Category Archives: From Newton Public Schools

News from Newton Public Schools

An Invitation to a Special Event on Sat. Dec. 1st

Dear Newton Families,

For the past few years, the Newton Public Schools have hosted the Newton Family Conference – a conference for Black/African-American and Latino/Hispanic families to provide opportunities for learning, connection, and discussion. Because the event has been so informative and helpful, this year we are expanding it to invite ALL NPS families.

We postponed last spring’s conference to this fall and now I am pleased to invite you to the 2018 Newton Family Conference to be held on Saturday, December 1st from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Newton North High School. The goal of the Newton Family Conference is to build relationships between families of color and white families within the district; advance dialogue around issues of race, culture, and identity; and create opportunities for families within NPS to meet each other. The Family Conference is one way in which the Newton Public School District is seeking to create culturally responsive school communities with equity and excellence for all.

Participants at the conference will attend workshops on “Courageous Conversations About Race” facilitated by NPS trained facilitators. These sessions will be similar to the workshops in which Newton faculty and staff are participating. In addition, we will offer sessions at the conference that will provide parents with ideas and strategies for talking to their children about race. Our goal is for you to partner with us as we strive to make our Newton school community welcoming and inclusive to all students and families.

To facilitate your participation, limited childcare, provided by Newton classroom aides and high school students, will be available for children in grades K-5. Please RSVP at: https://2018familyconference.eventbrite.com. Workshop online selection forms will be emailed by November 5th to those that RSVP.

I hope you will consider attending what should be an excellent conference.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent

Letter from the Superintendent

September 17, 2018

Dear Newton Community:

For the past seven years, the Newton Public Schools have been the target of outside groups claiming anti-Israel bias in our history curriculum. These baseless claims, often reliant upon materials and documents taken out of context, are misleading and only serve to denigrate the hard work and professionalism of our skilled and dedicated faculty.

In recent months, the attacks have grown increasingly and unjustly personal. Our history teachers have been singled out, harassed and subjected to harsh and unfair criticism in the media and online. As a result, there is growing concern among our faculty about teaching controversial topics. Should these attacks continue, we worry it will jeopardize our ability to expose students to diverse opinions and to teach them about controversial issues that require open minds and critical thought.

We stand behind our faculty members, who are guided by the mission and values of the Newton Public Schools and their professional judgment. Whether it is the history of the Middle East or contemporary American politics, they are committed to engaging students around complex and challenging issues in a responsible, intellectual and balanced way.

In every class, our teachers work to ensure that students learn to separate fact from opinion, discern between different points of view, challenge their own thinking and that of their peers, and develop evidence-based opinions through study and the testing of ideas. They also provide space for students to actively listen, particularly to those voices in the minority – whether it be political, racial, ethnic, religious, or gender.

As always, we encourage our families to bring any questions about curriculum to their child’s teacher or department head. Information and teaching materials are always available to families and our administrators and faculty are happy to discuss them. For more information on teaching controversial topics in the Newton Public Schools, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on our website.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools

School Committee Update

Dear Friends,

We hope that the school year has started off well for you.

This update is for the 09/17/2018 Newton School Committee meeting:

  • Liam Hurley, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, was joined by Julie Kirrane, Director of Business and Planning, and Sean Manion, Director of Finance to present the FY18 Final Fiscal and Operational Report. In summary, FY18 ended with a small surplus and a healthy carryover to help this year’s budget. Our first look at the FY19 Fiscal and Operational Report will take place in October.
  • Liam Hurley and Julie Kirrane were joined by David Stickney, Director of Facilities, to present an update on our summer facilities work, as well as the FY19 Update to the Long-Range Plan and the Capital Improvement Plan. A notable takeaway was the incredible amount of work done over the summer.  Over 250 projects were completed in 34 days, a testament to the Public Buildings and Facilities teams’ great efforts.  Another key discussion point was the revised long-range facilities timeline. The time estimates for projects were extended based on recent experience, and project order has been updated based on conditions and enrollment pressures.  The next major school projects will be Lincoln-Eliot and the NECP (150 Jackson St), Countryside, Ward, and Franklin.  Discussion included ideas of smaller projects at Ward and Franklin that could help improve living conditions at these buildings while they await their major renovations.
  • Stephen Marshall, Grants & Business Analyst, presented a list of grant awards and gifts.  The School Committee votes unanimously to accept these donations.
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve the Superintendent’s Assessment, the FY19 Systemwide GoalsMinutes for 9-4-2018, the FY19 School Committee Goals, and Anping Shen as our new MASC/MASS Conference Delegate.

Next Meeting:

  • October 1st @7PM: High School Start Time Update, Full Day Kindergarten Discussion, Student Assignment Working Group Discussion, MASS/MASC Resolutions Discussion.

Reminder:

We hope you found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website (https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/2227). Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via www.newtv.org.

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

Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely,
The Newton School Committee
schoolcommittee@newton.k12.ma.us

School Committee Update

Dear Friends,

Welcome back to school!  We hope you had a great summer and the school year has started off well for you.

This update is for the 09/04/2018 Newton School Committee meeting:

  • Superintendent Fleishman welcomed our 2018 – 2019 School Committee Student Representatives:  Nayeth Lopez-Lopez, Maya Matthews, Serena Jampel, Cristian Gaines, Lucy Chae and Ross Halpern
  • Superintendent Fleishman thanked our Custodial, Administrative and Transportation teams for a successful first day of school.
  • Superintendent Fleishman honored the life of Tony Bibbo, longtime friend of NPS, who recently passed away.
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve the contracts with the  NPS Custodian’s Association and Newton Educational Secretaries Association.
  • The NPS administrative team presented a second look at our 2018 – 2019 System-Wide goals.  Notable additions are several curriculum changes including expansion of Investigations 3 Math curriculum in elementary, introduction of Illustrative Math curriculum in middle schools, and several updates to our science and social studies curriculum.
  • Superintendent David Fleishman presented  his 2018 – 2019 Superintendent Goals.
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve the 2018 – 2019 School Committee Calendar and Agenda Items
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve several policy additions and updates including JFABE (Military Childen), JFABF (Foster Care) and JRA (School Records)
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve a new private school in Newton called Fusion Academy.  It is important to note that this vote is required by law and is not an endorsement of the school.
  • The School Committee unanimously voted to approve amended School Committee meeting minutes.

Next Meeting:

  • September 17th @7PM: Capital Improvement Plan, Update, Vote: Superintendent’s Assessment, Vote: Systemwide Goals

Reminder:

We hope you found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website (https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/2227). Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via www.newtv.org.

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

Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely,
The Newton School Committee

Welcome Back from the Superintendent

August 29, 2018

Dear Families,

I hope you have enjoyed the summer. It is a great pleasure to welcome both our returning families and those new to our schools.

The start of a school year is a wonderful time for anyone involved in education because it allows us to develop new goals, build new relationships and embark upon new challenges. At the same time, I recognize that these transitions bring about mixed emotions for both students and families. One of my children reminded me of this several years ago at this time when he asked me “why can’t summer go on forever?”

Summer is an important time for adult learning in Newton and the conference we hosted for our educators this summer was one that made me proud. The conference featured Newton faculty and administrators facilitating training sessions for their colleagues on a range of important topics related to both the academic and social and emotional aspects of race and student achievement. The conference was one example of the professional learning that occurs over the summer and I am proud that we have the expertise amongst our own staff to take on these important goals, which also include updating and improving our curriculum based on new standards and student learning styles.

While we recognize that a skilled and dedicated teacher is the most important ingredient to high quality student learning, we also know that effective use of technology has the potential to support the work of students and teachers. In that spirit, we will expand the one-to-one technology pilot from last year and provide a Chromebook to all 10th grade students this year. We are hopeful that this initiative will provide our faculty with greater opportunities to use technology to enhance learning in class and to ensure that all students have access to technology at home. After this year, we hope to extend this initiative to all high school grade levels.

It is essential that we work with families to create school communities that are inclusive, supportive, and healthy environments for our students to learn and grow. As a school district, it is our job to educate your child, but also to provide you with resources to help you and your student navigate complex issues. Last year, we held a very successful parent workshop on “Living in a Smartphone World.” It was clear to us that this was a topic of significant interest to families that warrants further exploration by our district. Again, this year, we will hold a community forum and we will be looking for your input on issues that are most relevant to you and your family.

One of the most important parts of my job is to be in our schools on a regular basis working with staff and students. Together with School Committee members, and working closely with our PTOs, I will again visit each of our 22 schools to speak with you about district initiatives and listen to your ideas, questions, and concerns. Using social media, it is our hope to expand the dialogue and conversation this year to share more about all the good work happening in our district and to hear from you about the information and resources that are important to you. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also sign up for regular updates from our School Committee here.

Our partnership with you and the larger Newton community is critical to our success. Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful school year.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent
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You may also view a video welcome from the superintendent.