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School Committee Update

Dear Friends,

We, your Newton School Committee, are writing to provide you with an update on the happenings within the School Committee.

This update is for the SC meeting which occurred on 03/19/2018:

This meeting was the first in several meetings aimed at reviewing the Superintendent’s Proposed 2018 – 2019 budget. A helpful tool to use when looking over the budget book is the Superintendent’s Budget Presentation. According to the presentation, the goals of the budget proposal are:

“To continue the forward momentum toward achieving key system goals and preserve the programs and supports we have built over the last several years, while addressing growing high school enrollment, our largest elementary and middle schools, and the increasing social and emotional needs of students.”

There are no major cuts, and the budget proposal supports some program improvements.

Please note, we will have a public hearing at 6:30pm on April 2nd and look forward to hearing your thoughts. You are also welcome to speak at public comment Monday, March 26th.

Here are some key takeaways from the March 19th meeting:

  • Assistant Principal positions are being added to Franklin, Mason-Rice and Angier.
  • Reduction of 2 elementary classrooms/teachers based on enrollment declines. Class sizes will not increase.
  • Addition of 0.5 Full Time Employee (FTE) at Day (Student Services administrator) and 0.5 FTE at Oak Hill (teacher)
  • Five full-time teachers are being added to our High Schools due to enrollment increases.
  • An additional 0.5 FTE math coach and purchase of materials to support the rollout of the new elementary math curriculum, Investigations 3.0, to all grade levels.
  • One-time funds are being used to purchase 1,000 Chromebooks to be added to the current high school supply.

Upcoming Budget Meetings:
March 22 @7:00 p.m.: Special School Committee Meeting, Budget Review: Student Services and Non-Instructional Areas
March 26 @7:00 p.m.: Regular School Committee Meeting, Straw Vote: FY19 School Budget
April 2 @6:30 p.m.: Public Hearing, Discussion: 2018-19 School Budget
April 9, @7:00 p.m.: Regular School Committee Meeting, Discussion and Vote: FY19 Budget

We hope you have found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website ( Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via

As always, we are eager to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have. Please feel free to contact us via the information below.

The Newton School Committee

March 24th Newton Family Conference Postponement

Dear NPS Community,

On Monday night at the School Committee meeting, I shared with the community that the district is postponing the Family Conference scheduled for Saturday, March 24th. A new date has not yet been set, but we aim to reschedule the event in Fall 2018.

We are disappointed to postpone the conference as it has been such a valuable experience for participants in previous years. However, there are March for Our Lives events in Boston and across the country now occurring that afternoon and some of our facilitators and participants would like to attend. In order to have a successful conference, it is essential that we have the right facilitators there to share information and guide the conversations.

The Newton Family Conference is one way in which the Newton Public School District is seeking to create culturally responsive school communities. While the conference is postponed for now, our work with faculty and staff around Courageous Conversations on Race will continue, as laid out in our six-year plan. Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) will also continue to support parent/family groups as they seek to explore issues of race in their individual schools.

We look forward to continuing this work through the end of the year and hope that we will see you next fall at the Family Conference.

David Fleishman

Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Newton Community,

I write to you with great sadness as our nation faces yet another tragedy in our school buildings. Our hearts go out to our fellow educators and all the students and families in Parkland, Florida. It is incomprehensible that these tragedies continue to occur and an important reminder that we must be prepared.

The Newton Public Schools have many systems in place to ensure that our schools are safe. Research demonstrates that some of the most important safety work we do is the support of the social and emotional health of our students. We know that it is most important for students to feel connected to their school community and supported by their peers, teachers, and other trusted adults. When we create connections and support, faculty and staff can more effectively address student needs or concerns when they arise. Some of the social and emotional initiatives we have in place include:

  • Signs of Suicide (SOS) curriculum and screenings of 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students
  • School connectedness surveys now conducted regularly at all levels
  • Responsive school/home and other social/emotional support programs
  • Anti-bullying programs and reporting system
  • Mental health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, or social workers in all buildings
  • Close partnerships with City of Newton Health and Human Services department and outside agencies

In addition to the social and emotional efforts, we do have robust safety and security systems and protocols in place to create secure buildings. We work very closely with our city partners on prevention, preparedness and response to a wide range of scenarios. In addition, we are currently working with an outside security expert to revise all our emergency protocols, which are aligned with current best practices in school safety and Massachusetts state guidelines. We expect these new protocols to be finalized this spring and implemented next fall.

The following is a list of some (not all) of the current systems we have in place in our district and our schools:

  • District-wide safety team that meets regularly to review, assess, and modify safety and crisis response protocols and procedures. The team is comprised of district, mental health, fire, police, and health department personnel
  • Building-based crisis teams focused on crisis prevention, preparedness and response at the school level
  • Close partnership with police and fire departments to ensure rapid and coordinated emergency response
  • Regular practice of emergency procedures, including lockdowns and shelter-in-place protocols
  • Emergency radios in all schools with direct connection to first responders

In light of the Florida tragedy, all of our district and building-based teams will be thoroughly reviewing safety procedures at their next meeting. In addition, Newton North and Newton South are identifying ways in which they can make security enhancements. We engage in this work knowing that these buildings were designed to be open campus environments in accordance with our educational philosophy. In doing so, we will be looking at procedures used at our neighboring high schools that also maintain an open campus.

We will continue to be vigilant in implementing our social and emotional support programs as well as reviewing and modifying our safety and security procedures and protocols. It is important that we partner with you in this endeavor and ask that if you see anything that is a safety concern, please do not hesitate to contact a teacher, counselor, or administrator.

Thank you for your understanding and support during these troubling times.

David Fleishman

Newton teacher inducted into state Hall of Fame for Science Educators

Mary Buttiglieri, Bigelow Middle School science teacher, was inducted into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame for Science Educators.

Interested to learn more? Read the complete article here:

Letter from the Superintendent

October 23, 2017

Dear NPS Community,

Please save the date for a special superintendent’s forum entitled: “Living in a Smartphone World: What does it mean for students, families, and educators?”

Inspired by the Atlantic Monthly piece entitled Have smartphones destroyed a generation? the forum will provide information and resources on the impact of technology and social media, as well as the opportunity to discuss the role of educators and families in navigating this space.

Forum details are as follows:

When: Wednesday, December 6th
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Newton South Auditorium
The panel discussion will be hosted by Boston Globe writer Beth Teitell and include both Newton educators and experts from outside the district.

Please RSVP here: Community Forum.

I hope to see you there.


David Fleishman