August 29, 2018
I hope you have enjoyed the summer. It is a great pleasure to welcome both our returning families and those new to our schools.
The start of a school year is a wonderful time for anyone involved in education because it allows us to develop new goals, build new relationships and embark upon new challenges. At the same time, I recognize that these transitions bring about mixed emotions for both students and families. One of my children reminded me of this several years ago at this time when he asked me “why can’t summer go on forever?”
Summer is an important time for adult learning in Newton and the conference we hosted for our educators this summer was one that made me proud. The conference featured Newton faculty and administrators facilitating training sessions for their colleagues on a range of important topics related to both the academic and social and emotional aspects of race and student achievement. The conference was one example of the professional learning that occurs over the summer and I am proud that we have the expertise amongst our own staff to take on these important goals, which also include updating and improving our curriculum based on new standards and student learning styles.
While we recognize that a skilled and dedicated teacher is the most important ingredient to high quality student learning, we also know that effective use of technology has the potential to support the work of students and teachers. In that spirit, we will expand the one-to-one technology pilot from last year and provide a Chromebook to all 10th grade students this year. We are hopeful that this initiative will provide our faculty with greater opportunities to use technology to enhance learning in class and to ensure that all students have access to technology at home. After this year, we hope to extend this initiative to all high school grade levels.
It is essential that we work with families to create school communities that are inclusive, supportive, and healthy environments for our students to learn and grow. As a school district, it is our job to educate your child, but also to provide you with resources to help you and your student navigate complex issues. Last year, we held a very successful parent workshop on “Living in a Smartphone World.” It was clear to us that this was a topic of significant interest to families that warrants further exploration by our district. Again, this year, we will hold a community forum and we will be looking for your input on issues that are most relevant to you and your family.
One of the most important parts of my job is to be in our schools on a regular basis working with staff and students. Together with School Committee members, and working closely with our PTOs, I will again visit each of our 22 schools to speak with you about district initiatives and listen to your ideas, questions, and concerns. Using social media, it is our hope to expand the dialogue and conversation this year to share more about all the good work happening in our district and to hear from you about the information and resources that are important to you. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also sign up for regular updates from our School Committee here.
Our partnership with you and the larger Newton community is critical to our success. Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful school year.
You may also view a video welcome from the superintendent.