Brown MS Weekly Update
Friday, Jan. 7, 2022
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Dear Brown MS Community,
Happy snow day! I hope you are all able to enjoy the day and remain off the roads. This has been a long and difficult week and I am thankful to have today to regroup. As you all know from the news we are in the midst of a pandemic surge from the Omircron variant of Covid. I recommend you read David Fleishman's communication from yesterday here. It contains important information regarding health and safety measures and protocols. As the case numbers continue to climb in our community, it is important to keep in context our current reality. Our vaccination rates for students are high at Brown (specific numbers are contained in Dr. Fleishman's communication). The best way to prevent serious illness if exposed, is to be fully vaccinated and we encourage everyone to do this. The FDA just approved booster shots for 12-15 year olds as well and Fenway Park is opening up for vaccination and booster appointments. To set a vaccination appointment you can go to https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/.
I must mention how amazing our school nurse, Lucy Boyer, has been this week. We have dealt with a number of cases at Brown and she has met this challenge with a reassuring grace and competence. We are lucky to have her at Brown!
Within this Weekly Update is a section that outlines the specific measures we continue to take at Brown to keep students and teachers safe. We ask that you continue to monitor your children for symptoms and keep them home if they are experiencing any. Many of you have already done this and we so appreciate you for being vigilant and cautious. Please remember to call the absent line at 617-559-6980. Our teachers will continue to keep their Schoology pages up to date so that any students who need to stay home are able to access the material for that day. Teachers will be understanding of students who are absent due to sickness or COVID. When students return to school, they will have time to work with their teachers in turning in missed work.
I will continue to share weekly totals with you regarding Covid cases at Brown and will send out notifications if a positive case of COVID-19, infectious while at school, is identified in your student’s team or grade. Please click here to see the NPS Covid Communication Protocol.
I understand how much you may worry about your children and want to assure you that we are working hard to take care of everyone. My son leaves tomorrow to head back to college. While I will always worry because I am a mom, I am confident that we have done all we can to keep him safe. He is fully vaccinated and boosted, he has an ample supply of masks to keep him protected and he understands how the virus spreads and how to keep himself safe. I hope you can all find your zen place during this stressful time. We will continue to work through this together.
Enjoy the snow and have a safe weekend!
Kim Lysaght, Principal
This week we had 21 individuals that tested positive and were in school during some portion of this past week. This is clearly the highest we have seen. Information on districtwide COVID cases and vaccination rates can be found on the Newton Health and Human Services website here: NPS COVID Case Count and Vaccination Rates.
The main NPS COVID website has been updated to include the most recent district COVID information, the new guidance from DESE on isolation and quarantine, and included mask and daily health assessment information. You can find it by clicking here.
A renewed focus on the pillars for maintaining a safe school:
It is important that we stay committed to keeping up the pillars of health for the safety of all. Our goal is to try to reduce the spread of the virus and keep school open. This week, we reviewed with all students the expectations about consistent mask wearing through a video I shared with all students, parents and staff prior to returning to school. Members of our faculty and administrative team are reminding students about masks covering their nose and mouth continually. We have seen a big improvement in more consistent and effective mask use during the week by students. They are doing a terrific job!
We will pool test our 6th grade students again this Monday. The district is aiming to expand pool testing for 7th and 8th grade. Right now, there is still a capacity issue from our vendor of Purple Shield to be able to sufficiently staff the school so we can expand the testing for all three grades. Fortunately, we have the space to conduct the testing, and once the staffing issues are addressed by Purple Shield we will expand testing.
Providing Outdoor Options for Lunch:
Outdoor seating will be available all year long on the patio off of the cafeteria no matter the weather. If you would prefer to have your child eat outside, please send them with the proper winter clothing gear; students may store their winter clothing in their locker during the rest of the school day.
For students who choose to eat indoors, we are encouraging all students to put their masks back on when they are not eating and to participate in “Laps at Lunch”. This means that students are eating indoors for a shorter amount of time and then go outside to walk and socialize with their friends in the front of the school’s driveway. Encourage your children to bring a warm coat and dress for cold weather.
Brown Faculty: Doing what we can to stay healthy and reduce transmission
The faculty are taking precautions to try to keep healthy and continue to attend to our students. During this week, we averaged an absence rate (depending on the day) between 5 to 15%.
SOS program for our 7th Graders in January
Newton’s secondary schools are conducting the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Curriculum and the Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression (BSAD) this year. Brown Middle School will implement SOS for all 7th graders in January. The schedule is as follows:
Monday, January 10, A and B blocks on all three teams
Wednesday, January 12, F and G blocks on all three teams
This program has been used by thousands of schools over the past decade and has proven successful at helping students concerned about themselves or a friend. It is the only school-based suicide prevention curriculum listed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) in its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression.
Parents must provide consent for students to take part in the program. We encourage all to participate. Please click on this link for instructions for how to give consent in Aspen.
iReady Winter Assessment
This month your child will participate in the winter administration of the i-Ready Diagnostic reading assessment. This is a formative assessment of reading skills that we began in 2019 district wide. Given the many obstacles to teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to have a clear sense of students’ strengths and challenges as readers. This winter administration will provide important data about students’ growth as readers since the fall as well as ongoing recommendations for instructional strategies targeted to students’ areas of need. Please connect with your child’s ELA teacher if you would like to discuss your child’s performance on the assessment and do not hesitate to reach out to me with additional questions.
For 8th Grade Families of students with IEPs - High School Transition Planning Meeting
Please join us for a discussion on transition planning Tuesday January 11th, 2022 2:00pm-3:00pm On Zoom
Hosted By: Newton’s Transition Coordinator and Newton North and Newton South’s Transition Specialists.
The following topics will be discussed:
- An overview of the transition planning process for students with disabilities
- An overview of the guidance counseling process, and the differences between middle school and high school.
- Review of the range of community-based resources for students as they consider their transition to high school and action steps that students, staff, and families can take to support a positive transition to adulthood.
To RSVP Please e-mail:
NNHS Transition Specialist
*Zoom link will be sent out to those who have RSVP’d by Monday 1/10 at 4pm*
The Tenacity Challenge is an academic competition for 7th and 8th grade Hispanic/Latino(a) and Black/African American students from middle schools across Massachusetts. The middle school Tenacity Challenge will consist of three events focused on the themes of leadership, empowerment, and tenacity. Please visit
https://www.tenacitychallenge.com/ms-tenacity for more information.
The team will prepare for the following three events:
Leadership Action Project
The leadership project focuses on the Tenacity team organizing with other students to mobilize change within the school community.
Math Quiz Bowl Challenge
Math quiz bowl teams will consist of 3 members. Questions will be drawn from pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry.
Global Voices Literary Analysis
Students will engage in the study of one or more books and then compose or create a response.
The Tenacity Challenge team will meet during one or two extensions each week. We may, on occasion, ask students to meet before or after school.
The competition will take place on March 12, 2022 at The John Glenn Middle School in Bedford, MA. Please click this link if your child would like to join the Brown Tenacity Team.
Brown FORJ Update
We are planning our next meeting on Wednesday January 26th from 7:30 - 8:30pm. Please rsvp here to receive the link.
In the meantime, all are welcome to join the community book read of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? This is the theme of Newton’s 54thAnnual Martin Luther King Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 17 at 9:00 a.m. at Newton North High School. The book is available at the Newton Free Library or you can read the Guided Study here.
We’ll gather on Martin Luther King Day, planned at this moment as a hybrid event in person at Newton North High School Auditorium for those showing proof of vaccination and on zoom. Find more info about the MLK celebration and register to attend in person or virtually here.
If you have questions, comments or to join the mailing list, please contact us at email@example.com
NEW ACTIVITIES - click above to see a full listing of all after school activities.
New Route for the 52 Bus
The schedule for the MBTA 52 bus has changed, effective December 19. The bus stop is in front of Oak Hill near the crosswalk.
Winter bus schedule link:
Interactive schedule with bus wait times can be found here:
Student Charlie Card fares are $0.85 each way. The discount student Charlie Cards should be available in the main office.
NPS School Transfer Request 2022-2023
Winter Weather and Snow Day Notifications
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.