May 11, 2022
Dear NPS Families,
As a district, we strive to build inclusive communities and ensure that all families and students feel welcomed and included in our schools. This work takes many forms, including training, education, outreach, and engagement. It often requires us to shift our practices as the needs of our students evolve and we learn more about the most effective ways to include and engage families.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been a part of two meetings that highlight this important work. The first meeting was on May 2 when our Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted a forum on Supporting and Affirming Transgender and Gender Expansive Students. The rich discussion featured a panel of LGBTQ+ members of our community, including an elementary student. It was invaluable in helping us better understand the experiences of our gender and gender expansive student community and to learn more about the ways that we can support the dignity, safety and inclusion of all of our students. I was especially pleased that the large number of attendees included NPS faculty, staff and administrators, as well as family members. It was heartwarming to hear a transgender NPS graduate from fifteen years ago share how our district is now far more adept at supporting transgender students than when they were in school.
The second meeting was Monday night’s School Committee meeting at which our ELL team highlighted new strategies they are using to include and engage students and families for whom English is a second language. This includes students who enter our schools with limited or interrupted formal education. Our terrific ELL social worker is using new culturally responsive strategies to reach families who do not have experience engaging with their child’s school. In addition, our ELL team has been piloting new communication tools to ensure that all families can participate in their student’s education.
I am confident that the innovative and creative NPS team will continue to make important adjustments to meet the needs of our ever changing student and family population. It has been a true honor and pleasure to see the progress that has been made in recent years and I feel confident that it will continue in real and meaningful ways in the future.
COVID Infection Levels and Mask Recommendation
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, Middlesex County, along with most of Massachusetts, is now in the “high” community level for COVID-19. You can access current Newton-specific COVID data on the Newton HHS website:
Given the increase in cases in our community, the Newton Public Schools STRONGLY recommends students and staff wear a mask. A well-fitting mask is very effective in reducing the transmission of COVID.
For reference, when a community level is “high,” the CDC recommends the following:
Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings).
Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible.
If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.
Newton Public Schools will continue to notify families of COVID cases using our regular frequency of notification (based upon grade levels.) Families should use this data to assess their own level of risk based upon their family’s circumstances.
All positive COVID tests results should be reported using this form: Form - Positive Result from At-Home Rapid Antigen Test.
NPS recently updated the Health and Safety Plan for COVID protocols in all school buildings. Here is the link to the full document: Health and Safety Plan - Updated April 2022
Isolation and Quarantine Reminders
If you test positive for COVID, you must isolate for a minimum of 5 days after symptom onset (or a positive test if asymptomatic). Return to school is based on time and symptom resolution. Individuals must wear a well-fitting mask on days 6-10 at all times following a COVID infection, unless eating, drinking, or outside.
The CDC and MA DPH state that individuals exposed to a positive COVID case should mask for 10 days following exposure, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS. A rapid antigen or PCR test on Day 5 is recommended.
Jewish American Heritage Month
The Jewish population of the U.S. is the product of waves of immigration primarily from diaspora communities in Europe; initially inspired by the pull of American social and entrepreneurial opportunities, and later a refuge from the peril of ongoing antisemitism in Europe. To honor the Jewish communities' continued achievements, May was declared Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006. The Jewish community has contributed to America in many ways, from contributing important scientific discoveries to raising the flag for the abused and marginalized.
Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
AAPI communities are made up of fifty ethnic groups, speaking over 100 languages that are connected to Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander ancestries. May was officially designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in 1992. The month of May was chosen because it commemorates the migration of the first immigrants from Japan to the United States on May 7, 1843 and to celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railroad by over 20,0000 Asian immigrants on May 10, 1869.
Newton North Jewish X AAPI Leadership Project
Rachel Kimball & Yurika Tarui, NNHS seniors and members of the Leadership Class, created an intersectional website on Jewish and AAPI identities for their Leadership project.
Their goal was to amplify Jewish and AAPI voices at North and raise awareness about the model minority myth, scapegoating, antisemitism, and AAPI hate. Through exploring the two communities’ intersecting histories, they hope to highlight the importance of coalition-building in social justice movements. The website contains classroom resources for lessons on Jewish and AAPI identity, including the histories of both communities, notable figures, books/movies, and more.
In honor of both Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, please consider exploring their website: https://sites.google.com/view/jewish-aapi-alliance
SEPAC Award Nominations - Due May 17th!
The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is pleased to announce that the annual SEPAC Awards nominations will be open from May 2 through Tuesday, May 17. Nominees will be notified virtually again this year, and here is how the process works:
Families will submit nominations using the Google Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/7c1drqBiKXdGmyJMA
Each nominee will receive the text of the nomination in an email
The email to each nominee also will include messages of thanks from Mayor Fuller, Superintendent Fleishman, the School Committee, and the SEPAC Board
Each nominee will receive a printed award and a small gift that will be dropped off at their school or location in early June
We will send each Principal a list of the nominees from their schools
For those new to Newton SEPAC, the annual SEPAC Awards are a way to honor Newton Public Schools (NPS) and Out of District (ODD) staff who have gone the extra mile to support our special education students. Nominees span a wide range of staff, including teachers, aides, BTs, therapists, bus drivers, crossing guards, administrators, other support staff, etc. All nominees receive an award. The SEPAC Awards were held in person pre-pandemic, and will be virtual again in 2022. Please contact the SEPAC Board with any questions at: email@example.com
Bus registration for the 2022-23 school year will open the week of May 23rd. Please watch your email for instructions on how to register your student(s) for the bus. NPS strongly recommends that you complete your registration prior to the end of this school year. As always, please visit the NPS Transportation website for more information.
The Newton Public Schools Food Services website has been revised for easier use and with updated information. Please check out the new format and to learn about upcoming changes for the 2022/23 school year.
The current free meal service program that has been operating the past two years is ending on 6/30/22, which will require a return to paid meals for those students not eligible for free or reduced-price meals. In addition, all meals will need to be served only in the cafeteria and students will need to have their meal counted or to pay for their meal or a la carte items.
Recommendations for paid-meal pricing will be shared with the School Committee as part of their 5/23/22 agenda.
Newton Community Education (NCE) Summer Theater
Join the ensemble of Annie Jr., and get ready for a summer full of music, dance, acting, and even breaks for swim time! Together we’ll build sets, play theater games, learn choreography, and sing our hearts out.
We have added a few more spots to our summer theater camp and we hope to see you onstage! This 5-week program begins June 27th and students entering grades 3-9 are eligible to register. Click here to register today!
Want to see all the summer programs for kids of all ages? Check out our summer at-a-glance to find the camp that’s perfect for you.
SPACE Camp for Summer 2022!
S.P.A.C.E. Camp is a four-week summer enrichment program run by the Newton Public Schools from July 5th through 28th. Students entering kindergarten through 9th grade in the Fall of 2022 are eligible to attend. We offer two programs - an upper camp (entering grade 5-entering grade 9 in the Fall of 2022) and a lower camp (entering kindergarten-entering grade 4).
School Calendar for the 2022-23 School Year
School Committee Update
At its meeting on Monday, May 9, 2022, the School Committee provided an update on the search for a new superintendent of the Newton Public Schools. The process and timeline for selecting an interim superintendent for the 22-23 school year and a permanent superintendent for the 23-24 school year can be found on this page:
The next School Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 23, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. To join the meeting virtual, follow this link:
Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/390017072
Call-in information: 1-646-558-8656
Call-in meeting ID: 390 017 072
The meeting agenda and meeting materials can be found on this page (once posted): School Committee Meeting Materials for the 2021-22 School Year.
Newton South Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble
Congratulations to both the Newton South Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble on their performances at the MICCA Festival in April. The Symphonic Band received a Silver Medal rating and the Wind Ensemble received a Gold Medal rating. The groups then were honored to participate in the Gold Medal Showcase at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.
Lion’s Roar Newspaper Receives Journalism Awards
In March, South newspaper, The Lion's Roar, virtually attended Suffolk University's High School Journalism Awards Night. The students received honorable mention for excellence in sports writing, first place for excellence in news writing, and the general excellence award for print newspapers. This is the third year in a row that The Roar has won the general excellence award.
Newton North Multicultural Night
Newton North High School families shared their rich heritage on Wednesday, April 27, at the 4th NNHS Multicultural Night. It was a wonderful night of fabulous music, small group performances, delicious food, colorful outfits and beautiful displays for all to learn about our diverse community and sample an array of dishes. Students, families and teachers gathered for the largest turnout yet - a tradition worth continuing
Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund
On Tuesday, May 10, GELF (the Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund) committee organized an event at the house of Dae Hong and Maria Kim, celebrating the reemergence of the NPS Global Travel Programs as well as the establishment of GELF as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
GELF provides scholarships for students on international travel programs on a need basis, and it organizes a fundraising campaign every year. Since its inception in 2008, GELF has awarded 245 students who have traveled to 20 countries.
High school principals Tamara Stras and Henry Turner introduced the possible international trips in the upcoming school year. North and South High School World Language Department Chairs, Nancy Marrinucci and Suzanne Murphy Ferguson, shared the GELF history, passion and Jen Price’s vision of “Travel Equity - Affordability and Accessibility.” GELF recipients and Newton North alumni, Lucy Aiken and Taylah Robinson, shared how the exchange program has impacted their lives.
If you are interested in learning more about GELF, please reach out to Star Lew: firstname.lastname@example.org For donations by credit card, PayPal:
In April, all students at Angier participated in their first Reading Rally! Learning all year that readers build skills and strength much like athletes do when they train, the Angier community dressed up as athletes. Donning their favorite sport team attire or athletic gear, students were ready to go, starting with a few read alouds that would inspire hard work, determination, and stamina. The day encouraged friendly competition through whole class reading challenges such as reading a variety of genres, listening to read alouds, enjoying partner reading, hearing book recommendations from classmates, and enjoying reading by the beach, fire, or in the woods!
Community Forum: Mental Health: Supporting Our Community
Community Forum: Mental Health: Supporting Our Community
When: Wednesday May 25, 2022
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Newton North High School
Register: Registration Link
Join the City of Newton Health & Human Services Department, Riverside Community Care, Samaritans Inc., Families for Depression Awareness, and The Resilience Project at Newton-Wellesley Hospital to learn about mental health and mental illness, how to respond and support family, friends, and neighbors experiencing a mental health crisis, and connect directly with local mental health agencies.