Principal’s Letter

Dear Zervas Families,

By the end of this month we will finalize the Zervas School Improvement plan for the next school year.  The School Improvement Plan is created through discussions at the Zervas School Council and with staff at regularly scheduled staff meetings.  This document will guide the work of Zervas School staff for the next year by identifying key strategies and activities that will support the goals of the school system.  The school system has identified three overarching themes for the next year that will be addressed in the school improvement plan.  These are: support high academic achievement, promote local and global citizenship through collaboration,  and ensure up-to-date teaching and learning environments.  More specific objectives will be included under each of these themes, and we will develop a few improvement strategies and activities to address these objectives.  While we have discussed many possible strategies, we will need to come up with a few focused priorities for Zervas for next year.  Under discussion at this time are developing a schedule that increases time for grade level teams to meet, to further develop strategies for providing students with focused interventions as needed, to promote higher level classroom discussions through development of oral language and vocabulary skills, and to enhance critical thinking across the curriculum.   The new school improvement plan will be available for view on our website once it is completed and approved.  (You can view the current school improvement plan on the Zervas School website.)

Other important updates….

-This year Alderman John Rice was able to institute a temporary change in the traffic flow in front of Zervas by making Beethoven Ave. one-way at arrival and dismissal.  I think the change has resulted in a dramatic improvement in traffic flow and safety.  The initial pilot period is now over, and the Newton Board of Alderman Traffic Council will meet on Feb. 2, at 7:00 pm in Room 222 at City Hall to discuss making this change permanent.  It is important that as many Zervas parents as possible can speak up to endorse a permanent change.  Please come to the meeting, but if you are unable to come, you can email your opinion to trafficcouncil@newtonma.gov.

-The new modulars are almost completed and ready for occupancy.  The following programming staff will be moving into the two spaces in the next week….learning center, literacy specialist, math coach, speech and language, English language learners, and the special educators working in our co-taught classrooms.  This will allow our two special education inclusion facilitators to move into the former learning center, and will allow our social worker and school psychologist to have an additional space in the back of the school for small groups. 

-The new principal search is well underway.  A first batch of candidates has been interviewed by the Selection Advisory Committee comprised of parents and staff.  Semi-finalists are visiting another Newton School where they will visit classroom and share their observations and reflections with Newton administrators.  After this process finalists will be selected and are tentatively scheduled to visit Zervas on February 13th and 14th.  Parents will have an opportunity to meet with the candidates at the beginning of the school day on those dates. 

-Look for your child’s progress report in his or her backpack this Friday!

I am loving the snowless and snow day free winter so far this year.  (I hope I didn’t just jinx it!)

Warmly,
Steve Griffin

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