NSF in The Newton Tab
Newton Schools Foundation: We All Have a Stake in Our Schools
A new school year has begun. Thousands of backpack-laden students taking to Newton streets by foot, bike and bus remind us why so many families move here: for the schools. And it’s not just families who benefit. Our highly regarded public schools offer continuing education, athletic facilities, and cultural opportunities for all Newton residents. They make Newton a desirable place to live and bolster property values. In return, community support and engagement help ensure the continued vitality of the Newton Public Schools.
Newton Schools Foundation (NSF) is a key component in that equation. NSF is the private non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Newton Public Schools and the Newton community to preserve our school system’s commitment to excellence and innovation. Through fundraising, NSF supports exciting new curricula and teacher development to promote continuous improvement in Newton’s public schools. Through outreach, NSF engages Newton residents in supporting public education in our city.
Fundraising and More
Funds raised by NSF from Newton residents, businesses, alumni and others, support new and innovative programs and help expand promising ones. These programs span every grade and all public schools across the district. NSF funds also support programs targeting students whose vital needs are difficult to address in the school department’s operating budget. These are the types of programs that traditionally suffer when public resources are limited. In addition, NSF provides financial oversight for global education and STEM programs outside the classroom.
NSF-funded initiatives fall within two broad categories: New curricula and learning opportunities, and professional development.
New curricula and learning opportunities foster high achievement for all students by developing creative thinking, problem solving, communication, and leadership skills for success in our global economy. Among the exciting new programs NSF funds are:
- Newton South’s new interdisciplinary Da Vinci Program, combining math, science and art to encourage students to create and innovate
- The middle school engineering program focused on developing sustainable energy
- The Calculus Project, providing school-year tutoring and a four-week summer program to low-income and minority students beginning in middles school, to help them succeed in rigorous high school math courses.
- A new computer coding initiative
Professional development helps educators identify and pursue new methods of teaching and deepen their knowledge of critical content areas. The elementary writing program, which has students writing earlier, more often and in more dynamic ways and is expanding into sixth grade, and the culturally competent teaching initiative at Newton North High School are just two of the professional development initiatives NSF is currently funding.
Newton Schools Foundation also provides financial oversight and fundraising support for the Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund or GELF, which funds scholarships for Newton high school students to travel overseas; the Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program; and Ligerbots, the combined Newton North/Newton South robotics club; while administering several scholarship funds established by Newton community members to help Newton students pursue higher education.
In addition to raising and administering funds, NSF cultivates community engagement around education. Our keynote event, “Newton Inspires: An Evening of Ideas and Community,” brings together dozens of Newton’s most interesting and accomplished personalities to share their knowledge, expertise and vision. Now in its fifth year, this much-anticipated free program, scheduled for Monday November 9 at 7 p.m. at Newton South High School, highlights Newton’s wealth of intellectual and creative human resources and inspires continual learning. It’s also NSF’s way of saying “Thank you” to the Newton community for supporting our children’s education. Please mark your calendars and visit www.newtonschoolsfoundation.org for more information and to register.
It Takes a Village
Spearheading these fundraising and outreach efforts is NSF’s volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of parents of Newton students and graduates, Newton public school alumni, Newton educators, both current and retired, and other passionate Newton residents. An advisory board of additional community volunteers provides as-needed consultation in their respective areas of expertise. These volunteers, working with the NSF program director, dedicate their time, expertise and resources to help make our schools the best they can be for Newton students…tomorrow’s leaders.
Please join us. Come to Newton Inspires on November 9. Learn about NSF and the programs we fund. Take advantage of the resources and programs that the Newton schools offer to kids and adults alike. And invest in our public schools by donating to the Newton Schools Foundation (www.NewtonSchoolsFoundation.org). As Newton residents, we all have a stake in creating and maintaining strong Newton public schools.
-Marcia Tabenken and Josh Weiss, Co-presidents, Newton Schools Foundation