Category Archives: From Newton Public Schools

News from Newton Public Schools

Letter from the Superintendent

Dear NPS 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 represents a new beginning. It is an opportunity to share our experience and our skills with new colleagues, new families, and new students. There is also a special excitement knowing how much we will learn from each other and from our students over the course of the year.

Summer is an important time for adult learning in Newton. We began this summer again with a powerful conference on race and achievement for Newton Educators. Among the many terrific sessions led by Newton faculty and staff, were workshops on Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain and Tackling Implicit Bias. We are committed to creating welcoming and inclusive classrooms and school communities, and we will continue this work with faculty and staff, as well as students throughout the year.

After a year of careful planning, we are proud to finally offer full-day kindergarten in the Newton Public Schools. Our kindergarten teams, support staff, and administrators have worked over the course of this spring and summer to develop a schedule for our kindergarteners that balances academic learning with age-appropriate social and emotional structures and activities.

In our continuous effort to personalize learning and leverage the use of technology, this year we are expanding our 1:1 initiative to grades 9-11 at both high schools. Students will receive a Chromebook for academic work both in school and at home. We will continue to support our faculty in incorporating best practices for technology use in their classrooms.

While academic achievement is a hallmark of the Newton Public Schools, we are just as firmly committed to the physical and social/emotional health of our students. We seek to work in partnership with you in supporting students as they navigate the pre-K – 12 years. To that end, last year we hosted a well-attended community forum on vaping, the most recent health epidemic to impact our youth. We will continue to address this issue through our health curriculum and through our school support systems. It is our plan this year to host another community forum on a topic that is relevant, timely, and useful to you as parents and caregivers. We look forward to this opportunity and will share more information once it is available.

We continue to achieve milestones on our long-term strategic plan for our school buildings. Our Cabot students will begin the year in their renovated and expanded facility. Horace Mann students will start the year in their new, permanent home at 225 Nevada St. We will continue to keep you apprised of progress as we strive to renovate and update our buildings.

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. In addition, I will use my superintendent newsletter and social media to share more with you about all the good work happening in our district. Be sure to follow the Newton Public Schools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

As I enter my tenth year as superintendent of the Newton Public Schools, I know how important your support is to the success and well-being of our students. Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful school year.

Sincerely,
David Fleishman

For a video message, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/RiMFrrp9MAQ

School Committee Update

Dear Friends,

This update is for the 6/10/2019 Newton School Committee meeting:

Superintendent Update:

  • Both NNHS and NSHS hosted successful graduation ceremonies. Good luck to the Class of 2019!

Agenda Items:

  • Liam Hurley, Assistant Superintendent of Finance, and Josh Morse, Newton’s Public Buildings Commissioner. presented a facilities update focused on the Newton Early Childhood Program building. Initial cost estimates are over budget so they are exploring options to reduce costs. One key cost is the two classrooms planned to be constructed by infilling the gym. An exterior addition will now be considered. It was noted that none of these changes will affect the plan to have air conditioning, a separate van drop-off loop, and an appropriate playground.
  • Toby Romer, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, presented a School Start Time, Schedule and Transportation Update. Three options were presented for possible shifts to the start time with a goal set of implementing a new start time by Fall of 2020. Steps to get there include community input and negotiating a successful contract with the NTA. The start time presentationoutlines the three options. For a deeper dive, please see the full transportation report.
  • Newton Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) co-chairs Christine Carey and Rajeev Parlikar, presented an End of Year Report.  They also referenced a more detailed report which covered broad  themes, success and areas of improvement.
  • The NPS administrative team gathered to share several year-end reports including Superintendent’s Goals and Systemwide Goals. The School Committee will discuss these in greater detail at the next scheduled meeting.

Consent Agenda

  • The School Committee voted unanimously to re-elect Diana Fisher Gomberg as the EDCO Board Member.
  • The School Committee voted unanimously to approve several grants.
  • The School Committee voted unanimously to approve the 5/13/2019 minutes.

Next Meeting

On Monday June 17 at 7:00pm, we will hear a Fiscal and Operational Update, a Facilities Update, an Equity Committee Update and an Equity Working Group Update. We will also be discussing the Superintendent’s Assessment.

We hope you found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website (www.newton.k12.ma.us/schoolcommittee). Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via www.newtv.org. On the district Facebook page, you can find videos of past “Virtual Office Hours,” which are held once a month and provide the community with the opportunity to ask questions through the Facebook Live format.

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.

The Newton School Committee

School Committee Update

Dear Friends,

This update is for the 4/24/2019 Newton School Committee meeting:

Superintendent Update:

  • Recently, students from Day Middle School had the chance to speak with U.S. Senator Martha McSally from Arizona.
  • Last Friday, students from NNHS had the chance to hear from U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy.
  • Last Tuesday, Newton hosted a state board meeting for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE.)
  • Announcement that Newton North senior Maya Matthews has been serving as the student representative to the DESE Board. Additionally, former School Committee member Matt Hills was recently appointed to the DESE Board.

New Business

  • Members of the Newton Youth Commission reviewed data from a year-long endeavor to study student stress: Youth Commission Presentation.
  • Members of the STSG presented information on policy work and new initiatives to improve transportation: School Transportation Steering Group Update
  • The Food Service Evaluation team provided an update on the vendor selection process. Within the updated Food Service Contract it was announced that Whitsons Culinary Group has been recommended as the new vendor for NPS. The School Committee will vote on the recommendation at our next meeting (May 13.)
  • A new Recycling Policy was introduced and discussed.

Old Business

  • CFO Liam Hurley and Director of Business and Planning, Julie Kirrane, presented the FY19 Fiscal and Operational Update, as well as an Updated Facilities Report, which included several summer projects.
  • The Equity Working Group provided an Initial Update about outreach and work towards the idea of a centralized fund for certain Parent Teacher Organization funds.

Consent Agenda

Next Meeting

On Monday, May 13 at 7:00pm, we will review Long and Short Term Space Needs, summer maintenance projects, and Capital Improvement Projects for 2019-2020.  We will also get an update on the Arts program and plans for Full Day Kindergarten, as well as vote on the Food Services Contract.

We hope you found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website (www.newton.k12.ma.us/schoolcommittee). Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via www.newtv.org. On the district Facebook page, you can find videos of past “Virtual Office Hours,” which are held once a month and provide the community with the opportunity to ask questions through the FB Live format.

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.

Sincerely,
The Newton School Committee

School Committee Update

Dear Friends,

This update is for the 3/25/2019 Newton School Committee meeting:

Superintendent Update: Khita Pottinger-Johnson was introduced as Newton Public School’s new Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education. She most recently served as the executive director for social emotional learning instruction and support services for the Boston Public Schools, and previously served as a principal. She will begin with NPS on July 1, 2019.

New Business

Consent Agenda

Old Business

Next Meeting

On Monday, April 8 at 7:00pm, we will discuss and vote on the FY20 Budget Proposal. In addition to the budget proposal, School Committee will also vote on the equity guidelines revisions, the last day of school, approved field trips, and minutes. We will also receive an update on high school start time, transportation planning, and EDCO.

We hope you found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website (www.newton.k12.ma.us/schoolcommittee). 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.

Sincerely,
The Newton School Committee

Letter from School Committee regarding Equity Policy and Guidelines Information


Dear Elementary School Families:

Recently, several questions and concerns have been raised about the revised equity policy and guidelines scheduled for implementation in July 2019. The School Committee would like to clarify the purpose of the policy and guidelines, review the process by which the revised policy was determined, and identify the opportunities for public feedback in the coming weeks.

Equity is a core value of the Newton Public Schools. The School Committee is steadfast in our commitment to elementary students receiving a similar educational experience no matter which school they attend and despite any demographic differences among our school communities. In 1988 when it became clear that a large and increasing disparity in PTO fundraising and provisioning of schools threatened the level playing field, the School Committee instituted equity guidelines and limitations. Continue reading