Underwood Ward Task Force

As you may know, we have learned more about the Underwood-Ward Task Force in the last few weeks. Of primary concern is that changes may be proposed that will impact current Underwood students. While no recommendation has been made, the Task Force said that “all options are on the table” – including redistricting Underwood students as soon as Fall of 2024.  This page is a resource to learn about the Task Force, get involved in the process, and learn about updated and events.

Short-term options, as detailed by the Task Force, include:

  • Maintaining the status quo with the associated ongoing challenges
  • Identifying and implementing administrative shifts to address class sizes and total number of classrooms (to increase enrollment at Ward and/or Underwood), such as faculty student assignments and buffer zone placements.
  • Consolidating Underwood and Ward students at one of the existing schools (either Ward or Underwood).
  • Redistricting Ward and/or Underwood Elementary School students to other elementary schools in the district.
  • Housing grades K-2 at one school and 3-5 at the other to create a larger cohort at each grade level.

Relevant Links

Task Force Home Page – Maintained by NPS, has meeting details, upcoming events, and other information.

Mission and Guiding Principles (draft) of the working group

Scope of services of the contracted consultant, Perkins Eastman

Task Force Enrollment Study – 5.9.23 – Underwood & Ward Facility & Enrollment Study – May 9, 2023


Phase 1 – Spring 2023

Existing conditions assessment – buildings, sites and space use

Historic and projected enrollment review for both schools, individually and within the context of the district

Understand facility needs to support the educational program Identify issues and opportunities

Phase 2 – Summer 2023

Identify/develop strategies and options for consideration

Research and data collection for various options

Phase 3 – Fall 2023

Opportunities for Community input on findings

Refine Options and complete Criteria Evaluation Matrix

Present options to Superintendent and School Committee

Task Force Members & Emails

NPS Administrators

NPS Educators

Underwood and Ward Families

  • Kathleen Colantonio, Underwood Parent – Email withheld
  • Bob Altshuler, Ward Parent – raltshuler@gmail.com

School Committee Members

City of Newton Administrators

City Councilors

Other Relevant Community Members: 

Recent News

Underwood and Ward Study Update – June 21, 2023 – Includes FAQs, details on options, challenges, and considerations.

Letter from City Councilors to the Task Force – Six Newton City Councilors send this message to the Task Force on 6/12/23

Get Involved

Email the Task-Force and relevant community members: 

Make sure your voice is heard. We’ve complied all the emails in once place, and drafted a template you can use when starting your message. Both can be found here. 

Attend Upcoming Public Task Force Meetings: 

All meetings are public and anyone can join.

  • Tuesday, July 11, 2023 – 3:00 p.m. – Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
  • Tuesday, August 8, 2023 – 3:00 p.m. – Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2023 – 3:00 p.m. – Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2023 – 3:00 p.m. – Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2023 – 3:00 p.m. – Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2023 (if needed) – 3:00 p.m. – Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):

View the calendar here.

Add your name to the list of concerned families organizing for the future of Underwood.

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