Principal’s Newsletter – June 2015

June 5, 2015

Dear Zervas Families,

It is hard to believe that the end of the year is upon us in just a couple of weeks! Students and teachers are busy with many different activities and projects.   These last few weeks are filled with picnics, class trips, concerts, curriculum shares, and other opportunities that allow us to reflect back on all the year has brought. We have much to be excited about and to celebrate here at Zervas School!

Zervas Parent Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast and PTO Board Meeting: You’re invited to the 3rd Annual Zervas Parent Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. This event will take place on Friday, June 12, 8:30-9:00 am in the gym. Hosted by the Zervas teachers, this tradition allows us to show our appreciation to all the volunteers who have supported our school this year. Please feel free to stop by, even for just a few minutes!

The General PTO Meeting will follow the Volunteer Appreciation Coffee and will be held 9:00-9:30 am in the gym. At this meeting, PTO Board Members for the 2015-2016 school year will be nominated and elected. We hope to see you there!

Honor Thy Teacher: As the school year comes to an end, you may be looking for a way to thank teachers and staff who have made a positive impact on your children this year.  Please consider making a donation to Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher Campaign in their honor. You may also choose to honor a special education aide, a fine arts or music teacher, or a coach or counselor who has touched your child’s life. NSF started this campaign 18 years ago to enable parents to thank teachers while observing the limits on the types and amounts of gifts that teachers may receive.

NSF celebrates Newton Public Schools teachers and staff by:

  • Notifying honored teachers and staff of your gift
  • Sharing honoree names with the Superintendent and Principals.
  • Listing all honored teachers and staff in the Newton TAB

Newton Schools Foundation (NSF) is a vital catalyst of community support for the Newton Public Schools. NSF works closely with school leadership to support new educational programs and professional development for educators with funding that’s not available within the confines of the school budget. This year, NSF funding is enabling Newton schools to launch and expand numerous innovative programs and initiatives, including these ventures at the elementary school level:

The K-5 Summer Writing Institute: Elementary schools teachers participated in a writing institute that prepared them to teach a key writing skills unit.

     Responsive Classroom Training: The Responsive Classroom approach is a nationally used, research-and evidence-based way of teaching that improves students’ social and academic skills and raises teachers’ instructional quality.

Our teachers and staff look forward to the letters they receive from NSF. This is a great way to recognize the important work our schools are doing for your children.   Suggested donation is $25 per teacher/staff member.  You can make your donation by clicking here, calling 617-559-6120 or mailing your donation to Newton Schools Foundation, 246 Dudley Road, Newton, MA 02459. Please also email the names of the teachers and/or staff members you are honoring to All donations are tax deductible.

Step Up Day: On Tuesday, June 23, students in grades K-4 will take part in “Step Up Day”.  Students will have a chance to visit the next grade level and meet the next year’s teaching team.  We realize the level of uncertainty that can go along with making the transition to another grade level and hope that this is reduced after meeting teachers from the next grade.  The teachers will share some highlights for the coming year that children can look forward to and will answer some of their questions.

Kindergarten Class Configurations for 15-16 School Year: As I wrote in my last newsletter, our incoming Kindergarten numbers are fluid and lower than anticipated. At this point in time, we are watching our numbers closely to determine if our enrollment warrants 2 or 3 Kindergarten sections, or something in between. As our numbers rise, we may be in a situation where we need to consider forming a Kindergarten and First Grade combined classroom: a K/1 class. This class would consist of an equal number of students in both grades and is taught by one teacher who works to differentiate the curriculum and meet the needs of the students. K/1 classrooms have been created across the system and can be very successful in meeting the challenges of fluctuating enrollment. I taught a K/1 class for three years while at the Williams School and have very fond memories of those years! If you would like to hear more about the structure and routines of a K/1 class, I will be holding an informational meeting for parents of our incoming Kindergarten students as well as those currently in Kindergarten on Tuesday, June 16 at 8:00-8:30 AM.  Please note, that no decisions have been made yet, we are just preparing for all scenarios as we go into the summer months.

Alternate 2015-2016 School Calendar: As you may know, the School Committee recently voted on an alternate 2015-2016 school calendar for students attending Angier and Zervas. This is to accommodate for the moves to and from the Carr School over the December-January break. The calendar indicates several changes:

Columbus Day – School will be in session (to make up for Jan. 4)

Monday, Dec 21-Wednesday, Dec 23: Noon dismissal for all students

Monday, Jan 4 and Tuesday, Jan 5: No school for students

There will be an additional half-day of school after the regularly scheduled                           last day of school (to make up for Jan 5)

A copy of the complete calendar is available on our school website.

Planning for Alternate 2015-2016 School Calendar: While the alternate 2015-2016 School Calendar allows time for staff to pack, move and unpack our school, we realize that it may create challenges for working parents who do not have other options for their children during the released times. In partnership with ZASP, we are pleased to be able to offer childcare for all students who may require it on the December Half Days or the January No School Days. Mike Shuley and I are in the planning stages for these days and look forward to being able to provide meaningful, exciting programming for students during the missed school hours at no cost to families. To help us gauge the number of students that may need to attend ZASP during these times, we ask that you complete this short survey. This is not binding and there will be ample additional opportunities to learn about and sign up for ZASP in the fall. This information will help us determine the possible space and staffing needs for these days. Thank you!

Upcoming/Important Dates:

Friday, June 12th – Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast and PTO General Meeting Monday, June 22nd – Progress Reports are open

Tuesday, June 23rd – Step Up Day for students in K-4

Wednesday, June 24th – Last Day of School – 12:00 Dismissal

Tuesday, June 30th – Friday, August 21st – Main Office is closed for summer (phone             messages are checked periodically)

Monday, August 24th – Main Office re-opens for 2015-2016 school year

Friday, August 28th – Class Placement information is emailed home to families

Thursday, September 3rd – Classroom Open House – 1:30-2:30

Tuesday, September 8th – First Day of School!

Many, Many Thanks! This year cannot end without heartfelt thanks to Amy Waksler and Lori Berkowitz who have worked closely with me this year as the PTO Co-Presidents.  It has been my pleasure and privilege to have the opportunity to work with them in this capacity.  They have committed countless hours to ensure that the Zervas School experience is an exceptional one for all of our children.  I would like to recognize this year’s PTO Board Members who are stepping down and those newly elected to serve for the coming year.  There are also many 5th grade parents for whom this is their last year at Zervas. I thank each of them for their many years of support and engagement in our community. We wish them well as they move on to Oak Hill and beyond.

I wish each and every member of the Zervas School Community a restful summer.  I hope that you are able to find moments to spend some quality time with family and friends.




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