The latest announcements from the Principal, PTSO, and NPS...

Welcome from the PTSO

Welcome back to Newton South! All Newton South parents/guardians are members of the Parent Teacher Student Organization. What does the PTSO do, exactly? We focus on community-building, communication, supporting South, and fundraising. We hope you’ll join us by doing one of the following:

There will be more information coming about each of these opportunities, but feel free to contact us at info@newtonsouthpto.org for more information.

Best wishes for the new school year!

Betsy Blagdon and Emily Prenner
PTSO Co-Presidents

Thank You Volunteers!

We are grateful to the many volunteers who made our before-school PTSO events such a success:

Freshman Information Sessions were hosted by the Smith, Prenner/Steele, Lipof, Ervin and Belt families, who generously welcomed many new parents into their homes. We appreciate that staff members Joel Stembridge, Marc Banks, Josepha Blocker, Kathleen Farnsworth, Donna Gordon, Charles Myette and Katani Sumner were willing to spend their summer evenings giving presentations and answering questions.

Thursday’s Back-to-School teacher lunch was truly a Parent-Teacher-Student effort. It could not have happened without the work of Maria Curcio, Mary Ann Hill, Diane Kay, Faith Paul, Rebecca Reynolds, and Adam Verga (2016.) The amazing abilities of our hospitality chairs, Bonnie Barber and Kathy Pasqualini were invaluable, as well.

Thank you all for your contributions.

Register for Oct. 18 PSAT on Sept. 8, 10, or 11

The PSAT will be given at Newton South High School on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

  • Newton South students that are members of the Class of 2016 and the Class of 2017 are eligible to take the exam.
  • Home-schooled students who live in the South district may also register for the exam.
  • Students from other schools/school districts must take the exam at their own school.
  • An exam has been ordered for every member of the Class of 2016.
  • Registration for sophomores is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • There is no make-up date for the PSAT.
  • Please contact Maimonides School as soon as possible (617-232-4452) for information on testing options for students that cannot test on October 18 for religious reasons.

Information Regarding APPROVED College Board Accommodations:

  • Students that may qualify for approved College Board accommodations should have received information in January of 2014.
  • Students can contact their guidance counselor if they have any questions.
  • If a student has an I.E.P. with the Newton Public Schools, they are not automatically guaranteed approval from the College Board.
  • Students that have approved accommodations must bring a copy of their College Board letter with their SSD number to PSAT registration.

Registration Dates and Information:

  • Registration will be on September 8, 10, and 11, 2014 in THE CAFETERIA DURING ALL LUNCHES.
  • The exam cost is $30 cash or check. The check must be made out to Newton South High School with “PSAT” and student’s FULL name on the MEMO line.
  • Students that have approved accommodations must bring a copy of their College Board letter with their SSD number to PSAT registration.

Check back to the NSHS website for more PSAT information. If you have any questions, please contact NSHS faculty member Jennifer Dolan.

Key Points from Athletic Director’s Introduction to Fall Season

In case you missed the Meet the Coaches night, held the week before school started to kick off the Fall season, here’s a short summary of Athletic Director Pat Gonzalez’s key points about Newton South Athletics‘ mission, philosophy, and guidance regarding communications, fees, schedules, attendance, injuries, uniforms, and MIAA rules.  It’s all in concise three pages for your reference (PDF).

Thank you, Student Tour Guides!

The PTSO is grateful for the student volunteers who gave up an end-of-summer afternoon in order to show parents around the school last Thursday afternoon. Thank you to Haley Eagle, Adin Henderson, Jason Kan, Jill Oliver, Ian Paul, Gabriella Sinclair, Rebecca Spitz, Ben Stern and Jordie Tacey. Their efforts help to make our school a welcoming place.

Welcome Back Booster Club “Fun”raiser with Stella and Dot, Sept. 9

Come and meet new friends and catch up with others while you sip and shop and welcome the school year in style! All proceeds from Stella and Dot sales of bags and accessories will benefit the Newton South athletic teams. Tuesday, September 9, 7-9PM at 46 Woodward Street in Newton Highlands.  Come have fun for a great cause or shop online at www.stelladot.com/ts/08p06 Go Lions!!

New Athletic Director Patricia Gonzalez Welcomed Parents and Athletes to the Fall Season

On Thursday evening, Patricia Gonzalez welcomed Fall athletes and their families to a pre-season “Meet the coaches” event.  Prior to breaking out into teams, AD Gonzalez gave a presentation about the Athletics Department at South — its staff, philosophy, communication, and expectations.  Thank you to all of the student-athletes and parents who attended.  It was great to see such a full house.  If you were unable to attend, click here to view the presentation (PDF).

Welcome Back to Newton South!

I am writing to you fully enjoying the gorgeous weather at the end of the summer.  It’s been a real treat!  As we all turn our thoughts from summer relaxation to the beginning of a new school year, I wanted to take a moment and share some reflections.

As I begin my sixth year as Principal, I continue to marvel at what an extraordinary place South is.  Students and faculty have demonstrated kindness and compassion while holding themselves to high standards of achievement. I am very pleased to hear frequently that our faculty is top-notch and our students are uniquely prepared to face academic challenges ahead.

While the educational strengths of our school make me proud, I also worry that our community focuses so much on goals that we can forget to live in the present. I struggle with how we establish the right balance between academic challenge and the joy of learning and everyday life.

Last year our community experienced profound loss.  We also saw the strength of the human spirit through the resilience of our students and faculty.  This year we will build upon our commitment to keeping students safe through a series of mental health initiatives aimed at equipping our students and faculty with skills and resources to support one another, including presenting the “Signs of Suicide” training to each student throughout the course of the school year.  I will update you with specific dates and procedures as these plans are finalized.

One of the highlights for our administrative team this summer was reading Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, which offers the view that “everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”  Specifically, Dweck emphasizes the importance of viewing mistakes not as an indication of ability, but as a critical source of information that leads to further growth.  I believe that the concept of growth mindset has important implications for how students and faculty interpret their work and experiences here at South.   This will be one of the themes of our staff professional development for the year and we will be thinking of ways to bring this conversation to our classrooms and your homes.

Later this fall, after we settle into the school year, I plan to engage students, faculty, and families in highlighting aspects of our school culture we want to protect and maintain, and identifying areas for development and improvement.  Newton South is not merely the bricks and mortar that we walk through, but is instead an amalgamation of the people who walk the halls.  It is not an immovable object; Newton South is us, and it changes as we change.  I am confident that together we can continue to build a school where every child has the time and space to try new things, and to take the risks needed to develop self-knowledge.

Thank you, as always, for partnering with us to support and educate your children.

I’m looking forward to a great year.  Go Lions!

Please Support the Booster Club!

The Booster Club’s mission is to support all athletics teams at South through community building and fundraising.  Booster Club dues are one of the main ways we raise funds for all of our teams.  Families can buy a Booster Pass — $60 for four people — which provides entrance to all home regular season football and basketball games.  Individual passes can be purchased for $40.  For additional information and to make an online payment, visit nsboosters.com.

Newton South Athletics Dept. Announces New Hires

Athletic Director Patricia Gonzalez has recently made some new appointments to the athletics department:  Dave Padgett, Assistant Athletic Director; Hannah Clarke, varsity Field Hockey coach; and Sharon Lynch, Dance Team Coach.

Dave Padgett comes to South with years of athletics experience and a Masters in Physical Education and Coaching from Boston University.  He most recently served as the Greater Lawrence Director of Rowing and was the Assistant Men’s Crew Coach at Boston University.  In addition to his athletics responsibilities, Dave will be a special education aide in our SouthSide program. “I am thrilled that Dave will be joining our team at South.  His college and administrative experience will serve our coaches, student-athletes, and parents well,” said Gonzalez.

Hannah Clarke  was recently named Newton South’s Varsity Field Hockey coach.  Clarke, a star player at Middlebury College and a former three-sport varsity athlete at Falmouth High School in Maine, was hired in August and has hit the ground running with the her first practice this Monday.  According to Gonzalez, “She has a love for the sport. She’s a high-achieving student athlete and a good role model for our players.”   South teacher Stephanie Pavao will coach the junior varsity squad.

Shannon Lynch will be South’s new Dance Team Coach.  She has a degree in Dance and Psychology from Dean College and has taught dance at a variety of studios for the past 9 years.  She also has served as a special education aide at Zervas.  “I am thrilled that Shannon will bring her love of dance and teaching to the team at South.  Her enthusiasm will fit right in with the team,” said Gonzalez.