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  • Writer's pictureFranklin PTO Newton

From the Principal - December 21, 2021

Dear Franklin Families,

I hope that all of you are looking forward to times of rest and togetherness during our upcoming vacation week, whether you are traveling far or staying near home. As is the case with every year, 2021 has been a time of many challenges and opportunities. We leave the events of the year behind while still carrying with us the joys, sorrows, fears, and hopes that have grown within us during these past twelve months. One of the 2021 developments that fills me with the greatest happiness is the opportunity to be your principal and share the adventure of learning with each student, family, and staff member. Franklin School is an amazing community that is dedicated to helping each child build the foundation for a happy and healthy life with strong communication skills, deep academic knowledge, and effective social-emotional practices. I look forward to sharing 2022 with all of you.

One of the ways in which we demonstrate our commitment to creating an equitable learning environment for all students is by ensuring that children have a variety of opportunities to hear each other’s voices, share their thinking, and reflect on the ways our experiences are both similar to and different from the experiences of others. Last week, our FAME (Franklin Affinity Mentoring Enrichment) groups held their monthly meeting after school with the support of both teachers and parent volunteers. FAME is an essential space where students of color who spend their days in the minority can have the experience of being in the majority and can develop relationships with people in the school community who may serve as role models. At Franklin, we are proud to foster these safe and supportive spaces at a time when two of our Newton Public Schools principals have come under attack for similar actions. Dr. Henry Turner, principal of Newton North High School, and Ms. Chassity Coston, principal of Bigelow Middle School, were criticized for creating optional, age-appropriate spaces for students to learn about, process, and access support in the wake of the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse and the conviction of the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery. All NPS middle and high schools created similar opportunities-- which is standard practice in responding to national events-- but only Dr. Turner and Ms. Coston, both of whom are Black, were targeted by these media outlets. Since then, both have received racist and threatening messages originating from across the country, including threats against family members. These attacks and Newton’s response have been documented in both the Boston Globe and Newton Tab. In messages sent to both the North and Bigelow communities and in statements to the press, Dr. Fleishman, Mayor Fuller, and the Newton City Council have been clear in Newton’s unwavering support for Principals Turner and Coston and their work, which is grounded in Newton’s Statement of Values and Commitment to Equity and is the responsibility and expectation of all Newton schools. All of our schools, Franklin included, have a long way to go until our policies, systems, curriculum, and practices reflect our stated values. We have a lot of work to do, and I am grateful to be a part of a learning community at Franklin and in Newton Public Schools that is committed to creating schools that are truly inclusive and supportive of all children and families.

With Best New Year Wishes,

Mark Chitty

Merry Christmas to all of our families who are celebrating this weekend!

Kindergarten Registration: Please see the attached information below about Kindergarten Registration for the 2022-23 School Year.

Newton Public Schools Gift Policy: As we enter this season of holidays and vacations, we ask that families please be mindful of the Newton School Committee’s policy stating, Newton Public Schools allows a group gift to an individual staff member only if the gift is identified as being from the entire class, the identity of the givers and the individual amounts are not disclosed to the recipient, and the gift does not exceed $150 per school year. This differs from a gift for the classroom. Individual gifts of appreciation in the form of sentimental tokens are allowed. Gifts of commercial value are not permitted. NPS allows and encourages giving to charitable organizations such as school PTO’s or the Newton Schools Foundation’s Honor Thy Teacher Program, which honors staff while supporting our schools.”

Weekly COVID Case Numbers: This week, Franklin School recorded no 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.

Save the Date! Dr. David Fleishman, Superintendent of Schools, and members of the Newton School Committee will be visiting Franklin at the Parent Coffee on Friday, February 11th, 8:30-9:15 a.m., as a part of their annual tour of Newton schools. They look forward to speaking with members of the Franklin community.

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. We will meet in-person when feasible and rely on virtual meetings when necessary. At this point, in-person meetings will need to be outdoors, so we expect to use Zoom during the winter months. We will let you know the format for each meeting as the date approaches. Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee will join us at the February 11th Parent Coffee.

January 20th 7:30 p.m.

February 11th 8:30 a.m. [NOTE CHANGE OF DATE]

March 24th 7:30 p.m.

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 Dates: We will have dismissal at 12:10 p.m. on the following dates: February 3rd, March 24th, and May 12th.

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