NPS District News
June 16, 2021
Message from the Superintendent
Dear NPS Families,
I can’t tell you how meaningful it was to attend the North and South graduation last week. Being in person to celebrate our graduates was a true privilege.
This year has been such a whirlwind for many of us that we have not had ample opportunity to reflect, and we know that reflection is an essential component of learning and growth. In the coming days, I hope you have the chance to reflect with your child(ren) on the school year that we are about to finish. The questions below may serve to spark some rich conversation:
What is something that you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
What did you learn this year that you never would have learned in a normal year?
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome this year?
What life lessons have you learned this year?
As a district, I know we have learned many lessons about supporting students both academically and emotionally, and we are excited about integrating much of what we have learned as we prepare for next year. While we are fully cognizant of the fact that our students have faced challenges over the course of the year, we have also seen examples of perseverance that we never could have imagined. Please know that our intensive fall planning involves being prepared to address a wide range of student needs.
We are looking forward to returning in September stronger and better than ever. In the meantime, I hope your family has a restful and enjoyable summer.
Bus Transportation for the 2021-22 School Year
Registration for bus transportation for the 2021-22 school year is now open. Please note the following:
You MUST register by Saturday, July 31.
Registration is done through the My SchoolBucks Portal: www.myschoolbucks.com
On July 31, the portal will close to allow adequate time for NPS staff to review bus registrations and make seat assignments.
Registration details, as well as additional transportation information, can be found on this webpage: www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation
Summer Grab ‘n Go Meals for Newton Families
Free meals are available to all Newton families through the summer. Pick up times and locations are as follows:
Locations: Newton North High School and Newton South High School
Days: Mondays and Wednesdays
Times: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
*Please note that summer holidays may impact service delivery.
Building Project Updates
At the School Committee meeting on June 7, an update on several building projects in the district was provided. A brief summary is provided below. You can find a full description of the projects and status in the memo linked here.
Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP): The project to renovate 687 Watertown St (former Horace Mann Elementary) to house NECP is once again moving forward. It had been placed on hold last summer due to the pandemic. Anticipated completion date: Fall 2022.
Lincoln-Eliot Elementary: Lincoln-Eliot is slated to move into 150 Jackson Rd. current home of NECP, following design and renovation. The project is once again moving forward through the feasibility stage.The project is dependent upon completion of the new NECP home at 687 Watertown St. (see above). Anticipated completion date: Fall 2025.
Countryside Elementary: Countryside Elementary was invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) Eligibility Period. This is the first step in securing state funding for the project. The Franklin Elementary project was also submitted for consideration, but was not invited into the process. Nonetheless, the City’s Supplemental Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) contains funds for planning and feasibility for Franklin beginning in FY23 and FY24.
Horace Mann Elementary: The CIP includes funding for feasibility of the renovation of the current Horace Mann Elementary building. Please see this webpage for the most recent communication on the HM project. The playground improvements for HM are slated for completion in Fall 2022.
Oak Hill Middle: The Oak Hill project, which includes the addition of three classrooms, as well as a new fitness and multi-purpose room, is nearing completion. The project, designed to accommodate rising enrollment at Oak Hill, will be finished by Fall 2021.
Please review smaller, shorter-term projects in the memo shared with the School Committee linked here. Please also note that the district and School Committee will now begin revisions and updates to the district’s long-term facilities plan. Your input is welcome and encouraged.
Every year, the Newton Public Schools partner with the Newton Free Library to develop book lists for summer reading. These are books NPS librarians and staff, together with our City librarians, believe would be age-appropriate, meaningful, and enjoyable books for students to read over the summer. There is no “required” reading for the next school year - just a summer full of time to enjoy reading for pleasure! Here are the booklists linked below:
6th - 8th Grades: 2021 Newton Public Schools Grades 6-8 Summer Reading Lists
For middle and high school students and families, be sure to check your school library websites or look for communication from your principals about required reading.
Every year the fifth graders at Zervas participate in a social action project in the spring. This year the Zervas class of 2021 chose to help the Newton Food Pantry after learning that the pandemic has increased food insecurity among Americans. First, the fifth graders organized a “Make Change” drive. Students placed a collection bucket in each room and each classroom set a goal to collect change over two weeks. The Zervas community donated over $1,100 in change! In addition, the fifth graders created unique Zervas bracelets for each teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day. Families donated money towards gifting each staff member a handmade bracelet. This fundraiser raised another $1,000 for the Newton Food Pantry. Finally, the fifth graders also wrote letters to their state representative urging support of a bill that would provide universal meals to all public school children in the state of Massachusetts.
On May 27, Angier hosted a community meeting on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Angier. The meeting included a roadmap of the anti-racist work at the school, as well as an opportunity for breakout and listening sessions among teachers, staff, and families. A highlight was a presentation by Angier fifth graders on what they have learned about diversity, equity, and inclusion this year at school. You can find their presentation here.
Cabot, Mason-Rice, and NECP
Students across the district have been engaged in many fun and exciting activities in their buildings and in DLA. Cabot celebrated Kindness Week, Mason-Rice students planted a garden, and NECP had a visit from Barn Babies!
Newton North and Newton South
The final newsletter would not be complete without wishing our graduates at North and South, as well as our Central and Springboard programs, the very best as they conclude their time at NPS and launch their next adventure. We know that they leave us with the tools they need to be engaged, successful, and active global citizens and we wish them well. For a special treat, please enjoy the speech from Newton South class speaker Imani Fonfield. You can view the speech here.