Brown MS Weekly Update

Friday, Dec. 23, 2021


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Happy New Year 2022!

Dear Brown MS Community,

As we close the door on the last day of school in 2021, I want to wish all of you a wonderful break! Everyone - students, parents and teachers are all ready for some much needed rest. To those of you observing Christmas, I wish you a a festive celebration. For those who celebrate Kwanza, I wish you Heri za Kwanzaa, which is Swahili for Happy Kwanzaa!

Moving into this new year of 2022, I have so many hopes. While the reality of the covid pandemic still weighs heavy for all of us, I am hopeful that this spring will be a turning point. We are blessed to be in a country where we have access to vaccinations and boosters. Newton's vaccination rate is high and this has helped us tremendously these past 4 months to have everyone back in school together. I know we will continue to work together to protect ourselves and each other by continuing to abide by the safety protocols of mask-wearing, hand washing, and staying home when we have symptoms.

On a personal note, 2022 marks the last New Year's Day that I will have a child in a public school system. My youngest will graduate from high school this June, and I am experiencing a combination of excitement and melancholy all at the same time. We are currently in the midst of college acceptance possibilities and each day brings her closer to knowing what her future holds. My advice is to savor every minute - the time certainly flies by!

In closing, I want to say that there are two jobs that I feel truly shape the future. The first is being a parent, and the second is being a teacher. I feel lucky to work so closely with both parents and teachers on a daily basis. I know this year has been harder than most for adults involved in raising and teaching tweens and teens. There have been times for all of us when we have felt defeated or depleted. Yet, we are making it work together, and they are growing and learning every day. The number of thank you's and well wishes from students to peers and adults today was heartwarming to hear and reminded me why I come to school each day. Thank you for all that you continue to do for the kids. I wish you a safe and healthy holiday break!


Kim Lysaght, Principal

Brown MS Artwork on Display at Education Center!

Monochrome paintings on "Comfort + Joy" are on display in the Education Center of Newton. This is a big honor for these students. These pieces (pictured below) will be up for the next 8 weeks and we will be taking them down and distributing them back to you in the winter.
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Report Cards

Term 1 grades have been finalized and will be available for viewing early next week on Aspen. We will also sent a paper copy home this week via homebase teachers. Please spend time looking at the comments from teachers and discussing successes and areas of growth with your children.
Brown MS After School Enrichment Activities

NEW ACTIVITIES - click above to see a full listing of all after school activities.

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.

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Being on Time - perhaps a New Year's Resolution?

We have noticed an increase in the number of students arriving tardy to school. This past week we averaged about 42 tardy students per day. We realize it is sometimes a necessity to be late due to extenuating circumstances, however, we encourage you to work with your child on getting up early enough to arrive at school on time. When students are late, they miss advisory which is an integral part of our day. We provide students with social-emotional support during advisory. It is a place where students connect with each other and an adult who gets to know them over the course of their three years in middle school. We appreciate your efforts to help them all arrive prior to 8:20.

NPS School Transfer Request 2022-2023

If you are planning on applying for a school transfer within Newton Public Schools (formerly "Out of Assigned District Requests", please click this link for information regarding the process.

Tenacity Challenge!

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 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 for Mid-January, but the date is TBD to avoid conflicts with other Brown events. Please stay tuned!

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

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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.

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COVID Communication

This week we had zero covid case this week - which is welcome news in light of the current numbers being reported in the news. 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.

We will resume testing for our 6th graders on Monday, January 3 when we return. If you have not done so, please go into Aspen to provide consent for the testing for your child.

Newton Health and Human Services: Guide to Holiday Testing

Should I get tested?

Anyone who is feeling even mild symptoms should stay home, talk with their healthcare provider, and get tested.

Based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, testing is not required for people who are fully vaccinated close contacts who don’t have symptoms. If you choose to get tested following an exposure (day 0), you should get tested no sooner than day 3 and ideally around day 5. People who are close contacts with symptoms should stay home and get tested, regardless of the number of days since exposure.

Which test should I get?

PCR tests are the gold standard for diagnosing a current COVID-19 infection, but home antigen tests can be useful in certain circumstances because they are generally less expensive, available in pharmacy/retail locations, and you can get the results quicker than laboratory-based PCR tests.

Wondering when to use a home test and how to interpret the results? Click here for a guide.

Where can I get tested?

A list of testing sites across the state, including Newton, can be found at Plug in a zip code and you can filter by distance, cost of the test, type of test, and more under Advanced Filters.

CIC Health continues to run a pcr testing site at Riverside in Newton.

Free home PCR testing is available to all eligible Massachusetts adults. Kits are reserved for adults (18+) who live or work in a congregate setting, are experiencing symptoms, have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or who have otherwise been recommended for testing. Visit the Pixel by LabCorp for Massachusetts webpage for details, and to request a test kit.

What about international travel?

Travel requirements have changed so be sure to check the CDC’s website for requirements for testing.

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Winter Weather and Snow Day Notifications

  • School closings or delays will be communicated via phone call, text message, email, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), website, and local television and radio stations.

  • 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.

Planning to Apply to Private School?

If you are planning to apply to private school and are in need of recommenations, Brown MS has a description of our guidelines for a smooth application process. Please click here to learn more.

Reporting Absences

To report a student absence call: 617-559-6980

Need to Update your Information in Aspen?

The Annual Student Information Update is available on Aspen. Please update your information. Directions for families can be found here.

Calendar and School Hours

School Hours:

8:20AM - 2:50PM - Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.

8:20 AM - 2:05PM - Wed.

Click here for the NPS school calendar.

Click here for the Brown Middle School 6-day rotation calendar with early release days and days of the cycle.