Underwood and Ward Facility and Enrollment Study
On July 3, 2023, Superintendent Nolin recommended the following:
"that the work of the Underwood and Ward Facilities and Enrollment Task Force be concluded and that the School Committee convene as soon as possible to discuss next steps and to work to tie this work to the larger comprehensive facilities strategy for the Newton Public Schools. I anticipate that this comprehensive strategy will tie into the larger strategic planning process and enhance current facilities projects already underway. It will allow the district to set our vision, values, and goals for the future but not keep Ward and Underwood communities waiting."
The full recommendation can be found in this memo:
Additional information will be shared as the School Committee continues its discussion. Updates will be shared via district email and on this webpage.
PREVIOUS BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In fall 2022, the Newton Public Schools established a task force and contracted with a consultant to address facility, educational, and enrollment challenges at Underwood and Ward elementary schools. As documented by the previous work of a prior task force, both Underwood and Ward occupy buildings that are nearly 100 years old and both schools are experiencing enrollment declines that are impacting the educational experience of students.
A new task force has been established to work with the contracted consultant. Please review the Mission and Guiding Principles (draft) of the working group, as well as the scope of services of the contracted consultant.
Questions or feedback? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Updates Email List
If you would like to receive regular email updates on the work of the Underwood-Ward Task Force, please complete the form below. Please note, after you submit the form, you will receive an email confirming your subscription. You must confirm your subscription via this email. If you do not receive it, please check your spam/junk folders.
Public Meeting Schedule
All meetings of the Underwood/Ward task force are publicly posted and open to the general public. Meetings may occur in person or virtually via Zoom. Please subscribe to our mailing list to be alerted to meetings and agendas. Upcoming meetings with links to agendas (when available) are listed below:
Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.): Meeting Posting and Agenda
Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.): Meeting Posting and Agenda
Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.): Meeting Posting and Agenda
Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.): Meeting Posting and Agenda
Tuesday, July 11, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.): CANCELLED
All remaining meetings have been cancelled, per Superintendent Anna Nolin's recommendation to School Committee
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
Tuesday, December 12, 2023 (if needed) - 3:00 p.m. - Education Center Room 210 (100 Walnut St.):
Staff and Family Meetings
Wednesday, May 10. 2023 - Staff Meeting for all Underwood and Ward staffThursday, May 18, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. - Ward PTO meeting for Ward Families (Ward Meeting Presentation Slides)Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. - Underwood PTO meeting for Underwood Families (Underwood Meeting Presentation Slides)
Public Meeting Materials
Frequently Asked Questions: Timeline
Will there be any changes for this Fall 2023?
Will there be any changes for the 2024-25 school year?
What will happen in December 2023?
Why has December 2023 been set as the target for the recommendations report?
Frequently Asked Questions: Challenges
What are the challenges of a school with low enrollment and fewer classrooms?
What are the facilities/building challenges with Underwood and Ward?
What are the financial challenges of a school with 12 classrooms or less with an enrollment of around 200 students?
Frequently Asked Questions: Options
Are there “short-term” options under consideration?
Why are you considering “short-term” solutions?
What are the long-term options currently under consideration?
Why are you considering Underwood and Ward at the same time?
Frequently Asked Questions: Classrooms, Class Size, Enrollment
Can you share the details on the class sizes and classrooms at Underwood and Ward?
Is this study just about enrollment?
How accurate are the NPS enrollment projections?
Do the recent changes to the buffer zones for Underwood impact Underwood’s enrollment?
Do you consider children 0-4 in your enrollment projections?
Frequently Asked Questions: Task Force and District Background Information
Is there a “target” enrollment for schools in the district?
What do you mean by “educational program” and why is it important?
How were the Task Force members selected?
Phase 1 - Spring 2023
- Existing conditions assessment - buildings, sites and space use
- Historic and projected enrollment review for both schools, individually and within
the context of the district
- Understand facility needs to support the educational program
- Identify issues and opportunities
Phase 2 - Summer 2023
- Identify/develop strategies and options for consideration
- Research and data collection for various options
Phase 3 - Fall 2023
- Opportunities for Community input on findings
- Refine Options and complete Criteria Evaluation Matrix
- Present options to Superintendent and School Committee
Task Force Members
Ayesha Farag, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education
Stephanie Gilman, NPS Dir. of Planning, Project Management & Sustainability
Katy Hogue, NPS Director of Data Analysis & Enrollment Planning
Liam Hurley, NPS Assist. Superintendent/Chief Financial & Administrative Officer
Sean Mannion, NPS Director of Finance
Suzie Talukdar, Underwood Principal
Rebecca Brogadir, Ward Principal
Andy Gluck, Underwood Building Aide
Rachel Ritchie, Ward Teacher
Underwood and Ward Families
Kathleen Colantonio, Underwood Parent
Bob Altshuler, Ward Parent
School Committee Members
Rajeev Parlikar, Ward 1 School Committee Member
Emily Prenner, School Committee Facilities Representative
Kathy Shields, Ward 7 School Committee Member
City of Newton Administrators
Joshua Morse, Newton Public Buildings Commissioner
Alex Valcarce, Newton Public Buildings Deputy Commissioner
Jonathan Yeo, Newton Chief Operating Officer
Allison Leary, Ward 1 City Councilor
Rebecca Grossman, Ward 7 City Councilor
Perkins Eastman Consultant Team
Robert Bell, Principal, Educational Programmer
Joe Drown, Principal in Charge / Project Manager
Peter Romain, Facilities Assessment
Sub-consultants - HVAC, Plumbing, Accessibility, Structural, etc.