Author Archives: Community Notes

The Boys & Girls Club of Newton Virtual Auction

Online 24/7 Auction ends at 11:00 AM Monday, November 23.  Get your bids in. 

Bid and Donate to Support Newton Youth Today

For every $ you donate now will turn into $2!

For those whose donations* are directed to the
tuition assistance program (scroll below for details and to donate) of our Out-of-School Time Program
your cash gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000.

Thank you!

SEPAC: Special Education Rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Newton SEPAC Meeting:  Monday, November 23, 7:30-9 p.m. via Zoom
Please join Newton SEPAC for a presentation on Special Education Rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic
They will discuss the most current DESE decisions and guidelines affecting special education students in Massachusetts during the pandemic. Some of the areas covered will include IEP service delivery, compensatory services, evaluations, administrative timelines, etc. There will also be time for Q&A from families.
Presented by:  Daniel Heffernan, Esq., Newton parent and Special Education Attorney at Kotin Crabtree and Strong, LLP

Reminder: Daily Health Assessment

From the NPS Office of Secondary Education: 

As we begin our in-person hybrid learning model this week, we remind you to please complete the daily health assessment with your student prior to school each day. Guidance from Newton Health and Human Services requires the following:

  • Staff and students are required to complete a daily health assessment at home prior to coming to school. Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms must stay home from school. Anyone who develops symptoms during the school day will be dismissed.

Please help keep our school community healthy by doing your part.

Thank you and we will see your student(s) this week!

NPS Daily Health Assessment

“Stamped” Book Club for Teens and Tweens

Hi all, we’re excited to announced that, thanks to FORJ enthusiasm, we have put together a 4-session book club on Stamped.  Here are the details:

  • It’s for tweens and teens, we have youth from 5th to 12th grades participating.
  • Young people from all locations are invited — Florida, Maine, Kentucky, Tortola, Newton…
  • Each of the 4 sessions will happen on Wednesdays from 5pm-6:30pm (EST), starting Aug 5th.  It’s totally fine if you need to miss a session (or two); we know August is vacation for some and start of school for others.
  • It’s designed to be fun and interesting — Akim Jocelyn is our lead facilitator.  He is a rising senior at Newton South HS and has recruited a diverse group of his classmates to facilitate small groups via Zoom.  Everyone will be in a group of 4-5 peers of similar ages and will have plenty of time to ask questions and share perspectives.
  • There is a sliding scale for payment from $10-100.  We want to pay each of our facilitators and the more money we raise, the more they get.
  • The reading load is manageable.  The book is about 250 pages and so each session will cover 60-70 pages.  My son Becket, who’s 10.5, and I have been listening to the audiobook read by co-author Jason Reynolds and are learning a LOT — so far about the role of the Portuguese, William Lloyd Garrison, the Haitian Revolution, and Jefferson.  It’s so engaging that he gets into the car and asks to put on Stamped.  We have the hard copy too, which we’ll read through before each session.
  • Signup and more information here: Workshops and Events — Conditioning Leaders

Please me know if you have any questions.  The sign up is on Madeline McNeely’s website (she’s a Bigelow FORJ mom and is hosting it for free) — pass on to your friends and relatives too!

Workshops and Events — Conditioning Leaders

Thank you and have a great day,

Kate Carpenter Bernier

FORJ Meeting on  “How To Talk About Race With Your Children”

“How To Talk About Race With Your Children”
with Mike Feldstein and Daniel Arroyo
Wednesday, July 29th from 7 – 8: 15 pm, with optional meeting time to further connect from 8:15-8:30pm 

Discussing race with our children is critical.  But how do we do this in a constructive, age-appropriate way? How do we answer their questions when we aren’t sure what to say?  How do we talk about racist incidents in Newton, the news, and the METCO program?

Mike Feldstein, beloved 5th grade teacher at Horace Mann and 25-year veteran of talking about race, and Daniel Arroyo, incredible METCO counselor at Oak Hill, Bowen, Memorial-Spaulding, and Zervas will lead us in an engaging and interactive session. They will provide insights, guidance, and opportunities to discuss specific situations. This session will be relevant for adults dealing with kids of all ages.  Please come to learn and commune with other folks in the same position.

Mike and Daniel would love to hear your questions in advance.  Maybe you’ve had a situation you weren’t sure how to handle?  Or a question from your child that you didn’t know how to address?  Please submit your question on the RSVP form.

From buses to bike routes, Newton reexamines how kids will get to school this fall

Original post from The Boston Globe. By Rhian Lowndes Boston University journalist, Updated June 26, 2020, 1:48 p.m.

Newton Schools are preparing for the fall, but the way students will arrive is going to look a lot different than before the pandemic.

While he waits for state guidance, Liam Hurley, the assistant superintendent and chief financial and administrative officer for Newton Public Schools, said in an interview he doesn’t want to guess how school buses might proceed. Continue reading…

Free buddy program with high school students teaching K-8

Dear NPS Elementary/Middle School Teachers and Principals,

We are Greater Boston Against Corona – a group of high school students coming together to help our community.

Recently we have established a free buddy program over the summer with high school students teaching kids in grades K-8 virtually in subjects such as math, reading, writing, French and Spanish (beginner), and fine arts. We match a high school volunteer with a child to practice skills. We create a personal 1:1 relationship to ensure the child has a productive summer.

To sign up for tutoring there is a link on our website You can contact or 781-369-5321 for more information.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could forward this email to your families to spread the word.


The Greater Boston Against Corona Team


Dear NPS Elementary/Middle School Teachers and Principals,

We, Peter Dukakis and Rachel Kimball, are the leaders/founders of STEMentors, a program at Newton North, whose purpose is to bring engaging STEM lessons to K-8 students in Newton, through trips to schools, expos, libraries, and virtual 1:1 mentoring. Our main objective is to spark curiosity and inspire students!

We are hosting six guest speakers this summer, all who are very inspiring and have incredible insight! These sessions will include the following topics: Software Engineering, Computational Chemistry & Drug Discovery, Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Synthetic Biology, and Airborne and Space-based Sensor Engineering.

Every session is virtual and free of charge. There will be a Q and A session for kids to submit their questions. More information and the sign-up form is on our website: Sessions are geared towards students entering grades 3-8; however, kids of all ages (and parents) are more than welcome to join!

Would you be interested in spreading the word to your students’ families? We would greatly appreciate it if you could forward this email to families!

Thanks so much!
Peter and Rachel

Virtual Summer Camp from the LigerBots

The LigerBots, Newton’s award-winning FIRST high school robotics team, is starting a virtual summer camp for elementary students! Classes will include dance, computer programming, art, creative writing, and so much more! The camp will be running on Zoom from 9:00-12:30 every weekday for two-week sessions starting on July 6th. The camp is completely free and materials will be provided. If interested, please visit Email with any questions!