NPS District News
August 11, 2021
Message from the Superintendent
Dear NPS Families,
We have certainly learned from this pandemic that we must stay flexible and remain ever vigilant as the environment can change quickly. Since I last wrote two weeks ago, the COVID situation has indeed continued to evolve. As a district, we have continued our planning for health and safety measures, academic learning, and social and emotional supports for students and staff in preparation for this school year.
Next week, we will share definitive information with you on the health and safety protocols we will use across the district at the start of school. While DESE has issued recommendations, each district is responsible for developing their own health and safety policies and practices. We are working closely with our Medical Advisory Group and expect to have a series of recommendations from them early next week.
While we remain vigilant on health and safety issues, we have continued to make progress in other areas of focus in our district. One such area is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which was strengthened this year with the hiring of our first DEI director. I encourage you to review the end-of-year report included in this newsletter for details on the important work that will continue to take place in the coming year.
Visiting our in person programs this summer was a keen reminder of the joy students experience from connecting with their teachers, other school personnel, and each other. We are very much looking forward to beginning the year in person and expect that this will be a meaningful experience after last year’s challenges.
I will be back in touch next week when we have more information to share.
As you are well aware, the COVID health situation is ever-changing. While the health data will not impact our plans for full, in-person school, it will impact the health and safety measures that are in place during the school day. Our primary goal is to minimize disruption to student learning this coming school year.
We are meeting regularly with our Medical Advisory Group and Newton HHS to discuss the most recent health data and the health and safety measures that will be in place in our school buildings this fall. We are also monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other federal and state agencies.
Decisions on health and safety protocols will be made in consultation with the Medical Advisory Group and the Newton Health and Human Services Department. We expect a formal recommendation from our Medical Advisory Group during the week of August 16th and will share it with you at that time.
Please Get Your COVID Vaccine!
Vaccinations are the most effective tool against COVID-19 and against the spread of the virus, including the development and spread of new variants. The most important thing we can do right now as a community is vaccinate all students currently eligible. It protects you, those around you, and other vulnerable members of our community.
Together with HHS, we are encouraging ALL ELIGIBLE STUDENTS to be vaccinated prior to the start of school.
The state provides in-home vaccinations for anyone 12 and older who is unable to get to a vaccine location. Call 833-983-0485 Mon-Fri, 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. to register.
If you have additional questions or need assistance acquiring a vaccine, please contact Newton HHS at 617-796-1420 or visit www.newtonma.gov/health.
Building Ventilation and Maintenance
We are continuing our preventive maintenance program for all HVAC systems in our buildings. This includes, but is not limited to, replacement of older unit ventilators, checking HVAC functionality, replacement of filters, and cleaning of systems. In addition, NPS is engaged in its usual summer deep clean of all buildings.
If you would like to review the project undertaken last fall to repair, upgrade, and improve the ventilation systems in all school buildings, please visit this webpage: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/3804
Maintenance staff and contractors are hard at work to ensure our buildings are ready for the return to full, in-person school come September.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
It is a great pleasure to share the end-of-year report from Kathy Lopes, Newton’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This report highlights the promising work taking place across the district as we strive to be a more dynamic and effective district in addressing racism.
Over the past year, school districts across the country have elevated their focus on race and equity. Here in Newton, we are guided by our understanding that the work is never done and that continuous learning is essential if we are going to improve. Our commitment to racial justice is steadfast and resolute and we are excited about what lies ahead.
Aspen Login Information
Login information to access Aspen, the district’s student information system, was sent today to NEW students and families. Returning families will receive login reminders at the end of August. Homeroom teacher assignments and schedules will be available at the end of August as well. Please watch for information from your child’s school for the specific timing of homeroom and schedule availability.
New Bus Registration Period - Aug. 13-22
Registration for bus transportation for the 2021-22 will re-open on Friday, August 13. If you have not already registered, please do so by August 22.
Bus registration takes place using the MySchoolBucks portal. Please login into or create an account in MySchoolBucks to register. Here is the link: www.myschoolbucks.com. Registration details, as well as additional transportation information, can be found on this webpage: www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation
2021-22 School Year Calendar and Hours
Just a reminder that the school hours for the 2021-22 school year have shifted. You can find the new hours here: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/810.
You can download the school year calendar, with holiday observances and vacation weeks, here: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/2#calendar1/20210727/month