Superintendent Fleishman’s Commencement Speech Controversy

Letter from Newton Schools Superintendent

Dear NPS Families,

I hope you have enjoyed the summer. It is a great pleasure to welcome both our returning families and those new to our schools.

The start of a school year is a wonderful time for anyone involved in education because it represents a new beginning. It is an opportunity to share our experience and our skills with new colleagues, new families, and new students. There is also a special excitement knowing how much we will learn from each other and from our students over the course of the year.

Summer is an important time for adult learning in Newton. We began this summer again with a powerful conference on race and achievement for Newton Educators.  Among the many terrific sessions led by Newton faculty and staff, were workshops on Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain and Tackling Implicit Bias. We are committed to creating welcoming and inclusive classrooms and school communities, and we will continue this work with faculty and staff, as well as students throughout the year.

After a year of careful planning, we are proud to finally offer full-day kindergarten in the Newton Public Schools. Our kindergarten teams, support staff, and administrators have worked over the course of this spring and summer to develop a schedule for our kindergarteners that balances academic learning with age-appropriate social and emotional structures and activities.

In our continuous effort to personalize learning and leverage the use of technology, this year we are expanding our 1:1 initiative to grades 9-11 at both high schools. Students will receive a Chromebook for academic work both in school and at home. We will continue to support our faculty in incorporating best practices for technology use in their classrooms.

While academic achievement is a hallmark of the Newton Public Schools, we are just as firmly committed to the physical and social/emotional health of our students. We seek to work in partnership with you in supporting students as they navigate the pre-K – 12 years. To that end, last year we hosted a well-attended community forum on vaping, the most recent health epidemic to impact our youth. We will continue to address this issue through our health curriculum and through our school support systems. It is our plan this year to host another community forum on a topic that is relevant, timely, and useful to you as parents and caregivers. We look forward to this opportunity and will share more information once it is available.

We continue to achieve milestones on our long-term strategic plan for our school buildings. Our Cabot students will begin the year in their renovated and expanded facility. Horace Mann students will start the year in their new, permanent home at 225 Nevada St. We will continue to keep you apprised of progress as we strive to renovate and update our buildings.

One of the most important parts of my job is to be in our schools on a regular basis working with staff and students. Together with School Committee members, and working closely with our PTOs, I will again visit each of our 22 schools to speak with you about district initiatives and listen to your ideas, questions, and concerns. In addition, I will use my superintendent newsletter and social media to share more with you about all the good work happening in our district. Be sure to follow the Newton Public Schools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

As I enter my tenth year as superintendent of the Newton Public Schools, I know how important your support is to the success and well-being of our students. Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful school year.

David Fleishman

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