Underwood School PTO Newsletter, November 12, 2020

Note: This newsletter will be published monthly throughout the school year, for a total of 8 issues. It will include columns as they are submitted by Underwood Principal Suzie Talukdar, PTO Co-Presidents Amy Davis and Laura Goldworm, and the school staff. It will also include a school calendar, and school and district-wide news.For questions, email underwoodpto@gmail.com.

School Calendar

Letter From the Principal

Dear Underwood Families,

It was my pleasure to see many of you at our recent PTO meeting with special guest, Dr. David Fleishman, NPS Superintendent of Schools.

At that time, information was discussed that involved the experience within the Hybrid and DLA learning models as well as some upcoming changes. In addition to learning model changes that occurred on November 30 (i.e. transfers between DLA & Hybrid), we now know that beginning on January 4, 2021 the school day will be extended for our youngest learners in grades K-2 only. As we move closer to that date, I will be in touch with our families whose children participate in the Hybrid learning model to offer more details.

For those who have recently transferred from DLA to Hybrid, and as a friendly reminder to current Hybrid families, please take time to review the NPS Student Attendance, Participation and Zoom Etiquette for Families document. Please note that the Distance Learning Academy schedule will remain the same and provides equivalent time with teachers.Parent-teacher conferences are underway and are an important opportunity for communication and planning between school and home. During this time, parents and caregivers will learn about their child’s progress, discuss strengths and areas of growth, and work together to support your child’s success and overall schooling experience. We thank you for your continued partnership and look forward to keeping connected with you throughout the school year.

I want to express sincere gratitude to our wonderful Underwood PTO as they have done so much to support our community both in spirit as well through its generosity to meet the needs of our families and staff. Whether it was making a delicious meal through a virtual cooking class, raising funds through the October Fun-Run, organizing nightly storytimes during the annual Book Fair, eating Bertucci’s pizza, assembling gingerbread houses or enjoying the Women in Jazz series organized by the Creative Arts & Science (CAS), our hard working PTO members have brought many wonderful opportunities for our community to learn together, discover the joy in thinking, and to deepen our connections! 

Finally, a belated Happy Diwali to our families who celebrated this festival of lights in November. At Underwood, I am excited to honor special days of celebration for our diverse community. Hanukkah begins this Friday, the Winter Solstice begins on the 21st, with Christmas shortly thereafter on the 25th. I wish all those who celebrate these holidays good cheer and laughter.

The December school vacation will begin on December 24, 2020 and students will return to school on January 4, 2021. While travel restrictions and health considerations will limit the way in which many spend this time, I wish you all a safe, peaceful and delightful time with your family and loved ones!



Dr. Suzie Talukdar, Principal

Letter From the PTO Presidents

Dear Underwood Families,

As the fall comes to a close, we are so grateful to the Underwood community for engaging with and supporting the PTO this year.

Our recent Gratitude Tree project was no exception, and thank you to everyone who made this project a smashing success.

In the spirit of gratitude during this holiday season, we wanted to share a few of the kind words our community had for Underwood’s staff:

“…she teaches us almost everything we will need to know to be prepared for the future.”

“…you make me intrigued in the things you are reading.”

“…he continues to embody the welcoming spirit and positive energy that makes Underwood such a wonderful community.”

“…she helped me pick the best instrument in the world, the flute!”

“…she teaches us to be better readers and she helps us read harder books and without her we wouldn’t be as good of readers as we are now.”

We had another successful Bertucci’s night last week with 26 families placing orders – mark your calendars for the first pizza night of 2021 on January 7th! 

Our December community building event is a Virtual Gingerbread House Making Party. Join us on Zoom from 4-5pm on Sunday, December 13th to check out everyone’s decorating skills! Prizes will be awarded for the funniest, most colorful, and most school spirited entries. You can bake or buy your own house, or purchase a Festive Owl bundle including a Deluxe Gingerbread House making kit + Underwood Owl kid-size apron for $20 each (limited number of kits available!).

Register and find Zoom link here

Happy Holidays,

Amy Davis and Laura Goldworm

PTO Co-Presidents


Staff Spotlight

Greetings From the Underwood Virtual Art Room!

Hello Underwood Families!

I have so enjoyed working with your creative kiddos! Like everything else right now, Art looks a little different this year. We no longer gather in the Art Room with all of our amazing supplies and space to get messy. This year each class has a weekly 30 minute zoom meeting. During our zooms, I teach from our interactive classroom (above photo) and share slides, videos and books about different artists and projects.  Children get to interact and share their art. Often, they will view myself or my slides in one window and in another window they will view my hands drawing as they draw along with me. This is definitely a new way of teaching for me, but it has been such a joy to see your children engage and get excited about creating!

Some ways you can support your child during Art Zooms:

  • Have a space where they can create – it can even be a small corner in a room. It is very helpful if there is a hard surface under their sketchbook; either a table or a large book will do.
  • Have their sketchbook with them or have some  paper.
  • Have something to draw with: a pencil, pen or marker.
  • BONUS if they have something to add color (crayons, markers or watercolor are great). 
  • Show up for Zooms on time or just a couple minutes before (just don’t show up too early because Art  Zooms are back to back classes).
  • Remind them of zoom expectations and please have their video ON.    

Thanks for sharing your creative and resilient children with me! Wishing everyone a wonderful winter break and a happy and HEALTHY New Year!

Love,Ms. Bushey

Underwood and District Wide News

FUEL Program Ongoing Food Donations 

Thank you to everyone making contributions! T

he 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 December 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 nmprairie@gmail.com.

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