Climate Education should be a NPS district Goal

If you also believe that Climate Change and its solutions should be more widely discussed and taught at Newton Public Schools, join us on asking the Schools Committee to include Climate Education as a District-Wide Goal in 2021.

We will meet this Thursday, April 15, at 4pm to discuss this and other sustainability and climate related topics. More information here

The School Committee, with NPS’s superintendent and the City’s Mayor, is responsible for deciding each year what goals will guide the work of administrators, faculty, and staff as they “provide high quality academic opportunities for students and create welcoming and supportive school communities.”

In 2019, Green Newton School Connections petitioned for NPS to include Sustainability in schools and the School Committee included the topic in the FY20 Systemwide Goals, initiating the  School Sustainability Working Group and a managerial goal focused on sustainability for facilities and transportation. Following our advocacy,  NPS hired a Director of Planning, Project Management and Sustainability in February 2020. 

Now is time to move on to the next step and include Climate Educations as a systemwide goal.

The city of Newton has committed to dramatically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and even hired an Energy Coach to guide residents in adopting cleaner and more sustainable energy upgrades for their home and transportation. Our students can help!!! They are part of the solution to solve our existential climate crisis – if we give them, and our educators, the necessary tools, support and resources. 

The School Committee will be discussing the 2021-2022 Systemwide Goals in the next months. It’s time for us to ask them to include Climate Education as a goal. 

Sustainability Efforts within NPS in 2019

From the School Committee Jan 13, 2020 Update – 

“Sustainability Update: Presented by Liam Hurley, Assistant Superintendent/ Chief Financial & Administrative Officer
Highlights of the presentation included:
– 2019 Goals met: School Sustainability Working Group formed and meeting monthly since June 2019, System-Wide Goals approved, sustainability page published on NPS website.
– 2020 Goals include: Promote recycling and waste management, reduce single-use plastics, food waste reduction, promote sustainable transportation, support sustainable sourcing of energy and participating in a culture shift towards a more sustainable Newton community.”

See the full  Sustainability Update presentation here.
Link to the School Committee Newsletters

More about Sustainability at NPS and the School Sustainability Working Group

Our Vision for 2020

As 2019 comes to a close and we celebrate many big steps forward when it comes to sustainability in Newton Public Schools — thanks to a lot of work from dedicated community members, including parents, teachers, students, staff, administrators, elected officials… — we pause for reflection. 

What is our vision for 2020?
What schools do we want for our children? 

We asked those questions at our last meeting (11/14) and we are hoping to discuss this more thoroughly next year.

We are inspired by Boston Public Schools Vision

“A green school is a school that 1. reduces environmental impacts and costs; 2. improves occupants’ health and performance; 3. increases environmental and sustainability literacy.”

Do you have other ideas? Please, share with us. Comment below or send us an email

Happy Solstice and our Best Wishes for a Sustainable New Year!

School Sustainability Working Group

Newton Public Schools have installed a School Sustainability Working Group (SSWG), which seeks to promote and increase sustainable practices within the Newton Public Schools. Partnering with Green Newton School Connections, the SSWG will work to improve sustainable practices in the areas of transportation, energy, recycling, and food services.

The School Sustainability Working Group includes the representation from NPS administration, facilities, educators, school committee members, Whitsons (food service partner), City of Newton Department of Public Works and Department of Sustainability. 

Green Newton School Connections initiative provides an opportunity for families to collaborate with the district in bringing sustainable practices and environmental education directly into the Newton Public Schools.

So far, SSWG has worked on:

The groups goals for 2020 are:

  • Promote recycling efforts at individual Newton schools
  • Identify feasible methods for reduce single-use plastics, especially at school cafeterias
  • Coordinate with Food Service Advisory Group (FSAG) on actionable waste reduction goals
  • Promote more active and sustainable transportation to school
  • Support sustainable use and sourcing of energy, including solar panels

More at NPS > Families > Buildings & Operations > Sustainability

For a full, detailed description of the School Sustainability Working Group, please download this document: SSWG Purpose, Structure, Objectives, and Timeline.

2020 NPS Systemwide Goals include Sustainability

Sustainability is now part of the Newton Public Schools Systemwide Goals for 2020, along with specific goals to improve transportation in the district. 

After three rounds of discussion, the School Committee voted unanimously to approve the FY20 Systemwide Goals which include “Initiate Development of School Sustainability Working Group” and a third Managerial Goal of Transportation on the 9/16/2019 meeting

Read full document here: FY20 Systemwide Goals


The first Managerial Goal for NPS regards School Facilities. It aims to continually update the plan for educational space both short-term and long-term. Five managerial goals were defined for this year, including (on page 10):

Targeted Action Steps Anticipated Outcomes
Initiate Development of a School Sustainability Working Group (SSWG) with the purpose to promote and increase sustainable practices within the Newton Public Schools (NPS) with an initial emphasis on improving waste diversion efforts. • Review SSWG goals and objectives with School Committee.
• Development of website section to highlight our mission and goals.
• Implement textile recycling bins at each school where feasible.

Learn more about the School Sustainability Working Group (SSWG) here


Transportation is this year the third Managerial Goal, aiming to strengthen transportation practices to address students’ safety and health, traffic congestion, and impact of district
initiatives and elementary district boundary changes. (page 13)

Targeted Action Steps Anticipated Outcomes
Continue the work on the School Transportation Steering Group (STSG) planning to address policy development and transportation-related student safety and health, traffic congestion, and impact of district initiatives and elementary district boundary changes. Seek feedback on all proposals and communicate to stakeholders. • Submit draft Transportation related policy for School Committee review
• Review and develop plans for pilots (Horace Mann, Cabot and Newton South), and other identified schools
• Optimize district website for communication and parent engagement
• Adjust timeline for bus application process.
• Review and update practices for bus pass checks.
• Review Private School Bus Transportation Practices
• Work with the communication and IT departments to improve communication with families regarding transportation.
• More timely and efficient bus application process.
• Clear policy on bus pass checks at schools including procedure/ramifications for elementary and secondary students without a bus pass.
• Adjust Private School Transportation Practices based on review.
• Communication-enhanced ability for families to receive timely information regarding delays and other issues.


Bigelow Middle School Grade 8 Environmental Journalism Project

Science teachers, Ms. Hoffman and Ms. Giguere, designed the project for their students to experience investigating and reporting on a local environmental issue.

The website created last June is a showcase for the news stories created by the Bigelow Middle School class of 2019 for an 8th grade environmental journalism project.
As you visit the website you will read the results of their students’ hard work.

Click here to learn more about the project and the process.
Click here to view the students’ environmental news stories.

WBUR’s Barbara Moran spoke to 8th graders about her path to becoming an environmental journalist.

Deanna Hoffman is part of School Connections and she invited some School Connections members, including Marcia Cooper and Andy Gluck, to give interviews to students.