Author Archives: Bigelow PTO

School Committee meeting this Monday, March 1

There is a School Committee meeting this Monday, March 1 at 7:00PM.  You can watch the meeting on NewTV, watch via Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/390017072), or dial in to the meeting (1-646-558-8656, meeting ID 390 017 072).

Updated Virtual Office Hours:
School Committee will now be holding virtual office hours this coming Sunday, March 7 from 8:00-9:00PM.  Click here for the Facebook link.

Upcoming School Committee Agenda:

  • Superintendent Update
  • Public Comment
  • Middle School Update
  • Planning Update
  • EDCO Discussion and Vote
  • Vote on Draft Minutes from 9/14/20, 9/21/20, 10/5/20, 10/19/20 meetings

Meeting documents can be found here.  Documents are regularly added before the meeting.

How to Participate in Public Comment:
To participate in the Public Comment portion of a meeting, please submit your NAME and ADDRESS by email with the subject line “Public Comment for [DATE]” to schoolcommittee@newton.k12.ma.us PRIOR to 7:00 PM, the official start time of the meeting. You will need to join the Virtual Meeting by computer or phone to participate. During the Public Comment portion of the meeting, the School Committee Chairperson will call your name. At that time, unmute your microphone and turn on video to provide public comment. You are limited to 3 minutes.

As always, we are very happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have. Feel free to contact us via email at schoolcommittee@newton.k12.ma.us.

Sincerely,
The Newton School Committee

Bigelow Cares Fund

In our most recent meeting with the PTO Board and Mr. Harrison, we discussed ways that we can reach out and help those members of the Bigelow community that are vulnerable and currently in need of a helping hand during this pandemic. To that end, we have decided to create a Bigelow Cares Fund to assist the families or individuals who need our help.

We are part of an extraordinarily kind and giving community at Bigelow, one that has always shone in its generosity. We hope that you will consider making a donation to fund this effort, no matter the amount.

$20 | $50 | $75

$100 | $150 | $250

The PTO will make an initial donation of $500 to the Bigelow Cares Fund.

Disbursement of funds will be overseen by Mr. Harrison, respecting the privacy and dignity of the recipients.

Many thanks for considering this request, and as always, we are grateful for your support of the Bigelow community.

Sincerely,
The Bigelow PTO Board

Free weekly COVID-19 testing for all students and staff

A message from the Newton Public School Health Department:

Dear NPS Families,

Next week, the Newton Public Schools will launch free weekly COVID-19 testing for all students and staff. The testing will be phased in, beginning with all staff and all high school students the week of March 1st. You will find a timeline below for phasing in students at all school levels.

The district has partnered with JCM Analytics to conduct the testing. Tests are “pooled” together to increase the number of students that can be tested at one time and reduce costs. JCM uses a shallow nasal swab test to collect the sample. Test kits will be distributed at school to be taken home by students. The sample will then be obtained at home and returned to school to be sent to the lab for testing. Test results will be returned within 48 hours. You will only be notified if your student’s test results are positive or if your student is deemed to be a close contact of a positive case.

Detailed information on this COVID-19 testing program can be found in this Frequently Asked Questions document. You can also visit our webpage at: https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/3826 for details on sample collection and testing process.

This testing is VOLUNTARY and there is no requirement to participate. 

Should you wish for your student to participate, please complete the consent form as soon as possible. The consent form can be found in the Aspen Family/Student Portal. Instructions for finding and completing the consent form can be found here. Translated consent forms and paper consent forms are available from your student’s school.

PLEASE NOTE: if you previously completed a consent form for the Abbott Binax NOW symptomatic testing via the Project Beacon website, you MUST complete this new consent form.

If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 Pool Testing Program please email the district at community@newton.k12.ma.us.

TIMELINE for Testing Roll Out

Week of March 1

Testing for all NPS staff in buildings or at the Education Center. Test kits distributed to high school students who have opted-in. (more information will be sent to HS families from building principals)

Week of March 8

Testing begins for high school students who have opted-in.

Week of March 22

Testing begins for Pre-K and elementary students who have opted-in.

Week of April 12: Testing begins for middle school students who have opted-in.

Virtual 8th Grade Student and Family Night – Thursday, March 18

A message from Newton North High School Vice Principal:

Hello Day/Bigelow 8th Grade Students and Families!

My name is Amy Winston and I am the Vice Principal at NNHS. This is the first of many messages that you will receive from me, this spring, about the transition from 8th to 9th grade.

As we head into March next week, we truly dive into planning for the 2021-2022 school year at NNHS. That planning includes the course registration process for students.

I am writing to ask you to Save the Date of Thursday, March 18th, for a Virtual 8th Grade Student and Family Night. More details, including time and zoom links, will be sent in the weeks ahead. For now, please place this date on your calendar for the evening of 3/18.

One other important date for the family calendar: Friday, 4/16. Not only is this the Friday before April vacation, it is also the day by which ALL student course requests for fall must be finalized.

We are sad that we won’t be able to welcome you to North, in person, in March but we look forward to supporting you to the best of our ability through this transition process.

Thanks so much!

Amy Winston

NNHS Vice Principal

SEPAC presents: Basic Rights under Special Education Laws – March 2, 2021

Please join Newton SEPAC on Tuesday, March 2, at 7:30 pm for a virtual presentation on: Basic Rights under Special Education Laws

Whether you’re new to the world of special education or a seasoned (scarred?) special education parent, there are always new and helpful insights from each Basic Rights presentation!

We’re excited to have Leslie Lockhart as our presenter. Leslie is the Mass Advocates for Children’s Helpline Coordinator. She was also a founding member and driving force of the original Newton SEPAC.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://middlesex-mass-edu.zoom.us/j/98538291113?pwd=eW0yMzRPd3lSR0RZbHNtSmw2ZFVKdz09

Meeting ID: 985 3829 1113
Passcode: 457897
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,98538291113#,,,,*457897# US (Chicago)
+16465588656,,98538291113#,,,,*457897# US (New York)

8th Grade: High School Process and Key dates

It is time for 8th grade students to start the process of registering for high school courses. Here are some important dates regarding Newton North High School’s course registration process:

  • Monday, March 8 -Monday, March 29
    Teachers begin entering course recommendations into Aspen.
  • Monday, March 15
    Newton North High School Opportunities books are available online. This book contains Newton North course descriptions and elective choices. You should begin to read this catalog with your student!
    Thursday, March 18
    Virtual 8th Grade Student and Family Night- more information coming.
  • Wednesday, March 24
    During the school day, Jessica Pierce (Grade 8 Counselor) will present information regarding the registration process for Newton North to 8th grade students.
  • Monday, March 29 – Sunday, April 11
    8th Graders enter their elective choices into Aspen. Individual teacher recommendations will be available in Aspen to Bigelow students starting at 5:00 PM. You will also be able to log into Aspen to view the course recommendations and selections your student has made, however, classes can only be entered through the student portal. Please review this information with your student.
  • Sunday, April 11
    Course requests MUST be entered into Aspen by 8:00 PM. Counselor will be checking all student course registration requests in Aspen.
  • Months of March and April
    Special Education Courses will be determined with you and your student at the scheduled IEP/Transition meetings. Your student will participate in his/her meeting and you will be notified of the time and date. Please do not cancel this appointment- we are not on a flexible schedule.

Bigelow Principal Search: You can be part of the Selection Advisory Committee

Parents/guardians can participate in the Bigelow Principal search process as a member of the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC), and/or during the “finalist days” when the candidates will spend a good part of the day at Bigelow.

The SAC will take into consideration the needs of the school and be advisory to me as I appoint the next principal. The primary responsibility of SAC members is to craft interview questions, interview candidates, and recommend semi-finalist candidates. If you are interested in participating in the SAC, you will need to be available on the dates listed below.  

    • March 3 – 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • March 10: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • March 12: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In addition to the SAC, parents/guardians may also volunteer to participate in small group interviews and larger meet and greets with the finalist candidates the mornings of March 24 and 25. Please notify the Bigelow PTO at Bigelowbulldogs@gmail.com if you are interested in participating in the SAC or the small group interviews. 

First Annual Crossing Guard Appreciation Day 

crossing guard winter

Crossing guards play an important role supporting our families’ safety as they access schools and neighborhoods across the Commonwealth. This first ever Annual Crossing Guard Appreciation campaign begins with a crossing guard of the year nomination process, followed by Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, and culminates with announcing the Crossing Guard(s) of the Year award winners at the Annual Safe Routes to School Awards Ceremony in June. The overall goal is to draw attention to and honor the hard work of crossing guards across Massachusetts and to recognize those crossing guards who go above and beyond. Brought to you by: MA Safe Routes To School

Ways to Show Crossing Guard Appreciation

  1. Take a picture with your favorite crossing guard and nominate them here.
  2. Post the photo on social media and be sure to use our hashtag #MACGAppreciationDay when posting on Instagram and/or Facebook.
  3. Send a thank you card showing that you care and acknowledge their hard work. Click here to print out a card we have created for you.
  4. Simply say “Thank You” as you pass them in the crosswalk.
  5. Work with your school’s PTO or PTA to organize a thank you breakfast for your crossing guards or bring them their favorite warm beverage in these chilly winter months.
  6. Gift them their favorite snack, a pair of hand warmers to stay warm during winter, or a mini pocket-fan to stay cool during summer.
  7. Schools can download the PDF flyer in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Haitian Creole and distribute to parents/guardians via email or backpack mail here.

CAS Presentations for 6th, 7th and 8th Grades in March

In March, grades 6th, 7th and 8th will have CAS presentations.

CAS programs are sponsored by the Bigelow PTO thanks to your contributions!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
7th Grade Presentation by Corey DePina
“Something from Nothing – A History of Hip Hop”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021
6th Grade Author Visit with Julie Berry
“Adventures with Books”

Thursday, March 18, 2021
8th Grade Visit with Civil Rights Leader Ruby Bridges

February Break COVID-19 Safety

From NPS Health Services

As we return to school, Newton Public Schools families & staff are urged to take responsibility and do their part to help keep us all safe. Everyone is required to follow Governor Baker’s orders.

Massachusetts Travel Order requirements:

All visitors (even children) entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, from higher risk states must complete a Massachusetts Travel Form and quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Massachusetts or produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.

  • This order applies even “just for the day” for celebrations or a ski tip.
  • Owning/renting a home in another state is NOT an exception.
  • This order applies to all US states except Hawaii as of 2/8/21 – this can change. Check the website for a full, up-to-date, list of COVID risk designation per state at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order#lower-risk-states-
  • If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arriving in Massachusetts, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
  • Children age 10 and younger who travel must follow the quarantine or testing plan their parent elects (testing option or 10-day quarantine option). Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not required.
  • Individuals who are COVID-19-recovered, meaning individuals who tested positive more than 10 days but less than 90 days ago and who do not have symptoms, do not need to obtain a negative PCR test prior to traveling to, or quarantine upon arrival to, Massachusetts.  COVID-19 recovered individuals arriving in Massachusetts must have documentation of the positive PCR test result, including the date it was taken, available if asked. This exception does not include COVID-19-recovered individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, who must follow all testing and quarantine guidance outlined in the travel rules.

Returning to school:

  • If you traveled, you must have received your negative COVID-19 test results before returning to school. Or, for children 10 and younger, their parents have received negative PCR results, unless the whole family is quarantining for 10 days.
  • Complete your Daily Health Assessment every morning and stay home to seek medical advice if you have any symptoms and inform your child’s School Nurse.
  • Contact your child’s School Nurse if you have questions.

Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health