School Committee recaps December 10 meeting

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, 7:00 p.m.: 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 (www.newton.k12.ma.us/schoolcommittee). Additionally, if you are interested in watching an SC meeting from home or a recorded meeting, you can obtain access via www.newtv.org.

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!

Sincerely,

The Newton School Committee