Brown MS Weekly Update

Friday, Jan. 28, 2022


To translate this news letter, click on the newsletter and select the word "translate" at the top right hand side under Accessibility. Select the language from the drop down menu.

Dear Brown MS Community,

This has been a long week and I appreciate the many supportive messages I have received. This morning during first block I made an announcement about the antisemitic graffiti to the entire school. You can read it here. I reassured students of their safety and how seriously we take this. Administrators and counselors were available to answer questions and support students throughout the day. Today teachers also provided space in their classes for kids to share how they are feeling in the moment and kept their ears and eyes open for any signs of anxiety or stress. As a school, we will be providing some lessons for our advisories in the weeks to come to help students learn more about why this symbol represents such hatred and how we need to stand up against antisemitism. We will continue to work to provide everyone with a sense of safety and belonging.

The storm this weekend is predicted to be a biggie. I hope you all are able to enjoy some hot chocolate and a warm blanket as you watch the snow pile up outside. For those of you who will be out shoveling, I wish you and your backs light and fluffy snow and not too much wind! Enjoy the weekend.

Stay well,

Kim Lysaght, Principal

Thank you!

A big thank you to the PTO and all parents who contributed to the fantastic bagel- grab-and-go breakfast for our staff on Wednesday morning. PTO Presidents, Denise Dandrea, IJ Anyanwu and Sarah Housman coordinated a terrific spread (pun intended) for us to enjoy with bagels, coffee, juice, fruit and muffins. It was a bright spot in a cold week and I know the staff feels valued by the parent community!
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Lunar New Year Celebration

Our lobby is now beautifully decorated to celebrate the Lunar New Year which begins on February 1. We owe a big thank you to Qiaoyun Mao, Chinese teacher, and her students for creating the art work and posters representing how Lunar New Year is celebrated in a number of Asian countries (see a few of them below). This year is the Year of the Tiger and you can see this displayed in our decorations. We wish all of our families celebrating this holiday health and happiness!
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Black History Month

Our advisories will be engaging in activities during the month of February that celebrate influential individuals in the black community . The goal is to move beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement, Our 6th grade advisories will be creating posters about influential black individuals. These will be on display for all students to learn about these important role models.
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COVID Communication

This week we had 5 individuals that tested positive. This is again a decrease in our weekly numbers, so we are moving in the right direction. We will continue to send notifications to any teams with a positive case daily and advise families and staff to actively monitor for/stay home if symptoms develop. For more information: NPS COVID Case Count and Vaccination Rates.

Newton Medical Advisory Group Recommendation

The Newton Public Schools is shifting its testing strategy away from pooled testing (PCR) and toward at-home weekly rapid antigen tests. This shift is in accordance with the recommendation from our Medical Advisory Group and is compatible with the new testing program announced by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) last week.

PCR pooled testing will happen once more this Monday, Jan. 31 for 6th graders and staff. We expect the antigen testing for all students 6-8 to begin the week of February 7, 2022.

Below is specific information you will need in order for your student to participate in the new at-home testing program:

  • All families need to “opt-in” to this new testing program. The previous consent form will not apply.

    • Access the Opt-in form through Aspen parent/guardian account: Aspen

    • Follow these instructions (link) once you are logged into Aspen

  • An at-home rapid antigen tests kit will be distributed at school every other week. Each kit will contain two tests.

  • NPS recommends that all families conduct a rapid test on TUESDAY of each week.

  • Only positive results need to be reported to the school. You will complete this form (link) to report a positive result. Nurses will provide follow up information to families, including the date for return to school, following a positive test.

In addition to the weekly at-home rapid antigen testing program, we will continue in-school symptomatic testing for students and staff that develop symptoms during the school day. We will discontinue the Test and Stay testing program and contact tracing. Please be vigilant in checking your student for symptoms, conducting the daily health assessment (link), and staying home when sick.

Here is an FAQ that you can read to help with questions you may have.

All testing information can be found on our website here: NPS COVID Testing Webpage.

Basketball going strong!

Shout out to our boys and girls basketball teams. They are doing a great job, and I want to thank Katrina Antonellis, Gloria Rinkus, Jeff Primeau and Chris Anderson for their hard work coaching the teams. They have played some terrific games and it has been hard on our student athletes to not be able to have the regular cheering crowd due to covid. I had planned to have some action shots in my weekly update, but their games yesterday were cancelled yesterday. I will make sure to get some in my next weekly update.
Brown MS After School Enrichment Activities

NEW ACTIVITIES - click above to see a full listing of all after school activities.

Taking Care of Chromebooks

We are noticing a large number of requests for replacement Chromebooks and would like to help students and families toubleshoot issues independently. Below is a video created by Angie Galbraith, our Instructional Technology Specialist. Please check it out if your children are having issues with their Chromebooks.

Additionally, please remind students to charge the Chromebooks each night before going to bed so they are able to use them at school the next day!

Three Troubleshooting Tips for Students

ELPAC Meeting - February 3, 2022

The English Learner Parent Advisory Council (ELPAC) will meet on Thursday, February 3 on Zoom from 6:30-8:00PM.

ELPAC supports ELL and former ELL families districtwide and collaborates with schools and the district to improve programming. ELPAC is also a way to meet other multilingual families and learn about community programs as well as ways to support your children. All families are welcome. Click the picture below for translated versions of the invitation.

February's meeting topics are:

  • Newton Free Library Resources (Presenter: Andrew Shapira, ELL and Literacy Coordinator at Newton Free Library)

  • ACCESS testing (Presenter: Allison Levit, Director of ELL Programs in NPS).

Interpretation will be provided with RSVP by January 31. Please RSVP here: The remaining meet dates this year are April 7 & June 2.

Brown MS - Superintendent and School Committee Zoom Meeting - Feb. 16 at 7:00PM

We hope you can join our Superintendent, David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:00 for a Zoom meeting. This is an oppotunity to hear from Dr. Fleishman and the committee on all things related to NPS. There will be opportunities to aks questions.

A zoom link will be provided as the date gets closer.

Interpretation for this meeting can be available. Please complete this Google form at least three days before the meeting if you require interpretation:

Greater Boston STEM Program

Our names are Yuen Ler Chow and Elena Su, and we are current freshmen at Harvard and MIT. We are the co-founders of the Greater Boston STEM Program (gbSTEM), an enrichment program that delivers free introductory computer science, math, and engineering courses to elementary and middle school students in the Greater Boston area. Since March 2020, our team of dedicated high school volunteers have brought free lessons to over 600 Massachusetts youth. Classes will be held through Zoom, and we pride ourselves in our innovative curriculum and collaboration-based learning model.

We are delighted to announce that we will be offering a spring semester of gbSTEM to Brown students, which will run from March 14th to December 12th, 2022!

The registration deadline is March 6th, 2022.

Information about our program and the registration form can be found at our website:

If you have any questions, please contact We are so excited to work with your family this fall!

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Winter Weather and Snow Day Notifications

  • School closings or delays will be communicated via phone call, text message, email, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), website, and local television and radio stations.

  • To receive text messages, you must opt-in. To opt-in, please login to Aspen, navigate to the contact information section, and select “yes” for SMS messages in the drop-down box below your cell phone number.

  • Following a storm, many of our students will continue to walk to school. We have collaborated with Newton DPW to create maps showing sidewalks that will be plowed, ensuring safe routes to school. Please access the maps here.

NPS School Transfer Request 2022-2023

If you are planning on applying for a school transfer within Newton Public Schools (formerly "Out of Assigned District Requests", please click this link for information regarding the process.

School Calendar for the 2022-23 School Year

At their meeting on Monday, December 6, 2021, the Newton School Committee approved the calendar for the 2022-23 school year. You can find it here:

NPS School Calendar 2022-23 (PDF Document)

Reporting Absences

To report a student absence call: 617-559-6980

Need to Update your Information in Aspen?

The Annual Student Information Update is available on Aspen. Please update your information. Directions for families can be found here.

Calendar and School Hours

School Hours:

8:20AM - 2:50PM - Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.

8:20 AM - 2:05PM - Wed.

Click here for the NPS school calendar.

Click here for the Brown Middle School 6-day rotation calendar with early release days and days of the cycle.