In this issue

Letter from School Committee regarding Equity Policy and Guidelines Information
Mar 19, 2019 10:12 am | Newton PTO Council

Dear Elementary School Families:

Recently, several questions and concerns have been raised about the revised equity policy and guidelines scheduled for implementation in July 2019. The School Committee would like to clarify the purpose of the policy and guidelines, review the process by which the revised policy was determined, and identify the opportunities for public feedback in the coming weeks.

Equity is a core value of the Newton Public Schools. The School Committee is steadfast in our commitment to elementary students receiving a similar educational experience no matter which school they attend and despite any demographic differences among our school communities. In 1988 when it became clear that a large and increasing disparity in PTO fundraising and provisioning of schools threatened the level playing field, the School Committee instituted equity guidelines and limitations. These are reviewed and updated every few years by an Equity Committee composed of parents, a school committee member, an elementary principal, the director of information technology and the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. The guidelines define three different categories of PTO spending: unlimited, limited and prohibited. This does mean that there continue to be areas of PTO spending that are not capped at all and where PTOs may spend unlimited amounts of money. Expenditures are tracked by PTOs and reported to the Equity Committee annually.

In spring 2018, after an in-depth analysis of PTO spending for the past three years, the Equity Committee recommended changes to the Equity Policy and Guidelines that were passed unanimously by the School Committee in June 2018. The Committee also recommended investigating the possibility of a central fund where donations could be gathered from various sources and distributed to schools to even out funding in key categories. The School Committee’s approval of the new Equity Guidelines reflects our ongoing commitment to close persistent disparities in PTOs’ ability to fund enrichment opportunities that directly impact students’ educational experience.

Implementation of these new guidelines was intentionally delayed until July of 2019 so that people could understand and respond to the new spending limits established. Members of the Equity Committee and several School Committee members have provided several opportunities for all parents to provide feedback, including focus groups and education sessions, as well as informational meetings at individual elementary schools requesting them (8 to date with 2 more scheduled).

On March 25th, the Equity Committee will update the School Committee on the guidelines and as a result, there may be adjustments. On April 24th, there will be a similar update on the proposed central fund. Additionally, the Equity Committee is working on an “FAQ” or Frequently Asked Questions that will provide more in-depth information.

We encourage anyone who is interested to attend the School Committee Meetings in Room 210 at the Education Center. You are welcome to make public comment at the beginning of the meeting. You may also view the meetings at home on NewTV. At any time, feel free to reach out to any of us via email or phone. Contact information can be found on our website:

We look forward to hearing from you.


Newton School Committee

SC Special Update – Budget Hearings
Mar 19, 2019 10:08 am | Newton PTO Council

Dear Friends,

This update is a special edition that covers the upcoming meetings regarding the proposed 2019-20 NPS Budget.

March 13, 2019 (Completed) – Superintendent’s Budget Presentation (Not a School Committee Meeting)

March 18, 2019 @ 7PM – (Special School Committee Meeting – No Public Comment)

  • Budget Review: Instructional Areas: Elementary and Secondary, Teaching and Learning

March 21, 2019 @7PM – (Special School Committee Meeting – No Public Comment)

  • Budget Review: Non-Instructional Areas, Student Services and Special Education

March 25, 2019 @7PM – Regular School Committee Meeting

  • Public Comment
  • Discussion: 2019 – 2020 School Budget
  • Race and Achievement Update
  • Straw Vote: 2019 – 2020 School Budget
  • Equity Committee Update
  • Possible Vote: Bus Loop @225 Nevada Street
  • Vote: Crowd Funding Policy

April 1, 2019 @6:30pm Public Hearing on 2019 – 2020 School Budget

April 1, 2019 @7pm Regular School Committee Meeting

  • Discussion and Vote on 2019 – 2020 School Budget

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.

The Newton School Committee

Newton PorchFest 2019: Signups are now open
Mar 16, 2019 01:54 pm | Newton PTO Council

Signups for Newton PorchFest 2019, scheduled for June 1st (raindate June 2nd) are now open. PorchFest is an afternoon of free music performed outside of people’s homes. Last year’s inaugural event included 60+ bands. You can participate by signing up to play (all musicians of all types are welcome), host (residents of Auburndale, Lower Falls or Waban), or volunteer.

For more information and to signup, see

Newton Cantonese School Open House
Mar 16, 2019 01:53 pm | Newton PTO Council

The Newton Cantonese School will be having an OPEN HOUSE.  Come talk to the staff and tour the school while you learn more about these unique Cantonese Chinese programs.  Light refreshments will be served.

NCS is located at the Bigelow Middle School, 42 Vernon Street, Newton. To learn more, please go to

March 23rd,  9:45 am to 12:00 pm
Bigelow Middle School

Facilitative Leadership Training – ideal for FORJ teams
Mar 16, 2019 01:51 pm | Newton PTO Council

Join an interactive evening with Madeline McNeely, founder of Conditioning Leaders. She is a facilitator, trainer, coach and consultant who will share practices gleaned from her most popular trainings on good group leadership practices to ensure your FORJ team is operating at its best.

This is a special opportunity for your FORJ team to reflect on your experiences and learn helpful tools for sustainability and success!

Please RSVP here:RSVP

March 26th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Mason Rice Elementary School, 149 Pleasant St, Newton Centre

Save the date: Upcoming FORJ event – April 9th
Mar 16, 2019 01:50 pm | Newton PTO Council

A Cross-Racial Conversation with Debby Irving, racial justice educator and author of Waking Up White and Shay Stewart-Bouley, Executive Director, Community Change, Inc. and blogger of Black Girl In Maine.

Time and location TBA.

New April Break Program for 8th and 9th Graders
Mar 16, 2019 01:49 pm | Newton PTO Council

Are you looking for a fun, affordable, hands-on, and valuable learning experience for your 8th or 9th grader during April break?

Has your 8th or 9th grader expressed an interest in looking for a summer or after school job but isn’t sure where to start or has been turned down because of their age or lack of experience? This program might be for them!

The City of Newton’s Youth Services department is offering a four day half-day workshop at Newton North High School for 8th and 9th graders – When I Grow Up: Discovering Strengths, Passions, and Career Pathways. This week- long, half day workshop will:

– Help students discover personality strengths and build skills in fun, hands-on, team focused games and activities

– Teach 14 and 15-year-olds about where to look for first jobs and what they need to apply

– Discuss and practice how to prepare for first time interviews

– Introduce students to different career pathways during daily visits from local entrepreneurs, business owners, city officials, and even the mayor!

– Give students the opportunity to learn and practice real-life workplace skills with new friends to prepare for first time jobs

Register online at

For more informatoin, please contact Quinn Etchie at or 617-796-1436.

Newton Destination Imagination Creativity Day – May 4th
Mar 16, 2019 01:45 pm | Newton PTO Council

Join in on Newton’s newest family-friendly, brain-tickling extravaganza! Newton DI Creativity Day is for all kids in grades K-12.

Participants will be placed into small groups that will work as a team to solve each exciting challenge. Challenges span areas including structural engineering, science, math, performance and improv. Kids will have a blast while learning valuable teamwork, project management and STEAM-based skills.

Please CLICK HERE to register and spread the word!
It’s going to be a blast!!!!

May 4th, 9:00 – 11:30 am OR 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
250 Brookline Street, Newton

Newton Mustangs Skills and Drills Clinic
Mar 16, 2019 01:40 pm | Newton PTO Council

Click for the flyer about the Newton Mustangs April Clinic: April 7th

What’s Happening at the Y
Mar 16, 2019 12:35 pm | Newton PTO Council

Try the Y
Mondays in March are free! Present a valid ID at the welcome desk and they’ll waive the guest fee.

March Membership Promotion
March is National Nutrition Month! Sign up for a membership at the West Suburban YMCA during the month of March and receive a free healthy recipe book and three guest passes.

Fall 2019 Preschool and After-school Enrollment – Opens March 15th
Enrollment in the West Suburban YMCA’s Preschool Center for Youth Development and “Out-of-School Time” program for the 2019-2020 school year opens on March 15th. Limited spots are still available for the current school year. Financial aid is available and state child care vouchers are accepted for both programs:

Preschool Center for Youth Development
· Early education for ages 2 years 9 months to 5 years
· Year-round, full-day program (7am-6pm)
· Large, bright and open classroom with secure entrance
· 30-minute weekly YMCA Swim Lesson included

Out-of-School Time
· After school program for children in grades K-8
· School-year program follows the Newton Public School calendar, including extended hours on Early Release Days
· Transportation to the Y is available from most elementary and middle schools in Newton
· Daily activity choices include recreation, homework assistance, physical fitness and creative expression

Bloomingdale’s Shop for a Cause – March 23d
Give back with style! Join the West Suburban YMCA at Bloomingdale’s Chestnut Hill for a day of fashion and philanthropy. Bloomingdale’s will donate 10% of all tracked sales from their women’s, men’s and home stores on March 23rd. To ensure a sale is tracked, present the Y’s personal barcode upon check out, which can be obtained at the Bloomingdale’s gift wrap desk.

Blue Waves Swim Team Spring Try-Outs – March 25th, 28th & April 1st
The Blue Waves Swim Team at the West Suburban YMCA is a nationally ranked competitive swim team for ages 6-17. All new swimmers looking to join the Blue Waves Swim Team for the Spring/Summer Long Course Season are required to try out. Swimmers must pre-register for a try-out slot ($5 for members / $10 for community). Try-outs slots are available between 5:30-7:00pm. Try-out registration is available online at or by calling 617-244-6050.

Late Spring Program Registration opens March 25th
The West Suburban YMCA’s next program session opens for registration beginning March 25th for Y members and April 1st for non-members. Sign up for adult fitness classes, youth sports programs and leagues, music lessons, swim lessons, and more! Late spring program session will run April 22nd – June 16th.

Register for Summer Camp, Win Celtics Tickets!
The West Suburban YMCA offers three summer camps: Camp Pikati at the Y, Camp Chickami in Wayland, MA and Camp Frank A. Day in East Brookfield, MA. Each camp offers children a unique and engaging summer experience. Register for summer camp during the month of March and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win tickets to the Celtics home game versus the Orlando Magic on April 7th.

Kids Night Out –  April 5th from 6:00-10:00 pm
Parents, drop off your kids for a fun Friday night with the Y’s staff. They’ll order pizza for dinner and keep the children entertained with games, swimming, movies and sports. $25 per child for Y members and $30 for the community. A 20% discount is offered per child for those with two or more children. Go out for the night and take advantage of this low-cost alternative to hiring a babysitter.

Poetry Night – April 5 from 7:00-9:00 pm
Celebrate National Poetry Night at the Y! Organized by Barbara Helfogtt-Hyett of Poemworks, the event features readings by two local poets, then guests are invited to participate in the open mic portion of evening to share their own written work. This event is free and open to the public.

Work at the Y: The West Suburban YMCA is hiring for a variety of full-time and part-time positions in child care and youth development, aquatics, fitness and more. Great benefits, FREE membership and professional development opportunities. Please contact Laura Snow at or visit

Financial Assistance is always available for Y Memberships and Programs
The West Suburban YMCA is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to never turn anyone away due to an inability to pay. Please contact the Membership Department at 617-244-6050 x3653 for financial assistance with membership or program participation.

Laura Holt – Holt College Advisor
Mar 16, 2019 12:19 pm | Newton PTO Council

Looking for help with the college admissions process? Not sure where to visit or apply? Need assistance drafting essays or preparing compelling applications? Laura can help! She offers a decade of admissions experience and enjoys partnering with students (and their parents) to find best fit schools.

Please contact her at or 617-335-7345 for a free consultation. For more information, please visit

FY2020 Budget proposal hot off the presses
Mar 14, 2019 07:50 pm | Newton PTO Council


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.