Mayor Ruthanne Fuller
"This represents a big step forward for our public schools." - Full day kindergarten announcement, December 2018
Dr. David Fleishman, Former Superintendent
"We will also maintain our commitment to small group instruction with a full-time teaching assistant in each kindergarten classroom to support both the teacher and students." -December 2018
WHY WE ARE DOING THIS
In December 2018, the City of Newton announced the implementation of full-day kindergarten with great fanfare for the following school year. Both Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and Superintendent David Fleishman highlighted the role of full-time aides as essential to running a successful full-day program, so as to maintain the city's commitment to small group instruction (read announcement here). The City of Newton and the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) signed a contract that guarantees one full-time kindergarten aide for every kindergarten classroom with 14 or more students.
The City of Newton would be failing to honor the contract, potentially leading to a long and costly battle with the NTA. The NTA is hopeful that they will win the battle to secure full-time kindergarten aides sometime in the next year. Unfortunately, even if the NTA does succeed, many of our wonderful kindergarten aides will have left the district, and incoming kindergartners are left with sub-optimal support. Meanwhile, our peer districts such as Brookline, Needham, Watertown, and Weston are all maintaining one kindergarten aide for each kindergarten classroom.
We cannot expect one teacher to teach effectively and to provide adequate care for a group of 20+ five-year old children without full-time support. Losing half of the aides will be extremely disruptive to learning and detrimental to the social-emotional well-being of these young students in their first year of formal education. Resources will have to be pulled from higher grades and everyone will suffer.
We are asking Mayor Fuller to provide the promised funding and restore full-time kindergarten aides to each classroom.
WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING
"My daughter has had an excellent kindergarten experience at NPS because her tremendous teacher has had the full-time support of a phenomenal aide. Every future kindergartner in Newton deserves this same experience!" Katherine C.
"A full-time kindergarten aide is considered a best practice in premier school districts. It is imperative that Newton find a way to continue with this staffing. This is not a “nice to have” for our youngest learners and their teachers." Kate D.
"Our son has benefited tremendously by having so much support in the kindergarten classroom and we really hope future students have access to the same level of support." Jonathan S.
"There is no organization structure where 20--30 direct reports to 1 manager is a good ratio...
let alone if half of them can't properly toilet themselves... or they are at various stages of development and on the beginning journey of self and co-regulation (because they are children!!!)." Jordyne W.
"Mayor Fuller has emphasized many times that supporting the Newton Public Schools is a major priority for her - that assertion needs to be backed up with funding for key services, like kindergarten aides, that support teachers and students!" Karen S.
Ellie, 3rd grader at John Ward
Caleb, 3rd grader at Mason-Rice