May 3, 2023
Interim Superintendent Message - Budget
Dear NPS Families,
Last Thursday, the Newton School Committee approved the FY 24 budget for the 2023 - 24 school year. We thank so many of our families and community partners for their advocacy and support throughout the budget process. Your voice was heard as we worked together with our School Committee and our City partners to craft a budget that sought to preserve core services, supports, and programs, despite scarce resources.
This was an extraordinarily difficult budget season given the challenges we face as a district and the financial constraints of available funding. As you know, one month ago we were facing a budget deficit of nearly $5 million. In partnership with Mayor Fuller and City Council, additional funding was allocated to support the Newton Public School operating budget and building projects through changes to health insurance, use of free cash, adjustments to retirement funding and use of ARPA grant funding. Working closely with the Newton School Committee, we refined our budget and made adjustments that allowed us to restore critical funding for staff in key classroom and program areas.
While the final budget still requires reductions to staffing and support, and increased fees for transportation, athletics, music and fine arts programming, student activities, and parking, we were able to largely preserve smaller class sizes at the elementary and middle school levels, as well as continue offering a valued fine arts program. The restored positions and programming include:
Elementary classroom teachers and specialists to keep class size at 25 or below
Middle school classroom teachers and specialists to reduce class size
Elementary strings program in grades 4 and 5
Disability inclusion programming
Despite the challenges posed by this budget, NPS has a team of dedicated, passionate, and committed educators who will continue to deliver high quality instruction and support to your students. We are proud of the excellent education we deliver and rely on your partnership to maintain our position as a premier school district.
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.
NPS No Place for Hate Walk - Thursday, May 4, 2023
On Thursday, May 4th, each of the Newton Public Schools middle and high schools will be participating in our second annual No Place for Hate Walk. Students and families are encouraged to join our schools in standing in unity and solidarity against all acts of hate and discrimination.
Brown and Oak Hill will walk to Newton South to join South students for a rally at Winkler Stadium. Day and Bigelow students will walk to Newton North to join North students for a rally on Tiger Drive Field.
Newton Inspires: Thursday, May 4, 2023
Spend an evening with fascinating Newtonians talking about how they got their start, their careers, and what inspires them. You’ll hear anecdotes and insights on everything from science and sustainability to beer and baking!
Join us at Newton School Foundation’s Newton Inspires, a celebration of ideas and community.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Tickets $40 (including boxed meal)
Sponsorships and additional donations welcome
The evening will kick off with a reception with live music performed by NPS students and a light meal. You will then attend two stimulating sessions of your choice before reconvening for a keynote address by Tiziana Dearing, award-winning host of Radio Boston on WBUR and NPS parent.
Your ticket purchase provides vital support to Newton Public Schools. Learn more at: Newton Inspires Event.
School Lunch Hero Day - May 5th
The 55 staff of the Whitsons Culinary Group work diligently every day to prepare and serve nutritious meals for the students of Newton. These dedicated professionals take such an interest in the students in their buildings and work to make lunch special.
When asked what they like best about their jobs?
"Seeing the kids"
"Feeding the kids"
"I love being there to serve the students"
"I love the kids and staff"
"The kids' smiles"
"I don't have enough words to thank everyone!"
Food Services is physically demanding work under intense time pressure!! Please celebrate these important staff - at each school - and ask your students to thank them for all that they do to make each day special! They are School Lunch Heroes - on Friday and every day!
Teacher Appreciation Week - May 8-12, 2023
We know our PTOs, families, and administrators have planned many special events to honor our teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week next week. Thank you to all of our educators who work so hard every day to support our students.
Cattle Car Exhibit
The Newton Public Schools was pleased this past weekend and this week to welcome the Hate Ends Now tour, organized in partnership with ShadowLight, which brought “The Cattle Car: Stepping In and Out of Darkness” exhibit to Newton. Located at City Hall, the exhibit features a traveling replica of a railroad cattle car that was used to transport Jewish people to concentration camps during the Holocaust that includes a multimedia educational display about the holocaust. This exhibit complements the NPS Holocaust curriculum and offered an important opportunity for our students, as well as interested community members, to learn more about the devastating history of the Holocaust, especially at a time when antisemitism is on the rise.
Over the two school days that the Cattle Car was on display in Newton, NPS was able to bring hundreds of students from Newton North and Newton South to participate in visits to the exhibit, as well as educational discussions and reflections on the powerful experience.
We are grateful to the generous donation by a Newton resident who made the exhibit possible for our city, as well as the Mayor’s office, Newton Human Rights Commission, National Congregation of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) and the Israeli American Council for coordinating the event.
Underwood and Ward Facility & Enrollment Study
In fall 2022, Mayor Fuller allocated $100,000 in ARPA funds to hire a Consultant for an Underwood and Ward Facility and Enrollment Study. Both Underwood and Ward 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.
Perkins and Eastman Architects has been selected as the consultant and a task force has been established. 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.
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. Task force presentations and meeting minutes will also be posted on the webpage.
Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Trips Fundraiser Success!
The Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund (GELF) hosted its annual benefit dinner on Saturday, 4/29. Thanks to the generous donors and participants, GELF raised $23,000 to help more students participate in the 13-16 global programs in 2023-2024. With the average cost of each trip being $3,000, we are aiming to double the amount of funds raised fund to allow more students to participate in the precious opportunities.
“Honor Thy Teacher” from Newton Schools Foundation
Show your appreciation to your student’s teachers or school staff, during Teacher Appreciation Week or at any time until the end of the school year, 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
Food Allergen - Important Notification!
Please review this Food Allergen Notification Letter for important information on the notification process for allergens in meals served here in the Newton Public Schools. Clear communication is critical to us as we know the seriousness of food allergies for some of our students.
All ingredients for every meal served can be found on the FDMealPlanner website. If your student has a food allergy, we strongly encourage you to check the top nine allergen list and the full ingredient list as close to the day of the meal as possible. It is important to note that food vendors may change ingredients throughout the year.
Kindergarten for 2023-24
Kindergarten registration is now OPEN!
Please visit our Kindergarten Registration page for a link to our online registration portal, as well as background information.
“NPS GREEN SCENE” — SCHOOL SUSTAINABILITY
Did you know that the month of May is Bike Month?
To celebrate, Newton students in Grades K-6, sign up for Newton Parks, Rec & Culture's third annual Bike Skills Rodeo to review bike skills and learn some new ones. Volunteers from Bike Newton and Newton Safe Routes to School will staff education stations, and Newton Police Officer Lau will be on hand with Community Resource Dog Leo. You must register in advance and bring your own bike, helmet and adult.
Learn more and register here:
Bicycle Activities and Resources:
Bike Newton, “Everyday biking for everyday people!”
Newton’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Network Plan - Explore the Map and provide input by May 8th! The survey works best with a desktop or laptop computer. You can also email comments to email@example.com. Please be as specific as possible.
Newton Safe Routes to School site & Facebook - next meeting May 17th, email for Zoom link: NewtonSafeRoutes@gmail.com. Visit the Newton Free Library in May to view the Safe Routes to School display case!
BLUEbikes are back! Available to folks ages 16 and up.
For more information on Green Newton School Connections, email:
Link to Newton Energy Coach site
NCE Summer Camp - Registration is Open
Registration is now open for Newton Community Education summer camps. Sample camps include: Lego® to Lacrosse, Parkour to Pokémon, Minecraft to Music Video Production, Soccer to Scratch, Animation to Amazing Race, and SO MUCH MORE! They will also offer the popular 5-week theater camp once again.
All camps are held at Newton North High School, Newton South High School, or online. There are half-day and full-day camps for every student entering grades K-12.
Visit the NCE website for the most updated descriptions, locations, and pricing.
Thank you for your support of A CAPPELLA APRIL!
R & B, Soul, and Pop a cappella group Ball in the House, along with opening acts The Bigelow Beats, Brown Middle School A Cappella, The Newtones, Northern Lights, and Melecotones captivated a sold-out audience at Newton South's Van Seasholes Auditorium on April 1st. The student groups joined Ball in the House for an evening-ending collaborative 65-person performance of This is Me from The Greatest Showman.
Newton Schools Foundation supported Ball in the House's districtwide tour (K-8) this past fall and winter, and made possible several a cappella workshops prior to the evening event. A Cappella April! was made possible by a generous contribution from The Village Bank. Shout out to Fine Arts Curriculum Coordinator Richard King for emceeing the event, and to Technical Director Ryan Spruck and his team at Newton South for their expertise. Proceeds from this event will be used to offset costs for next year's CAS Performing Arts Tour, Crocodile River Music's Dakar-Bamako Express. To learn more about Creative Arts & Sciences, please visit the CAS web page at, https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/domain/103
Bigelow Middle School - Civics Day
The 8th Grade Social Studies classes have been working and researching for months in preparation for Civics Day today. Civics Day was a showcase of student presentations, data, and engagement surrounding state-level issues and legislation.
8th grade students were able to extensively discuss these issues with and answer questions from staff, parents & guardians, and elected officials such as (but not limited to) Mayor Fuller, State Rep. Kay Khan, State Senator Cynthia Creem, Dr. Anna Nolin (incoming NPS superintendent), NPS School Committee members, and more.
Special thanks to Andrew Swan & Jean Singers for organizing this event and facilitating this student-centered learning opportunity.
Brown Middle School - Visit to Edward M. Kennedy Institute:
8th graders from the Emerald team participated in a Senate simulation at the Edward M. Kennedy institute this week. All 8th graders had a chance to take part in this terrific immersion into what it is like to be a U.S. Senator. Students were each given the identity of a U.S. Senator and took on the role of that Senator as they engaged in debating Climate Policy.
Day Middle School - MultiCultural Potluck
An evening of joy and connection at tonight’s Day Multicultural Potluck Dinner sponsored by the Day Diversity Club through the generosity of Day FORJ and PTO! Thank you to the many families and faculty who shared their traditions.
Oak Hill Middle School - U.S. Poet Laureate Visit!
Last week, former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith visited 7th and 8th graders at Oak Hill. Tracy shared insights about a reader’s relationship with poetry. She also emphasized the message of revision and how it is an opportunity to make your art larger and more robust., even though it requires a bit of patience and persistence.
Community DPW Day - Saturday, May 20, 2023
The City of Newton Public Works Department is excited to host a Community DPW Day in celebration of National Public Works Week. We invite you to join us for an exciting event at the War Memorial at Newton City Hall on Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a rain date of Sunday May 21st.
It is great day for families to enjoy games, prizes, music, a touch-a-truck event, food for purchase from a local restaurant, and learn about how Newton is “Connecting the World Through Public Works”. Did you know that Newton’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is comprised of eight divisions including Streets, Sustainable Materials Management, Fleet, Engineering, Transportation, and Utilities? DPW divisions will be sharing project success stories and fielding your questions.
You can also support local families dealing with food insecurity by donating non-perishable items that will help DPW Fill a Truck. All non-perishable items will be given to the Newton Food Pantry.
Help plan a future path connecting Newton and Needham!
The City of Newton and Town of Needham are working together to study the future use of the former railroad corridor (the Charles River Branch) that historically connected the two communities.
We are looking for your input! See this page to learn more, or read on.
Recreating a connection is a long-term interest and effort. The possibility of a shared-use path would extend the Upper Falls Greenway across the Charles River, across I-95/128, and along the former railroad right of way to Webster Street in Needham Heights. This project is still in the preliminary stages and has not yet been planned, designed, or funded.
To assist with planning, the municipalities received state funding to conduct a feasibility study, which will include a technical analysis, a survey, and two community meetings to describe the project and hear from the public.
The municipalities are considering whether this would be a path for cyclists, pedestrians and similar uses, or if it would also provide public transportation with electric shuttle buses.
Follow this link for more information, including details on community meetings on April 18 and April 26, and to participate in a community survey until April 30.
Thanks for your participation!