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April 2013 - JANET PORCARO

The Mediatrician® is coming to Newton North High School!

The Mediatrician® is coming to Newton. Don’t be afraid. The Mediatrician® is Dr. Michael Rich and he is the Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Rich will speak about strategies and tips for managing a child’s use of technology. He will speak about the positive and negative effects of technology on children and teens. We are bombarded with tools and gadgets including cell phones, tablets, computers, television and more. Don’t you wonder how all this impacts our young people and our future?

Date: May 8, 2013
Time: 7-8:15 p.m.
Location: Newton North High School Auditorium

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zkyIdibDBw&w=400&h=225]

This even is co-sponsored this by the PTOs from Bigelow, Cabot, Day, Peirce, Newton North, and by The Newton Partnership. Another example of outstanding community participation in Newton, MA!

CMCH is a non-profit organization supported in part by the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, Comcast, Google, The Stuart Family Foundation, The Norlien Foundation, Cisco, and other generous donors.

For more information, go to http://cmch.typepad.com/mediatrician/.

4 questions to ask before downsizing your home

The numbers are not clear, but the topic of baby boomer downsizing from larger home to smaller housing options features prominently in the real estate business news. The leading edge of boomers are now between 57 and 67 years old. With their lifestyles changing, many are rethinking where they want to live in retirement. Many boomers are empty nesters no longer requiring additional bedrooms or large backyards. Others are finding that home maintenance is either too much to manage or does not produce the pleasure it may have decades earlier. And, yes, some are considering smaller options that they hope will reduce their cost of living—for example, by being less costly to heat.

Downsized destinations consist of traditional retirement communities near beaches and fairways but also include a growing list of new options. Urban enclaves and college towns once dominated by young singles are now popular with older couples that desire smaller living spaces but a larger range of activities nearby. For those who like where they live but not necessarily the home they are in, there are a growing number of apartment or condominium options in the suburbs.

But before excitement about a new lifestyle in older age overtakes you, ask the following questions:

What Are My Total Costs? Consider carefully the entire cost of downsizing. This includes factoring how much you will realistically sell your home for in today’s market of economic uncertainty and prospective Gen-X and Gen-Y buyer unemployment, as well as what the rental or purchase cost of that downsized dream might be. Moreover, identify the hidden costs—from condominium fees and furnishing your new home to the potentially higher costs of living depending on where you relocate. For example, a warmer climate saves on heating costs, but will you pay a premium to stay cool? Likewise, urban living can be fun…but at a price.

Will I Downsize My Social Network? While you may be losing excess space, depending upon where you move you may also lose friends—or at least your number of interactions with them. Countless studies indicate that the chances of aging well are greatly enhanced by having a robust network of friends and family living nearby. Friends you can count on when needed, compared with those you can count online, often take years to make. Will your new home have good friends nearby? If not, will you live in your new home long enough to develop close relationships to share fun times today and possibly tough times tomorrow?

Will My Smaller Home Mean A Smaller Lifestyle? Changing places for the better means choosing a location that has the intensity and density of activities that makes the move worth the associated financial and emotional costs. What routines that shape your life today can you preserve, and what new activities will your new community provide, pushing you to remain engaged for a lifetime? There are ‘basics’ to consider as well: Are there transportation alternatives so that driving is not your only option, and are there a wide range of quality health-care services readily available?

How Long Can I Live There? Many baby boomers may choose to downsize to communities that are for retirees by name or in appearance. But just because a community has a large concentration of 50-plus residents, has “retirement” in its name or is conveniently located near a golf course doesn’t guarantee that it has been designed to enable you to age in place. Most of us do not want to think of the days when knees creak or health conditions make stairs and standing difficult, but those days do come for most in advanced age. Does your prospective downsized home have design features to enable you to live there a long time? For example, are there kitchen cabinets that are in easy reach, bathrooms and hall clearances that can accommodate a wheelchair, or a first-floor master bedroom? An exploratory study conducted by theMIT AgeLab of several communities and developments for the 50-plus age group in metropolitan Boston revealed that most did not have design features that would enable aging-in-place any better than the average suburban home. A conscious assessment of how long you plan and can realistically stay in your new downsized home is a key factor in assessing future housing options in retirement.

Read the full post at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-questions-to-ask-before-downsizing-your-home-2013-02-20

Newton Public Schools Embraces Community

Newton Public Schools Embraces Community

Megan Smallidge is the coordinator of communications and community engagement for Newton Public Schools. Megan’s title is appropriately long considering the scope of her job. There are many amazing things happening in the Newton Schools and Megan is making a great impact by improving communication about all of the good news.  I was delighted to meet with Megan and learn of the amazing job she is doing under the leadership of Newton Public Schools. Megan is energetically  immersing herself in the Newton culture and is quick to express her enthusiasm about the abundance of talent in Newton. We are lucky to have her as part of our community!

Vision 2020 Strategic Plan

Vision 2020 Strategic Plan

Some background data about Newton Public Schools

Newton Public School District has a total enrollment of over 12,000 students with 15 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 2 high schools, and and integrated pre-school program. According to enrollment data from the Massachusetts Department of Education, Newton is the 9th largest district in the state. Central Administration houses approximately 11 Teaching and Learning Departments. Curriculum Coordinators, Department Heads, Teachers, Librarians collaborate to maintain excellence as stated in the NPS Mission Statement.

To educate, prepare, and inspire all students to achieve their full potential as lifelong learners, thinkers, and productive contributors to our global society.

This powerful system of collaboration is netting big. Teachers in Newton are modeling cutting edge approaches to a new learning model. The Newton Public Schools’ website  is not only serving the community with improved communications and accessibility, but also reflecting the inspirational work being done in the classroom and beyond. Just watch this compelling video on the Vision Plan for 2020.

Newton Public Schools Website at a glance

There is a ton of content on the NPS website (www3.newton.k12.ma.us). Visit these 2 noteworthy sections.

  • The Families page is worth bookmarking (Click on the For Families menu). It is designed for current and perspective families is full of useful information including links to checklists and forms for the student registration system. This page also contains useful links for easy access.
  • Visit the revamped District News section which features a calendar with links to events and stories. For example, in April, Newton students performed on two Steinway pianos are on loan at the Scandinavian Living Center as part of a fundraiser for the Center. Watch the video here. 
Newton Public Schools

Links to all public schools

Newton Public Schools

Important links for easy access


Welcome page for current and prospective NPS families