March 15, 2023
Interim Superintendent Message
Dear NPS Families,
I write to you today with mixed feelings. First, I am so grateful to Newton voters for supporting the two debt-exclusions that will result in modern school buildings for our Countryside and Franklin communities. Modern school buildings allow us to deliver the supports and services that students of today need and deserve. These projects can now move forward with confidence and we look forward to their successful completion over the next few years.
I am deeply disappointed not to have funding available from the operational override for our operating budget and for our Horace Mann building project. Funding for both the budget and the building are critical to supporting students and staff in our district, especially as we continue our recovery from the pandemic.
However, we respect the will of the voters and will work within the parameters that have been laid before us. Our strategy is to do everything possible to limit the impact on students in our classrooms, while fulfilling our obligation to prepare a balanced budget.
As we have shared with you all along, we do expect an approximately $6 million shortfall in our FY24 budget, given the current proposed allocation from the City. The magnitude of this shortfall will impact all aspects of district operations. We have been working to plan for this possibility over the past few months and are developing options for our path forward.
We will be working closely with the mayor and her team to ensure the needs of our district are clear and to determine if there are alternative funding sources. In addition, we will advocate at the state level for additional resources to mitigate increased costs.
While the outcome was not what we had hoped, I am so thankful for the opportunity to have met so many of you at PTO meetings, community forums, and school events over the past few months. I learned so much about both the successes of this district and the challenges that you face every day. Thank you to all who came to the meetings and asked questions - the easy and the tough! I appreciated them all. A special thank you to the PTOs, our school staff, and the mayor’s office, for organizing so many great events.
As a community, your commitment to this generation of students is clear. I look forward to ensuring that this commitment is reflected in the budget as we move through the process this year.
Past Event: Legislative Breakfast
On Friday, March 3, 2023, Mayor Fuller hosted the Tri-County Superintendents of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. Superintendents and legislators were invited to learn more about the proposed impact of a 14 percent increase local districts must pay for private special education tuitions. This increase far exceeds the average 2 percent annual increase for the past 10 years. While some increase is warranted, an increase of this magnitude in one year is straining local budgets. Solutions proposed include providing one-time funding and increasing circuit breaker reimbursment.
We were pleased to have the new superintendent, Dr. Anna Nolin, speaking at the event, as well as interim superintendent Dr. Kathleen Smith, as well as other superintendents across the Tri-County area.
A special thank you to Bowen Elementary 3rd graders for providing the beautiful decorations for the event and to the 7th and 8th grade Day Middle School chorus for providing a beautiful welcoming song to start the event!
METCO Advocacy Day - March 21, 2023
Newton Public Schools is a founding member of the METCO program, a program that provides Boston students with the opportunity to attend schools in surrounding communities. METCO is fully funded in the state budget and every year, advocates visit the state house to make sure the program continues.
This year, METCO leaders, School Committee members, families, and many others who have been impacted by METCO will visit Beacon Hill on Tuesday, March 21 to tell their story. Find out more here: METCO Advocacy Day
A Cappella April! - Saturday, April 1, 2023
A Cappella April! is coming to Newton South High School on Saturday, April 1. This one-night only, all-ages event features R & B/Soul/Pop a cappella group Ball in the House, with special performances by Newton student groups: Bigelow Beats, Brown Middle School A Cappella, The Northern Lights, and The Melocotones.
Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students. Seating is reserved. Tickets available through Seat Yourself: https://newtonps.seatyourself.biz
Proceeds from this event will be used for future Creative Arts & Sciences programming.
RSVP for GELF Fundraiser - Saturday, April 29, 2023
The Jen Price Global Education Fund is returning to its signature fundraising event this spring. A wonderful evening filled with friendship and fun to raise money for students to participate in international programs abroad. Details and important links are below:
Visit the GELF webpage to lear more about the program.
Kindergarten for 2023-24
Kindergarten registration is now OPEN!
Please visit our Kindergarten Registration page for a link to our online registration portal, as well as background information.
“NPS GREEN SCENE” — SCHOOL SUSTAINABILITY
Green Newton School Connections (GNSC) continues to be hard at work, meeting every month on the second Thursday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. All are welcome and you can reach them for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most meetings happen on ZOOM with an occasional in-person session.
Earth Day is right around the corner on the weekend of April 22-23 and both the City of Newton and many schools have events planned. GNSC's parent organization, Green Newton, will host an Earth Day Festival at Newton City Hall with live music, themed green activities and much more.
To inspire everyone to take action for our Earth, take a look at this wonderful short video from a Newton resident:
Whitsons Culinary Group has planned multiple fun food events for students to enjoy across all levels in March.
Meatless Mondays will be featured across all schools in March. The middle schools made these fantastic and colorful Fiesta Rice and Bean Bowls this past Monday (see pic below!).
For St. Patrick's Day on March 17, the middle schools will enjoy Shepherd's Pie, corned beef sandwiches, and shamrock pudding. The high schools will enjoy Shepherd's Pie muffins, corned beef sandwiches, and rainbow salad bar.
Based upon the strong success of the Nashville Kickin' Chicken Event at Brown Middle School in February - which earned rave reviews from the students - events are also scheduled at Bigelow (3/15 - weather permitting), Day (3/24), and Oak Hill (3/30).
The elementary schools will have fun activity sheets during the week of 3/20 for Fuel the Future Week and watermelon and celery seltzer on National Water Day on Tuesday, 3/21.
NCE Summer Camp - Registration is Open
Registration is now open for Newton Community Education summer camps. Sample camps include: Lego® to Lacrosse, Parkour to Pokémon, Minecraft to Music Video Production, Soccer to Scratch, Animation to Amazing Race, and SO MUCH MORE! They will also offer the popular 5-week theater camp once again.
All camps are held at Newton North High School, Newton South High School, or online. There are half-day and full-day camps for every student entering grades K-12.
Visit the NCE website for the most updated descriptions, locations, and pricing.
Newton S.P.A.C.E Summer Program
Newton S.P.A.C.E. (Summer Program for Academic and Creative Endeavors) is a four-week summer enrichment program run by the Newton Public Schools from July 5th through July 28th. Students entering kindergarten through 9th grade in the Fall of 2023 are eligible to attend.
We offer two programs - an upper camp (entering grade 5-entering grade 9) and a lower camp (entering kindergarten-entering grade 4).
Visit the S.P.A.C.E.website for more information or REGISTER NOW!
Angier's Pride club (People Respecting Individuality Diversity and Equality) meets monthly, and they have been having a lot of fun together this school year. For the activity in this picture, each student in Angier's PRIDE club colored a square and then put them together to make this awesome PRIDE flag. Students were invited to sign the edges of the flag after it was done, capturing their pronouns as well if they wanted to share. It is now in the Angier lobby for everyone to see, reminding all students, faculty, and visiting families to "Be Proud, Be You!".
This month Bowen educators explored books at Frugal Bookstore. As a learning community, they are committed to ensuring diverse representation in the books our students experience at school, including during read-alouds, book groups, and independent reading. As a staff, they know the importance of students seeing themselves in books, learning about others, and beginning to examine whose story is being represented in a book and who is telling the story.
Check out Frugal Bookstore yourself either online or in person, 57 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119.
Franklin Elementary students affinity group F.A.M.E. (Franklin Affinity Mentoring and Enrichment) decorated their school to showcase Martin Luther King, Jr. day.
To create the Freedom Hands mural pictured below, students choose the paint color of their hand. The difference in color of each handprint symbolizes Franklin's diverse student population.
In February, the Zervas 5th Grade Student Council organized an all-school book swap for our students! Between February 9 and February 15, students were invited to bring in gently used children's books. This morning, all students were able to select a “new-to-them” book to take home. And we ended the day with an all school DEAR (drop everything and read) time.
Day Middle School
Direct from the Day Middle School Twitter: Special thanks to Dr.Turner, NNHS Principal, for visiting with Day 8th grade parents this week. Great discussion of the many opportunities at North next year as the transition process begins!
Oak Hill Middle School
Shout out to library teacher Jean Stehle at Oak Hill! Next week, she will be co-presenting a workshop at the MSLA conference (Mass. School Librarian Assoc.) with WGBH/PBS' Sue Wilkins (and former NPS teacher!). The presentation will introduce the new PBS Learning Media US History Collection to middle school and high school library teachers.
The workshop will demonstrate how this resource can enhance the middle and high school Social Studies curriculum and teaching. Additionally, the collection creates new opportunities for marginalized voices from our nation's past to earn the spotlight deserved.