The Northampton Community
Northampton is a community in balance. It is a sophisticated small city, with a lively downtown packed with excellent restaurants, locally-owned shops, galleries, and performance venues. It is a green city, with kid-friendly urban parks, hundreds of acres of protected open space, community gardens, a growing network of bike and walking trails, and broad fields by the Connecticut River where farmers work some of the best soil anywhere. The hub of the Five College area, Northampton benefits from the energy and activity of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Smith, Hampshire, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke Colleges, which draw the best young minds from all over the world to work in an incredible diversity of academic fields.
Northampton is also, as described by Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder, a hometown; a New England town with quiet streets, good neighbors, and deep-rooted community institutions, where many families stay for generations, even as newcomers are continually welcomed.
People in Northampton are active in every sense of the word. You see them out at farmers' markets, in the park, or in a store downtown, enjoying their city. You see them working side-by-side in city government, volunteer organizations, and neighborhood groups to make Northampton an even better place to live. Some of these citizens have been here for eighty years; some have been here for eighty days. Every part of the community is involved in helping our children get the education they deserve, including the Northampton Education Foundation, the Volunteers in Northampton Schools, the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and Smith College. The close relationship between Smith and the Northampton Public Schools provides educational opportunities for our high school students and support for the professional development of our staff.
Northampton offers its residents and those who visit many possibilities and opportunities. While our city never stops changing, what remains constant is that it is a great place to live and work. With so much to do right in the city, and the Berkshires, Boston, New York City, and Cape Cod close enough for a day trip, Northampton has received national recognition for its quality of life from the New York Times, The Boston Globe, AARP magazine, National Geographic Adventure magazine, Parenting magazine, and Outside magazine.
With the guidance and leadership of a dedicated and talented staff of teachers and administrators, working in a community that supports and values education, the Northampton Public Schools have a history of providing high quality, comprehensive educational services from early childhood to twelfth grade.
Our system's network of early education and care programs and services include an NAEYC accredited, integrated preschool, full-day kindergarten, family literacy programs, toddler home visits, and family support. Our professionals collaborate with staff and parents from the city's diverse community-based childcare, preschool, and family support programs to create a solid foundation for our youngest learners. We work hard to make young children and their families feel excited about beginning school. Our community is extremely devoted to, and closely connected with, our four elementary schools, and has supported them in many ways over many years with its time, funds, and creative ideas. Our staff is invested in continually improving their instructional practice, in ensuring that all our students meet state educational standards, and in collaborating with families and administrators so that all children succeed. Because our community values the educational, social, and emotional needs of our students, we enjoy enthusiastic parental and guardian participation. Our after-school social and academic enrichment programs are available to all.
School District Profile and Statistics 2015-2016
Fiscal Year 16 Budget: $27,144,501.
School Building (Grades) Enrollment
Northampton High School (9-12) 884
Interested in more Statistics about our schools including our enrollment per school and grade, class size, student-to-teacher ratios, graduation rates, per pupil spending, and performance data? Go to School and District Profiles on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website.
As part of the NPS District Improvement Plan (DIP), we are asking stakeholders to help identify educational values that are important in the local context. The DIP Committee believes that it is important for the district to have a core set of values to unify our efforts on behalf of students.
In the fall of 2015, we gathered value statements from parents and students who attended our open houses. The several hundred statements collected from the attendees fell into twenty-two broad categories. The next step in our value clarification process is to ask our stakeholders to prioritize the statements through a ‘Q-Sort’ sorting process. Participating is an important way to contribute to the development of a core set of educational values that will inform future district decisions. We hope you can take part in this activity!
For archived Perspectives episodes, please see: Archive