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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

Martin Luther King, Jr. Newton Community Celebration

Please join Mayor Setti Warren, the Newton Clergy Association, the Newton School Department and The Foundation For Racial, Ethnic, & Religious Harmony at this special event.

Each year the event brings together elected officials, the business community, volunteer service clubs, health and human service organizations, the Newton schools, religious congregations and other members of the Newton community to voice our support of the philosophy that all people should be treated with dignity and respect.

Newton’s diversity is evidenced by the fact that over sixty different linguistic groups are represented within the City’s School system.  A broad variety of backgrounds and cultures are spread among Newton’s thirteen villages.  The mix of the many races, creeds, and ethnicities in our community is a treasured resource to be nurtured, protected and celebrated.

This past year, with two publicized incidents of racist and anti-Semitic behavior.  Newton’s leadership jumped in quickly to take corrective action with the offenders, and sent us all a reminder of the ideals noted above.

An important part of the Celebration is the initiative of the Newton Rotary Club to answer the call from the Newton Food Pantries by donating toiletry items as noted on the Celebration flyer.

We are reminded of the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., ” Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question is, What are We Doing for Others”.  In response to this question, Rotary members will be providing boxes at the event for attendees to drop off their donations.  Drop-offs after the Celebration may be made at the office of The Presti Group Realty, 701 Washington Street in Newton.

January 16th, 9:30 am
Temple Beth Avodah
45 Puddingstone Lane, Newton Centre

School Calendar

The 2017-18 calendar is now available.

NewtonSERVES: Building Community Through Service

The next NewtonSERVES day of service will be held Sunday April 30th! SAVE THE DATE….. more details to follow!

Watch this space!