The Hoot

Letter from the PTO Co-Presidents

Hello Underwood Families,

As the school year comes to a close, we would like to acknowledge and thank the teachers, staff, volunteers and parents that have come together and really stepped up to help our students through this very uncertain time. Your participation and support now and throughout the school year is what makes the Underwood community such a special one! 

Thank You Principal Harold
We would also like to send a heartfelt thank you and well wishes to Principal Elaine Harold as she transitions out of her role as interim principal at Underwood. Her leadership, hard work, and commitment to the Underwood staff, teachers, students, and families throughout the school year and particularly during this uncertain time is very much appreciated. If time allows, please show your appreciation before June 18th. 

  • Email (from you and/or your student): Snap a photo of your student holding a drawing or letter by your student and email it to Principal Harold with a note of appreciation from you or your student.

Thank You Teachers + Staff
The Underwood teachers and staff have continued to work extremely hard during this uncertain time. Please consider sending your student’s teacher an email note of thanks before the school year ends. 

2020-2021 Underwood PTO Board Members 
We would like to introduce you to your 2020-2021 PTO Board Members. These dedicated nine volunteers will lead you through the next school year as we welcome new Principal Suzie Talukdar and continue to navigate the current public health situation together. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

  • Co-President: Laura Goldworm + Amy Davis
  • Treasurer: John Papoutsis
  • Secretary: Kate Luethy
  • VP Community Building: Mariel Ortega
  • VP Fundraising: Joel Kamm + Katie Williams
  • VP Communications: Kerry Curran
  • Officer-at-large: Erika Holmberg

Finally, it has been a great pleasure for us to lead the PTO this school year. We wish everyone a wonderful and safe summer!

All our best,
Anne-Marie Gravel & Jen Tsuda
PTO Co-Presidents /

Nurse Carrie’s Home Health Room Videos

Video #7 - School Year Finale

Check out the "finale" of Nurse Carrie and her student puppets as they talk about how to be safe and healthy and also have fun this summer.

I pay a special tribute at the end to our 5th grade graduates who started as kindergartners my first year at Underwood 6 years ago.

Thank you all for your positive feedback and support of these videos. I hope to make more in the future. I don't know what school will look like in September but I am crossing my fingers that we will be able to be safely together in some capacity.

Please reach out to me anytime if you have any questions, concerns or just want to give me updates about your kids. I will be checking my email semi-regularly and would love to hear from you.

Have a safe, healthy, and peaceful summer.

~Nurse Carrie

Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others

Hello Underwood parents/guardians,

This letter is from Deb Youngblood, the Newton Health Commissioner. It is a list of mental health and substance abuse resources for families.

Have a safe, healthy and peaceful week. ~Nurse Carrie

Video #6 - Appreciation and Activities

In this week’s Tabletop Video (#6) Nurse Carrie talks about “appreciation” during Teacher and Nurse Appreciation week and the puppets share activities they enjoy to give students new creative ideas. It ends with a unique (rough around the edges) thank you to teachers and a tribute to moms.

On another note, I want to say how much I love making these videos and am so thrilled when I hear that the kids and families enjoy them. As much as I would love to continue to create weekly Tabletop Videos, I will need to take a pause in order to attend to other remote school nurse responsibilities. I plan to make a couple of more videos before the school year ends and will send an email notification as soon as the next one is complete.

In the meantime, please encourage your kids to write and mail letters to any or all of the puppets and they will write back and include a coloring page.

Address is Nurse Carrie Gately, 316 Franklin St. Newton, MA 02458.

May 4, 2020 - Nurse Call Hours

Hello to My Wonderful Underwood Families.

The Health and Human Services Dept is sending this letter to let you know that I will have "call hours" from 9-12 Tuesdays and Fridays. Please read the letter for details but know that I am available beyond those hours to give you a call back if you request it - we will work out a time that is convenient for you.

Thanks so much and I look forward to talking with you.

~Nurse Carrie

Video #5 with Peggy Pig

Join Nurse Carrie and Peggy Pig this week. In today's Tabletop Video, Nurse Carrie teaches first aid when Peggy Pig hurts her arm; Peety learns about X-Ray technology, and at the end I suggest students write to my puppets and they will write back.

As I mention in the video, students can mail a letter to any of the puppet friends to:
Nurse Carrie Gately, 316 Franklin St., Newton, MA 02458

The puppets will write them back :). After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about.

Video #4 with Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, Peggy Pig and Eddie Eagle 

Join Nurse Carrie, Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, Peggy Pig, and Eddie Eagle this week. In this episode, Nurse Carrie talks about their unique traits and shares something unique about being human. The video ends with a few great jokes with Nurse Carrie's puppet helpers!

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, Peggy Pig, and Eddie Eagle this week :).

Video #3 with Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog and Peggy Pig - Learn about Cavities

Join Nurse Carrie, Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog and Peggy Pig this week. In this episode, Nurse Carrie will give us a white board lesson on cavities and you and your student can take a fun quiz with Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog and Peggy Pig. The video ends with a catchy song performed by Nurse Carrie's puppet helpers!

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, and Peggy Pig this week :). 

Video #2 with Peety Pup and Harriet Hedgehog

Join Nurse Carrie and Peety Pup this week and find out how to help Harriet Hedgehog who is upset. In this week's episode, you and your student will learn about the feeling "worry" and will be able to answer the following questions: 

  1. When we are worried or upset about something, we often feel sick in what part of our body?
  2. What is one way to help our body and brain relax?
  3. Is it okay and normal to feel worried?

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup and Harriet Hedgehog this week :). 

Video #1: Nurse Carrie takes care of Peety Pup

Announcing Nurse Carrie's Home Health Room Videos. To stay connected, Nurse Carrie will make a video every Friday and send it to you. The videos will also be updated on this website and posted on Facebook. Each video will take place on Nurse Carrie's tabletop Home Health Room. She will teach a mini health lesson while taking care of a student puppet.

Video #1: Nurse Carrie takes care of Peety Pup. Join Nurse Carrie this week as she takes care of the student puppet "Peety Pup". Through this skit, Nurse Carrie and Peety Pup will answer the following questions:

  1. What number on the thermometer means that you have a fever?
  2. Why do kids sometimes get fevers?
  3. How can you help your body when you have a fever?

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup :). 


Dear Underwood Families,

Usually I like to say “Greetings from the Underwood Health Room!” but now I will say, “Greetings from my house to yours!”

I hope you are all staying healthy and finding ways to keep busy and productive as you navigate a “new normal.”  As we all know, kids will feel okay if they feel their caregivers are okay so it is important to be positive and reassure them that things will get back to normal eventually.

Please tell your kids that Nurse Carrie says, “Hi… I miss you all!”  Tell them that I want them to wash their hands (using soap and water and scrubbing for 20 seconds) every time they come in from being outside the house and every time they eat or use the bathroom😊.  Tell them I suggest they play cards and board games, to draw, build a tent with blankets and furniture, create something out of an old box, make sock puppets, and go outside for a walk (but stay 6 feet apart from people outside their family). And of course, read:)

I want to emphasize that it is important to take social distancing seriously to stop the spread of this virus.  The public health doctors are very clear that every single small social contact helps perpetuate this virus exponentially and every single small avoided social contact helps stymie it exponentially.

This article by Asaf Bitton, a doctor and public health expert, explains it very well: 

Also if you go to the Newton Health and Human Services website, they have an amazing Covid- 19 FAQ section at the bottom of the home page which they update frequently: 

If students want to contact me by email please tell them to write and I will write them back. I will be checking my email every day:

Parents, feel free to reach out by email with any questions or concerns. You can tell me a time that is convenient to call you and I will call you back.

Thank you for all you are doing to care for your kids and for each other. We are all in this together and need to stay upbeat, kind, patient, and united.


Nurse Carrie

A Note to the Underwood Community

Dear Underwood Community,

The Underwood PTO would like to acknowledge the sadness, anger, and fear many may feel after watching the injustice surrounding the death of Mr. Floyd and the subsequent unrest throughout our country.

Our school expectations are to take care of ourselves, others, and the environment. Part of “taking care” is recognizing and speaking up when we, others, and the environment are being treated unjustly. Many of our students have been learning about being an upstander – about recognizing when something is wrong, and acting to make it right.  Below are a few resources to help Underwood families as they think about how to be upstanders in this time.  

FORJ City-Wide Meeting: Symptoms of COVID-19 and Racism in our Community
All members of the Underwood community are invited to join Newton Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) at their city-wide meeting on June 10th. 

  • Date/Time: Wednesday June 10th @ 7:30-8:30 PM
  • RSVP: Zoom password required please RSVP HERE
  • FORJ Website:Visit the FORJ website to sign up for our newsletter and receive more information about this and other upcoming meetings. Email if you are interested in joining Underwood’s chapter of FORJ.

Additional Resources about Racism
Below is an abbreviated list of additional resources for talking about racism with your children:

  • Embrace Race: This website includes webinars, articles, and toolkits designed to help parents and children be brave about race.
  • Books for Littles: Engaging children’s picture books to discuss hard topics. There are links to additional resources and toolkits written specifically for families with school-aged children.
  • Dottir Press Books: A selection of books to support families as they speak about racism are free until June 19th.  
  • FORJ Resources: A collection of relevant books, articles, and information.
  • Wee The People Boston: A great resource for activities and workshops in the Boston area. 

Letters from Community Leaders

We look forward to when we can all be together again. This fall we plan to hold our Cultural Fair again, where we celebrate the wonderful diversity of our school community. In the meantime, the Underwood Community Cookbook was launched last month as a way to virtually celebrate Underwood’s diversity.

We hope these resources and links provide you and your families with information to empower hope and change. For more information please reach out to Underwood FORJ Committee. 

Best regards,
The Underwood FORJ Committee and PTO

Broccoli Tofu over Rice

by: The Dao Family

We enjoy takeout Chinese food and this recipe has become a tasty family favorite that we can make at home. The original recipe calls for beef, but we've substituted with tofu for a vegetarian version.

Source: What's Gaby Cooking: Eat What You Want Cookbook, 2020


1 block of tofu (firm or extra firm), cubed
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 T brown sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 T cornstarch
1 T sesame oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
Cooked rice
1 T toasted sesame seeds (optional)
3 scallions, sliced on the bias (optional)

Recipe Steps

  1. Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Heat sesame oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add onions.  Saute for 8 mins. 
  3. Add the blanched and drained broccoli. Cook for 1 min.
  4. Add the garlic sauce and stir to coat.
  5. Add the tofu and warm through for about 3 min. 
  6. Transfer to serving plates over rice.
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions (optional).

Cacio e Pepe

by: Luke, Laura, Lilah (grade 2), and Charlotte (K) Goldworm

When we went to Rome last year, cacio e pepe quickly became a family favorite. We ate it almost every meal! When we came home we started making it to remind us of our trip and now it is a weekly staple.

Source: Epicurious


6 oz Pasta
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
3 T butter
a little more than 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Recipe Steps

  1. Cool pasta, drain, reserving 3/4 cup of cooking water .
  2. Melt 2 T of the butter in a large skillet and then add pepper and sauté, swirling the pan, for about 1 min.
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of cooling water to pan and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add pasta and remaining butter.
  5. Add Parmesan, and stir for a few minutes, until cheese melts and combines with liquid to form a smooth sauce on pasta.

Reading & Writing Tips

Join Mrs. Stacey Mann, Underwood's Literacy Specialist, to hear her top three tips for parents on how to keep students motivated in reading and writing. Please email her at if you have any questions.

Shrimp Meatballs and Vegetable Noodles

by: Haoxuan Hu (kindergarten), Ms. Phillips (ELL teacher)

This bowl of noodle ingredients is simple and easy to cook. There are beef, shrimp, vegetables. It is nutritious and suitable for family eating.

Source: great-grandmother


Beef Ball
Chinese Cabbage

Recipe Steps

  1. Cut shrimp, beef balls and vegetables.
  2. Boiling water to cook noodles.
  3. Cook the noodles and put them in a bowl.
  4. Freshly boil a pot of hot water, then put beef ball, shrimp, Chinese cabbage.
  5. Add salt, pepper, soy sauce to make the soup fit your taste.
  6. Finally, pour the cooked soup on the noodles.

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

by: The Vonnegut Family

Shea learned to make these on her own during out time at home! Muffins are best when served warm with butter!

Source: 100 Days of Real Food website


1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 stick softened butter
1 egg
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup frozen raspberries

Recipe Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray or line muffin pan.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric whisk (or beat) cream the butter until smooth.
  4. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the egg, syrup, milk, and vanilla.
  5. With the speed still on low, slowly add in the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Carefully fold in the raspberries until well combined.
  7. Add batter evenly to muffin cups. (Makes 12 muffins)
  8. Bake about 18-20 mins.

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

by: Ms. Hull (4th Grade Teacher)

My son only likes cupcakes with chocolate frosting, so we make these half and half- half of the cupcakes get cream cheese frosting and the other half get chocolate frosting. Delicious either way!

Source: This recipe is our family's version of a recipe we found in the "America's Test Kitchen: How Can it Be Gluten Free" cookbook. We tweaked a few things to make it work for us. Hope you enjoy!


1.5 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour 
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
6 TBS vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 TBS red food coloring
1.5 teaspoons vanilla

Recipe Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 -cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, food coloring, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  4. Whisk in flour mixture until the batter is thoroughly combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, portion batter evenly into the muffin tin.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.
  7. Let cupcakes cool for about 1 hour.
  8. Spread cream cheese frosting over the top of cupcakes and serve!

Auf Lauf (Dutch Baby/German Pancake)

by: Skinner-Holmberg family (4th & 8th grade)

My family made "auf lauf" for weekend breakfasts when I was growing up, but when I reached adulthood and asked for the recipe, I found out it had not been written down, and I couldn't replicate it. Then I received Joy of Cooking and discovered that what we had always called auf lauf was a well-known thing called a "Dutch Baby!" We have this often for brunch on weekends, though we use about half the butter that Joy of Cooking uses! Through quarantine we have made lots of great breakfasts but I always come back to auf lauf because it is easy, homey, yummy, and beautiful!  - Erika

Source: Our family's version of Joy of Cooking's recipe!


4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour (can substitute up to 1/2 cup whole wheat)
4 T butter
1/3-1/2 cup sugar

Recipe Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Once oven is hot, place butter in a 9×13 inch pan and place pan in the oven.
  3. While butter is melting, whisk together other ingredients. Mix well, should be smooth.
  4. When butter has melted, pour batter into pan and bake for 15-17 minutes until edges have puffed dramatically and turned golden brown and pancake is set.
  5. Serve immediately with fruit compote, powdered sugar, maple syrup, or jam. Serves 4.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

by: Mrs. Castodio (5th grade teacher)

If you know me, you know that I have a BIG sweet tooth and chocolate chip cookies are my favorite sweet treat! When my husband and I got married last year, our friends gifted us a cookbook that they wrote themselves, called The New Newlywed Cookbook. As I was flipping through, this recipe caught my eye and it was the first one I made. I used two mini skillets so that I could have my own warm, gooey cookie skillet all to myself! It is a fun way to change up your traditional chocolate chip cookie dessert and is so delicious with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! 

Source: The New Newlywed Cookbook by Kenzie Swanhart & Julien Levesque


1/2 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips of your choice

You will need a cast iron skillet (or two mini skillets!) to make this recipe

Recipe Steps

  1. Preheat the often to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add the egg and mix until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Using a spatula, mix all the ingredients together, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Stir the chocolate chips into the dough.
  6. Grease a small cast iron skillet (or two mini skillets). Add the cookie dough to the greased skillet, spreading it in an even layer.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cookie begins to turn brown on top.
  8. (Optional) Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and enjoy!

Margarita Chicken

by: Lacey Rochford (Executive Assistant)

This is a delicious dish that reminds me of home. My parents live far away and whenever I visit, my mom makes this Margarita Chicken for our family to enjoy together. It's easy to make and requires very few ingredients- a great dish to whip up when entertaining company!

Source: Teton County Homemakers (Jackson Hole, WY)


2-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Lime Juice
Plain Corn Chips- White or Yellow
Cheese- Shredded Cheddar or Cheddar Jack Mixture

Recipe Steps

  1. In a bowl, mix honey and lime juice- stir together to a honey consistency
  2. Use a rolling pin to crush corn chips in a large quart or gallon size baggie
  3. Put chicken in the honey/lime mixture to coat, then put in the corn chip baggie to coat with chips
  4. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour
  6. During the last 10 minutes, top the chicken with salsa and sprinkle cheese on top- finish baking until the cheese is melted
  7. Compliment with a side of Spanish rice and a salad