NPS District News
November 24, 2021
Message from the Superintendent
Dear NPS Families,
As we approach Thanksgiving, I would like to thank you, our parent/guardian community, for your support, understanding, and ongoing partnership. I am thankful that we have been able to keep our students learning in our school buildings for this entire school year thus far. We have been able to do this, in part, because of your commitment to adhering to the health and safety guidelines of our district.
Thank you to the many volunteers, as well as our city, state and community partners, for helping us to vaccinate more than 1600 5-11 year olds last week. With this new group eligible for vaccinations, and so many taking advantage of it, we will continue to consult with our Medical Advisory Group to make any recommended changes to our health and safety measures.
I know first hand that parenting is particularly stressful right now, regardless of the ages of your children. I also know that our faculty and staff are experiencing a different and unexpected kind of fatigue and stress. We are all grateful for the time to rest over the next few days so that we may return energized and ready to finish out 2021. I do hope that you too get some time to rest and rejuvenate over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanksgiving Travel - A Message from Newton HHS
Thanksgiving is a few days away! We hope you enjoy a happy and healthy holiday and would like to remind you that it’s important to take precautions against getting or spreading COVID-19. Wearing a face covering, washing your hands, opening windows to increase air circulation, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster if you are eligible, are the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. All adults and children age 5 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Find appointments statewide at vaxfinder.mass.gov.
If you don’t feel well, stay home and get tested for COVID-19, even if you have mild symptoms and even if you are fully vaccinated. As a reminder, children ages 5-11 who have recently gotten a COVID-19 vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after their second dose.
Traveling for the holiday? While the Massachusetts Department of Public Health does not have specific requirements for travel, travel does increase possible exposure to COVID-19 from new people and new environments. We encourage everyone to check local transmission rates and travel guidance for your destination in advance. The CDC recommends those who are not fully vaccinated should get a test 1-3 days before travel and within 3-5 days of return. If you are fully vaccinated, self-monitor for symptoms and if you don’t feel well, isolate and get tested.
COVID Testing Data Dashboard
On the COVID Testing Data 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
City of Newton Veterans Day Ceremony
She received the Distinguished Military Graduate recognition and was the first woman to serve as an instructor of ground maneuver warfare. To view the remarks, visit the NewTV website here: 2021 Veterans Day Ceremony - City of Newton. Thank you Captain Fitzmaurice for your service.
Food Services Advisory Working Group
The Food Services Advisory Working Group (FSAWG) met for the first time since COVID began on Wednesday, 11/17, from 4:00-5:15 pm via Zoom. The group is composed of 14 parents with children at all levels within NPS; four high-school students; nine NPS staff; Ruth Hoshino, the Director of School Health Services; Ruth Goldman, School Committee Chair; and Christina Flutie, Whitsons Culinary Group General Manager; and Amy Mistrot, NPS Director of Business Operations.
An overview of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was shared with members as well as a review of some of the current challenges that are impacting the student lunch experience. These challenges include those consistent with other state and national districts, such as the current economic issues of staffing challenges, supply chain issues, and delivery delays. In addition, there are underlying issues specific to Newton that make providing meals difficult - inconsistent kitchen capacity by building, aging kitchen infrastructure, and the sheer size of Newton that makes scalability a daily challenge. Variables aside, the feedback was consistent and clear from all stakeholders that the quality and quantity of the student meals needs to improve.
This FSAWG will meet every four to five weeks for the balance of the school year with the next meeting scheduled for 12/15. If you have questions or comments about the Newton school lunch experience, please call (617-559-9038) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Amy Mistrot. Direct feedback is welcome.
Annual Forms - Due December 1st!
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.
News from Our Schools!
Newton Beijing Jingshan Exchange - 35th Year Reunion!
In October, the Newton Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program hosted its 35th Reunion at Newton North. The reunion, the first in-person event in two years, honored Carolyn Henderson. Ms. Henderson was presented with the Friend of the Exchange Award for her contribution to the program. Mayor Fuller, Superintendent David Fleishman, Assistant Superintendent Toby Romer and principals from both high schools congratulated Carolyn and highlighted the impact and importance of this and all NPS global education programs.
The Newton Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program is the longest secondary exchange program of the country between the US and China. Every year, Newton sends 7 - 9 high school students from NNHS and NSHS to Beijing Jingshan School for a four-month exchange in the spring. Newton families also host students and teachers from the Jingshan School between September and January. Due to the pandemic, the exchange program is currently paused, but we remain hopeful it will return in the near future!
Anyone who is interested in the exchange program can contact Star Lew: email@example.com
Mason-Rice Elementary News
Mason-Rice held its annual book fair last week. During the book fair, students had the opportunity to participate in a contest in which they designed a themed bookmark. Students could choose the theme - favorite book, character, author, or even school pride. The selected two winners for their creative designs - one for K-2 and one for 3-5.
The winners are:
K-2 - Amanda Yam - her book mark includes our school logo, as well as some lyrics from the Mason-Rice school song, Namaste
3-5 - Julianna Shi - her book mark includes the possibilities inside the pages of a book.
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