A Note to the Underwood Community

Dear Underwood Community,

The Underwood PTO would like to acknowledge the sadness, anger, and fear many may feel after watching the injustice surrounding the death of Mr. Floyd and the subsequent unrest throughout our country.

Our school expectations are to take care of ourselves, others, and the environment. Part of “taking care” is recognizing and speaking up when we, others, and the environment are being treated unjustly. Many of our students have been learning about being an upstander – about recognizing when something is wrong, and acting to make it right.  Below are a few resources to help Underwood families as they think about how to be upstanders in this time.  

FORJ City-Wide Meeting: Symptoms of COVID-19 and Racism in our Community
All members of the Underwood community are invited to join Newton Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) at their city-wide meeting on June 10th. 

  • Date/Time: Wednesday June 10th @ 7:30-8:30 PM
  • RSVP: Zoom password required please RSVP HERE
  • FORJ Website:Visit the FORJ website to sign up for our newsletter and receive more information about this and other upcoming meetings. Email FORJatUnderwood@gmail.com if you are interested in joining Underwood’s chapter of FORJ.

Additional Resources about Racism
Below is an abbreviated list of additional resources for talking about racism with your children:

  • Embrace Race: This website includes webinars, articles, and toolkits designed to help parents and children be brave about race.
  • Books for Littles: Engaging children’s picture books to discuss hard topics. There are links to additional resources and toolkits written specifically for families with school-aged children.
  • Dottir Press Books: A selection of books to support families as they speak about racism are free until June 19th.  
  • FORJ Resources: A collection of relevant books, articles, and information.
  • Wee The People Boston: A great resource for activities and workshops in the Boston area. 

Letters from Community Leaders

We look forward to when we can all be together again. This fall we plan to hold our Cultural Fair again, where we celebrate the wonderful diversity of our school community. In the meantime, the Underwood Community Cookbook was launched last month as a way to virtually celebrate Underwood’s diversity.

We hope these resources and links provide you and your families with information to empower hope and change. For more information please reach out to Underwood FORJ Committee. 

Best regards,
The Underwood FORJ Committee and PTO

Reading & Writing Tips

Join Mrs. Stacey Mann, Underwood's Literacy Specialist, to hear her top three tips for parents on how to keep students motivated in reading and writing. Please email her at faneuils@newton.k12.ma.us if you have any questions.

Nurse Carrie’s Home Health Room Videos

Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others

Hello Underwood parents/guardians,

This letter is from Deb Youngblood, the Newton Health Commissioner. It is a list of mental health and substance abuse resources for families.

Have a safe, healthy and peaceful week. ~Nurse Carrie

Video #6 - Appreciation and Activities

In this week’s Tabletop Video (#6) Nurse Carrie talks about “appreciation” during Teacher and Nurse Appreciation week and the puppets share activities they enjoy to give students new creative ideas. It ends with a unique (rough around the edges) thank you to teachers and a tribute to moms.

On another note, I want to say how much I love making these videos and am so thrilled when I hear that the kids and families enjoy them. As much as I would love to continue to create weekly Tabletop Videos, I will need to take a pause in order to attend to other remote school nurse responsibilities. I plan to make a couple of more videos before the school year ends and will send an email notification as soon as the next one is complete.

In the meantime, please encourage your kids to write and mail letters to any or all of the puppets and they will write back and include a coloring page.

Address is Nurse Carrie Gately, 316 Franklin St. Newton, MA 02458.

May 4, 2020 - Nurse Call Hours

Hello to My Wonderful Underwood Families.

The Health and Human Services Dept is sending this letter to let you know that I will have "call hours" from 9-12 Tuesdays and Fridays. Please read the letter for details but know that I am available beyond those hours to give you a call back if you request it - we will work out a time that is convenient for you.

Thanks so much and I look forward to talking with you.

~Nurse Carrie

Video #5 with Peggy Pig

Join Nurse Carrie and Peggy Pig this week. In today's Tabletop Video, Nurse Carrie teaches first aid when Peggy Pig hurts her arm; Peety learns about X-Ray technology, and at the end I suggest students write to my puppets and they will write back.

As I mention in the video, students can mail a letter to any of the puppet friends to:
Nurse Carrie Gately, 316 Franklin St., Newton, MA 02458

The puppets will write them back :). After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about.

Video #4 with Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, Peggy Pig and Eddie Eagle 

Join Nurse Carrie, Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, Peggy Pig, and Eddie Eagle this week. In this episode, Nurse Carrie talks about their unique traits and shares something unique about being human. The video ends with a few great jokes with Nurse Carrie's puppet helpers!

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, Peggy Pig, and Eddie Eagle this week :).

Video #3 with Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog and Peggy Pig - Learn about Cavities

Join Nurse Carrie, Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog and Peggy Pig this week. In this episode, Nurse Carrie will give us a white board lesson on cavities and you and your student can take a fun quiz with Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog and Peggy Pig. The video ends with a catchy song performed by Nurse Carrie's puppet helpers!

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup, Harriet Hedgehog, and Peggy Pig this week :). 

Video #2 with Peety Pup and Harriet Hedgehog

Join Nurse Carrie and Peety Pup this week and find out how to help Harriet Hedgehog who is upset. In this week's episode, you and your student will learn about the feeling "worry" and will be able to answer the following questions: 

  1. When we are worried or upset about something, we often feel sick in what part of our body?
  2. What is one way to help our body and brain relax?
  3. Is it okay and normal to feel worried?

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup and Harriet Hedgehog this week :). 

Video #1: Nurse Carrie takes care of Peety Pup

Announcing Nurse Carrie's Home Health Room Videos. To stay connected, Nurse Carrie will make a video every Friday and send it to you. The videos will also be updated on this website and posted on Facebook. Each video will take place on Nurse Carrie's tabletop Home Health Room. She will teach a mini health lesson while taking care of a student puppet.

Video #1: Nurse Carrie takes care of Peety Pup. Join Nurse Carrie this week as she takes care of the student puppet "Peety Pup". Through this skit, Nurse Carrie and Peety Pup will answer the following questions:

  1. What number on the thermometer means that you have a fever?
  2. Why do kids sometimes get fevers?
  3. How can you help your body when you have a fever?

After you watch the video, feel free to email Nurse Carrie and tell her what you liked about it. Please send any ideas for other health topics you would like to learn about. We hope you enjoy learning from Peety Pup :). 

HELLO FROM NURSE CARRIE - March 20th

Dear Underwood Families,

Usually I like to say “Greetings from the Underwood Health Room!” but now I will say, “Greetings from my house to yours!”

I hope you are all staying healthy and finding ways to keep busy and productive as you navigate a “new normal.”  As we all know, kids will feel okay if they feel their caregivers are okay so it is important to be positive and reassure them that things will get back to normal eventually.

Please tell your kids that Nurse Carrie says, “Hi… I miss you all!”  Tell them that I want them to wash their hands (using soap and water and scrubbing for 20 seconds) every time they come in from being outside the house and every time they eat or use the bathroom😊.  Tell them I suggest they play cards and board games, to draw, build a tent with blankets and furniture, create something out of an old box, make sock puppets, and go outside for a walk (but stay 6 feet apart from people outside their family). And of course, read:)

I want to emphasize that it is important to take social distancing seriously to stop the spread of this virus.  The public health doctors are very clear that every single small social contact helps perpetuate this virus exponentially and every single small avoided social contact helps stymie it exponentially.

This article by Asaf Bitton, a doctor and public health expert, explains it very well: 

Also if you go to the Newton Health and Human Services website, they have an amazing Covid- 19 FAQ section at the bottom of the home page which they update frequently: 

If students want to contact me by email please tell them to write and I will write them back. I will be checking my email every day: gatelyca@newton.k12.ma.us.

Parents, feel free to reach out by email with any questions or concerns. You can tell me a time that is convenient to call you and I will call you back.

Thank you for all you are doing to care for your kids and for each other. We are all in this together and need to stay upbeat, kind, patient, and united.

Love,

Nurse Carrie



Teacher Appreciation Week

The Underwood teachers and staff have been working extremely hard in this transition to distance learning. If time allows, please consider one of the following ways to show your appreciation:

  1. Zoom Meeting: Have your student draw a picture or write a short note to their teacher(s) and hold it up during their whole class Zoom meeting next week.
  2. Email (from you and/or your student): Snap a photo of your student holding a drawing or letter by your student and email it to your teacher(s) with a note of appreciation from you or your student.
  3. NPS Social Media: Please join us to say thank you to all NPS teachers by submitting a thank you card, photo or video. Use this form to submit your creation and look for it on our social media channels next week!
    https://forms.gle/65Wao2kNJHcShX6F7
  4. Newton Schools Foundation Honor Thy Teacher: Over these past weeks, many parents have developed a deep appreciation for the job that our teachers do each day. If you are looking for a way to express that appreciation during Teacher Appreciation Week or after, here is a way to say thank you.
    • By donating to Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher program in the name of one or more of your children’s teachers, you can show your appreciation for them AND support your children’s schools. NSF will notify each teacher honored of your gift and share their names with Principals and the Superintendent. A list of honored teachers will appear on the NSF website and in the Newton TAB.
    • Your tax-deductible donation will go towards funding NSF grants for promising educational initiatives, professional development, and programs that close gaps in opportunity and achievement. In furtherance of those goals, in recent weeks NSF directed its resources toward the challenges of COVID-19 with a $85,500 grant for the Newton Public Schools to purchase 300 Chromebooks for students needing access to online learning during school closures.
    • It’s easy to donate online (http://www.newtonschoolsfoundation.org/honor-thy-teacher), or you can mail your donation to Newton Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 590020, Newton Centre, MA 02459. Please be sure to include the names of the teachers and/or staff that you are honoring.
    • To find out more about the programs NSF funds, visit our website at (http://www.newtonschoolsfoundation.org/programs-we-fund).

UWD COVID-19 Gift Card Drive

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the generous donations of gift cards to grocery stores (Shaws, Stop and Shop) from so many Underwood families. There is a tremendous need for them and your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated.

If you are considering donating grocery store gift cards for our families with food insecurity, we ask that you send e-gifts or mail physical gift cards in increments of $20, $25 or $50. For example, if you are looking to donate $100 please break that in to 2 - $50 gift cards or 4 - $25.00 gift cards.

Please know that all donations both large and small make a big difference!

As a reminder you can email your donation as an e-gift to Nurse Carrie at gatelyca@newton.k12.ma.us or send them via UPS to:

Underwood Gift Card Drive
Attn: Carrie Gately
316 Franklin St.
Newton, MA 02458

Underwood PTO Events

All PTO Events are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact the Underwood PTO at underwoodpto@gmail.com.

No School
 Apr 10th – Good Friday
 Apr 20th – Patriot’s Day
 
 Virtual
 Apr 28th – PTO Meeting
 

 Cancelled
 Mar 11th - PTO Meeting
 Mar 13th - 5th Grade B-ball Game
 Mar 18th - Bertucci's Dining for Dollars
 Mar 18th - 5th Grade Yogurt Beach Fundraiser
 Apr 3rd - Bertucci's Pizza Making Night
 Apr 8th - Cultural Fair Poster Making Session
 Apr 14th - Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
 Apr 26th and 29th - Newton Serves
 May 29th - Underwood Carnival
 Jun 5th - Movie Night
 Jun 16th - Color Day

 Rescheduled to Fall 2020
 Apr 15th - Cultural Fair
 May 6th - Fun Run

Principal Updates

May 31, 2020

May 29, 2020

Ms. Harold says hello and announces the May Birthdays.

May 28, 2020

May 27, 2020

May 18, 2020

May 15, 2020

Dear Underwood Community,

Please see the video below to see whooo's cooking. Please add to our community cookbook and share your favorite recipe.  

Have a great weekend.

Elaine

May 9, 2020

Play the Staff Hat Game below.

May 4, 2020

April 30, 2020

Underwood's report can be accessed here: http://reportcards.doe.mass.edu/2019/02070115.

April 27, 2020

Dear Underwood Families,

I recognize that the Governor’s announcement about schools in Massachusetts being closed for the rest of the year was perhaps expected news and unsettling at the same time. I know that the news left me feeling a sense of loss for our spring together. I am still committed to finding opportunities to foster community and ensure that we are working together to support one another and our children. I imagine that you and your children may have had similar reactions, and we will work together to continue to provide meaningful connections to our school.

While I do not have specifics as to what virtual schooling will look like beyond the May 4th plan, we will continue to update you as new information develops. At this time, there are more questions than answers, but together we will continue to educate, comfort, and support our students, families, and each other. I know that many of our 5th-grade students and families are concerned about not being able to have the typical Moving On ceremonies and celebrations, but over the next few weeks, we will be working with our parents and 5th Grade teachers to develop a virtual celebratory closure for Grade 5 students and families.

We all have more questions than answers at this time but together we will continue to do what we do best which is to educate, comfort, and support our students, families, and each other. As a staff, we are discussing ways to keep students engaged in their remote learning and to feel connected to us for the rest of the year.

Please know, you are not required to fill out the Placement Form that was sent to you. The teachers know your children well; trust them to thoughtfully place your child in next year’s class. Although a child may want to be with a best friend, that best friend may not be the best working partner for your child. Feel free to comment on any information you feel the school may not know that would be helpful for the placement process. Remember you are not allowed to request a specific teacher.

Stay Well and Take Care,

Elaine

Elaine Harold, Principal 101 Vernon Street Newton, MA 02458 Phone (617) 559-9660 Fax (617) 552-5552

April 13, 2020

April 6, 2020

March 29, 2020

March 25, 2020 

Video Update to Students from Mrs. Harold.

 

March 13, 2020

Dear Underwood Families,

You should have received a message from David Fleishman with updates about our school closure. I’ve pasted the text of his letter below for your reference. Thank you all for your messages of support and for reaching out with questions over the past 24 hours.

The NPS Office of Teaching and Learning is assembling a collection of materials to provide enrichment and connectedness opportunities for your children during this unprecedented time of school closing. The materials will provide educational opportunities and activities at grade level for your children while school is closed. They are not intended to replace classroom instruction, or to substitute for instruction in any way. Rather, they are supplemental - curated grade-level activities that are interesting and fun and encourage students to explore new topics on their own.

As David mentioned, parent/teacher conferences and other meetings and school activities have been postponed. We’ll likely revise our schedule for report cards and progress reports once we resume normal school functioning. I look forward to rescheduling other key events that we had to postpone this week and next.

For those of you with questions about how to talk with your children about COVID-19, I wanted to point you to two helpful resources. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has put together some guidance that can be found here. Riverside Trauma Center also has useful suggestions here.

During these challenging and uncertain times, we are aware that families may need food resources. Below are some local Newton and Boston resources for food:

If you are on Facebook, there is a group called Newton Neighbors Helping Newton Neighbors, which matches residents needing help with volunteers who are willing and able to help. This group has created an intake form to service our community as we navigate disruptions caused by COVID-19. Below are some local resources for food. A referral form is required.

  • Centre Street Food Pantry
  • 11 Homer Street, Newton Center
  • www.centrestfoodpantry.org
  • 617.340.9554
  • Newton Food Pantry
  • 1000 Commonwealth Avenue (City Hall)
  • www.newtonfoodpantry.org
  • 617.796-1233
  • Arabic Food Pantry
  • 187 Church Street, Newton Corner
  • www.arabicbaptist.org
  • 617.723.9766
  • Project Bread (1-800-645-8333) will be able to support families in need, especially if you are unable to go to work.

Please take care of yourself and your family. I will be in touch with further information.

Elaine Harold

Interim Principal

NPS Learning From Home

March 18, 2020

Dear NPS Families,

Thank you for your patience as we have worked with our NPS administrators and faculty to determine the best way to provide learning opportunities to our students during this extended school closure

As many of you have quickly learned over the past few days, it is not possible to truly replicate the traditional PreK-12 school day at home. School is a place where learning is engaging, creative, and differentiated. It is a place where students receive academic, as well as social and emotional supports. And so, while we cannot re-create the school day at home, we can provide you with resources that will provide continuity of learning for our students during this uncertain time

NPS Learning from Home

Below you will find links to resource pages our teachers and staff have compiled for families. The resources are divided by level (PreK-5, Middle, High) and many are further divided into “Review and Practice,” “Games and Activities,” and “Extend Your Thinking.” You can access the resources through the district COVID-19 resource website

Over the next three weeks, teachers will be reaching out through weekly communication to their classes with specific recommendations for learning activities that students and families complete each week. These activities are grade appropriate and can be completed by students independently or with support from their family.  Special education staff, English language learning teachers, and counselors and other staff are also available to communicate with students and families.

Access to Internet and Technology

We are committed to helping families that may need access to devices at home in order to engage in online learning opportunities. If you do not have a web-capable device at home other than a cell phone (such as an iPad, Chromebook, PC, or Mac) please complete this request form (https://forms.gle/K3SgotNY38V1ncNe9) Our technology support team will be in touch with you to discuss next steps.

FAQs and Next Steps

We are aware of the stress that the closure of school has created for families and the need to provide structure and learning opportunities for students while school is closed. These resources, as well as additional supports found on our website, will help you navigate this difficult time. In addition, we have developed a Frequently Asked Questions document to answer questions you might have.

Please understand that what we have outlined is only in effect until April 3rd. Should schools be closed for a longer period, we will adjust our plan as necessary. Thank you again for your understanding as we transition to this new learning environment during the next few weeks.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools

Learning Ideas and Resources

Many families have reached out with questions regarding learning resources.

MATH
SCIENCE

 

Mystery Science

National Geographic Kids

San Francisco Exploratorium: Make sense of COVID-19 at home with your child.

Cincinnati Zoo: Home Safari Facebook Live weekdays at 3pm. They will highlight one of their amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home.

Science Projects: Review the Scientific Method with your student, select a science experiment together, perform the experiment, and present the experiment results on paper or in a Google Slide presentation. Share the project with your teacher!

SOCIAL STUDIES

 

Cultural Fair Project: Whether or not we hold the Underwood Cultural Fair, students can still pick a project, conduct the research (online), develop the presentation (on paper or Google Slides), and share with family, friends, and teachers virtually!

Brain Pop

PebbleGo

iCivics

Smithsonian Learning Lab: Discover, create, remix, and share first-rate museum artifacts

READING

Read for at least 30 minutes a day

Newton Free Library: Audiobooks and eBooks

Start a virtual book club with a friend via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype

Audible: Kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages for free.

Story Online

What do we do all day?

WRITING

 

Poetry for Kids and Poetry Prompts and Creative Writing Prompts

Jarrett Lerner: Frequent activity sheets to spark creativity, like "Finish this comic strip"

Journal: We are living history right now. Have your student start a daily journal that records facts, feelings, daily routines, anything interesting to them.

Research and Write: Allow your student to pick a topic they are interested in, research (in books at home / on the internet), and then write about it (on paper / Google Docs).

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

 

Down Dog Yoga App: Free access to yoga online

West Suburban YMCA: At-home workouts will be posted periodically.

GoNoodle

Turn on the music and move!

ART

  

Cardboard Box Creations: Some ideas for extra cardboard boxes or let your child use their imagination. 

Art Project Ideas for Elementary School Kids

Nature Inspired Art

Silly Drawing Prompts

MUSIC

 

Daria Music: Music Activities and Crafts

Cincinnati Music Hall Tour: Walk in this virtual tour and learn about the instrument sections.

New York Philharmonic: Great graphics and fun games.

London Symphony Orchestra: Experience the orchestra from multiple points of view.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Listen and learn.

Fun

COVID-19 Update: School Closing

Helpful Resources + Information

Newton Public Schools: District Updates, NPS Learning from Home, Food Resources, Students Services & Special Education, Technology, Talking to Kids about COVID-19, Transportation

City of Newton: Updates and alerts

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

March 22, 2020

Dear NPS Community,

I hope you are staying healthy and well. I am writing to give you an update on what you can expect from the Newton Public Schools in both the short and longer-term.  

First, I would like to begin by saying that all of us here in the Newton Public Schools understand how worried you are about the impact this out of school time will have on your children from both an academic and social emotional perspective. Our educators share that concern and are working very hard to identify the best ways to keep your student engaged and connected to school. By now, most of you have heard from your students’ teachers and everyone will have heard by early this week. We hope that this connection provides reassurance and an important bridge back to the school community. 

Short-term (through April 3rd)

Given the uncertainty of the public health situation and the significance of what we are attempting to do from an educational perspective, we are engaged in a multi-step process that is guided by the projected closure dates. 

In the short-term our collective goal is two-fold:

  • Students will have opportunities to practice and reinforce what has been learned and establish new routines of learning in a virtual environment.
  • Provide students a sense of community and connection to their teachers, counselors, and other support staff.

Over the past week, our educators have worked tirelessly to achieve these two goals. Much of this work has been done in virtual teams and our principals report that they are excited about the creativity, thoughtfulness and passion of our teachers during a time of significant disruption.

Over the next two weeks, our educators will connect with students directly to provide guidance on lessons and activities. This will take the form of regularly scheduled check-in and connection with students using technology-based tools. 

Long-term

Given the evolving and rapidly changing public health crisis, we must be prepared that the school closure may extend beyond April 3rd. It is our responsibility as a district to prepare for this possibility and what it will mean for learning. As a result, beginning tomorrow, I am convening planning teams at each of our three levels to plan for what learning looks like should we be closed beyond April 3rd. Each of these teams will be charged with addressing three central questions:

  • Given that remote learning is our only vehicle for teaching, what should our guidelines be for introducing new learning?
  • How do we best ensure that all students have access to new learning?
  • How will we assess what students have learned?

I will be sure to keep you updated as our faculty, staff, and administrators answer these questions and as we strive to meet the needs of every student to the greatest extent possible.

Reminders

  • Technology - Over the past week, our technology team has worked to identify and provide devices to students who need one in order to access online resources and technology-based tools. If you need a device for your student, please complete this form by the end of the day on Monday, March 23rd. We have already received a significant number of requests and have limited capacity.  
  • Grab ‘n Go Food Service - Breakfast and lunch meal service is provided from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. every day at both North and South high schools.
  • NPS COVID-19 website - Please be sure to visit our website, which is updated regularly: www.newton.k12.ma.us/covid19

Social Distancing

Please remember that social distancing is critical to slowing the spread of the virus. The Newton Health and Human Services Department urges residents to stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds and social gatherings, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others. We urge families to eliminate their childrens' play dates and in-person social interactions and to consider other ways that they can have appropriate and healthy connections with their peers. 

While this crisis has given us opportunities to find new ways to engage students and to test ideas for learning in different environments, this is not easy. Like all of you, our educators are balancing personal and work challenges like they have never had to do before. However, I can assure you that they are working very hard and are committed to ensuring that our students are supported academically and emotionally while school is closed. We will continue to keep you updated as we move forward.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools

March 15, 2020 

Dear NPS Families,

As you likely heard, Governor Baker announced earlier this evening that all schools in Massachusetts will now be closed until Monday, April 6th. We know how disruptive this is to everyone’s lives, yet we recognize the need to adhere to these guidelines to support the safety of our city during this unprecedented time.

Learning During School Closure

Governor Baker has asked districts to consider what they can do to keep learning alive for students while schools are closed. As we think about learning, it is important to note that learning in schools includes academic and social and emotional experiences, all of which are challenging to replicate without face to face interaction. That said, we want to ensure that our students have opportunities to be engaged and supported while they are away from school. These opportunities will look different depending on the grade and learning needs of the student.

Our dedicated staff will be preparing appropriate enrichment activities to help students remain engaged while school is not in session. The materials will provide educational opportunities and activities at grade level for your children. These materials and activities are not intended to replace classroom instruction or to substitute for it in any way. They are supplemental and meant to be interesting and to encourage students to explore on their own. In addition, we will be working with our administrators and staff teams to plan strategies to connect with students periodically while they are away from school. More details on our plans will be shared shortly.

Social Distancing

As has been recommended by Newton Health and Human Services, and reiterated in Governor Baker’s remarks, social distancing is critical to slowing the spread of the virus in Massachusetts. We are encouraging “social distancing” (staying out of large groups and maintaining 6 feet of separation at smaller gatherings) to lower the risk of transmission of illness to others. We urge families to restrict their childrens' play dates and in-person social interactions and to consider other ways that they can have appropriate and healthy connections with their peers.

Food Scarcity

We know school closures may significantly impact families in many ways, especially those experiencing food insecurity. Beginning on Tuesday, March 17th, Grab ‘n Go meals will be available to NPS students in need at both Newton North and Newton South High Schools. Please see details below: Time: Between 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Location at South: Front parking loop Location at North: Parking area near auditorium entrance Additional assistance locations for those experiencing food scarcity can be found on our website at: www.newton.k12.ma.us/covid19

School Committee

The School Committee is making two important changes to meetings to facilitate participation while adhering to state guidance on prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people and practicing social distancing. They are as follows:

  • Beginning with the Monday, March 16th meeting, the School Committee will host virtual meetings. Those wishing to listen to the meeting may do so via the Zoom web-based conferencing. Meetings can also be watched or live streamed via NewTV. For call-in information and more specific details, please visit the School Committee website at www.newton.k12.ma.us/schoolcommittee.
  • For meetings with scheduled Public Comment, we ask members of the public to submit written Public Comment by 6:00 PM. Questions will be collated and read aloud during the Committee’s live broadcast at 7:00 PM on NewTV. Each Public Comment is limited to three minutes and must include your name and address. Please submit Public Comments to: schoolcommittee@newton.k12.ma.us.

Administrative Offices

The Education Center will be closed at 4:00 pm on Monday and remain closed until April 6th. All school buildings will remain closed until then as well. While our offices will be closed, we will be working remotely and continue to provide you with updates through email, social media, and our dedicated webpage at www.newton.k12.ma.us/covid19.

We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation filled with unknowns. However, we are a strong school community filled with caring and compassionate people. Together, we will model for our children what it means to contribute to the greater good by making sacrifices to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools

March 13, 2020

Dear NPS Families,

We write to provide you with an update on our school closure related to COVID-19. While we continue to assess the situation and ultimately make a firm decision on the length of our closure, we want to let you know what to expect over the next few days.

Because we had only used one of our five “snow days” when we decided to close, the days out of school until Wednesday, March 18, will be considered “snow days.”  Only these four days are required to be made up at the end of the school year, which means that the last day of school for students is now firmly set for Wednesday, June 24.  As with any snow day, there are no expectations of academic work by students and teachers are not expected to provide assignments or instruction. Next week, we will provide you with an update on next steps to support student learning. 

We know a school closure may impact our most vulnerable families, especially those experiencing food scarcity. Food resources, as well as additional resources and updates related to COVID-19, can be found on our website at: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/COVID19

As a reminder, the decision to close schools is an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It will only be effective if the community also takes steps to practice self-isolation, monitor for any symptoms, and avoid large gatherings. We need all community members to do their part or the school closure will not be successful in limiting the spread of the virus. Of course, all school activities regardless of location, including athletics, parent/teacher conferences, club meetings, and extra-curricular classes are cancelled until further notice.

We will be in touch with you next week as our plans progress. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools

March 12, 2020

Dear NPS Families,

For the past two weeks, we have been working closely with the Newton Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the community spread of COVID-19. We have received many emails from concerned families and understand that this is a stressful and unsettling time.

Given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our region, coupled with new guidance from the Governor, the state, infectious disease experts, and our local health partners, we have made the difficult decision to close the Newton Public Schools beginning tomorrow, Friday, March 13. There will be no school tomorrow, next week and possibly for a longer period. 

The decision to close schools is an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It will only be effective if the community also takes steps to practice self-isolation, monitor for any symptoms, and avoid large gatherings. We need all community members to do their part or the school closure will not be successful in limiting the spread of the virus. 

We know the cancellation of school, its associated activities, and events that use our school buildings is disappointing and extremely disruptive to our daily lives. However, we believe we must do so for the health and well-being of our community. 

We expect to provide an update to you next week as we further assess the situation.  We also know you will have questions regarding learning opportunities for your children while school is closed and we will have more information on this subject late next week.  

This is a unique public health situation that is rapidly changing. Our hope is that if we all work together, we can reduce the spread of this virus, protect residents, especially those most vulnerable, and resume normal activities as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

​​​​​​​David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools

COVID-19 Update

March 11, 2020

Dear NPS Community,

In an effort to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all evening and community events in our facilities effective immediately and until further notice. All field trips will also be cancelled immediately. We have made this decision in consultation with the Newton Department of Health and Human Services. This decision is consistent with the state’s latest guidance for meetings and events which was announced yesterday. The City of Newton is also cancelling large public gatherings and many programs.  I know our decision to restrict access to our facilities will raise lots of questions. Here are some examples of events that will be cancelled beginning tonight:

  • Community events and meetings
  • Student performances
  • PTO meetings and other parent events
  • Adult education classes
  • Use of buildings by non-school groups

We will continue to offer before school and after school care at our elementary schools, as well as after school programs and classes run by Newton Community Education. After school activities at the secondary level will continue including athletics, rehearsals, and clubs, although we will not have outside spectators at indoor events. The Newton School Committee meetings will take place as scheduled.

In addition, the use of school buildings by non-school groups will be discontinued until further notice. We know this has a real impact on our residents and community organizations who provide valuable programs and activities. 

We are fully aware that these decisions have significant ramifications and are difficult for our students, staff, families and community members. The cancellation of many meaningful activities will be a great disappointment to those who have worked very hard. However, we believe these steps are necessary given the guidance from the state and the current status of the COVID-19 situation. We want to do our part to limit the spread of the virus and to reduce the risk of infection for our community.

I recognize that the information in this message will raise a lot of questions regarding specific events and activities. We are in the process of developing an FAQ which should answer many of your questions. 
Thank you for your understanding and support during this rapidly changing and unsettling time. 

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent of Schools

Underwood’s Cultural Fair – April 15th

The Underwood Cultural Fair will take place on Wednesday, April 15th @ 4:30-6 pm. We are looking forward to a fun and enriching community-building event. We hope many families will participate in some way as we celebrate the cultures of the world and family connections to them. Even if your child chooses not to create a project, the larger community is invited to attend the event and learn about the various countries and topics that will be on display. Please contact any of the team members (listed below) planning this event should you have questions or would like to volunteer!

Volunteers

The Cultural Fair Committee seeks 18 parent volunteers for the following roles:

  • Poster workshop (4/8 3:00-4:30pm) - volunteers to help students with their projects (research and assembling)
  • Assembling passports (the week before, or could happen at the same time as the poster workshop): 1-3 people
  • Day of Cultural Fair (4/15) - volunteers to help set up (3pm) and break down (6pm): 3-5 people for each time slot

Sign up to volunteer here

Poster Workshop

All Underwood students are invited to attend on Wednesday, April 8th from 3:00 - 4:30pm at Underwood. Parents can attend, but are not required. We will have supplies and provide support to help students make posters. There will also be access to Underwood computers and printers. Please sign up here.

What is it?

The Underwood Cultural Fair will have projects from many cultures and countries displayed in a convention format. All families are invited to showcase projects on countries, cultures, and topics of interest. Topics may include geography, language, cuisine, sports, traditions, everyday life, music, plants and animals, etc. from any country or culture.  

How do I sign up?

Please use the SignUp Genius link here to sign up to participate. Sign up by April 1st! 

The signups are viewable by all participants, so feel free to partner with other families in your planning in order to offer a breadth of information about your country of choice. Students will learn where their project will be displayed prior to the April 15th event and students can bring their project to the school that afternoon.

Some ideas are listed below:

The Cultural Fair Team

  • Elaine Harold, Interim Principal
  • Greta Phillips, ELL Teacher
  • Andy Gluck, Building Aide
  • Allie Cipolla, Grade 2 Teacher
  • Megan Murphy, Grade 5 Teacher
  • Gabriella Sampieri, Grade 1 Teacher
  • Anna Wheeler, Music Teacher
  • FORJ Volunteers: Erika Holmberg & Elisa Rodriguez & Cristina Schulze