Dear Colleagues: We are all entering this break with much trepidation. Stay Safe. Stay socially distanced. While it is going to be a hard winter, remember: Tomorrow is the solstice. Starting on Tuesday, every day will be longer than the day before. Hang in there. And please take some time for yourselves over this break to recharge. This will be my last EBulletin until we return from break. 2021-2022 School Calendar Over 60% of members voted not to change the School Calendar next year. We will let the SC know that we do not wish to implement any change to the start of the school year next year. Ventilation The district has been putting up more "dashboards" to report the results of the testing and balancing they are doing. We continue to push for greater transparency--the data they are providing is still not adequate to easily determine whether a room has sufficient fresh air. Nor is the district clear about how they are addressing the need to to provide mitigation when rooms do not. That said--we are making progress, and there have been significant improvements. But there is still much that needs to be done for everyone to be safe.
Click on Image above to Take Action! Make Newton's School Safe! Since I emailed members on December 9th, you have sent 312 emails to the School Committee, Mayor Fuller, and David Fleishman asking them to (1) reach an agreement on a new MOA, (2) finish the HVAC work in the NPS, and (3) implement genuine surveillance testing. We must keep the pressure up. If you have not yet sent an email, please do so by clicking here. Even if there is a district-wide or statewide return to remote only learning, we will need these measures to re-open schools to in-person learning safely. New DESE requirements for Time on Learning This week the department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued new regulations on how much time students must spend doing synchronous learning. Students who are receiving remote only instruction must have a minimum of 40 hours every two weeks of synchronous instruction; hybrid students must have a minimum of 35 hours every two weeks. In Newton, all middle and high school students are already meeting these requirements. Elementary schools will have to made adjustments to the amount of synchronous instruction. The NTA will bargain how this will be implemented. Chris Walsh has recruited a group of six teachers, one for each grade, who will meet tomorrow with Mary Eich, Eva Thompson and a group of elementary principals to begin to figure out what the district needs to do to meet these new requirements. High School Hybrid Negotiations We have been meeting weekly with members of the Central Administration and the two high school principals to work out the parameters of the "hyflex" model. Specifically, we have been negotiating how to guard as much educator time as possible for planning, as teaching in this new model requires much more planning. We are near an agreement. *************** "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well. Mike Mike Zilles, President Newton Teachers Association