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

Beginning of Year Checklist

Your Beginning of Year Checklist

  1. Sign up for Newsletter
  2. Confirm Directory Listing and Pay PTSO Dues
  3. Check out open Volunteer Positions
  4. Make any extra donation with a credit card or PayPal

CELEBRATE SOUTH: OCT 15 – 21

What is Celebrate South? Celebrate South is a weeklong event where we celebrate all the students that make South an amazing place to learn and grow. This year it will kick-off with a Girl’s Soccer Game vs Strongsville High School from Ohio (October 15th) and wrap up with a Varsity Football game vs Boston Latin (October 21st). But we all know that South is not just sports. In between there will be a production by South Stage, Passing Time Talent Shows, a school-wide Fence Decorating Contest, Spirit Week Theme Days, Music and Dance performances and so much more!

Click here to learn more, donate, and/or volunteer!

NEW CLOTHING BINS ON CAMPUS

Have you noticed the new Clothing Bins in front of the tennis courts on Brandeis Road? Newton Public Schools placed the bins to help make donating, reusing and recycling unwanted clothing, shoes, linens and textiles easy and convenient. Beginning November 1, textiles in Massachusetts can no longer be disposed of in trash and in our blue bins (and never go in the green bins). Textiles and shoes that can be reused or recycled account for approximately 5% of our waste in Massachusetts. Helpsy takes all clean textiles and items that are on their list and will reuse higher grade items. Nationally, 50% is reusable, 45% is recyclable.
Newton Public Schools (NPS) is partnering with Helpsy to collect whatever we can wear, sleep in, or dry ourselves off with. This includes anything made from wool, silk, linen, cotton, polyester, leather, vinyl, hemp and rayon. Find a full list of accepted items here. Higher grade items are resold to thrift stores in North America and other secondhand markets across the world; lower grade items are turned into rags or things like stuffing and insulation. Helpsy is a Public Benefit Corporation and a Certified B Corp with an environmental mission. Donations generate a small amount of revenue for NPS which will likely be used for sustainability work at NPS.
Bins at NPS schools brought in over 25,000 lbs of clothing in August, which equates $2,500! 
The NPS Facilities staff will be the primary point of contact for any concerns or issues related to the bins (damage, vandalism, need for a pick-up). Call 617-559-9000 or email community@newton.k12.ma.us
Find answers to frequently asked questions here.

HALLOWEEN WINDOW PAINTING: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED LAST WEEK OF OCTOBER

Volunteers are needed to help with the 23rd annual Halloween Window Painting event, taking place this year on Saturday, October 29 (raindate: October 30 ).

Registration is now open for student painters in grades 3-8, and merchants in Auburndale, Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, Newtonville, Nonantum, and West Newton have offered up their windows to the creativity of these young artists.

We need help posting assignment sheets on participating windows before the event, and supervising the painting on the day of the event. If you’re a high schooler, parent, or guardian with fond memories of Halloween Window Painting or just have an appreciation for public art, we’d love to have you join our crew of volunteers. To learn more or sign up to help, contact lrucinski@newtonma.gov or sign up for a specific volunteer task here.

ATTENTION SENIOR PARENTS: Seal of Biliteracy deadline Oct. 19

Parents — please see below the announcement shared with all our seniors.  Please let us know if you have any questions about how you can support your child in pursuing a Seal of Biliteracy.
Attention Seniors!!
Do you speak a language other than English?  If you read and write it as well, let colleges and future employers know by earning a Seal of Biliteracy on your transcript!
The process is simple, and you can use it to demonstrate skills in any language you’ve learned, whether at home, in school, or elsewhere.
Click HERE for detailed information about the Seal, including how to qualify and a link to register.
The deadline for registration is Wednesday, October 19.
If you have questions, contact Ms. Murphy-Ferguson, World Language Department Chair, via e-mail, Schoology message, or live in room 6209.

LIGERBOTS OPEN HOUSE: September 29th, 6:00pm

Does your student have an interest in STEM or business, including software, engineering, finance, public relations, fundraising, writing, photojournalism, videography, graphic design, or public speaking?

The LigerBots is FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2877, Newton North and South’s combined, award-winning team that builds a new 120-pound robot every year to compete in a robot game with other high school teams. LigerBots runs like a small business, and students gain real-world skills through project-based learning in many STEAM fields. Our experienced mentors act as teachers and guides to help enrich your student’s experience with the team.

Meeting times in the fall are on Mondays in the Newton North engineering room from 6:30-9:00 p.m. and on Thursdays at Newton South from 6:30-9:00 p.m. New team members in grades 9 – 12 from the two Newton high schools are invited to any and all meetings. We are also seeking adult mentors, especially in the fields of web design and coding, mechanical engineering, and finance.

If you’re interested, our open house for new team members is September 29th, 6:00 p.m., at Newton South High School. For more information about the LigerBots, please email info@ligerbots.org or visit our website: www.ligerbots.org.

The FROSH Play starts Sept 12

The FROSH Play starts Sept 12 – No cuts! Encourage any interested freshman you know to check it out. More info on southstage.org

 
South Stage Kick off Meeting (for kids) – Tuesday Sept 13th during Lion Block in the Auditorium
 
First official South Stage Supporters meeting (for adults) – Tuesday 9/20 @ 7 pm in Room 9141 between the Auditorium and Main office. Come meet Jeff Knoedler the director of South Stage (and the Interim Fine and Performing Arts Chair) and get your questions answered.
 
-Save the date! 
South Stage Supporters Social
Drinks and snacks in the backyard of Cara Attanucci and James Miner (parents of Ben Miner ’24
Sunday, October 2nd
4-6 pm
87 Winslow Road Waban
Come learn about how you can get involved and get the inside scoop about all things South Stage. Feel free to stop by briefly or come and hang out!
For further info or questions reach out to Cara at cattanucci@gmail.com or (508) 340-0279

FORJ Housing Wants Your Input!

Please join us on Zoom Tuesday, September 20 at 7:30 to give your input on Newton’s proposed zoning changes. This is an important opportunity to influence the future of Newton’s village centers.
 
Zoning laws regulate what can be built and where. For example, zoning determines how tall buildings can be, what can be built where, and what changes can be made to existing buildings. This can impact a village center’s housing supply, economic development, transportation, green space, and how spaces can be used by all our residents. All of these change have the potential to impact racial equity in housing in Newton.
 
The City is considering important changes to our zoning rules for the first time in 30 years. Last summer, the city heard what community members’ envisioned for the village center’s future. Based on that, the City drafted a set of updates to the zoning rules. Now, the city would like input on 3 questions about the updates’ framework for increased density and reduced parking requirements. 
 
In this session, we will review the proposed zoning changes and walk you through how to submit your feedback on the proposed changes.
 
Questions?  Contact Laura Towvim, lgtowvim@gmail.com

Friday, September 16, 2022

 

Hello Newton South!

It has been such a joy to welcome our students back to Newton South. We have begun the year with a palpable positive energy. Our 9th graders have gotten to know our building, and are learning the My-Flex Learning system for our “What-I-Need” or WIN blocks. Our 10th graders and 11th graders are reveling in being upper-class students and our seniors have already decorated Wheeler Commons (sometimes referred to as “Senior Commons”) with Class of 2023 spirit. Below, I also included a few other highlights and updates from our opening weeks so far.

 

The Aleksander Xhoja Band, including Aleksander Xhoja, Jude Seiner and Ben Pistiner from the NSHS Class of 2023 did an amazing job playing on August 31st during the Superintendent’s Opening Meeting for NPS staff. Their music welcomed all of Newton’s educators back to school!

 

Our student athletes began their year with Lions’ Pride Day on Friday, September 2nd. This day is an important tradition, wherein our student athletes learn about what it means to be a Newton South Lion. Athletic Director Pat Gonzalez, and many of our team captains led our newer athletes in team building exercises around our four core values: Choose Kindness, Listen First, Show Respect, and Take Responsibility.

 

The Girls Varsity Soccer Team has just been honored in an articleby TeamUp4Community, an organization that works with the MIAA to promote social responsibility and community giveback through athletics.

 

Our 9th grade play has also begun recruiting. Check out some of their efforts here!

 

As a school, we have begun our year’s work on social-emotional learning, excellence in instruction and equity of access to our curriculum. Below, I wanted to highlight some things that are underway.

 

Social Emotional Learning

As each class starts the year, teachers begin with a process of developing a healthy and welcoming learning community. This is essential for our students to feel comfortable taking academic risks and reaching for higher levels of academic growth as the year continues. This process takes many forms, and includes a classroom collaboration on setting the norms of engagement in the class; this is also one way in which we integrate our anti-bullying curriculum into classrooms in an age-appropriate manner. Students of all grades have also had grade-level meetings with their deans recently where they have been able to ask questions about the year ahead.

 

In WIN blocks, our flexible blocks that allow students to sign up independently for support and activities to meet their needs each week throughout the year, we have started the year off by pre-scheduling all of our students into some key orientation and team building activities. One of those activities is the first September edition of the House Cup, a friendly house-based competition wherein advisories earn points throughout the year by working together to complete a variety of challenges. Of course the house that wins also gets bragging rights and some year-end treats! (I’m not biased or anything, but I am compelled to mention that Cutler House was last year’s champion 😉

 

Our 9th graders spent one of their WIN blocks this week with all the deans learning about substance use and abuse and how it impacts school. This assembly is an important part of our health and wellness curriculum, and I am proud of the way that our students conducted themselves, by showing respect and asking good questions.

 

Continuing our work on social emotional learning, next week we will be hosting two separate WIN-block grade-level assemblies for the 9th and 10th graders on social media use and its impact on teen development. The 10th graders will also be meeting by house in smaller groups, including their deans, counselors, and advisory teachers to engage in a workshop on mental wellness and positive coping strategies. As we progress through these activities, we encourage you to ask your child about how they experienced these assemblies, and to reach out to your child’s dean or counselor if you have any questions or concerns.

 

South Human Rights Council

As a community, Newton Public Schools have always valued diversity, equity, and inclusion. At Newton South, the South Human Rights Council (SHRC) helps lead this work. In the past, they have collaborated with our staff and student affinity groups to support cultural days of awareness and celebrations. Last year, the SHRC, in partnership with other schools in Newton, hosted a No Place for Hate Walk that affirmed our commitment to this work. Importantly, the SHRC also partners with administration to respond to incidents of bias and racism when they occur.

 

Unfortunately, we did have an incident his past Saturday during the ninth grade football game. Someone from a different school community directed an anti-Asian slur at one of our student athletes. Our student told his coach immediately, and swift action was taken by Athletic Director Pat Gonzalez. The adults from the other community were equally appalled at the behavior, took steps to hold their student accountable and to repair with the Newton South community in the moment. I was impressed with the actions taken by our students and the members of our athletic department. I was also appreciative of the way in which the other community addressed this incident and took immediate steps to hold their students accountable. Unfortunately, incidents like these will happen; however, I am heartened to be part of a community that does not stay silent when they do. I plan to continue partnering with the leaders of the SHRC and others in our school community, to respond to this incident and any act that violates our community values.

 

The New Attendance Standard

The deans have been hard at work answering your questions and students’ questions on our new attendance standard. I want to acknowledge that there are a wide variety of opinions on this pilot process. We have also recently become aware that there is some misinformation out there. To that end, we have prepared this FAQ on attendance to help address some of the questions that we have heard.

 

Many of you have quietly mentioned to us that you are appreciative of the clarity and boundaries that this standard is providing to your adolescents – that the policy is reminding them that class attendance is essential to learning. Some of you have also commented that the new attendance standard is helping to reset the students’ mindset after the pandemic changed school dynamics for the past few years. Others of you have expressed concern that this standard will unfairly impact students who are sick or get COVID. I want to assure you that we are using this policy to get kids to class – not to unwittingly punish kids for necessary illness-necessitated or religious absences. As always, we will work with you on issues that arise going forward. We will also be collecting data along the way, and bringing that back to the attendance committee so that they can consider any unintended consequences as we move through implementation. We appreciate your feedback and patience as this progresses.

 

We enjoyed seeing many of you last night at Back-to-School Night. It was wonderful to, once again, be in person. It was great to feel that energy again, and I am looking forward to our continued partnership in support of all of our students.

Respectfully,

Josepha Blocker

Acting Principal

September 19 – 23, 2022

BLUE WEEK
Newton South Families,

We are on to week 3 and halfway through the month of September! It was great to see everyone at Back to School Night this past Thursday, navigating the building and meeting all of our amazing teachers! We hope that for those of you who were able to make it, that you had a great experience and were able to get a feel for what a day at Newton South feels like. Additionally, we hope you had a chance to meet our Deans in the Student Center to learn more about our new Attendance Policy.

The Attendance FAQ can be found here.
The full Attendance Policy can be found here.

Students: looking for a way to get involved? Check out the list of clubs here that you can visit during Lion block, and be sure to take a look at the athletics schedule to see what games are coming up.

Acting Principal Josepha Blocker put out a community update on Friday, September 16. This can be found here.

Last but certainly not least, remember that the district will release a newsletter every two weeks. The most recent newsletter is from Wednesday, September 14 and can be found here.

Here’s to another great week at South! Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Jason Williams (he/him/his)
Vice Principal
Newton South High School

This Week’s Updates
Sign Up for WIN Blocks During Advisory on Monday

Students will sign up for WIN blocks during Advisory on Monday, September 19. They will use the MyFlexLearning app to do so. There will be some special programming for certain grades this week:

Wednesday 9/21: All grade 10 students in Wheeler House will meet in the Field House for a Counseling Center activity
Thursday 9/22: All grade 9 students will meet in the Field House for a presentation by Rob Greenfield
Friday 9/23: All grade 10 students in Goldrick House will meet in the Field House for a Counseling Center activity

List of Colleges Attending Newton South This Week

Attached is a list of colleges visiting Newton South for the week of 9/19 – 9/23. If you have any questions, please reach out to Kathy Sabet, our College and Career Counselor.

The College and Career Center webpage is here.

Senior Parent Post-Secondary Planning Webinar on Thursday, September 22

On Thursday, September 22 at 6:30 PM, we will hold a Senior Parent Post-Secondary Planning Webinar. During this virtual webinar, the Newton South school counselors will discuss everything students and families need to know about school procedures to support students applying to colleges, technical schools, gap years and otherwise preparing for life after high school.

Our Counseling department head, Dan Rubin, sent an email to all seniors on September 8 with more information. Here is a link to the webinar:

https://newton-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/j/89477861834
Passcode: Lions2023

Annual Student Information Update – Please Complete!

Every year, you are required to update student information in Aspen, our student information system. It is very important that families update addresses, emergency contacts, health records, and permissions so that schools have the most accurate and up to date information for students.

This system is also used to determine what student information can be released. Please note that we do have new Opt Out Permissions for the 2022-2023 school year that need your review and preference selections.

Families must update their students’ records by Friday, September 30th. Please use these instructions to access the information and forms in Aspen: Student Information Update Instructions.

Reminders for Students
Lunch

Please be sure to clean up after yourselves when you are done eating. We have sometimes had trash left at tables which has created extra, unnecessary work for our custodial staff. Remember our school values – Choose Kindness, Listen First, Show Respect, and Take Responsibility.

Please note the following from our school handbook, The Orange Lion, regarding lunch:

Students are permitted to eat in the following locations:
The Student Center
Outside, when the weather permits (picnic tables are outside Wheeler House and in the Student Center Courtyard)
The Wheeler, Goldrick or Goodwin Commons
The Field House Lobby
Any supervised area where staff give expressed permission
Auditorium Lobby Tables

Students are NOT permitted to eat in the Library, Auditorium, Lecture Hall, or in hallways.
Students are also not permitted to eat on the floor.

We appreciate your cooperation as we work together to maintain a safe, healthy environment for all.

Parking On Campus

Please do not park along the fence near the athletic fields and Cutler House, or in any fire lane. This is an important access point for city and emergency vehicles and a vital pickup and dropoff point for our school vans. We appreciate your cooperation as we help ensure the safety of all students.

Only seniors who have earned a spot through the parking lottery are allowed to park on campus. Only seniors who have paid for a parking pass at the beginning of the semester are allowed to park on campus, and are only allowed to park in their designated, numbered, yellow-lined space.

Vehicles illegally parked on campus will receive a warning ticket after their first violation. If the vehicle receives a second ticket, it is subject to being towed, at the owner’s expense, if it receives another one.

Here is the parking handbook for Semester 1.

Off-Campus Parking

Students: When parking in off-campus locations in the surrounding neighborhood, please be mindful of the following:
Observe parking restrictions on these roads
Park at least 5 feet away from a driveway so residents can get in and out of their homes
Park near but not on the grass edges if there is no curb so that there is space for pedestrians to walk and for fire trucks and other vehicles to pass through the street
Park thoughtfully to avoid having unparkable spaces between your car and another vehicle
On one-way streets, park in the direction of traffic

Following these guidelines will help keep our surrounding neighborhood safe and reduce congestion in the area. We thank you for your consideration.

Consider Opting-In to the NPS Chromebook Repair Fund

We encourage you to sign up for our Optional Chromebook Repair Fund. For $25 per year, all accidental damage to the device, including screen cracks, liquid spills, damages from dropping, etc. will be covered. Sign-up and payment for the Chromebook Repair Fund is done through the MySchoolBucks Portal.

Grade 10 Families: BMI Opt-In Screening Program

Grade 10 Families:

 

This year, BMI screening will be opt-in for students whose parents/guardians sign them up for the program. If you would like your child to be screened for BMI by the school nurses, please return this form to the school nurses by Monday, September 19.

 

Please see here for the form, which has more information about the program. If you are interested in participating, please print and fill out this form, and return it to the school nurses. If you have any questions, please contact the school nurses at 617-559-6575 or email them at kiritsyk@newton.k12.ma.us and kramerg@newton.k12.ma.us.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jason Williams (he/him/his)
Vice Principal
Newton South High School
140 Brandeis Road
Newton, MA 02459
617-559-6700