The latest announcements from the PTO Council and NPS...

Public Forum with State Senators on March 2nd

The public is invited to join State Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) and other Senators next Monday for the latest stop on the MA Senate’s “Commonwealth Conversations” Tour.

Members of the public are invited to speak on an issue by signing up, and comments are limited to two minutes to give as many people as possible an opportunity to participate.
Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D- Amherst) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester) have tasked all Senate members with assembling regional days to highlight and showcase their districts and to bring the State House to local communities. They, along with Senator Creem and Metro-West colleagues (Senators Richard Ross, Michael Barrett, Eileen Donoghue, James Eldridge, and Karen Spilka), will be attending a full day of events with business and community leaders from Plainville to Lowell, ending with this public forum in Newton.

These tours allow Senators to hear directly from the public, learn more about the issues of other districts and better understand the needs of the Commonwealth. Every Senator is also attending events in other districts.

March 2nd, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Newton North High School cafeteria,  457 Walnut Street

PARCC UPDATE

Dear Families:

As most of you know, students in Massachusetts have been tested for proficiency in English Language Arts and Mathematics since 1998 using MCAS. Over the next couple of years, MCAS will very likely be phased out and replaced by a different type of assessment designed to assess student proficiency with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which were adopted as Massachusetts state standards by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2011. Since that time, our K-8 English Language Arts and Math departments have gradually shifted our entire curriculum to align with the Common Core in elementary and middle school.

Last year, some of our schools and classrooms were randomly selected to pilot PARCC, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Based on that experience, and our desire to test our students on the current curriculum, we chose to administer PARCC in all elementary and middle schools this year. Slightly more than half of the districts in Massachusetts made the same choice.

The transition to PARCC requires changes in some of our previous testing routines. In particular, thirteen (13) of our schools chose to test using the computer-based version of PARCC, something we have not done before.

The first round of PARCC testing begins March 16th and runs through April 10th, with five (5) testing sessions in that five (5) week window. The second round of PARCC testing runs from May 4th through May 21st, with three (3) testing sessions in three (3) weeks. The exact dates will vary by school and grade. Fifth and eighth graders will also take the Science MCAS in May.

Student, school and district test results will be reported similarly to MCAS, and we will analyze our performance as we do with all student learning assessments. We have worked diligently to align our curriculum to the new standards, to deliver additional resources to teachers, to refine our instructional strategies, and to provide additional support to students as necessary.

The PARCC assessment will be one measure of the outcome of our work, and we will make adjustments to our curriculum and instruction in response to student performance, as we do with all assessments. Despite the proliferation of state and federal testing, we will continue our focus on improving teaching and learning in the Newton Public Schools.

Obviously, this is a tremendous undertaking and will require a great deal of effort and communication with staff and parents. More information about the PARCC assessment is
available on the Newton Public Schools website at www.newton.k12.ma.us/PARCC

Many thanks for your understanding and support. We will be sure to keep you well informed during this time of transition.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools

School Committee meeting Monday, February 9th

The next School Committee meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, February 9th at 7:00 pm. One of the primary topics to be presented is a “Student Assignment Working Group Update”. School Committee meetings are open to the public. You are invited to attend the meeting in person at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street, Room 210, or watch it on NewTV here: http://www.newtv.org/video/gov-programs/government-programs/

Please note that there will not be a chance to comment during this meeting. It will be an informational update.

Rescheduled PTO Council meeting

The next regular PTO Council meeting, originally scheduled for next Tuesday, February 3rd, has been postponed and rescheduled to Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:30 pm in room 210 on the Education Center, 100 Walnut Street.

Weather Alert

FOR MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2015, ALL Newton Public Schools’ EVENING ACTIVITIES (FROM 6:00 pm ON) WILL BE CANCELED.