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:

    Underwood and Ward Task Force Recommendation

    Additional information will be shared as the School Committee continues its discussion. Updates will be shared via district email and on this webpage.


    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: npsunderwoodwardstudy@newton.k12.ma.us

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.

Subscribe to our list

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, June 27, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. - Virtual-Only. Meeting posting and agenda. Listen to Recording of Meeting.

    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

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

  • NPS Administrators

    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

    NPS Educators

    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

    City Councilors

    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.