January 2, 2018   •   Issue 19 

A New Year's Prayer

"Lord, You make all things new, You bring hope alive in our hearts, and cause our spirits to be born again. Thank you for this new year and for all the potential it holds. Come and kindle in us a mighty flame so that in our time, many will see the wonders of God and live forever to praise Your glorious name. Amen."

Dear Parents,


Happy New Year! I wish you all a most happy and healthy 2019! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the vacation as well. They always seem to come at the right time. We look forward to welcoming your children back to school. I do like this stretch of seven weeks before February vacation because it is a time when students are especially focused on learning without too many other distractions. That is the dream for every educator!


I will begin by recapping the last week of 2018 at school before focusing on all that we have planned for January.


On behalf of the faculty and staff, I want to thank you for your extreme generosity towards the Christmas collection, as well as your other gifts. At our faculty breakfast the day before the break, we gave the teachers your gifts and cards, and everyone was so amazed and appreciative of not only your generosity but the thoughtful notes from you and your children. Personally, I am always so touched to read the notes from all of you. So much so, that I share them with my family, and a few notes brought tears to my eyes as well as some laughs😊.  75% of our families contributed to the faculty collection which I explained to the teachers shows how much you all appreciate how hard everyone works and how you know how much we all love your children. Thank you to Lauren Fryberger and Karrin Plotner for organizing the collection and the sweet cards. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful community!


The Christmas Concert with the Band and Choir was spectacular! We hosted the concert in the HUB and that space worked out well. I want to thank Jenn Zevos, our new band director, for working so hard and so well with our students as they just began band in October. The students performed very well, and we look forward to our Spring Concert in June. The choir sang songs that certainly put us in the Christmas spirit, singing some of our favorite religious and popular Christmas songs. Thank you to Mrs. Pratt and Mrs. Nedder for all the work they do with the choir all year long.


January 2nd

School re-opens!


January 3rd

Prayer and Pick Up with 2B at 2:10 p.m.


January 8th

Student Council meeting 2:45-3:15 p.m.


January 10th

Prayer and Pick Up with 2C at 2:10 p.m.


7:00 p.m. PSA meeting in the MHMS dining room–– please enter through the patio near the playground. This is a NIGHT meeting.


January 11th

8:00 a.m. The School Store is open


8:30 a.m. Bill Burke, Headmaster at St. Sebastian School speaks to the fifth grade students as part of their Leadership Series – this is a date change


January 12th

First Reconciliation for our second-grade students


January 17th

Prayer and Pick Up with 1A at 2:10 p.m.


STREAM Night at 6:00 p.m. – details will follow


January 18th

Early Release – Faculty Meeting


January 21st

No School – Martin Luther King Jr. Day


January 24th

Prayer and Pick Up with 1B at 2:10 p.m.


St. Joe's and Parent Talk workshop at 7:00 p.m.


January 25th

The School Store is open

Progress Reports


January 27th

MHMS Open House

January 28th


Catholic Schools Week kicks off! Mass at 9:00 a.m. – grade four hosts


January 29th

Early Release – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon


Bowling Party for students


January 30th



January 31st

Parent Appreciation Day – details to follow


Prayer and Pick Up with 1C at 2:10 p.m.


February 1st

Student Appreciation Day

Mother/Son event – details to follow



Our trip to see Mary Poppins Returns on opening day was so fun! The movie is a must see for families and certainly for our fifth-grade students. The kiddos were so wonderfully behaved and appreciative of the opportunity to see the movie after they performed so well in their production. Not to mention what better way to go to the movies than with your classmates and in your pajamas? It could not have been better. Thank you to Mrs. Fiumara, Mrs. Howard, and Mr. Rodis for helping me surprise the students and we brought along Mrs. Pratt, Miss Boland, and Miss McShane who I have to say, may have been more excited than the students. On the way back to schoo,l Miss McShane said, "At St. Joe's we make memories." It was such a warm and honest assessment of the day that my eyes brimmed with tears.



Santa's Workshop was another great day during a wonderful week. The children are always so excited to be able to shop for the people they love the most, you.  Pajama Day makes it a lot of fun too! It is a fantastic tradition and one that requires a lot of work and a lot of hands. Thank you to Nicola Dempsey, Jen Engel, Karen Calton, Theresa Gallagher, Mary Beth Cox and the army of elves that worked that day. I am never surprised but always thankful that during such a busy time of year, so many parents give up their last "free moments" to wrap and help shop at Santa's Workshop.



On Thursday, we gathered as a school community for a Christmas sing-along where the students in each grade stood and sang a few of the Christmas classics. All students, pre-k through grade five participated and it was a great way to be together. As usual, Mrs. Pratt was extraordinary in preparing and leading the students in song.


Finally, we gathered over in the church for the MHMS Live Nativity where the eighth-grade students re-enacted the story of the Birth of Jesus. All our students attended, even our pre-k students with their fifth-grade buddies and we were treated to a heartfelt mixture of word and song as we watched and listened. Congratulations to the eighth graders for a wonderful performance.

As the teachers said so well in their Christmas blasts to you, we have magical traditions here at St. Joe's!


Now on to the new year...


I want to let you know that this year the MAP winter testing is optional, so after much discussion, the faculty and staff have decided not to test our students. Instead we will focus on the curriculum and taking that time to look at individual students and their personal growth, and to inform instruction.


There were many security updates done over vacation in both buildings. The company needed to do a lot of drilling and we did not want to interfere in student learning, so they came when we were closed. One of the most noticeable changes will be the vestibule in the front of the Pickering Street door. Going forward, you will have to be buzzed in twice which will be a change, so we ask for your patience.



The Anton Coat Drive concludes this weekend so if you have any coats to donate please make sure to send them into school by this Friday. Thanks to Caroline Maloney, Elizabeth Murphy, and Lori Ann Young for coordinating this effort.



Once a year we hold a PSA meeting at night for those folks that may not be able to get to the morning meetings. This year the meeting will be held on Thursday, January 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the MHMS dining room. Please enter through the door on the patio, behind the school, near the playground.



We look forward to welcoming families to our annual STREAM night where you will be able to participate in some design challenges with your children. There will be a flier coming home soon with the details.


PARENT TALK LECTURE: A Parent Guide to Happier Kids

Parent Talk confirmed the date of Jan. 24th to have Pam Garramone speak here at St. Joe's.  The topic for the lecture is the idea of using positive psychology to be happier and raise happier kids.


Some friendly reminders:

  • Please make sure to pull up right to the ramp at morning drop off. Mr. Beranger or Ms. Harris are out there directing traffic and would like to have at least three cars unloading students at once. Also, please have your children ready to jump out and have a great day at school. We do ask for parents not to get out of the car as parents have expressed that they need to catch the train, get to work, or drop off other children and would like the line to move quickly. Also, in the afternoon, please pull up to the cones and use all of the lanes so that there is not a backup on Highland Avenue.
  • Please make sure to send your children with jackets, hats, gloves or mittens because our goal is to get the children out for recess even on chilly days.


Catholic Schools Week is a marvelous week to celebrate the many ways that St. Joe's and a Catholic education benefit your children. There will be a flier going home with all the details as it is a busy week. The theme this year is "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." which is exactly what we do every day.


The Knights of Columbus Basketball Free Throw Championship is being held this Saturday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon in the MHMS Gym. Open to boys & girls 9-14 years old.
Additional info can be found at: 


Registration for the 2019 Needham Boys Youth Lacrosse is now OPEN! 


It is not too late to register or to start playing a new spring sport.  Needham Boys Lacrosse is looking fornew and returning players for the 2019 spring season.


To register please visit our website: and click "Register Online". 


Registration will be open through Jan. 31st. We are offering the following programs for the upcoming spring season:

  • Kindergarten - 1 Midweek practice
  • U9 - 1st and 2nd Grade - 1 midweek practice and 1 weekend practice/scrimmage
  • U11 - 3rd and 4th Grade - 2 midweek practices and 1 weekend game
  • 5th Grade through 8th Grade, A and B teams - 2 midweek practices and 1 weekend game


Please email with any questions:

Welcome back and cheers to a great New Year everyone!


Warm regards,
Charlotte Kelly

©2016 Saint Joseph Elementary School
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