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Students, educators rebuild community after teachers strike

Beals+House+Executive+Assistant+Cheryl+Stover+hands+out+treats+to+welcome+students+back+to+school+following+the+end+of+the+union+strike+Monday%2C+Feb.+5.
Maddie Ngo
Beals House Executive Assistant Cheryl Stover hands out treats to welcome students back to school following the end of the union strike Monday, Feb. 5.

After a 15-day union strike, Newton Public Schools (NPS) students and educators re-entered the building on Feb. 5, working to rebuild the community following a settled contract between the Newton School Committee and the Newton Teachers Association.

After the unexpected two weeks away from school, members of the NPS community have been adjusting back to the normal schedule.

“I feel like it was a pretty quick transition from the strike to our normal daily school life. It was a bit slow on the first day but now it’s back to normal,” said sophomore Pragnya Sankar. 

Members of the NPS community have mixed feelings about how smoothly the adjustment has been.

“I’m reconnecting with my teachers and talking to people from school, but it feels kind of awkward after not seeing them for two weeks,” said junior Canina Wang.

Many teachers have held class discussions answering students’ questions as a way to address the strike. 

“Almost all my teachers talked about the strike. They also acknowledged that students may have differing opinions on the strike and tried to explain it from an objective standpoint,” said junior Ava Qiu.

Opinions on the effectiveness of these discussions vary. 

“I gave a little bit of a speech saying how much I missed everybody, and I appreciated everyone who came out and everyone who was there for us,” said TV Media Arts teacher Scott Dunlop. “Everyone else didn’t have a similar experience as I did, and I felt that echoing throughout the school that teachers and students weren’t exactly on the same page as maybe they were through other crises.”

Students and teachers have expressed their concerns about losing class time, and in particular, keeping up with AP classes and having time to prepare for AP exams.

“I’m happy that we are back in school but I’m stressed especially about AP classes and just in general being behind in curriculum,” said Qiu.

According to history teacher Anna Meyer, the administration is working to plan how to make up for the days lost due to the strike.

“I’ve been spending class time letting students know about plans as they come up and also spending time checking in about how we’re all doing, making sure we are adjusting,” said Meyer.

During the strike, school events had to be canceled or postponed, causing concern for the people involved.

“It was sad to see Lost and Found postponed and our Asian Culture Day had to be rescheduled,” said Qiu.

Despite these setbacks, educators and students have worked hard to adjust back to the school schedule and maintain a positive outlook.

“I think the strike built a sense of unity within our community as everyone was chipping in to contribute to the cause,” said Sankar. “I think the time away from school allowed me to truly appreciate going to school.” 

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About the Contributors
Savannah Bond, News Editor
Emma Xiao, News Editor
Maddie Ngo, News editor
Maddie Ngo is currently a freshman at Newton North High School. One of her passions is competitive rock climbing, and she represents the Freshman class on Newton North High School's SFA. In her free time, she likes to *try* to learn languages. At the moment, she is learning Spanish and Vietnamese, the latter of which is spoken by much of her extended family. Maddie also enjoys reading and baking with her family and friends. Maddie has two pets, a dog named Izzy and a lizard named Spotsir (because he has spots). Maddie has always loved climbing things, rock climbing just happened to be her parents' way of keeping her out of the neighbors trees. Her favorite subjects in school are Science, English and Spanish. She is looking forward to a great year on Volume 102!
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