October 25, 2023
Dear NPS Families,
In late November, I will share my “entry plan” findings with the School Committee. An entry plan is basically a presentation about what I have learned during my first 90 days here in Newton. These findings come from my meetings with all of you this summer and fall, as well as my meetings with NPS administrators and educators. It will identify the strengths I see in the district, as well areas where I believe there is room for us to grow and evolve. One thing that truly stands out to me is the joy I see in the classrooms in our schools every day. It is truly a special school experience here in Newton and I feel lucky to be leading a district with such a strong foundation.
Below is a graphic representation of community and student feedback in the Thought Exchanges shared at 34 meet and greets and to the community through school mailings. The larger the word, the more times this topic was discussed by the community. It is a little appetizer of entry planning discussion to come.
As you can see, lunch came through as a big concern and so the district has been working on major changes. We have a new General Manager at Whitsons, Matt Delaney, coming on board November 1st. However, Whitsons' staff has already made big changes to improve food quality at all of our schools.
Can you let us know if you’re seeing that improvement? Email feedback/make suggestions: email@example.com. To quote our new General Manager, “We’d like to make the school cafeteria a restaurant experience students cannot resist!”
At the School Committee meeting on Monday night, we had a good discussion around the ongoing contract negotiations. As the School Committee shared yesterday, Mayor Fuller, School Committee, and myself were in alignment with the concept of developing a creative approach to providing additional funding to NPS. We look forward to a collaborative discussion at the November 6th meeting. As your superintendent, it is my role to identify and reveal the needs of the district and advocate for the funding to address those needs. I appreciate the support of the School Committee and the Mayor in having this critical and time-sensitive discussion.
This is an exciting time in the Newton Public Schools as we continue to move the important daily work of the schools forward, but also begin the process of developing our district vision for all of our students in the form of our Portrait of a Graduate. Please see details below on how you can participate.
October in the Schools
Please also know that October can sometimes be a challenging time for families and students. The daylight time is shorter, the weather becomes colder, and the “honeymoon” of the start of the school year may be shifting over to the routines of the school year. October is a time when we typically see an uptick in behavioral incidents with students and, of course, the colds and flu of the season can creep in.
Those routines, however, are critical–predictable bedtimes and rising times, scheduled meals, homework and mealtimes help to create the supportive environment students need to succeed in schools. Making sure your child gets to school at a routine time actually does more to reduce anxiety and worry about school. No need to make it complicated, it’s not what is served at dinner, whether you drive kids to school or have them walk or take the bus, or any fancy extra tutoring. It is simply the routines and expectations for them that help students to thrive and feel cared for. I’m coaching myself here, too, as I contend with a stressful fall for my high school daughter and sitting through 50 rainy soccer games!!
I have enjoyed seeing you all at meetings, sporting events and other activities and have had a wonderful time this week meeting with every staff member in a leadership role (called NPS Extended Administrative Council), my principal advisory team, student advisory group (from North and South High Schools) and the parent/teacher town wide advisory (PTOC). I feel very fortunate to serve the community and the children of Newton. This is a very special place, and it’s important, even in complicated and stressful times, to reflect on all that we do have to support and inspire our community.
FORJ Pancakes Around the World - October 28th
Join the FORJ Team (Families Organizing for Racial Justice) for a family gathering at Angier Elementary School Cafetorium in Newton on Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 11am - 1pm. Playground accessible. Come in the side door by the parking lot.
The purpose of this event is to bring families across Newton and Boston together in a communal way to kick off the year. The event will include time for socializing, eating, and reflecting on our own and others’ family traditions. We hope you’ll see old friends and make new ones. New to FORJ? Come learn about Families Organizing for Racial Justice at this communal event.
NPS School Safety Forum - November 1st
The Newton Public Schools is hosting a webinar for community members to learn more about the steps that we take to ensure our schools are safe and healthy environments for our students. The event will include a presentation from NPS district safety leaders, as well as partners from the Newton Police, Fire, and Health and Human Services departments. The presentation will include information on our emergency response plans and drills, as well as other strategies we use to ensure safe and healthy school communities.
The webinar will include opportunities to ask questions virtually. Questions may be submitted in advance here: Questions for NPS Safety Forum
SEPAC Meeting - November 14th
Tuesday, November 14th from 7:30-9:30pm in person at the Education Center, 100 Walnut St, Room 304 for a meet and greet with Superintendent Anna Nolin, and an opportunity to learn more about the anti-ableist curriculum NPS is in the process of developing with the NPS community from Anna Nolin and Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, Casey Ngo-Miller.
NEW DATE - Newton METCO Forum - December 6, 2023
Join us on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at Newton South for a terrific information session on our METCO program. Newton was a founding member of METCO and we are proud to be one of the biggest programs in the state. Join us to learn more about METCO. Details coming soon.
Green Newton has the tools you need to take climate action now! Visit their website to sign up for their weekly e-newsletter to learn about upcoming events and speakers, tips to combat climate change and "green" your life, and opportunities for advocacy and collaboration.
For more information on Green Newton School Connections, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know Newton has its own Energy Coach! Link to Newton Energy Coach site
Chromebook Repair Fund - Students in Grades 6-12:
Over 1200 students are covered by the Chromebook Repair Fund. Have you signed up yet?
Did you know families are responsible for the cost of repairs for damages to NPS 1:1 devices in grades 6-12? The cost to repair a cracked screen is $100 with labor.
If you have not already done so, please consider opting into our Chromebook Repair Fund. This fund, paid yearly, covers the cost of damages (such as cracked screens, missing keys, water damage, etc.) to the device on loan to your student. Click the included link for more information.
Portrait of a Graduate
Portrait of a Graduate
Newton Public Schools is in the process of developing our Portrait of a Graduate. What is a Portrait of a Graduate? It is a collective vision that articulates our community’s aspirations for ALL of our students. This is a first step in framing and articulating a clear vision for our school system.
Who will develop it?
The Portrait will be developed by the community in the form of a “Portrait Design Team.” The design team will include individuals across and throughout Newton. The team will consist of approximately 50 percent community members and 50 percent NPS educators.
While the design team will lead the process, feedback and information will be sought from the entire community in the form of surveys and community sessions. So, please do not worry if you cannot commit to being a part of the Design Team. You will have other opportunities to provide feedback and input!
What is the process?
Our timeline is about four months, which includes four Design Team Meetings. The Design Team will explore the following themes to create the competencies of the Newton Portrait of a Graduate:
Examine how the world has changed and the implications for students.
Discuss the competencies students need to thrive today and tomorrow.
Identify and contextualize the competencies that should be a part of a shared, local vision for our district.
Discuss how to make our Portrait of a Graduate a reality for every student.
Can I apply to be a member of the Design Team?
Yes, we welcome your interest and encourage you to apply. Just a note that It will be important that you can commit to the four design team meetings, currently scheduled for January 17th and 18th, February 8th, and March 4th. All meetings begin at 6:00 p.m.
To indicate your interest in participating as a member of the Portrait of a Graduate Design Team, please complete this Google Form.
Our Portrait of a Graduate will serve as the North Star for our schools, bringing our community together with a shared vision. It will be locally developed and globally positioned with a shared aspiration that all of our students have an educational experience that prepares them to be lifelong learners and contributors.
We look forward to your participation!
Bigelow Middle School Featured on WBZ!
Today, Bigelow Middle School was featured on the local news station WBZ for its Sown to Grow program. Sown to Grow is a tool used to gauge the social-emotional well-being of students.
A quick daily check-in helps teachers and staff monitor student health and well-being and step in quickly if they see any negative trends. Watch the news story below!
Newton South National Merit Semi-Finalists Named!
This year 7 twelfth grade students were named as semi-finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). These students took the PSAT and met the requirements to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program. From over 1 million program entrants, these students are among the 16,000 highest scoring participants who are recognized as Semi-finalists. The students who are being recognized this year are:
Taban Malihi (not pictured)
Julia Shapiro (not pictured)
Finalists will be announced during the Spring of 2024.
Openings at Newton South Preschool
The Newton South Preschool program has openings for the 2024-2025 school year. If you are looking for a high quality preschool program or if you know someone who is, please reach out.
Here is our New Parent Packet, which contains information about our program, an application and links to our website and Facebook page.
Full and Part-Time Educators
Become an NPS Substitute!
NPS is in need of substitutes. NPS is in need of substitutes - both classroom teacher and other support roles. The district will provide training to help applicants understand the expectations and feel comfortable in the role. Opportunities to shadow teachers, as well as relevant training, will be provided prior to assignment.
Apply online at: Precision Substitute Services (our substitute staffing agency.) You can also call: Sandra Andrade at 617-245-8575. Your application will require a CORI check, which can be done through NPS in our Human Resources Department.
School Nurses Needed
We need School Nurses! Join the City of Newton Health and Human Services Team as a School Nurse to support the health and well-being of Newton Public School (NPS) students. The City is hiring full-time and part-time Nurses. School Nurses work during the school year, have summers off, and follow the NPS school year calendar. Substitute School Nurses (part-time) work as needed, with a minimum commitment of ten (10) hours per week.
To learn more and to apply, click on the link below or scan the QR code.
4th Annual Pumpkin Smash - November 4th
Saturday, November 4, 1pm-4pm. Rain date: November 5
Newton’s City Hall War Memorial Circle, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.
Pre-registration is encouraged but onsite registration will be available.
What will you do with your pumpkin after Halloween? You could put it in with your yard waste, but how much more fun would it be to “green your Halloween” and smash it? Pumpkins will be flung, tossed and smashed in various ways, including with machines made by the Newton Ligerbots, Newton’s high school robotics team.
This family friendly event takes our orange pumpkins and turns them “green.” All our smashed pumpkins will be composted, thus reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions and creating a valuable amendment for our soils.
Remove any candles or decorations from your pumpkin (paint is okay)
Bring excess candy to be donated
Donate unwanted costumes and maybe find next year’s at our Costume Swap
Share with friends and neighbors: Pumpkin Smash event page on Facebook
Save time: Pre-register for the event (same day registration offered)
It's going to be a smashing good time!
Safety in Newton Streets
A reminder to use lights if you are biking at night!
Community Health Survey
Make your voice heard to help build a healthier Newton by taking a few minutes to fill out the MA Community Health Survey. Survey results will be used to improve programs, make decisions about funding and resources, and support policies to improve health equities. The survey is available in 11 languages, is easy to take, and anonymous.