PTO Newsletter, November 12, 2020

School Calendar

 Mon, Nov 9th –
 Sunday, Nov 22nd
 Online Book Fair
 Fri, Nov 13th DLA Supply Bag Pick-Up
 Thurs, Nov 26th –
 Fri, Nov 27th
 Thanksgiving Break – NO SCHOOL
 Thurs, Dec 3rd Virtual PTO Meeting andBertucci’s Night

Letter From the Principal

Dear Underwood Families,
Whether we are talking about wild weather forecasts, rising state and national covid rates or the presidential election, November has been eventful to say the least. All too frequently we fail to recognize the toll these sorts of events have on our lives and the exhaustion it can create for many, including young children. While we are moving into more rigorous work across the disciplines, I am pleased that teachers spent the early part of our school year studying our students, learning who they are, and working to meet their social and emotional needs. Teachers and students have worked quite diligently to establish a culturally responsive Underwood community where educators value relationships and consistently promote safety, kindness, and respect with our students and families. 
This weekend marked an important milestone in our nation. Regardless of where Underwood community members stand, vice president elect Kamala Harris has made history as the first female and person of color in the second highest office of the United States of America. One hundred years after women won the right to vote, she has broken a glass ceiling for women in this country and people of color. While opinions will always vary on who should serve as US leaders, this momentous occasion serves to inspire and expand possibilities for girls and women (and all people) across the world. This election also offers a lesson on how compelling it is to participate and engage in public decision making in order to maintain our democracy. Underwood educators recognize this critical moment and remain politically neutral while morally crystal clear to ensure that inclusivity for all members of our community is maintained.
As we observed a day off from school this week, it is necessary to pause and reflect on why school was closed. Veteran’s Day is a significant holiday that honors all those who have served in times of war and peace to protect the liberty, freedom and democracy of our nation. It offers a great opportunity to tie in our social-emotional learning goals by helping students to further develop their coping skills, build empathy and show gratitude. Earlier this week, I shared resources with Underwood teachers that can be used when highlighting this important civic celebration. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are also interested. 
I have been so impressed with our Underwood school community thus far for many reasons. Thank you to the many parents who reached out to wish my family well as we dealt with one of the inevitable realities impacting our world. As your new principal, I can admit that I felt uneasy working from home for a short period of time yet I learned quickly how compassionate and understanding all of you are. It also allowed me time to visit virtual classrooms and see teachers and students in action in a way that is different from when I visit classrooms in person. This was a gift to me, and I am very thankful to be back in person especially during this important and eventful moment in time. 
In solidarity,

Dr. Suzie Talukdar, Principal

Letter From the PTO President

Dear Underwood Families,

Thank you to everyone who has participated in Underwood events this busy fall, including the Playground PlaydatesVirtual Cooking Class, Virtual Fun Run, and Bertucci’s Night. The PTO’s November event is our online Book Fair via Children’s Bookstore. Get your holiday shopping done early and choose from a fantastic selection of popular series and award winners! The PTO will receive 30% of sales from 11/9 – 11/22 and will continue to receive 15% of purchases made on this site for the remainder of the school year. Thank you to Nisa Dailey for her hard work planning this year’s Book Fair! 

In conjunction with the Book Fair the PTO is sponsoring Zoom Evening Storytimes with staff members as an opportunity for students to connect with members of the community they may not be seeing in person as much this year. We hope your family has been able to enjoy the Storytimes so far this week, and they will continue with Ms. Mann and Nurse Carrie tonight starting at 6:30pm, and other staff members next week, including Ms. Langston and Mr. Owen!

Nearly 100 students registered for the Virtual Fun Run and it was wonderful to see so many families enjoying the playground and Farlow Park safely on what turned out to be a beautiful, sunny Halloween day! If your student hasn’t received their Fun Run t-shirt yet, please email Fun Run participants collectively raised over $7,500, before expenses, for the PTO and we owe a huge thank you to everyone who made this event a success, especially our event chairs, Kate Luethy and Anne-Marie GravelCrislin Waldman for designing the beloved Mummy Owl for the t-shirts, and Ms. Melanson’s class for having the highest participation! The funds raised went directly into the hands of teachers and staff members to make purchases for their classrooms. These classroom allocations are more important than ever in a year when our staff is thinking creatively about how to teach and connect with students and may need different tools to do so. The other main areas of PTO spending in the first half of this school year are our Underwood Community Cares Program, which supports members of our school community with grocery gift cards and Technology Spending necessary for Underwood to meet the standard set across all Newton elementary schools. This fall the PTO provided funds for the school to purchase ten document cameras, as recommended by the NPS Department of Information Technology.  

Our first Bertucci’s Dining for Dollars night of the year was a great success, with 24 families placing orders! We will be continuing this tradition the first Thursday of every month, so mark your calendars for pizza and pasta again on Thursday, December 3rd! You can dine-in, take-out, order delivery, or catering from Bertucci’s and 15% percent of sales will go to the Underwood School PTO. Thank you to our VP of Community Building, Mariel Ortega, for coordinating our Bertucci’s partnership this year!

Adult sizes have been added to our online Underwood Merchandise store via local business All Sports Wear in Newton Highlands. The store will remain open throughout the year and these cozy designs make great holiday gifts for Underwood students and caregivers alike! We have also ordered more of the sold out tie dye Underwood masks from Rafi Nova, so stay tuned for order forms when those arrive. Thank you to our VP of Fundraising, Katie Williams, for bringing these ideas forward and making them a reality, along with planning our delicious and fun Virtual Cooking Class.

We hope your family has a lovely upcoming Thanksgiving break. We are grateful to be a part of the Underwood community.

All our best,

Amy Davis and Laura Goldworm

PTO Co-Presidents

Staff Spotlight

Reminders to Parents/Caregivers from Nurse Carrie:  

Please follow the SAFELY checklist each morning. As we make our way through the colder months when viral exposure and spread naturally increases, we want to remain extremely vigilant with our safety protocols. Thank you to all families for doing their part; keep up the good work. 

  • If your child is having any symptoms of illness as listed on the SAFELY checklist, please reach out to Nurse Carrie @ 617-559-9666. 
  • Lastly, per MA Dept of Public Health, all students are required to have a FLU vaccine this year before December 31st. Please provide documentation after your child has received the flu vaccine.   
  • Feel free to contact Nurse Carrie anytime with questions or concerns @ 617-559-9666 or

Underwood and District Wide News

FUEL Program Ongoing Food Donations 
The Underwood PTO is collecting food donations on an ongoing basis to benefit the FUEL Program, which distributes a weekly bag of food to Newton families, including those in the Underwood community. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program is not able to work with its typical corporate sponsors and is currently solely dependent on community donations. We invite Underwood families to support our neighbors and fellow Newton residents by contributing non perishable items for distribution. Click here to find the list of accepted items (please do not drop off any items not listed)

Parent volunteers Nicole Peterson and Diane Martel collect donations of the above items at 34 Eldredge Street (blue house directly across the street from the school) or 14 Shornecliffe Road on the front porch. For the month of November we are encouraging each grade to bring a specific item to ensure a variety of donations – see below. Please direct any questions to Nicole at

November Donations
Kindergarten – Marinara sauce (24 oz, preferably in plastic) and Soup, hearty (10-15oz each)
1st Grade – Chicken (canned 12.5oz) and Tuna (canned)
2nd Grade – Cereal (10-12 oz) or cereal bars, and Crackers (10-15 oz box)
3rd Grade – Fruit (individual cups), Applesauce (individual cups or squeeze portions), and Fruit (15 oz cans of pineapple, fruit cocktail, pears, peaches or oranges)
4th Grade – Pasta (1 lb of any type, box or bag) and Rice (1 or 2 lb bag or box)
5th Grade – Macaroni and cheese, Beans, preferably bagged (black, pinto, etc.), and Peanut butter (18oz)