Zervas Notes -- June 21, 2018

Upcoming Events

Notes from the Principal

Notes from the Co-Presidents

Co-Presidents Letter June 2018

Dear Zervas Parents,

We have gotten a little behind on our Co-president letters. You know how that is, right? Anyway,  we hope that you were able to attend at least one of the great events back in April. We have  many volunteers to thank for all their hard work.

Amanda Zurick helped kick off the month by organizing our first annual Family Movie Night. Families brought blankets to sit on in the cafetorium while snacking on popcorn and laughing at short films by Pixar. Thanks, Amanda, for persevering with this event after two snowstorms postponed it!

In the same week, Cindy Kaplan, who is a Zervas parent as well as a Family Coach, led an insightful discussion at a Parent Coffee about setting boundaries with our children. I think we all came away with some great suggestions. Thanks, Cindy!

Next up was Family Cultural Night, spearheaded by Amy Behrens and Katie Davenport. Chinese acrobat Li Liu wowed the audience, and families had a lot of fun mixing and mingling. Thank you also to Suzanne Chow, who organized the food and to all the families who brought side dishes to share. It was one of the most successful events of the year!

The culminating event of the month was the Spring Fling, aka the Kentucky Zerby. A tremendous effort by Wendy Feiner, Mira Woods, Noemy Ehrlich, Cate Menon, Sera Miller, Becky Mozaffarian and Cheryl Hersh resulted in a fabulous night! The food and drinks were delicious, the decorations were beautiful, and the dancing was a blast. It was a great opportunity for the adults in the Zervas community to don some festive Derby gear and to get to know each other better. Thanks, Ladies, for all the work you did to throw a fantastic party. Thanks also to all the Zervas families who donated Community events, which raised approximately $16,000 for things like Creatives Arts and Sciences, Teacher Appreciation, and future family events.

Looking ahead, this Friday, June 8th is the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast put on by the teachers to thank all the Zervas parents for helping out this year. We invite everyone to come and be celebrated whether you cleaned up at one event or if you ran an entire committee. The Breakfast will run from 8:30-9:15 in the library followed by the PTO General Meeting, when we will nominate and elect Board members for next year. We hope to see you there.

This year’s Family Picnic on June 13th will be a special one. As many of you have heard, our much loved Ms. Hadley, Administrative Assistant Extraordinaire, is retiring this year. We will take some time at the June picnic to thank her for all she has done for the students, parents, and teachers of Zervas over the years. Sign-up here if you can help at the event, which starts at 6:15.

Lastly, we have several roles for next year that need to be filled. Here they are:

  • Understanding Our Differences, 3rd grade coordinator
  • Creative Arts and Science Committee, grade coordinators
  • Hospitality Co-Chair
  • Zervas Community Connections Co-Chair
  • Zervas Community Notes Editor

Please reach out to us to find out more about what the positions entail. Volunteering at Zervas is a wonderful way to really feel embedded in the community. I made some of my closest Zervas parent friends while working side by side with them at various events and on different committees.

If you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us at pto@zervaspto.org.

Thank you,

Alicia Collins & Jenn Martin
PTO Co-Presidents

Notes from Zervas

Destination Dinner 2018 – Save the Date!

Please save the date for DESTINATION DINNER 2018!  Join us on Saturday night October 20th, 2018 for this favorite Zervas social event! Book your babysitters and mark your calendars! We look forward to seeing you there!

If you would like to host a dinner at your home for this event, please contact Wendy Feiner (wfeiner@gmail.com).

Wendy Feiner, Ginna Driscoll, and Amanda Zurick

Medication at School

Medication Pick-up: Parents of students who have medication stored in the health room should pick it up by the last day of school, June 22. All medication (pills, epi-pens, inhalers, etc.) not picked up will be discarded. Please plan ahead to pick medication up so it is not wasted! Medication may not be carried home by the student — it must be picked up by an adult. School nurses will not be available after June 22 to return medication to families.

Medication Order Reminder: All medication orders expire at the end of the school year. If you are visiting your child’s health care provider during the summer, consider requesting a new medication order for your child. All medication, prescription or over-the-counter, requires an order. The Medication Permission Form and the Medication Policy are both available online at  www.newtonma.gov/schoolhealth

Summer Food for Students

Backpacks filled with a few meal’s worth of nonperishable items will be available this summer for students at locations throughout Newton. The program – a collaboration between the Church of the Redeemer’s FUEL program and the city is an effort to bridge the food gap for students who may rely on school breakfast and lunch during the year. Backpacks may include bread, peanut butter, canned fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. Nut-free bags can be requested. The locations include: Health and Human Services Department, Church of the Redeemer, West Suburban YMCA, The Boys & Girls Club, Crystal Lake, Gath Pool, Newton Free Library, and many more!


What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet?

Be a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic. Misuse of prescription drugs is a common way for teens and adults to start down the road of addiction. The most typical place young people get access to prescription drugs is their home medicine cabinet. A few simple steps taken by adults can have a significant impact. Immediately and safely dispose of unused medication. Two Newton locations are available year-round: the Newton Police Station and Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Here are additional tips, and specific addresses and resources.

Smartphones and Kids

Thinking of getting your student a smartphone this summer? The letter below (and PDF here) targeted to elementary school families highlights research and resources available to help parents navigate this decision in the context of their own family’s values and circumstances. Additional information relevant to students of all ages is available on the Newton Public Schools website, including suggested guidelines from Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Letter Regarding Smartphones
June 7, 2018

Dear Parents and Legal Guardians of Elementary School Students,

Over the past few years, the use of smartphones has grown exponentially. At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest caution when providing children with their own mobile devices.

Every family has their own values and circumstances that shape their approach to cellphone ownership and use. Based on recent research and discussion around the effects of smartphone use on youth, Newton’s Health and Human Services department would like to provide some guidance and resources around smartphones and mobile devices for children. Please consider the following:

  • Delay cell phone introduction: Elementary school students are encouraged to focus on face to face relationship building and active engagement with learning and play. Additionally, mobile devices and the associated applications can become stressors when misused and/or overused, potentially leading to bullying, low self-esteem, privacy and safety issues or concerns. Therefore, we discourage the introduction of smartphones at this developmental stage. Every child and famil situation is unique and only you know what is best for your child. However, in general, we encourage the postponement of providing young children with mobile devices until at least middle school and we encourage consideration by Newton families of waiting until 8th grade or later for smartphones.
  • Start slow: Whenever you do decide to introduce a mobile device, consider a flip phone, “light” phone, or other device with limited features that is primarily used for phone calls and text messages. These are not web-enabled or equipped with apps, games, or social media.
  • Establish clear guidelines and use limits: Start the conversation about limits, including amount of use and time of day (i.e. limit or prohibit use at night for optimal sleep). Many families choose to create “contracts” with their children to clarify expectations.
  • Utilize parental controls and monitor use: There are many devices and apps that help control access to both the Internet and specific apps. Maintain access and know passwords to all accounts. You can find additional resources and guidance on the Newton Public Schools website here including these suggested guidelines from Newton-Wellesley Hospital (PDF). We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you as we work to ensure our children learn to use technology in healthy and responsible ways.


Deborah Youngblood
Commissioner of Health and Human Services

Spring Family Picnic at 6:15 p.m. tonight – rain or shine!

The Zervas picnic is tonight from 6:15-8:00 p.m. in the courtyard in front of the main school doors and Kindergarten and first grade playground. If the rain continues the picnic will be inside the school; use the doors between the gym and cafetorium to enter the school.

The PTO will provide pizza, fruit, veggies, drinks, and desserts. Please bring picnic blankets and/or chairs to sit on.  Pizza will be served until 7:15 p.m.

This will also be an evening to celebrate Ms. Anne Hadley who is retiring this year. We hope you can make it!

We need a bit more help setting up, handing out pizza, and with the ice cream truck. Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f45a9a92ca1fc1-zervas.

Spring Family Picnic: Wednesday, June 13

Please join us at the Zervas Family Spring Picnic on Wednesday, June 13th from 6:15-8:00 p.m.. The PTO will provide pizza, fruit, veggies, drinks, and desserts. Pizza will be served until 7:15 p.m.

Please bring picnic blankets and/or chairs to sit on. We will move the event inside if it rains.

This will also be an evening to celebrate Ms. Anne Hadley who is retiring this year. We hope you can make it!

We need help setting up, handing out pizza, and with the ice cream truck. Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f45a9a92ca1fc1-zervas.

Volunteers needed for Picnic!

Volunteers desperately needed for the Spring Family Picnic on Wednesday, June 13! We need help with the ice cream truck, serving pizza, and set-up and clean-up.

Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f45a9a92ca1fc1-zervas

Zervas Library Book Sale

Support our new Zervas Library by donating a book from hundreds of expertly selected (by Ms. Kinney) titles. Each book donated will contain a bookplate with a personal dedication honoring a Zervas staff member of your choice.   This is a great way of thanking our dedicated teachers and staff members for a wonderful 2017/2018 school year.  Recipients of the bookplate are notified of your generous dedication and the books will be in the new Zervas library, for your children to read.

Visit https://www.btsb.com/sosl/zervaselementaryschool6 by June 20th to choose a book to donate.  If you are attending the Zervas school picnic on June 13th, please stop by our library table, where you can choose some books and make your dedications.

Any questions please contact  Ms. Kinney (rebecca_kinney@newton.k12.ma.us) or Lou Bonegio (tubons@gmail.com).

Save the Date: Destination Dinner!

Please save the date for DESTINATION DINNER 2018!  Join us on Saturday night October 20th, 2018 for this favorite Zervas social event! Book your babysitters and mark your calendars! We look forward to seeing you there!

Wendy Feiner, Ginna Driscoll, and Amanda Zurick

Notes from the Newton Public Schools

Community Notes

Free Ice Cream Social

Newton Firefighters Local 863 invites you to a free ice cream social on June 18th, 5:00 – 7:00 pm. All are welcome! See this Flyer for more information.

Kids Day July 7th

Newton Theatre Company is thrilled to present its first ever Kids Day! On July 7th, stop by the Hyde Bandstand between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm to enjoy readings from three Junie B.
Jones stories, live music, crafts, and other activities.

This event is free, with a bake sale and optional donations to benefit Newton Theatre Company. Appropriate for children ages 3-12. Any teens or adults looking to volunteer at the event can email Abby Lass at abbylass@gmail.com.

Summer Food for Families

When school’s out for the summer, so is breakfast and lunch for many Newton students. This year the city is partnering with the FUEL program at the Church of the Redeemer to help families in need of additional food.

The already successful FUEL program fills backpacks with nonperishable items for students to take home from school. The expanded summer version of the program will offer backpacks in more locations throughout the city, all available for children and their caregivers to pick up as much as twice per week. Locations include Newton Health and Human Services Department, Church of the Redeemer, West Suburban YMCA, Newton Fire Stations 7 & 10, Crystal Lake, Gath Pool, Newton Free Library, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Good Shepherd, St John’s Church, Arabic Baptist Church, the Boys & Girls Club, NCDF Houghton Village and more.

For a full list of locations and pick up times, visit www.newtonma.gov/food.

Don’t miss your chance

As the school year comes to a close, don’t miss your chance to thank teachers and staff who made a difference to your child this year! Making a donation to Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher program is a great way to do this.

Look for a flyer in your child’s backpack or if you have children in the upper grades, you will have already received a letter by mail. To donate online and to find out more about the programs NSF funds, go to www.newtonschoolsfoundation.org. Donations are tax-deductible and go toward enhancing educational excellence, including teachers’ professional development, initiatives to close the achievement gap, and new curricula and learning opportunities throughout Newton’s schools.

Teachers, as well as their principal and the Superintendent, will be notified of this honor, and if you donate by July 31st their names will appear in a special notification in the Newton TAB.

Basketball Together

Help shoot down cancer at Basketball Together, a new basketball camp for 5th – 8th graders whose family members are battling or have battled cancer. Basketball Together was founded by two Newton North High School rising seniors, Christian Hahm and Ezra Pemstein, who have personal experiences with family members facing cancer
treatments. Christian and Ezra have found solace in basketball and now want to help others like them better cope with the challenges they face.

Basketball Together focuses both on improving basketball skills (drills, shooting, passing) as well as developing coping skills to enhance emotional well-being. Faculty from Boston
University’s School of Social Work will be leading small group activities to explore the healing process.

Basketball Together is hosted by Newton Community Education and made possible by the generous support of the Newton North Athletic Department (Director Tom Giusti and basketball coaches Paul Connolly and Tom Donnellan), Newton Community Education (Program Director, Lisa Rucinski) and Newton North High School (Principal, Henry Turner).

For Grades 5 – 8, boys and girls. Open to all who have a close family member who is battling or has had to battle cancer. Fee: based on a sliding scale ($25 to $195). Code: cancercamp. Register here https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=11852 –

For more information email  summersports@newtoncommunityed.org or call 617-559-6995.

August 6th – 10th,  9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Newton Community Education, 457 Walnut St, Newton

This camp complies with the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is licensed by the Newton Health Department.

Dance Class Options

Looking for Summer and Fall dance class options? All That Jazz Dance Studio in Nonantum is still accepting registration for their award winning dance classes! It is not too late to sign up for summer week-long dance intensives or an 8-week class session. Registration for the 2018-2019 school year is ongoing as well.

Please contact Miss Deb Lifson Vogel, Studio Director and also a fellow Newton Parent, at missdeb@allthatjazznewton.com or 617-641-0784 for more information about this wonderful dance community. Register online at www.allthatjazznewton.com!

Kids at the Farm: Summer 2018

School is about to be out for summer, and what better way to spend it than at Newton Community Farm!. Don’t delay and register today! Limited spaces available

Visit https://newtoncommunityfarm.org/education/summer-summer-programs/.
See the chickens, harvest produce and learn what it takes to grow food sustainably, all right here in Newton.

Programs for toddlers through middle school start in June and run until August 24th. Have a high schooler? Check out the high school intern programs!

Financial assistance available. See flyer here.

Summer Music Programs at The Conservatory

Students are immersed in:

  • Playing together in Rock Bands/String Ensembles
  • Trying New Instruments
  • Recording
  • Composition/Song Writing
  • Music Theory
  • Music Games

For Ages 6 and up. All instruments and skill levels welcome! Students bring their own lunch and snacks. No nuts please!

The Conservatory at Highlands
51 Winchester Street, #203, Newton Highlands


A Typical Camp Day:
9:00 am Arival9:15 am Warm up
10:00 am Music Game/Theory/Ear Training
11:00 am Ensemble rehearsal (rockband/jazz/chamber)
12:00 Lunch
1:15 pm Recording/Songwriting/Music projects
2:30 pm Ensemble rehearsal (rockband/jazz/chamber)
4:00 pm Pick up (after-care option available)

Join a music filled summer!

Kid’s Yoga Creativity Camp

Parents! Have your elementary school aged child or children join Kid’s Yoga Creativity Camp with Tracy Affonso. Tracy is a former Newton Public Schools teacher and an experienced yoga instructor. Kids love her classes so please join in!

Register at http://www.artemisyoga.com/classes/kids-teen-classes/

Each class begins with breathing/mindfulness exercises designed to help you focus on the present moment. Following warm-up, you’ll have a fun-filled, active yoga class culminating with a guided relaxation.

After the yoga session, you’ll make a different art project each day—from mandalas out of rocks, shells, and feathers; to gratitude rocks; to worry dolls—projects will be linked to the theme of the day that’s introduced through your mindfulness exercises.

August 6th – 10th, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon $275.00 Siblings – 20% off
Artemis Yoga in Watertown

Newton Girls Soccer

Did you know that more than 1300 girls and 250 volunteers participate in Newton Girls Soccer each season?!?! For 40 years, they have occupied a special place not only in our city but in the world of youth soccer, as one of the only programs focusing exclusively on the needs of girls. NGS strives to give each player the opportunity to learn and play soccer in a supportive and rewarding environment that emphasizes fun, individual skills development, teamwork and sportsmanship, all at a level that fits her interest and ability.

Registration is now open for the Newton Girls Soccer Fall 2018 Juniors and City Soccer Programs. The NGS Juniors and City programs offer a recreation-focused soccer experience that emphasizes fun, health and exercise. Programs are open to girls entering Kindergarten through 9th grade who live in or attend school in Newton. Players of all skill levels are welcome to register.

For additional details and registration instructions, please click to review the Fall 2018 Juniors/City Program Overview or visit http://newtongirlssoccer.org/home/register/.

The 10-week fall season starts on September 8th and ends November 10th. Games are played on Saturdays; players in Grade 2 and up also have one practice per week. The
registration fee is $180.00 for the season. If you register before August 1st, you’ll receive a $50.00 early registration discount. Late registrations are accepted, but players must be registered by August 1st to be guaranteed a spot on a team.

As a community-based program, each team includes a mix of girls from multiple neighboring schools. However, we honor one mutual friend request per player for girls registered by August 1st and make every effort to place players on a team with at least one schoolmate.