CNS News | March 2021
Is it possible that spring is finally here? It sure feels like it with all of the election lawn signs sprouting up around town! Needham's annual town election is April 13th, and there are contested races for Select Board, School Committee, and Town Meeting Members in several precincts. With large school building projects and possible budget challenges on the horizon, your choice for all of these town leadership positions matters.

April will also bring the return to full-time in-person learning for grades 3 through 8, with the High School to follow in May. Given the health and safety precautions that are still necessary, school will not necessarily feel "back to normal," but we are getting a bit closer.

It promises to be an exciting spring! Remember to follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on all the latest school committee happenings.

Hilary Bruel, Co-Chair
Alisa Skatrud, Co-Chair
Amy Chan
Peter Cohenno
Melanie Guarrera
Emma Navales
2021 Needham Town Election
School Committee Candidates
The 2021 School Committee Race will be a contested election, as long-serving members Heidi Black and Susan Neckes are not running for reelection. This year there are three candidates competing for the two openings on the Needham School Committee:
We strongly encourage all voters to learn more about all three candidates. Visit their websites (listed above), attend events where you can ask questions and share concerns, and reach out to them by email. It's important for the candidates to hear from you!

Learn More About the Candidates from LWV–Needham
League of Women Voters of Needham is an excellent resource for information about the election. They will be hosting a Candidate Night on Wednesday, March 24, at 7pm, which will be streamed live and recorded for later viewing.

In addition to the School Committee race, the Select Board race has four candidates for two openings, and there are contested races for Town Meeting Members in Precincts C, E, G, H, I. All of these elected officials will weigh in on school budget and funding decisions. On the LWVN website you will find a Voter Guide with information about all of the candidates.

Voter Information
The Needham Town Election is April 13, with polls open 7am to 8pm. If you are unsure what precinct you are, check the Voter Precinct Map.

Precincts A & B: Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue
Precincts C & D: Newman Elementary School, 1155 Central Avenue
Precincts E & H: Needham Golf Club, 49 Green Street
Precincts F & G: Rosemary Complex, 178 Rosemary Street
Precincts I & J: Town Hall, 1471 Highland Avenue

In addition to in-person voting, both absentee and vote by mail options are available. Absentee voting is for those who are unable to vote at the polls due to being out of town during polling hours, disability, or religious beliefs, while vote by mail has no eligibility requirements. April 7 is the last day to apply for a MAILED absentee or vote by mail ballot, while April 13 is the last day to apply for an IN-PERSON absentee ballot. Detailed voting information can be found on the Town of Needham and LWV-Needham websites.
Return to Full In-Person Learning
Grades K–2 successfully resumed weekly in-person instruction on March 8 (with Wednesdays still remote). A grant of almost $300,000 from the Needham Education Foundation enabled the district to hire the necessary teachers to maintain smaller class sizes.

At the same time, Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley has now mandated full-time instruction for all elementary students by April 5, and middle school students by April 28, while no date provided yet for high school students. On March 10, the School Committee hosted a workshop with Dr. Gutekanst, the assistant superintendents, and the school principals to publicly discuss how to increase in-person learning in grades 3 through 12. Major challenges include class size and space constraints, furniture needs, and maintaining 6-foot distancing during lunch times.

At the March 16 School Committee meeting, Dr. Gutekanst presented his plan to return all Needham students to full in-person learning this spring:

April 5: grades K–5 back full time
April 15: grades 6–8 back full time
May 3: high school students back full time with staggered and modified schedule
Wednesdays will switch from remote to early release days for all grades.

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Resources on the CNS Website
The CNS website is filled with information and resources related Needham Public Schools, so if there's some information you are trying to find, start at the CNS website... we may be able to help you! On the site you will find summaries of each School Committee meeting with links to detailed information and the Needham Channel recording, a calendar with SC meeting dates, and links to NPS resources.