Category Archives: From the Vice Principal

From Vice Principal: March Schedule Updates

Hello South Students and Families,

Some reminders for the upcoming weeks:

1. Special Election on Tuesday, March 16: Even though K-8 schools in Newton are adjusting their schedules to accommodate polling stations, Newton South schedules will remain the same this week, with Cohort A and C students attending school as usual on 3/16.

2. Wednesday, March 24: There will be NO SCHOOL for ALL students (including students that usually come to the building on Wednesdays) as it will be the final Professional Development Day for South staff.

3. Course Registration for next school year: More info to follow but, for now, please be aware that the process will begin a bit later than in previous years–with teachers beginning course recommendation conversations during the first two weeks of March with final course verifications happening before April vacation.

4. COVID Pool Testing on March 1st: The school committee has approved a COVID pool testing program to begin at both high schools on March 1st. You will be receiving communication from NPS over the next 10 days with information about the program, eligibility criteria, opting in procedures, etc.

Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

HyFlex Change Request Due Jan 25th & HyFlex Semester Schedules Posted

Hello Students and Families,

Please see this important letter regarding second semester (term 3 and term 4) schedules posted on Aspen, and the form to fill out if you are requesting a move to distance learning as we begin the hyflex model on 1/28.

The change request form is due Mon. Jan 25th.

Any updates to schedules & classrooms will be posted on Aspen on Wed. Jan 27th.

Thanks,
Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

Term 2, HyFlex COHORT B, Report Cards

Please note the following dates regarding Term 2,  HyFlex schedule this week, and report cards from Interim Vice Principal Chris Hardiman.   


1. Last day of Term 2 for seniors was Friday, 1/22.

2. Last day of Term 2 for 9th, 10th and 11th graders is on Tuesday, 1/26 (and report cards will be posted Friday, 2/5 by 5:00pm).

3. Tuesday, 1/26: ALL classes for ALL grades are asynchronous EXCEPT for community and flex block, which will be synchronous. Teachers of juniors have been asked to assign limited work this day because more than half of the junior class will be taking the PSAT’s from 9:15am to 1:00pm that day (and some students who receive accommodations won’t be done with testing until 2:30pm)

4. Wednesday, 1/27: 9th grade orientation for cohort B and remote students last name LO – Z and asynchronous work for ALL grades (more info will be shared by Mx. Tori Parker, Student Life Coordinator)

5. Thursday, 1/28: First day of Hyflex for COHORT B! We look forward to seeing you in person and continuing to connect with our distance learners.

6. Friday, 1/29: Report cards for SENIORS ONLY will be published in Aspen by 5:00pm

GPA Committee Findings and Update

Hello South Students and Families,

Please take note of the following items of interest:

1. GPA Findings and Summary Decisions from the South/North GPA Committee  For any questions about GPA and the decisions made by both South and North, please contact Director of Guidance, Dan Rubin: rubind@newton.k12.ma.us

2. Wednesdays 1/20 and 1/27 are ninth grade orientation days. Our Student Life Coordinator, Tori Parker, sent out information regarding that event for ninth grade families. Classes for all grades will be asynchronous for the whole day on both 1/20 and 1/27. If you are a ninth grade family and didn’t receive information about the orientation days, please contact Mx. Parker at: parkerv@newton.k12.ma.us

3. End of term 2 for grade 12 is Friday, 1/22. A reminder that we decided to end term 2 a bit earlier than the other grades in order to ensure that term 2 grades can get processed and sent out to colleges in a timely manner. Report cards for grade 12 will be posted by the end of the day on Friday, 1/29.

4. End of term 2 for grades 9, 10 and 11 will be Tuesday, 1/26. Report cards for grades 9, 10, and 11 will be posted by the end of the day on Friday, 2/5.

5. Term 3 schedules will be posted and shared with students on Aspen, hopefully by the end of next week. We will let you know when they are available as students in the hybrid program, in particular, need to be aware that typical room assignments have changed due to room spacing and social distancing. Stay tuned for MUCH more information over the next couple of weeks from the South deans regarding the transition to the hybrid model on 1/28. 

6. Approximately 270 juniors will be taking the PSAT on Tuesday, 1/26 and many of our teachers will be proctoring the exam. Therefore, know that all classes for all grades will be asynchronous that day EXCEPT for community block. We are asking students to log into community block at the regular time (2:35pm to 3:05pm) and then, if meeting with a club or getting extra help from a teacher, report to flex block. More information to follow.

Have a great long weekend!

Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

Chromebook Update

Hello Students and Families,

You are receiving this email because currently you are registered to attend NSHS “hybrid” as we transition to hyflex at the end of January.

The Chromebooks that were ordered for our ninth graders in April 2020 unfortunately still have not arrived and may be delayed several more weeks. At the same time, all hybrid students will need to have a computer (Apple laptop, PC laptop, or Chromebook) with them at school each day. Therefore:

  • You may bring a personal laptop device with you to school.
  • If you don’t currently have a school-issued Chromebook or personal laptop device, but need one for hybrid, please complete this google form: https://forms.gle/SE1zBqmEGU4PxEZAA

Thank you,

Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

Term 2 Midterm Comments Progress Reports

Dear Newton South Students and Families,

1. Midterm Comments/Progress Reports:

Term 2 Midterm Comments/Progress Reports are now posted on Aspen: (https://aspen.newton.k12.ma.us/aspen/logon.do). Published reports can be found on the initial page of the parent portal under the “Published Reports” widget. A PDF reader (e.g. Adobe Reader, Preview) is required to display all published reports.

In addition, every browser has its own settings for “blocking pop-up” windows. You must allow pop-ups from the ma-newton.myfollett.com site in the browser of your choice in order to display the report.

If you do not know how to login to Aspen, or need help resetting your password, please call your student’s house office.

A reminder that we have amended our comments list for this second term to reflect the current educational model we are working in. Here is a list of the comments that teachers could choose from for context purposes:  2020-21 Midterm Comments (amended for term 2).

*Please note that students whose parents/guardians had a conference with a given teacher(s) on 12/9 or 12/6 may NOT have a midterm comment for that particular class/classes.

If you have a specific question about any of the comments, please contact your/your child’s teacher.

Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

Video Dec 9th HyFlex Q&A & District HyFlex Email

Hello Families and Students,

Here is a link to a recording of last night’s  HyFlex Q & A webinar for anyone that was unable to watch live.

Principal Aronson also wanted to clarify one of his responses to a question last night about voluntary staff Covid testing. Below is the accurate information:

“Staff will be tested once a month to begin the NPS voluntary covid testing program. Initially NPS will test ~500 High Needs educators, who are in close contact with students before break. Then other educators working with students in person (elementary and middle), then HS educators and others will be tested in mid January”

Regarding the HyFlex vs. Distance model survey, the district sent it out to all families yesterday via School Messenger. This is exactly what the email from the district looked like:

From: NPS Office of Secondary Education <community@newton.k12.ma.us>
Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 11:30 AM
Subject: High School Learning Model Selection
To: YOUR EMAIL HERE

Dear NPS High School Families,

As you know, the high school is transitioning to a Hyflex hybrid model at the end of January. To determine the number of cohorts and student placement within specific cohorts, we are beginning the process now.

Below is a link to the form to select your learning model. You should receive one email for each student and you must complete one form for each student. The student ID is pre-filled into the form. The form must be submitted by Sunday, December 13 at 11:59 p.m.

If you didn’t receive it, first please check your email folder. If you still can’t find the email with the survey link, please contact me and I can send you a link to the form. A reminder that the deadline to fill out the form is 11:59pm this Sunday, 12/13.

Finally, to answer a FAQ that has already come up….

We need you to do the best you can, right now, to make a selection. Your selections now will impact how many cohorts we build. We need to build cohorts so that we can assign classes to rooms etc before Jan 27. There will be opportunities to change your model, after Jan 27, though we don’t yet know how frequently. You should anticipate that this selection, that you make now, will be in place through AT LEAST February vacation. 

Thanks,
Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

Parent-Teacher Conferences SIGN-UPs begin on Sun., Nov. 29 at 7PM

Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming.  SIGN UP is REQUIRED! For new parents, please sign up early as spots are limited.  

  • To make sure that all families have the opportunity to see teachers, there will be two phases to the sign-up process.
  • During the first phase of sign-ups, from 7PM on SUNDAY 11/29 until 7PM on WEDNESDAY, 12/2, you may only schedule a maximum of 3 teacher conferences per child. 
  • During the second phase of sign-ups, from 7AM on THURSDAY 12/3 until 7PM on SUNDAY, 12/6, you may sign up for a maximum of 3 additional conferences. Total conferences CANNOT exceed 6 per child.  

DETAILS on SIGN-UP INSTRUCTIONS:  Teacher Conferences Info Letter

A reminder that conferences are on the following dates:

Wednesday, December 9th from 4 – 7PM (School schedule as usual)

Wednesday, December 16th from 1 – 4PM (*Special schedule—see below)

*Please note that there will be a special schedule developed for 12/16 to reflect the early release that day. We are working with the transportation department to see if we can arrange a 12:30 dismissal on this day so that teachers can have a 30-minute break before the first conference at 1PM. We will share out the schedule as soon as it is finalized.

Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal

GPA Updates

Newton South GPA Update

As a follow up to first term report cards being released this past Monday, here is an update on GPA as we know there have been questions, especially for Uuniors:

As has been shared previously, the Newton South/Newton North joint GPA Committee met this summer to make recommendations regarding how grades earned during the 2019-2020 school year would factor into student GPA. While the school year was disrupted in March, students were awarded final grades using our traditional grading system. This allowed for a continuation of both schools’ long-standing practices for calculating GPA. The one notable wrinkle was that final course grades of “P” were not factored into the GPA at all, even in those courses that have traditionally counted toward GPA.

The GPA Committee has continued to meet during the fall to prepare recommendations for the two school communities regarding GPA practices in relation to our modified grading during remote/hyflex learning. The committee has recommended a plan to calculate a GPA for the 2020-2021 school year to be reported as a “stand alone” that will not be incorporated into a cumulative GPA. Students will receive a GPA for this year in accordance with the following values:

A=4.0, B=3.0, P=2.0, NG=1.0

A weighted GPA will also be calculated, adding an additional 0.5 for each course at the ACP level and an additional 1.0 for each course at the Honors/AP level.

The committee will continue their work and will make additional recommendations once the district makes the final determination regarding grading practices for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond.

Chris Hardiman,
Interim Vice Principal

Parent-Teacher Conferences SIGN-UPs Nov 11/29 @7PM

Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming.  SIGN UP is REQUIRED! For new parents, please sign up early as spots are limited.  

  • To make sure that all families have the opportunity to see teachers, there will be two phases to the sign-up process.
  • During the first phase of sign-ups, from 7pm on SUNDAY 11/29 until 7pm on WEDNESDAY, 12/2, you may only schedule a maximum of 3 teacher conferences per child. 
  • During the second phase of sign-ups, from 7am on THURSDAY 12/3 until 7pm on SUNDAY, 12/6, you may sign up for a maximum of 3 additional conferences. Total conferences CANNOT exceed 6 per child.  

DETAILS on SIGN-UP INSTRUCTIONS:  Teacher Conferences Info Letter

A reminder that conferences are on the following dates:

Wednesday, December 9th from 4 – 7pm (School schedule as usual)

Wednesday, December 16th from 1 – 4pm (*Special schedule—see below)

*Please note that there will be a special schedule developed for 12/16 to reflect the early release that day. We are working with the transportation department to see if we can arrange a 12:30 dismissal on this day so that teachers can have a 30-minute break before the first conference at 1:00pm. We will share out the schedule as soon as it is finalized.

Chris Hardiman
NSHS Interim Vice Principal