Newton to offer full-day kindergarten starting next year

From Superintendent David Fleishman:

December 11, 2018

Dear Newton Community,

I am very excited to announce that all Newton elementary schools will offer full day kindergarten (FDK) in the ’19-‘20 school year. We believe this change has tremendous benefits for both students and families and will provide the opportunity to improve our already strong kindergarten program.

Beginning in September, all kindergarten students will follow the same schedule as other

Newton students miss classes so teachers can answer 16th APT record request

From today’s Boston Globe:

Thirteen history teachers in the Newton Public Schools are expected to miss some class time this week in order to gather documents for a public records request filed by an advocacy organization that has accused the district of anti-Israel bias in its high-school world history curriculum.

 

The Watertown nonprofit Americans for Peace and Tolerance has submitted 16 public records requests to the school system so far in 2018.

also from the article…

In December 2017, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Massachusetts Board of Rabbis issued a statement calling Jacobs and his organization “purveyors of hatred and division” after they
Tom Mountain says he’s leaving Newton

Tom Mountain says he’s leaving Newton

Indisputably, the most important news from the Nov 27 school committee public hearing was the overwhelming public push back from teachers, students, alumni, community members, mayor, school committee and other elected leaders strongly refuting unproven claims of an anti-Semitic bias in Newton school curriculum.

But there was also a side drama from Newton Republican City Committee Chair Tom Mountain.

During his three minute testimony, Mountain never even raised the curriculum matter. Instead he seemed to be calling for the hiring of public school officials based on political party registration. And then Mountain then broke some news when

Fuller: I categorically reject the allegation that Newton Public Schools’ curriculum is anti-Semitic

Fuller: I categorically reject the allegation that Newton Public Schools’ curriculum is anti-Semitic

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller released this through her email newsletter today
 
Last Tuesday evening the School Committee held a public hearing as a result of a formal petition alleging anti-Semitism in the Newton Public School history curriculum.
 
It was a powerful meeting, and I’ve been reflecting on what I heard from students, teachers and members of our community.
 
Here are my thoughts

School Committee: Attacks are having a ‘chilling effect’ on teachers, school atmosphere

A statement released today from the Newton School Committee ….

Dear Newton Families,

As a result of a formal petition alleging anti-Semitism in the Newton Public School history curriculum, the School Committee was required to hold a public hearing on the petitioners’ requests. On Tuesday evening, approximately 400 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended the public hearing at Newton South.

We fully recognize that anti-Semitism, as well as bigotry and outright hate and intolerance against Muslim, Immigrant, Black and Brown and, LGBTQ members has become more pronounced in this country in the past few years. It is deeply distressing and we should all be working together to address it. However, we categorically rejected that Newton Public Schools’ curriculum is anti-Semitic or that there is an anti-Semitic bias inherent in our schools.

At the hearing, students, parents, teachers and other community members overwhelmingly

Kids Robotics Event on Saturday

Kids Robotics Event on Saturday

It’s that time of year again when the LigerBots host a FIRST LEGO League tournament. We do this every year and it’s a great time. This one is a “qualifier” round with the Eastern Massachusetts State Championship coming up in December. On...

NewTV and Ross Decter launch ‘School Matters’

Former Newton School Committee member Margie Ross Decter has just launched a new series on NewTV called “School Matters,” a program that aims to raise “awareness of educational issues of local and national importance, and the efforts of students and the school community to make an impact by improving our community and the world around us.”

Here’s the premiere episode

School Matters: Student Activism from NewTV on Vimeo.

 

School Matters airs Monday-Friday at 5:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30pm on NewTV’s Education Channel (Comcast 99, RCN 3, 582 (HD), Verizon 32).

 

Fleishman: ‘Our history teachers have been singled out, harassed and subjected to harsh and unfair criticism’

Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman released this letter to the school community today….

Dear Newton Community:

For the past seven years, the Newton Public Schools have been the target of outside groups claiming anti-Israel bias in our history curriculum. These baseless claims, often reliant upon materials and documents taken out of context, are misleading and only serve to denigrate the hard work and professionalism of our skilled and dedicated faculty.

In recent months, the attacks have grown increasingly and unjustly personal. Our history teachers have been singled out, harassed and

Bus issues

“Due to a variety of industry issues, Newton and other communities are experiencing severe shortages of bus drivers.” So write Newton Public Schools officials in a letter to NPS bus families. The consequence of driver shortages? “[S]tudents riding our buses may experience delays or gaps in routes.”

https://twitter.com/newton_ps/status/1038423699190374400

Any hypotheses about what’s going to happen as a result of “delays or gaps in [bus] routes”? 

I’m not an economics professor, but I’m gonna guess a pretty quick cure to the “industry issues” resulting in a driver shortage would be increased wages. 

We are so misaligned in Newton on school transportation policy. Any child living within two miles of school has to pay $350 (up to a family cap of $700). And, now, because the city (through contractor Eastern Bus) is not paying drivers enough, that $350 doesn’t even get you decent service. Meanwhile, it costs nothing to drive to school.

Is it any wonder that streets around schools are choked with traffic? 

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