May 31, 2013

Dear Families,

As you are well aware, there has been a heightened focus on security throughout our country.  Events such as the tragedy in Newtown and the Boston Marathon bombings last month have caused many school districts, including Newton, to reexamine security procedures. Our challenge is to ensure that all buildings are safe and secure while preserving the sense of community that is a hallmark of the Newton Public Schools.

In January, we made the recommendation to the School Committee that security access systems be installed in Newton’s elementary and middle schools, as part of an effort to increase safety measures. The installation is nearly complete and four schools (Bigelow, Bowen, Lincoln-Elliot, and Ward) will be the pilot locations for the security systems beginning next week. At these schools, doors will be locked once students have entered the building. The security measures for other pre-K through 8 schools will be activated after the pilot is complete and any needed adjustments are made. You can expect to hear more information from your building principal regarding the specifics of our new procedures.

As you can imagine, putting new security protocols into practice is a major change for all of us. As is the case with the implementation of any new system, there will clearly be challenges. Our staff is participating in training sessions and we are optimistic that we will work out the kinks in the system by the end of this school year.

Please understand that we have reviewed other security practices as well. As an added safety measure, we will soon be providing identification badges for all faculty and staff within the Newton Public Schools.

Many thanks for your understanding and support during this time of transition.

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools