Superintendent's Update

March 4, 2022

UPDATE: COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies

The Brookline Advisory Council on Public Health will next review the townwide mask mandate on Monday, March 7, using the COVID-19 health data from the past two weeks. PSB is aware of these ongoing developments, and the impact these decisions will have on our current COVID-19 policies and mitigation strategies. In addition, the Brookline School Committee voted on Thursday, March 3, to allow the Superintendent to make changes to the PSB mask mandate with the recommendations made by the Brookline Department of Public Health. We will continue to work with our town partners and advisory committees to determine an appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic that keeps our students, staff, and community safe.


We anticipate that any changes in PSB’s COVID-19 policy and mitigation strategies will be communicated by next week’s update.

COVID-19 Vaccination Rates of Eligible PSB Students, as of March 4, 2022. (Source: PSB Student Health Services)

As of today, over 84% of our K-12 students have been fully vaccinated; we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as able. In that regard, PSB continues to hold COVID-19 vaccine clinics for our students, staff, families, and community members over the next few months. Our next clinic will be held on Tuesday, March 8 at the Ridley School from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can register online for an appointment here. If you have an appointment on one of these dates and you can no longer make it, please be sure to cancel your appointment by emailing info@vaxinaterx.com so that we can open the spot to others.

March is Women’s History Month

We want to highlight that March is Women’s History Month! As expressed by the Center for Civic Education, Women’s History Month is “a time dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women, as well as discussing the numerous obstacles that still remain to full equality.” As with other periods of celebration, we have shared resources with our staff that can be used to build background knowledge, create or implement lessons within/outside of our grade-level curriculum, as well as to build community within our classrooms or schools. Some of those have been included for your reference below:


  • International Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8, 2022: Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.


  • Brookline League of Women Voters (LWV): A grassroots, non-profit organization, the League of Women Voters was established shortly after the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 to encourage “the informed and active participation of citizens in government” and help women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. Brookline was one of the first towns in the US to have established a branch of LWV; they are still active today in collecting and distributing information on town-wide issues, warrant articles, and candidates for every election and town meeting. You can review a video of their 100th-anniversary celebration here.


We encourage you to use the time in March to celebrate the stories of women within and outside of our curriculum, to help impart to our students the unequivocal fact that women’s history is history.

Spotlight on Excellence: Lawrence School Climate Action Team

PSB Spotlight on Excellence - March 3, 2022

This week’s spotlight shines on the Lawrence School Climate Action Team (LCAT)! Formed in 2019 by 20 middle school Lawrence students and 4th grade teacher Mr. Brown, LCAT has been instrumental in educating the Brookline community on the climate crisis. LCAT’s efforts also go beyond spreading awareness; in addition to holding bake sales and creating petitions, Lawrence students have also lobbied and provided testimony at various legislatures in support of public policies that address climate change at local and statewide levels.


Currently, the group plans to hold a bake sale to support Speak for the Trees (a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the size and health of urban forests) as well as collecting and donating climate change books and resources to the Lawrence School Library. We are incredibly proud and humbled by their activism, creativity, and responsibility, and we look forward to supporting their initiatives in the greater Youth Climate Movement! Check out the full presentation of the Spotlight on Excellence here.

DESE Report Cards Published

Every year, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) releases report cards for every school and district in the state. Just as your student’s report card shows how they are doing in different subjects, these state report cards are designed to show families how your school and distinct is doing in different areas. Report cards are designed to be useful tools for everyone connected to your school. Families can use the information to have meaningful conversations with school and district leaders about what they are doing well and where there is room for improvement. Community and education leaders can use the information to better understand how to support students and staff. You can review each of PSB’s report cards here.

School Improvement Plan (SIP) Presentations

Over the next few weeks, each PSB school will be presenting an update on their School Improvement Plan (SIP) at a school committee meeting in March. SIPs are created by the school’s staff, parents/guardians, and administrators to identify the priority work for their school community. The SIP is also an important document that aligns school goals and planning with that of PSB’s initiatives in creating a collaborative approach to our community’s growth. Currently, each SIP is in effect for three years at a time.


Lawrence, Ridley, Runkle, BEEP, and Brookline High Schools presented their SIPs at the School Committee meeting on Thursday, March 3, while Baker, Driscoll, Heath, Lincoln, and Pierce will present their plans at the School Committee Meeting on Thursday, March 24. You can review the presentations of the first five schools below; each SIP will be published in its entirety on school and district websites by the end of the month.


Brookline Safe Routes to School Update

We hope everyone enjoyed walking, biking, or rolling to school a couple of weeks ago! In our ongoing efforts to increase these walking opportunities, we have partnered with the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program and the Brookline Safe Routes to School Task Force to 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 visit the MA Safe Routes Survey webpage to complete the survey for your school (no login necessary) by Friday, March 18. You may also contact the Brookline SRTS Outreach Coordinator, Vivian Ortiz, at vivian.ortiz@aecom.com with any additional questions or concerns that you may have.

Pierce School Building Project Virtual Community Forum

Monday, March 7th, 7-8:30pm

This is an online event.

Please join members of the Pierce PTO, faculty, and building committee for a Virtual Community Forum on the Pierce School Building Project on Monday, March 7, from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Members of the design team will also be there to update you on plans and timeline, and to answer your questions. You can RSVP for the meeting here.

Upcoming BHS Performing Arts Events

  • BHS Spring Play March 9-12: The BHS Spring Play, First Week, will be performed from Wednesday, March 9 to Saturday, March 12. First Week is an originally written/student-informed piece about 10th-grade transfer student Jayden Hester and their experience at a new school, with new people, in a new community. During his first days, Jayden encounters forces that challenge their sense of belonging and he seeks to answer, ultimately, if he does or does not. Visit www.brooklinefopa.org for more details and tickets.

Community Updates

  • Brookline Youth Awards: The Brookline Hub is now taking nominations for the 12th Brookline Youth Awards! This award recognizes Brookline youths for their outstanding in-school and out-of-school achievements, courage overcoming adversity or helping others do the same, displaying exceptional kindness, character, and generosity of spirit. Anyone in the Brookline community who would like to submit a nomination is asked to write an essay about a student that person believes is worthy of emulation. There is no specific set of criteria for receiving an award. There are also no barriers to being eligible for an award other than the recipient must be between 13 and 19 years old and live in or go to school in Brookline. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 11, 5:00 p.m. You can nominate a Brookline Youth here!


  • Free Antigen COVID-19 Test Kits Available for Pickup: The Brookline Department of Public Health announces that free at-home COVID-19 antigen test kits will be available for Brookline residents during the month of March. Test kits may be picked up at 11 Pierce Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. until March 31. All Brookline residents are eligible to receive the self-test kits. There is a limit of two kits, which each contains two tests, for households of one or two people. Households of three or more are eligible to receive up to four kits. Face masks are required for pickup. Residents should note that test kits are not for resale.