Author Archives: Bigelow PTO

Bigelow End-of-Year activities: Get involved!

It’s not too late to get involved in the PTO End-of-Year activities! We have important events happening this spring! If you’re interested in making them happen, while having fun and meeting other Bigelow parents, join us! We are looking for people willing to give some of their time to our students and our school and help with planning, executing and participating at:

  • Big Night
    Online Auction in May, planning starting now
    Contact: Alexia Giannakopoulos – alexiag5@yahoo.com
  • 8th grade activities
    Graduation ceremony, Class of 2021 gift, lawn signs and more
    Contact: Gabriela Kroszynski – frinulia@hotmail.com

i-Ready Diagnostic Reading Assessment fro Grade 7 & 8

From Todd Harrison, Bigelow Principal

Students in grade 7 and 8 and on Cluster 6B will participate in the spring administration of the i-Ready Diagnostic reading assessment. This is a formative assessment of reading skills that we began last year district-wide to learn more about our students’ literacy skills in order to inform our instruction. Cluster 6A students have an assembly on April 14, and will take iReady on April 15 and 16.

Given the many obstacles to teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to have a clear sense of students’ strengths and challenges as readers as we end the school year. For this reason, we ask that you please do not assist your child with the assessment.

All students will take the assessment with their teachers on Zoom. Below are the testing procedures.

In addition, when students are not testing or in the assembly on April 14, teachers will assign asynchronous work for students so that they can begin preparing google calendars for the new schedule which launches on April 28.

TESTING PROCEDURES FOR STUDENTS

  • Students should find a quiet place where they can take the test undisturbed.
  • Students will be taking the assessment remotely over a 2 hour period.
  • Teachers and support staff will be proctoring via Zoom.
  • Students will be put into individual breakout rooms and asked to share their screens.
  • Teachers/support staff will circulate between breakout rooms during testing.
  • Students can request help using the “Ask for Help” feature in Zoom.
  • If possible, students should use headphones while taking the test and have scrap paper/writing utensils available.
  • Students should use a Chromebook. IPads don’t work.

Proposed Start/End Times for the 2021-22 School Year

From the Superintendent’s office: 

On Tuesday, April 6, the Fall Planning Group, composed of parent representatives from a range of organizations, NTA leaders and teacher representatives, building and district administrators, and School Committee members, met and formally put forward a recommendation for the district to adopt new start and end times for the 2021-22 school year.

Middle Schools:

  • Bigelow: 8:05 a.m. – 2:35 p.m. (early release Wednesdays at 1:50 p.m.)
  • Brown: 8:20 a.m. – 2:50 p.m. (early release Wednesdays at 2:05 p.m.)
  • Day: 7:55 a.m. – 2:25 p.m. (early release Wednesdays at 1:40 p.m.)
  • Oak Hill: 7:50 a.m. – 2:20 p.m. (early release Wednesdays at 1:35 p.m.)

High Schools

  • 9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. (early release Tuesdays at 3:25 p.m.)

The School Committee will review this proposal and recommendation at its Monday, April 12, 2021 meeting. To learn more about the proposal under consideration and the impact of the changes piloted this school year, please join us at a webinar next week:  Tuesday, April 13th at 6:30 p.m. – https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/3825

Bigelow Principal Search: Meet the Candidates

The two candidates had a chance to meet with Bigelow parents/guardians, faculty/staff and administrators last week. Please find below their short bios and the links to the recordings of the sessions.

Chassity Coston
Chassity was most recently the secondary school principal at the International School of Kuwait. Previously, she was the middle school coordinator at the American School of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Earlier, she was an assistant principal in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Chassity’s teaching career was in the Durham, North Carolina Public Schools where she taught math. Chassity has her bachelor’s from North Carolina Central University and a master’s from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Link to the recording of the open session with Ms. Chassity Coston: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RDsTQsFQEA

Please take a moment to review the session if you are interested, and share your feedback here: https://forms.gle/vt7uDYKKJ8qQwU259

 

Jamie Yadoff
Jamie is currently vice principal at the Peirce School (K-8) in Brookline. Previously, she was an English and social studies  teacher at Peirce. She began her teaching career as a social studies teacher in Lexington, where she was also an 8th grade team leader. Jamie has her bachelor’s from Northern Illinois University, a master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Endicott College. 

Link to the recording of the open session with Ms. Jaime Yadoff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnozG0YReNM

Please take a moment to review the session if you are interested, and share your feedback here: https://forms.gle/vt7uDYKKJ8qQwU259

Transportation Update

From Middle and High School Bus Passes

Bus registration for middle school is now open. If you are NOT a current rider and wish to take the bus, log into our online registration system here: MySchoolBucks bus registration link. Current riders who wish to cancel their pass should have received an email with a cancellation form. All riders will be required to download a new pass on April 12th as seat assignments will change.

Other great ways to arrive at school: Walking, Biking, and Cycling!

As we plan for a full return to school, we know there will be increased traffic at our schools. To help mitigate traffic congestion and improve safety, our Safe Routes to School Teams have been working hard to identify safe and efficient ways for students to walk and bike to school. They have even identified spots for families to park a few blocks away from the school building and walk the rest of the way. We do ask families who are driving to review the Blue Zone rules.

Below are links to information and resources available on the NPS website:

Full in-person Learning on April 28

From the Principal’s Office:

If you wish to change your child’s learning model from distance to in-person or from in-person to distance for the final two months of school (April 28-June 22) please fill out the appropriate form by April 4.  If you do not want to make a change, you do NOT have to fill out or return the form.

Here is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document with current information about re-opening Bigelow to full in-person learning on April 28.

If you have additional questions, Bigelow is holding a Parent Information Meeting on the re-opening on Monday, March 29, 7-7:45pm on zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://newton-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/j/82857683610
Meeting ID: 828 5768 3610
Passcode: Bigelow

Bigelow Principal Search: Meet the Candidates

From David Fleishman, Superintendent of Schools: 

Dear Bigelow Families:

Over the past few weeks, the Selection Advisory Committee, consisting of teachers, parents and administrators, worked thoroughly to interview candidates and select semi-finalists. Last week, the semi-finalist round was held at Brown. The semi-finalist round requires candidates to share their observations and reflections on a range of educational and leadership issues and scenarios. 

We are pleased to announce that we have two candidates who are scheduled to have a finalist day at Bigelow. This will give them the chance to meet with Bigelow parents/guardians, faculty/staff and administrators. This will also be an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about each candidate’s vision for the school and to ask them questions. 

Finalists are:

Chassity Coston
Chassity was most recently the secondary school principal at the International School of Kuwait. Previously, she was the middle school coordinator at the American School of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Earlier, she was an assistant principal in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Chassity’s teaching career was in the Durham, North Carolina Public Schools where she taught math. Chassity has her bachelor’s from North Carolina Central University and a master’s from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Jamie Yadoff
Jamie is currently vice principal at the Peirce School (K-8) in Brookline. Previously, she was an English and social studies  teacher at Peirce. She began her teaching career as a social studies teacher in Lexington, where she was also an 8th grade team leader. Jamie has her bachelor’s from Northern Illinois University, a master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Endicott College. 

Parents/guardians will have a chance to meet with Chassity on Wednesday, March 31 and with Jamie on Thursday, April 1. Both meetings are scheduled to take place from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. A link will be provided in a separate email prior to the meetings.

We hope you will join us. 

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools

Bigelow Spring Sports Survey

Please answer the Spring Sports Survey  by Wednesday, March 31.  If you have more than one middle school student, please submit one response for each student.

As part of our re-opening on April 28 for full in-person learning five days per week, the Newton middle schools are planning to offer a limited program of after school sports to interested students.  Each sport would probably meet two afternoons per week for practice and contests against other Newton middle schools, and the cost would probably be half of the current user fee (approx. $90).  All sports will follow COVID protocols for safety and NPS guidelines for participation.

To help us with our planning, we would like to do a preliminary Spring Sports Survey to gauge the interest for each sport.  Please answer by Wednesday, March 31.  If you have more than one middle school student, please submit one response for each student.

Please note: Final details are still being worked out about spring sports. All sports may not end up being offered; they are dependent upon interest and coaching availability.

Grade 6 Basketball Club will continue to be offered on Fridays until further notice. Sign Up: https://forms.gle/PDMEWKWFAQqNQzmL7

 

How to transfer from in-person learning to distance-only

From the NPS Office of Secondary Education: 

Dear High School Hybrid Families,

As you may know, Newton Public Schools is transitioning to full in-person learning for high school students on Monday April 26th. All students who wish to do so will be able to attend classes in the school building. Students who wish to remain in distance-only are allowed to do so as well.

Students currently in the hybrid model will automatically transition to full-time in-person learning (four days per week for most students). However, given the change to the learning environment, we are providing the option for students to transfer from hybrid (in-person) learning to distance-only. Below you will find the form to request a transfer from in-person learning to distance-only.  Note that your student’s learning model on April 26 will be their learning model for the remainder of the school year. We will not make additional learning model changes later.

THE FORM TO REQUEST A TRANSFER FROM IN-PERSON TO DISTANCE-ONLY IS DUE ON APRIL 4TH AT 12:00 MIDNIGHT.

Please note: You should only complete the transfer request form if you no longer wish your student to attend school in-person.

TRANSFER REQUEST FORM: ( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfa9FgJknGleL0TfHoYDSbeJqeasMBe_Tw3cVffcEnnenKjqw/viewform?usp=pp_url&entry.386432054=Dyett,+Thomas&entry.869127702=201601549&entry.149297374=Newton+North+High+School&entry.2060219398=11)

You must complete one form per student. If you would like to continue attending school in person in the school building, you do not need to do anything.

Your student’s high school will reach out with more information about the full in-person learning model shortly.

Sincerely,

NPS Office of Secondary Education

Please view translations below:

Simplified Chinese: 体中文

Japanese: 日本人

Korean: 한국어

Portuguese: Português

Russian: русский

Spanish: Español

Family Feedback Survey on District Grading Policy

From NPS Math Department

Dear families and caregivers,

This school year, in response to the pandemic and in an effort to be more equitable, we adapted our grading system to its current form.  In response to lessons learned from this year’s grading system, the likely continuing effects of the pandemic, and our collective ongoing learning about equitable grading practices, a working group of educators in grades 6-12 has been formed with the ultimate goal of making a recommendation for a grading system for the 21-22 school year.

Feedback from families is an important part of our process and will help inform next steps as we consider potential improvements to the grading system used in our middle and high schools. We are providing this video for additional information: https://youtu.be/k7MsjlscHOg.

Please complete this short survey (https://forms.gle/iJPq8Z4ANmpac9qy7) to help us capture your experience with the current grading system. Thank you in advance for your time.

Translations:

Jennifer Letourneau
(she/her/hers) Why I include these

Math Department Head