Thoreau PTO Weekly Update 2-1-22

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Thoreau Elementary PTO exists to foster a greater sense of community by increasing access to the school in an all-inclusive approach for families and specifically the children in our community.

February 15 — Spring Primary Election
February 15 — Dine Out Fundraiser @ MOD Pizza
March 7-11 — National School Social Work Week
March 8 — PTO General Meeting
March 17 — Dine Out Fundraiser @ Thai Noodles
March 18 — No School
March 28-4/1 — No School (Spring Break)

Links to MMSD 2021-2022 Calendar (English) (Spanish)

The MMSD 2022-2023 Calendar is also now available online.


  • Quick Notes from the PTO
  • Board Minutes // Recruiting for the 2022/23 PTO Board
  • March Madness Tournament of Books
  • Thoreau Recess Support — Join our Volunteer Distribution List to Signup When Available!
  • Dine-Out Fundraiser // MOD Pizza Tuesday, February 15th
  • Thoreau Weekend Food Program
  • Thoreau Spelling Bee Winner
  • Girls On The Run Coach Recruitment


Hello friends and families of Thoreau! We hope you are all staying healthy, safe and warm. Below are a few quick updates and tidbits for your consideration.

  • REPORT CARDS — Just a friendly reminder that no paper copy of a student’s report card will be sent home. Report cards will be viewable in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal on Friday, February 4. Review these directions
    on how to access the report (videos included, in both English and Spanish).
  • LOST & FOUND — All lost and found items have been placed in the in the entryway (the atrium at the front entrance to the school). If your students is missing something, you check for those items by buzzing into the entryway during school hours.
  • HEALTH OFFICE DONATION REQUEST — The health office is asking for donations of Size 12 Girls Underwear, Gloves (all sizes) and Large and Extra Large Snow Pants. All donations can be dropped off in the main office. If you have any questions, please reach out to the School Office at or call 608.204.6941.
  • PART-TIME NURSING ASSISTANT POSITION AT THOREAU — Thoreau is looking for a part-time Nursing Assistant to start immediately at Thoreau. If anyone would like to learn more about the position they can reach out to Lucy ( or Dawn ( in the Thoreau health office. There preference would be to find someone that is already connected to the Thoreau school community, but anyone can apply. Additional information about the job positing can be found here. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.
  • VACCINE CLINICS — If anyone is looking for a Covid vaccine or booster shot, there are multiple MMSD vaccine clinics coming up that are open to staff and students. See the flyer and feel free to reach out to the health office with any questions.
  • SHOW SOME LOVE FOR OUR SUBSTITUTES — Thoreau is working hard to support its substitute teachers. Westminster Church delivered numerous gift bags with gift cards and chocolates for any substitute staff that comes to Thoreau and all they need are thank you cards to express our gratitude. Purchase or create homemade thank you cards, include a hand written note and deliver the cards to the School Office.
  • HELP RECRUIT SCHOOL CROSSING GUARDS — MMSD and the City of Madison are asking for help in their recruitment efforts for adult crossing guards including for Thoreau Elementary and the corner at 3800 Nakoma Road (midblock across from the school). Additional details are included here. For more information, contact the City of Madison Crossing Guard Supervisors at 266-4703. Please also pass this along to anyone you think may be interested in applying.
  • SHARE YOUR PHOTOS — Do you have a picture from the first day of school? From the Tico Trot or Sparkle Day? On a playground with friends? Or maybe you snapped a photo last week as your student fired up their laptop at home for a little virtual learning? We want lots of photos of all of our students to include in this addition of the yearbook and need you help. Please email or text photos to Alexa ( or 608-320-6929) and don’t forget to include your student’s name, grade and teacher.


The PTO Board met on Tuesday, January 25th. Minutes of that meeting can be accessed here.

We need to begin planing for the 2022/23 school year and finding individuals to serve on the PTO Board. Alexa Wautier, PTO Co-President, will be transitioning off the Board after her youngest moves on the Cherokee Heights Middle School next year and Mike Gregor, PTO Treasurer, will be moving on in two years. We need to recruit individuals to serve in those and other positions now so that the PTO can have a smooth transition.

We need individuals who are willing to engage with school and community leaders, listen to families and plan for the future needs of the school. We need leaders and strong voices to advocate for the needs of the school. The more voices that are included, the better support we can provide. Please consider being one of those voices, taking time to support the goals of our students’ public education and making our school community a welcoming space for families to turn to with questions and ideas.

If you are interested in learning more about the PTO, the PTO Board and the various responsibilities of the board and office positions, we welcome you to attend any of our upcoming meetings. The next PTO Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 22nd from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm via zoom. Please reach out to Alexa at if you are interested in learning more or attending.


Thanks to generous donations from members of the West High Class of ’61 and others within the Thoreau community and additional funding provided by the PTO, Thoreau’s LMT Specialist Lisa Hempstead is purchasing multiple copies (6-8 each of paperbacks, picture books, audio books, ebooks and Spanish language where available) of 32 titles so that they are available for anyone who wants to participate. The books are being ordered and the reading frenzy will soon begin.

What is the Madness Tournament of Books? It is an all school literacy event that gets kids excited to read.

How are books selected? Our lovely LMT, Lisa Hempstead has spent a lot of time putting together a collection of high interest, culturally diverse, well regarded titles that include graphic novels, historical fiction, non-fiction, verse, books by local authors and much more.

Top 5 reasons why we support the program:

  1. The tournament setting evokes a friendly competition in which students vote and root for their favorite books to win and celebrate when the book they love progresses to the next bracket.
  2. It introduces new books to readers. Students are exposed to new genres, authors, series and titles that they might not normally select on their own. Peer recommendations motivate students to read more and different books.
  3. It is for all school-age readers. There is a picture book bracket and a middle grade novel bracket. Teachers and students can choose which bracket they want to join and often try more than one.
  4. It is a chance for classes to connect with students around the world and talk about books beyond the classroom walls. Students post book recommendations online, conduct google chats with classrooms around the globe and create and share book talks with their peers.
  5. March Madness creates community. Students, teachers and parents share a common experience. Classroom read-alouds, parent-student bedtime stories, book discussions and school wide engagement promotes a community of readers.

Let’s get our students excited being a part of a greater community of readers!


We are still encouraging families to sign up to help Thoreau will recess support. We understand that you may not be able to commit to a scheduled day each week, but if you feel like your schedule will allow you to sign up for an occasional shift from week to week, please consider taking the following steps to be added to our distribution list:

Step 1: Complete the Thoreau Recess Support Form (either indicate your availability or simply note that you will check the schedule and sign up if available).

Step 2: Complete the Volunteer Application online. If you need help with this, please let us know and we can provide additional instructions.

Step 3: Upon completion of the volunteer application, you will receive an email from the district stating additional requirements and links to completing those requirements. If you don’t receive that email, please contact Laura Whitmore ( MMSD has instituted new requirements for Level 2 volunteers in the last two weeks that require all volunteers be vaccinated and complete 3 trainings (1 live and 2 online). This can take some time to complete so please start this process as soon as you are able if you intend to volunteer during the remainder of this school year.

Step 4: Review your status after you have completed the requirements and once approved for Level 2 (you will receive an email), contact Alexa ( You will then be added to the recess support distribution list and begin receiving a weekly Friday email from Alexa with a google sheet recess schedule where you can see shift openings and sign up for available slots.

We are trying to be flexible, but are limiting distribution of the schedule/sign-up to those who have completed the form and the MMSD volunteer application to ensure everyone is properly authorized to volunteer per MMSD guidelines.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Alexa ( or the School Office (at or call 608.204.6941).


Mark your calendar! The next dine-out fundraiser is Tuesday, February 15th at MOD PIZZA in Fitchburg.

Support the PTO with a slice of pizza! 20% of our sales will go back to Thoreau.
Tuesday, February 15th
10:30 a.m. — 10:00 p.m.
2960 Cahill Main, Fitchburg
Be sure to use the code GR209090T when ordering online, or tell the cashier you are part of the Thoreau fundraiser.
In addition to dine-in, supporters can participate in this fundraiser through take-out, pick-up, and delivery!
NOTE: this fundraiser does NOT include the location on Mineral Point Road, or delivery from third-party apps.

The Thoreau Weekend Food Program delivers two prepackaged boxes of non-perishable dry goods every other Friday for at-need Thoreau families. The goal of the program is to reduce food insecurity and ensure students attend school ready to learn.

The program has been around for several years and recently underwent a leadership transition. Thoreau Adopt-A-School Partner through the Madison Public Schools Foundation, Brad Bodden, has been running the program since its inception and has done an amazing job shifting the program from a weekend backpack food program to a semi-monthly food delivery program in support of Thoreau students and families. The food program is also now an official program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin, a relationship solidified while working closely with Second Harvest during the pandemic and the creation of the Madison West High Area Collaborative. There is not enough space in this email to express all that Brad has done for the Thoreau community. He is a thoughtful, kind and generous person who has made a commitment to our school and its families and we are so grateful for his leadership. Thank you Brad.

Carolyn Casey of the Nakoma League and Deb Annen of Glenwood Moravian Church have stepped in to run the program without missing a beat and we look forward to working with both of them moving forward. Thank you Carolyn and Deb for taking on this leadership role to help support our families.

The Thoreau Weekend Food Program was created by various individuals and groups within the Thoreau community and we thank them for unwavering support!

If you are interested in making a donation to support the program you can do so online (select Thoreau from the drop down).

Meet our Thoreau Spelling Bee winner

Reuben Lindberg from Mrs. Hadden’s class was the winner who will advance to the all city Spelling Bee, and Mikko Ghaffari from Mrs. Hadden’s class will be the alternate.

Thoreau’s GOTR Wants YOU!
Are you looking for a rewarding way to spend time with our 3rd-5th grade scholars and a fun coaching team? The GOTR coaching crew needs a few additional coaches for our site at Nakoma Park. The season will run April 12- June 2, culminating in a 5k celebration at Middleton High School on Saturday, June 4th. Practices will be Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3:30-5 pm, and you can commit to either one or two days per week. Coaches get an added perk: your child will receive priority registration! New coach training will be provided by GOTR (March 12th 8am-12:30; March 13th 1:00-5:30pm; March 22nd 4:00-8:30pm; OR March 30th 4:00-8:30pm). To sign up, fill out the application materials here: If you have any questions, please contact Christina Spector.
Registration opens to the public on March 1st on the GOTR website.

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