Brown MS Weekly Update
March 25, 2022
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Dear Brown MS Community,
This week has been a difficult one for the staff and administration at NPS. You have likely heard or read about the Newton Public Schools budget proposal for the 2022-2023 school year that consists of cuts across the entire district to cover a $4 million gap. If you have not had a chance, you can see the budget proposal here: FY23 Budget Presentation Recording.
Unfortunately, for Brown specifically, this means cuts to team teacher positions, fine and applied arts staffing and our literacy lab. Structurally this means moving from having three full (4 teacher) teams at each grade level to having two full teams and one 3/4 team team at both the 6th and 7th grade level. Details on this proposed budget will be shared at the upcoming School Committee meetings on March 28, 30, and 31. Your continued support for our teachers, students, and school is appreciated. As we know, this budget news is fluid. When new information is made available, I or Superintendent Fleishman will keep our school community updated.
On a much lighter note, this weekend I will be prom dress shopping with my daughter. I can't begin to express how thankful I am that special events such as this are now a possibility again! It reminds me how tough things have been for our students, teachers and families over the last 2 years. While we are not out of the pandemic, we are at such a better place than we were two years ago. (Remember March of 2020, when we thought we were just going to be out of school for 2 weeks?) We have all experienced different levels of grief and difficulty and it is my hope that this spring brings us healing as we reinstitute some of our favorite traditions.
Speaking of events, I met with the PTO today and we are underway with planning year end events for Brown. All three grade levels will be able to have a year end event/trip! Dates and details will be worked out in the weeks ahead. In person 8th grade graduation is scheduled along with the annual 8th grade Canobie Lake Park trip. (See below for more details.) Other special events sponsored by the PTO are in the works, so stay tuned to the Brown Bear Report from the PTO as well. I wish you all a good weekend!
Kim Lysaght, Principal
Our dates for our MCAS testing are as follows:
- 6th Grade:
- ELA: April 1 & 4
- Math: May 13 & 16 - This is a change from my last communication!
- 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
Brown MS Annual Newton Food Pantry Drive!
This past Thursday we kicked off our annual Brown Food Drive for the Newton Food Pantry. As a school community, we will collect non-perishable food items and toiletries for people in need. Students learned about the food drive during a 30 minute advisory lesson Thursday morning. We will be collecting donations for the Newton Food Pantry from Monday 4/4 - Monday 4/11 in advisory. Donations will be delivered to the food pantry on the afternoon of Monday 4/11.
Sixth graders will be leading the effort. Part of their outreach will be to go to 7th and 8th grade advisories to drum up enthusiasm and donation commitments. This is one of our annual community service events. Please consider talking with your child about how they can participate.
Items that the pantry needs the most are listed below. Please note: items should be unopened and within the expiration date, and no glass please!
Cereal: 12 – 16 oz., brand names preferred
Hearty soup: meat, bean, veggie; broth
White tuna in water
Shampoo: 12 – 16 oz.
Toothpaste (full size)
Soap and body wash (full size)
Additional opportunities to help:
Newton Neighbors is looking for drivers to do food pantry delivery in April and May
Newton Neighbors is Newton's mutual aid network, founded at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of our core programs engages neighbors in delivering food from local pantries to families who can't get there themselves. We have excellent food resources in our community but families can face barriers to accessing these resources. We have many open volunteer slots for April and May. We are especially in need of drivers on Saturday April 2nd. Each volunteer delivers to 3-4 families, and the total commitment is typically about 60-75 minutes. It's a great way to do something tangible to support neighbors and teach your kids about service. Signup links below - reach out with any questions!
Join the Newton Neighbors Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/newtonneighborshelping
Social Media Parent/Guardian Survey
Our School Council, made up of parents, faculty and students, have put together a survey for middle school parents regarding social media & phones. We would appreciate you taking this survey to give us more insight about how we can work as a community to help students be safe as they begin to use social media.
We have plans to have a presentation for parents later this spring with a presenter from the Middlesex Partnership for Youth. More information and specific dates to follow.
5th Grade Family Information
This is a reminder to 5th grade families that 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.
METCO turns 56!
Fifty-six years ago yesterday, a remarkable grass-roots civil rights program was incorporated in Roxbury. Urban and suburban parents came together and took action to build an education system that would be integrated and equitable. They called it METCO.
Today, it is the largest voluntary school desegregation program in the nation, connecting 37 communities and enrolling over 3,200 students.
Call your legislator in support of METCO’s state funding. Every year, those in support of METCO have to advocate to state representatives and senators on Beacon Hill for METCO to receive its annual funding to continue to operate in every town. Let them know it matters to you!
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.
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.
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 practice 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 3 individuals 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.
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.