According to History teacher Thomas Murphy, the curriculums for both classes are “not entirely decided, but general plans have been made.
An Economics class at the honors level will likely follow the curriculum of an AP Economics class. For those interested, the Collegeboard website divides Economics into Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.
Class topics include Basic Economic Concepts, the Nature and Functions of Product Markets, Factor Markets, Market Failure and the Role of Government, Measurement of Economic Performance, National Income and Price Determination, Financial Sector, Inflation, Unemployment and Stabilization Policies, Economic Growth and Productivity, and Open Economy: International Trade and Finance.
The World History curriculum would be split up into different regions. According to Murphy, students would perhaps study Africa for a month or two, then Asia, and then another region.
“[Introducing these two classes] has been talked about for a long time, Murphy said. “We’ve had World History, Race Class and Gender, AP Government, and Psych expand.
Possible teachers of the two classes have not been determined.
Some students have also shown interest in a third Comparative Government class, but no teachers are available to teach the class.
In order to add these two classes, the History Department must agree on the creation of a class and receive approval from the Committee On ProgramÂ and the principal.
The Principles of Economics already offered in the business department will still exist if the Economics class is introduced to the History Department.
“I’ve already taken Economics through the business department, so I wouldn’t take it again, senior Will Lind said. “But I might have been interested in World History.]]>
“[South's] numbers are steady this year, she said.
Kramer regularly reports the number of students coming down with influenza-like illnesses to the Health Department.
English teacher Jodie Daynard recalls that several of her students have been absent because of H1N1.
Despite this, Daynard has yet to notice a decline in attendance that would make this year different from past years.
“People are just being more careful, Daynard said. “Everyone’s taking it pretty well.
While the flu might not be as dangerous as the media makes it out to be, some students have received vaccines.
“My dad told me to get vaccinated so I don’t get sick, vaccinated senior Jeff Lewis said. “He’s not really worried, but he got the flu last year.
According to Lewis, the vaccination process took two minutes. After receiving the vaccination, Lewis recalls experiencing minor flu symptoms, which include a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, coughing, and sore throat.
Officials recommend students to take at least the most basic precaution and wash your hands.
Kramer believes the media has hyped up the flu.
“People can normally handle the flu, Kramer said. “There are more underlying issues.
Junior Nahuel Fefer also feels that the dangers of the H1N1 are exaggerated.
“It still has substantial threats, Fefer said. “It caused the unnecessary slaughter of thousands of pigs.
Those that are not expressing skepticism appear relatively apathetic because South has felt so little impact.
“It hasn’t really affected me. It doesn’t bother me, sophomore Stephanie Li said.]]>
The author attended Newton South many years ago.]]>
Marini believes his role is to establish procedures and practices that will implement the policies consistent with school committee guidelines.
“I was honored to be considered and am pleased to serve, Marini said. “I have great affection for Newton and deep respect for those who live and work here.
School Committee co-chair Claire Sokoloff stated that Marini will not be making any major changes to Young’s policies.
“As superintendent, Marini will be implementing the strategic plan that Young began with the intention of moving Newton forward, Sokoloff said.
After Young announced his resignation last school year, School Committee Chair Marc Loredo formed a search committee.
“The Superintendent Search Committee was decided after notifications were sent out asking anyone who was interested to apply, Loredo said.
Additions to the Search Committee included two principals, custodial union representatives, teachers, community members, and one student from each Newton high school. Ben Chesler is the representative for Newton South.
The Search Committee interviewed several possible candidates, and appointed Marini, a lifetime resident of Newton and a former student of Newton High School (now Newton North).
According to Superintendent Search Committee co-chair Reenie Murphy, the committee looked for someone who was familiar with Newton and had a lot of experience.
“Several candidates were interviewed in the first round, but none of them were the right fit, Murphy said. “Jim Marini’s name came up often from many people all over the city.
Marini began his career as a Day Middle School math teacher for seven years and afterwards became an assistant principal of the school for 8 years.
In 1990, Marini, after serving as the associate principal and principal of Concord Middle School, returned to Newton to serve as principal of Newton North.
Marini also served as the interim superintendent of North Andover and the assistant superintendent of Newton for three years. He retired in 2007 from his position as Superintendent as Winchester Public Schools.
In addition to Young, Deputy Superintendent Brenda Keegan resigned on July 1, and Paul Stein took her position.
According to School Committee member Geoff Epstein, the Superintendent Search Comittee will identify a consultant to assist in the search for a new superintendent.
“These [consulting] firms conduct nation wide searches on a regular basis, Murphy said, They know how to cast the net in a wider way.]]>
The FTC World Championships were held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, between April 16 and 18.
The tournament was divided into four divisions where teams competed in predetermined alliances of three teams each. The champion alliance of each division would move on to the final bracket to compete for the title.
Although the Ligerbots did not advance in their division, they were highly satisfied with their performance.
“For a first year team we did really well, robotics team member and junior Hasith Vidanamadura said. “Now that we’ve seen how regionals and nationals actually work, we’ll have better strategies for next year.
While the team did not place particularly high, they did very well for a new team competing against the nation’s best. Each team present at the competition was a regional champion and many of the teams had more experience than the Ligerbots.
The team noted that the level of difficulty at this competition was far greater than at previous ones.
“The competition was very intense, co-captain of the Ligerbots and junior Jeremy Perlman said. “We were definitely intimidated, but I don’t think many of us felt it because of how excited we were for the competition.
The challenges increased in size from one playing field to four, and the standard of competition was much higher. For what they lacked in score, however, the Ligerbots made up in sportsmanship.
The team conducted itself professionally and excelled at teamwork. Competitors were surprised to hear that the Ligerbots were a new team.
The team improved a few of the robot’s design features since the Boston and Hartford Regionals but did not make any drastic changes since the tournaments have the same challenges that the robots need to overcome.
Although the competitive season is over, the team plans to attend fundraising and community outreach events in the future. They recently attended Newton FunFest and the Newton North Showcase, where they introduced the community to the world of robotics.
The team is excited for next year’s season and has learned much from this past year.
“The experience we gained this year will allow us to build a much more competitive robot next year, robotics team programmer and sophomore Adam Scherlis said.
Scherlis noted that an important part of the competition is scouting out other teams to know which teams present the biggest challenges.]]>
South earned 83 points, three fewer than the fifth place winner. The team barely came in sixth, only five points away from being eliminated.
“All the schools that qualified were good, senior Math Team captain Kenny Lu said. “The top ten schools had really high scores.
Lu felt that the teams’ skill levels were average, but the competition among the top seven schools for the top six spots was tight.
“We barely beat Canton [for the 6th spot], sophomore Hyun Lee said. “We were losing by the end of the individual rounds but came back up during the team round.
Multiple team members described the meet as “intense.
Both sophomore Tony Wang and freshman Sophia Dolan agreed that the team’s biggest weakness was in making “stupid mistakes.
According to Dolan, the team could also improve on their collaboration and participation in the team round.
Members of the team must be familiar with a wide variety of math topics. The questions range from algebra to precalculus.
Schools participating in the meet were classified as either large, medium, or small depending on total student population. South classified as a large school, and the team consisted of eight people. Each member participates in three individual rounds with up to six points that can be earned in each. The final round is a team round, asking more challenging questions that are worth more points.
The Math Team’s next tournament is New England Regionals.
For the past several years, Massachusetts has dominated the tournament, meaning that South’s greatest competitors will be those it has already faced in the State tournament. The competitors include teams from Acton Boxborough, Lexington, Belmont, and Concord Carlisle. The Math Team expects the level of competition at Regionals to be the same as at States.]]>
“I didn’t expect to get any awards. I thought that we would do well but not that well. We were the leader of one of the alliances in the final round, junior and Ligerbot co-captain Jeremy Perlman said.
Robotics team coach Jordan Kraus felt that “good students, good coaches, good mentors, and a certain amount of luck allowed the Ligerbots to outshine its competitors. Other faculty deeply involved in encouraging the team’s success were coaches Chuck Hurwitz, Greg Poulos, and Tim Stephens.
Winning the Rookie Allstar award, an award to “recognize outstanding achievement by a first year team according to the competition’s website, proved to be difficult.
“[It involved judgment on] team spirit, artistic design, business plan, your community outreach¦and doing our best to advance Science and Technology, Kraus said.
During this year’s competition, robots were judged by their performance in a game called Lunacy. Robots in “alliances of three went head to head two at a time in a rectangular arena. Each team starts with 20 balls, referred to as “Moon Rocks. During the two minutes and fifteen second time limit, robots attempt to shoot as many balls as possible into the opponent robots’ trailer while protecting their own.
The Ligerbots’ quick-moving robot could collect the Moon Rocks, send them up an Archimedes screw type apparatus, and launch them out.
Kraus felt that, besides the construction of the robot, getting the whole thing started was one of the team’s greatest challenges. Once the time commitment weeded people out, however, leaders emerged, and the team developed from the remaining people.
“The sense of camaraderie and common purpose kept everyone coming back, Kraus said. She, speaking for the team, finds the challenges ahead overwhelming but still exciting.
The team’s next challenge will be a Regional Competition that will take place over the next few days in Hartford. Winning the Rookie Allstar award also earned the team a place in the National Championship in Atlanta in mid-April break. Some plans for post-season events are also in the works.
“Now we meet approximately one time per week, Perlman said. “We need to get the money to represent Newton in Nationals.
At the beginning of the year, the team met every Monday from the end of the school day to 4:30, switching locations between North and South. Wednesday meetings were team building meetings where the team would learn from past competitions. The team would use Thursdays as business meetings, spending their time obtaining funds for the team.]]>
According to School Committee member Reenie Murphy, who is chair of the Food Service Review subcommittee, the district’s food services have been operating at a loss for the past several years, but reached $1.2 million this year.
South Senator and junior Ben Chelmow suggested more basic foods such as pasta and macaroni as a way of appealing to the student body. According to Chelmow, some of the foods currently served in the cafeteria are too “exquisite looking for the average teenager.
Another problem addressed is that school lunches offer few vegetarian and vegan options. South Senator and junior Conrad Beckman thinks that, while the salad bar is good, other vegetarian options are either unappealing or unavailable.
South Senator and senior Persephone HernÃƒÂ ndez-Vogt also pushed for more vegetarian options. “I know one of my friends who graduated last year had a lot of trouble with finding pieces of meat in her vegetarian sandwich, HernÃƒÂ ndez-Vogt said.
Efficiency also seems to be a factor that discourages students from buying lunch.
“I remember going to lunch and there’s no food there, so I just go to the vending machine, South Senator and junior Conrad Beckman said.
For the most part, students agreed that using student cards to buy lunches makes the process run faster, but not smoothly enough.
“The sheer bulk of people is just overloading the system, South Senator and senior Jay Epstein said.
The biggest problem with the cafeteria, according to students, is pricing.
According to South Senator and sophomore Amanda Sands, the food is overpriced. Cereal and milk at the snack line costs $3.75, which is 25 cents more than lunch. “In my experience I’ve had to just get like a piece of pizza for $3.50, Sands said.
The current price of lunch, $3.50, is not cost effective, according to most senators. It is not enough to cover food costs and employee costs. Yet, students say that it is the maximum they would pay for school lunch.
The Citizen’s Advisory Group is currently working alongside the Food Service Review subcommittee to solve Food Service problems and reverse losses.]]>
The security policy plans to deal with a range of security catastrophes such as bomb threats and chemical spills.
The possible use of security cameras will only be implemented as a response to a series of non-emergency crimes, such as vandalism or theft.
In such a case, before the cameras are put up, a written justification by the principal and assistant superintendent needs to be approved by the superintendent. According to the policy, students will be informed if the cameras are put into effect, but not necessarily where the cameras are placed.
In prepared comments before the Committee, South Senate President and senior Bill Humphrey criticized what he felt was a lack of oversight over the implementation of security cameras and a lack of community input before cameras are installed.
“If the situation is not an emergency. What’s the rush? he said. “Why can’t there be more steps for approval?
The cameras will only stay in place as long as it is necessary to address the concern for which they are implemented.
“I hoped [the policy] would not pass at all, Humphrey said. “Cameras are a violation of the fourth amendment right because it is taking away the reasonable suspicion and implicating everyone. That’s not what we need to be doing right now.
In the discussion following Humphrey’s presentation, school committee members were able to finally converse about his issues with the policy.
“It was a compelling argument, school committee member Claire Sokoloff said.
Many Committee members believed the policy should pass to see how it goes.
“We should see what works and what does not, school committee chair Dori Zaleznik said.
The school committee hopes that the policy will be effective in use.
“First, knowledge that cameras have been installed will deter vandalism and thefts; and second, if the vandalism and thefts do not stop, the perpetrator will be caught and dealt with accordingly student representative Ben Miller said.
Others, like Security Subcommittee Chair Marc Laredo and Principal Brian Salzer, agree that security cameras could help prevent such crimes.¯
The School Committee released a school security survey in order to get more perspective on the issues. Principal Salzer thought it was a great idea to get public opinion, saying it can act like a barometer of community values.
The survey offered lots of feedback, with around 800 responses. Almost half were from teachers or other people working within the school system.
A majority of the surveys were in favor of the use of cameras.
The debate continues, however, as to whether or not the security policy infringes on student and teacher rights.
“I’m adamantly opposed to any approval that would put cameras in the school whether they are secret or not, Humphrey said. “Sweeping infringements of fourth amendment rights are not acceptable.]]>
Alderman Paul Coletti has served on the Newton Board of Aldermen for 30 years, working countless issues relating to the Newton Public Schools during his long tenure. Since he was as Aldermen, Newton has renovated Newton South, Oakhill, and Brown.
Coletti believes that the state of education in Newton is “extremely good and that the school system in its current form leaves students well prepared to go into a career or pursue a college education.
Coletti also feels, however, that Newton schools face a number of challenges.Â The first challenge is filling positions vacated by retiring teachers and administrators with the best candidates possible.Â While Coletti believes teachers should be paid competitively for their work, he also said that teacher salaries must not take too much money out of the budget. His main goal is to “make sure that the¦student who might not be in advanced placement continues to receive equal access to the quality teaching, he said.
Other issues that Colletti feels the Newton Public Schools must address include the need to identify and assist students with disabilities and the need to maintain facilities and infrastructure.
In order to maximize city revenue, Coletti outlined a number of proposals. First, he plans to continue to ensure that Newton provides 70 percent of property tax revenues to the school system. Coletti also wants to merge the administration of several departments shared by the schools and municipal government, such as human resources, purchasing and accounting.
Funding is likely to be an even more pressing issue as the current financial crisis is bound puts strains on city resources.Â Coletti hopes to continue the current practice of increasing the City’s education and educational infrastructure budget 4.5 to 6 percent each year and that this increase in revenue will “fund work that needs to be done to maintain excellence.
“[Education is] not just a requirement but a commitment that the citizens and taxpayers believe our job is to provide the best, the very best, possible education we can provide to the children, our future leaders, Coletti said.]]>