Community Education

NEF Sponsors Another Series of Needham Talks Lectures

Needham Talks Photo

Needham Talks is proud to present another exciting free series of talks focused on the promotion of supportive and healthy parenting practices.  New York Times bestselling authors and internationally acclaimed speakers will be visiting our community to share their knowledge of…

  • How to effectively manage hectic lifestyles and enhance family relationships.
  • Strategies for raising authentic and emotionally intelligent girls.
  • The impact of fathers/male role models on children’s development.
  • Understanding adolescence and how to build a new relationship with your tween/teen.
  • How to discuss hard or sensitive topics with your child.

All lectures will be held at the Newman Elementary School Auditorium from 7:00 – 8:30pm.

Speakers and Dates:

  • October 29, 2015: Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D. – Crazybusy: Overbooked, Overworked and About to Snap! How Parents Can Cope in a World Gone ADD
  • December 2, 2015: Rachel Simmons, M.A. – Be You: An Interactive Workshop for Girls and Adults (Girls 8-14 Years of Age)
  • February 4, 2016: Michael Thompson, Ph.D. – The Importance of Fathers/Male Role Models in Children’s Lives (Male-Only Event)
  • April 6, 2016: Joani Geltman, M.S.W. – The Tween/Teen Years: Understanding Adolescence and How to Build A New Relationship With Your Child
  • June 2, 2016: Jeanine Fitzgerald, M.A. – The Truth About the Hard or Sensitive Topics

This free speaker series is funded by a Spring 2015 NEF grant.

Needham Education Proud Sponsor of 2014-2015 Needham Talks Series

Please plan to attend this exciting free series of talks focused on children’s resilience and social-emotional wellness. Nationally acclaimed speakers will be visiting our community to share their knowledge of social and brain behavior, the emotional lives of girls and boys, how to nurture children’s confidence and resilience, and the hidden consequences of the internet. ALL lectures will be held at the Newman Elementary School Auditorium from 7:00 – 8:30pm. Speaker books will be available for purchase at each event.

Speakers & Dates:

October 9, 2014: Joseph Shrand, M.D. – Theory of Mind and Interpersonal Relationships for Children

December 4, 2014:  Rachel Simmons, M.A. – Odd Girl Out: Coping with Best Friends, Worst Enemies and Everything in Between

March 4, 2015:  Michael Thompson, Ph.D. – Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys

April 9, 2015:  Robert Brooks, Ph.D. – Strategies for Nurturing Confidence and Resilience in Our Children

June 4, 2015:  Jon Mattleman, M.S. – The Emotional and Hidden Consequences of the Internet

See coverage of Dr. Shrand’s lecture by The Needham Times.
See coverage of Ms. Simmons lecture by The Needham Times.

Summer Learning Loss Presentation a Hit with Parents


“Summer learning loss” was explored before a standing-room-only crowd at a free NEF-sponsored panel on May 13th. Local experts provided data about summertime loss and offered practical suggestions for keeping skills sharp in math (bring playing cards to the beach or track baseball statistics) and literacy (let kids stay up late to read). They also reminded parents to balance academic achievement with relaxation, exploration, and fun.

Speakers included:

  • David Farbman, Senior Researcher at the National Center for Time and Learning
  • Joan Kelley, Research Associate and Educational Consultant, Harvard University
  • Judith Wojtczak, Math Curriculum/Instructional Leader, Needham Public Schools
  • Katy Colthart, Clinician, Needham Youth Services


Flipped Classrooms and Broken Silos: Education Trends in Needham and Beyond

How are educators making learning more meaningful, inspiring, and accessible in a changing academic and business environment? The Needham Education Foundation invited the community to explore these questions and others in an enlightening dialogue with Dr. Daniel Gutekanst and local experts from Olin College, MIT, and businesses to find out about:

  • Needham Public Schools initiatives in interdisciplinary learning
  • How online instruction and other creative teaching models engage students in learning beyond just the classroom
  • How educators are breaking down silos between academic disciplines to better prepare students for higher learning and real-world problem solving

This event took place on November 28, 2012, where participants engaged in an audience Q & A and joined speakers for dessert after the panel discussion.

Keynote Speaker and Moderator
Daniel E. Gutekanst, Ed.D, Superintendent, Needham Public Schools

Panelists included:

  • Robert Martello, Professor, Olin College
  • Mark Somerville, Professor, Olin College
  • Kirby Salerno, Co-Founder of ClassroomWindow, a web-based education resource provider
  • Mark Chang, Director of Product, edX
  • Leah Alpert, MIT student, Needham High School graduate, and intern, Khan Academy

Expanding the Dialogue: What Do Kids Need to Succeed in the 21st Century?

As college drop-out rates rise and young adult unemployment reaches levels unseen since the Great Depression, a growing consensus of business and academic leaders are asking whether a traditional four-year college education is always the best path to a successful career. The mission of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education is to get this question out in the open—and encourage Americans to explore new approaches to education reform that offer multiple paths to career fulfillment.

This question was explored at the October 11th NEF symposium, “Expanding the Dialogue: What Do Kids Need to Succeed in the 21st Century?,” the first in the 2011–2012 NEF Community Education Series.

Featuring a panel discussion including Needham Public Schools superintendent Dr. Daniel Gutekanst and keynote address by Pathways to Prosperity director William Symonds, “Expanding the Dialogue” encourages discussion of why our existing education model fails to prepare many young adults for the workforce. In a more promising vein, it invites the audience to consider alternative ways to better prepare our kids to make a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Says Symonds: “Going to college for four years is not the best answer for all young people. We need to provide other pathways for them to succeed. I’ve spoken with parents a few years after their children graduated from college, and many of those students are struggling. These parents have a growing sense that going to a four year college doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in today’s economy.”

In addition to Dr. Gutekanst, symposium panelists include Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, Superintendent, Minuteman Career and Technical High School and Patricia Eagan, Senior Staff Consultant, Verizon State Government Relations and Board Member, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education.

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