One of the most important parts of being a parent volunteer is student confidentiality. We ask that you never discuss the children with anyone other than the teacher. We hope that you would not compare one child to another as each learns at his or her own pace. We have a confidentiality agreement you should sign. If you have concerns about a situation, please speak to the appropriate teacher or Principal.
Behavior and Discipline
Our goal at Ward School is to provide a positive learning environment for our children which will help them feel successful as people and learners. We try to create an environment in which each child will believe that his or her achievement is based on personal effort. We expect students to want to learn, to respect the learning requirements of others, and to experience the satisfaction and excitement that comes from success.
We know that children need to feel comfortable and safe in order to learn. Limit setting helps to provide that comfort. Limits at Ward are established through two important rules that all students have approved: (1) all children must feel and be safe; and (2) all children must have an optimal environment for their learning. When a child acts thoughtlessly and impulsively, often a reminder of the group consensus is all that is needed to help him or her regain control of behavior; however, when positive reinforcement and reminders are not producing the desired behaviors, and the learning or safety of others is negatively affected, parents may be called and privileges suspended. Consequences such as these need to be understood by children and consistently enforced by adults. Children are expected to treat one another in a respectful manner. Games, clubs and activities that are exclusionary are prohibited. The rule is: You can’t say you can’t play.
Students should not use roller blades, skateboards or scooters, to travel to school to school or during the school day. In the winter, for safety reasons, snowball throwing and sliding on the ice are not allowed.
We want our students to feel comfortable in their classrooms and proud of themselves as learners and as members of the Ward community; these are the requirements for optimal learning. (Please see The Newton Public Schools' "Student Rights and Responsibilities" Handbook for an overview of the school system's discipline policy.)
If you wish to celebrate your child's birthday with the class, consult with the teacher to arrange a birthday surprise such as pencils and non food items. Students' addresses are printed in the handbook so that invitations can be mailed home -- birthday party invitations should not be handed out at school.
Children should dress neatly and comfortably for the school day. Clothing should be respectful -- messages, logos, or pictures should be appropriate for the school environment. Any article of clothing promoting or depicting violence, sex, drugs, or alcohol is inappropriate and will not be allowed in our school. We ask that hats not be worn in school. On days when children have physical education, they should wear
sneakers and clothes in which they can move comfortably. Children have recess everyday and do go out on snowy days, so dress your child with jacket, hat, mittens, and boots on cold days. Children must wear appropriate gear to play in the snow. Flip flops are not safe footwear.
All volunteers must fill out a criminal offender record information form. Forms may be obtained in the school office. Deliveries for Students If your child forgets some item (i.e. lunch, homework, coat, etc.) and you wish to bring it to school for them, please stop by the office and tell the secretary. DO NOT go to the classroom to deliver the item. The secretary will make sure that the student receives the item in time for its intended purpose.
Each teacher will make arrangements for individual trips with his/her class' students and parents. Students are encouraged to participate in these out-of-the-classroom trips. There is a confidential discretionary fund for parents who need assistance with the cost. Parents are welcome to assist as chaperones; however, students are under the direct supervision of the teacher. Students must have a written permission slip signed by the parent in order to participate.
Our school makes every effort to reduce the risk of life threatening allergic reaction caused by accidental allergen exposure during the day. Therefore, we have:
• No food sharing or trading during snack or lunch.
• No food on the bus
• No food for birthday celebrations
• Limited use of food for classroom celebrations, and curriculum instructions Families will be notified if it is necessary to restrict particular foods, based on student needs in a classroom.
The Newton School Committee's policy states that no teacher in the performance of regular duties shall receive presents from the pupils under his or her direction. In addition, students are prohibited from exchanging gifts with other students during school. This has the potential to be exclusionary which is contradictory to our Core Values. Cards, notes, and pictures from students and parents are always appreciated.
Homework is an integral part of a child's educational program. It not only expands the learning process but helps develop independence and responsibility. Homework will vary in intensity and degree at different grade levels. Parents are encouraged to provide a quiet, comfortable place in the home for study and a consistent time for homework to be done. In addition to nightly reading, each teacher will outline his or her homework policy and schedule at Curriculum Night. Beginning in grade one, ten minutes a night is suggested in addition to 20 -30 minutes of reading (or listening to) a book. Each year, about ten minutes of homework time is added. If children are taken out of school for family vacation purposes, it is Newton’s policy NOT to provide assignments for this time.
The Newton Public School system offers Internet access to its students at all levels. Access to the school computer network and to Internet and e-mail services is a privilege, not a right. The intent of this policy is to ensure that students utilize this access in a responsible manner consistent with the purpose of providing these services.
Lost and Found
Clothing and lunch boxes should be labeled to prevent items from being lost. Please emphasize to your children the importance of keeping track of their personal belongings. However, if something is lost, children and parents can check the lost and found barrel on the bottom floor outside of the music room.
Students in all grades eat lunch at school on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and long Thursdays. Students may request and pay for the school lunch, or if they bring lunch from home can sign up for the milk program only. In September, all families at Ward should receive forms along with a menu so that parents can review the menu choices with their children. School lunch is available for all students. All fees are listed -- for a three-month program or a one-month program. Free and reduced forms also go home in September for anyone who needs financial assistance (application required).
Lunch Times at Ward are:
11: 50- 12:25 12:30 - 1:10 1:15 - 1:50 Since the grade assignment for these three lunch periods changes yearly, please refer to your child's schedule. During these times, children are supervised by lunch attendants. Children eat lunch in the Dolphin Cafe, and weather permitting, are taken outside for recess. Children should dress accordingly. To play in the snow, boots are required and snow pants are suggested.
Out of District Request Policy
Under Newton's policy of optional enrollment, a pupil may attend an out-of-district school providing there is space available in that school. No new staff will be hired, and parents will be responsible for transporting their child to the out-of-district school. Parents wishing further information or an application form may visit the district webpage here: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/1067. Applications will be considered in the order in which they are received. Siblings of students already enrolled in the school will be given preference over children with no siblings in the school providing there is space.
We do our best at Ward to respect the personal property of all students and to ensure the safety of students as well as property. With this in mind, please adhere to the following guidelines:
• Parents should write their child's name on all student clothing and other valuable items. This can help to reunite lost items with their owners.
• Students should not bring money or other valuable items to school.
• Cell phones, iPods, or other electronic devices must be turned off and remain in the student’s backpack while in school.
• Video games should not be brought to school.
• Hard baseball bats and balls, Frisbees, hard footballs, and other throwing or striking objects that could be dangerous should not be brought to school.
• Trading cards may not be brought to school.
• Scooters, skate boards, rollerblades or anything on wheelies may not be brought to school.
Placement of Students
Class placement is an intricate and thoughtful process that elicits input from a variety of people with in-depth knowledge of students. Our goal is to create classes that reflect the diversity that is a strength of our school, while putting together groups of children that work together effectively both academically and socially. Classes are balanced with respect to gender, independence of learning, academic performance, race, ethnic background, and social needs. Two weeks before the process begins, all families will receive a letter from the principal describing the process and giving parents an opportunity to provide information about their child. Parents should not mention a specific teacher but rather to focus on their child. An enormous amount of time and energy goes into this important task; therefore, once assignments have been made, decisions are final.
Posting Information on School Grounds
If anyone wishes to place a poster, flyer, or any other printed material on the school walls, this MUST be approved by the principal.
Request for a Special Education Evaluation
The Newton Public Schools, in accordance with the Massachusetts Special Education Law, has developed a variety of instructional programs and support services designed to meet the needs of students requiring special education services. A parent, teacher, or any adult working with a student may refer that student for an evaluation by the school's Special Education TEAM if they are concerned about the student’s progress in school. Parents may request a referral by speaking with the classroom teacher or principal as well as submitting a written request. After a parent has signed a "letter of consent" indicating specific areas to be evaluated, the TEAM conducts assessments. Assessments may include, but are not limited to, academic, speech and language, fine or gross motor skills, psychological, medical, and home assessments. As members of their child's TEAM, parents play an important role and attend all TEAM meetings. With parental consent, students determined to have special needs are provided services through a variety of programs staffed by professionals certified to serve children with special needs. The programs are designed to allow children with special needs to remain in the regular classroom to the maximum extent possible consistent with their special needs. For more information, contact the principal.
Each autumn, a professional photography company will take pictures at school. Parents have the opportunity to purchase a variety of different styles and sizes of individual student pictures as well as class pictures. Parents may also decide not to purchase any pictures. If purchasing pictures is a financial hardship for any family, they should speak to the principal.
A daily snack time is provided for children in all grades. Healthy snacks (fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, crackers, cheese, juice, etc.) should be sent to school by parents in non-breakable containers. Candy and gum are not allowed.
Each spring, the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment of Skills) are administered to all students in grades 3, 4, and 5 in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Each year the testing schedule is published in the ForWard newsletter. Fifth grade students are also tested in History/Social Science and Science/Technology. In addition, a series of tests are required by the district in English Language Arts to assess student needs and progress towards grade level benchmarks. These tests are administered by teachers in grades K through 5.
State Pupil Records Policy
State law and regulations govern our policies on student records. The policy is explained in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook which is sent home in the fall of the school year. The regulations call for the securing of records and the protection of student privacy. Only authorized school personnel such as the principal and teacher have access to these records. Information cannot be seen by or sent to a third party without the written permission of the parent. In addition, there is a provision for a process for review and removal of information which the parent feels should not be in the record. The student's permanent school record (name, address, phone number, parent information, course title, grades, transcript, grade level completed, and year completed) is to be kept for 60 years. The temporary record (all other information) is to be destroyed five years after the student leaves or graduates. Parents who wish to see their child's record should contact the school principal and ask for an appointment. Parents and eligible students may obtain a copy of all or any portion of the student's record upon request.
Telephone Use for Students
Students are discouraged from using the school phone. On rare occasions when students need to call home, they should request permission from their classroom teacher. Students may not use cell phones during the school day.
In the event you plan to move out of the Ward district, you should notify your child's teacher as soon as possible. Your new address and date of withdrawal are needed so your child's records may be forwarded quickly. A release must be signed by a parent or guardian for records to be sent to the new school.
All visitors are asked to sign in at the main office and wear a badge so that we can readily identify all adults in the building. All doors, except the front entrance, remain locked until dismissal.
Volunteering Opportunities for Parents
Active parent participation has always been a hallmark of the Ward School. Parents' willingness to help in a variety of ways strengthens the partnership between home and school which enriches the educational experiences for students. There are many ways that parents can get involved through the PTO, School Council, and directly through their child's teacher. If you would like to work on a PTO sponsored activity, contact the PTO co-presidents. If you would like to work with the School Council, please contact any Council member or the principal. You are welcome to attend PTO meetings. If you have a desire to volunteer in the classroom, please discuss this with your child's teacher. All volunteers are required to fill out a CORI form. These may be obtained in the office.