Category Archives: From Newton Public Schools

News from Newton Public Schools

Letter from the Superintendent

February 28, 2017

Dear Newton Community:

Over the past few days and weeks, I have received questions from community members about how recent federal actions on immigration and transgender guidelines impact our school community. These messages have expressed anxiety and uncertainty, as well as a desire to know where the Newton Public Schools stands in light of these events.

Regardless of federal actions, the Newton Public Schools strongly reaffirms our commitment to create welcoming, supportive, and safe school communities for all students and staff, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status.

Last week, the Newton City Council voted to become a “Welcoming City,” a city that protects all residents, regardless of legal status. In the same spirit, the Newton Public Schools welcomes all students, no matter where they were born or how they arrived in Newton.

As I visit our schools, I find students from all over the world who are learning and thriving in our classrooms. It is this diversity that gives all of our students such a rich and powerful student experience. The global community in our schools is preparing our students to thrive and succeed in a global world.

Diversity is not solely defined by race or ethnicity; it is multi-faceted, affording us the opportunity to teach acceptance, appreciation, and respect for each and every individual. To this end, I am proud of the real progress we have made in creating welcoming and safe spaces for our transgender students at all levels. Just recently, I had the privilege of listening to a transgender student speak about his experience. It was gratifying to hear about the comfort and acceptance he feels among his peers and within his school community. This reflects the commitment of our staff, our students, and our families.

We are fortunate in Massachusetts to be backed by state statute that ensures protections for all students and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Our NPS non-discrimination policy also specifies the rights and protections for gender identity and we have created the appropriate spaces in schools so that transgender students feel safe and comfortable.

We will continue to work hard every day to create school communities in which all students and adults feel safe and supported. Thank you for your partnership and for your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Newton Community,

Over the past few years, the Newton Public Schools have undertaken the important work of addressing issues of race, bias, and culture. We have a number of exciting initiatives underway for both staff and students. Recent events in our community and across the country have made this work more important than ever.

Earlier this year, I was approached by a group of parents interested in learning more about how we extend the work we are doing in the classrooms to the home and to the larger Newton community. To that end, I am pleased to invite you to a community forum: “Talking to Children about Race: Why and How?” to be held on Wednesday, March 22 nd at 7:00 p.m. at Angier School (1697 Beacon St.).

The session, led by Horace Mann Elementary teacher Mike Feldstein and METCO director Maricel Sheets, is designed for a K-5 parent audience and will:

  • Allow reflection of your own experiences around issues of race and racism
  • Demonstrate the importance of early conversations with children on race
  • Provide “how-to” help for guiding children and answering challenging questions
  • Highlight resources available to help parents and families navigate the issues

As one who has participated in Mike and Maricel’s workshops, I can tell you that they are lively, engaging and meaningful. Our country is becoming more diverse and we are fortunate that many of our students are exposed to differences at a young age. As a school district, we must continue to help our students develop positive racial identities and attitudes so that they can comfortably and productively navigate in all settings. There is no greater gift we can give our children than ensuring that they are prepared to be active, engaged, and respectful citizens of our diverse world.

An RSVP is not required, but it will help us plan for materials and activities. Please RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/eDB56M2MEcUz7aUX2

I hope to see you on Wednesday, March 22nd .

Sincerely,
David Fleishman

School Calendar

The 2017-18 calendar is now available.

Your generosity can make a difference

Your generosity can make a difference for thousands of Newton students. Donations from generous Newton businesses and individuals like you are enabling Newton Schools Foundation to fund a vast array of new and enhanced educational opportunities for our kids! Thanks to your support:

  • 1,760 elementary school students have deepened their writing skills led by teachers trained by the NSF-funded Summer Writing Institute; this year middle school students are receiving similarly enhanced writing instruction.
  • 780 tweens and teens have broader access to social and emotional supports through NSF-funded middle school advisory programs.
  • 36 high school sophomores and juniors are taking exciting new interdisciplinary courses in STEAM through the DaVinci Program at Newton South, which was piloted last year and will continue to roll out to include seniors. At Newton North, 20 students/year are enrolled in an interdisciplinary Science and Society elective.
  • More low-income students and students of color are achieving in advanced mathematics as 110 middle and high school students participate in the Calculus Project. An additional 30 rising seventh graders will enroll this summer.

Without your support, these programs—and many others funded by Newton Schools Foundation—would not be possible. Your partnership with Newton Schools Foundation will continue the good work of the Newton Public Schools to pilot and launch initiatives that promote academic achievement, social/emotional wellness and equity for Newton students across all grades in our 21 elementary, middle and high schools.

Please consider Newton Schools Foundation in your decisions about charitable giving this year. Donate today!

Community Forum on High School Start Time-October 19th

Dear Families,

Last year, I shared information with you about the important work Newton is doing to examine the impact of high school start times on students. Since Newton began its work, several other districts across the state have begun to investigate whether a change in high school start time is right for their district. The growing interest in high school start time is a reflection of the compelling research demonstrating the unique sleep cycles of adolescents and the potential consequences of sleep deficit.

A working group spent the 2015-16 school year reviewing sleep research, investigating processes in other districts, and gathering survey feedback from Newton students, faculty, and families. Regular updates were provided to the School Committee, posted to the district website, and distributed via email. A final report with survey results and analysis was issued in June 2016. Click here for the full report End of Year Report.

From the research and feedback, the High School Start Time Working Group has created six potential “scenarios” for consideration. These scenarios move the high school start time later. Some impact only the high schools while others impact all schools in the district. These scenarios were presented to the School Committee on Monday, September 19, 2016 and can be viewed here.

The next step is for you, the NPS community, to provide your feedback on the potential changes to the start times. As a district, we want to hear your thoughts on the benefits, costs, and implications of any changes, as well as your feedback on the value of undertaking this effort. We have scheduled a community forum for Wednesday, October 19th at 7 p.m. at Angier (1697 Beacon St.) at which the Working Group will share information and listen to your feedback. We hope you will attend. We will also share information through PTO meetings this fall, as well as through school newsletters. To share you feedback directly with the Working Group, please send an email to: laterstart@newton.k12.ma.us. For more information visit the district website at www.newton.k12.ma.us/page/2553.

I look forward to hearing your feedback this fall as we consider whether a later high school start time is right for the Newton Public Schools.

Sincerely,

David A. Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools