March 6, 2014

FROM THE PTG CO-PRESIDENTS

March is a busy month with many great activities!  We hope everyone comes out to participate in Math Night, tomorrow in the Thoreau cafeteria!  Mark your calendars, too, for the PTG meeting on March 18, the Spelling Bee on March 22, and the Cake Walk and Family Festival and Silent Auction on March 29!  Additionally, last week we summarized the dates of some valuable parent enrichment lectures- check our website if you missed these! -Carla and Louisa

FROM DIANA RIGBY, SUPERINTENDENT

The Concord and Concord-Carlisle School Committees are preparing to vote on the 2014-2015 School Calendar. As the Committees review their calendar options, they are required to work within specific parameters set by state regulations and language contained in contracts with the Districts’ collective bargaining units. In addition to the regulatory and contractual restrictions, members of the Committees are hearing concerns from students and families about the school calendar extending so late in June. The calendar can be an issue for many families as they consider educational programs, family plans, and summer camps that begin in June.

A Calendar Committee comprised of teachers, union representatives, administrators, and a School Committee member has considered many options but there is no clear consensus.  Options considered have included calendar adjustments addressing religious holidays, professional days, parent-teacher conference days, winter/holiday vacation, and February vacation.

The state requires that School Committees approve a calendar that includes at least 185 school days for elementary, middle, and secondary schools in the district. State regulations also require that every elementary (K-8) student is scheduled to receive a minimum of 900 hours per school year of structured learning time and every secondary (9-12) student is scheduled to receive a minimum of 990 hours per school year of structured learning time. All student and teacher days must be completed by June 30.

Language in the Concord Teachers Association (CTA) (K-8) and Concord-Carlisle Teachers Association (CCTA) (9-12) teachers’ contracts stipulates that the Districts cannot require teachers to begin work until September 1 without consent of the unions. The CTA and CCTA currently have not agreed to begin prior to September 1.

Given these restrictions, the Concord and Concord-Carlisle School Committees are considering a number of limited options to address these concerns, including the elimination of the February vacation. The Committees will vote to approve the 2014-2015 School Calendar at a Joint Meeting on March 10 at 6:30pm at Ripley.

Parents are encouraged to contact the School Committees with questions, concerns, and comments via the school committees’ website at concordschoolcommittee@colonial.net and concordcarlisleschoolcommittee@colonial.net or the Your Voice link on the District’s home page at www.concordpublicschools.net.

MCAS Schedule – DETAILED March and May 2014

  • March 18                Gr. 4 Long Composition
  • March 19                Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 ELA
  • March 21                Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 ELA
  • March 24                Gr. 4 ELA
  • March 26                Gr. 4 ELA
  •  May 5           Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 Math
  • May 6           Gr. 3 and Gr. 5 Math
  • May 7           Gr. 4 Math
  • May 8           Gr. 4 Math
  • May 13          Gr. 5 Science
  • May 14          Gr. 5 Science

CAKE WALK VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! 

Calling all Volunteers to help on Saturday, March 29 from 2-4! The Cake Walk and Family Festival is just 26 days away! Please consider volunteering an hour of your time to help out at this year’s Cake Walk and Family Festival.  We need help selling tickets, running games, handing out prize cakes and in various other areas.  If you are willing and able, please contact Amy Tenenbaum at aftenenbaum@hotmail.com.

We also need lots and lots of cakes, 300-400! These will be used as prizes at the Cake Walk and can also be entered into the Cake Decorating Contest! All cakes entered into the Contest must be decorated by a Thoreau Student and brought to the Thoreau School between 12:30-1:30 on the day of the event. Judging will begin at 1:45. The Contest categories are: Cleverest Cupcakes, Best Animal Theme, Best Book Theme, Most Colorful, Best Food Theme, Best Nature Theme, Best Sports & Games Theme, Best Thoreau Spirit, and Most Creative. Flyers with more information about the Cake Decorating Contest should be going home in backpacks this week.

In addition to the Cake Walk, there will be carnival games, crafts and refreshments.  Get ready to test your strength on the High Striker and your luck on our Wheel of Fortune!  Tickets for the Thoreau Family Festival and Cake Walk will be sold in the main entrance of the school during the event and will be 50 cents each.  Tickets can be bought individually or in sets of $5 or $10.  The tickets can be used for all the attractions – to play games, buy refreshments and to take part in the Cake Walk.

Any family needing financial assistance in order to participate in this event should contact Rachel Levesque, school Social Worker, at rlevesque@colonial.net or (978) 318-1300. –Dorina Enes, Amy Tenenbaum & Jennifer Ubaldino, Cake Walk Co-chairs

Silent Auction at Cake Walk!  

The PTG’s Second Annual Silent Auction will take place during the Cake Walk on Saturday March 29.  Last year, this auction raised over $5,000 for our PTG!   The money raised will go directly back to our school and our children through our PTG programs, events, etc.  Please consider donating an item to the silent auction (eg, tickets to a game, event or show, music or art lessons, etc.), or contribute to your grade’s donation (you should be getting an email from your room parent about this).  To sign up to donate an item from your family, or to volunteer to help with the silent auction, or to just see what your grade will be donating to the silent auction, go to: http://thoreauauction2014.wikispaces.com/Home+Page.  -PTG Vice President, Trish Siefer

After School Program Robotics Boot Camp

Join Ms. Erickson and Ms. Howard in 4th Grade ONLY Robotics Boot Camp.  Learn to program the the NXT Lego mind storms.  At the end of the session there will be a mock First Lego League competition.  When:  Thursday mornings, 7:45-8:45;  Who:  4th Grade; Where: Ms. Erickson’s classroom; Cost: $80.  Class Limit 10 students.

Kids Cooking Green is coming in March!  

We’re inviting kids in grades 3 – 5 to come and cook with us in our 5 week, after school program. Do you have a kid who likes to eat and wants to learn more about where his/her food comes from? Would your child like to learn knife skills and cooking techniques? In this hands-on cooking class kids will plan and serve a meal using only local, fresh produce! They will get a chance to work with a local chef and have an in-house field trip with a visiting farmer. Parents are invited to join us for our Dinner Celebration. Kids will be making a spectacular selection of local appetizers, dinner and dessert, all prepared and served by kids!   Class is held in the school cafeteria, Thursdays 3:15-5:15PM starting March 13 through April 10. Cost: $250.  Please visit www.kidscookinggreen.com and click on to class schedule to learn more. To register on line click here: http://www.kidscookinggreen.com/classes/class-schedule/

CHESS CLUB MEETINGS BEGINNING 

The first chess club will run the first meeting on March 6. The last meeting will be May 29. Chess club is for chess lovers who can practice chess and have fun with their school mates. All are welcome! No need for signing up, just show up. It starts every Thursday morning at School Cafeteria from 7:45am t 8:45am.  Come to play some Chess! Parents are welcome to stay and play with the kids!

WINTER OLYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONIES

With much less fanfare than the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies, the end has come for the Winter Olympics Geography Quest. Please return your completed Geography Quest to the box in the Thoreau library. If you would like to help review the Quests, please contact me at anne.mullaney@gmail.com. Thanks! –Anne Mullaney, Geography Quest Chair

LUNCH SCHEDULE

  • Monday, March 10                Breaded Mozzarella Sticks w/ Marinara Sauce
  • Tuesday, March 11               Early Release; No Lunch
  • Wednesday, March 12         Meatball Sub
  • Thursday, March 13              Baked Ham & Cheese on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Friday, March 14                    Cheese Pizza Slice

Around town

Cradles to Crayons Volunteer Opportunity

Cradles to Crayons expects 3,800 requests for boys shirts this April. Here’s how you can help ensure we meet those requests! Looking for a great volunteer opportunity in Concord? Volunteer your time and donate children’s items, at the Cradles to Crayons Concord Community Collection. Join volunteers of all ages to collect, inspect, and sort new and like-new children’s items for local children in-need. Concord Community Collection: Date: Sunday, March 30 from 2:00 – 4:00PM Location: Nashoba Brooks School, 200 Strawberry Hill Road, Concord To volunteer, please RSVP to Rachel at community@cradlestocrayons.org It’s a great opportunity for student service hours! Can’t make it on March 30? Impact the lives of 250 local children by helping to fill our Concord Community Collection Unit, located at 24 Comm. Ave in West Concord. Make C2C part of your family’s spring cleaning routine and donate clothing, coats, toys, books, baby items, and new school supplies in support of the community-wide collection effort this March! Thank you so much for your support. Please pass this email along to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and extended networks to help spread the word.

Free Saturday Morning Playgroups

Concord Children’s Center and Concord Family Network announce free Saturday morning playgroups. Offered on second and fourth Saturdays in March, the following two playgroups offer families opportunities for indoor play and learning. Both playgroups are held at the Concord Children’s Center West Concord location at 1300 Main Street and are free and open to the public.

“Second Saturday Indoor Playspace” gives children up to age six the chance to engage in informal play and activities in a child-friendly indoor space, and parents an opportunity to visit over coffee and goodies. From 9-11:30AM on Saturday, March 8.

“Babies & Books” is a “book group” for babies and is offered to area families with children ages 0-24 months. The informal drop-in setting provides an opportunity for local families to meet and enjoy select stories and songs.  The event will feature a special guest who will provide age-appropriate entertainment, with a focus on fostering a life-long love of reading.  From 9-11AM on Saturday, March 22.

A parent or caregiver must accompany all children. RSVPs are appreciated but not required; to respond or for more information, please contact Eck Redmond 310-619-4249 or eck.redmond@gmail.com.

 Concord Conservatory Presents Tom Chapin Family Concert

The Concord Conservatory of Music is proud to present three time Grammy Award winner, Tom Chapin and his band, performing two family shows at the 51 Walden Theatre, on Sunday, April 13 at 1PM and 3PM.  America’s favorite family entertainer, Tom Chapin is a gifted singer who charms audiences of all ages. His remarkable musicianship, great songwriting and personal warmth shine through in his many award winning recordings and videos but particularly in his concerts which are special experiences for young and old alike.  The Concord Conservatory of Music is pleased to present an entertainer that embodies the meaning of family music, and great music for children.

Tickets are available for purchase online at www.Eventbrite.com.  Tickets can also be purchased at juju –Women’s and Children’s Clothing & Outdoor Store at 82 Thoreau Street, Concord.  The concert is presented by the Concord Conservatory of Music, with presenting sponsor juju, and supporting sponsorship from Cambridge Savings Bank.

For more information please call 978-369-0010, or info@ConcordConservatory.org.  The Concord Conservatory of Music is the area’s non-profit community music school, serving ages 12 months – 95 years with private lessons, group classes and ensemble offerings.  CCM is located at 1317 Main Street in the West Concord Union Church, Concord.  www.ConcordConservatory.org

Social Skills Classes

The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley is partnering with the Eliot Center to offer Social Skills Classes. This program will be facilitated by a LCSW and this class may be billed to insurance companies.   The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley,Inc. serves children in the Maynard, Stow, Concord, Acton and Sudbury.

THURSDAYS, March 27-April 17, Minimum of 3, maximum of 5 participants

  • Group 1: Grades 4-7, 2:30-3:15 pm, Fowler School
  • Group 2: Grades K-3, 3:30-4:15 pm, Fowler School

For more information or to register, please e-mail Jenn Kuo, Inclusion Director at kuo@bgcav.

Brush up on your softball skills 

Register today for preseason clinics!  Clinics run Sundays March 16, March 23, March 30, and April 6 from 2-3:30 at CCHS. Open to all girls in kindergarten through 8th grade. Come work with the CCHS softball coaches and high school players on all aspects of the game. Fee:  $50.00 for 4 weeks

Callen Tennis Update

There are still a few spots open in the K-1st grade Callen Tennis class and one spot in the 2nd-3rd grade class. Program dates are Thursdays, April 17 – June 12 (no class April 24th). The K-1st grade group class will run 3:30PM – 4:15PM and the 2nd-3rd grade class will run from 4:15PM-5:15PM. Cost for 8 week class: $180. To register for Callen Tennis, send an email to callentennis@yahoo.com with the subject line of: Callen Tennis Registration. In the body of the email message, please include your child’s name, grade, teacher and home phone number. Upon receipt of your email, you will be notified via email if your child has a spot or not. If your child does have a spot, a waiver, registration form and payment instructions will be sent via email. In order to guarantee your child’s spot, all forms and payment must be received within 48hrs, no exceptions.

Finding Huck Finn: Reclaiming Childhood From a River of Electronic Screens

The Center for Parents and Teachers Inc., through generous underwriting from the Concord Middle School PTG presents this program on Thursday, March 20, 9:30 to 11 AM at CMS Peabody Forum.

Today’s children are growing up in a world transformed by interactive media. As parents and others who care for children, how can we tell if these media are helping or hurting them? How can we make sure that their media environment supports their health and development? As Mediatrician  and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, offers research-based, balanced answers to these and other urgent questions about parenting in the Digital Age. Learn more at www.centerforparentsandteachers.org.

MySchoolBucks Lunch Account Balance: https://www.myschoolbucks.com/

Math Resources for Parents: http://thoreau.colonial.net/Teachers/Link/ParentResources

The next issue of Thoreau Announcements will be published on March 13, 2014. Submission Deadline: 9 pm Monday, March 10, 2014. 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 announcements@thoreauptg.org.