Brown MS Weekly Update
Feb. 3, 2023
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Dear Brown MS Community,
Welcome to February! Each day of February we celebrate Black History Month by highlighting influential Black people that have impacted our world in so many positive ways. Each morning during announcements our students share about an inspirational Black person. These announcements are powerful because they remind us that Black history is American history and the contributions of Black Americans have profound positive impacts on us today. Part of our Tenacity Challenge team is working on a bulletin board in the main lobby to honor the month. If you are interested in the many events happing in Newton for Black History Month check out this website from Newton Community Pride.
This past Wednesday we said a fond farewell to Linda DePasquale (pictured below), front office secretary and bursar at Brown for many years. She was the "go to" person for so many students and faculty here, and we will miss her terribly. She certainly deserves rest and relaxation, and we wish her all the best! With the retirement of both Kathy Hunt and Linda DePasquale from the front office, we are excited to welcome two new staff members, Courtney Ross and Nandine Timperio (also pictured below). These terrific women have jumped in with both feet and are doing an excellent job of managing all that happens each day. Please welcome them to Brown if you call or come into the main office!
There are two weeks of school before February vacation, and my husband and I have decided to travel south to explore Savannah, Georgia and then visit our daughter at Elon University in North Carolina. With the potentially record breaking cold promised tomorrow, my mind is yearning for that trip! On a less exciting note, tomorrow will be spent huddled inside our house preparing our taxes. (What better time to work on it than when we are stuck in the house all day?). I hope you all are able to stay warm tomorrow. Be safe out there and make sure to bundle up if you have to go outside.
Kim Lysaght, Principal
February 14 & 15 (evening)- Brown MS Musical - Honk, Jr.
February 18-26 - School Vacation Week
Budget Forum - Wednesday, February 8
Dear NPS Families,
I write to invite you to an important forum on the 2023-24 (FY24) school year budget. This budget discussion will include information on the proposed operational override and its impact on the FY24 budget. Details are as follows:
Where: Newton North Auditorium (457 Walnut St.)
When: Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m.
If you are unable to attend in person, the event will be live-streamed on NewTV.
The evening will include a short presentation and then an opportunity for questions and answers. You may ask your question live during the forum or you can submit a question in advance using this Google Form.
NPS Budget Questions - Google Form
For reference, below is a link to the presentation shared with the School Committee last week that provides a preview of next year’s budget.
FY24 Budget Preview to School Committee - January 23, 2023
I look forward to seeing you next Wednesday night. As always, I welcome your questions and thank you for your feedback.
Kathleen Smith, J.D.
Last Week's PTO, Mayor, Superintendent and School Committee Coffee
Last Friday the PTO sponsored a coffee for parents with Mayor Fuller, Interim Superintendent Smith, School Committee Chairperson Tamika Olszewski and School Committee Member Kathy Shields. They shared information about the superintendent search, the NPS budget and implications of the override vote coming up in March. The full video of the meeting is below. As a reminder, all meeting presentations and background information on the override can be found on the City of Newton website: City of Newton Override Webpage
School Counselor Week
February 6 - 10, 2023 will mark National School Counseling Week (NSCW). This annual celebration is the perfect time to recognize the contributions of school counselors across Massachusetts, and more specifically in your own school setting.
The Massachusetts School Counseling Association (MASCA) encourages you to utilize National School Counseling Week as an opportunity to show school counselors how much they are appreciated in your school and district.
Please be sure to thank our wonderful counselors, Gillian VanDelft, Sam Schneider, Sharon Finelli, Kevin Travers, Michelle Shin and Cameron Mathieu. They work extremely hard behind the scenes to support our students each day with kindness, care and love.
The cast and crew of Honk! are hard at work each afternoon preparing for the upcoming show. I can hear their voices and see the enthusiasm growing each afternoon as they rehearse. Please come to see the show and support their hard work! Dates are listed below. Tickets will be on sale during lunches in the weeks leading up to the show.
Honk! Performance dates:
Tuesday, February 14 at 7pm
Wednesday, February 15 at 7pm
Snow Date - February 16 at 7pm
After School Extra-Curricular Activities Update
There are a lot of opportunities for students to get involved in after school activities. This is a great way for them to explore new interests and expand their friendship groups. Click here to view the schedule of after school activities.
6th Grade Geography Bee
This past week our 6th grade Social Studies teachers held the finals for the 6th grade geography bee competition. The students did a wonderful job both competing and cheering on their teammates. A big thank you to Richard Allsbrook, Jen Carlisle and Derek Potter for planning this fun and exciting event. Pictured below are the finalists and their adoring fans.
Academic Competition Teams at Practice
Jon Winkler and Benji Alford, Brown Social Studies teachers, are leading a group of students in practices for an academic competition during extensions the winter. This is in preparation for the Massachusetts Regional Finals of the International Academic Competition. International Academic Competitions organizes enriching and exciting team and individual competitions in history, geography, science, the humanities, and other subjects for primary and secondary students of all ages. Last year, for the first time, Brown MS was the site of the Massachusetts Regional Finals. Pictured below are the students at practice. If you are interested, or have any questions about the competition, please email Jon Winkler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ELPAC (English Learner Parent Advisory Council) Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6:30
ELPAC meets in person Thursday, February 9. ELPAC is for ELL and former ELL families districtwide. ELPAC collaborates with schools and the district to improve ELL programming and support bilingualism. You are welcome to join this community meeting!
Date: Thursday, February 9, 2023 Time: 6:30-8:00PM Location: 100 Walnut Street, Newton (the Education Center for Newton Public Schools) Room 111 A big parking lot is behind the building on Crafts Street Use the green door, at the top of the steps, near the right side of the parking lot ELPAC Meeting Agenda will include: Presentations: College Application Process, presenter: Jennifer Geraghty from Newton North High School Parks and Rec Opportunities and Summer Camps ELPAC Elections–Three candidates will be on the ballot: Li Yin (Current At-Large member who is nominated for chairperson), Wendy Wang (At-Large Member), and Zoe Shih (At-Large Member). ELPAC welcomes more nominations. ELPAC needs a treasurer and a secretary. RSVP: Interpretation and snacks will be provided with RSVP. Please note: no childcare will be provided for this meeting. However, children ages 5+ are welcome to join. ELPAC will include a children’s table of activities.
Date: Thursday, February 9, 2023
Location: 100 Walnut Street, Newton (the Education Center for Newton Public Schools) Room 111
A big parking lot is behind the building on Crafts Street
Use the green door, at the top of the steps, near the right side of the parking lot
ELPAC Meeting Agenda will include:
College Application Process, presenter: Jennifer Geraghty from Newton North High School
Parks and Rec Opportunities and Summer Camps
ELPAC Elections–Three candidates will be on the ballot: Li Yin (Current At-Large member who is nominated for chairperson), Wendy Wang (At-Large Member), and Zoe Shih (At-Large Member). ELPAC welcomes more nominations. ELPAC needs a treasurer and a secretary.
RSVP: Interpretation and snacks will be provided with RSVP. Please note: no childcare will be provided for this meeting. However, children ages 5+ are welcome to join. ELPAC will include a children’s table of activities.
High School Transition Meeting for Families of Students with Individual Education Plans
There will be a virtual parent meeting for current 8th grade parents/guardians about transitioning up to the high school on Friday, February 10th from 9:00-10:00 (inclement weather date will be Friday, February 17th at 9:00). Link to be sent out closer to the time.
Please let your parents/guardians know about the date/time we would appreciate it. We will be recording
Safer Internet Day - February 7
Tuesday, February 7th is "Safer Internet Day" sponsored by ConnectSafely. NPS encourages families to take advantage of resources available on the ConnectSafely website to learn more about internet safety and platforms popular with students, and to engage in conversations with your children. Below are some resources available on the ConnectSafely website:
- Free Virtual Family Event - No Room for Doom: Helping your family thrive in our Digital Age, Tuesday, February 7 at 7:30 PM
- Family Online Resources:
- Parent Guides (detailed articles on various topics such as Roblox, Twitch, Tiktok, Cyberbullying, etc.)
- Quick Reference Guides for Families (short one-page reference guides to TikTok, Instagram, Roblox, etc.)
- Video Guides for Families
MUSIC TUESDAYS - Newton South Music Mentor Program for Middle Schoolers
Do you play an instrument? Maybe in the String Orchestra or Band at school or even just for fun at home? We are pleased to offer students at Brown and Oak Hill an amazing opportunity to work with some of the finest high school musicians in the state in our new music mentor program on Tuesday afternoons at Newton South.
Thanks to the support of NSHS department Chair Jeff Knoedler and Principal Tamara Stras, this program is free to all students. You do not have to be enrolled in music at school to join us; just complete this form and bring your instrument next Tuesday! Details of the program are listed below. If you have any questions, please reach out to email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you!
Sincerely, Newton South Music Teachers,
Lisa Linde, Jazz and Band, firstname.lastname@example.org
Benjamin Youngman, Orchestra, email@example.com
All the Details:
WHAT: During our time together, you may get pointers on your specific instrument, enjoy playing as a group, and even learn some improv techniques! Bring your instrument, your questions, and your enthusiasm for music!
WHERE: Head to the NSHS Auditorium entrance after your middle school's dismissal on Tuesdays. Our high schoolers will be there to meet you. String orchestra will meet from 3:15-4:15; band will meet from 2:30-4:00. We realize Oak Hill and Brown have different dismissal times; don’t worry, just come as soon as you can. Invite a friend and walk over together!
WHEN: Every Tuesday there is school! If there is no school, or if school buildings are closed for a snow emergency, we will not meet. If for some other unlikely reason we need to cancel, we will email the contacts listed on your signup form and/or post in the Schoology group you will be added to after you sign up here.
WHO: All Brown and Oak Hill students are welcome, whether you are currently enrolled in the band or orchestra program at your school or not! All you need is your instrument and the desire to improve your musicianship in a collaborative community.
BAND MUSICIANS - END TIME IS 4 PM SHARP! It is appreciated when your ride is on time as our high school volunteers need to start their homework, or play in their own ensembles.
ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS - END TIME IS 4:15 PM SHARP! It is appreciated when your ride is on time as our high school volunteers need to start their homework, or play in their own ensembles.
OTHER NOTES: A weekly commitment is appreciated, but, like school clubs, it is understood that you may not be available to attend every week. That is completely ok, so, like school clubs, teachers will not take attendance and will not contact parents should a student not be present. Please make sure your family has a plan for your attendance and pickup!
While a teacher or staff member will be present, this program is primarily run by our high school music student leaders. They are members of state and national award winning ensembles, many have been selected to the Massachusetts All-State ensembles, and, most of all, they just love playing music!
We look forward to working with you!
Newton Youth Services Opportunities
Let’s Get to Work (ages 13.5 – 18 years old)
Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 10:30am-12:00pm
Thursday, February 23, 2023, 1:00pm-2:30pm
City Hall, War Memorial, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.
Join Youth Services for two employment-focused workshops in preparation for summer and post high school employment, as well as internship opportunities. Interested young people do not need to register for both dates.
- Tuesday, February 21st
- How to apply for a job
- Cover letter & resume review
- Preparing for an interview
- Thursday, February 23rd
- Offer letters & onboarding documents for employers
- Obtaining a work permit
Click HERE to register.
Career Exploration Event Series (grades 7 – 12)
Upcoming Thursdays, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Dates: February 16, March 23, April 27, & May 18
Newton Free Library, Druker Auditorium
Join Newton Youth services and the Newton Free Library for a four-part series exploring careers through in person discussions with professions working in the industry. Industry exploration includes STEM (February), Medical (March), The Trades (April), and Human Services (May).
Click HERE to register.
MCAS Dates Set
Dates for the administration of the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) have been set as follows:
English Language Arts:
March 28 & 29 - 7th grade
April 10 & 11 - 6th grade
April 12 & 13 - 8th grade
May 15 & 16 - 8th grade
May 17 & 18 - 7th grade
May 22, &23 - 6th grade
Science & Technology/Engineering:
May 24 - 8th grade only
Inclement Weather Notification Reminder
The decision to close or delay school is made by the superintendent, in consultation with the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. You will be notified of school closing via email, text, phone, website, television news, and social media. Please make sure your contact information is updated in Aspen so that we are able to reach you in a timely manner (Aspen Login Link) If you do not remember your Aspen login information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit this webpage for additional details: School Closings Due to Weather Webpage
Earn money for the PTO while you shop!
As you shop for the holidays, please consider using amazonsmile. This program donates a portion of the proceeds to Brown PTO. Just designate Charles E. Brown Middle School PTO as your charitable recipient. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of your purchase price for eligible purchases towards our PTO. Click the picture below for a direct link to the site.
For more information about how this works, click this link to the PTO website.
How to report an instance of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
NPS has recently updated their non-discrimination protocol and reporting process. Here is a link to a document that gives an overview of the process and how to report incidents. If you experience an incident that you feel needs to be reported, you can contact the school directly or you can fill out this Online reporting form.
Discrimination includes, but is not limited to, excluding from participation, denying the benefits of, or otherwise discriminating against individuals on the basis of a Protected Class, or any other category protected by state or federal law.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome, inappropriate, or illegal physical, verbal, written, graphic, or electronic conduct that relates to an individual’s actual or perceived Protected Class, that has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile education or work environment. Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to, conduct that denigrates, demeans, or stereotypes a person and/or group based upon disability, gender identity, national origin, ethnic background, ancestry, race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is also included in this category.
Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, coercion, intimidation, interference, punishment, discrimination, or harassment against any member of the school community in response to that member’s oral, written, formal or informal reporting or filing a complaint, cooperating in an investigation, aiding or encouraging another member to report or file a complaint.
Do you need to update your student's information in Aspen?
If you have not already done so, please be sure to update your student information on Aspen. It is important that we have correct contact information for school to home communication. Click here for Student Information Update instructions.
Calendar and School Hours
8:20AM - 2:50PM - Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.
8:20 AM - 2:05PM - Wed.
Click here for the NPS 2022-2023 school calendar.
Click here for the Brown Middle School 6-day rotation calendar for 2022-2023 with early release days and days of the cycle.