Newton North High School, NNHS

Walk to North Mobilizes

Hi Neighbors — 

First, we want to thank those of you who attended the School Committee meeting last night.  There were about 20-25 people there and it was great to have support.  Two people spoke about our specific concerns during the open-comment time at the beginning of the meeting – Karin Beecher and Greg Pachus – thank you for presenting our concerns, again, to the School Committee! 

Second, we want to give you a summary of what happened last night.  Unfortunately, the SAWG did not present any new scenarios.  Instead, they used scenario A.1 as an example to discuss data tables that contain much, if not all, of the information that was on the March 26th maps but is easier to read.  The three major revelations really were the following from the Student Assignment Working Group’s (SAWG’s) presentation:

  1. The SAWG is considering moving an entire Kindergarten class to Zervas this fall for the 2015-2016 school year. Where this class of children is coming from, they did not say but we certainly don’t want it to be from the Peirce areas.
  2. A question was asked, more than once, on how the SAWG calculated school capacity – a clear answer was not given last night but we will try to find out how they determined that Peirce is currently at 111% of capacity.  It involves the number of classrooms plus space for art, music, and “several” spaces for special education.  They didn’t know if a cafeteria was in the calculation or not.  We need to understand how many spaces for special ed are required for their formula and whether a cafeteria is included in the calculation as well.
  3. The SAWG also hedged on the question of whether they would keep siblings at the same school . . . this is worrisome.

Honestly, we had hoped to see more and learn more after so many weeks (it’s been almost five weeks since the SAWG presented its preliminary scenarios on March 26th).  For those of you who would like to watch the meeting, it will be posted again on the “District Initiatives” page of the City website where the last one was (http://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/2315).  As of this morning it wasn’t up yet but keep checking. 

The next meeting is still scheduled for May 11th and this will be a big one because the revised scenarios will be presented. This is also supposed to be the Public Hearing date which will put us at a disadvantage if we have to hear brand new information and then have to be prepared to speak intelligently on that new information – with only 3 minutes per person – at the end of the same meeting.  We will really need to have lots of you turn out for that May 11th meeting.

 

WHAT DO WE STILL NEED TO DO?

The SAWG is still trying to meet its deadline of the end of June to present a redistricting recommendation to the School Committee for a vote.  Since we have had no indication that the Peirce areas are off the table, we need everyone to come together, stay focused and make sure we’re heard.  So, if you haven’t written a letter yet, please do so right away.  Here’s our “to do” list:

  1. Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, May 6th at 9:15am.  Ward 3 Alderperson and School Committee member Angela Pitter-Wright will be coming to meet with us at Karin Beecher’s house at 42 Howland Road. Although she represents Ward 3, all are welcome!
  2. Mark your calendars for the next School Committee meeting on May 11th at 7pm at the Education Center(100 Walnut St., Frazier Room #210).  NEW scenarios will be presented at this meeting.  It may also still be the Public Hearing so we’ll need many of you to prepare something to say.  You only get 3 minutes (and they time you) so choose a point to focus on and get ready.  We need to be there!  It is critical that we come out in force to show our commitment to our position that the Peirce areas should be removed from the redistricting discussion.
  3. We need volunteers to spearhead some of our efforts.  If you’re committed to our work, Walk to North needs your help!  In order to expand our efforts we, simply, need more man power.  Please email us atwalktonorth@gmail.com with “I WILL HELP” in the message line and we’ll get back to you quickly.
  4. Please continue to encourage your neighbors to write letters to the School Committee and Aldermen and even write another one yourself!

 

Many thanks,

Walk to North

Newton North High School, NNHS

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