March 22, 2012

Published by the Thoreau School Parent Teacher Group


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–Kelly Clough


Potential Grounds for Learning Renovation: You may be not aware that the Grounds For Learning garden area at Thoreau has fallen into a state of disrepair. Currently the fence is broken and rotted beyond repair. There are safety concerns because of the fence itself, and now kids can access a garden with a pool without adult supervision. The bridge in the area appears to be broken as a result of vandalism. As there isn’t any current parent involvement in the maintenance of the garden, the garden itself has become overgrown and unkempt. Also, parent volunteers who supervise the garden for children to use during recess has been declining and this fall there was only one parent volunteer. Currently children are not allowed in the Grounds for Learning garden without adult supervision due to the water exposure.

The Grounds for Learning area requires changes to make the grounds safe and useable. The PTG is considering what to do with the space and is evaluating a few options:

  • Option 1 is to excavate the entire area (without disrupting prominent/existing trees), remove the fence, remove the water feature and build a new play area for kids to use during recess and after school. This option would continue to allow for garden space/flower beds, without a water feature.
  • Option 2 is to take down the fence, excavate some of the area (without disrupting prominent/existing trees), remove the water feature and build a new play area for kids to use during recess and after school. This option would retain some of the garden space and existing plants without the water feature or a fence.
  • Option 3 would be to remove the existing fence, excavate half of the garden for a new play area, keep the water feature and build a new fence around a smaller area of the garden.

There are many concerns and financial factors involved in this decision. The PTG would like to better understand how this space is being used in the Thoreau community. Are teachers using Grounds for Learning? Are local scout troops using Grounds for Learning? Are there other Thoreau clubs using Grounds for Learning? If you would like to participate in a discussion about the future of Grounds for Learning, please attend a meeting on Tuesday, March 27 at 7pm in the Thoreau Library. The goal of the meeting is to identify how to employ the Grounds for Learning space in a sustainable way that supports the needs of the Thoreau community. If you cannot attend the meeting, but have feedback regarding the use of Grounds for Learning, please e-mail Melanie Bettencourt at


Please be mindful of the below dates, and make every effort to have your child(ren) in school on time. Thank you for your cooperation in this effort.


  • Thursday 22: ELA grade 4
  • Friday 23: ELA grades 3 and 5
  • Monday 26: ELA grade 4


  • Monday 7: Math grades 3 and 5
  • Tuesday 8: Math grades 3 and 5
  • Wednesday 9: Math grade 4
  • Thursday 10: Math grade 4
  • Monday 14: Science and Technology, grade 5
  • Tuesday 15: Science and Technology, grade 5


A pocketbook was found in the auditorium the weekend of March 10. The only identification is an ID card with Julia Gwinn as the name, a student. It could have been left by someone who attended play practice or the Spelling Bee. If anyone knows Julia, please let her know we have the pocketbook in the office.


Come join your friends (and meet new ones) at the All School Social being held at the new restaurant Peyton’s River’s Edge in Maynard (next to Jam Time) on Friday, March 23, 7-9 pm. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and there will be a cash bar. Stay after 9:00 for more fun,when DJ John Kelley starts spinning his tunes! Hope to see you all there!
–Jen Johnson & Cathy Chadwick


Watershed WISE Night is being held at Thoreau School on April 10, 5:30 – 8:00pm. The purpose of the night is to educate the community about the Assabet River, a wonderful resource that we have right behind our school. Students and community groups will be presenting information about erosion, invasive species, animals, water quality, Warner’s Pond, vernal pools and recycling. Among the presenters will be the CCHS Environmental FIeld Studies Group, the Warner’s Pond Stewardship Group, Dr. Bryan Windmiller, Drumlin Farm, OARS and the Concord Public Work’s Engineering DIvision. Admission is free, but donations will be collected to support the Blanding’s Turtle Tracking program. In addition to this program, students are also hosting a photography contest. The categories are the Assabet River and Assabet River Wildlife. The contest starts on March 10 and runs through April 1. The latest date you can send the picture is April 2. Place any pictures in Susan Erickson’s mailbox. It should be an 8×10 picture. Please also put your first and last name on the back of the picture. We will announce the winner at the Watershed WISE Night. We’re looking forward to seeing your great photographs of this beautiful natural resource.


Keep ’em coming! We have now surpassed the $600 mark! I am so impressed with the great work everyone is doing to increase our BOXTOPS submissions. Each BOXTOP means 10 cents for Thoreau, and as you can see, they add up in a big way. Please continue to clip and drop in the box just inside school. Include your child’s teacher’s name and the class will get credit in our contest. Thank you!
–Mallory Price


It is time for Thoreau School’s annual Spring food drive! All collected food is donated to Concord’s local food pantry, OpenTable. Open Table feeds over 200 guests each week, including many children, and gives each family a bag of groceries to bring home. Open Table is able to do this because of the generosity of our community. Any non-perishable foods are appreciated, but these are the “most wanted” items: 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 6. 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! Please see for more information.
–Amy Hoey, Open Table Chairman


Requests may be submitted by teachers, members of the Thoreau administration, and/or parents. The item(s) requested must provide a long-term benefit for the whole school or across an entire grade level, and are not a recurring cost after the initial grant. Please include all details pertaining to the benefits and the costs in your proposal, and submit it, in writing, to Melanie Bettencourt:, Shelagh Moskow: and Mallory Price: by Friday, March 30. You may also put them in an envelope labeled “Capital Request” and place them in the PTG mailbox. Thank you very much!
–Melanie & Shelagh, PTG Co-presidents


The Concord Carlisle Parents Initiative wants to know what’s on your mind! Please take part in this 10 item survey to help CCPI identify parents’ concerns. We appreciate your responses and look forward to offering programs that meet your needs.


Don’t forget to start planning your cakes for the Cake Decorating Contest! You can also make prize cakes for the Cake Walk winners! We need LOTS and LOTS of cakes – 300-400! The more cakes we get, the more winners we will have at the Cake Walk.

Cake Decorating Contest Info: Cakes to be entered into the Cake Decorating Contest should be dropped off on Saturday March 31, 12:30-1:30pm to the Faculty Dining Room (near the gym). Judging will begin promptly at 1:45pm. All cakes entered in the Contest must be decorated by a Thoreau student. Please do not use cake plates or decorations that you want returned to you. You may enter as many cakes in the Contest as you like. All cakes must be wrapped in plastic wrap and labeled with the cake flavor student’s name, grade, teacher and category. The Contest categories are: Best Animal Theme, Best Book Theme, Most Colorful, Best Food Theme, Best Nature Theme, Best Sports and Games Theme, Best Thoreau Spirit and Most Creative. Cakes that win the Contest will be displayed during the Festival and may be taken home by their respective student decorators. Cakes that do not win the Contest will be handed out as prize cakes during the Cake Walk.

Prize Cake Donation Info: You may bring prize cakes for the Cake Walk (cakes not to be judged in the Contest) any time before or during the Festival. All prize cakes must be wrapped in plastic wrap and labeled with the flavor of the cake. If you bring an allergy-free prize cake, please let us know when you drop it off. Prize cakes do not need to be big – you can make 2 prize cakes out of 1 box of mix! Look for more info in Friday backpacks…

Questions? Please email Beth Symko at


Be a part of the Thoreau welcome wagon for our incoming kindergarteners and their families! I am in need of 3-4 parent volunteers on April 10 and April 24, 12:30-1:30pm to assist with the Kindergarten Registration days. Duties include welcoming incoming families, setting up refreshments, and providing logistical support to Thoreau staff. Please contact me at or 617-335-1916 if you are able to volunteer for this fun and important event. Thank you for your help!
–Allison Oshinsky


There are only two weeks left until the Book Character Parade! Everyone is hard at work on masks, simple costumes and props to represent a favorite book character. Families are invited to watch the parade as it moves through the school on Tuesday, April 10, beginning at 11:00am. Check next week’s Thoreau Announcements for more information or talk to Karen or Cathy in the Library.


We are celebrating National Nutrition Month! On Thursdays we will feature a new and nutritious food on the lunch menu. Parents, please encourage your children to buy lunch on that day and ask them what they tried and how they liked it. Here’s what our talented Food Service Director, Alden Cadwell is cooking up …

  • March 22 – Quinoa Salad
  • March 29 – Local Greens Salad

Also, Monday morning announcements will include a “Nutrition Question of the Week” and a newsletter with information about healthy eating and a recipe will come home on Tuesdays in your child’s backpack. If you would like to share what you are doing as a family to try to eat healthier or have any questions or ideas, please contact Melanie Plesko at

LUNCH MENU Week of March 26-30

  • Monday: Chili
  • Tuesday: Early Release
  • Wednesday: B. Good Burgers
  • Thursday: Mac and Cheese
  • Friday: Comella’s Pizza

Any questions about the menu please email Chef Alden,


Concord-Carlisle Wrestling Clinic Starts Next Week at CCHS

The Concord Wrestling Clinic is for wrestlers who want to learn about the sport (3rd grade and up) and for wrestlers who want to condition and practice. Beginners and experienced wrestlers are welcome. We’ll learn takedowns, half nelsons and cradles, holds and breakaways and do lots of practice. Learn the rules of collegiate wrestling, and learn and practice physical and mental fitness as we develop our skill in this classic sport and appreciate its unique appeal. Release form required. Wrestlers to wear wrestling shoes please. Eric Rivera, Alex Klinoff & Matt Bloom, Coaches; 16 sessions, Monday and Wednesday, March 19-May 23, 5:30-7:00pm, CCHS, $150   #3696 Information and sign-up at CC Community Education,, (978) 318-1432

 The Sound of Music

At Concord Middle School, the halls are alive with “The Sound of Music” – a musical extravaganza appropriate for all ages. Shows are at the CMS-Sanborn auditorium on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31 at 7:00pm, with a matinee on Sunday, April 1 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $10 per person, and can be ordered by mailing payment with the order form found at

Challenge Your Skills at Community Chest’s Spring Gala!

The Concord Carlisle Community Chest Bi-Annual Fundraising Gala “It Only Takes a Minute” is just around the corner on Saturday March 31. We are a little more than halfway to our goal of having at least 300 attendees for this event. The games have been finalized, the silent auction items have been posted and we are excited for what will be a very fun night for a great cause. Purchase Tickets: Silent Auction Items: Babysitting: Finally, if you are looking for a babysitter for the night the Friends of the Concord Carlisle Girls Lacrosse will be doing a Babysitting for Donations on that same night. You can learn more about this by visiting their website,

Concord Chamber Music Society Presents the Harlem Quartet

On Sunday, April 1 at 2:00pm at the Emerson Umbrella for the Arts in Concord, the Concord Chamber Music Society will present a jazz-inspired concert for all generations, featuring the Harlem Quartet. Praised for its “panache” by the New York Times, the Harlem Quartet is “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing, and intelligent,” says the Cincinnati Inquirer. Join fellow Concord Public School students for “From Beethoven to the Blues – a trip through time on the A Train!” Tickets (free for children under 12, $5 for students, $15 for adults) may be purchased online at or by phone: 978-371-9667.

Pop Warner Football Registration is Open

Registration for the 2012 Concord Carlisle Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading program is open on a first come, first serve basis. The program is encouraging everyone who intends to play this upcoming season to register as soon as possible. We expect to field teams at 5 levels for players and cheerleaders from second grade through eighth grade. If you would like to learn more, we are holding a Registration and Meet the Coaches meeting on March 22 at 7:30 pm at the CCHS Cafeteria. Coach Robichaud, CCHS varsity football coach, plans to attend and speak with attendees. To register and for any other information about the program, please go to the CCPW website at or call Kevin Smith at 978-369-0634 or Rob Hoaglund at 978-254-5756. Make sure we have a place for your son or daughter and sign up now.

The next issue of Thoreau Announcements will be published on March 29, 2012. Submission Deadline: 9 pm Monday, March 26, 2012.
Submission guidelines: Submissions must be school or community related and not commercial in nature. Submit your item in the body of an email (no attachments); it should be brief and have minimal formatting – no bullet points or underlining, please! Email your submission to You will receive an e-mail acknowledgment that your submission has been received.