NPS District News

February 10, 2021

Message from the Superintendent

In an effort to share information from the district more regularly, we have created the NPS District News newsletter. This newsletter will include information on planning, COVID-19, and district-wide events. It will also highlight some of the great work our teachers, staff, and students are doing throughout the district. You can expect this newsletter in your in-box every other week.

This first newsletter falls during Black History Month and while the history of Black Americans is embedded in our curriculum and practice throughout the year, this designation gives us unique opportunity to highlight the contributions of Black Americans. Our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Kathy Lopes, has provided our educators with resources and ideas to celebrate Black History Month and, as Kathy says "to honor stories of celebration and not solely victimization, and to inspire your students of their possibilities." "

It also gives our district opportunity to highlight the anti-racist work we are doing at all levels. For example, in our English departments at the high school level, our faculty have been working to infuse anti-racist themes into the curriculum. This means inclusion of more diverse texts and perspectives within the literature selected. It also means creation of new electives, such as the new English course at North “Action Through Literature.” In this course, students explore their role as global citizens and what it means to make meaningful and effective change. Building anti-racist skills is happening throughout our curriculum and we will share more examples with you in the coming months.

In the meantime, I look forward to providing you with district information via this new newsletter format. Please share any feedback on content or format at

COVID-19 Health Updates

Voluntary testing for asymptomatic staff is now available once a week. The district is actively exploring asymptomatic testing for students through a pool testing model. A recommendation was presented to School Committee on February 8th. Review this link for details.

In the meantime, please be sure to create Project Beacon account if you would like your student tested if they become symptomatic while at school (hybrid students only.) It is important that you create a profile for YOUR STUDENT and not yourself on the Project Beacon site. You can find details instructions at this link.

Finally, a reminder to abide by the Massachusetts Travel Order if you plan to travel during February break. Please visit this link for a message from NPS School Health.

Planning for the 2021-22 School Year

We have convened a group is to develop a comprehensive plan for a full reopening of the Newton Public Schools for the 2021-22 school year. Members of the group include administrators, teachers, staff, and family representatives. We have also convened an ad hoc medical advisory team to provide guidance on health and safety in our school buildings. You can find more information in this presentation.

The medical advisory group will meet during February break and the planning team will meet immediately after the break. The focus of both groups is expanding in-person learning, especially for our youngest students, in the 4th quarter of this year and preparing for full-time in person learning in the fall. Information on the progress of these two groups will be shared regularly.

Ventilation Project

The project to remediate, enhance, and improve the ventilation system in all NPS school buildings is nearing completion. You can view all the reports and documentation of the work completed on this page. For quick reference, we have also created "dashboards" that provide the status of every space in every building. You can view the dashboards here.

The Work and Challenges of Being Anti-Racist: A Virtual Event with Dr. Edward Fergus and NPS Leaders

Wednesday, Feb. 24th, 7pm

This is an online event.

During these historic times, the commitment to anti-racism is more important than ever. This work is challenging and bias-based beliefs may cause even the most well-intentioned individuals to feel discomfort when equity is put into practice.

Join the Newton Public Schools in a discussion led by Dr. Edward Fergus, author of Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity: A Leader's Guide to Using Data to Change Hearts and Minds to discuss these challenges and how to overcome barriers in implementing change in the practice of equity. Joined by a panel of NPS leaders, we will share some of the opportunities and obstacles that face us as we strive to be a more equitable and just district for all. Advance registration is required. Register here.

Calendar Change for K-8 on March 16th

Due to the Special City Election on Tuesday, March 16th, we need to switch the in-person day for Cohort A. Cohort A will attend in person on Wednesday, March 17th. They will follow their Wednesday remote schedule on Tuesday, March 16th. Please contact your building principal with any questions.

Williams Elementary Multi-Cultural Festival

At the end of January, Williams Elementary hosted their first live virtual Multi-Cultural Festival. Families logged on to learn more about about the cultures, traditions, history and food of their fellow Williams families. The event was a huge hit and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to come together as a community. Check out a few pictures below.

Elementary Forum - Supporting Your Child in the 2020-21 School Year

Did you miss the Elementary Forum on supporting your child’s learning during the 2020-21 school year? Click this link to view a video recording of the panel presentation.