that is flexible and able to respond to the rapidly changing conditions. We must recognize that portions of the next school year will likely involve three different modes of instruction: in-person learning at schools, distance learning with an improved schedule, and/or a hybrid of the two models to facilitate social distancing.” Continue Reading….

School Committee Update

From the Newton School Committee, June 8 – 

“This update covers the 6/8/2020 Newton School Committee meeting. Before we present the information about our meeting, we wanted to draw your attention to news regarding Unit C staffing for next year. While most NPS staff are permanent and long-term employees, we do have a number of staff contracted annually. For the coming year, NPS will not renew the yearly contract of approximately 100 of our roughly 700 Unit C paraprofessionals. Unit C includes special education aides, behavior therapists, classroom aides, and other educational assistants. In a typical year, the district examines these contracts to determine which positions to renew. Over the past 5 years, about 50 positions on average have not been renewed. This is no typical year as schools navigate the disruption to educational models and budgets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Continue reading…

Bus registration for 2020-2021 school year

From the NPS Transportation Office – 

Bus Registration for Bigelow families will begin Monday, June 8th. As noted below, NO PAYMENT is due at this time. Please log in HERE and follow the prompts in the registration system.

Please log in HERE and follow the prompts in the registration system. If you have questions please contact us at transportation@newton.k12.ma.us or call 617-559-9051. Please allow extra time for calls to be returned as we are working with limited staff due to COVID-19.

___________

Full message

Dear Bigelow families,

As many of you know, the Newton Public School district is moving to online registration for bus transportation. We realize this is an incredibly complex and difficult time to be thinking about the fall given the uncertainty of school operations. Please know that transportation is a significant area of discussion within our operations planning committee and they are working to plan for multiple scenarios.

However, given the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we have a complete understanding of the number of students planning to take the bus in the fall. In addition, given the need for less contact and more social distancing, online registration is essential for the safety of our families and our NPS staff.

To that end, we are asking families to register for the bus earlier than they have done so in the past. Registration now will help us to assess transportation needs for the upcoming school year and what is possible if school schedules should change. However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the re-opening of schools, we will NOT be collecting any payment for bus registration at this time. When we have more certainty about the opening of school, we will provide payment information, including invoices, payment plan options and financial aid.

Because this system is new, we are starting online registration with Bigelow families only. Your participation in the registration process will help us to determine if we have built a system that is user-friendly and efficient for families. It will also help us to identify any issues that should be resolved before we roll out registration to the entire district.

Please log in HERE and follow the prompts in the registration system. Please log in HERE and follow the prompts in the registration system. If you have questions please contact us at transportation@newton.k12.ma.us or call 617-559-9051.

We look forward to your feedback and thank you for your help in planning our transportation needs for the 2020-21 school year.

Sincerely,

Liam Hurley, Assistant Superintendent/Chief Financial and Administrative Officer
Regina Moody, Transportation Director

Curb-side Pick-up of Students’ Belongings

Here is the procedure for returning your child’s belongings to you and collecting any school books from them. A “grocery store style curb-side pick-up” in the gym parking lot will happen on June 15-17.

At this pick-up, teachers will load your car’s trunk with a bag of your child’s:

  • locker contents*
  • gym locker contents if accessible and identifiable
  • Bigelow clothing gear if you ordered any
  • Class panoramic photo if you ordered one
  • Grade 6&7: One School One Book novel “The New Kid.”  To be read by students and parents over the summer.
  • Grade 8 only:  art portfolio, and Social Studies and Spanish notebooks for selected students

We will also collect from you any school issued textbooks. library books, and other property of Bigelow.  Please check your home for any materials, and put them in a plastic bag with your child’s full name in it in your trunk so that we can easily retrieve it.

Download Curb-side Pick-up Schedule here. 

 

Please note: If you have children in multiple grades or teams, you only need to attend one curb-side pick-up.  If you can not arrive at your designated time, please contact Kersten Raso at rasok@newton.k12.ma.us by June 12 so we know when you are coming and can have your child’s bag ready.

Before arrival, please read the following directions to keep everyone safe:

  • Students are encouraged to join you. This is a chance for them to say goodbye at a safe distance to some of their teachers on duty.
  • Arrive by vehicle only.  No walk-ins.
  • All passengers in the car should  wear a mask at all times.
  • Enter the Bigelow parking lot from the first entrance on Park St, and follow the one way path through the parking lot.
  • Place a sign on your dashboard with your child’s name, cluster and homebase before entering the parking lot.
  • Please put in a bag any school textbooks, library books, or other property of Bigelow and leave it in your trunk for easy retrieval.
  • Please remain in your car at all times.   Once in the pick-up zone by the gym, please open your trunk.  We will put your child’s belongings in your trunk.

*With the help of homeroom teachers who contacted students for whom they were missing locker numbers or had faulty or no  information about their lock combinations, we were able to open and preserve almost every combination lock. If  your child did not receive a lock with their belongings bag, it had to be cut off because the combination did not work, even after their teacher received updated information from them and repeated attempts were unsuccessful, or we did not have a key to open it, or the student did not respond to the teacher’s request for more accurate locker information before May 29, or the student did not remember their combination.

PTO Board and budget for 2020-2021 Approved

We are pleased to announce the PTO Board members for the 2020-2021 school year, voted at the Bigelow PTO Annual Meeting, on Monday, June 2nd. Terms become effective September 1, 2020.

Executive Board:

  • President – Karen Markson
  • Vice President – Joana Canedo
  • Treasurer – Linda Gillespie
  • Secretary – Vicki Spetter

Committee Chairs (Appointed positions):

  • Directory – Megan Flynn
  • Communications – Gwen Hautefeuille
  • CAS – Caryn Izhar
  • Big Night – Cheryl Abramson and Alexia Giannakopoulos
  • Teacher Appreciation – Susan St. Pierre
  • PoPS – Krista Chavez

There are still openings & the board encourages the PTO members to volunteer and fill the openings. Please look here for PTO Board and committee positions still open.

We also approved the budget for 2020-21. More details in the meeting minutes.

The PTO wanted to acknowledge Una Simmons for tirelessly giving her time and energy to Bigelow for 9 years. Thank you! This is what she said at our Annual Meeting:

“In the 9 years at Bigelow, mostly the last six, I have been on the board or chaired 6 Big Nights that grossed $121,000 and 3 Ten Tables/Supper Strolls that grossed $18,000. Todd, did I earn my keep?”

We say: YES!