February 17, 2011

Please do not reply to this e-mail. For information on contacting the Thoreau Announcements or updating the e-mail address at which you receive the TA, please see the contact information at the end of this e-mail.


Well, it feels like forever since the last snow day and we just celebrated a rather balmy Valentine’s Day. Let’s hope the groundhog got it right this year. Yes, please!

Thanks so much to Suzy Symons for all her hard work coordinating the Spelling Bee this past Saturday. It was a fantastic event, as always, and wonderful to see so many of our kiddos have fun while showing off their remarkable spelling skills! The fun continues with all of the fabulous events we have to look forward to in March. First up is Math Night on Friday, March 4, followed by the High Five Thoreau Auction on Friday, March 11. Please visit www.thoreauptg.org/auction to make an auction donation and to purchase tickets. Saturday, March 19 is the Sports Recycle Sale and then the month closes out with a bang — the Family Festival & Cake Walk on March 26. Please keep reading the Thoreau Announcements for more information on all of these wonderful events.

And in order to keep reading the Announcements, please subscribe to them at www.thoreauptg.org by Monday, March 7. That’s the last week we will email the Announcements using the old system.

At the PTG meeting last Wednesday, we had a great presentation by the Concord Carlisle Parents Initiative (CCPI). This group organizes programs to educate parents on ways to keep our kids both mentally and physically healthy. CCPI has a parent representative from every public school in Concord and Carlisle, except Thoreau. Unfortunately it’s been 3 years since a Thoreau parent has participated in CCPI, so please let either of us know if you would be interested in representing Thoreau in working with this group. You can find more information about CCPI and their work further along in this issue of PTG Announcements. While we are on the subject of open PTG positions, we are still looking for a Webmaster for next year as well as a co-editor of these Announcements, and a School Directory Co-Coordinator.  A volunteer has stepped forward to coordinate the directory’s database/computer-related tasks. The volunteer would like a co-coordinator to help with the validation and solicitation of data. Please let us know if you can help the PTG with these very important roles. Enjoy a safe and happy February break!
Karen & Melanie


The Concord Police Department has notified the Thoreau School that it will be monitoring the Thoreau School neighborhood for illegally parked vehicles and will begin ticketing this week. Examples of illegal parking include parking in a handicapped spot without an appropriate permit, blocking driveways, and parking in a “No Parking” zone. Thank you for your cooperation.


Join us on Tuesday, March 1 for our first monthly school spirit celebration, Summer Day! All students and staff are encouraged to wear their favorite beach hat, shorts, t-shirts, sunglasses, flip flops — but no bathing suits or revealing clothing, please! For more details, go to https://www.thoreauptg.org/Spirittheme1.pdf.


PTG WEBMASTER. We are starting an early search for someone to take over the role of PTG webmaster since our current webmaster will “graduate” from Thoreau at the end of this school year. The webmaster maintains the PTG website, www.thoreauptg.org. Tasks include updating web pages as needed, new page development, and general website management. The webmaster also manages PTG email aliases, domain name renewals and hosting, and all affiliate partnerships for the Thoreau online store, www.thoreaustore.com. Candidate should have experience with WordPress (self-install version), web design, knowledge of ftp, and an understanding of domain registrations/renewals and Internet hosting providers. Experience with Feedburner would be a plus. If you have an interest in the role of PTG webmaster, please contact Marcy Shipe at webmaster@thoreauptg.org.

SCHOOL DIRECTORY CO-COORDINATOR. A volunteer has stepped forward to work on the directory’s database/computer-related tasks, but would like to work with a co-coordinator to validate and solicit the data. Much of this job involves verifying the data received by the school, soliciting correct data when errors are found, and soliciting data that has not yet been sent to the school so that the directories can be printed in time for Back-To-School Night. The job also involves arranging the production and distribution of the directories. This position is labor intensive during August and September with smaller amounts of time possibly needed on an ongoing basis. We all know what a valuable communication tool the Thoreau School Directory is, so it is imperative that this very important position be filled. Please contact Karen Brown at dmbkjb@comcast.net or Melanie Bettencourt at thebettencourts@comcast.net if you are interested or need further information.

THOREAU ANNOUNCEMENTS CO-EDITOR. The PTG is looking for a co-editor of the Thoreau Announcements for the next school year. Responsibilities include collecting and editing submissions, and posting the Announcements on the PTG WordPress site for email distribution. Currently co-editors alternate months, and the job takes about 2-3 hours per “on” week. For more information, contact Laurie Garrison (chrisandlaurie@comcast.net) or Anne Mullaney (anne.mullaney@gmail.com).

CCPI PARENT REPRESENTATIVE. Concord Carlisle Parents Initiative was created about 15 years ago as the “parent arm” to the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Council on Student Health (SCACH). CCPI’s primary mission is to provide an arena for parents and other community representatives to offer input around healthy decision-making and the prevailing risk behaviors associated with our youth. The committee is made up of parent volunteers as well as district educators and non-profit representatives. CCPI’s goal is to have a representative from every public school in Concord and Carlisle. CCPI seeks a Thoreau Elementary School representative. The committee meets once a month on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 9:30am in the Trustees Room at the Concord Main Library. Their primary focus is to put together programs that will educate parents on ways to keep our kids healthy both mentally and physically. Some CCPI-sponsored programs include Getting To Calm: Parenting Strategies With Teens with Laura Kastner, PhD (March 2010); once or twice per month parent “Rollercoaster Groups” based on the workbook Please Stop the Rollercoaster! How Parents of Teenagers Can Smooth Out the Ride by Sue Blainey; CCPI’s Annual Teen Driving Safety Panel Discussion every January. CCPI will also be sponsoring the upcoming program Raising a Happy Child with Dr. Ned Hallowell (details below). For more information, go to www.ccpionline.com or contact co-chairs Kathe Falzer (lkfalzer@comcast.net) or Robin Garrison (robin.garrison@verizon.net).

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G   B-E-E

Our recent Spelling Bee was a big success. Many thanks to the following PTG volunteers for their assistance: Thea Hahn, Karen Brown, Dorothy Bisbee, Christy Harrington, Pamela Hathaway, the Verrilli family, Lauren Dillon, Amy Hoey, Ann Bailey and Joe Koontz. Additional thanks go to our event judges: Karen Pettyjohn, Kelly Clough, Tom Hourihan, Jessica Christensen and Susan Erickson … and especially to Bob Lemaire, who once again participated in the Bee as Pronouncer extraordinaire. We are indebted to Mr. Lemaire for setting an appropriate and upbeat tone for the Bee.

While all participants should consider themselves Bee champions, we want to extend special congratulations to this year’s winners: 1st place (5th grade): Aiden Snorek-Yates; 2nd place (5th grade): Alexandra Hoey; 1st place team (4thgrade): Elizabeth Chadwick, Caterina D’Ambrosio and Angelina Serafini. Well done, everyone.

If any participants wish to keep their Spelling Bee posters, these can be retrieved from the box outside the school library.
Suzy Symons, Spelling Bee Chair


March 22             Gr. 4 Long Composition
March 23             Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 ELA
March 24             Gr. 4 ELA
March 25             Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 ELA
March 28             Gr. 4 ELA
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
Please be mindful of these dates, and make every effort to have your child(ren) in school on time. Thank you for your cooperation in this effort.


Please call the office directly if your information is for the same day. Sub nurses do not have access to my email but they do check voicemail. You can also leave a message with the school secretaries to alert the nurse to a message or to call.

Extra clothes: Please send in extra clothes for your child to be kept in their locker in case of the need to change. We are in (and coming to) the season where dry clothes will be in high demand and the Health Office does not have an assortment of sizes or items to provide dry clothes.

Flu season and other illnesses: Please remember and review with your child the ways to stay healthy. If they are sick, keep children home from school to prevent the spread of illness and to provide adequate time for your child to recover. Review:

  • Frequent Handwashing
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with tissue or into bend in arm
  • Plenty of rest, fluids
  • Healthy diet including fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise and fresh air
  • Avoid close contact with others who are ill
  • Flu vaccine:  you can still receive the flu vaccine for this year

Happy Winter — which is always followed by Spring!
Nicki Richards, RN


The “Mars Rover” project is an educational outreach project designed and run by Space Physics faculty at the University of Houston. The project aims to integrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) into the curriculum of students from grades 3 to 8. I will be using the help of my Houston colleagues as well as that of Dr. Caroline Lamb from MIT Lincoln Labs to apply and run this project in our school. The project has been funded by the Concord STEM Academy for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in the Thoreau school. Interested students will form teams of 4 acting as NASA engineers and scientists that will participate in the design and construction of a Mars Rover model to carry out a specific science objective on the surface of Mars. The models will be solar-powered and art supplies and recyclables will be used as construction materials.

The Mars Rover Project will commence during the first week in March. For the 3rd grade, two initial lectures will occur during the class time. The construction of the model rovers will happen as an after school activity that will last four additional weeks, with final presentations of the models by the student teams in class. The 3rd grade after school portion will run on Mondays at 3:30-5:00 pm.

For the 4th and 5th grade the project will run as an after school activity for the whole 6 weeks. We will hold one final Mars Rover celebration day with the opportunity for all student teams to display their models. The 4th and 5th grade teams will meet on Fridays at 3:30-5:00 pm.

To sign up, email ezesta@atmos.ucla.edu no later than February 18. 4th and 5th graders can also sign up with Jonathan Campbell (jcampbell@lwda.com) or Natalie Gekle (ngekle@comcast.net). Consider volunteering to help. Email the addresses above if you have questions.
Eftyhia Zesta, Grade 3 Parent


Please join us on Friday, March 4, 6:00-8:00pm for Thoreau School’s seventh annual Family Math Night. This year’s theme is Our Solar System. We will journey through our solar system in search of math problems. This fun-filled PTG-sponsored evening will feature a variety of math games and activities for the whole family to enjoy! In addition to fun math games, test your skills at the estimation jars, enjoy stories with Mrs. Pettyjohn and hit the concession stands for pizza, snacks and beverages.  We need volunteers! If you’re interested in volunteering for an hour at a math table (5:45 – 7:00 or 6:50 – 8:00) or can help with set up/clean up, please contact Cathy Chadwick (cathy.chadwick@gmail.com) or Amy Hoey (athoey@gmail.com)


Calling all donations! Please help us by making a donation to the 2011 Thoreau School Auction! The event will be held on Friday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Concord Elks Club. Many items are needed to make the auction a success, especially those donated by Thoreau families. Need help with ideas? Visit the High Five Thoreau Auction website at www.thoreauptg.org/auction where you’ll find suggestions for auction donations along with a Donation Form that you can print out and submit to the auction committee. Don’t forget to purchase tickets too. They are $20 per person and available at www.thoreauptg.org/auction. This is a fun event that helps bring the Thoreau community together and supports our school! Get thinking…get involved…get those donations in! Questions? Call Chris Economos Pailet 978-318-9589 or chriseconomos@gmail.com or Jean Easterday 978.369.8009 or easterdayfamily@comcast.net.


Save the date, Saturday March 26, 2:00-4:00pm. Come and join us for an afternoon of carnival games, food, crafts, music and loads of fun. Come try your hand at one of the many games we will have — there are loads of prizes to be won. If you have never taken part in a Cake Walk, this much-loved Thoreau School tradition shouldn’t be missed. It’s like a game of musical chairs: Each participant takes their place in a circle and stands on a numbered pad.  When the music starts the children parade around the circle; when the music stops, our Master of Ceremonies will pull lucky numbers out of a hat. If your child’s number is called, he/she is a winner of one of the fabulous cakes. Regarding the cakes, we need lots and lots of them — 300-400! These will be used as prizes. Cakes can also be made and entered into the Cake Decorating Contest! All cakes entered into the contest must be decorated by a Thoreau student. Here are the categories for this year: Best Animal Theme, Best Book Theme, Most Colorful, Most Creative, Best Food Theme, Best Nature Theme, Best Sports Theme, Best Toy & Game Theme, and Best Historical Figure/Theme. More information will come home in backpacks shortly! Any questions, please email Beth Symko at symko00@comcast.net.


The week of March 7, the PTG will complete its transition to the new delivery system for Thoreau Announcements. In order to continue receiving the Announcements and other important messages via email, you will need to subscribe to the Thoreau PTG website. Simply go to www.thoreauptg.org and enter your email address in the Subscribe box (located on the right side of the page), and then validate your subscription by following the directions in the confirmation email you receive. Please note that your subscription will not be verified until you click the link included in your confirmation email. If you have any questions, contact Marcy Shipe, PTG Webmaster, at webmaster@thoreauptg.org.

LUNCH MENU Week of February 28-March 4 is not available at this time. Please check the link in the right hand sidebar of the Thoreau PTG Website.


Concord-Carlisle Youth Spring Baseball or Softball Registration is Open!
The days are getting longer and that means Spring and the beginning of the baseball/softball season are closer than you think. Before you know it, the winter boots will be packed away and sign-up time will have passed. Don’t miss out or have to pay a late fee — take the time to register for Spring baseball or softball now. There are programs for ages 5 to 15: Rookie League (or “T-Ball”), Farm, A, AA, AAA, Majors, and Babe Ruth for Baseball and Rookie, Minor, Major and Senior League for Softball. Registering is easy and fast — about 3 minutes if you played last year, a bit more if you’re new to the program.  All costs and age details can be found at the registration page. Jump right to the registration page, www.ccyb.com, plug in your credit card, and you’ll be all set.

Another Inconvenient Truth
According to the 2010 Youth Risk Behavior survey administered with support of Emerson Hospital, 35% of CCHS students report they attended a party in  the past 12 months where alcohol use is allowed:  54% of grade 12;  40% grade 11; 28% grade 10; 22% grade 9; and 6% grade 8.

CCHS Parents Association, Concord Police Department, and Carlisle Police Department are sponsoring “Another Inconvenient Truth: The Liability of Parents Who Permit Underage Drinking in their Homes “ at the CCHS Library on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 7:00pm. This program will be presented by Eric J. Parker, Managing Partner, Parker Scheer LLP. A community conversation will follow Mr. Parker’s presentation.

Raising A Happy Child
Concord is lucky to have nationally known Dr. Ned Hallowell, M.D., a child and adult psychiatrist, author and well-known speaker, presenting on March 8, 7:00-8:30pm at the Thoreau School. The Concord Carlisle Parent Initiative has invited him to share his practical five-step plan for promoting successful learning and lifelong joy that parents, teachers and all others who care about children can use to give children the gift of happiness that will last a lifetime. This presentation is for parents of elementary and middle school students. No reservations are necessary, but a suggested donation of $10 per family is gratefully accepted to help defray expenses for this presentation. One of Dr. Hallowell’s books, The Çhildhood Roots of Adult Happiness:  Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy will be for sale. For more information, go to www.ccpionline.org.

Center for Parents and Teachers
Registrations now being accepted! Please register early to hold your spot and ensure that these workshop will run! Email: amartinez@colonial.net or call 978-202-1143.

  • “You Can’t Make Me!” – for parents of 3-9 year olds, facilitated by Bill Gresser, M.A., Marriage and Family Therapist. This workshop will offer practical advice for dealing effectively with a variety of conflicts and will help parents think about ways to diffuse problems before they turn into showdowns. 3 Wednesday evenings, March 16, 23, 30. 7:00- 8:30 PM. Location: Ripley Building. $75-90 Sliding scale.
  • “Guiding Good Choices” – for parents/caregivers of 5th-8th graders with Kathy Bowen, Cert. Life Empowerment Coach. “Social pressures! How will my child respond???” Come learn about the teen social environment & ways to foster healthy family dynamics & steer your kids into making responsible decisions. Monday evenings: April 4, 11, 25, May 2, 7:30 – 9:00pm. Fee: $60 – 85 sliding scale. (Your full payment helps those who can only pay part.) Underwritten through the generosity of the Concord Carlisle Parents’ Initiative.
  • “How to Talk So Kids will Listen and Listen So Kids will Talk” with Cyndie White, M.S., Parent Educator. Come learn how to listen to and understand your child’s concerns; how to have cooperation in your family without nagging; how to find alternatives to punishment; and how to help your child attain a positive self-image. Video clips are used as a jumping off point for discussion and to illustrate points. 5 Fridays, April 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27 from 9:30-11:00am. Location in Concord. Registration required. Fee: $110 (includes cost of workbook). Limited to 12.

The next issue of Thoreau Announcements (March 3) will be edited by Laurie Garrison. 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, February 28, 2011.