Category Archives: From the PTO

Todd Harrison Steps

Thanks to your generous donations over the last few years, we were able to purchase 4 new outdoor tables for the Bigelow Courtyard and 4 new outdoor tables for the recently dedicated Todd Harrison Steps in front of Bigelow. Below are some photos of the tables and the June 24th dedication event.

From left to right: President Gabriela Kroszynski, Past President Una Simmons, Past President Karen Markson, Todd Harrison, Treasurer Linda Gillespie, Past President Jennifer Webber, and Past President Jesse Gilmartin.

Todd Harrison Cares Fund Update

Dear Bigelow Community: 

We would like to express our sincere gratitude of how generous and quickly the Bigelow community reacted to our most recent call for assistance for a Bigelow family in need. To date, we have received $9217 in total donations from the community to the Todd Harrison Cares Fund for this family. $2000 of the funds have been used by the family to secure safe housing. 

The remaining donated funds will be distributed equally amongst 4 other Bigelow families that have come to our attention as being in a similar situation of housing insecurity. While they are protected under the McKinney-Vento Act, we as a community still wanted to ensure they had the living resources they need. These series of unfortunate events have brought to light how many in our Bigelow community, especially those with young children, are silently but desperately in need of assistance. Therefore, we will continue to partner with our amazing Bigelow School Counselors and NPS ELL social worker to stay in touch with these families to make sure they have sufficient support, and identify any additional members of the Bigelow community with dire needs.  

Over these last 2 years, we have been able to quickly and efficiently respond via your donations to the Todd Harrison Cares Fund. We are very grateful for your support and will continue to develop our partnerships so we can aid any members of our community when needed. If you are interested in continuing to support our effort via the Todd Harrison Cares Fund, please donate through Venmo ( @BigelowPTONewton ) or through the PTO website

In the fall, we will have a PTO meeting with the district ELL social worker, Bigelow counseling team, and the Bigelow community to learn and get educated on how we can help our community in need.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 


Bigelow PTO Board 

Last Bigelow Notes of the 2021/2022

Dear Bigelow Community,

In our last Bigelow Notes of the 2021/2022 school year, we would like to thank all of you for your support and generosity over this past year as we continue to make school life normal again for the children.

A special thank you to all our amazing volunteers who worked tirelessly to make sure that PTO sponsored events were successful.

In particular, we would like to thank the following parents:

Sarah K. Lenz and Heather Thiessen Philbrook (Directory), Caryn Izhar (Creative Arts & Sciences), Kelly Qian (Back to School), Caryn Izhar, Caryn Lipchin, Susan Giunta (8th Grade Activities), Alexia Giannakopoulos & Julie Landesman (Big Night), Susan St. Pierre, Karen Yee and Charlene Gillespie (Teacher Appreciation), Shana Smythe, Charlene Gillespie, Carolyn Gillespie and Jill Twohig (Ten Tables), Giulia Guffanti (NewtonServes), Elizabeth Apgar (Bigelow Garden), Sarah Hirzel & Andrea Silver (PoPs), Margo Michael, Kori Urayana & Jeanne Choe-Arrieta (Bigelow FORJ), Phil Larimer (Safe Routes to School), Ileen Thelen (Green Newton School Connections), Jeanne Choe-Arrieta (METCO), and Brigette LaMarche (SEPAC) who time after time show up when we are in need of extra hands throughout the year.

Last but not least, we would like send our biggest  appreciation to Linda Gillespie (Treasurer) and Gwen Hautefeuille (Communications/Website) for their service to the Bigelow PTO during these last few years of uncertainties. You both have kept us going even on the most difficult of days!

We wish you all the very best for a very restful and healthy summer! Look for information over the summer for upcoming events and ways to be a part of the PTO. For those of you leaving Bigelow, we wish you all the best and hope our paths cross at Newton North.

Thank you again and Happy Summer!

Sincerely,Bigelow PTO Board

METCO Scholarship Fundraiser

This week, 31 Newton METCO Seniors graduated from Newton South and Newton NOrth High Schools. These young people stand on the horizon of new opportunities and we want each and every one of them to know they have the tangible support of the members of the Boston-Newton communities.

For over 35 years, the Newton METCO Community Scholarship Fund (NMCSF) seeks to open doors of opportunity by providing financial assistance to deserving METCO seniors seeking to further their education. The work is urgent. The time is now.

Please join us in donating to the scholarship fund today, and transform the conditions of learning and living for our Newton METCO graduates.

Please donate by mail; we are not accepting online donations at this time.

Newton METCO Community Scholarship Fund (NMCSF) – PO Box 600053 – Newtonville, MA 02460

2022 Newton Schools Foundation Honor Thy Teacher

Our Newton Public School teachers and staff have done an amazing job this year under challenging conditions.  If you’re looking for a way to say “Thank You!” to your child’s teacher or other school staff as this school year comes to a close, please consider Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher campaign. It’s an opportunity for families to thank school personnel by giving a gift to Newton Schools Foundation in their honor, while also complying with the Newton Public Schools’ teacher gift policy. 

Newton Schools Foundation (NSF) is a non-profit organization that raises funds to advance educational excellence and equity throughout Newton’s public schools. Your gift will fund NSF grants for promising educational initiatives, professional development, and programs that address inequities.  To learn more about the programs NSF funds, visit our website.  

NSF will notify the honored teachers and staff of your gift, share the honoree names with the Superintendent and principals, list all honorees on the NSF website, and gift them with a Certificate of Honor and a “2022 Honor Thy Teacher Honoree” magnet that they can proudly display. 

It’s easy to donate online, or you can mail your donation to Newton Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 590020, Newton Centre, MA 02459. Please be sure to include the name(s) of your child(ren) and the names of the teachers and/or staff you are honoring. 

THANK YOU for your donation!

Free and Reduced Meal Application

While all meals in the Newton Public Schools have been offered free of charge this year, NPS highly recommends that families who believe they are eligible for the federal Free and Reduced Meal Program complete the application.

If you are eligible for Free and Reduced Meals, you are also eligible for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food funds benefitsFood funds are provided to student’s families for COVID-related absences from school during the 2021-22 school year. However, in order to receive P-EBT food funds, you must be approved for free or reduced meals. Therefore, please complete the application.

More details can be found here: P-EBT Food Funds Program Information.