April 7, 2011

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Dear Thoreau Families,

Greetings. I think spring is truly here!

I hope it has been as wonderful for all the new families of Thoreau as it has been for me, to experience for the first time all the special traditions of our school. In the past few weeks I have participated in both the Cake Walk and The Book Character Parade. Being a judge at the Cake Walk along with our PTG volunteers and Diana Rigby was quite a treat but awfully challenging with so many impressive entries. It was especially fun to witness the creativity and creation of so many cakes. We have tremendously talented student bakers and foodies at Thoreau! One cake after another surprised and amazed me. The Book Character Parade was another fun school-wide event. The parade also provided a rich opportunity for the entire school community to celebrate the many different and interesting kinds of literature that students and staff appreciate. The costumes were fantastic and ever so creative. Please join me in thanking Karen Pettyjohn for all of her hard work and special efforts towards making this such a memorable event. I would also like to thank the staff and parents for all your support and guidance in helping the students make this such a success. I am also looking forward to the upcoming Road Race in May! Please come join us to cheer for all of our runners and support this wonderful fundraiser for our school.

Next, in case you haven’t heard the exciting news yet, congratulations to Ms. Erickson and her fourth grade students for winning Second Place in the National Disney Planet Challenge with their Blanding’s Turtles project. The students project was selected from among hundreds of competing entries from across the United States. Check this out at http://www.dpcproject.com/winners2010/ElementarySchool.aspx?place=2

Last, parents please remember you must send a note to school if your child’s dismissal plans have changed. The office has noticed a significant increase in parents calling on the day of a change. This makes it especially challenging for staff to efficiently inform and monitor student dismissals. Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation in this matter.

Kelly Clough


Thank you so much to April Robb for all her help organizing both last week’s and this week’s Kindergarten Registrations. April and her volunteers did a wonderful job making sure the newest members of our Thoreau family felt welcome and comfortable during their visit.  Everyone is welcome to join us for our next PTG meeting on Wednesday, April 13 at 7pm in the Thoreau Library.  Please note that this is an EVENING meeting.  Hopefully, Mother Nature won’t interfere with any extreme weather this time around.  No snowstorms in April, right? Another snow casualty, the Raising Financially Aware Kids seminar has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 28 at 7:30pm in the Thoreau Auditorium.  All Concord parents and grandparents are invited to this free seminar, so please be sure to RSVP for yourself and tell your friends and neighbors to check it out, too.  Something else to check out and spread the word about is registration for the Thoreau School Road Race at www.thoreauptg.org! May 15th is just around the corner, so we hope everyone is training to walk or run in the race, or just planning to come on down and have a fun time. Have a great weekend!
-Karen and Melanie


Turtle Night is coming to Thoreau School! On Tuesday, April 12, 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the Thoreau School Cafeteria, come learn about the turtles in our community. Find out how you can be more aware of the threatened and endangered turtles that live around us.  Meet turtles from Drumlin Farm, hear how our high school students are helping Blanding’s turtles, play turtle video games, create a “green” turtle, discover all the wonderful national wildlife refuges all around us and how they are aiding the Blanding’s turtles, and attend “Turtle Talks” presented from turtle experts from all over the state. Pizza and salad will be available for purchase as well as other items to help support the Blanding’s turtle head-start program.  There is no cost to attend this program, but donations will be accepted so that the head-start Blanding’s turtles can be outfitted with radio trackers that enable biologists to keep data on this threatened species. For questions, please contact Susan Erickson at serickson@colonial.net.


Thank you to everyone who came to the Thoreau Family Festival and Cake Walk on Saturday, March 26th. We had a wonderful turn out — it was great to see so many people there! Thank you also to everyone who entered the Cake Decorating Contest, as well as to everyone who contributed prize cakes for the Cake Walk — we had well over 400 cakes!

Congratulations to the following winners of the Cake Decorating Contest:

  • Best Animal Theme: Winner (tie):  Samantha Moskow and Emma Kerimo. Honorable Mention:  Aidan Campbell and Catherine Kingman/Maggie Dorr
  • Best Book Theme: Winner (tie):  Isabel Svreck and Reid Gekle. Honorable Mention:  Megan Murphy and Joshua Kerimo
  • Most Colorful: Winner: Alexis Kirkpatrick/Lizzie Cunningham/Lucy Manlick.  Honorable Mention: Rebecca Magee and Ryan Hu
  • Most Creative: Winner (tie) Jack Moskow and Kevin Williams.  Honorable Mention:  Megan McNally and Alexandra Hoey
  • Best Movie Theme: Winner: Clara Hoey. Honorable Mention: Zoe Zuffante and Otis/Henry Hutchinson
  • Best Food Theme: Winner (tie): Sydney Brown and Peter French. Honorable Mention:  Jason Chadwick and Emily Stone
  • Best Nature Theme: Winner (tie): James/Jordan Corbett and Emma Sofia Wipper.  Honorable Mention: Luke/Lexi Pailet and Sofia Johnson
  • Best Sports Theme: Winner (tie): Lucy Hirsch and Theo Zuffante. Honorable Mention:  Isabel Sierra and Chase Bjork/Sean Cannistraro
  • Best Historical Figure/Theme: Winner: Henry Vlacovsky. Honorable Mention: Alyssa Attonito and Aiden Snorek-Yates.

Thank you to Mrs. Diana Rigby, Mrs. Kelly Clough and our PTG Co-President, Karen Brown, who collectively had the most difficult task of all at the Cake Walk: judging the amazing array of over 100 cakes in the Cake Decorating Contest.

If you didn’t get to see the winning cakes at the Cake Walk, you will find photographs of them on the PTG Notice Board near the auditorium in the near future.

Also, congratulations to the winners of the Guessing Games!

Of course this event would not be possible without so many of you volunteering to help.  Thank you to the following parents for making the event a success again: Darren Brown, Laura Mills, Alixe Callen, Pamela Koontz, Carrie Levin, Genevra Valvo, Joyce DeGreeff, Cora Boyle, Maya Mahoney, Andrea Medved, Cheryl Kirkpatrick, Amy Capofreddi, Kate Svrcek, Katie White, Faye Cogen, Lisa Williams, Ellen McHale, Siobhan Mee, Susan Deysher, Nancy Carey, Lisa Becker, Tracy Hoaglun, Carol Cucinotta, Meg Wright, Natalie Gekle, and Donna Kaplan.  We also had help from CCHS and CMS students, many of them alumni from Thoreau: Cynthia Putnam, Mary Koontz, Johnathan Lilly, Alix Kaplan, William Palmer, Alex Symko, Sarah Hutchinson, Emily Belson, Dahlia Raz, Daphna Raz, Katie Abbott, Natalie McArthur, Yasmine Raddassi, Kaitlyn Schaaf, Matthew Chuang, Karen Pettyjohn and Amanda Mahoney. To all of you and those whose names do not appear on the list, but who helped out — THANK YOU!

Special thanks also go to the following people:

  • Karla Keefe and Tom Hourihan for being our Masters of Ceremonies at the Cake Walk.  Walking in circles has never been so much fun! Thanks for playing the music, awarding the prize cakes and keeping the excitement in the air.
  • Mrs. Pettyjohn, for your continued help in the Library and Mrs. Swain for your patience and expertise at the Ticket Table!
  • Mario and Debbie, who are always so ready to lend a hand to set up and clean up!

Karen Brown, Melanie Bettencourt, Erin Duggan, Maria Scichilone, Polly Stadt, Rose Waxler, Leanne Winkler, Christy Harrington, Carmela Gee, Julie Miller, Gretchen Hollworth and Leslie Lilly — without your help, it simply could not happen.


Here’s the scoop… Anytime in April, stop by the Concord location of Bedford Farms Ice Cream. Tell the server that you would like to purchase a “Concord School Gift Card” (or cards) and place a monetary amount on the card. Use the gift card to purchase any item — ice cream, cakes, pies, t-shirts, etc. The gift card does not expire and may be used anytime. You can reload your gift card or purchase additional cards at any time throughout the month of April and it will count toward the donation. At the end of April, Bedford Farms will give 20% of the total amount placed onto the cards back to the Concord schools! This will be split equally amongst Alcott, Thoreau, Willard, CMS and CCHS. This is a great opportunity to think ahead and load up for the summer months while benefiting the Concord school system. Use this chance to purchase small tokens of appreciation for coaches, birthdays, and babysitters, or whoever might deserve a tasty treat. Where: Bedford Farms, 68 Thoreau St, Concord; When: 4/1/11 – 4/30/11; Concord Store Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11am – 9pm, Sunday: 12pm – 9pm


Thoreau School is holding its Spring food drive now. All food donations will be given to Concord’s food pantry, Open Table. Open Table feeds over 200 guests each week and gives each family a bag of groceries to bring home. We would like to ask Thoreau School families to please contribute non-perishable foods. All non-perishable foods are welcome, but the “most wanted” items are: spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, coffee/tea/hot chocolate mix, cereal, tuna fish/canned stews/soups, jelly, children’s snacks for school (juice boxes, pretzels, fruit cups, etc.), condiments (ketchup, mustard, cooking oil) and all other non-perishable food items. Please: NO CANDY! Our food drive will run through Friday, April 15. There will be a box in front of the library for your children to bring their items in. Thank you very much for your generosity!
-Amy Hoey, Open Table Chairman


Tuesday, April 12 is the next late bus Family Friends Tuesday. Please remember that for playdates each family (Concord and Boston) should send a signed, dated note to the school office at the beginning of school on the Tuesday of the late bus. The notes should include the plans for the afternoon and the names and telephone numbers of both families. Boston children can ride Concord children’s bus with a note granting permission. To catch the late bus, please have students at the Alcott School playground by 4:20 p.m. for the 4:30 bus to Boston.
-Your Thoreau Family Friends Team: Gretchen Nelson, Laurine Verrilli, Meg Alexander


On Wednesday, April 13, the cafeteria will hold another “New Food Tasting” for students. Concord Public Schools has been working with the Wellness Committee and the local organization, Kids Eat Smart, to make healthy changes to school lunches. The monthly Food Tastings are designed to encourage students to try healthy new foods, and to let them know that their feedback is important to this process. (Precautions are taken in advance for students with allergies and/or other health concerns – please contact your school nurse with any questions). The next featured menu item will be “Veggie Sticks.” We hope you will encourage your children to try it! If you’re interested in volunteering in the cafeteria during one of the Food Tastings, please email volunteer.kidseatsmart@gmail.com to add your name to the list. Parents must have an approved CORI on file.


This free seminar for all Concord parents and grandparents is sponsored by the Thoreau PTG. It will take place on Thursday, April 28th at 7:30pm in the Thoreau Elementary School Auditorium. Please join us for a special presentation focused on practical and useful ways to teach your children about money. Hosted by Robin Silver Grace, Vice President at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Space is limited — please email Robin’s assistant, Kristen, at kristen.a.springer@mssb.com or call 781-672-5125 to reserve your seats! Dessert and coffee will be served.


Open Circle is a highly acclaimed and research-based, social skills program developed at Wellesley College, currently being taught to elementary students throughout the Concord elementary schools. Come to this 5-session workshop series to learn what your child is being taught about:

  • Being part of a cooperative and caring community
  • Solving interpersonal problems
  • Taking responsibility
  • Bullying Prevention

This workshop series will both familiarize you with the skills and concepts being presented in your child’s class, and will help you reinforce and use these skills at home. The workshop is open to caregivers of students at Alcott, Thoreau, and Willard. Program dates/times: Apr. 27th, May 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th; 6:00 pm- 7:30 pm in the Alcott library. The program facilitator is Sherree Lenkarski, Psy.D., Alcott School Counselor. Please note: you MUST pre-register; the registration form is available at www.thoreauptg.org.


Please consider donating items from the list below for the Thoreau School Collection Drive for House of Hope Shelter in Lowell. There will be a donation box outside of the gym. We will be collecting items April 7-29. The Thoreau fifth grade Girl Scouts will deliver the items on May 2nd. Thank you for your support.

Children’s Items:

  • Educational toys
  • Dolls
  • Balls/outdoor toys/bubbles
  • Art/ Craft items
  • Sweaters, light jackets
  • Clothing
  • Dress up clothes
  • Diapers, wipes
  • Bibs, baby powder, lotion
  • Slippers
  • Socks and underwear (all sizes)
  • Pull ups
  • Baby monitors
  • Baby bottles

Personal Care:

  • Hairbrushes
  • Nail polish/remover
  • Hair accessories
  • Plastic toothbrush holders
  • Plastic soap holders
  • Hair Products shampoo/conditioner
  • Ladies Razors
  • Chap Stick
  • Shave cream
  • Deodorant


Have you wondered what happened to a lunch box? A brown booster seat? Please have your child check the Lost and Found bins in the cafeteria before April vacation. Or, if you have a chance to be in the building, head over to the cafeteria to inspect the large piles of snow pants, boots, mittens and gloves, jackets, sweaters, fleeces, hats and scarves. Unclaimed items will be laundered and donated to charity or given to Mrs. Richards to replenish her supply of back-up clothing.


Are you interested in becoming more involved in the Thoreau Parent Teacher Group (PTG)?  Consider joining the Board or chairing an event or committee.  Please review the positions below and visit the PTG Volunteer Booklet at www.thoreauptg.org for more information.  Please note that the volunteer booklet is in the process of being updated, so there are some changes to the job descriptions as well as some additions.  If you are interested in learning more about open positions, please e-mail or call Melanie Bettencourt, Co-President at thebettencourts@comcast.net or  978-369-7124.

2011-2012 Open Board Positions:

  • Second Grade Representative
  • Fundraising Co-chairs (2)
  • Treasurer
  • Vice-President
  • Co-President

2011-2012 Committee Chair and Event Coordinator Positions:

  • Bus Driver/Crossing Guard Breakfast
  • Thoreauly Green
  • Thoreauly Green Kids
  • Vacation/Travel Book Program
  • Kindergarten Registration


May 9             Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 Math
May 11           Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 Math
May 12           Gr. 4 Math
May 13           Gr. 4 Math
May 18           Gr. 5 Science
May 19           Gr. 5 Science


The Fifth Annual Thoreau School Road Race is Sunday, May 15. The Kids’ Fun Runs start at 11 am, followed by the 5K at noon. A family BBQ picnic, games and award ceremony will be held after the race. Mark your calendars and join us for all the fun! Registration is available online at www.thoreauptg.org. To volunteer on race day, please emailkhmonks@gmail.com.


Thank you to the following families for their donations to the Thoreau Annual appeal this past week:  Becker, Campbell, Chiu, Derosa, Keaton, Philip, Sharakan, Stone, Symons and Walker.
-Natalie Gekle and Maria Scichilone, Fundraising Co-chairs


The Children’s Programs Committee (CPC)  is fortunate to be the recipient of funds from the PTG, which allows us to enrich the educational opportunities of the students at Thoreau School. Each year, the CPC uses the donations received by the PTG to provide four all-school assemblies, and at least two or three enrichment opportunities per grade. This year, the CPC sponsored four all-school assemblies concerning the following topics: (1) the importance of no bullying and respect for others in our school (magician Jim Vagias); (2) recycling and how we can make music out of recycled materials (“Bash the Trash”); (3) Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (“Historical Perspectives”); (4) Epic Brass–a musical show introducing the students to brass instruments.  In addition, for the enrichment opportunities each grade had a visit from an author who discussed topics such as the writing process, similes and metaphors, etc. Other enrichment opportunities include a visit from the New England Aquarium for Kindergarteners; a visit from a honeybee expert for Second Grade; a visit from a Native American educator (“Black Snake Woman”) for Third Grade;  a visit from a Chinese educator for Fourth Grade; and a visit from the Museum of Science concerning electromagnetism for Fifth Grade. The CPC is grateful for the generous donations given by the families of our students through the PTG fundraising to allow these programs to continue. We look for ways to complement, enrich and expand the educational experiences of the students at our school.

LUNCH MENU Week of April 11 – April 15

Monday: Chicken in a basket
Tuesday: Early Release
Wednesday: Hot dog
Thursday: Hard shell taco
Friday: Whole wheat pizza


CCHS Building Project Community Forum

Thursday, April 7 at 7:00 pm: Wondering about the status of the CCHS building project? Would you like to learn more about our progress with MSBA, costs, plans, and next steps? Do you have your own questions about the building project? Come to the CCHS Building Project Community Forum on Thursday, April 7th. Meet in the Concord Carlisle High School main lobby at 7:00 for a tour of the building. Presentation and Q&A in The Little Theatre immediately following the tour. Hosted by the School Committee and the CCHS Building Committee.

West Concord Green Thumbs

The West Concord Green Thumbs is a group of volunteers (women and men) who fundraise for and manage West Concord Center’s hanging flower baskets, and plant and maintain public garden spots such as Mandrioli Park. This year, they will be re-installing the entryway perennial garden at the newly renovated Fowler Library. The Green Thumbs welcomes new members, and if you are interested in joining this enthusiastic group please contact Darlene Grove at 978-254-5478 or Dorrie Kehoe at 978-369-3341. Absolutely no gardening expertise is necessary — just a minimal time commitment and a willingness to wield a trowel or weed in our public places. It’s a great chance to make new friends and to help with the “flowering” of our Village. On Monday, April 11 we will be meeting at Fowler Library at 4:30 PM. Please drop by if you are interested.

Concord Carlisle Youth Lacrosse Night at the Boston Cannons at Harvard Stadium

Please join the rest of the Concord Carlisle community at the Boston Cannons on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Last year’s event was a huge success. The weather was perfect and more than 440 CC lacrosse fans got together for a series of fun activities topped off by a terrific professional lacrosse game. CC kids will be playing at halftime and participating in all sorts of exciting activities throughout this family-friendly event. You can learn more details and buy tickets through the CCYL website at http://www.ccyouthlacrosse.com/. Buy yours today to ensure your preferred seating and parking! Please contact Dan Bowen at J.Daniel.Bowen@GMail.Com if you have any questions.

Summer Programs at Community Education

Spring and summer Community Education courses and workshops for children and young adults are now posted on the website at www.ace.colonial.net, and the course bulletin will be mailed to all homes in the district next week. On the homepage, see downloads for a summary of all the K-12 summer learning activities, and the website has a look-up function for details on each individual class.

Students currently in kindergarten through grade 3 will find weeklong summer workshops in engineering and electricity (build a circuit and constuct a ìbotî), the wacky lab (remember gak?) and deep blue sea (tides, sea creatures and submarines), and rockets (an annual summer workshop), offered in collaboration with the local group, Wicked Cool for Kids.  Concord teachers will also conduct classes and workshops in July, for students through grade 5, including Fuzzy Felt Creatures, printmaking, and scrapbooking. Classes meet at the Alcott School, and enrollment is open now. All programs are fee based, and are a service of the Concord Carlisle Schools. Call 318-1432 or visit the school website for more information.

The next issue of Thoreau Announcements will be edited by Anne Mullaney. To submit an item, email announcements@thoreauptg.org. You will receive an e-mail acknowledgment that your submission has been received. Submissions must be school or community related and not commercial in nature. Submissions should be brief, with minimal formatting – no bullet points or underlining, please! Deadline: 9 pm Monday, April 11, 2011.