Principal’s Letter

Dear Zervas Families,

Next year’s budget, which was recently submitted by David Fleishman, superintendent of schools, has been approved by the School Committee. It is one of the more positive budgets we have seen since I have been in Newton. There will be no major cuts to programming at Zervas, and there will be some restoration of programming lost last year. Fourth grade chorus will be restored, and the time of art classes at some grades will be increased. While class sizes continue to look favorable for next year, these will not be finalized until we get a clearer sense of enrollment changes across all of the city’s schools. Representatives from the School Committee will be coming to Zervas at our next scheduled School Council meeting to talk about the budget and other issues facing the Newton Public Schools. All members of the Zervas community are encouraged to attend this meeting. It will take place on Wednesday night, April 11, at 7:00 pm in the library. Please join us if you can.

One of the major topics discussed at this year’s Zervas School Council meetings has been ways we can increase creative and critical thinking in our classrooms. In pursuit of this goal, we have decided to set aside a week in May in all of our classrooms to focus on more project-based learning activities, with a common theme across the grades. We have chosen the natural environment as our theme. Each grade level will choose an appropriate focus for this theme, and will engage in week long projects allowing students to explore the topic in a variety of ways so that they can develop a deeper understanding of the topic. Classes will develop a variety of ways to demonstrate and share their learning with students in other grades and with their parents. We will present our final projects at an evening showcase on Tuesday, May 29, so save that date. You will be hearing more about this initiative in the coming months, so stay tuned.

We are just two weeks away from April vacation. Right after April vacation we will begin the process of placing students into homeroom classrooms for the 2012-2013 school year. As usual, our goal is to create balanced classrooms which reflect the overall diversity of the Zervas community. We strive for balance in terms of gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds, learning and behavioral styles, social maturity, and special needs. We try to create supportive peer groups which are likely to promote healthy and productive learning environments for each and every child. When you come back from vacation we will send home the “yellow form” which gives you the opportunity to share important information with us that applies to the placement of your child for the following year. This form is optional. It must be returned by Friday, May 4. We begin putting together the new classes right after that day, so we can not consider information given to us after the first week in May.

Also right after April vacation is the Annual Newton Serves Day. This year it will be on Sunday, April 29. Please join us to help spruce up the Zervas grounds. It looks like it is going to a busy spring! I hope to see you at one of these events at Zervas.

Steve Griffin

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