In this issue

Gifts to Teachers
Dec 16, 2018 09:38 am | Newton PTO Council

It’s that time of year again: the time of year when parents/guardians have a million questions about gifts to teachers.

Please remember Newton’s policy about gifts to teachers. This policy was adopted by Newton School Committee and can be found at their website using this link: Gift Policy.

Please click here for a flyer that may be helpful: Gift Policy overview.

Make a Difference for Newton’s Students and Teachers: Give to Newton Schools Foundation
Dec 16, 2018 09:35 am | Newton PTO Council

Thanks to the generous support of our community, last year Newton Schools Foundation, (NSF) provided $155,000 to support the 12,000+ students in the Newton Public Schools.

NSF advances excellence and equity in NPS by funding promising initiatives, professional
development, and programs that close gaps in achievement and opportunity, including:

  • The Calculus Project, a program aimed at closing the achievement gap by helping low-
    income students and students of color reach higher levels in math through tutoring,
    summer programs, and field trips.
  • Generation Citizen, a middle school civics education program to empower young
    people to become engaged and effective citizens.
  • Responsive Classroom, an elementary and middle school teacher-training program
    that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school
  • The DaVinci Program, a unique multi-disciplinary high school curriculum that examines life’s big questions through science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
  • Instrumental Music Enrichment Program, 5th grade students at several elementary
    schools that have a higher proportion of low-income students receive small-group music lessons from professional musicians during band/orchestra.
  • Race and Achievement Working Groups, an ongoing district initiative which includes
    teacher training, outreach to parents, and student learning.

As we enter the holiday season, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to NSF. Make a gift here:

Your gift ensures that our students and faculty continue to benefit from these critical programs. Thank you!
–Newton Schools Foundation Board of Directors

Emergency Text Messages
Dec 16, 2018 09:30 am | Newton PTO Council

A note from the Newton Public Schools:

The Newton Public Schools has implemented an emergency text messaging system. In the event of an emergency, NPS will alert you via text on your cell phone. Please note that this system will ONLY be used for emergencies, including weather-related school closings or delays. It will not be used to share information about regular school events or operations.

To receive emergency text messages, you MUST opt-in to receive text messages. You can do this by logging into Aspen and selecting “yes” in the drop-down box below your cell phone number in the contact information section.

Opportunity to join the board at the Centre Street Food Pantry
Dec 16, 2018 09:29 am | Newton PTO Council

The Centre Street Food Pantry board is looking for an energetic new board member who has strong connections in the business community in Newton. They are a working board and in addition to managing programs, members also help out at pantry-related events and host work days at the pantry. The Board meets monthly on Tuesday evenings. If you are interested in being part of this fun and meaningful non-profit board, please send a resume and letter of introduction to

In addition, the Centre Street Food Pantry is seeking candidates for a part-time paid Volunteer Coordinator position (total of 10-12 per week including working at the pantry every Tuesday 4:00 – 8:00 pm). Ideal candidates are enthusiastic, good planners, kind, easy to talk to and have experience in volunteer management or training. To express your interest, please send your resume to

Join for a special Math Circle meeting!
Dec 16, 2018 09:28 am | Newton PTO Council

Students will be solving challenging problems for different grades, while competing against each other to win prizes! Small prizes for everyone! Participation is $20.

For students grades 3 – 6. Register at or email

December 16th, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Engaging Math

Multiplication Carnival
Dec 16, 2018 09:24 am | Newton PTO Council

Don’t get bogged down by multiplication! Master the most difficult multiplication facts in one visit to the Multiplication Carnival – no mindless drills, no boring flash cards, no tears, no painful memorization.

Have fun, and leave the carnival a Multiplication hero! Organized by Mathnasium Math Learning Center. Register for the 3-hour carnival event during the winter school break at

Choose one of December 27th, 28th, or 29th, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Mathnasium NEWTON
1349 Centre Street, Newton

Upcoming events at Historic Newton
Dec 16, 2018 09:14 am | Newton PTO Council

Storytime – Winter Hibernation

Learn how animals live through the winter, and how people at the Jackson Homestead stayed warm, too. You will read Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and preschoolers and their caregivers will make their own wintry paper bag trees. For a complete schedule of ongoing Storytime events, go to  Admission is Free. For more information call 617-796-1450.

December 26, 10:00 am
Jackson Homestead and Museum, 527 Washington Street

Save the date: Bring your teen to the Just Think Expo
Dec 16, 2018 09:09 am | Newton PTO Council

The Just Think: Teens Making Smart Choices Expo is the place to be for parents/guardians and their teens.  The expo is a free, fun gathering of many non-profit organizations that support teens and families in Newton.

Enjoy live music, fitness demos, a prize drawing, free henna tattoos, refreshments, and more while you peruse the exhibits and learn ways to keep your teen safe and healthy. Find FAQs and a short video at Click here for a flyer: Just Think

Support prevention efforts for Newton teens by saying you are coming and inviting Facebook followers at

January 8th, 5:00 – 7:30 pm
Newton North High School

Camp Grossman Open House
Dec 16, 2018 09:05 am | Newton PTO Council

Meet the camp director and staff at JCC Greater Boston to learn how Camp Grossman is the best place to be this summer. A vibrant Jewish day camp located on 75 acres in Dover’s pine-studded Hale Reservation, they offer campers ages 4½-15 summer days filled with aquatics, sports, arts and nature. With a wide variety of activities, there is something for every camper no matter how big or small. Bus transportation is available to and from a variety of locations throughout Greater Boston. Extended day is available in Newton. Learn more at

Open House January 6th from 2:00 – 4:00 pm
JCC Greater Boston

SAT & ACT Classes- Few Spots Remaining
Dec 16, 2018 09:04 am | Newton PTO Council

Sexton Test Prep & Tutoring is offering two courses this winter to prepare students for the March SAT and February ACT. Each class will focus on one exam and will be taught by one of our Expert Tutors. The courses are designed to give your student a complete strategic overview of all sections of the SAT/ACT. Space is limited to 16 students per class so be sure to reserve your spot today.

SAT Class: This six-session class will meet in Wellesley on Monday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 pm beginning January 21st and is designed to prepare students for the March SAT. The course fee includes 12 hours of classroom preparation, books, supplemental materials, and priority access to our free mock tests. For more information or to sign up for the SAT Class click here

ACT Class: This five-session class will meet in Wellesley on Monday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 pm beginning January 7th and is designed to prepare students for the February ACT. The course fee includes 10 hours of classroom preparation, books, supplemental materials, and priority access to our free mock tests. For more information or to sign up for the ACT Class click here

Not sure a class is for you? If you are interested in one-on-one tutoring, send an email at or call 781-772-1745 and they’ll be glad to help identify a tutor that would be a good match for your student.

School Committee Update
Dec 12, 2018 05:45 pm | Newton PTO Council

Dear Friends,

This update is for the 12/10/2018 Newton School Committee meeting:

  • Students from the Beijing Jinshan School Exchange Program introduced themselves, shared something they have enjoyed during their visit, and presented the School Committee with a beautiful gift scroll.
  • Toby Romer, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, was joined by high school principals Joel Stembridge and Henry Turner to present an update to the high school schedule initiative. The presentation featured three potential schedules, all of which had common elements including the inclusion of flexible learning time, longer class blocks, longer lunches and the ability to start the day later but still end by 3PM.  A key takeaway was that the proposed learning time would be on par with our peer districts. He also explained that a traffic consultant has been hired to study the traffic impact of start times at elementary, middle, and high schools and to make a recommendation for adjustments that would allow a later high school start time. The School Committee’s target date for implementation of a later start time is September 2020.
  • Mary Eich, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, was joined by Katy Hogue, District Student Data Manager, to present the results of the MCAS 2018 student testing.  Overall, Newton students performed at a much higher level than the state average.  The presentation did pay close attention to a persistent achievement gap impacting several minority student groups, as well as the incongruous results of the middle school science test.
  • As part of our Facilities Update, Bill Ferguson, Co-Director of Sustainability for the City of Newton, presented Phase 3 plans for installing solar panels on several NPS owned properties including the parking lots at Mason Rice, Bigelow, Oak Hill, Memorial-Spaulding and Brown.  These efforts would save $5 million over the course of 20 years.  The School Committee voted unanimously to approve the installation of the solar panels.
  • Liam Hurley, CFO, reviewed the second FY19 Fiscal and Operations Update, which projected a positive balance of $722,000.
  • The scheduled consent agenda included several items, all of which were voted unanimous approval:

Next Meeting:

January 14 @7PM: EDCO Update, Elementary Math Update, Equity Committee Update

We hope you found this summary useful. You can access all School Committee meeting documents via the NPS website ( Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via

As always, we are very happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have. Please feel free to contact us via the email address below.

Have a safe and fun December break, wonderful holidays, and a happy new year!


The Newton School Committee


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

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