In this issue:

Letter from the Superintendent
Feb 26, 2018 06:59 pm | Newton PTO Council

Dear Newton Community,

I write to you with great sadness as our nation faces yet another tragedy in our school buildings. Our hearts go out to our fellow educators and all the students and families in Parkland, Florida. It is incomprehensible that these tragedies continue to occur and an important reminder that we must be prepared.

The Newton Public Schools have many systems in place to ensure that our schools are safe. Research demonstrates that some of the most important safety work we do is the support of the social and emotional health of our students. We know that it is most important for students to feel connected to their school community and supported by their peers, teachers, and other trusted adults. When we create connections and support, faculty and staff can more effectively address student needs or concerns when they arise. Some of the social and emotional initiatives we have in place include:

  • Signs of Suicide (SOS) curriculum and screenings of 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students
  • School connectedness surveys now conducted regularly at all levels
  • Responsive school/home and other social/emotional support programs
  • Anti-bullying programs and reporting system
  • Mental health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, or social workers in all buildings
  • Close partnerships with City of Newton Health and Human Services department and outside agencies

In addition to the social and emotional efforts, we do have robust safety and security systems and protocols in place to create secure buildings. We work very closely with our city partners on prevention, preparedness and response to a wide range of scenarios. In addition, we are currently working with an outside security expert to revise all our emergency protocols, which are aligned with current best practices in school safety and Massachusetts state guidelines. We expect these new protocols to be finalized this spring and implemented next fall.

The following is a list of some (not all) of the current systems we have in place in our district and our schools:

  • District-wide safety team that meets regularly to review, assess, and modify safety and crisis response protocols and procedures. The team is comprised of district, mental health, fire, police, and health department personnel
  • Building-based crisis teams focused on crisis prevention, preparedness and response at the school level
  • Close partnership with police and fire departments to ensure rapid and coordinated emergency response
  • Regular practice of emergency procedures, including lockdowns and shelter-in-place protocols
  • Emergency radios in all schools with direct connection to first responders

In light of the Florida tragedy, all of our district and building-based teams will be thoroughly reviewing safety procedures at their next meeting. In addition, Newton North and Newton South are identifying ways in which they can make security enhancements. We engage in this work knowing that these buildings were designed to be open campus environments in accordance with our educational philosophy. In doing so, we will be looking at procedures used at our neighboring high schools that also maintain an open campus.

We will continue to be vigilant in implementing our social and emotional support programs as well as reviewing and modifying our safety and security procedures and protocols. It is important that we partner with you in this endeavor and ask that if you see anything that is a safety concern, please do not hesitate to contact a teacher, counselor, or administrator.

Thank you for your understanding and support during these troubling times.

David Fleishman

The buzz is…the Newton Spelling Bee is back!
Feb 24, 2018 08:05 pm | Newton PTO Council

The fun and educational Spelling Bee for Newton elementary school children in grades 1 – 5 is back for its 11th year! If you haven’t already signed up, there are five dates for the Bees, with multiple grade sessions on each day, March 26th, 27th, April 2nd, 3rd & 9th.

Each grade session is a separate Bee with a first and second place prize donated by Learning Express. Every speller receives a goody bag to celebrate their hard work. There are just a few spots left! Please register on line at Cost is $10.00 per entry.

Newton has Talent needs you
Feb 24, 2018 08:02 pm | Newton PTO Council

In order to fund valuable youth programs (including Students of the Month, RYLA, Interact, and yearly scholarships) and community grants, the Rotary Club of Newton produces a musical talent competition called Newton Has Talent.

This year they’re trying REALLY hard to get adults to enter.  To participate in the competition, an individual (or one member of an ensemble) has to work, live, or go to school in Newton. And entries are FREE before March 1st so don’t wait!

Check out more information on this flyer.

Spring is around the corner… Register now
Feb 24, 2018 07:56 pm | Newton PTO Council

Girls, grab a friend and sign up to play Newton Girls Softball. February 28th is the deadline to register and be guaranteed your “pair me with” request (if two players would like to be placed on the same team they must list each other on their registration forms AND both registrations must be completed by February 28th).

Visit for information and to register.

The Chaos of Clutter: Why it Happens and How to Help
Feb 24, 2018 07:40 pm | Newton PTO Council

Do you have a family member or friend whose home is cluttered? Are you worried about their safety and well-being?

Join Patty Underwood (LICSW) for a workshop that will provide information about the psychological reasons why clutter happens and how you can help. RSVP is requested, not required:

March 1st, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Newton Free Library

Newton Youth Players announcements
Feb 24, 2018 07:37 pm | Newton PTO Council

“Hello Dolly” has five spaces left on Wednesdays, September 5th – December 5th, with rehearsals from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. An all-time Broadway favorite, this show is the story of matchmaker Dolly Levi and her wooing of grumpy Horace Vandergelder. The setting is turn-of-the-century New York City, with its shops, famous restaurants, and plenty of young New Yorkers enjoying the scene. Popular musical numbers include ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’, ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, ’It Only Takes a Moment’, and ‘Hello Dolly’.

Don’t forget to set your alarms for 7:00 am on March 2nd to register for “South Pacific”! With only 22 children in each cast, the days fill up quickly. Newton Youth Players is a children’s theatre company for elementary school children who love to sing, dance, act, and construct scenery, located at the Newton Cultural Center at City Hall. Please visit for more information and to register.

Attention dog lovers
Feb 24, 2018 07:33 pm | Newton PTO Council

Dogs residing in Newton must be licensed by April 1st every year. Persons with dogs, please see this important information.

Research study seeking female teens
Feb 24, 2018 07:29 pm | Newton PTO Council

A research study currently underway at McLean Hospital is recruiting female teens (ages 14 -17) both with and without depression. Please see the attached documents for additional information and feel free to contact Emily with any questions you might have either by phone at 617-855-4245 or email

Flyer here and here.

Einstein’s Workshop Summer camp
Feb 24, 2018 07:23 pm | Newton PTO Council

New this year, Einstein’s Workshop is offering six weeks of their favorite camp programs at Zervas Elementary for children entering grades K-6. Half day, full day, and extended day options available! Students will have the benefit of a highly-rated classroom experience as well as access to indoor and outdoor playspace.

Einstein’s Workshop Summer Camps provide a wide range of STEM programming for children in grades K-9 at their Newton and Burlington locations. With over 30 unique camp offerings, they have options in Robotics, Coding, Making & Inventing, and Game Learning! Guided by seasoned instructors, campers will participate in guided lessons and exploratory challenges designed to encourage education, curiosity, and personal growth.

For more information or to register, please see The “Newton” location is Zervas.

Contact Us


Bigelow Middle School PTO
42 Vernon St.
Newton, MA 02458

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The information provided in Newton Community Notes is sent as a service to the Bigelow Community. Publication of an item as part of the Community Notes does not reflect an endorsement for what is offered. These items are not vetted, and it is the reader’s responsibility to check references and verify legitimacy. All information presented is deemed accurate at the time of posting and is subject to change.