Skip directly to content

Programs We Fund

NSF supports the expansion of innovative programs in the Newton Public Schools in areas ranging from science and engineering to literacy and the arts.  These  programs develop creative thinking, problem solving, communication and leadership skills needed to better prepare students for college and careers in today’s challenging global community. Over the past three years, Newton Schools Foundation has granted the Newton Public Schools nearly $400,000 to support initiatives across the school system in the areas of:

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the Arts)
  • Sustainability
  • Global Education
  • Literacy and History
  • Closing the Achievement Gap
  • Social and Emotional Health

Make a donation >>

NSF funded programs include:

Elementary School Programs

The K-5 Summer Writing Institute: NSF funds pays for teachers from elementary schools to participate in a writing institute to prepare them to teach the informational writing skills unit elementary students will be expected to master. 

Responsive Classroom Training: The Responsive Classroom approach is a nationally used, research-and evidence-based way of teaching that improves students’ social and academic skills and raises teachers’ instructional quality. NSF funds pays for teachers to attend this training.

Instrumental Music Pilot Progam at Lincoln-Eliot: The longstanding practice in Newton is to encourage instrumental music students (parents) in grades 5 through 12 to enroll in private lessons. NSF funds will bring professional instrumental clinicians into Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School to support the ensemble music program and give individualized instruction to students who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity for private lessons. With the potential for expansion into other schools, this enriching new program will help to better educate the whole child.

Middle School Programs

Generation Citizen: Newton eighth graders are learning to be civic activists through Generation Citizen a hands-on educational initiative that teaches middle and high school students how to affect meaningful change in their communities by taking civic action. Newton Schools Foundation funded the successful pilot in two Day Middle School social studies classes in Spring 2016 and provided additional funding for the program’s roll-out this year to all eighth grade social studies classes at Day.  Read more.

The Calculus Project: The Calculus Project in the Newton Public Schools is an ambitious effort to narrow the achievement gap in mathematics. It aims to increase the number of African American, Hispanic and low-income students who enroll in and successfully complete higher-level math in high school. Research indicates that success in higher-level high school mathematics is strongly associated with college enrollment and is the strongest predictor of college completion. Since 2012, 95 rising seventh and eighth graders in Newton have participated in small group intensive instruction in mathematics and in the “Pride Curriculum,” designed to shift self-perceptions about academic accomplishment as students gain skills and competence.  During the school year, the students participate in meetings and three hours of weekly after-school tutoring. NSF funds were instrumental in launching the program and continues with its support.

Coding in the Classroom: Math Teachers and IT specialists have begun exploring the most effective ways to integrate coding into the middle school curriculum.

Middle School Peer Leadership: Students from all four middle schools are participating in the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Peer Mentorship program, “A World of Difference.” NSF support provides transportation costs for students to attend the ADL Congress in Boston and supports teachers to attend after-hours advisory meetings. After going through the program, Peer Leaders will visit with younger students to make presentations on bullying, cyber bullying and anti-bias behaviors to build social responsibility and a more inclusive and respectful school community.

Responsive Classroom Training: The Responsive Classroom approach is a nationally used, research-and evidence-based way of teaching that improves students’ social and academic skills and raises teachers’ instructional quality. NSF is expanding from its successful elementary school program by supporting training to bring the model to 30 middle school teachers.

Middle School Engineering and Sustainable Energy Generation: The middle school engineering teachers designed an integrated and innovative curriculum with a focus on energy generation through new blade design for wind turbines. This program will engage students in hands-on STEM projects that haven’t been offered before.  NSF funded probes, measurement tools and curriculum development materials at all four middle schools.    

Middle School Advisory: NSF funds went to develop and pilot a program at Brown Middle School aimed to improve students’ sense of safety and connection to adults in school.    

High School Programs

The Green Trail:  This collaboration among Newton South High School’s History, Science, and Family and Consumer Sciences departments, focused on climate change, invasive species and protection of biodiversity. Through signs and landscaping, the area has become an outdoor classroom. NSF’s funds were instrumental in the creation of the Green Trail. Money went for landscaping, the building of a kiosk near the wetlands, the renovation of the greenhouse, and South’s year-round garden. 

AP United States History Summer Academy: This summer program engaged 12 rising juniors of color with structured academic support to enable them to succeed in AP US History. Emphasizing skills in advanced-level reading and note-taking, writing, test-taking and the general content of the AP course, the program prepared students for this challenging college-level course.  During the academic year students will be clustered together in a section taught by the summer lead teacher and meet bi-weekly for ongoing support.  NSF funds paid for the teacher who taught the summer class and who will support the students during the school year.

Engineering: Teachers worked to generate new curriculum projects and lessons that utilize new equipment available in South’s STEAM lab to design a capstone experience for seniors working toward an Engineering Certificate.

Computer Programming Development: Two teachers planned the transition of the Introductory and Advanced Programming classes to the Swift Programming Language, building capacity to teach the new program.

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE): This umbrella term describes a diverse subset of the student population who may be new to the U.S. school system and/or have had interrupted or limited schooling. This can include refugees, migrant students, or any student who experienced limited or interrupted access to school for a variety of reasons. A ten member committee representing all school levels is designing procedures for the initial identification, programming and re-designation of SLIFE students and identifying and purchasing materials to differentiate instruction to better support such students in their learning environment.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) The DaVinci Program: The DaVinci Program at Newton South is a project-based collaborative approach to learning science, technology, engineering, arts and math. This interdisciplinary,learning program was piloted with 10th grade students in the 2015-2016 school year and will be expanded to 11th and 12th grades in the 2016-2018 school years. The DaVinci program will provide students with the opportunity to build skills in experimentation, analytical problem solving, collaboration, presentation, communication, and artistic representation through authentic and student-driven learning. It provides meaningful and relevant learning experiences for students at honors, college preparatory and advanced college preparatory levels.  NSF funded equipment to build-out the DaVinci Lab.

Science and Society is a new senior interdisciplinary science and history elective at Newton North High SchoolThrough a series of case studies—including the development of the atomic bomb, DNA and how it connects to identity and medical innovation, germ theory and the development of public health, biological evolution, environmental history, the development of modern cities, and the science of race— the course illuminates how science has changed and responded to society over time. Students read primary source documents and historical narratives, hold discussions and debates, and undertake research to learn about the interconnection between science and the evolution of our modern world. 

The Calculus Project: The Calculus Project in the Newton Public Schools is an ambitious effort to narrow the achievement gap in mathematics. It aims to increase the number of African American, Hispanic and low-income students who enroll in and successfully complete calculus in high school. Research indicates that success in higher-level high school mathematics is strongly associated with college enrollment and is the strongest predictor of college completion. Since 2012, 95 rising seventh and eighth graders in Newton have participated in small group intensive instruction in mathematics and in the “Pride Curriculum,” designed to shift self-perceptions about academic accomplishment as students gain skills and competence.  During the school year, the students participate in meetings and three hours of weekly after-school tutoring. NSF funds were instrumental in launching the program and continues with its support.

Ongoing NSF-Supported Programs

Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund (GELF)

Overseas learning opportunities provide participants with critical 21st-century skills.  The Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund was established to aid students who lack the financial means to take advantage of these opportunities. GELF offers financial assistance for school-sponsored international programs to Newton high school students in good academic standing. The Fund was established in 2008 through private donations and is administered through NSF’s Robert B. Swett Fund.  In the past five years GELF has provided over $120,000 for more than 80 students to travel to Russia, Italy, India, Prague, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain,and Ch France, Panama ina.  These trips change lives!  Learn more.

Ligerbots

Ligerbots is a robotics club that includes students, teacher coaches and parent mentors from both Newton North and Newton South High Schools. The program is associated with FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—a national program founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen to help create the next generation of scientists, inventors, and engineers by providing high school students with challenges that foster interest and skills in engineering, mathematics, and science.  In 2008 NSF provided financial support to help build the program in Newton. During Team Ligerbots’ first year of competition, they won a number of awards including a berth to the Nationals in Atlanta. The following year, NSF assumed financial oversight of the program, allowing for a more flexible use of funds than the Newton Public Schools can provide. Learn more.

Beijing Jingshan Exchange Program

Each spring, the Newton-Beijing Jingshan School Exchange Program sends Newton teachers and high school students to the Jingshan School, Newton Public Schools' sister school in Beijing.  Newton hosts a similar group from the Jingshan School every fall.  Chinese students who come to Newton reside with a Newton family during their stay here.  While in Beijing, teachers teach English and continue their own study of Chinese (Mandarin).  Students attend classes in Chinese language, history, art, music, math, science, and martial arts — all in Chinese. Learn more.