October 31, 2013


Hello Thoreau Families

We hope you are having a great fall so far! A few updates for you:

We hope to see you all at the Social on Saturday night. It will be tons of fun. The organizers are still looking for some help with set-up, tickets and food prep. If you can help out, please contact Abby White at abbygwhite@comcast.net.

We are looking for two parent reps from Thoreau to be part of a District (K-8) Nutrition & Wellness Committee. It will meet 4 times per year from 3:30-5 and will focus on food service, exercise and wellness programming in the schools. If you are interested in helping out with this, please contact either Carla or Louisa at cm_em@yahoo.com or yamahome@comcast.net.

PTG Meeting November 7th at 9AM in the cafeteria

Next Superintendent/School Committee Coffee: November 19th 7-8:30 Peabody Forum

Next School Committee Meeting: November 12th at 6:30, Ripley

Carla and Louisa


What do Shaggy, Journey, and Def Leopard all have in common? They will all be rocking at the Thoreau School Spirit Adult Social! Saturday, November 2, from 6-11pm at the Concord Rod and Gun Club, 74 Strawberry Hill Rd. Wear your college, high school, or Thoreau School pride or colors—casual attire, CASH bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Get your tickets now! $25 on the PTG website thoreauptg.org UNTIL 8PM on FRIDAY.  Due to processing problems, WE WILL CHARGE ONLY $25 ALSO at the door. Please volunteer to help with set-up, food, or break down by emailing betsydorr@comcast.net or abbygwhite@comcast.net.


Collection boxes for UNICEF have been distributed. Donations collected during trick-or-treat time on Halloween will be put to great use for children in need of security and help.

UNICEF works in over 190 countries, including the United States.  The U.S. Fund for UNICEF spends 90.4 cents of every dollar received on programs that help children. Only 6.7 cents goes to fundraising, and 2.9 cents to administration. Participants learn about the often life-threatening realities faced by children in developing countries and are empowered to take action. It is a unique opportunity for education and service. Please consider having your child participate in this wonderful program.

Thank you!  -Paige Somol, UNICEF Coordinator


Halloween Treats: Please remember to buy alternative treats for those Trick or Treaters who are severely allergic to food items such as peanuts, peanut butter, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc). Read ingredients on labels. Most candies may contain traces of these substances, which could cause severe illness or even death for those who

are sensitive. Even plain M&Ms may be contaminated, because of proximity to or shared packaging equipment. One idea is handing out non-food item treats such as stickers, pencils or coins for those children. I always ask at the door so I can grab my alternative basket of goodies.

More Halloween safety:  All parents need to check their children’s bounty, discarding any unwrapped or suspicious candy or food items. Remind your child not to eat anything until you have given the OK. Also, please make certain that your child can be seen by motorists, whether by wearing reflective clothing and/or by carrying a light. Halloween can be such a fun night, so let’s help keep the children safe. -Nicki Morina Richards, RN, MS, Thoreau School Nurse


Dear Thoreau Families and Friends,

I cannot remember a fall more beautiful than this, both outside and in. Each week has been spectacular in its own way. I have the pleasure each day of driving the back way through Lexington, Lincoln and Concord. While everyone else is backed up on Rt128, I am in beauty with changing trees, horses and cows! Now I have heard that this drive is not so good in the winter so let’s see what I write in January.

It has been an enriching season at Thoreau School. It was wonderful to see so many families at the Book Fair Family Night. Reading to the children was a highlight for me. Additional enrichment activities this month have included author Brian Lies in first grade, field trips for K and 4, Archaeological Dig for grade 3, Chinese Poet working with our students in grade 4, Early Winds: A History of Recorders in grade 3, and World of Wonder Shadow Puppets presented for Kindergarten. Many, many thanks to our PTG for arranging these incredible enrichment opportunities for our students. Of course, October enrichment would not be complete without the witches and skeletons of the Thoreau Monster Madness! Congratulations grade five students, Mr. Lemaire and Ms. Swain on a fantastic performance.

Have you heard about PARCC? PARCC is the new national standardized test, based on the Common Core, that will, within a year, replace our MCAS tests. Thoreau School, as well as Concord Middle School, has been selected to participate in the initial pilot run of the PARCC test. This year, students in two Thoreau classrooms at grades three and five will participate in the PARCC math testing. Grade three students will participate in the PBA (Performance Based Assessment), which will be administered between March 24 and April 11. Grade five students will participate in the EYO (End of Year Assessment), which will be administered between May 5 and June 6. Because two classes of our students at grades three and five have been selected to participate in PARCC math, all of our students in grades three and five will not be required to participate in MCAS math testing. They will, however, participate in all other MCAS testing. To learn more about PARCC, please visit the DOE website.

The “Be’s” have been busy at Thoreau School this month. It has been delightful each morning to hear our fifth grade students announce “Every day at Thoreau School we are Respectful, Responsible and Safe.” As we expand the program, in November you may find your child coming home and proudly displaying a “Be” certificate. Beginning next month, students who are randomly “caught” being Respectful, Responsible and Safe will be given a small “Be” certificate to take home and a Bee with their name on it to proudly display on our Be Board. By the end of the year I am sure that every child will be “caught” and have a Bee displayed on the board. Yea!!

It continues to be my pleasure to work with the incredible Thoreau staff, your beautiful children and you, our Thoreau parents. May this delightful fall continue long into December.

Nancy Peterson


Dear Parents,

We would like to share with you information about a new system that we are using to promote positive behaviors in our cafeteria.

Last year the Thoreau Cares Committee was formed to develop a set of promises and expectations for our school community.  Through the work of this committee, the concept of the “3 Be’s” was developed (Be Safe, Be Responsible and Be Respectful).  In conjunction with the “3 Be’s” a protocol was developed to help with behavior management in the cafeteria (we actually borrowed the idea from Alcott where it was working successfully).  The cafeteria has historically been a place where issues have occurred.

At the beginning of this year, Ms. Peterson and I met with each grade level to review our promises for appropriate cafeteria behaviors and to introduce the system. So how does it work? If students are not following our cafeteria promises, a yellow cup is placed on the table to remind the group of the expectations. In 90% of the cases this reminder is all that is needed. In a few cases, however, the inappropriate behaviors continue. If this is the case, a red cup is placed on the table. A red cup indicates to students that expectations are still not being met and to please stop the inappropriate behaviors. Tables with red cups are called last to line up for recess. As in the past, students still receive verbal reminders. With the cup system, students now get concrete visual reminders about behavior. The goal is that this will help students modify their behaviors and make better choices for themselves in the cafeteria.

Benefits of the system are to keep the noise level down, keep movement under control (students need to raise their hands in order to leave the table so as to not have too many kids up at once) and keep overly silly and/or disrespectful behavior in check.  We hope that students will learn to self-monitor and make good choices with the assistance of this system. At this point in time both students and adults have reported a calmer cafeteria.

We will continue to review the system. In a review discussion last week, we realized that we were missing an opportunity to recognize great behaviors and next week we will be adding a green cup!

Rachel Levesque

Author Jeryy Pallotta reads to kinders on nov. 1st

This Friday, Nov. 1st, Author, Jerry Pallotta, will be presenting to our Kindergarten classrooms in the auditorium.

While promoting the message, “Read a Zillion Books!”, Jerry excites readers with icky bugs and ocean themes.  His curriculum-based books focus on reading, writing, math and science, with just the right dose of humor.  Jerry began writing books in 1986 and has grown his alphabet series to over 22 nonfiction titles including, Ocean Alphabet, The Icky Bug Alphabet, and his newly released Sea Mammal Alphabet.

This program is brought to Thoreau by the Children’s Programming Committee.


The School Committee and Superintendent invite the Concord and Carlisle community members to join them for coffee and conversation on the following dates/time:

Tuesday, November 19, 7-8:30 pm Peabody Forum

Please join us! ~Diana Rigby and School Committee


We would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped make this year’s book fair such a wonderful success. Your help is essential to making the book fair possible. The fair supplies new and used books for the school and Thoreau Community and brings in much needed funds to the PTG to allow them to fund all of the programs that directly benefit our children and our school. Thank you for purchasing wish list books and giving back to the teachers who give so much of themselves to our children. What better way than with books? Lastly, we were thrilled with the response to the Gift of Books request, which allowed us to provide over 75 new books for the BookPALS program.  In addition to our donation, Scholastic will be donating books to three national non-profits dedicated to helping children and families in need. Many thanks!  -Julie Bailey and Susan Gillick, Scholastic Books co-Chairs; Fiona Stevenson, Used Book Chair


The Thoreau School Library and Book Fair are recognized for donating their book drive to the CCHS BookPALS club. Hundreds of gently used children’s picture books and chapter books have been donated to the club. In addition, Thoreau donated $500 of their proceeds to purchase new titles from Scholastic. BookPALS is a CCHS club that brings students to the Condon School in South Boston where they serve as mentors by sharing books to promote a love for reading. After each session the Condon students get to choose a book to keep. The Thoreau donation this year, and moving forward into the future, ensures that BookPALS will continue to build connections between CCHS students, and the children of the Condon School. Specific recognition goes to Karen Pettyjohn (Thoreau School librarian) and parent volunteers Julie Bailey, Susan Gillick, and Fiona Stevenson.

Thanks again, Robin Cicchetti CCHs Librarian

Lost & Found in the Cafeteria

All items remaining on Friday, November 15, will be donated to a local charity.  Please check it before then.   On Conference Day, Tuesday, November 12, a table and bins will be set up in the main hallway with items remaining in the Lost & Found.

Coming Soon: Kindergarten/1st Grade Parent Coffee!

Please join us for a “School’s underway and pre-holiday” get-together, coffee, and light snacks. This is a great opportunity to meet other parents with children in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Informal/Drop-in format; RSVPs welcome but not necessary.  Pre-elementary siblings welcome! Friday, November 15, 8:45am – 10:30am at 56 Hill Street, West Concord.  Contact Anne Remington, annee567@yahoo.com -or- Stefanie Sim, stefaniesim1@hotmail.com.

Early Winds:  A History of Recorders Music Workshop

On Wednesday October 23, David Coffin, a musician and educator, brought to Thoreau third grade classes his entertaining presentation of the history of the recorder.  From the primitive ocarina and medieval gemshorns to recorders of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Coffin showed students beautifully crafted instruments from his personal collection.  With humor and charisma, Coffin demonstrated how these instruments develop and create distinctive sound and music.

This workshop was brought to Thoreau by the Children’s Programming Committee.

 MCAS Schedule – 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

Please be mindful of these dates, and make every effort to have your children in school, and on time.  Thank you for your cooperation. -Nancy Peterson, Principal


  • Monday, November 4                        Popcorn Chicken
  • Tuesday, November 5                        Early Release Day – No Lunch
  • Wednesday, November 6                        WG Pasta w/ choice of sauce
  • Thursday, November 7                        Baked Potato Bar
  • Friday, November 8                                    Cheese Pizza Slice

Around town

Calling all Concord and Carlisle sports fans

Concord Carlisle at Play, the group leading the effort to rebuild the tennis courts and renovate the fields facilities at CCHS, invites the community to provide ideas and feedback at a public meeting on November 7 at Harvey Wheeler. See www.CCatPlay.org for more information.

Center for Parents and Teachers Seminar

Mark your calendars! The Center for Parents and Teachers presents a Parent Education Seminar in collaboration with the Concord Middle School PTG: “Freedom vs. Limits:  Finding the Right Balance For Your Adolescent”.  Parents/grandparents of teens along with those of pre-teens are welcome to attend!

Thursday morning, November 7, 2013, from 9:15 to 11:15 AM at the Concord Middle School Peabody Forum, 1231 Old Marlboro Road, West Concord (please be sure to go to the Peabody Building, driving past the Sanborn Middle School Building, also located on Old Marlboro Road).  Free and open to all.  No pre-registration is required.

 Private Lessons and Ensembles Available at The Concord Conservatory of Music

Are you starting to study a string instrument, or a band instrument at school?  Learn more about private lessons at The Concord Conservatory of Music to support your student’s musical studies.  CCM has openings for strings, flute, saxophone, percussion, voice and jazz students.  Lessons include master classes, workshops, and performance opportunities.  Need a group to play with?  Come to CCM to join an ensemble.  Private registration is ongoing throughout the year; please contact the office directly to schedule a meeting with a faculty member.  CCM is located in West Concord at 1317 Main Street.  For more information please call 978-369-0010, info@ConcordConservatory.org, or visit www.ConcordConservatory.org.   CCM is a non-profit organization; financial aid is available.

American Heart Association at CCHS

The Community Education department offers several more safety courses this fall.

  • Pediatric First Aid:            Tuesday, November 19, 6-9:30 PM
  • CPR/AED (Heartsaver):   Tuesday, December 3, 6-9 PM

The courses are also available as “hybrid” courses, with part online and followed by a brief skills session that is individually scheduled at CCHS. For more information visit www.ace.colonial.net or call 318-1432.

Fenn School Annual Sports Sale

The 45th Annual Sports Sale takes place at The Fenn School in Concord on Saturday November 2! We have a wide selection of gently-used sports equipment for boys and girls covering a variety of sports including lacrosse, hockey, soccer and baseball and at low prices. Representatives from Hardy’s Ski Emporium will be on-hand to offer an assortment of brand new skis, boots and poles at great before-season prices. Gym doors open at 9:00 a.m. and close promptly at noon. The Fenn School is located at 516 Monument Street in Concord.

National Charity League Fundraiser

7th Grade National Charity League girls have teamed up with Reasons To Be Cheerful to benefit Open Table. Please come to RTBC on Sunday, November 3rd between 12-8pm to try the newest flavor, Pumpkin Hydrox Cookie (hand-made exclusively by the NCL girls)!

RTBC will donate a percentage of ALL sales that day of any flavor ice cream to Open Table. Also, please bring a donation of a non-perishable food or paper product (like toilet paper) for Open Table, sponsored by NCL, and receive a FREE topping! Hope to see you there!

Harvey Wheeler Center Hosts Peter and the Wolf

On Sunday November 3rd. 4PM at the Harvey Wheeler Center in West Concord; Concord Children’s Center will host Radius Ensemble for a return family concert of Peter and the Wolf . The November 3rd Concert is appropriate for children and adults of all ages.  The Ensemble will introduce their instruments and children will explore the wonderful animal sounds that can be made by winds and strings.   A chamber music ensemble, Radius was founded in 1999 by Concord resident, oboist, and impresario Jennifer Montbach.  Tickets may be purchased on the Concord Children’s center website http://concordchildrenscenter.org/fall-family-fundraiser-november-3/; at the door or at the Toy Shop and The Concord Bookshop located in Concord Center.

November Events at the Concord Free Public Library

Third Grade Book Eaters Club
Let’s share our favorite books (old & new). Plus games, crafts, and food!
November 20 at 4pm.  Let’s explore different subjects in the Non Fiction area:
Pets, poetry, cooking, crafts, space, history…

  • Show & Tell…  Bring a favorite Non Fiction Book to Share Activity…        
  • Do the Dewey Decimal Hunt
  • Food…Dewey Mix Snack: What Do We mix together to remember the Dewey Decimal system?

The BookMarkers

A Book Discussion and Activity Club for Kids in Grade 4 & 5. Book Discussion: PI in the SKY by Wendy Mass.  Copies of the book available at the Library. Activity: Make Mini Apple Pies. Tuesday November 12 at 7PM.

For both, register @ www.concordlibrary.org.  Walk-ins also welcome. Concord Free Public Library, 129 Main Street. For more info call (978) 318-3358.

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 November 7, 2013. Submission Deadline: 9 pm Monday, November 4, 2013. 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.