Thompson School News : April 9, 2018

Save The Date

* New *

  • April 9, Monday – All Town Band Concert
  • April 11, Wednesday – PTO Meeting – Parents only, 6-8 PM
  • April 12, Thursday – Arlington EATS Community Dinner, 6-7 PM
  • April 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 – No School
  • April 22, Sunday 11:50 AM to 1:50 PM – Thompson Skating Party @ Rink
  • April 27, Friday, Spirit Day: Wacky Socks
  • April 27, Friday, 3rd Grade Trip to Plimoth Plantation

School Calendar

Click http://tinyurl.com/ndp8spb for Thompson’s Google Calendar to get school holidays, early release days, and PTO events on your own calendar. Click http://tinyurl.com/y7u5k2on for a printable version of this month’s calendar.

PTO Update

Happy Spring to one and all! Dare we say winter is finally over? Here is a recap of events for January through March.

Kindergartners enjoyed a Kidstock Creative Theater performance teaching them about diversity and inclusion, while our 1st graders learned about weather from the Discovery Museum’s traveling program. Second graders visited the Japan House and tried their hand at Suminagashi. With a partial grant from the Mass Cultural Council, our 4th graders visited the Museum of Fine Arts to learn about Greek art. The 5th grade hosted the States of Matter program from the Museum of Science.

All school enrichment programs included Experiments to Gross you Out, a demonstration by Jessica Garrett, where she talked about gross science. Grades K-2 had an opportunity to attend an assembly led by local author and storyteller Norah Dooly, and 2nd grade participated in a storytelling workshop with Ms. Dooley. Thank you to the teachers for their support in making these activities happen and to the entire Enrichment Team for organizing them.

Between January and March, the PTO spent approximately $6,800 on enrichment activities. The success of our fall Direct Donation Drive, the sale of the Arlington Community Card, and other smaller fundraising efforts, allow us to support existing programs and to continue to explore new and innovative ones.

Our community events continue to be popular among families and we have seen our attendance numbers grow. The new year kicked off with the beloved parent only Winter Party. You know the party is a success when the fire marshal has to kick you out of Town Hall because the music and dancing would not stop! We held our first PTO-sponsored Arlington EATS community meal and were reminded of how powerful sharing a meal together can be. Despite a stormy and rainy night, Game Night saw a big turnout thanks to the enthusiasm of the kids and parents who braved the weather.

The showcase event of the year, the Science EXPLO, highlighted not just the level of interest the kids have in learning about science, but the amazing scientific parent community at our school. With 5 hours of science immersion activities the event was a big hit. We are grateful for all the volunteers who made this event happen including all the parent exhibitors who spent their Saturday showing our kids how cool science can be. None of these events would have happened without an amazing group of parents stepping up and taking charge. Thanks to the event chairs Ashley Lorenz, Gaggi DeStefanis, Jodi Auerbach, John Levins, Shauna Pellauer, Stacey Inhat, Chris Pacheco, Yael Beals, and Kate Murphy.

Although the Thompson Drama Project is not a PTO event, we want to recognize the tremendous effort and talent of all the actors who participated and the enthusiasm of the parents who made it all possible. Congratulations to the Thompson Drama Project team for another year of outstanding performances!

What’s coming next you ask? As the weather gets warmer, we get even busier!

Looking ahead to the final three months of this school year: Kindergartners will visit Wingaersheek Beach and learn about tide pools, while 1st Grade visits the Discovery Museum, the Franklin Park Zoo and a new program with “Discovering Justice.” Second Grade will go to see “Stuart Little” at Wheelock Family Theater. Third grade’s social studies curriculum will have them learn about colonial times with a visit to Plimoth Plantation, Jason Russell House and the Royal House Museum. They will also attend a program led by the First Light Foundation on Wampanoag culture. Fourth Graders will watch an IMAX movie at the Museum of Science on Lewis and Clark and 5th Grade will visit the Old South Meeting House, learn about birds of prey and visit George’s Island as their final Thompson field trip.

In addition, grades 3 to 5 will attend an ImprovBoston Workshop on anti-bullying, while 4th and 5th graders will participate in Yoga sessions during the MCAS season in April and May.

We will wrap up the year with the Skating Party on Sunday, April 22nd and the Family Picnic on Thursday, June 7th.

During this time, the PTO will recruit for its 2018-2019 open positions. If you are curious about a PTO role or know that you would like to be part of the PTO board, please reach out to us. As you can see, the PTO is growing and needs your participation to continue to offer Thompson students these amazing opportunities.

Nandana Mewada
Diana Trudell
PTO Co-presidents

Thompson News & Events

Ice Skating Party

Sunday, April 22nd, 11:50 am – 1:50 pm

Join your friends at the Thompson Skating Party! Sunday, April 22nd from 11:50 am to 1:50 pm at the Ed Burns Arena. Bring your own helmet and skates or rent them for $5/pair. Pizza and drinks will be available for sale. Entry to the event will be $3 per skater. Please note, the paper calendar incorrectly lists the event on Saturday, April 21st.

Run or walk a 5k and support Thompson PTO

The 5K run/walk, Cause + Event Boston, is coming back to Arlington on Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day) at 8:00 am.

C+E Boston is a fun, family-oriented event that celebrates health and wellness, the spirit of philanthropy among the runners, and the work of the nonprofits in our community. This race is unique – at least 50% of each runners’ registration fee is donated to their charity of choice. You can select the Thompson PTO or your favorite charity.

Over the past three years, Cause + Event has donated almost $1000 to the Thompson PTO as a part of the $60,000 donated to participants’ selected charities. This is the goal race for the FitGirls program so there will 250+ 4th and 5th grade girls running the 5K including 45 from Thompson!

Register today at www.causeandeventboston2018.racewire.com, and do it soon, last year the race sold out a month early!

You can learn more about the race at the Cause + Event Boston website. Questions? Feel free to contact Sara Wilkinson @swilkie49@hotmail.com.

The Thompson School Council Needs You!​

Thompson School Logo

For the 2018-2019 school year, we will be electing a new School Council. The School Council is a separate body from the PTO. If you are interested in becoming a School Council Member please email nmewada@gmail.com and diana_lutz@yahoo.com a brief bio and a statement of interest. The PTO will hold elections after the spring break.

The Thompson​ School Council is a representative, school-based committee composed of the principal, parents, teachers, and community members. School Councils were established by the Massachusetts Education Reform Act to improve and provide support for public schools. The School Council acts under the supervision of the Arlington School Committee.

The School Council members are elected and is comprised of equal numbers of parents and teachers. This year, we will hold an election for 2 Parent Representatives. We will meet once a month in the afternoon or early evening. Meetings of the Council are public, and all interested members of the ​Thompson community may attend.

The School Council is charged with planning, goal setting, and budgeting for improvements at ​Thompson​. Specific responsibilities of the School Council include:

  • Adopting educational goals for the school that are consistent with local educational policies and statewide student performance standards
  • Identifying the educational needs of students attending the school
  • Formulating a school improvement plan.

First Grade Discoverers!

The 1st grade toured the newly renovated Discovery Museum in Acton on Friday, April 6. They explored Discovery Woods and the new treehouse, saw STEAM principles at work in the Air Play, Sound Gallery, and Water Gallery exhibits, and created in the da Vinci Workshop.

Community

Arlington EATS NEEDS YOUR HELP!

Arlington EATSThe School Snack Program is growing by the day, and our kids are making good use of it. Students are encouraged to snack on fruit, which is generously supplied through our community partner, Food Link. However, the rest of the snacks offered are purchased. Helping us continue to offer this program and meet growing demands is as easy as adding another item or two to your grocery list and dropping it off in one of our marked bins.

For more information about our School Snack Program and a list of approved snacks, here’s our School Snack Program Fact Sheet. We appreciate your support!

SEPAC

SEPACThis month, Kristin DeFrancisco & Stephanie Greiner will discuss the Gibbs during the Special Education Parent Advisory Council meeting.

When: Tuesday, April 10th, 7 p.m.

Where: Ottoson Media Center (Library)

Donations for Book Sale at the Robbins

Book and media donations are needed for the Friends of the Robbins Library’s annual Children and Young Adult Book Sale on Saturday, April 21st from 9:00 to 2:00 pm in the Robbins Library Community Room. Donations can be dropped off at the Robbins Library now. Look for the big blue bin near the Circulation Desk of the Robbins. Support Arlington’s libraries by purchasing children’s and teen books, movies, and music at the sale. There will be craft activities to keep children occupied as parents search for books.

School Librarian Information & Advocacy

Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 PM @ Robbins Library Community Room

School Librarians 2018 04 11 aFind out what school librarians do and how we can get them back into Arlington Public Schools at this information session open to all.

School librarians teach research skills, safety online, digital citizenship, and information communication skills. They are essential partners for teachers.

School Librarians 2018 04 11 bSchool library programs staffed by qualified school librarians have a positive impact on student academic achievement.

See School Library Advocacy Fact Sheet 2018 04

Dallin Auction

Looking for a fun evening out? Come to the Dallin Elementary School Auction at Town Hall on Friday, April 27th, 7-11pm. We have so many great auction items this year. Beverages and bidding all to benefit the Dallin PTO. Always a great evening! You can purchase tickets online HERE or by mailing in a check with the ticket form available on http://dallinpto.org/ . Questions about the event can be directed to: DallinSchoolAuction@gmail.com

Grandparents Support Group

The Town of Arlington offers a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group which now meets on the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 1:30 at the AYCC offices in the Whittemore-Robbins House behind the Robbins Library. Prospective members should email LAugust@town.arlington.ma.us or call the Council on Aging, 781-316-3410, for a short telephone interview before attending the group.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Thompson PTO has many volunteer needs both small and big. If you’re looking for a way to give back to Thompson, here’s a list of ways you can help.

Join The Annual Picnic Team

Spring is here and with it, one of our favorite events of the year – the school picnic. In addition to the dunk tank, bounce houses and of course the cake walk we are adding some activities this year and could use your ideas and help to make this the best picnic yet! Join the team!

Contact: Kate Murphy, thompsonschoolvolunteers@gmail.com

Ice Skating Party

A few volunteers are needed to help with set-up, clean-up and concessions at the party. Could be a great excuse to attend but not have to lace-up skates!

Sign-Up Here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f49adad2aa0f49-thompson9

School Library Needs Help!

Help out at the Thompson Library! Miss Mak is looking for volunteers to help with book shelving and library upkeep on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings. Please email amakrianis@arlington.k12.ma.us if you’re interested or have any questions!

Help Throughout the Year

To check all current volunteer opportunities: http://tinyurl.com/ThompsonPTOVolunteers

Connect with Us

THOMPSON PTO BOARD

Nandana Mewada, Co-President
Diana Trudell, Co-President
Yael Beals, Vice-President
Danielle Gottesman, Communications Chair

If you have news to share with the community, please email ThompsonPTOevents@gmail.com by Thursday at 12 noon to be included in the next newsletter.

Please note that we will only include news from the Thompson School and Town of Arlington. Announcements of interest to the Thompson community from other non-profit organizations may be included at our discretion.

PTO Meeting Minutes – Jan. 10, 2018

Principal

Karen Donato

Teacher’s Rep

None

PTO Board

Co-presidents: Diana Trudell & Nandana Mewada
Vice-President: Yael Beals
Co-treasurers: Sara Wilkinson & Carolyn Schneyer
Co-secretaries: Emily Gauthier & Fiona Ehring
Fundraising: Juliet Moir
Arlington Community Card: Ashley Lorenz & Gaggi DeStefanis
Enrichment: Maf Terry & Tonja Bishop
Communications: Danielle Gottesman
Spirit & Appreciation: Judy Hu & Melissa Crowley
Room Parents: Sarah Gupta
Volunteers: Kate Murphy

Thompson Community

Diana Trudell, Carolyn Schneyer

Introductions – All

Minutes approval – All

School updates: Principal – Ms. Donato

  • Moved into new space, some things remain to be done
  • Kids and teachers feeling good in their new classrooms
  • Working on pest (mice) issues on main floor
  • Dealing with snow/ice, parking issues
    • A concern was raised that no path was cleared from the Everett St. park entrance to the pineapple entrance.
    • Another concern, should we have indoor arrival in cases of excess snow? Also, how to communicate indoor arrival to parents. What are the criteria for indoor arrival?
  • School budget discussions, presentation to School Committee tomorrow (1/11)
    • Special request for an additional social worker to be in place before need becomes critical. This request will be prioritized over a request for another fourth grade teacher.
    • Adding full-time Kindergarten assistants.
  • Sarah Burd Guest Speaker- NANDANA
    • Sara Burd will speak in the multi-purpose room on 12/31/18 at 7:00pm- topics will include social and emotional direction for the school district.
  • PTO Sponsoring an Arlington EATS Community Meal (2/8)- DIANA
    • PTO presence to better get to know members of our in need population.
    • Recommend sponsoring a meal, $750 donation
      • Volunteers
      • Set-up
      • Serving
      • Eating
      • Clean-up
    • Usually serve 80-100 people
    • 2nd Thursday of each month
    • Half of the attendees are part of the Thompson community
    • Volunteers are encouraged to share in the meal (if desired, a donation may be made to defray the cost of the meal)
    • Send out a flyer/email asking for volunteers to sponsor the event and contributions
    • Decision made to go forward with this
  • Twinkie- SARA W.
    • Mrs. Foley’s 3rd grade class is requesting reimbursement for a vet bill to check out a tumor.
    • Decision made to go forward with this
    • Note: This is not a regular thing, don’t want to set a precedent.
  • School Council election (March- April for 2018-2019)
    • Regular meetings are not occuring because of scheduling issues. Morning meetings are not possible for some members.
    • Usual focus is advocating for building renovation/ improvement. There have not been any big issues to discuss so far this year.
    • Need new elections for new reps. PTO should handle the election process. (Look into how it was done in the past)
    • The council should also have a community rep.
      School council vets school improvement plans

      • School improvement plan is based on a district plan,
      • set goals in different areas and how to accomplish those goals
    • Enrichment
  • Grants- MEGHAN
    • YEAH!!! We got a grant! $595 4th Grade MFA field trip from the MA Cultural Council. Include mention of this in the newsletter.
    • Working on Bruins Foundation Grant to promote physical activity
      • Fit Girls
      • Yoga
    • It would be helpful to meet early in the year to make plans regarding grants
    • S.T.E.M. Grant 2.5K
      • Rolling quarterly applications
    • Need some ideas
  • Photos- If identifiable, need to check with the office before publishing
  • Enrichment 2018- MAF AND TONJA
    • Norah Dooley for K-2 storytelling, with focus on diversity/ tolerance. Including workshops for the 2nd grade
    • Improv Boston Anti-bullying program for grades 3-5
    • Kidstock for Kindergarteners
    • 1st grade weather program
    • Check on 3-D printing in the past
  • Communications: DANIELLE & RICH
    • Newsletter-
      • tweaking format for email version
      • Paper version monthly
      • emails go out via Mailchimp which collects data regarding how often the email is opened, read and or clicked through.
      • Last Winter the numbers were at about ⅓ opened, trended down after a while.
      • After email is sent, the newsletter is posted to the Thompson website, used to be auto fed to Twitter and Facebook. Due to parental protest regarding personal info being too public, it is now only on the website.
      • Revisit in one year, suggestions for changes/ improvements to the newsletter at that time.
        • Is Monday AM the best time to send it out?
        • Deadline for content is Thursday, editing and compiling typically happens over the weekend.
        • Possible to experiment with timing and get feedback via Mailchimp. Effort vs. reward?
        • Should use a consistent style for the newsletter, makes it easier to input content
          • This can be tabled for a smaller group discussion.
        • Link to newsletter should be tweeted/ posted on Facebook
        • PTO Google calendar is great!
    • Website
      • On WordPress platform
      • Goals
        • Keep costs down (now hosted on Amazon, free)
        • Secure: https
        • Simple and clean for easy maintenance
      • How to use it
        • Resource for incoming Kindergarten parents
        • Mirrors info in newsletter *need to update content- please take a look and give feedback on what needs to be done
      • Shopping cart tool- now using paypal (better option?)
      • Work on optimizing for mobile as well as computer. Multiple platforms make this a significant undertaking.
      • Decision that optimizing for mobile is a high priority.
  • Debrief:
    • Community Card Fall Sales- ASHLEY, GAGGI
      • Total sold is approx. 1600 out of 2000 printed (some were given away to new families)
      • 61% Town Day, 13% Family sales, 20% Book Rack, Other +/- 16% (School events, farmers market, etc.)
      • Spirit Wear- JUDY, MELISSA
        • Everything distributed, but still many to give away. (esp.Magnets)
        • For Next Time; possibly make smaller sizes available
        • Next Spirit Wear sale in 2 years, (same time frame as previous sale)
      • Holiday Help- DIANA
        • 2 families with 7 kids
        • Next year, possible request for gift cards for new families
      • Book Fair- DIANA
        • $2200 commission, $100 GF Book Rack, Ms Mak’s & Reading specialists list fulfilled. $1088 Sponsorship collected ($742 Spiritwear, $286 Book fair – covering 40 kids) $60.34 remaining.
      • Helena’s- DIANA – Very low attendance, consider doing it less frequently or at a different time of year. (Ie. just before Winter Party)
  • Winter Parent’s Party 1/27 Gaggi DeStefanis & Ashley Lorenz
    • Need volunteers for set-up/clean-up
    • Invites for teachers this week
    • Flyers next week
      • Paypal
      • cash/check
      • Sponsorship option
    • Room parent email next week
    • Email graphics via Karen
    • Reach out to alumni parents
    • Advertise via Arlington Family Connection and Arlington Parents List, Invite future Thompson parents
  • Game Night 3/2 Diana Trudell & Shauna Pellauer
    • Seeking volunteers
  • Science Explo. 3/17 Yael Beals & Chris Pacheco
    • Send email via room parents
    • Set up meeting for those interested in helping
  • Upcoming PTO meetings- Wednesday, February 14 from 7 to 9 pm, Thompson Library.

PTO Meeting Minutes – Nov. 27, 2017

Decisions

  • Winter Party Proposal Update
    1/27
    Price based on choice of caterer and venue. Budget to be clarified by next meeting.
  • Science Explo Date will be 3/17
    Food, donations from families or vendors? Check with Arlington eats regarding current regulations.
  • December Meeting will be 12/15 @ 8:15am
  • Calendar
    Game Night 3/2/18

General

Spending Guidelines

  • Examples: laminator, Ms. Foley’s proposal
  • As the PTO grows, how are spending guidelines to be created?
  • AEF process as an example, broad approach
  • Create a proposal form,
  • Possible criteria;
  • Ties to curriculum
  • Innovative
  • Not politically motivated
  • Supporting families in need
  • Must apply to at least one grade
  • Promotes learning ( ie. wobble seats)
  • Enrichment guidelines
  • ? how do you think this meets the needs of the Thompson community?
  • Analysis, Working backwards to evaluate. Send feedback forms to Teacher (and Parent volunteers?) for field trips and enrichment activities
  • Other ideas: Create a line item in the annual budget with a set allocation.
  • If the teacher stipend were increased ($250?) would this minmize requests?
  • Create a wishlist for specific classroom items.
  • Verify that the requested item is not covered by the school/ town budget.
  • Teacher feedback, online survey.
  • Fund mini grants in the spring of 2018.
  • Voting protocol

Cyber attacks

  • PSA @ the beginning of each school year to promote awareness.
  • Are there easy protective measures that could be put in place? Check in with Hardy PTO

School Council

  • PTO runs the school council election. There is a conflict of scheduling and the members have not been able to meet, are reelections nesc? Do the members want to continue? Two members have children who will be graduating so changeover will happen next year anyway. Would a council parent like to
    attend the next PTO meeting?

Status of our In need community

  • : Discussion; Mtg with Ms. Donato, guidelines, Spirit Wear. What else can we do to make it more efficient?
  • Extra money for shirts, where is it used? Books? Surplus items to be sold, given away, added to raffle baskets? Book vouchers @ the book fair or from a list?
  • Communicate to event chairs that need in the moment will be answered with a yes.

Enrichment

  • Nandana & Maf: Big Picture framework: How do we decide this program over another? So we do any activity teachers suggest or do we have a say? Continue designing the protocol: feedback form (Jessica), end of the year discussion with teachers, proposal for any new programs.
  • How to make the process streamlined.
  • In the future, teacher surveys after events. What works one year may not work the next.
  • As grades gain or change teachers how can enrichment events be communicated between teachers.
  • Can we have a repository of information, times to schedule, contact numbers etc.
  • How to incorporate 3D printer into an enrichment curriculum? Science Explo?

Communications

Following up with thank yous and newsletter posts

Spirit & Appreciations

  • Spirit Wear Wrap up- How to handle the surplus?
    Extra money for shirts, where is it used? Books? Surplus items to be sold, given away, added to raffle baskets?
  • How is approval handled? Easiest way to communicate? CC Karen with a request to respond, place a notice in the teachers room.
  • Spirit days
    Pineapple day? (Wait for spirit wear to be in.)
    Community meeting “Wear a Crown”
    Staff appreciation days each year?
    Each grade could write thank you notes to specific members of staff. Cafeteria workers, nurse etc.