Action to support our kids

Hello Peirce Parents and Caregivers, 

We understand how difficult this Strike has been on everyone – we certainly didn’t anticipate a seventh day without school.  We appreciate that there are a range of opinions and stances surrounding the state of teacher contracts and we respect everyone’s views.  As PTO leadership we feel it is important to be impartial, we also feel an increasing urge to DO something.  We would like to make you aware of a campaign, Kids First, that is not siding with either party, it’s focused entirely on getting kids back to school, while the City and the NTA work together to close the gap.  

How you can help: Email the Mayor, NTA President, Chair, School Committee, Superintendent and City Council at the email addresses below to put Kids First

We understand this issue is very personal and everyone has different opinions relative to the negotiations.  To that end, please use the suggested language below as a guide to help spread the word but adjust as needed to reflect your stance and personal experiences.  What’s most important is that we put Kids First.  

Suggested language:

I am writing to you with one goal: to get our kids back in school immediately. 

I am a concerned parent and/or guardian of child/children in the Newton Public Schools that demands children be brought back to the classroom immediately. I understand that the two sides remain apart on several issues, but implore you to continue your negotiations while enabling students and teachers to get back to the classroom.  To be clear, I am not siding with either the NTA or the City but am advocating for the children.  By this letter, I insist that both parties leave the students out of the negotiations and bring them back to school while continuing to negotiate. 

Below are just a few of the impacts school cancellation has created for Newton students and their families.     

  • The removal of the school routine is wreaking havoc with so many kids who are just now reacclimating after a most traumatic Covid period, with significant mental health issues associated with being isolated and out of school.
  • The impact is especially heavy on those receiving additional help at school.  Not only are these kids not getting the help they need, but their routines have been derailed – they feel lost and powerless.
  • Our elementary school children feel isolated at home – with little opportunity for socialization.  This lack of socialization is already fostering behavioral issues in many homes, furthering the stress on families. 
  • The cancellation of all school-related extracurricular activities such as sports removes what is for many – the greatest joy in their lives, and an outlet that promotes physical and mental health There is a lack of joy and purpose as they remain out of School. 
  • Many high schoolers feel anxious and stressed with the upcoming SAT, ACT and AP exams.   These exams are built upon an assumed curriculum that our kids are no longer receiving.  Although the academic school year may be extended, exam dates will not change.  This adds anxiety among students during a period in their lives that is already stressful, an unhealthy and avoidable impact. 
  • Parents are revisiting the challenges every family experienced during Covid.  Decisions as to which parent can stay home without impacting their job are back on the table.  And parents are feeling the need to begin homeschooling their kids to maintain education levels.  There are no tools, guidelines, or recommendations for students and their families, ultimately impeding academic progress.   This is having a disproportionate impact on less financially secure families and those with less flexible work environments.
  • Many parents and guardians are now absorbing the extra cost of sending their children to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, so they can go to work.  This is an additional unplanned expense, impacting funds that could have been put to a far more impactful use. 
  • The uncertainty around how long school will be canceled is creating significant stress and strain on both children and their families.  Not knowing how to plan for the next day is especially hard on those children who require routine but is challenging to manage for just about everyone.  

These are just some of the reasons our children need to urgently return to school. The cancellation of school has brought upon Newton students and their families significant hardship that will only get worse if schools are not reopened immediately.  I am not siding with either the NTA or the City but am advocating for the children.  I implore you to continue your negotiations while enabling students and teachers to get back to the classroom.  

Jordana Bluestein & Jaime Mason
Peirce PTO Co-Presidents

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