January 29, 2024
A Message from Mr. Melillo
I wanted to take a moment to reach out to our wonderful community. The winter months bring a unique charm and an opportunity for us to come together as a community.
The colder weather can be challenging for some, so let's be mindful of our neighbors, especially those who may need a helping hand. Whether it's shoveling snow, checking in on elderly residents, or organizing community events, small gestures can make a big difference.
Let's keep safety in mind. Winter weather can bring its own set of challenges, so encourage one another to stay safe on the icy sidewalks and roads. Let's actively participate to ensure the well-being of everyone.
Our school community is a place where each member contributes to our shared experiences. Let's make the most of the winter months by fostering a sense of unity. Together, we can create lasting memories and make this winter a season to remember.
Below please find a summary of what makes Newtown Public Schools great!
Social Emotional Learning Forum
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are excited to invite you to the Newtown Public School Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Forum on January 31st at 7:00 PM. The event will take place in the Reed Cafeteria and is for parents of any K-12 Newtown Public School student.
Social and Emotional Learning is essential for the holistic development of our students. This forum provides an excellent opportunity for parents to gain insights into the SEL programs implemented at Newtown Public School, understand their importance, and learn ways to support their child's emotional well-being.
- Date: January 31st
- Time: 7:00 PM
- Location: Reed Cafeteria, Newtown Public School
Join us for an informative evening as we discuss the impact of SEL on academic success and overall student well-being. We encourage you to bring any questions or concerns you may have about Social and Emotional Learning.
We look forward to your presence at this important forum.
Please RSVP Below for the SEL Forum
2024 Kindergarten Registration
We understand that changes in educational policies can raise questions, and we want to address any concerns you may have. Below please find a list to access a list of Frequently Asked Questions and directions for registration. If you have any further questions about this process, please contact your school principal. If you are not sure which school your child will attend, you may contact Central Office at 203-426-7606.
Recent Changes in the Connecticut General Statutes will raise the age that children can start public school Kindergarten from age 5 on or before January 1 of the school year to age 5 on or before September 1 of the school year. This change in law will go into effect on July 1, 2024.
Superintendent's Proposed Budget
In building the 2024-2025 budget, we looked at several factors contributing to our request. The loss of grants, particularly the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). As these funding sources reach their expiration, there is a critical need to evaluate and restructure budgetary priorities. The budget acknowledges this reality and strives to mitigate the impact by strategically allocating resources to essential programs, seeking to sustain educational initiatives that have been supported by these grants.
Another important aspect influencing the budget is the requirement to address State mandates, with a particular focus on implementing a comprehensive reading program and securing the necessary materials and professional development to support the programs. Additionally, there is a commitment to curriculum and instruction enhancement, with dedicated resources allocated for the acquisition of textbooks, especially in subjects like World Language and grade 6-8 English Language Arts. This reflects a dedication to providing a robust and well-rounded educational experience for students.
The budget also takes into account the ongoing increase in insurance benefits, recognizing their importance in supporting the well-being of our staff.
In response to the challenges posed by interrupted learning, the budget strategically allocates resources to bridge educational gaps by supporting our MTSS programs and class sizes. Given the uncertainties in the economic climate, we must also acknowledge the reduction of capital non-recurring support, emphasizing the need for careful resource allocation to maintain programming despite a reduction in the once-available funds.
In summary, this education budget reflects a comprehensive and strategic approach to addressing various challenges while maintaining a commitment to the quality and continuity of education. I look forward to working collaboratively with our staff, the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, the Legislative Council, the Board of Selectmen, and the community to support the school budget, fostering a shared commitment to educational excellence.
I believe that this proposed budget supports educational excellence, providing resources for students and teachers, and ensuring the overall well-being and growth of the community.
Creating A Welcoming Environment
Newtown Middle School prides itself on creating a welcoming learning environment for all staff, students, and families. Our commitment to innovative instruction and engaging activities helps to draw in our school community. Through our morning announcements and digital display boards, we honor and celebrate the different cultures, heritages, and important dates in history in order to foster an inclusive, open, and nurturing environment for each community member.
Lions Library is a driving force for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Throughout the year, the library highlights the uniqueness of people in a range of ways. With creative displays, themed reading selections, and related activities, the library showcases different people, cultures, and traditions from around the world for the entire middle school community. Below is a sampling of notable themes recognized by the library.
- September/October: Hispanic Heritage Month
- November: Native American Month
- December: Kindness Month
- January: New Books/New Year
- February: Black History Month
- March: Women's History Month
- April: Poetry
- May: Asian American/Pacific Islander Month
- June: Pride Month
From a curricular lens, engaging units of study that embed culturally responsive resources and diverse perspectives in our instruction are a district and school priority. This year, our ELA department is piloting two programs that provide students exposure to a variety of rich, authentic, and diverse grade-level texts. These learning opportunities facilitate discourse, build community, and deepen students’ understanding of their world. In social studies classes, there are many organic opportunities in our history curriculum that empower teachers to facilitate courageous conversations with our students. During each Cycle Week, students participate in experiential learning during their WIN (What I Need) classes. The WIN curriculum covers a broad range of SEL topics including self-awareness, awareness of others, and celebration of diversity.
The Newtown Middle School staff recently engaged in a professional development session that centered around The Search Institute’s Developmental Relationships Framework. This framework helps codify the continuous good work our staff engaged in to ensure all students feel welcomed and safe at school.
Building Positive Climate at Hawley School
December at Hawley was Kindness Month. The focus was what does Kindness sound & look like. Helping and Including others was highly discussed.
Each class was given and read the book, The Sound of Kindness, by Amy VanDerwater.
Students were to listen for “sounds of kindness,” at home, at school, and in the community. Teachers then began charting in classrooms student observations shared during Morning Meeting. “Sounds of Kindness” were then recorded on speech bubbles the day the class had the “Kindness Cart” and added them to their Classroom House which, in turn, was added to our School Village in the lobby.
The Kindness Cart visited every classroom. It contained books about Kindness to be read with a Buddy. It also had Hot Chocolate and Fun Activities.
Decorate a House: Each class received a house to decorate. All houses were hung in the Lobby to create our Kindness Village
House Windows: Children partnered up and selected a window in which to draw their faces.
Speech Bubble: Children took their “Sound of Kindness” and created a speech bubble which was added around their class house.
The month culminated with our Kindness Assembly. Kindness Quotes were shared by students and each grade-level led us in a song about helping each other, including everyone and kindness.