Welcome back to school!
As School Committee Chair Michael Greis exclaimed to teachers and staff at their August meeting: Happy New (School) Year!
The Needham Public Schools is open for business bright and early on Tuesday, September 3rd, and we are excited to begin a new year and welcome over 5,700 students, including over 380 Full Day Kindergarteners, to the district’s eight schools and the Preschool. In preparation for a new year of learning a variety of activities have taken place throughout the summer:
• Teachers and administrators have been involved in over 50 curriculum and instruction development projects over the summer months. Teachers at the elementary and secondary levels planned new programs and helped to revise existing curricular areas. At the high school, for example, dozens of science teachers, including teachers from the U.S. and other countries, participated in a two-week science modeling program to improve and strengthen chemistry, biology, and physics instruction. Two NPS teachers, Middle school world language teacher Laura Corkery and high school science teacher Mike Hirsh traveled to our partner school in Beijing, the Daxing School District, to provide professional development for their Chinese colleagues.
• Over 20 Kindergarten teachers worked over the summer to plan for the implementation of our new Full Day Kindergarten program. Additionally, 20 teacher assistants, who will be assigned to each Kindergarten classroom, participated in a full day program to prepare for their new role working with our young students. Kindergarten classrooms have been set up, programming established, and teachers and assistants readied to welcome children to a student-centered Kindergarten program in each elementary school. Over 20 new Boston resident Kindergarteners, all participating in the METCO Program, also joined us for the annual Jumpstart Program that prepares them for a new learning experience in the Needham Public Schools.
|METCO students enjoying the Jumpstart Program with friends!|
• School construction and renovation projects kept all of the schools busy throughout the summer months. New flooring, carpeting, and paint at Broadmeadow, Eliot, and Pollard; new auditorium seats at NHS; a new gym floor at Newman; two new modular classrooms installed at Mitchell; and, of course, the completion of the new Sunita L. Williams Elementary School on Central Avenue are all ready to receive students on Tuesday. We are grateful to the Town of Needham, our maintenance crews, the taxpayers, and especially the Needham School Committee—all of whom work tirelessly to advocate for capital and building improvements to meet student and staff needs. (Stay tuned for an invitation to an Open House at the new Sunita L. Williams Elementary Schools scheduled for Saturday, October 19th!)
|Sunita L. Williams Elementary School|
|New Mitchell modular classrooms for music and art|
• In late August over 120 new teachers, administrators, and teacher assistants gathered for our annual Staff Orientation Program at the Eliot Elementary School to learn more about the district’s programming and expectations as the new school year begins. We on-boarded folks with training and conversations about the goals, policies, and practices of the NPS. The new staff also enjoyed lunches and fun activities designed to build relationships and develop understanding of our district’s values and norms.
|New teacher and staff orientation at Eliot|
We are ready for students and excited to begin a new school year. Please remember to drive carefully during this first week of school as buses navigate new routes in town, students traverse sidewalks and crossings, and parents drop off and pick up their children. Traffic on Central Avenue near the new Sunita L. Williams Elementary School, for example, will be slow going and busy as we learn how to safely move cars, buses, vans, and children into and out of the school venue. Leave early and take your time!
Happy New Year, Needham students and families!