News from the Superintendent

A Periodic Update from David Fleishman

Almost every day, I am out in our schools and classrooms meeting with our administrators and teachers and seeing our initiatives and pilot programs in action. It’s one of the best parts of my job. I have just finished my initial visits to all 22 schools and I wanted to share with you some of the exciting work I have witnessed.

At our elementary schools, I have been checking in with our teachers and students regarding their experiences with our new math program, which was piloted last year in grades 3 and 4. One teacher said, “I am enjoying it as much as the students! It’s exciting to see the daily connections that students make and how their skills have already surpassed where students were in the previous program.”

Parents and guardians often ask what we are doing to support the organizational skills of our middle school students. This year, one sixth grade team at each of our middle schools is piloting a new executive function program. I had the privilege of observing some of the strategies in action when I visited Brown Middle School. You can find out more in the sections below.

Our peer leadership program, developed by the Anti Defamation League, is beginning its second full year at our four middle schools. It was a pleasure to see the Bigelow peer leaders working intensely on their plans for delivering lessons to their peers. It was a keen reminder that peer-led conversations can be a very effective learning tool as we strive to have schools that are welcoming and inclusive for all.

We have some terrific programs in place this year in Newton and I look forward to sharing more with you throughout the year.

Safety and Security

In October, David Fleishman and other senior administrators in the Newton Public Schools participated in an incident response training together with our City partners. The training was designed to further develop a coordinated response to emergencies that might arise in the schools or in the City of Newton. More information about NPS emergency response protocols can be found here.
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6th Grade Organization and Time Management

One sixth grade class in each of our middle schools has undertaken a pilot program to improve executive function as students progress from middle to high school. What are executive functioning skills? They are the skills that help people plan, organize, and complete tasks.

Working with a coach, our pilot teams in sixth grade will incorporate lessons on thinking and planning ahead, time management, classroom organization, written expression, closing the homework circle, materials management and technology tips into their everyday lessons. We will take our learnings from the pilot this year to expand the program to more teams of students next year.

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Newton Family Conference

Saturday, Dec. 1st, 1pm

457 Walnut Street

Newton, MA

The Newton Family Conference is an opportunity to bring our families together as we strive to ensure that our schools are welcoming and encouraging places for all. The goal of the conference is to build relationships between families of color and white families within the district, advance dialogue around issues of race, culture, and identity and create opportunities for families within NPS to meet each other. Participants at the conference will attend workshops on “Courageous Conversations About Race” facilitated by NPS trained facilitators. In addition, we will offer sessions at the conference that will provide parents with ideas and strategies for talking with their children about race. To RSVP, follow this link.

School Committee Newsletter

Our School Committee now has a newsletter that goes out after every meeting. Keep up to date on all news and agenda items discussed at meetings. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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