January 11, 2023
Interim Superintendent Message
Dear NPS Families,
As we begin the new year, one of the important tasks we have as a school district is to begin our planning for the next school year. A critical piece of this planning is the development of a budget that matches the resources available to us as a district. This year, the budget planning begins earlier than usual given that we must prepare two budgets – Budget 1 if the operational override is approved by Newton voters and Budget 2 if it is not.
On Monday, January 23, 2023, the district will present to the Newton School Committee two budgets. The first budget will show the impact of adding $4.5 million to the school budget via approval of the operational override. The second budget will show the impact if the override is not approved and the $4.5 million is not available to the district.
Over the next several weeks, the PTOs of each school will be sponsoring informational sessions so that I, together with School Committee members, can share information with you about the proposed override. I encourage you to attend a session at your own school or at a nearby school to learn more. As student needs evolve and we continue to address the impact of the pandemic, it is critical to have the right resources in place to support our students.
Please watch your email for notice of the PTO information sessions. You can also find detailed information about the proposed operational override, as well as the two debt-exclusion overrides for our Countryside and Franklin school buildings, on the City of Newton override webpage.
I look forward to seeing you soon and to answering your questions about the Newton Public Schools budget and our plans to support students now and into the future.
Kathleen Smith, J.D.
Superintendent Search Update
The superintendent search process is moving forward as planned.
The superintendent job posting, which includes the final versions of the Desired Characteristics and Leadership Profile, continues to accept applications. The application deadline is Friday, January 13, 2023.
The next meeting of the Superintendent Search Committee will be on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Details of the meeting, as well as the entire search process, can be found on the search committee webpage on the district website.
Please contact the Newton School Committee with any additional questions or comments.
News from Newton Health & Human Services
As a reminder, in consultation with Newton Health and Human Services, NPS has strongly recommended that all staff and students wear face coverings through Friday, January 13, 2023. This recommendation is made in an effort to keep our students in school learning and to keep our classrooms and buildings operating with safe and appropriate staffing.
There are steps we can take to prevent the unnecessary spread of respiratory illness. Please keep your student home if they are sick. If they have symptoms, Newton HHS recommends you get tested for flu and COVID-19 and talk with your healthcare provider about treatment options. In addition, to help keep our school community healthy, please encourage the following:
Practice good hand hygiene. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or if a tissue is not available, cover them with an elbow, not a hand.
Clean high-touch surfaces. NPS will continue its practice of cleaning high-touch surfaces in our classrooms and buildings. Disinfecting high-touch surfaces like doorknobs is crucial to prevent illness.
Wear a face covering. Wearing a mask protects against respiratory droplets and is effective in preventing COVID-19.
Avoid exposure to people who are sick. In addition, please keep your student home if sick.
Thank you for your efforts in making our schools safe, healthy, and ready to learn!
Newton HHS is partnering with Holtzman Medical Group to offer the updated, bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine. These clinics are open to anyone ages 6 months and older (ages 6 months - 5 years will be Moderna only). People who recently had COVID may consider delaying the booster by 3 months from symptom onset or positive test. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine here.
The clinics will be held at the Newton Free Library (330 Homer Street Newton, MA 02459) in Druker Auditorium. By appointment only: REGISTER HERE and select “Newton”.
Fri 1/13 from 10:45am -1:30pm
Mon 1/23 from 3-6pm
Tues 1/24 from 3-6pm
Tues 1/31 from 3-6pm
Additional clinics are anticipated in February. Please continue to check the link for updates! Can’t make it to the clinics? Check vaxfinder.mass.gov for locations in and around Newton to get a vaccine. Not sure when your last vaccine was? Click here to download your vaccine record.
Calendar Change for Middle Schools
Please note! There has been a change to the calendar for NPS middle school students. There is NO early release for middle school grades 6-8 on February 2, 2022. It will be a full day of school.
February 2, 2023 is still an early release for grades PreK-5 and 9-12.
NPS Food Service Celebrates National Popcorn Day!
Did you know that Thursday, January 19, 2023 is National Popcorn Day? Our food service partner, Whitsons, has decided to embrace National Popcorn day and offer a popcorn themed menu!
On National Popcorn Day, elementary students will be treated to Popcorn Chicken/Fries, a peach cup and Cheddar Popcorn. Encourage your student to try out school lunch and join in the fun to celebrate all things popcorn!
As a reminder, the first meal each day is free this year in the Newton Public Schools. You can always find the full menu at: NPS Meal Planner and searching “Newton.”
The Newton PTOs will be hosting meetings at NPS schools over the next several weeks to share information about the upcoming override vote. Interim Superintendent Kathy Smith, together with the school principal, and School Committee members, will share information about the current budget and the impact of the proposed override.
As a reminder, all meeting presentations and background information on the override can be found on the City of Newton website:
NPS Selected as Vanguard District by COSEBOC
The Newton Public Schools was selected as a Vanguard District by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC). Following a competitive application process, NPS was chosen due to “our full commitment to high quality, equity centered and culturally responsive education for all students - and in particular boys and young men of color'' and “...the determination and dedication that we demonstrated as leaders of the Newton Public Schools.”
As a vanguard district, COSEBOC will provide a broad range of support and services to build capacity and strengthen relationships among district leaders, educators, families, students, and community members. Our partnership will include a needs assessment, ongoing learning from community-grounded data sources, professional development, coaching, community outreach, program evaluation, and other customized strategies.
We will be entering a collaborative planning phase in the new year in preparation for full implementation in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Newton S.P.A.C.E Summer Program
Newton S.P.A.C.E. (Summer Program for Academic and Creative Endeavors) is a four-week summer enrichment program run by the Newton Public Schools from July 5th through July 28th. Students entering kindergarten through 9th grade in the Fall of 2023 are eligible to attend.
We offer two programs - an upper camp (entering grade 5-entering grade 9) and a lower camp (entering kindergarten-entering grade 4).
Visit the S.P.A.C.E.website for more information or REGISTER NOW!
Welcome Home NECP!
During December break, the Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP) moved into its newly renovated home at 687 Watertown Street. Below find a picture of the wall art in the new building - done by NECP students!
We want to thank our Public Buildings Department and numerous contractors, NPS Facilities, Planning, and Information Technology teams, Kathleen Browning and all of the NECP staff for their dedication and work in making this mid-year move possible.
Horace Mann Playground - Fully Operational!
The new Horace Mann playground is now fully operational! The playground has moved through planning and construction in just a few short years following HM’s move to its permanent home at 225 Nevada St. Despite the chilly weather, students are excited to use the new equipment every day.
Find out more about the proposal to now expand the Horace Mann building through the operational override on this page: City of Newton Operational Override - Funding for School Buildings
Kindergarten for 2023-24
Calling all kindergarteners for the 2023-24 school year! If you or someone you know has a student who meets the age requirement to enter kindergarten in the fall of 2023, please complete this survey.
In the survey, let us know you are coming and to tell us a little bit about your student. This helps us to plan staffing and programming for next year. So, if your student turns 5 prior to September 1, 2023, please join us!
K-8 Art Exhibit at the Education Center
In December, our K-8 Fine Arts program was so excited to welcome students and families to the Education Center for an art exhibit. It was the first in-person art show since 2019! Below are a few samples of the art work displayed. Be sure to check out this link for all the artwork done by our students and showcased at the exhibit!
Newton South “The Lotus Project” Tibetan Tutoring Project
Follow this link to a Boston Globe article showcasing “The Lotus Project,” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing students in Tibet with supplemental tutoring services to enhance their English language skills.
Founded by Newton South junior Neena Tarafdar, The Lotus Project matches Tibetan kids with Newton high schoolers for virtual, weekly tutoring lessons in English language learning on the video messaging platform WeChat.
Neena was inspired to launch The Lotus Project this past summer when she noticed some Tibetan youth are secluded with limited opportunities to talk with native English speakers.
Well done, Neena and thank you to all the Newton South students participating in the project!
Newton South “No Place for Hate” Wrestling Mat
On December 14, 2022, the Newton South Athletics Department unveiled its new wrestling mat. The mat was replaced after an act of antisemitism last spring destroyed the previous mat. Committed to fostering an environment of inclusion and belonging and standing up against antisemitism, Newton South boosters worked together with the district to purchase a new mat, which features the inscription “No Place for Hate.”
Thank you to the students, the families, and the school leaders for their creativity and support in reflecting the district’s values so clearly in our athletic community.
Throwback to 2022!
Thanks to Principal Turner at North for his always upbeat “Positive Sign Thursdays!” We hope everyone had a restful and happy holiday season.
55th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration
The City of Newton will host the 55th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration on Monday, January 16, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. at Newton North High School. If you would like to attend (young children are welcome), please register in advance:
Registration for Martin Luther King Day Celebration
In honor of the celebration, the City of Newton is hosting a food drive to benefit the Newton Food Pantry, Newton Centre Food Pantry, and the Arabic Baptist Food Pantry. Locations for food donations include:
Village Bank Locations *
Scandinavian Living Center
Newton City Hall (please note: City Hall is closed on Saturdays)
Newton Police Headquarters
Newton Free Library
*Village Bank Locations ONLY until noon on 1/14/23.
Find out more details about the celebration to honor the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. at:
Elementary/Middle/High School Positions Open!
Would you like to work for the Newton Public Schools? We are hiring! NPS has open positions for the following:
Special education aides, Behavior Therapists,
Part time early literacy aides
Part time math intervention aides
Instructional Support Staff (substitutes)
Following this link to apply: