Underwood-Ward Task Force

February 14, 2020 - Underwood Parent Representatives

The Underwood Parent Representatives on the Task Force are: Laura Vaughn, Daniel Scales, and Ethan Solomon.

February 14, 2020 - Update

Dear Underwood and Ward families,

We write to you to provide an update on the Underwood-Ward Taskforce following the recent meetings at both schools. Excellent questions were asked at both meetings and we appreciated the discussion.

The taskforce will begin meeting in early March. Over the next few months, the group will meet several times to identify options for the future of the two schools. The work of the taskforce will conclude with a presentation to the School Committee in early June in which those options will be presented.

To stay informed of the work of the taskforce and to provide feedback and/or ask questions, we offer the following:

Underwood-Ward Taskforce webpage: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/underwood-ward
Email the taskforce at: underwood-ward-taskforce@newton.k12.ma.us
Following the meetings of the taskforce, information will be sent to all Underwood and Ward families. If you know of families outside of Underwood and Ward who may be interested in the work of the taskforce, please let them know they can sign up for updates through our MailChimp listerv at: http://eepurl.com/gSRb5f

Finally, at the beginning of May, we will hold another community forum in which the taskforce will share their work and Underwood and Ward families can provide feedback and ask questions.

We look forward to sharing information with you as the taskforce begins its work.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent

Eva Thompson
Chair, Underwood-Ward Taskforce

February 13, 2020 - Underwood-Ward Task Force Community Input Process and Tools

  • Emails sent regularly to Underwood and Ward families
  • Website: www.newton.k12.ma.us/underwood-ward (to house pertinent information)
  • Subscribe for updates (MailChimp): http://eepurl.com/gSRb5f
  • Submit comments/questions to: underwood-ward-taskforce@newton.k12.ma.us
  • Public meeting in May prior to presentation of options to School Committee (tentatively May 12, soon to be confirmed)

February 6, 2020 - Underwood-Ward Task Force: Call for Parent Representatives

It was wonderful seeing so many parents at the meeting on Feb. 5th with Superintendent Fleishman, the School Committee, and City Council members. Updates will be posted by the Underwood-Ward Task Force here. Underwood has two parent representative positions on this Task Force. If you would like to be considered, please review the below information and instructions. Applications are being accepted online through Feb. 11th.

Presentations, links, and reports referenced at the Feb 5th meeting:


Underwood-Ward Task Force, Spring 2020

As shared in the January 2020 letter to the Underwood and Ward communities, the district is forming a task force to jointly address the future of both Underwood and Ward. 

Facilitated by Eva Thompson, The Underwood-Ward Task Force will be comprised of the following members:

  • (3) Underwood staff
  • (3) Ward staff
  • (2) Underwood parents/guardians
  • (2) Ward parents/guardians
  • (2) School Committee members
  • (2) City Councilors
  • (2) Assistant Superintendents
  • Director of Planning NPS
  • City of Newton Building Commissioner

Purpose of the Task Force: The Task Force is charged with presenting options to the School Committee and Superintendent Fleishman on the future of both school buildings by the end of the 2019-20 school year. 

Letters of Interest: We are currently accepting letters of interest for the two Underwood parent/guardian representatives on the Underwood-Ward Task Force. If you are interested, please complete the letter of interest form below by Tuesday, February 11th.  If there is more interest than openings, the PTO Executive Committee (Jen Tsuda, Erika Holmberg, and Kate Luethy) will meet by February 13th to review the applications. Applicants will be notified of their selection by February 18th. 

Meeting Dates and Location: Wednesdays, 5:00-6:30: March 11 & 18, April 1 & 15, May 6 & 13 (June 8 –School Committee presentation) in Room 111, Education Center, 100 Walnut St., Newton.
 
Member Requirements:

  • Be present at each of the six meetings.
  • Be willing to work on a sub-committee during and between meetings to research, review and collate pertinent information. 

PTO Contacts:

  • Anne-Marie Gravel: anne_mariegravel@yahoo.ca
  • Jennifer Tsuda: jtsuda@gmail.com

We welcome your interest and look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Eva M. Thompson
Anne-Marie Gravel
Jennifer Tsuda

***The Underwood-Ward Task Force Letter of Interest Submission period ended February 11th.***

January 16, 2020 - Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Underwood and Ward Communities,

As you are aware, Newton is in the process of updating our educational facilities. Over the past several years, we have rebuilt three schools and are in the process of renovating two more. Underwood and Ward are now our two oldest buildings—built in 1924 and 1929 respectively.

Just prior to the holiday break, the most recent enrollment projections were presented to the School Committee. The projections indicate declining enrollments at Underwood and Ward. Within two years, enrollment at Underwood is projected to be 241 and enrollment at Ward is forecast at 218. In other words, our two oldest elementary schools are now our two smallest elementary schools.

Given our commitment to offering a rich menu of program options for students, as well as modern school facilities, we believe it is an opportune time to develop a plan for the future of Underwood and Ward. We are eager to explore the facilities and educational needs of both schools, as well as determine their optimal school community size. It is critical that we have educator and parent/guardian involvement at this important juncture for both schools. 

With this goal in mind, we are putting together a task force to jointly address the future of both Underwood and Ward. The task force will be charged with presenting options to the School Committee and me on the future of both school buildings by the end of this school year. The group will be chaired by Eva Thompson, who previously served as interim elementary assistant superintendent in Newton following a long and distinguished career as a principal and teacher. Eva has worked in both buildings and is very familiar with their educational and physical plant needs. Other members of the task force will include:       

  • (3) Underwood staff
  • (3) Ward staff
  • (2) Underwood parents/guardians
  • (2) Ward parents/guardians
  • (2) School Committee members
  • (2) City Councilors
  • (2) Assistant Superintendents
  • Director of Planning NPS
  • City of Newton Building Commissioner

I have met with staff members at both schools and look forward to now meeting with parents and guardians. The meeting with the Underwood community will be held on February 5 at 7:00 p.m. and the meeting with the Ward community will be held on February 12 at 7:30 p.m. I will share more with you on how you can be involved in the task force.

A summary of the meeting as well as regular written updates regarding the task force will be shared via email. Our website will also have a page devoted to this work.

Thank you in advance for working with us and to lending your voice to determine the best path forward for both the Underwood and Ward school communities.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman

Superintendent