December 7, 2022
Interim Superintendent Message
Dear NPS Families,
As we enter the holiday season, a season typically filled with giving thanks and spreading joy and light to others, I want to acknowledge the challenges we face as a country and as a school community. Recent national and local events give us pause as we once again witness violent, traumatic, and painful incidents sparked by intolerance, hate, and injustice.
The recent shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub is a frightening reminder of the violence and tragedy that can ensue as a result of intolerance and hatred. This, following the rise in antisemitic sentiments and most recently, comments and actions from public figures. These hateful incidents have unfortunately become more common. We know that our community is not immune, as we have experienced antisemitic graffiti in our own middle and high schools in the past year. It is frustrating, disappointing, and deeply concerning.
Yet as educators, we know we have the opportunity, the knowledge, the resources, and the commitment to change this trajectory. As the interim superintendent here in Newton for this school year, I am a steward and a supporter of the good work that our administrators, our educators, and our staff are doing to address these challenges. By educating ourselves and our students, we create more welcoming, safe, and inclusive school communities now and prepare our students to create a more just, equitable, and safer global society of the future.
Below are just a few examples of the important work we are doing with our leadership teams and in our schools at all levels:
Our district leadership team is participating in the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S) Racial, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) strategy training program for the 2022-23 school year.
Our high schools have developed meaningful action plans to address antisemitic incidents and antisemitism. In addition to standard curriculum on the Holocaust, history classes incorporated a lesson on hate speech developed by the Anti-Defamation League. The Lappin Foundation is working with students on the history of the Holocaust and connections to hate and bullying today. School leaders have worked closely with Human Rights Councils and Jewish student groups to address incidents of antisemitism. New courses, as well as integration into current coursework, support leading in a diverse society and being an upstander.
Our elementary and middle school leaders and educators have participated in professional development training days to support implementation of culturally-responsive instruction. Culturally responsive instruction is a research-based approach to teaching that connects students’ cultures, languages, and life experiences with what they learn in school. These connections help students access rigorous curriculum and develop higher-level academic skills.
The DEI Department has recently created a Gender Guidance Advisory - a diverse group of school leaders across all grades and roles within the district to develop gender-affirming practices and protocols for all students. This advisory has begun the work of identifying key priorities and reviewing state and federal guidance for the purpose of developing a template for classroom/building resources that are aligned with our district values and practices of inclusion.
Our social-emotional learning teams have created a Social Justice Library to provide resources for elementary schools to combat bias, racism, and ableism through developmentally-appropriate pictures books and corresponding discussion guides.
I encourage you as our partners in this work to have conversations with your students about these issues. We must stand up and speak out when we see hate and we must take action to address acts of intolerance. Our impact will be deeper, more significant, and longer lasting when we work together.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support of our educators, our staff, and our students as we take on these complex and formidable challenges. I am proud to support this important work in the Newton Public Schools this year.
Kathleen Smith, J.D.
Superintendent Search Update
We are pleased to report that the superintendent search process is moving forward as planned.
In the past two weeks our focus has been on developing the Desired Characteristics and Leadership Profile for the superintendent role.
These documents were drafted based on community input from 53 focus groups, 32 individual interviews, and a survey with 2,194 responses. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the broad engagement across the community! You can find the full report from the survey and the focus groups on the NPS Superintendent Search webpage:
On November 28 the Superintendent Search Committee made minor edits to the documents and unanimously approved them for review by the Newton School Committee. The Newton School Committee subsequently reviewed and discussed the documents, made minor changes, and unanimously approved the final versions in their meeting on December 1. The final drafts are linked below:
The superintendent job posting, which includes the final versions of the Desired Characteristics and Leadership Profile, is now live and accepting applications.
Here is what happens next, with the support of our search consultants:
Applications will be accepted through January 13, 2023
All applicants will be reviewed to ensure they meet the basic requirements for the role (experience, licensure, etc.)
Applicants who meet the basic requirements for the role will be interviewed for an initial screening
Additional background verification (education, prior roles, etc.) will be conducted for applicants who pass the initial screening
The search consultants will identify the top 8-10 candidates for interviews by the Superintendent Search Committee
The Superintendent Search Committee will review and interview the top 8-10 candidates and will recommend 2-3 finalists to the Newton School Committee
The finalists will be interviewed in Newton. The interviews will include meetings with the Newton School Committee, NPS administrators, and the community
The Newton School Committee will vote on the finalists and select the new superintendent, contingent on background checks and agreement on compensation and benefits
Thank you again for your input and engagement as we go through this critical process! Please contact the Newton School Committee with any additional questions or comments. As always, detailed information can be found on the search committee webpage on the district website.
Safety and Security Update
At the December 5, 2022 School Committee meeting, the district provided a report on Safety and Security in the Newton Public Schools. The memo, provided to the School Committee, outlines the following:
Recent safety updates
Core responses to emergency events
Safety teams and partnerships
Safety training and drills
Facilities and buildings
Strategies to reduce likelihood of emergency events
The district maintains a webpage on safety and security, which can be found here:
Welcome Lieutenant Amanda Henrickson!
Lieutenant Amanda Henrickson was appointed by the chief of police as the new Community Services Bureau Commander, Public Information Officer and Civil Rights Officer for the Newton Police Department on November 1st.
The Newton Public Schools works closely with the Community Services Bureau as it includes the police department’s youth officers, who also serve as our NPS School Resource Officers. The bureau is in direct and regular contact with school officials and often serve as non-emergency points-of-contact between schools and the Police Department. The Civil Rights Officer serves as a liaison among schools, social service agencies, clergy, community groups, media, the Newton Police Department and other law enforcement agencies as it relates to incidents of bias crimes and civil rights violations.
Lieutenant Henrickson is passionate about victims rights and services. As a mother of two, she appreciates and understands the hard work that goes into providing a safe space for our children to learn and grow. She is committed to building upon the strong working relationships the police department has with our schools, parents and students. She looks forward to working with everyone in the Newton Public Schools Community
Gun Safety Education Campaign from Newton HHS
The Newton Public Schools is pleased to partner with Commissioner Linda Walsh of Newton Health and Human Services and Chief John Carmichael of the Newton Police Department to launch a gun safety education campaign. We will continue to work together throughout the year to provide our schools and our community with important information. You can view information on the campaign on their webpage:
Newton HHS Gun Safety Education Campaign
Resources on gun safety, provided by Newton HHS, include:
American Academy of Pediatrics – HealthyChildren.org
Inclement Weather Notification Reminder
As we approach winter weather, we want to share information related to school closings. As a reminder, the decision to close or delay school is made by the superintendent, in consultation with the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. Safety is our number one priority as we consider the weather forecast, as well as street, sidewalk, and school parking lot conditions. We are very sensitive to the childcare challenges that you face when schools are closed and only do so if our analysis indicates we should.
You will be notified of school closing via email, text, phone, website, television news, and social media. Please make sure your contact information is updated in Aspen so that we are able to reach you in a timely manner (Aspen Login Link) If you do not remember your Aspen login information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit this webpage for additional details:
ELPAC Meeting - Thursday, December 8th at 6:30 p.m.
ELPAC (English Learner Parent Advisory Council) is a network of English Language Learners (ELLs) and former ELL families districtwide. ELPAC collaborates with schools and the district to improve ELL programs, support integration of new ELLs and their families, and support bilingualism and biculturalism for all families.
The next ELPAC meeting is this Thursday, December 8, 2022 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Meetings take place in person at the Education Center (100 Walnut St., Newton)
Contact for NPS ELPAC
Facebook Group: tinyurl.com/NPSELPACFB
Stress Survival Guide Workshop for Students - 12/14/22
On Wednesday, December 14, 2022, the City of Newton Youth Services, in partnership with Families for Depression Awareness, The Newton Free Library and The Newton Youth Commission will host a workshop on student stress.
The discussion will focus on teaching students how to identify symptoms of stress, helping students identify strategies to manage it and providing information about how to find help if things start to feel like “more than just stress.”
The event will be held in the Druker Auditorium at the Newton Free Library from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Inclusive Schools Week - December 5-9, 2022
Inclusive Schools Week is an annual international event celebrated the first week in December. It’s a time designated to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of teachers, administrators, students, and parents in making their schools more inclusive and, thereby, significantly contributing to the development of a more inclusive society.
This year’s theme is “Unity in the Community.” The Week offers a significant opportunity for educators, students and parents to engage in dialogue about inclusive education and to plan for the future. It is a time when schools and communities can begin or continue the journey toward providing a quality education to all children regardless of differences in ability, gender, ethnicity, language and health status.
The City of Newton continues to host meetings, presentations, and discussions on the proposed override. All past presentations and meeting recordings can be found on this page:
Newton Override Meeting Presentations and Recordings
Some meetings are formal presentations and some are more informal discussions where residents can ask specific questions about department services.
A calendar of meetings is here: Override Meeting Calendar
The next school-specific override meeting will take place at Zervas Elementary on Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. School tours are available at 6:30 p.m.
MySchoolBucks Low Balances
Please check your child/ren's MySchoolBucks lunch account to determine if they have a negative balance. If yes, please add funds to their account to address any unpaid items and add additional funds if you are comfortable with your student purchasing either second lunches and/or a la carte items.
Please remember that although the first breakfast and lunch each day is free for all students in Massachusetts this school year, second meals and a la carte items - including purchasing milk if not part of a meal - is fee-based, regardless of free or reduced-price eligibility.
As of 11/23, there are 775 students who have negative balances that need to be addressed.
Middle School Activities Fee Payment Information
The middle school activity fee covers all school-sponsored, extracurricular activities within the middle schools, known as Triple E, not including athletics. The annual one-time fee allows students to participate in an unlimited number of Triple E activities.
$60 per student per year not including drama
$100 per student per year if student participates in drama
Pay online at www.MySchoolBucks.com. Click Here for Directions
Mail the application and check to: Business & Finance, Newton Public Schools, 100 Walnut Street, Newtonville, MA 02460
If you wish to apply for a financial waiver, please complete an application located in Aspen. For more information on financial assistance, visit https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/1072
If payment or financial waiver is not received at time of registration, an invoice will be issued to your student’s MySchoolBucks account.
Contact email@example.com or 617-559-9025 for assistance
Preschool Developmental Screening
The Newton Public Schools conducts preschool screenings for children ages 3 to 5 years old in an effort to identify children who may have a disability and are in need of special education support. It is designed to review a child’s development and assist in the identification of children who should be referred for further evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services. This is a free and optional service for Newton residents only.
The screenings are conducted monthly starting in the 2022-2023 school year. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child's development and would like to have your child screened, please contact NECP at (617) 559-6050 to schedule an appointment.
Cabot Elementary School
Cabot, along with several other Newton elementary schools, participated in the fall celebratory Girls on the Run 5K, in Medford. GOTR is a program that inspires all girls in grades 3-5 to build their confidence, kindness and decision making skills. They meet twice a week for several weeks to learn lessons led by staff volunteers and parent volunteers that instill valuable life skills, including the important connection between physical and emotional health. It was a cold and windy, but thrilling 5K!
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: