Dear Zervas Families,
I, along with many or most of you, am tired of all this snow! It disrupts the rhythm of the week, wreaks havoc with routines, and puts everyone on edge. The smooth functioning of the blue zone at pick up has certainly been impacted. With only one lane for traffic going in two directions, grid lock reigns. I am now spending about 45 minutes every afternoon directing traffic. I have encountered many angry drivers with unkind words to say to me (usually not members of the Zervas community), but the worst experience was last week when I tried to help an elderly woman, who was driving up Beethoven Ave. from Beacon St., who had encountered about 12 cars coming down Beethoven towards Zervas. The only solution was for the woman to turn around and go back to Beacon St. and then find another way to get to her destination. As I tried to guide her to turn around, she burst into tears and cried, “I’m just trying to get to Brookline.” We eventually got the traffic untangled, and I hope she made it to Brookline, but there were lots of frayed nerves (felt by drivers and principals) that day and every day. It would really, really help if all Zervas families coming to pick-up students would approach Zervas by driving from Woodward down Beethoven toward Beacon. It might take a few more minutes, but it will help traffic flow immensely. Please tell grandparents and baby sitters who might also be coming to pick up Zervas students. We are working with Alderman John Rice to see if there are other solutions that we might suggest to the traffic commission, but these will take a while to put in place. In the meantime, please demonstrate patience, consideration, and a concern for children’s safety whenever visiting the blue zone.
A lot of decisions will be made in the next couple of months which will significantly impact Zervas. The first is the development of next year’s school budget. Each year since I have been in Newton we have talked about cuts to the educational program, but it appears that this year we can expect that the cuts will have a much greater impact than ever before. There will be several opportunities at public forums to learn about the school budget and for the public to provide input. We will keep you informed of any scheduled forums. The other decisions to be made that directly affects Zervas is how many schools will have modulars added to them this summer. Originally, the school committee and alderman agreed to fund renovations at Day School and put in 6 modulars at 5 elementary schools. Under that plan, Zervas was slated to receive two new modulars. Then it was discovered that adding a sprinkler system to each school would be required under a new state law. The addition of sprinklers to all those schools put the project way over budget. The city is now trying to determine the exact requirements of the law, how much it will cost, how much it can afford in the short run, and which schools will be the priority. We will be anxiously awaiting that decision, which should be coming in the next few months as well.
There are two wonderful Zervas events coming up soon. International Day at Zervas, where we celebrate the world, will take place on Sunday, February 13. Please bring a snack to share that represents your family background or culture, or that you just think is delicious. There will be African drumming and dancing, and a puppeteer performing stories from around the world. And be sure to mark your calendars for the Annual Zervas Auction, which will be held on Saturday night, March 5. Not only does the auction raise serious money for Zervas School, it is also serious fun! So make plans to be there.
Stay warm! Steve Griffin