April 12 Update from Principal Stembridge

Dear Newton South Families,

Hello everyone (click here for a NSHS hello!). I hope you and yours are well, and that you were able to celebrate holidays with your family.

It’s been a month.

That’s both a measure of time and an emotional statement!  It feels like a new world, or a different era altogether. I so feel for our students. They are brave and resilient, yes, and also experiencing a drastic sudden change to their world that only exists in times of crisis. Not in recent memory (and for our students, never) has our big, powerful country been brought to a standstill, where the goals of life after Newton South (college, work, etc.) have become unknowns so quickly. 

I say all of that to say this: it is vital that we take care of our (students, adults – all of us!) emotional health first, middle, and last. School has always been about community and connection, and we aim to capitalize on that more than ever in the days to come. Below you’ll see opportunities we have created for students to connect, as well as our strategy to reach out to families and students who may need additional supports. I am sure that different households experienced our transition to more structured learning opportunities differently. Our teachers continue to learn as we go, and we will be making adjustments as we come to understand what is working and what needs to change. Later this week will share a survey with students and families to hear their thoughts and suggestions for how we are proceeding.

I want to close by expressing my continued pride and appreciation for our faculty and staff. They are truly rising to the extraordinary challenge of leading distance learning, and are embracing new technologies, ideas, and strategies in efforts to connect with all of our NSHS students. I want to commend our students for doing their part: trying their best to navigate this new way of doing school.  

And, as always, thank you for your partnership.  Below are some specific updates.

Best regards,

Joel Stembridge

Principal, Newton South High School

We have organizational support available for students: We are directly contacting students who are part of our many support programs (after school program, small studies, peer tutoring, special education, etc.) to offer help. In addition, we will be hosting general Monday office hours for students who would like help – please contact your guidance counselor to sign up for these.

We also offer this guide to “HOW TO GET ORGANIZED ON MONDAYS” There is no “one-size-fits-all” organizational plan that will work for all students; herein are options for you to consider – feel free to use, modify, or not use, depending on what works.

We have opportunities for students to connect for fun: Newton South Community Gatherings – April 2020. In addition to clubs, teams, and casts who have been connecting online, we are offering community gatherings (including lunch chats, mini-classes like journaling or cooking, and dancing/singing!) for students, hosted by NSHS students and staff- see the current offerings here!  Don’t see what you are looking for? Contact Mx. Parker and make a suggestion!

End of the Year Activities: we continue to wait for guidance from the state for if/when we will return to school. We should hear in the coming week or two, as the current return date of May 4th is getting closer. We will start working next week with our senior class officers and the senior class to develop alternate plans in the event that we are not able to return to school this spring.