Superintendent's Update

March 18, 2022

Greetings PSB Community,


The student-led events that transpired earlier this week at Brookline High School are a teachable moment for all of us in the Public Schools of Brookline. As our mission states, we have a responsibility to “ensure that every student develops the skills and knowledge to participate thoughtfully in a democracy.” This includes a right to free speech, peaceful assembly, and other strategies designed to affect change. Our students and families are powerful advocates; we support their efforts to express their concerns and beliefs responsibly, and we thank them for helping us hear and listen to their voices.


We acknowledge that members of our community have experienced discrimination, prejudice, or hostility. The Public Schools of Brookline have no tolerance for hatred - of any basis, at any level. Additionally, we recognize that our response as a school district is two-fold; we must not only eradicate systemic factors that facilitate these incidents, but also address the emotional impact that is left behind on our community. The Public Schools of Brookline have taken and are continuing to take important steps to address issues of student safety, belonging, and inclusion. We have more work to do - as a district, as individuals, and as a community - and I encourage us to do so collectively.


As a district, we will continue listening, hearing, responding, and engaging in honest and brave conversations as well as deliver deliberate action steps. We welcome this responsibility and opportunity to transform our culture into a paragon for student safety, and we look forward to sharing the results of our work with you and our students. I look forward to championing and leading these efforts within PSB and partnering with our community to engage in this process.


Keeping students at the center,


Linus J. Guillory Jr., PhD

Superintendent

FY2023 Budget Update

On January 23, I presented our initial budget request for the 2023 fiscal year. Since then, district and school leaders have been working to identify and realize cost efficiencies as we finalize our request to align with the Town’s allocation. As of today, the Local Education Appropriation (LEA) request is now $128,948,883 - approximately 1.6 million dollars less than our original request - with the budget gap between the district and town now resting at $4.1 million. We will continue to work with our Town partners in seeking all available channels, sources, and options in developing a budget that is in alignment with the community’s expectations and core values.

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for 7th and 9th Grade Students

Every year, all public school districts in Massachusetts are required to use an interview-based screening tool to screen middle-grade pupils for substance use. The goal of this screening students is to provide for early identification and prevention education.


For this year, all students will be asked to complete the screening confidentially online in a Google Form survey. Completed screenings will be reviewed by school nurses and/or school counselors. Any students who, based on their responses, require brief intervention or referral to treatment will be invited to meet 1-on-1 with a trained staff member of their school’s SBIRT team. All 7th and 9th grade families will receive more information on this screening (including a link to opt-out) in a separate email from the Office of Student Services.

Brookline Education Foundation Trivia Bee and Auction

The Brookline Education Foundation (BEF) is thrilled to announce the return, in hybrid fashion, of the Trivia Bee, along with its virtual auction and fundraiser! On Friday, March 25, please check out the amazing items and gifts up for auction and consider supporting the BEF. Funds raised during this event will support teachers and administrators for their professional development and leave an impact on your student and their schools. Learn more about the auction here.

REMINDER: 6th-12th Grade Term 3 Progress Reports Published

Interim progress reports for Term 3 have now been published for all students in 6th through 12th grade in the Aspen Parent Portal. Families should have received a notification by email earlier this week once your student(s) report has been published. Families may also log in to Aspen itself and access these reports digitally in the “Published Reports” section. If you have trouble logging in to the portal, please contact data_team@psbma.org.


A final report card for Term 3 is expected to be published by Thursday, April 14, before Good Friday and April Vacation. Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade are assessed through two cycles (September to January, January to June). K-5 parents/guardians will discuss their student(s) progress, growth, and development directly with their staff at designated parent-teacher conference days; These conferences are slated to begin in April. Cycle 2 progress reports for K-5 students will be published before the last day of school.

REMINDER: SY2022-23 Course Request and Prioritization Now Available

Beginning this week, current 8th through 11th grade students and families may review core course recommendations and select electives for their next school year through the Aspen Portal. As you determine what courses are best for your student(s), please take into account the comments and recommendations made by PSB staff. Your schools will provide you with more information on this process - including deadlines for submissions - over the next few days. If you have any questions, please contact your student(s) guidance counselor for more information. A tutorial on how to enter elective requests in Aspen can be found here.

REMINDER: Please complete the Safe Routes to School Survey

If you haven’t already done so, please consider completing the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program survey to gather data on how our students travel to and from school. The results of this survey will help us plan safe transportation options for all students, evaluate current SRTS efforts, identify areas for improvement, and assist our community to reduce traffic congestion during arrival and dismissal times. Please submit your response by Monday, March 21.

Community Updates

  • Smart Vacations for April Break: The Brookline Adult & Community Education (BA&CE) offers programs for students to participate in during all PSB vacation periods - including summers! Join BA&CE for a variety of activities - including Robot Adventures and Parkour - for sessions that work with your schedule. Register online today, or by calling the BA&CE office at (617)-730-2700, extension 0.

  • Update on American Rescue Plan Funding Process (ARPA): Last March, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a financial package is intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts. The Town will now begin reviewing allocation requests from the community and make final recommendations to the Select Board for funding. The first round of ARPA funding will commence alongside the ongoing FY23 budget process throughout the rest of the month, including a public hearing scheduled for Monday, April 11th from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Learn more about the process here.

  • Design a mini-park with the Parks and Open Space Division: All Brookline teens (i.e. 12-18 year olds!) to design a mini-park (or “parklet”) with the Brookline Parks and Open Space Division this Spring! Last year, the Town piloted two parklets along Harvard Street and is excited to add a third location in the Washington Square neighborhood this year. Any interested student may RSVP for the Design Planning Workshop at the Brookline Teen Center (40 Aspinwall Avenue) on Saturday, April 2; Come join the project team from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to brainstorm ideas and develop a design! More information can be found here.