August 31, 2022
Message from the Interim Superintendent
Dear NPS Families,
Welcome to the 2022-23 school year! Whether you are a family new to the Newton Public Schools or are a returning family, I am thrilled you are here.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you. My name is Kathleen Smith and I was appointed interim superintendent for the Newton Public Schools in June of this past year. Since 2019, following my retirement from the Brockton Public Schools, I have served as interim superintendent in Salem, Weymouth, and Dover-Sherborn. Prior to my “retirement,” I served in Brockton for 42 years, beginning as an elementary school special education and Title 1 teacher and ending as the superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools from 2013-2019.
Since June, I have spent my time getting to know this terrific NPS school community. I had a whirlwind tour of all 22 buildings and I have spent time with administrators, principals, NPS staff, city officials, school committee members, NTA leadership and others who have helped me accelerate my learning about the Newton Public Schools. This morning, I had the great pleasure of welcoming all of our NPS educators back to school in our Opening Day Celebration. The excitement and energy in the room was palpable!
While learning about Newton has been a priority for me, I have found time to pursue some of my most treasured summertime activities, as well as some new adventures. Each summer I enjoy swimming in the beautiful ocean waters on the Cape in Falmouth. The highlight of my summer has been attending the Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert “The Final Tour “ at Gillette Stadium in late July with my family and over 65,000 other fans. I hope you too have enjoyed a restful and rejuvenating summer.
As a district, we approach this year with cautious optimism of moving ever closer to “pre-pandemic” school operations. We have already met with our Medical Advisory Group and have updated our health and safety plan for the start of the school year. You will find it linked below. While the health and safety of our students and staff will continue to be our top priority, we look forward to a return to many of our traditional activities.
Education has been my lifelong work. I bring to this work a deep belief in the importance of partnering with families to provide our students with the education and skills needed to thrive in the increasingly complex world in which they live.
I am looking forward to being a part of your school community this school year. The 2022-23 school year is bound to be a positive year of collaboration for the Newton Public Schools and the larger Newton community. I am excited to get started and look forward to the first day of school on Tuesday, September 6, 2022!
Kathleen A. Smith, J.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
Health and Safety Plan
On August 9, 2022, district leadership met with the Medical Advisory Group to discuss COVID health and safety for the start of the 2022-23 school year. The MAG recommendation is here: Medical Advisory Group Recommendation - August 2022
Based upon the guidance provided, we have updated our Health and Safety Plan. You can find it here:
The plan provides specific information on the health and safety protocols that will be implemented in each school building. A few specific important pieces of information for this year:
Masks are optional in our school buildings except in two specific scenarios outlined below. NPS will continue to support student and staff choice with regard to mask-wearing.
Masks are required in school health offices. Masks are also required upon return to school on days 6-10 following a COVID infection without a negative test. We recommend you send your student to school with a mask in the event they need to visit the nurse’s office.
There is no COVID testing program in schools this year. If a student is symptomatic at school, upon evaluation by the nurse, the student may be sent home from school with a recommendation to test. Nurses will no longer conduct COVID testing for symptomatic students.
Meal service will return to cafeteria spaces in school buildings. Routine maintenance on ventilation systems will continue, as will the use of air purifiers. Windows may also be opened as appropriate.
NPS will continue to encourage good hand hygiene and a home daily health assessment every day. In partnership with Newton Health and Human Services, we also recommend all students and staff stay up-to-date with COVID vaccinations.
NPS families may be notified of COVID cases if a cluster of infections emerges at a school. Schools will no longer send notifications of COVID cases in classrooms or teams, nor will principals share the total number of COVID cases in a school at the end of each week. Families may check the Newton HHS COVID Case webpage for information on COVID cases in the city.
Test Kit Expiration Date Extension
On Jul 8, 2022, the FDA granted another three-month shelf-life extension for the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test, which extended the shelf-life of all iHealth tests from 6 months to 12 months.
To check the expiration date for a test kit you may have at home, visit this page: iHealth Expiration Date Check. Please note, you will need to enter the Lot Number, which is printed on the box itself.
Bus Passes Available for Print and/or Download
Bus passes are now available to print and/or save to a mobile device. Bus passes can be found in Aspen, our student information system. See below for instructions on downloading your bus pass:
1) Log into Aspen*
2) Click on Family Tab at the top
3) Click on Child's Name
4) Click on Documents Side Tab
5) Look for and download Bus Pass 2022-2023 document
Please be sure to check your student’s bus route as some routes have recently changed due to ridership numbers.
If you have not yet registered for the bus, please register as soon as possible so that NPS staff can ensure adequate space, appropriate number of buses, and efficient routes for all students.
Please visit this webpage for more details on bus transportation and instructions on downloading the bus pass: NPS Transportation
Make a Transportation Plan for the First Day of School!
A reminder to make a transportation plan for the first day of school! It is the state primary election on September 6, 2022 and many of our schools are polling places.
Be extra careful and cautious as you enter a school zone as we are all getting used to new routines. As always, we encourage you to walk, bike, or bus to school!
Be sure to download and print or save a copy of our 2022-23 school year calendar. The calendar includes early release days, school holidays, and observances. Find it here:
Student Services Welcome Email
Please see a brief message below, as well as a link to the full welcome letter, from Casey Ngo-Miller, our new Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.
From Casey Ngo-Miller:
I am thrilled to be joining Newton Public Schools as the new Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and very much looking forward to working with you. NPS has a long and rich history of providing an excellent education to all of its learners. In the coming months, I hope to meet as many of you as possible. I plan to join meetings and forums to learn more about the district and the experiences of our students and families. I look forward to deepening my understanding of this large and complex organization and learning from the community how best to build upon its strengths and address challenges.
For the full welcome letter, please visit the Student Services and Special Education Webpage. In addition, please consider joining the Newton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) listserv HERE. You can also help plan for this year by filling out a quick survey.
Program fees for the 2022-23 school year can be found on the NPS Program Fees webpage. You can download a PDF document of the fees here: PDF of 2022-23 program fees. There is a "supercap" of $1500 for fees paid to NPS. Find out more on the NPS SuperCap Information page.
The Newton Public Schools utilizes the MySchoolBucks (MSB) Online Payment Portal to process fees. MSB is NOT just for lunch/meal payments!
1:1 Technology Program - ATTN: 6-12 Families
Every student in grades 6-12 in the Newton Public Schools is issued a Chromebook. The Chromebook is for use both in school and at home. Entering 6th graders are provided with a Chromebook they will use for the length of time they are in middle school. Entering 9th graders are provided with a Chromebook they will use for the length of time they are in high school. Devices are kept by the student over the summer.
Chromebooks are issued in September. To issue your student a Chromebook, and for those who have not yet completed the form, please do the following:
Sign the Chromebook Loan Agreement - please read and agree to the Chromebook Loan Agreement available in our Aspen Portal. Printable and translated copies are also available. We will not issue devices to students in grades 6 and 9 until the loan agreement is signed. Please also review with your child.
Consider Opting-In to the NPS Chromebook Repair Fund - We encourage you to sign up for our Optional Chromebook Repair Fund. For $25 per year, all accidental damage to the device, including screen cracks, liquid spills, damages from dropping, etc. will be covered. Sign-up and payment for the Chromebook Repair Fund is done through the MySchoolBucks Portal.
In addition, we encourage you to examine some of the resources on Online Safety and Digital Citizenship posted on our website, and engage your children in conversations on these topics on a regular basis.
More information about the 1:1 Device program can be found on the NPS 1:1 Technology Overview Page.
Meals at NPS this School Year
Once again this year, Massachusetts will provide free meals in schools. However, the program this year is different from the last two years. Please read to understand the differences and actions you must take.
What is free?
FIRST meals are free for all students. However, SECOND meals and A LA CARTE ITEMS (at middle/high school) must be paid for with cash or or through the MySchool Bucks account.
What is the cost of a SECOND meal?
The student charge for second meals is $5.25 for elementary students and $5.50 for middle and high school students.
What do you mean by "all meals must be validated" by student?"
This means that all student meals will be served from the cafeteria and each student must have their meal scanned at the Point of Sale register - even though the first meals are free. Student ID barcode cards will be provided for all K-5 students on the first day of school. The cards will remain at school, and each school will determine how the students will access their cards each day.
How can I pay for SECOND meals and A LA CARTE items?
Please create or check your family MySchoolBucks lunch account to ensure there are funds available if your child purchases a second meal or a la carte items (middle and high school only).
Early Morning Care Program for Elementary Students
The Elementary Early Morning Program is the before school childcare service for students in grades K-5. The program runs 7:30 a.m. - 8:10 a.m. starting September 12, 2022. You may select between 1-5 days of care.
Register your student online through MySchoolBucks.com. Once you have registered, your student’s registration status will not be active until it has been approved by the Business Office. If your registration is approved, you will receive a confirmation email. Financial waivers are available and can be completed in Aspen.
Job Postings - Elementary
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:
Annual Student Information Update - Please Complete!
Every year, you are required to update student information in Aspen, our student information system. It is very important that families update addresses, emergency contacts, health records, and permissions so that schools have the most accurate and up to date information for students.
This system is also used to determine what student information can be released. Please note that we do have new Opt Out Permissions for the 2022-2023 school year that need your review and preference selections.
Families must update their students’ records by Friday, September 30th. Please use these instructions to access the information and forms in Aspen: Student Information Update Instructions.
Newton South Mock Trial Team - Volunteer Attorney/Coach Needed!
Newton South High School is seeking a new “attorney” coach for its Mock Trial Team for the upcoming 2022-23 season. Mock Trial is a program of the Massachusetts Bar Association and high schools teams participate in this tournament that can lead to Nationals!.
If you are a lawyer, a judge – practicing or retired – the attorney coach is a rewarding, fun and exciting way to work with motivated high school students.
What is the role of the attorney coach?
Provide legal expertise and familiarity with mock trial rules and processes
Assist team to develop case strategy and arguments
Explain basic trial procedures - opening statements and closing arguments, direct and cross-examination, calling witnesses, objections
Provide feedback on preparation of the case with the law and burden of proof required
If you are interested in participating as an attorney coach, please contact: