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From the Principal - August 22, 2021

Dear Franklin Families,


It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome all of you to the 2021-2022 school year! I hope that your summer weeks have been filled with moments of laughter, relaxation, enjoyment, and new adventures, and the Franklin staff and I look forward to sharing the joy of learning with you in the coming weeks and months. We currently have 386 students enrolled in 20 classrooms, and it is our goal to challenge and support each individual child to develop a deep knowledge base, strong social-emotional intelligence, and effective communication skills.


I am thrilled to join the Franklin family after 11 years as principal at Peirce Elementary School here in West Newton. Before coming to Newton Public Schools in 2010, I was a principal in Stoughton and a teacher in Westwood. My two children are NPS students (Ryan is a Junior at Newton South, and Aria is a Seventh Grader at Brown), and my wife, Janet, is a middle school teacher in the Franklin Public Schools. (We now have to clarify which “Franklin” we are talking about in our home!) My children have enjoyed a wonderful experience in the Newton Public Schools, and I look forward to collaborating with all of you and our Franklin professional team to ensure that your children also have an amazing journey of social-emotional and academic growth under our care.


As your new principal, I am eager to get to know all of you and your children through visits to classrooms, Kindergarten playground meet ups, parent coffees, PTO meetings, and conversations at the Family Picnic, Back to School Night, Halloween Bash, and other all-school events. I welcome your feedback, questions, and concerns at any time and will respond to you as quickly as possible. The easiest way to reach me is through email at chittym@newton.k12.ma.us. I look forward to hearing from you!


Our school year officially begins for all students in Grades K-5 when the school's doors open at 8:10 a.m on Thursday, September 9th. On each school day, the 8:20 bell will indicate the time at which all students should be in their classrooms ready for teachers to begin instruction. On all days except Wednesday, dismissal will be at 2:50 p.m. On Wednesdays, dismissal will be at 12:20 p.m. Please note that this is a 10-minute time adjustment earlier than previous years (prior to 2020). It is a complete change from the schedule peculiarities of the difficult 2020-21 school year!


During the summer months, our custodians, Dave Chadwick, Brian St. Cyr, and Lenny Schofield, have worked tirelessly to make our school shine and sparkle! In addition to their much-appreciated efforts, contractors and city maintenance personnel have improved our facility through repair of exterior steps around the building, repaving of the Fire Lane around the west and north sides of the school building, painting of walls in several classrooms, and upgrades to the staff room. In addition to these building improvements from the city, we are also grateful to our PTO for their work on staff room updates!


There have also been exciting new additions to our teaching team during the summer. Molly DeGuglielmo will join us as a new First Grade Teacher. We were granted this additional section during the summer due to expanding enrollment, and we were pleased to find Molly! She completed her undergraduate degree at Clark University and her graduate degree at Cambridge College. For the past six years, she has worked as a paraprofessional in primary grades in the Cambridge Public Schools. She impressed our interview team with her warmth, collegiality, and commitment to building strong relationships with students and colleagues.


I am also pleased to announce that Hannah Wald will be our new Special Education Teacher. Hannah has already been a part of the Franklin team as a Special Education Aide and Co-taught Intern during the last two years. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Hartford and her graduate degree at Lesley University. I am excited that she is staying in the Franklin family in this new role!


Classroom teacher assignments will be published in Aspen this Friday, August 27th. As you know, the placement process is complex and involves a variety of staff members as we consider a wide number of factors and needs. If you provided feedback about your child’s placement, please be assured that your comments and concerns were reviewed and considered by the team as we engaged in our process. Please note that no changes will be made to teacher assignments. While requests for changes are not common, it feels important to acknowledge that sometimes children (or parents!) may be disappointed when they are assigned to a classroom separate from a good friend or do not receive the teacher they had hoped for. In such circumstances, we recommend that you acknowledge the disappointment, yet convey your confidence in your child’s ability to have a great year just the same. Your positive attitude and enthusiasm for the year ahead sends important cues to your child, and we appreciate your assistance in helping every one of our students to have the best possible start to the year!


Important information about the 2021-22 Back to School Health and Safety Plan will be shared with the community by Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman this Wednesday, August 25th, at 7:30 p.m. Joining Dr. Fleishman in that evening webinar will be members of the Medical Advisory Group, the director of school health services, and district administrators. Please see the latest issue of NPS District News for more information about this webinar, including the Zoom link. On Tuesday, August 31st, I will hold a follow-up virtual information session at 7:00 p.m. to discuss more Franklin-specific information about Health and Safety protocols.


I encourage you to join me on that evening at the following link:

https://newton-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/j/87949606904 Passcode: 513432


In addition to the virtual session on August 31st, I look forward to seeing you at several other upcoming events: Incoming Kindergarten Playdate (Wednesday, August 25th, 6:00 p.m.); Family Picnic (Wednesday, September 22nd, 6:00-7:30 p.m.); and our first Parent Coffee (Friday, September 24th, 8:30-9:15 a.m.). Our annual Back to School Night for families will be held on Tuesday, October 5th. Given our health and safety guidance at this time, this event will be held virtually, and you can expect to receive additional information in upcoming newsletters.


Franklin School has a long history as a strong educational community, built on the foundation of supportive families, a professional staff of the highest quality, and a community dedicated to providing the best education possible for all of our students. I look forward to speaking with you in the coming weeks about the rich traditions of the school, the challenges that we will face together in this new year, and your hopes and dreams for your children. Please feel free to contact me at any time at chittym@newton.k12.ma.us or (617) 559-9500. We will see you on September 9th!

With Best Wishes,

Mark Chitty

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