March 10, 2011

Published by the Thoreau School Parent Teacher Group March 10, 2011

Our Solar System Family Math Night was truly out of this world! What a pleasure it was to see the great turnout we had at Thoreau last Friday night and so many kiddos having fun with math. Thanks so much to Cathy Chadwick and Amy Hoey for all their hard work coordinating such a fabulous event! A big thank you also goes to Rebecca Tubbs for coordinating the March Staff Breakfast, as well as to the many 1st Grade families who generously donated the breakfast goodies and fixings! Coming up next Tuesday, March 15th at 7pm is the Joint PTG meeting with Alcott and Willard. The meeting will be held at CCHS and the topic is the Building Project. Please join us and keep informed on this very important issue. We also have our next Thoreau PTG Meeting on Wednesday, March 16th at 9:30am in the Thoreau Cafeteria. Among the items on the agenda is making plans for staffing next year’s PTG Board and Committee Chairs. Yes, believe it or not, it’s already time to start thinking about next year. We are already looking for a Webmaster, School Directory Co-Coordinator and Thoreau Announcement Co-Editor. Please let us know if you would like to volunteer. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, please be sure to gather up your gently used athletic equipment to donate to the Thoreau Sports Recycle Sale which will be held on Saturday, March 19th. It’s also a great opportunity to shop for your family’s current and future sporting needs. Oh, and if you haven’t already, please don’t forget to subscribe (and validate your subscription) to the Thoreau Announcements at ASAP!. This is the last issue of Announcements that will be sent using the old system. We are looking very forward to the Thoreau “High Five” Auction this Friday, March 11th. There will be wonderful food, music and friends, plus some really great items to bid on. We hope to see you there! Have a great weekend! Karen and Melanie

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, 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, 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

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 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 or Melanie Bettencourt at if you are interested or need further information.

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 ( or Anne Mullaney (

Have you chosen your cake category yet? You can choose from the following: Best Animal Theme, Best Book Theme, Most Colorful, Most Creative, Best Food Theme, Best Nature Theme, Best Sports Theme and Best Historical Figure/theme.

Volunteers Needed!!!
Please consider volunteering an hour or more if you can spare it to help out at this year’s Cake Walk and Family Festival. We need help running games, help with handing out prize cakes and in various other areas. If you are willing and able, please contact Beth Symko at

Open Table offers weekly community supper programs and food pantries in Concord and Maynard to more than 225 guests, including many children – no questions asked. All are welcome. Open Table is able to provide this service because of the generosity of our community. Thoreau School supports Open Table through food drives. We would like to kick off the food drive at our Annual Cake Walk! Bring two non perishable food items and you will receive a FREE Cake Walk ticket. The booth will be set up by the entrance. Any non-perishable food donation is welcome, but the “most wanted” food items are: spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, coffee/tea/ hot chocolate mix, cereal, tuna fish, canned fruit, canned stews and soups, jelly, children’s snacks for school (juice boxes, pretzels, fruit cups, etc.) and condiments. Please: NO CANDY! For more information on Open Table, please see

Thank you for your generosity, Amy Hoey, Open Table Chairman

The Book Character Parade is scheduled for 11:00 AM on Tuesday, April 5, about three weeks away. You have plenty of time to choose a favorite book character and make a simple mask, costume or prop to represent that character. Families are invited to watch as The Cat in the Hat leads the parade through the halls and classrooms. For more information, check next week’s Thursday Announcements or talk to Karen or Cathy in the library.

Saturday, March 19th is the Sports Recycle Sale from 10am to 1pm in the Thoreau cafeteria!
Clean out your garages and pick up hugely discounted equipment for next season. Please donate your gently used athletic equipment of all seasons to this annual Thoreau PTG fundraiser!
Last year’s items included bikes, rollerblades, skis, safety equipment, tennis racquets and frisbees. Volunteers needed for setup and tagging items, cashiering, and cleanup after the event. Donations can be delivered to 50 Central St. For questions or to sign up to volunteer, email

The Thoreau School PTG will be offering the Callen Tennis After-School tennis program for K-3 students this spring. Callen Tennis features the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Quickstart Format. QuickStart is the exciting new play format for learning tennis, designed to bring age 10 and under kids into the game by utilizing smaller racquets, softer balls, shorter court dimensions and modified scoring.

Callen Tennis is directed by Concord resident Jen Callen Beveridge, a former WTA touring professional, NCAA Division I Head Womens’ Tennis coach, and current USPTA-certified teaching professional. Betsy Dorr, a Thoreau parent will be teaching along with Jen. Betsy, a former Division I tennis player and nationally ranked junior has been teaching in the area for the past several years. We are pleased to also announce that Beth Murphy will be joining the teaching team!

The program will be held on the Thoreau basketball court every Thursday for seven weeks from May 5th through June 16th. There will be two classes offered each Thursday:

Kindergarteners and 1st graders: 3:30-4:15pm
2nd and 3rd graders: 4:15-5:00pm

Cost: $105 plus a $25 administrative fee

Registration will be held from March 2nd – March 16th. The registration and waiver forms can be downloaded from the Thoreau PTG website ( or picked up in the Thoreau main office. Please submit a check made payable to the Thoreau PTG along with registration and waiver forms to Heather Swartwood at 53 Prairie Street, Concord. In order for your child to be registered for the class, checks and forms must be received by Heather no later than March 16th. (No Exceptions!)

As the Thoreau PTG anticipates an enthusiastic response to the program, there will be a lottery held on March 18th to select participants if the registration is oversubscribed. (Maximum of 24 per class.)

If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact Heather Swartwood at
For any family needing financial support for this program, please feel free to contact Rachel Levesque, Thoreau School Social Worker, at (978) 318-1300 or

Thanks to all of our volunteers for helping to make this year’s Thoreau Family Math Night such a huge success. It could not have happened without you. Special thanks to Karen Pettyjohn for reading books throughout the event and to Carol Horan, the head of Food Services at Thoreau, for helping with the food set up and to Mario Pavao for helping with the set up and clean up of the entire event.
Cathy Chadwick and Amy Hoey

Pictures of your 5th grader are needed for the class DVD and Yearbook. Time is critical now to submit your photos electronically. We will not use all the photos that are submitted, but we need a good selection to choose from – making sure everyone is represented. So, if you want to make sure there is a good photo of your child, PLEASE send it my way now!

IDEALLY: we would like electronic files. If you get us files electronically, we need some way of knowing which grade they represent. It will be very difficult for us to distinguish Grade 1 from Grade 2 for instance. So, you may either rename the file as “Grade 1”, or put them in folders labeled “Grade 2,” etc.

We are looking for the following photos:

• Group and individual photos – particularly school activities
• Cake Walk, Hobby Fair, Spelling Bee, Solstice, Turkey Trot, etc. photos
• Field Trip photos
• First Day of School and Bus Stop photos
• Book Character Parade photos
• Photos from concerts, Math Night, school plays
• Photos from lunch, recess, Road Race, Lego Club, Chess Club
• Photos taken during art, music, gym, library or in the regular classrooms
• Sports photos of Thoreau kids

Please send your photos to me by the end of March. If you can take pictures of upcoming events, too, please contact me at
Thanks very much. Carol

Next Tuesday, March 15 is the March late bus Family Friends Tuesday, so make your plans now!
And on March 30th from 7 – 9 p.m. is the METCO Annual Dessert and Discussion to be held in the Alcott School Cafeteria. Concord families are asked to bring a dessert to share. All Family Friends are invited – please call your Boston or Concord partner and plan to meet there.
7-7:30: dessert, coffee and socializing!
7:30-8:15: Presentation by the Drinking Gourd Project
8:15-8:45: Questions/comments/discussion

Come visit with other METCO families and learn about the Drinking Gourd Project…we hope to see you there!

Your Thoreau Family Friends Team: Gretchen Nelson, Laurine Verrilli, Meg Alexander

MCAS SCHEDULE – SPRING 2011March 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

LUNCH MENU Week of March14-March 18
Monday Max Cheese Sticks
Tuesday Early Release
Wednesday Shepard’s Pie
Thursday Chicken Nuggets
Friday WW Pizza Slice

Check out this link to find a month of suggestions how families can take time out from their busy schedules

Registration for The Concord Conservatory of Music’s spring semester group classes and private lessons is underway. The music school offers a broad array of group music classes for infants to school age children, as well as adults. Classes begin the week of March 28th. The deadline to register is March 22nd. Private instrument instruction is also available, with saxophone, percussion, jazz and the Junior Orchestra to name a few possibilities.

For more information about these music classes as well as private instrument lessons, call The Concord Conservatory of Music 978-369-0010 or visit . All classes and lessons are held at the West Concord Union Church, at 1317 Main Street in West Concord.

Bill Koenigsberg and Elliot Ring will conduct an 8-week discussion group at the Council on Aging and the Harvey Wheeler Community Center starting on Thursday, March 31. Part of the Village University series, the class will examine the reality behind the oft-heard claims about America’s poor showing in the worldwide rankings of educational achievement. President Obama recently said the U.S. ranks 21st in science and 25th in math, and it’s accepted that science and math proficiency and the national economy are intertwined. What is going on? The class will use the text, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Educational Issues, 16th Ed. (McGraw Hill). Standardized testing, charter schools, Supreme Court decisions, merit pay for teachers, the role of computers, racial and ethnic achievement gaps, immigration, No Child Left Behind — discuss these and more. Text available with your contribution of $60. The course meets on Thursdays from 9:30 to 11 AM. To enroll call Community Education at 318-1432 or visit Community Education courses are a student-funded service of the Concord-Carlisle Schools.

The next issue of Thoreau Announcements will be edited by Laurie Garrison. To submit an item, email 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, March 14, 2011.