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

October Updates

As we close out October, I wanted to share updates on a variety of topics:

  • Homework: As you likely know, the faculty has been discussing homework this year, and we continue to work towards a common understanding about the purpose and scope of homework at Newton South. The conversations among both faculty and students have been both helpful and thought provoking. For example, one concept we are discussing is whether less homework necessarily means less curriculum coverage, and further would less homework impact different domains in different ways? I want to be clear that we are not working towards a set Policy (with a capital “P”), as we will never be able to predict the time that different students will take to complete the same assignment. However, we will be transparent with our developed homework guidelines when they are ready. Also, we will need your help to encourage students to put themselves in an optimal position for productive homework completion (starting early enough to finish by a reasonable hour, minimizing electronic and other distractions, etc.) I am hopeful that together we will all be able to approach homework in an more effective and meaningful manner.
  • Suicide Prevention Presentations: We completed SOS (Signs of Suicide) training with our senior class a couple of weeks ago, and the process was very smooth. Appreciation and gratitude go to our amazing guidance staff and school social workers (and, of course, our students!) Next up: Juniors SOS will take place the week of November 17 in history classes; look for parent permission forms to come home late next week. Sophomore and freshman presentations will be January into March.
  • Announcing a New Learning Community: Patterned on the very successful Global Communities program here at South, we will be introducing a new option for sophomores for next fall. Currently called the DaVinci Program, this STEAM learning community will be a joint venture of the science, math and art departments and will feature inquiry-based learning, multiple curriculum levels, a three-year sequence, and a small-learning community feel (similar to Global Communities.) We will start with sophomores in the fall of 2015, and add another grade each year after that. There will be more details to come as we approach registration in the spring. The other exciting news is that our PTSO will be helping us prepare for this program…
  • …and to that end, there is a PTSO sponsored community dinner on Saturday, November 8 from 6 to 10 PM where there will be a big announcement regarding the DaVinci program. The Community Dinner is a great opportunity for us to all come together for food and fun.  I hope you’ll join us! – click here for sign up information.

As always, thank you for your partnership!

Community Dinner: Registration Closes This Week!

Saturday, November 1 – the signup deadline for the 2nd Annual Newton South Community Dinner — is this week! Where did the time go? Grab friends or neighbors and join this classic South community event for parents, staff and faculty on Saturday, November 8th from 6 to 10PM. The format is classic Progressive Dinner: appetizers at one home, dinner in groups of 8-12 across the neighborhoods, dessert for all in the gorgeously-renovated South Library, funded in part by the proceeds from last year’s Community Dinner.  You don’t want to miss this fun-filled community-building event that also benefits this year’s Success@South campaign. Seats are still available, but they are going fast. Sign up HERE.

“Arabian Nights” Performances This Week: Buy Your Tickets NOW!

Don’t miss South Stage’s production of The Arabian Nights, opening this week! Three performances only: Thursday, October 30, Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1, all at 7:30 PM in Seasholes Auditorium. Blending music, dance, and theater, this modern ensemble play retelling the classic story of Scheherazade, who saves her own life by telling riveting tales to her despotic, murderous husband night after night, ties together a romantic, ancient world with today’s Middle East. Click here to buy your tickets now!

Volunteers Needed for Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, Monday, Nov. 10

Monday, November 10 is our first Teacher Appreciation Breakfast of the school year. Teacher Appreciation Breakfasts are a small way that the South community expresses its gratitude to the teachers, staff, and administration for all of their hard work throughout the year.

It takes a village (over 100 volunteers!) to fully staff and supply each of the three breakfasts that we host during the school year. Please consider bringing a homemade or store-bought tasty treat for this very special occasion. Click on your house (below) to see what is needed. If your house’s volunteer slots are already filled, please consider donating to another one.

Cutler – Goodwin – Goldrick – Wheeler

Donations can be brought directly to the house office, or left in the front office between 7:15 and 8:30AM on Monday, November 10. If this time frame is inconvenient, please contact Bonnie Barber or Kathleen Pasqualini for alternate arrangements. Thank you to all who participate!

Ligerbots Parents’ Night, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 7 to 9PM, at NNHS

Newton’s combined high-school FIRST Robotics Team, the Ligerbots, will hold a meeting for parents on Wednesday, October 29, from 7 to 9PM, in the Newton North Film Lecture Hall. At the meeting, students and coaches on the team will present what the team is, how it functions, and how the year will progress. They especially invite parents of new team members, as well as parents who think their children might be interested in robotics, business, and design.

Free Teen Depression Webinar, Thursday, Oct. 30, 7PM

Families for Depression Awareness, a national nonprofit organization, is hosting a free, one-hour Teen Depression webinar on Thursday, October 30, at 7PM. Designed for parents, teachers, and other caring adults who work with youth, the webinar covers how to recognize the signs of depression in teens; how to talk to teens about depression; how to get help for a struggling teen; and how to address difficulties, such as refusal of help. People who attend the webinar and complete the online evaluation form will receive a free set of Depression and Bipolar Wellness Guides for Parents and Teens, available in English and Spanish, from Families for Depression Awareness. Register for this free Teen Depression webinar at (Busy at that time? Don’t worry! After the webinar, all people who have registered will receive a link to the recorded presentation, so they can listen at their convenience.) Families for Depression Awareness is online at

Did You Know?

The PTSO website stores all previous newsletters and emails sent to NSHS parents, and it’s searchable! Go to and enter your request in the “Search this Site” box in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.  This works for anything–from the Community Dinner signup to getting information about mental health topics, like depression. Tons of great information at your fingertips–try it today!

Athlete of the Week — Hannah Clary, Senior, Captain of Dance Team

Senior captain Hannah Clary is dedicated and extremely hardworking.  She has a positive attitude and really motivates everyone at practice and at the games.  She encourages the girls to show school spirit every week and attend every game to support the football team.  She recently designed shirts to spread awareness for breast cancer and with the team raised over $900 for breast cancer research.   Congratulations, Hannah!

Football Tonight vs. Cambridge Rindge & Latin, 7PM: Directions and Parking

Come cheer on the Lions tonight at South’s football game against Cambridge Rindge and Latin — at 7PM at Russell Field in Cambridge.  Please see this link for specific information on directions and parking for Russell Field.

Cheer on Fall Season Teams — Important End-of-Season Dates

The end of the Fall Season is approaching.  Some teams will be competing in the post-season; others will wrap up with end-of-season games.  Come out and cheer on our teams!

Friday, October 24

  • Field Hockey:  Senior Day, game starts at 4 PM.
  • Football:  Game at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, 7PM.  Come fill the Lions’ Den!
  • Boys and Girls X-Country:  DCL Championships at Franklin Park, 3 PM
  • Volleyball:  at Acton-Boxborough, 4 PM

Saturday, October 25

  • Boy’s Soccer at Newton North, 2:30 PM
  • Girls Soccer at Concord Carlisle, 6 PM

Sunday, October 26

  • Football play-off assignments are decided.  Follow @NSHS_Athletics on Twitter.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 27

  • Volleyball:  Varsity game at 5:30PM against Cambridge; JV and Freshmen games at 4 PM.  Senior Night.

Tuesday, October 28

  • Boys Soccer:  Senior Day.  Game starts at 3:45 PM

Teams in the State Sectionals:

  • Golf:  Finished 10 at the North Sectional with a combined score of 357
  • Girls Soccer:  Seeding October 31
  • Football:  Seeding October 26

Fall Awards Night:  Tuesday, November 25, 7 PM, Field House