May 31, 2023
Interim Superintendent Message - Celebrations!
Dear NPS Families,
This time of year in a school district is about celebrating milestones and sharing accomplishments. It could be a chorus concert, an academic project, or a graduation ceremony. It is my pleasure to visit with students to congratulate them and to thank the teachers and staff who helped guide them to these moments of achievement.
In the past few weeks, we have celebrated our METCO graduates and our Calculus Project graduates. I also had the honor of attending Mayor Fuller’s annual community breakfast at which three of our high school seniors were recognized with scholarships for their outstanding achievements. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting with students from Oak Hill who were finishing up a civics project and looking at issues of budgets and overrides in the City of Newton.
No matter the venue, I have been amazed at the quality of work and the significant accomplishments of our Newton Public School students. They have worked hard this year and throughout their time in Newton to make the most of the opportunities this school district offers to its students. I am proud to recognize their hard work as we near the end of this school year.
I look forward to more celebrations as this year draws to a close. Thank you for inviting me in to celebrate with your students.
I have a few requests from the community that will make our connecting easier. Let me know if you can help!
Let’s Get Together. Bring me to your people and neighborhood. Would you be willing to host a neighborhood meet-and-greet? I could come to your cul-de-sac, your neighborhood get together, your book group. If you could gather 20 or more people together to meet with me to talk about Newton Schools and its future, I’d love to get acquainted and hear your ideas.
Show Me Your Newton World. Bring me to your place of worship, community organization or fitness location/activity. I’ll come to your temple, mosque, chamber meeting, sports group, civic activity, fitness bootcamp group. If you have 20 or more people to meet with me, I’ll come and talk about Newton Schools and its future.
Show Your Spirit with New NPS Apparel: Visit our Newton Public Schools Spirit Store and Support our Community Engagement Programs!
Schools often talk to families about buying spirit wear (t-shirts, hats, jackets) that are school specific, but as a group, we are a school system, not just a system of schools. Let’s show our Newton Schools Pride and support our school system as a whole. Proceeds form this spirit store will fund parent and family/caregiver engagement opportunities to ensure all parent voices are heard!
The store will be open until Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Items will be shipped to the Education Center at 100 Walnut St. and pick up will be arranged!
Be Heard. Your Unique Perspective Matters. Tell me your thoughts about our future.
We need your input on this question:
"What are some things we should stop, start, or continue to do in the Newton Public Schools?"
To gather your feedback, we're using a tool called ThoughtExchange. All of our voices matter, so your participation is crucial and valued. Below is the link to participate in our community Thought Exchange:
You'll be asked to respond to the open-ended question noted above. Then, you will be asked to consider and assign “stars” (which means you like or agree with the ideas) to some of the ideas shared by others (20 to 30 is ideal). Your thoughts and stars are confidential. You can come back as often as you'd like to participate and, in fact, we ask that you do come back to star any new ideas shared since you first participated. We learn what's important to the group by looking at the ideas that receive the most stars. The ratings will help us understand the most important areas to focus on in the coming year. The survey is in three languages.
If you need technical help, please call ThoughtExchange at 1-800-361-9027 ext. 4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate Our Staff. Finally, and most importantly, help me celebrate our staff on the Opening Day of School 2023-24. Share with me the stories of how our Newton Public School staff have demonstrated care, expertise and excellence in serving the children of Newton. (any staff: nurses, paraprofessionals, cafeteria staff, principals, teachers, behaviorists, counselors, psychologists, tutors, –ANYONE–). Complete this form to participate!
Thank you for helping me to get a head start on supporting, celebrating and improving our district functioning and communication. I look forward to meeting you and supporting your children.
Anna P. Nolin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
June is Gun Safety Awareness Month
Mark your calendars for an important community forum on Gun Violence Prevention as we approach June - Gun Violence Awareness Month. The forum will be held on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. - hosted by Newton Police, Newton Health & Human Services, and the Newton Gun Violence Prevention Collaborative.
Register here: Gun Violence Prevention Forum
Attend the forum to learn about strategies to keep kids safe, store guns safely, and explore the ways that red flag laws can protect our friends, family, and community. Details are below:
What: Community Forum: Gun Violence Prevention in Newton
When: Thursday, June 1, 2023
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Where: Virtual (Zoom)
Register: Gun Violence Prevention Forum
Last Day of School - Wednesday, June 21, 2023
The last day of school will be Wednesday, June 21, 2023. It is an early release day as follows:
- NECP - No School
- Elementary School - 12:10 p.m.
- Middle School - 11:20 a.m.
- High School - 12:45 p.m.
*Please note that there is no school on Monday, June 19, 2023 due to the Juneteenth federal holiday observance.
*Due to recent questions and confusion, please note the following:
- Students who do NOT ride the bus do NOT pay the bus fee.
- Students who do not wish to ride the bus do not need to register for the bus.
Bus registration will open on June 1, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
All students who wish to ride the bus MUST register for a bus pass. There are significant changes to the fee structure for purchasing a bus pass this year. Please note the following:
The bus fee has increased to $400 per student, with a family cap of two passes ($800.)
All elementary students who wish to ride the bus and reside LESS than 2 miles from their elementary school must now pay a bus fee.
Elementary students who wish to ride the bus and reside MORE than 2 miles from their elementary school DO NOT pay a bus fee.
As has been the case in previous years, all students in grades 7-12 who wish to ride the bus pay the bus fee.
6th grade students: All students in grade 6 who reside MORE than 2 miles from their school and wish to ride the bus do NOT pay a bus fee. 6th grade students who wish to ride the bus and reside less than two miles do pay a fee. Please visit our NPS Bus Fee webpage for details.
When bus registration opens on June 1, 2023, you will register and pay via MySchoolBucks. Installment payment plans will be available. More information on bus registration can be found on our NPS Bus Registration webpage.
Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Please read below for details on how to apply.
Bus/Van Driver & Crossing Guard Appreciation Day - June 7
Celebrate our Safety Superheros on Wednesday, June 7. Help your student make a card and say a special THANK YOU to our bus/van drivers and crossing guards for another year of helping our students arrive at school ready to learn.
As many of you know, the Newton Public Schools faced significant budget challenges this year. In order to arrive at a balanced budget, fees were raised for many services and activities. Below is a link to all of the fees that will be in place for the 2023-24 school year.
Fee Waivers and Financial Assistance
The Newton Public Schools provides financial assistance so that all students can utilize bus transportation and participate in school activities, regardless of financial need. To facilitate this financial support, families need to apply for district-wide financial assistance EACH YEAR.
The application for the 2023-2024 district-wide financial assistance waiver is now available in Aspen. We encourage you to apply now so that your waiver is in place for registrations that may take place in the summer (bus, fall athletic fees, etc.) Visit the fee waiver information and instructions webpage to apply via the Aspen portal.
School Calendar Survey - Due June 2, 2023!
As described by Supt. Smith above, we have developed a survey that seeks to inform revisions to our school calendar. The survey seeks to:
Identify religious and cultural observances observed by NPS families and staff and understand the nature of those observances.
Understand the priorities of the school community in balancing days out of school for religious observances with the state requirement for days in school
Utilize data to consider whether to add or subtract days out of school for religious observances.
Here are the survey links:
Calendar Survey: English (with language drop down at top upper right)
Complete the survey by June 2, 2023 and you will be entered to win the following:
A ride to school on a Newton Fire Department fire engine (grand prize)
One of 25 $20-gift cards to Cabot’s Ice Cream donated by Village Bank
Thank you in advance for your input!
Elementary Literacy Curriculum
In 2019, the Newton Public Schools launched a process to review, pilot, and select a new core literacy instructional resource. The committee established a rigorous selection criteria and recommended Fountas and Pinnell Classroom in December 2021. Since that time, the process has expanded to include curricula that is better aligned with the science of reading. The final list of four curricula under consideration are:
Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA)
Fountas and Pinnell Classroom
Wit and Wisdom
NPS families may review the curricula materials on this site and submit feedback via these links:
Underwood and Ward Facility & Enrollment Study
The Underwood and Ward Facility and Enrollment Stud is underway. The consultant and the task force will work together over the coming months to help the district identify and examine options to address facility, educational, and enrollment challenges at Underwood and Ward. Both schools occupy buildings that are nearly 100 years old, and both schools are experiencing enrollment declines that are beginning to impact the educational experience of students.
The task force will be meeting monthly and meetings are public. There will also be meetings with the staff and families at both schools, as well as community meetings and opportunities for staff, family and community input.
To learn more about the Underwood and Ward Task Force goals, process, and timeline, please visit the Underwood and Ward Facility and Enrollment Study webpage. Questions can also be emailed to email@example.com.
“Honor Thy Teacher” from Newton Schools Foundation
Show your appreciation to your student’s teachers or school staff through the Newton Schools Foundation Honor Thy Teacher program. Say “Thank you” to one or more classroom teachers, education aides, fine arts or music teachers, coaches, counselors, or other school staff members who have made a difference in your student’s life.
Newton Schools Foundation provides grants that fund new approaches in the classroom, professional development for teachers, and programs that promote equity for all students. To learn more visit: NSF - Honor Thy Teacher
NPS "Green Scene" - School Sustainability
Want to talk to people who've cut their carbon footprint in half, haven't paid an electric bill in 8 years, or cut their auto costs by 80%? Ask a neighbor about their experience at our Sustainable Street Tour of Garland Rd! Stroll down the street between Beacon and Homer to chat with resident experts and see installed equipment on Sunday June 4, from 12-4. Click HERE to learn more.
Newton METCO Celebrates Graduates!
On Sunday, May 21st, Newton METCO celebrated its 21 graduating Seniors with a beautiful ceremony at the Kroc Center in Dorchester. 80 people attended and honored the students. $18,000 were awarded in scholarships from the Newton METCO Community Scholarship Fund (NMSF). The NMSF is generously supported by both Boston and Newton families. The keynote speaker was Richelle Smith who is a 2000 Newton METCO alum. She is also a Newton METCO parent and the METCO Director in Arlington. Families enjoyed a catered lunch from Down Home Cooking in Dorchester. All students received roses, books and Kente cloth to wear at graduation.
Calculus Project Celebration
Last week, NPS celebrated Newton North and South seniors who have completed participation in The Calculus Project. We were fortunate to have Dr. Adrian Mims, Calculus Project founder, as the keynote speaker. The Calculus Project is a math equity initiative that uses research-supported strategies to increase the diversity in honors and advanced level math classes to reflect hte rich diversity that exists in Newton’s high schools.
Oak Hill Middle - Tuesdays with Morrie
8th graders in Mrs. Legare’s class read Tuesdays With Morrie and were excited to learn that not only did Morrie Schwartz live in Newton but his son just posthumously published a book Morrie wrote before he was diagnosed with ALS.
Students crafted thoughtful and engaging questions for Rob for the 45 minute discussion. Among the many topics covered were Morrie's legacy, the publishing phenomenon of Tuesdays With Morrie, and the value of creativity in one’s life.
Oak Hill library teacher Jean Stehle will be in conversation with Rob about his late father's book, The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully, at the Newton Free Library on Tuesday, May 30th at 7 PM. Register here: https://newtonfreelibrary.libcal.com/event/10517106
Newton North is Hiring!
NNHS is hiring for a WIDE variety of positions for the 23-24 school year. Positions include teachers (Math, English, History, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Spanish), Counselors (varied roles), Aides (including for a Campus Aide) and Behavior Technicians. The delayed budget season means that our timeline is now aggressive.
Know anyone who would be a great addition to our NNHS community? Please encourage them to apply NOW!
New Position Highlight: ELL Math Teacher/Math Coach. We are looking for an excellent math teacher with passion for and experience with teaching and supporting ELL Newcomers. The ELL Math Teacher/Coach is responsible for accelerating the learning and language acquisition of Academic English through the academic content of math, through direct instruction, co-teaching and coaching, in order for English Language Learners, including SLIFE students, to achieve academic success and meet classroom expectations Additionally, this position would coach Newcomer students to use effective strategies for success, including but not limited to effective study habits and organization techniques.