Five Things You Missed at School Committee: New Principal Search, Security Measures

Newton Public School administrators also offered updates on the various facilities projects happening around the district, including expansion at F.A. Day Middle School and proposed modular classrooms.

During Monday night's School Committee meeting, committee members voted in favor of a plan that would send all students from Cabot Elementary to F.A. Day Middle School, rather than splitting students between F.A. Day and Bigelow Middle when they reach sixth grade.

Here are five other things you may have missed from the meeting:


1. A busy season for principal searches

During his update for the School Committee, Superintendent David Fleishman informed the committee that the district is taking on a third principal search this season, as Countryside Elementary Principal Emily Ostrower announced last week she plans to retire at the end of this school year.

Ostrower has been at Countryside for a decade, Fleishman said, and has hired much of the staff currently working at the school. 

In addition to the Countryside search, Fleishman said the search is ongoing for a new principals at Lincoln-Eliot Elementary and Williams Elementary. Both schools currently have interim principals.

"Fasten your seat belts, we're going to be doing a lot of principal work," Fleishman said. 


2. New security measures at K-8 schools

After announcing the new security measures earlier this month, Fleishman told the School Committee the administration is "moving forward" with the buzzer entry system at the district's K-8 schools.

School officials have already been in touch with a security engineer, Fleishman said, and the district is looking at different options and ways to implement the system.

This week, officials will work on funding for the systems as well as procurement, Fleishman said. The administration is hoping to have a timeline for installation by the next School Committee meeting on February 11.

"We are moving as quickly as possible," Fleishman said. 


3. Update on facilities projects

Deputy Superintendent/Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Guryan informed the School Committee that the new Angier Elementary project and Carr School swing space project are both moving along well. 

After months of internal and site-related work, the F.A. Day Middle School expansion is "going to get exciting" in the coming days, as the steel for the new space is about to go up, Guryan said. As of this week, the project is still on track to be completed by the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

In addition, Guryan said the Board of Aldermen's Finance Committee approved a resolution allowing a money transfer for modular classroom design funding.

The district is currently proposing several modular classrooms at four elementary schools. This project is also scheduled to be finished by the start of the 2013-2014 school year, with construction taking place this summer. 


4. Budget guidelines approved

The School Committee voted unanimously to adopt its second draft of budget guidelines for fiscal 2014, with only a few minor changes. Similar to last year, the guidelines focus on educational infrastructure, operational infrastructure, class size, breadth of program and student services.

To view the budget guidelines, check out the .pdf above. 


5. Beijing Jingshan exchange program honored

At the start of Monday night's meeting, the Newton School Committee honored the students who are here for the Newton-Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program. The students stay with local families for four months while studying in Newton, learning about American culture and visiting historic sites around Massachusetts. 

"To be honest, this was the most impressive and special four months in my 15 years of life," one student, Alex, told the committee. 

"I'll never forget my time in Newton," she added. 

The students from China will be leaving on Monday and shortly after, a delegation from Newton will be heading to Beijing for their part of the exchange. 

Registration is now open for the spring 2014 Newton-Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program. Students who are interested in the program can email their world language department chairs for an application. Or, email the program chair: Michael_Kozuch@newton.k12.ma.us.


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