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From the Principal - April 4, 2022

Dear Franklin Families,


Our spring conferences continue this week, and it is wonderful to see all of you who are coming into the school building for these meetings. While you are here, I invite you to check out student artwork in our hallways, take a look at our March Madness chart, stop by the office to say hello, and get a sense of what life is like at Franklin School. The presence of visitors and volunteers in our school is an essential element of a healthy school community, and we are glad to spend the last third of the year with things “back to normal” in this way. If you are planning to volunteer in a role where you will work directly with students (e.g. Creative Arts and Sciences, Book Fair, Field Trip, Color Day), please be sure you have an updated CORI/SORI form on file. Please note that these forms are good for three years.


With only nine school days left before April Vacation, we are beginning to plan for next year even as we are fully engaged with our present year. During the next two Wednesday mornings (4/6 and 4/13), we will have Kindergarten Screening and Registration. If you have neighbors with Kindergarten-age children, please encourage them to contact the school to make an appointment if they have not already done so.


During the month of May, we will begin working on class lists for the 2022-23 school year. We ask that all families please let us know as soon as possible if your children will not be returning to Franklin next year so that we can plan with accuracy. If you have any additional information regarding your child’s placement that you would like to share with the team, please do so in writing. Your letter should be marked to my attention and delivered to the school office no later than Friday, April 29th. I will review these letters and share them with the grade-level teams. Your letter can include information about your child's friends, learning style, strengths, special interests, or any information you feel is important to share with the team that we don't already know. Please do not request specific teachers as we are unable to honor these requests. Also, please do not feel that you must write a letter to ensure that your child's placement will receive careful consideration. All teacher assignments will be available in Aspen in late August.

As you may already be aware, the district is experiencing a significant budget challenge for next school year. Here is an excerpt from last week’s district newsletter:

As a result of the extraordinary challenges both this year and next, we have to close a budget gap of just under $4 million for the 2022-23 school year in order to meet our operating costs. The gap includes approximately $2.7 M in operating expenses and $1.3 M in special education program development and expansion.

The district currently plans to reduce approximately 40 staff positions due to the budget gap and another 13 positions due to enrollment decline. We are doing everything possible to limit the impact on the student and adult experiences in our schools.

I know that families likely wonder how the proposed budget impacts Franklin. As a result of declining enrollment, we will reduce our total number of classrooms from 20 to 18. In addition, the proposed budget reduces elementary literacy intervention teachers and math aides. This means the elimination of our Literacy Intervention Teacher and our Math Intervention Aide positions at Franklin. Please visit the link below for additional information about the elementary budget and the impact of school and district based reductions.

For information on the entire budget, please visit the links below:

Some of you may have questions about how you can help, including how you might fundraise to support these positions. Please know that NPS staff positions are part of the district operating budget and funding staff positions through fundraising dollars is not considered sustainable year after year and, therefore, is not advised.

The School Committee will hold a public hearing on the budget on Monday, April 4, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to hear from the public on budget questions and concerns. The meeting is virtual and you will find login information here Newton School Committee website. You may also reach out to the School Committee via email. Contact information is found on the district website as well.

With Best Wishes,

Mark Chitty

CAS AUTHORFEST 2022 : CAS AuthorFest is happening in less than two weeks. Authors and illustrators will be visiting classrooms to promote literacy and share their experience as an artist, a writer, and a reader. Check with our PTO for more information about scheduled visits to our school. Make plans to attend the after school meet and greet, book sale and signing at Cabot Elementary on Tuesday, April 12 - 3:15 to 5:30 pm. Twenty-one authors and illustrators, who visited K-8 students around the district, will be on-hand to greet students and their families. This event is open to the public. Newtonville Books will have a selection of books for sale. 20% of proceeds will pay for future CAS/PTO sponsored events.

CAS AuthorFest 2022 is made possible by the hard work of the Creative Arts & Sciences committee, contributions to the PTO, a generous grant from the Newton Schools Foundation, and additional funding from The Village Bank, and Harmony Foundation.

ELPAC (English Learners Parent Action Council) News: ELPAC meeting invitation

Weekly COVID Case Numbers: During the week of 3/28, Franklin School recorded 3 COVID cases. Information on districtwide COVID cases and vaccination rates can be found on the Newton Health and Human Services website here: NPS COVID Case Count and Vaccination Rates.


Parent Coffee/PTO Evening Meeting Dates: This year, we have a mixture of morning Parent Coffees and evening PTO Meetings through which we hope to engage all of you in conversation about life and learning in our school community. Please join us on the following dates.

April 29th 8:30 a.m.

June 2nd 7:30 p.m.

Absences: If your child will be absent from school for any reason, please call the Student Absence Line at 617-559-9509 before 7:50. Also, please be sure that teachers have accurate information about dismissal routines for your child.

Early Release Date: We will have dismissal at 12:10 p.m. on May 12th.

MCAS Dates: Please note the following dates as you are planning family vacations and appointments:

ELA:

Grade 3: 3/28 and 3/29

Grade 4: 3/31 and 4/1

Grade 5: 4/4 and 4/5

Math:

Grade 3: 4/25 and 4/26

Grade 4: 4/28 and 4/29

Grade 5: 5/2 and 5/3

Science:

Grade 5: 5/5 and 5/6

MARCH MADNESS 2022

FRANKLIN SCHOOL READING CELEBRATION

The 2022 Franklin School March Madness Reading Celebration will begin on Friday, March 18th and run through Thursday, April 14th.The kickoff will take place at our All School Meeting on March 16th, where each classroom will be randomly assigned the name of an actual NCAA basketball team. Students will earn points for their team based on the number of minutes read daily at home during March Madness.

To participate:

  • Read a book (or have it read to you) and record your daily minutes onto the March Madness reading log.

  • Once a week on Thursday evening at home, students will enter their TOTAL WEEKLY MINUTES read into a Google Form.

  • To access the Google Form, go to https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/franklin and look under the “Franklin Pride, News and Special Events” section for March Madness.

  • We will accept a maximum of 1,260 minutes per week/per child, which is an average of 3 hours per day.


  • Students will hand in the paper copy of their reading log to their classroom teacher every Friday morning.

  • Students should begin to log their minutes into the Google Form on Thursday, March 24th. This should be done every Thursday evening through April 14th.

Point System

Books read in school are not eligible for points. Books read as part of nightly reading can be counted. A weekly reading log will be sent home every Friday. To make it fair for classes that have fewer students, we will base points on the class average for the week. For example, if Ms. Terk’s 5th grade class reads 6270 minutes in one week, and there are 19 students in her class, we will divide 6270 by 19 to get an average of 330 minutes. Ms. Terk’s class would earn 110 points for that week. Team points earned will be tallied and recorded every week by Student Council members on a graph in the front hallway.

There will be a separate point system for grades K-1 and for grades 2-5.

Grades K-1 - Every 15 minutes = 10 points

Grades 2-5 - Every 30 minutes = 10 points

Team Bonus Points

90% class participation = 20 points each week

Complete the Team Research form (1 per class) = 10 points

Decorate your bulletin board = 10 points

If NCAA team makes it to Sweet 16 = 10 points

If NCAA team makes it to Elite 8 = 20 points

If NCAA teams makes it to Final 4 = 30 points

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