Category Archives: From the PTO

Share the road with our students

Newton Safe Routes to School reminds families that pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. All our schools have high traffic volume in the morning and most children are pedestrians for all or part of their route to school, whether they walk from home, walk over from a nearby street (Park & Walk maps), walk to the bus stop, or walk from the Blue Zone.  The following guidelines are adapted from the National Safety Council. However you get to school, put your phone down and pay attention.  #ShareTheRoad.

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard in a crosswalk or intersection. Sometimes young children need more time to cross the intersection than the light allows.
  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
  • Do not pull into driveways to turn around, especially near schools. You may not see a child on the sidewalk approaching on bike or on foot.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up.
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas. School Zone speed limits are 20 mph.
  • Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

  • If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist.
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this.
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
  • Check side mirrors before opening any door.

More at

Traffic at Bigelow: The safety of our children is paramount

From the Bigelow Parent Handbook, p. 33

Bigelow Middle School is located on a busy corner.  Please use extra caution when dropping-off and picking-up children by car at the school.  Drive slowly and yield to pedestrians. Do not use your phone while driving. The safety of our children is paramount!

We encourage students to walk or ride a bike to school. 

When transporting children to and from the school by automobile, it is important to obey all traffic signs and parking regulations in the area.  In particular:

  • Please drop-off students in the Blue Zone on the right hand side of Park St, and please pick up students after school on Park St.  Please pull over to the curb and pull as far forward as possible along Park Street. Drivers should not leave their vehicles.
  • Please turn the car engine off. Idling is against the law and car fumes are bad for kids health. Turning the engine off can reduce children’s exposure to pollutants, save money, help the environment, and avoid a fine.
  • Please do NOT park on the left hand side of Park Street to pick-up or drop-off.  It is marked “No Parking.”
  • Please do NOT stop in the middle of the street to drop-off or pick-up students.  This blocks the flow of traffic and is unsafe.
  • Please do NOT block the entrance to driveways or parking lots.  Be respectful of our neighbors’ property and access.
  • Please do NOT park and leave your vehicle in the designated bus pick-up zone on Vernon St.
  • Please respect the speed limits posted in the school zone.
  • Please park in the handicapped parking spots in front of the school only if you have handicapped tags.
  • Please inform all family members and caregivers who pick-up or drop-off children at Bigelow of these procedures.

Park & Walk map provided by Newton Public Schools.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon is February 6th

The Teacher Appreciation Luncheon is an annual event organized by the PTO in early February. It is a great way to take a moment to thank the amazing teachers and staff at Bigelow for all they do for our children. Bigelow families provide the food, beverages, plastic serving utensils and flowers for this event. The event is held on an Early Release Day, and teachers and staff can enjoy a joyful lunch time. They absolutely love and appreciate every aspect of this day!

In 2020, the Luncheon is on Thursday February 6th. Set up is at 10:30am and clean up is at 2:30pm. If you would like to volunteer your time that day, please note that this is an early release Thursday! To donate or volunteer please sign up HERE.

  • Please send in your favorite lunch food! Salads, sandwiches, entrees – whatever you think our wonderful teachers and staff will enjoy.
  • It is most helpful if items are brought in recyclable containers.
  • All items may be dropped off on the morning of the luncheon in the teacher’s lunchroom (in the library) or put in the refrigerator there. 
  • Please drop off all items no later than 10:30 AM.
  • Items can also be dropped off at Susan St. Pierre’s home, 28 Ballard St., Newton, until 10 PM on the evening of February 5th. 

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Teacher Appreciation Chairs, Susan St. Pierre (, Karen Yee (, or Charlene Gillespie (

Thank you again for helping us show our appreciation for our teachers and staff.

Big Night Hoedown – Giddy Up! We need your Help! 

We are excited about our Big Night Hoedown on March 28, 2020, at the Hibernian Hall in Watertown.

In preparation, we are actively seeking donations for the auction. Your support and help is critical to making this event successful. We need 60 items and we are asking that each grade donate 20 items. More information here.

  • Can you donate a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant, workout site, movie theatre?
  • Or would you be willing to ask a local business for a donation?
  • Do you have tickets to a sporting event or concert?
  • Can you cook and host a meal, football game, or cocktail party?
  • Do you have a vacation house getaway you can donate?
  • Would you like to donate a wine basket, an Italian Dinner basket, Lottery Card Wreath, Car Detail Basket, Moscow Mule Basket, Olive Oil Basket, Game Night Basket? Just to name a few ideas!

Download an individual donation form if you want to donate an item OR help us by soliciting local businesses for a donation – download and print a business solicitation letter and form here.

Please drop off auction items along with the forms at our drop off site:
Alexia Giannakopoulos
81 Montrose Avenue
Newton, MA 02458

Please contact committee chairs, Cheryl Abramson ( and Alexia Giannakopoulos (, if you have any questions.

Thank you in advance for your support of this event.

Did you know? – GSA Alliance

The Genders and Sexualities Alliance meets Thursday mornings at 7:30 in Room 203. ‘GSA’ stands for ‘Genders and Sexualities Alliance’. It is a group of students and teachers working to spread the word about LG BTQA+ issues.  Students of all backgrounds and sexualities are welcome to participate. The overarching goal is to make Bigelow a safer and more accepting place for everyone! More information at the GSA Website.


February Break: Middle School Media Literacy

This February break Newton middle school students are invited to attend a fun and informative co-ed program, co-sponsored by Newton Health and Human Services and Boys for the Better, a Newton based non-profit dedicated to re-defining masculinity through Media Education. Students in 6 – 8th grade will learn how to:

  • Flip the script on negative media messaging, create their own social media voice, boost self-confidence, and learn how to communicate more effectively with peers, parents, and teachers
  • Form positive social relationships and learn new media literacy skills
  • Identify strategies for better managing time spent on social media and using digital devices, as well as practice healthy ways to manage their stress and emotional development

The program will take place at Newton North High School on February 18th – 21st, from 12pm – 4pm in the cafeteria.Tuition is $100 per student, and scholarships available upon request. (Lunch will not be served, students can bring their own or eat before they come).

To register, parents should visit

Students will spend time as a whole group learning new skills, and in small, gender specific groups doing hands-on activities and having group discussions. If your student prefers not to identify with one gender, or if you have questions about the curriculum or plans, please feel free to call Quinn Etchie, Director of Youth Services, at (617) 796-1436 or send her an email at The program is welcoming and accepting of ALL students.

Summer 2020: S.P.A.C.E Camp

S.P.A.C.E. Camp is a four week summer enrichment program run through the Newton Public Schools, for students entering Kindergarten through 9th Grade. S.P.A.C.E. has it all.: music, arts, STEM, performing arts, project based learning, sports and language arts. Dates for summer 2020 are 7/6-7/30.  Please check the program website for more detailed information.

Annual Appeal: we are over 50% of our goal

We need $3,000 more dollars to reach our $7,000 goal.
Please donate by January 31st. Every amount is appreciated.

A Big Bigelow Thank You to those Who have Donated Already!

You can pay online or send a check to: Bigelow PTO at 42 Vernon Street, Newton, MA 02458.

All donations – large or small – are greatly appreciated and will help us achieve all that we set out to do.

$500 | $250 | $100 | $50 | $20 | $10