Social and Emotional Learning

Physical and Mental Health and Wellness

All Bigelow students receive Physical Education classes, which encourage teamwork and focus on teaching interpersonal skills, leadership and group dynamics.

All students take a Health and Wellness course each year. The curriculum includes lessons on empathy, teamwork, bullying prevention, stress reduction strategies, body image and substance abuse prevention.

Increasing Connections

Research has demonstrated that the more connected to the adults and peers in the school, the more successful students are across all domains. When students feel safe, understood and valued, they are more available for learning. Bigelow has worked hard to increase connections between students and staff, students and students and staff and staff. The advisory program, responsive classroom training and events such as the 6th grade ice cream social are designed to increase connections for all.


During the 2016-17 school year, Bigelow implemented an on-going advisory program for all students. Students meet twice a week in small groups to complete activities focused on a number of topics including mindfulness, stress management, community and team building and kindness. These consistent, small-group meetings help to increase the depth of connection among peers and staff and offer students a chance to discuss what matters to them.

One Book/One School

Over the summer, Bigelow students and staff across all three grades read the same book as part of the One Book/One School program. Upon return to school in the fall, students and staff participate in activities and discussions about the book, culminating in a half-day, all school event focused on the book. Books have included, Flipped, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, Losing It and Schooled.

Student Activities

Bigelow has a number of clubs and sports teams available for students. Choices include cross country and track (for all grades), soccer, basketball, baseball, lacrosse and football (for 7th and 8th grades), the gender and sexuality alliance (GSA), the CAD/CAM club and many more! Click here for more information.

Staff Education

Many of Bigelow's staff have been trained in the Responsive Classroom model which is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant. Staff have also had in-service training in the areas of anti-bullying, understanding the impact of anxiety on student performance, the importance of safety and connection for students and mindfulness in the classroom.

District-Wide Data Collection

What type of issues do Newton youth face? How have these issues changed over time? Are they the same as in other similar places? In an attempt to address such questions, the Newton Public Schools and the Newton Department of Health and Human Services conducts the Newton Youth Risk Behavior Survey every other year with students in grades 6 through 12. The results are expected to help Newton community leaders and agencies plan and evaluate their policies and programming while developing and enhancing effective ways to support young people. The information can also help parents understand challenges that their children face and encourage them to work in planning prevention and response strategies.

Largely based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, questions on the anonymous and confidential survey focused on issues such as substance use, violence and safety, and physical and mental health.

Survey organizers caution that the results can present a skewed picture of Newton students because most of the data concern risky behaviors such as substance use and violence. It is important to emphasize the many positive aspects of adolescent life, the fact that these issues are not confined solely to youth, and that they are community issues that require the attention of all community members and organizations. More information, as well as previous years survey results, may be found by clicking here.