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  • Writer's pictureFranklin PTO Newton

From the Principal - September 15, 2021

Dear Franklin Families,

I hope that the school year has started in an enjoyable and successful way for all of you. Students and teachers have been working together to create warm, safe, and supportive learning communities in classrooms and in our whole school. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with you in helping your children become independent and capable students who love learning and collaborate well with others. The journey through the elementary years, from preschool to middle school, is a significant time of academic and social-emotional growth, and we take seriously the call to think strategically, plan thoroughly, teach creatively, and communicate effectively. To that end, we look forward to sharing detailed information about grade-level benchmarks, curriculum, and instructional strategies at Back-to-School Night on Tuesday, October 5th. This will be a virtual event due to current health restrictions, and we will be sending more information about the schedule next week. In addition to hearing from classroom teachers, I will also be presenting a general overview of life at Franklin School and ways in which all of you can get involved to make this an outstanding learning community. If you are unable to join us on Back-to-School Night or would like to preview some of the information that will be available that evening, please see the Newton Public Schools’ Curriculum page at:

We encourage all parents to think about ways that you might be able to volunteer your time, talents, and energy in the life of our school once the current restrictions are eased. We do not yet know when we will be able to have volunteers back in the school, but I invite you to plan ahead and think about ways you could be involved in the (hopefully near) future. Volunteer opportunities may come in the form of field trip chaperones, room parents, Library helpers, coordinators for special curriculum programs, and other roles that teachers will define. If you are interested in volunteering in the school in any role, please be aware that you will need to have active CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and SORI (Sex Offender Registry Information) forms on file with the school system. These forms are available in the school office and must be resubmitted every three years. Please note that the forms must be returned with a copy of a Driver’s License or other valid picture ID.

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.

Upcoming Dates and Important Information:

  1. We hope to see many of you at our Back-to-School Picnic on Wednesday evening, September 22nd, (6:00-7:30 p.m.). Many Thanks to our PTO for all of their hard work to plan this enjoyable community event! They will have cheese pizzas available to pre-order and will provide cake for dessert.

  2. Our first Parent Coffee will be next Friday, September 24th, 8:30-9:30 a.m., under the tent. Come and meet the new principal!

  3. Monday, September 27th, is School Picture Day at Franklin.

  4. Thursday, October 7th, is our first Early Release Date, which means all children are dismissed at 12:20. The afternoon is held for professional development for the staff, and we will be learning about Culturally Responsive Teaching and Racial Identity Development. Future Early Release Dates will be: November 2nd, December 9th, February 3rd, March 24th, and May 12th.

As we are continuing to make outdoor dining our default for as long as possible this fall, please send an old towel or blanket with your child so that they can enjoy a picnic-style meal more comfortably. Also, please send a refillable water bottle so that they can use our bottle-filling stations to stay hydrated.

In the spirit of caring for our children, I am asking all of you to join me in following our rules for pedestrian and vehicle safety around the school. Please cross Derby Street and Cherry Street only at the marked crosswalks with the crossing guards and avoid double parking in front of the school. Please remember that the “Blue Zone” is a moving pick-up and drop-off lane during Arrival and Dismissal, and you cannot park an unattended car there during these times. If you need to park and walk up to the school please park on a nearby neighborhood street rather than in the Blue Zone.

It is a privilege and pleasure to serve as your principal, and I hope that you always feel free to contact me at or (617)559-9500 with any questions, thoughts, or concerns. G'mar tov to all of our families who are observing Yom Kippur tomorrow! I look forward to the year of learning and growth ahead.

With best wishes,

Mark Chitty

Picture Day is on Monday, September 27, 2021! Coffee Pond Photography is taking the photos this year, and easy online ordering instructions are attached. The photographers would like all photo orders to be online this year if possible, but you can also fill out the physical order form sent home in student folders if you prefer. All photo orders must be placed BEFORE Picture Day.

To order photos, click HERE (this brings you to the page where Franklin Elementary is pre-selected in West Newton, MA)

1) Fill out your child's information including full first name.

2) Select your packages and add them to the cart

3) If you have another child, click “Order for Another Child” and repeat the steps above.

4) Once you’ve added packages to your cart for all your children, you’re ready to check out! Follow the prompts to enter your contact and billing information. Once all your information has been entered and you’ve reviewed your order, just be sure to click “Submit Order”!

Photos will take place outside of the school building and all students will have their photo taken even if they do not purchase a photo package. This year, Coffee Pond will be creating a class composite photo by using individual photos and combining them into one group photo, similar to yearbook photo pages.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Also, any concerns about payment can be directed to our school's social worker, Daniela MacKinnon at, or your classroom teacher.

COVID Testing Program - REGISTER NOW!

Consent forms for the NPS COVID testing program are now available in Aspen. You ARE REQUIRED to provide consent for your student to be tested. Please log into Aspen to sign the consent form. Here is the Aspen Login Link. Please follow these instructions for accessing and signing the consent form.

While we are still working to finalize testing implementation with the state contractor, CIC Health, testing could begin as soon as Monday, September 13 for those who have opted-in.

Here are the details on the state-sponsored multi-tiered COVID testing program administered by CIC Health:

  • Symptomatic Testing: This protocol (a rapid test), will be used for students and staff who develop symptoms while at school.

  • Test and Stay (Close contact testing): This protocol (a rapid test) will be used to test unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals who have been identified as close contacts following possible exposure at school. This test will allow your student to stay in school if exposed to COVID while at school. Students will NOT be required to stay home and quarantine unless they are exhibiting symptoms.

  • Routine (Weekly) COVID Pooled Testing: This protocol (anterior nasal swab) will be used for all individuals who opt-in to participate in the weekly COVID testing program.

Having trouble logging into Aspen? Email:

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