CNS News | October 2021
This fall CNS welcomed four new board members — Joanie Daly, Abigail Hays, Frederica Lalonde, and Madeleine Lopez. They have jumped right in to helping us provide our School Committee meetings summaries. Our work providing the community with shorter, digestible information regarding the Needham Public Schools is more important than ever as community newspapers continue to limit both their circulation and their reporting on education-related topics. We're delighted to have these energetic and involved volunteers.

Our board has also been closely following conversations around the proposed historic renovation of Emery Grover. Please read on for our unanimous statement of support for the project. Community members are also invited to a School Committee Open House this coming Saturday at 9:00am, which will offer another opportunity to speak with Dr. Gutekanst and SC members about the project... or anything else related to Needham schools.

As always, please reach out to any CNS board member if you have ideas or questions.
Hilary Bruel, Co-Chair
Alisa Skatrud, Co-Chair
Amy Chan
Peter Cohenno
Joanie Daly

Melanie Guarrera
Abigail Hays
Frederica Lalonde
Madeleine Lopez
Emma Navales
CNS Supports the Historic Renovation of Emery Grover

On October 25, Town Meeting will vote on Article 7, which appropriates design funds for the historic renovation of Emery Grover. This is the next step in finding a permanent space for Needham Public Schools' operations and administration. The project, which has been deferred many times over the past 30 years, has been the topic of much discussion and debate. 

To fulfill our mission of providing timely and relevant school-related information to the community, CNS attends and reports on every school committee meeting. We have listened and watched over the years as district leadership has examined possible solutions to address the needs of the Needham Public Schools’ administrative and operations teams, and we have witnessed the careful deliberations the committee has engaged in to find a solution that balances costs and needs. 

The CNS Board unanimously supports the proposed historic renovation of Emery Grover for the following reasons:

To meet the needs of Needham’s students, our school leadership requires a work environment that is safe, professional, and allows for interdepartmental collaboration. The district is engaged in challenging and important work on both equity and the Portrait of a Needham Graduate competencies that requires collaboration among the leaders and departments housed in the building, including Curriculum/Student Learning, Student Support Services, and Human Resources. In addition, the COVID pandemic has introduced new challenges for our schools and students that the district will be addressing in the years to come.

The central location of the Emery Grover site benefits both school administrators and families. School administrators frequently work onsite at our various schools, so being located near the center of town makes those trips easier and faster for staff. The proximity to Town Hall allows for close collaboration with the Town Manager and town departments when developing the school budget. And the building is accessible by public transportation (both bus and train), which helps both staff and families who may not have access to a car.

Renovating Emery Grover now is the fastest and most cost-effective solution available. After many years of study, the historic renovation of Emery Grover remains the least expensive option for a new or renovated building. Investigations into leasing, using other sites, or new construction at the Emery Grover site will all be more costly and take more time than a historic renovation. Delaying the project will lead to annual cost escalations and will then interfere with school building projects which are currently only in the early planning stages. 

The project has the full support of the Superintendent and the School Committee. Dr. Gutekanst and the School Committee have studied this project for many years. They have a deep understanding of the needs for our district leadership, and expertise as to what is needed to effectively run a school district. 
School Committee Open House
Saturday, October 16, 9:00-10:30am, Needham High School
This Saturday, the Needham School Committee will host an outdoor Open House at Needham High School, (Webster Street entrance). The open house is an opportunity for parents and the community to engage in conversation and dialogue with the School Committee and Superintendent with concerns and questions.