NPS District News
May 19, 2021
Message from the Superintendent
Dear NPS Families,
There are many reasons to feel optimistic about what is taking place in our schools and this newsletter is filled with important and exciting news. This morning, I had the great pleasure of attending an in-person awards ceremony held under the tent at Newton North. Everyone in attendance was thrilled to be honoring our students who have excelled in the areas of biliteracy, social justice work and civic engagement. We are all looking forward to celebrating many more of our students in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, it also feels like we are returning to more typical activities in our schools. Yesterday, I visited a few Chemistry classes at Newton South where students were conducting their first lab of the year. I can’t tell you how happy the students were to collaborate, hypothesize and engage. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable. I left feeling hopeful about what is in store for our future!
I know there are terrific events and activities happening in all of our schools right now. Please see below for a few examples.
Updated Guidance - Face Coverings
On May 17, Governor Baker and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released updated guidance on face coverings in school settings. After consultation with Newton HHS and members of our Medical Advisory Group, NPS will align its face covering protocol with the new guidance from the state. We understand this guidance to be based upon the CDC recommendations and findings that risk of outdoor transmission is very low. The changes are noted below:
Masks will no longer be required when students are outdoors during the school day on school grounds, even if distance cannot be maintained.
This includes recess, physical education, and outdoor learning environments.
Adults must continue to wear masks outdoors if distancing cannot be maintained.
At this time, adults and students must continue to wear masks indoors.
Guidance was also released with regard to face coverings in youth sports. Following the governor’s announcement, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) released guidance for school sports. NPS will follow the guidance issued by MIAA, which indicates the following (among other details):
Masks will no longer be required for athletes competing outdoors or for athletes competing indoors in sports defined as “low-risk” in which 14 ft. of distance is consistently maintained. Details on the MIAA guidance can be found linked here.
These changes will be in effect beginning Thursday, May 20, 2021.
Vaccination Clinic - May 22nd and 23rd
In response to the FDA issuing emergency authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15-years-old, the Newton Public Schools is happy to announce a vaccination clinic open to students and all those currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The clinic is the result of our partnership with The Holtzman Medical Group and the City’s Health and Human Services staff, and we are deeply grateful for their ongoing support.
Below are the clinic details:
When: Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23 (First Dose)
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Newton North High School (457 Walnut St., Newtonville)
The second dose will be offered at clinics scheduled for Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13. The appointment for the second dose will be scheduled immediately after the first dose.
Important Clinic Information:
Please park in the Lowell Ave. lot and enter via the glass doors facing Lowell Ave. Check-in is in the main lobby and the clinic is in the cafeteria. Here is a map.
Students must be pre-registered and accompanied to the clinic by a parent or legal guardian.
If you would like to volunteer to help out at the clinic, please sign up here.
COVID-19 Student Testing - We Need YOU!
Our testing participation levels are hovering around 40% in all schools. We really need to increase participation to 70-80% for testing to be effective.
We NEED YOUR participation to make this work. The more students who participate, the better data we have on infection rates in our community.
Please note: Testing is now MANDATORY for all high school students participating in in-person athletics or extracurricular activities.
Here’s how to enroll and a few details on the testing:
Complete the opt-in in Aspen (here’s the link!)
High school students then create an account at JCM (do it here!) for access to a QR code they use to check in their sample. (Pre-K - 8th grade students will receive their QR code from school staff.)
Please REMIND your students to turn in their sample when they arrive at school!
Update: K-12 Start/End Times and High School Schedule
On Monday, May 10th, the School Committee voted to approve the new start and end times for K-12 schools for the 2021-22 school year. You can find the new start and end times for all schools on this webpage.
First, at Day Middle School...
Day Middle School has been competing in the annual Middle School Tenacity Challenge, an academic competition for Black and Latinx students, for the past four years. In a typical year, the teams take several months to prepare for the competition. However, because of COVID, this year’s team had only three weeks to prepare for virtual competition!
At the competition this past weekend, the Day team came away with FIRST PLACE in each of the three competition categories (Global Literary Analysis, Leadership and Math) along with a FIRST PLACE overall. Congratulations to this talented team of students on this outstanding accomplishment!
Meanwhile, at Oak Hill Middle School….
Students at Oak Hill and all of our middle schools have been working all year to learn about the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These 17 goals are enormous undertakings for the entire world and the goal is to inform students about them and then have them take action steps, including informing others about the goals. Check out the amazing websites the students at Oak Hill put together here. You may even catch informative videos about these goals on NewTV!
Finally, at Ward Elementary...
In the News: Lincoln-Eliot Elementary
The Newton Tab recently covered the wonderful school-wide One Book, One Community project at Lincoln-Eliot Elementary. All students, in-person and DLA, are reading Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. Read alouds by special guests are a highlight as all students read the book together. On Friday, May 28, L-E will have a celebration of their own wishtree, a very special weeping cherry tree at the front of the school. Student wishes, created in art class, will be displayed on the tree. You can read more about the project at the Tab and on the school site.
Crossing Guard/Van/Bus Driver Appreciation Day!
On Friday, June 11, celebrate Newton's bus/van drivers and crossing guards, who have demonstrated flexibility and resilience as school times and bus routes have changed throughout the year. On June 11, volunteers will organize celebrations with pre-packaged snacks and drinks and Safety Superhero buttons at both the van yard and the bus yard. PTOs will distribute flowers and buttons to the 56 crossing guards spread across the City. To find out how you and your student can say thank you and support this event, visit the Newton Safe Routes website.