Principal’s Letter

Dear Zervas Families,

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching.  These last few weeks are filled with concerts, curriculum shares, picnics, field trips, and special events like Color Day.  We appreciate your continued involvement and support of these events and your children during this amazingly busy time.  Remember that this time of transition can be very difficult for children.  Whether they actually admit it, they are probably quite sad to see this year end, and are anxious about the next school year. They might be more grumpy than usual, both at school and at home.  A little extra care and attention to the emotional needs of our students (and the adults around them) at this time of year can be very helpful.

We have had a few more changes in next year’s staffing at Zervas.
-Miriam Darby, first grade teacher, has decided to move to Washington D. C., where she will be taking on a teacher leadership role at a new KIPP Charter School in that city.  This is a wonderful opportunity for her, but she will be missed at Zervas.  A hiring committee of staff and parents interviewed several excellent candidates for her position, and I am pleased to announce that we have hired Maggie Williamson, currently a part-time second grade teacher at Zervas, to replace Miriam in first grade next year.
-Alex Nowotny, our special education inclusion facilitator, will also be moving out of the Boston area next year.  She will be getting married this summer and she and her new husband will be moving Pennsylvania.  We are in the process of interviewing candidates for the inclusion facilitator position at Zervas. 
-Carole Greenfield, who is a part-time teacher of English Language Learners at Zervas, will be moving on to a full-time position at Bowen School next year.  Interviews for her replacement at Zervas have been completed and the name of the new ELL teacher at Zervas should be announced soon.
I know that you join me in wishing Miriam, Alex, and Carole all the best as they move on to the next phase in their lives.

Alderman John Rice joined us for the last school council meeting of the year on June 1. He shared with us the status of several initiatives that he is supporting that will directly benefit Zervas School.   The first is an attempt to make the Blue Zone safer for our children.   We were all especially concerned about safety last winter when long lasting snow banks made for unsafe conditions due to poor visibility and extra congestion on Beethoven Ave.  (Safety issues in the Blue Zone occur even during good weather.) Alderman Rice will be bringing a proposal to the Newton Traffic Council to make it illegal to enter Beethoven Ave. from Beacon St. at drop-off and pick-up times.  All traffic will need to come down Beethoven from Puritan Road or Woodward St. at those times.  It is expected that the traffic council will hear this proposal at their September meeting, and then take some action in the following months.

Alderman Rice also informed us that he has been working to move all voting from Zervas School to the Waban Library.  Voting at Zervas is a potential safety hazard due to increased numbers of cars parking in the Zervas lot and in the streets.  Also, the huge number of strangers that are walking through our school during key elections causes me much anxiety and requires increased supervision.  Moving the voting to the Waban Library will relieve our safety concerns and bring some visibility to the Waban Library, which is being staffed by volunteers at this point.  The library needs to first become handicapped accessible and fund raising for that purpose has begun by the Waban Improvement Society.  We hope that voting can be moved there by the next presidential primaries in 2012.

At the School Council meeting we also acknowledged the hard work of the three members whose terms are ending this year.  After three years on the council, Carla Brigham and Kathy Goodfriend will be moving off the council.  Josh Weiss, who this year has filled the position of past PTO president on the council, will be ending his official connection to Zervas School, but we know he will always be there to support Zervas.  Thanks to these three for all they have done (and will continue to do) for Zervas.

While we are acknowledging the hard work of Zervas parents, we have to talk about Caroline Wilson, who is ending her two year term as PTO president.  Caroline is one of those people that every organization covets, someone who works tirelessly and asks for nothing in return, and who does it with grace, warmth, and good humor.  So much of what she does is not visible to the general Zervas community, but, believe me, her contributions to Zervas during the last two years have been significant.  Thank you, Caroline!  Next year Jane Spitz will be stepping into her second year as PTO president, and Joanne Hooker will be joining Jane to comprise the new Zervas PTO presidential team.

And a letter from me wouldn’t be complete without an update on the status of the proposed modulars at Zervas. Last month the school committee voted to place two modulars at Zervas.  The design review board committee from Public Buildings has recommended that they be placed at the end of the kindergarten/first grade hallway, pending approval of the Conservation Commission.  This is required because almost all of the Zervas School site is in a wetlands buffer.  We hope that the Board of Alderman will be voting on the proposal soon, and that construction will begin over the summer.

Watch for final progress reports for the year that will be coming home on Monday, June 20, and class placements for next year will be e-mailed on August 26th.  (A form that you can fill out to request that placement is mailed to you will be coming home next week.)  I look forward to seeing you at one of the many events coming up in the next few weeks. 

Steve Griffin

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