NPS District News

November 10, 2021

Message from the Superintendent

Dear NPS Families,


It is hard for me to count the number of times over the past couple of months that friends and acquaintances have asked me how the school year is going. This is almost always followed by “It must be so much better than last year.” My immediate response is that this year is better because our students and staff have the opportunity to be in our buildings together everyday. The community, the routine, and the familiarity of each day has brought a welcome joy to our classrooms and schools


However, as the year has progressed, we have begun to realize that this year is different, and perhaps even more difficult, than any of us expected. Some of our students are facing social and emotional challenges, which should not come as a complete surprise given what they have been through over the past 20 months. This plays out in a number of different ways. Educators are reporting higher levels of anxiety among students, more instances of behavioral issues, and uneven capacity to follow classroom routines. This phenomenon is consistent with what I am hearing from superintendents both in Massachusetts and across the country.


Our staff is also experiencing new and different challenges. At a recent principal meeting, administrators shared that the level of stress and exhaustion among the adults in our schools is unusually high at this point in the year. Again, I hear this from educators in other districts as well, including my own sister who is a high school teacher in another state.


While we are seeing an increase in the social emotional struggles of our students and staff, recent data indicates a positive trend in some academic areas. Our elementary literacy data from the recently completed fall assessments shows the vast majority of our students continue to be at or above grade level. This data is relatively consistent with past years, and in some cases, has even improved. However, on a cautionary note, our data is consistent with data from across the country suggesting that students from demographic groups who have historically struggled in school have not made the progress we would have hoped for over the course of the pandemic.


Our system goals for this year speak to our commitment to identify and address our students’ needs across academic and social-emotional domains. As I visit our schools, I am deeply impressed with the commitment of our educators to meet students where they are every day. I also see firsthand how our mental health teams at both the school and district levels are working closely with these educators to design and implement specific supports for students. If you see your student struggling or believe they need extra support, please reach out.


I am hopeful that the continued ability to be in school together will provide us with the structure to continue to heal and move forward in strong and healthy ways.


Sincerely,

David Fleishman

COVID Vaccine Clinics for Ages 5-11 - Volunteers Needed!

The Holtzman Medical Group is seeking volunteers for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine clinics organized with Newton Health and Human Services Department and Newton Public Schools. Volunteers - - vaccinators and administrative assistance - are needed for:



  • First dose clinics at Newton North High School and Oak Hill Middle School on Saturday 11/13 and Sunday 11/14, as well as afterschool clinics on 11/16, 11/17, and 11/18 (location TBD.)

  • Second dose clinics Newton North High School and Oak Hill Middle School on Saturday 12/4 and Sunday 12/5, as well as afterschool on 12/7, 12/8, and 12/9 (location TBD.)



Sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b44a5ab2ea4fa7-holtzman


More information can be found on the Newton HHS website. The website also includes a list of pharmacies in the Newton area that are offering the pediatric vaccine.

Big picture

COVID Testing Data Dashboard


We have recently relaunched our COVID Testing Data Dashboard. On the dashboard, you can review the percentage of students who have opted into testing, as well as the results of the weekly pooled testing. The data dashboard can be found here: COVID Testing Data Dashboard and on our website here: COVID Testing Webpage. For information on COVID cases and vaccination rates in the Newton Public Schools, please visit this page on the City of Newton Website: Newton HHS COVID Data

Annual Forms

Please remember to complete the Annual Student Information Update for your student(s). It is important that we verify the information in your child(ren)’s record including address, contact information, etc. in our system every year.


Directions on how to update Annual Student Information can be found at the following link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k147FXN5VcmhzWZejN95DUNyxpj_rNvu2_kYaWfpbTg/edit?usp=sharing


Additionally, parent(s)/guardian(s) must review the permissions categories yearly. Permissions determine how/what student information is shared or released for your child, including release of student pictures, directory information, and media access, for example.


We will be closing the Annual Student Information Update on December 1, 2021. If your child’s information and permissions selections have not been reviewed by this date, the student record will remain unchanged and may not reflect your current desire.


Big picture

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. To recognize this month in our schools, faculty and staff were provided resources and activities to support classroom and department lessons and discussions. Resources included historic figures, videos, activities, book lists and more for students of all ages and were designed to supplement planning for classroom activities and areas of exploration.


Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP) Now Enrolling for 2022-23!

Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP) is now accepting applications for students for the 2022-23 school year. NECP will be moving to its new location at 687 Watertown St. midway through next year. The fully renovated building will be completely customized for NPS' littlest learners! If you have a preschool age child and would like to learn more about enrolling in this fantastic program in an amazing new space, please visit the application process section of the NECP website at: www.newton.k12.ma.us/NECP.

Big picture

Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School Building Project

On November 9, 2021, the Lincoln-Eliot School Building Committee voted unanimously to focus on addition and renovation options for the site at 150 Jackson Road. There were several reasons why this approach was approved, including:


  • The addition and renovation options can meet and exceed the school program

  • Provide a finished product comparable to the Angier, Zervas, and Cabot School projects

  • Preserve a historic facility

  • Avoids delays in the project schedule

  • Are superior from an embodied carbon and environmental perspective

  • Leverage the financial value of the existing facility to yield a project that is ~$14M less expensive than the new construction options.


The Building Committee has not yet a preferred addition/renovation option. The committee will be working together to find the best possible option for the building and the site in the coming months. Here is the access information for the recording of the meeting from last night:


https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/L2aGa72PuTEYFMkaZOyBorY0e57cNHp6Gp0PLyF4ma3JPZ2yVZDEUdOyViqJBrY-.1PBe3hy5R5kf-aIP

Access Passcode: T&%JH8+7

News from Our Schools!

This week at Angier Elementary

This week, Angier Elementary launched One School, One Book. This national idea is that when an entire school reads the same book, excitement for reading and sense of community grows.

Angier started One School, One Book with a book written by a student! Julia Yeonmi Rubin, a third grader in Puja Tilva's class, wrote a book called Lunchtime: A Story About Appreciating All Different Kinds of Lunches Julia was inspired to write this book after kids said her lunch was yucky. She wants kids to appreciate foods from all cultures. Teachers read the book with their students in school this week.
Big picture

This Week at Newton South High School

The New Media Communities (NMG) program at Newton South is a project-based, innovation-focused smaller learning community that joins English and History with media production and media analysis. Thank you to the Newton Schools Foundation for helping to fund this innovative program. You can view some of their work in this video and in this award-winning podcast.


And, special thanks to Mr. Banks, Dean at Newton South, for welcoming students with such positivity this morning!

Big picture
Big picture

NewMo is Expanding in Newton!

The City of Newton has recently expanded its “Newton in Motion” or “NewMo” transportation service. NPS is sharing information about this expanded service as it may be useful to some students and staff. Below please find key information about NewMo and where to go to find more information.


What is NewMo?

NewMo is a new version of public transportation. It is an on-demand, shared ride service that aims to provide riders with a low-cost way to navigate around Newton. Vehicles are operated by independent contractors in personal vehicles (much like Uber and Lyft.)


How do I use NewMo?

The easiest way to use NewMo is to download the App to your smartphone. Search NewMo Newton in your App store. It works a lot like the Uber or Lyft Apps. Open the App, request a ride, and wait to see when your ride will arrive.


What are the expected wait times when using NewMo?

Average wait times are less than 30 minutes.


How much does it cost?

Each ride is $2.00.


Will my student be in a car with other riders?

It is possible that your student would share a ride with other passengers. However, if a ride were booked together with two other friends, students would be in a car with only those friends. (vehicle limit is three passengers.)


Does NewMo provide door-to-door service?

NewMo is designed as a public transportation service. This means that riders might be asked to walk a couple of blocks to meet the vehicle or could be dropped off a few blocks from their destination.


Do NewMo drivers complete Background Checks?

​​Yes, all drivers are required to complete CORI and SORI checks. However, other passengers who might be riding in the vehicle are not subject to background checks.


Is this service just for the City of Newton?

Yes, rides can only be secured for transportation within the City of Newton.


Where can I find more information?

You can find more information on NewMo at www.newtonma.gov/NEWMO

Newton Community Needs Survey

The City of Newton will be directing a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to programs addressing the needs of lower-income residents impacted by the pandemic. We hope many will share their experiences with us. Please complete the survey by NOVEMBER 30th.




The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Responses will remain confidential. By completing the survey, you qualify to win one of four $50 VISA gift cards!