Principal Jennifer Price
It is hard to believe that we are in November already, and this is the first time I have written a Principal’s Perspective this year. For those of you new to the community, this is an occasional (far too occasional at times) way that I communicate with the greater school community. Every time I write, I attempt to give you my perspective on how our year is going or to highlight different events happening within our school.
I begin by letting you all know that I am officially on leave as your principal for the next month. Specifically, I have been granted an educational leave in order to work on my dissertation as part of my doctoral studies at Harvard. Deb Holman, our very capable vice principal, will be acting as principal until December 5th. For more information, please visit the new Newtonite website at http://thenewtonite.com/2011/
From my perspective, we have gotten off to a very strong start this year. Year two in the building is so much easier than year one. The students and faculty are clearly settled into our new home and comfortable within our walls. For example, our new Library Learning Commons is an exciting new space. If you have yet to check out the library website, I suggest you take a brief moment to see what all the buzz is about at http://library.nnhs.net/
A few weeks ago, we altered our schedule for two days in order to come together to discuss a book and to focus on the effects of bullying. Our Two Schools, One Book project that we did in conjunction with our sister school, Newton South, was a great event that allowed the events of Hurricane Katrina to come alive for our students. The discussions that day were fascinating, and allowed all of us to break from our traditional roles and learn together for a morning. I personally enjoyed being able to speak on a panel with two students and one parent. For that small period of time, we spoke about stories that shaped our lives, and allowed the barriers that traditionally divide us to dissolve as we supported one another to take the risk to open up to our audience. For more information about all of the panels that day, once again visit our new Newtonite website at http://thenewtonite.com/
The following Monday, all of our students took part in a moving presentation about Rachel, the first student killed in the Columbine tragedy. The program, Rachel’s Challenge, clearly impacted our students. The presenter challenged all of our students to think about how to create a stronger school culture that allows all students to feel more connected to our school. For more information about this event, please visit http://thenewtonite.com/2011/
The thing that amazed me about both of these days was that the Columbine tragedy and Hurricane Katrina are not an active part of our students’ memories. They were too small to live through these events as we all did. It was profound to watch most of our students come to grips with these events for the first time. Especially in the wake of the 10th anniversary of September 11th, another event that feels distant to them.
One final note. The PTSO sponsored a very well attended event in the College and Career Center last month. There were two documents referenced at that event that were jointly created by our School Council and our Guidance Department a few years ago. These documents provide answers to frequently asked questions about the college process and a timeline of what we recommend over the four years of high school. I encourage you to take a look at these documents, which can be found under the college planning section of our Counseling website at http://nnhs.newton.k12.ma.us/
Thanks as always for being our partners in the process of navigating your child/children through these important, yet often tumultuous, years.