Brown MS Weekly Update
March 18, 2022
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Dear Brown MS Community,
What a gorgeous day! Temperatures in the 70's make everything seem better! Springtime is full of hope and possibility. The month of March marks a number of cultural and religious celebrations to highlight.
Today is Holi, a holiday to welcome spring which is mostly celebrated in Northern India.
Here is an article from the Times of India with some pictures: Happy Holi 2022
Further down in this newsletter you will see an ad for a celebration in Newton coming up next week (organized by Brown community member, Rakashi Chand).
Some families will be celebrating Nowrouz this coming weekend. "Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on 21 March. It is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions." To learn more about this holiday click here or watch a video about it here.
This past week was the Jewish celebration of Purim, celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). Purim 2022 began on Wednesday night, March 16 and continues through Thursday, March 17. It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian empire.
Many people in the Boston area celebrate St. Patrick's Day (which was Thursday, March 17). This coming Sunday, March 20th at 1:00PM, is the traditional St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston after a 2 year hiatus due to the pandemic. For more information on this click here.
For everyone celebrating, I wish you the best and hope everyone finds ways to stop and appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of spring. Enjoy the weekend!
Kim Lysaght, Principal
Reminder: Early Release Day
We have an early release day this coming Thursday, March 24. Students will be released at 11:20. They will be able to pick up a grab and go lunch prior to leaving. There will be buses for students with bus passes at 11:20. Any student without a bus pass wishing to go into the center of town or to a friends house should make arrangements to get a ride there. Buses are only for students with a bus pass for that specific bus. Our buses can not accommodate additional riders. Please ask your children what their plans are for the afternoon and help them make travel arrangements if needed.
One more request, if your child plans to go into Newton Center that afternoon, please have a conversation with them about being safe and kind. The store owners and workers in Newton Center will be appreciative!
5th Grade Family Information
Last week we welcomed parents of our incoming 5th graders. It was wonderful to have people in the building for this event. If you were unable to attend, here is a recording of the zoom meeting. (Apologies for some audio issues for the first t 15 minutes of the video.) Also, if you click on the "Welcome to Brown Middle School" picture above, you can access a pdf of the presentation slides.
For those who have not already done so, we need your child's choice of world language for scheduling purposes. Please click here to complete the choice form. The form will ask for your first, second and third choice of a world language. Please click here for an overview of our world language program. We do our best to give students their first choice as much as possible within the constraints of class size. The form also gives you an opportunity to sign your child up for our optional band, orchestra or chorus electives.
Cell Phone Issues
We began our new cell phone policy this week (see last week's weekly update for details). So far, students are doing a good job of abiding by our expectations. Please continue to have conversations with your children regarding the expectation that they not use their phones during school hours.
Thank you for refraining from texting your children during the school day! Students are put in a difficult position when they receive texts from parents while their teacher is telling them they can not be texting during school. (Most times when teachers tell students to stop using their phones, the student report that they are responding to a text from their parent. While we don’t know if this is actually the case, you should know that this is what they are saying.)
If you have a message your child must know about immediately, please call the main office at 617-559-6900 and we will make sure they get the information. If a student needs to contact you immediately, we certainly will provide the time and space for them to do this in the office. All they need to do is ask an adult to allow them to go to the office. We appreciate your support in helping us in this effort.
Ursa Major: Brown's Student-led Literary Magazine
Ursa Major is a student-led literary magazine that celebrates the writing and visual arts of all Brown students. Students can submit their work via this link or scan the various QR codes around the school. We also have an ongoing event called the “Wednesday Winners”. Once a week, any student who has submitted to our magazine over the course of this year will be entered in our weekly raffle for a candy prize. The more a student submits, the higher their chances are of winning! If you have any questions, email Ms. Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to follow us on instagram @ursamajorbms.
Spring Sports Sign-up!
Registration will close on Wednesday, March 30th at 7:00pm for 7th & 8th grade spring sports. We are concerned with the possibility of not being able to field a boys and girls lacrosse team, as well as, a softball team due to the lack of numbers. We are reaching out to suggest to you that, due to the low numbers, this might be a good opportunity for your child to be involved on a team and learn a new sport! If you haven't registered your child on FamilyID, please do so by March 30th. Here is the link to the registration information.
Unified Basketball - Thursday's Day vs. Brown Game!
Brown Middle School is participating in the middle school Unified Sports Basketball league. The league utilizes Special Olympics MA and Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules and is composed of students with and without intellectual disabilities. The league strives to promote climates of dignity, respect and inclusion for students beyond the classroom. The Unified Basketball team involves winning and losing, but the primary focus is gaining new skills, meeting personal goals and participating with a team.
The home game against Day yesterday after school was well so exciting and well attended. The picture below shows the two teams after a terrific game. There were cheers, happy tears, hugs and so much joy! It was an afternoon that left everyone feeling uplifted. Thank you to coaches Evan Roche & Brian Adams and to Shayna Arasimowicz and Katrina Antonellis for their leadership in making it happen!
Academic Competition Team
Mr Winkler is conducting two training sessions for the Academic Competition Team prior to the academic competition regional finals. Anyone who qualified for an event is invited to take part in the Academic Competition Team. We will meet twice prior to the Regional Competition. Qualified students may take part in the training even if they don't register for the finals competition.
The first will be on March 21 during extensions
1st extension (Gr 7 lunch) History Bee practice
2nd extension (Gr 8 lunch) Science Bee practice
3rd extension (Gr 6 lunch) Geography Bee practice
The second will be on March 31 during extensions.
1st extension (Gr 6 lunch) History Bee practice
2nd extension (Gr 7 lunch) Science Bee practice
3rd extension (Gr 8 lunch) Geography Bee practice
The training sessions are open to all students who qualified for the event even if they are not going to the finals on April 2.
This week we had 1 individual that tested positive.
Please make sure to mark your calendar to remind yourself that all students opting into the Covid testing should take their test on Tuesday morning. Students will receive their test kits either today (Friday) or Monday.
All families need to “opt-in” to the testing program.
Only positive results need to be reported to the school. You will complete the Form - Positive Result from At-Home Rapid Antigen Test - State Program to report a positive result. Nurses will provide follow up information to families, including the date for return to school, following a positive test.
On the NPS COVID Testing Data Dashboard, you can review the percentage of students who have opted into testing, as well as the results of the weekly testing. The data dashboard can be found here: COVID Testing Data Dashboard and on our website here: COVID Testing Webpage. For information on COVID cases and vaccination rates in the Newton Public Schools, please visit this page on the City of Newton Website: Newton HHS COVID Data.
Newton SEPAC Parent Event: Parenting and (Still) Fostering Resilience through Covid-29
Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 7-8 pm
For the last two years and since the onset of Covid-19, parents have had to learn how to parent under complex, ever-changing circumstances, further complicated by worry about illness, changes at school, social distancing, and both real and anticipated negative impacts on our kids and teens. Join us for this interactive session on the topic of navigating uncertainty, supporting children, and fostering resilience during these times. Participants will have the opportunity to share parenting challenges and learn some practical strategies to support and build resilience in both children and themselves.
Presenters: Juliana Chen and Tai Katzenstein are co-directors of The Resilience Project’s Parents & Caregivers Program based out of Newton-Wellesley Hospital (NWH). Juliana is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at NWH and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a part-time clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. She also serves as Associate Director of the MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness, which supports the emotional and mental health needs of culturally diverse students, especially Asian/Asian American students. Tai is a clinical psychologist and Director of Parent Guidance in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NWH. Both Juliana and Tai facilitate parent skills groups and regularly give talks on parenting, fostering resilience, and supporting the emotional wellness of parents and families.
Please click here to register in advance and receive the webinar link:
The presenters would love to know any questions in advance so they can tailor their presentation most effectively. Please click this link to submit your questions.
Our dates for our MCAS testing are as follows:
- 6th Grade:
- ELA: April 1 & 4
- Math: May 5 & 6
- 7th Grade:
- ELA: April 7 & 8
- Math: May 3 & 4
- 8th Grade:
- ELA: April 5 & 6
- Math: May 9 & 10
- Science/Tech Engineering: May 17
CAS AUTHORFEST 2022
Creative Arts & Sciences AuthorFest is coming! On April 12, authors and illustrators that presented to K-8 students all over Newton will be gathering at the Cabot Elementary School library for a book sale and signing, meet and greet, between 3:15 - 5:30 PM. The event is open to the public. Newtonville Books will be on hand with a selection of books for sale that students can get signed.
Newtonville Books is taking pre-orders of books between now and March 21. If you want to purchase a book in advance, go to: www.newtonvillebooks.com/npsauthorfest
CAS AuthorFest is made possible by parent contributions to the PTO, a generous grant from the Newton Schools Foundation, with additional support from The Village Bank, and Harmony Foundation.