Heath School ~ March 31st, 2023
Our North Star
“When children and teachers feel engaged, safe, and supported we have room to grow and learn through collaboration and risk-taking with our peers.”
Previous "Community Notes" can be found here: https://www.brookline.k12.ma.us/domain/718
Dear Heath Community,
April launches Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, and tomorrow is April 2nd is World Autism Day! Here at Heath we are proud to be a place where our students with Autism can grow, stretch, struggle, feel loved, be successful, fail safely, connect, make friends, and – most importantly – be themselves!
This month you'll see our front light a new color – blue – in observance of Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month.
We also recognize International Transgender Day of Visibility. Read President Biden's proclamation on the day here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2023/03/30/a-proclamation-on-transgender-day-of-visibility/
Trans writer and activist Janet Mock said: “When I was younger, I wish I would have been told more often that I was right and nothing was wrong with me, that I was deserving of everything this world has to offer, and that my visions for my future were worthy of pursuit.” We can think of no higher vision than this for our students and work tirelessly to make our school a safe space for children as they come to understand who they are in this great big world of ours.
Passover begins next week: chag sameach! We wish all who observe a joyous celebration! Learn more about Passover here with this great kid-friendly video: https://youtu.be/o0sqZH3HU0Y
School Renaming Efforts: Expert Help and Four Finalists
This week the Student Naming Committee met with members of the Indigenous Peoples Celebration Committee: Felina Silver Robinson, Paul McLean, and Kailey Bennett. Our discussion made explicit connections between the work of the Indigenous Peoples Celebration Committee in their efforts to establish the practice of land acknowledgments and secure Indigenous Peoples' Day here in Brookline and the efforts of the student group here and as we steadily move towards finding the best-fit next name for our school.
The guest speakers shared a few choice things that really resonated with our young people, including:
- Sometimes conversations were uncomfortable; we heard a lot of things like “This is pointless” or “I’m not an Indigenous person, so why should this matter…” That can be really difficult to hear over and over again.
- Change is hard and during the change process it was hard to listen to each other all the time - people have such hard feelings. But unless you really listen, change can’t happen.
- Look for how we can help make change in places where change is most needed. Always be looking for places where you can help.
Do you want to learn more about the work of the Indigenous Peoples Celebration Committee? Check out their website here:
We are so thankful for this expert advice and wonderful connection!
Repeating this BIG Announcement! Our Four Finalists!
After careful deliberation, significant time doing research, and lots of introspection, the Student School Naming Committee is excited to announce our four finalists for our new school name! The finalists are (in alphabetical order):
- Ruth Batson
- Ellen & William Craft
- Roland Hayes
- John Woodrow Wilson
Here are resources on each candidate (again, alphabetically):
Ellen & William Craft
John Woodrow Wilson
We are very excited by this news and hope you are, too!
Each week, we report updates on the renaming process here. Past "Community Notes" newsletters can be found here:
The "School Name: History & Resources" website page is also updated regularly:
PowerPoint from Feb 9 School Committee Meeting
International Night: Thank You!
This THANK YOU will not do justice to the team of parents who put together our International Night celebration. Over 100 family members volunteered to make this year's celebration the biggest to date – 31 nation tables and shattered attendance records.
To uber-volunteers Lisa Yuen Rhodes, Paola Rossi, Yen-Lin Chen and to Mr. Patel: you all did a beautiful job creating such a joyous, connecting space for us. We are grateful.
Click here for some fantastic pics from the evening: https://photos.app.goo.gl/o8suUtyckHqg6ftT8
Our next big event is Mayfair! If you can lend help, big or small, towards these effort, we'd all benefit and be appreciative.
Family Expectations at School Events
Family events are intended for families.
Do not send your children to big events, like International Night, alone and without family support.
When at events, we do not have school staff available to help your children. That is your responsibility and we thank you for taking it seriously.
Class Placement: Parent Perspective Survey
It is time for us to look ahead and begin planning for the 2023-2024 school year. Parents often ask how class placements are made and what role families may play in the process. This google form is meant to answer those questions, explain the process used at Heath and in the Public Schools of Brookline, and gather feedback from you.
Each spring, teachers, staff, and administrators work to form classes for the following school year. We invite you to join this process at home. While it is not necessary, nor is it expected that parents communicate regarding class placement, if you have information about your child’s social-emotional or learning needs that you think we do not know, please complete this google form by Friday, April 28th.
We are unable to honor requests for specific teachers and letters that name a teacher will not be considered.
This feedback can help us get as much perspective as possible during this process. Additionally, this information can be helpful to next year’s teacher as they work to gather information about their students prior to the start of the school year. If you want to remind us of any past concerns you’ve had, please take a minute to do that in this questionnaire, too.
Here is the questionnaire: https://forms.gle/ALpJfBLugCXu4rPN9
We appreciate your and your child’s input and value your collaboration as we build our learning communities for the 2023-2024 school year.
Council of the Gods! 7th Grade Social Studies Debates
Ms. Terry's 7th grade social studies crew held the annual Council of the Gods debate this week, deciding who amongst the gods should replace Zeus as the next leader. In order to make such a weighty decision, students needed to:
- research their assigned Greek god personas,
- understand the qualities of great leadership,
- create complex arguments selling themselves as the next best leader of the gods,
- and present themselves artfully to a panel of their peers (and the principal)
A great part of this annual event is having 8th graders join as judges. The older kids are merciless in their questioning (remember: they themselves have experienced this same debate last school year), setting a serious tone and bringing the tough truths about each god to the table.
Congratulations Mr. Goldner
Mark Goldner, our 7/8 Science teacher, was named one of two 2023 recipients of the American Geoscience Institute's (AGI) Edward C. Roy Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching.
From the AGI press release:
In Mr. Goldner's 31 years teaching, he has designed novel inquiry projects for his students in which they practice Earth science through the lens of time and systems. By connecting to these larger concepts, students are able to understand how small changes can have significant effects on both humans and the Earth, even if those effects are not immediate. Goldner also demonstrates to his students that learning is a lifelong process by participating in programs such as PolarTREC, a program funded by the National Science Foundation that enables science teachers to collaborate on field research with polar scientists. Programs like these allow him to bring new findings into his classroom and have students engage with real-world data, which can help make abstract concepts more accessible.
"Mark Goldner demonstrates how innovative Earth science education can connect the learning process to students' lives and communities," said AGI Executive Director Jonathan Arthur.
Mr. Goldner was recognized in a ceremony during the National Earth Science Teachers Association's Friends of Earth Science Reception at the National Science Teaching Association's Annual Conference in Atlanta on March 25, 2023.
Project 351 — Clothing Drive Happening Now!
What is Project 351?
We’re a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring youth-led service throughout our state—appointing unsung leaders from each of Massachusetts’ 351 towns and cities. You can learn more about us at our website, project351.org.
What is our clothing drive?
We’ll be holding a Cradles to Crayons clothing drive in the Heath School front lobby from Monday, March 20th to Friday, April 14th.
Donations must be children’s clothing sizes newborn to adult medium, and gently-used/brand new. We will not be accepting shoes during this clothing drive.
Pajamas and undergarments must be brand new.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to serving with Heath School!
Project 351 Ambassadors, Class of 2023
Climate Action Group: Sustainability Corner!
We are proud to launch our Sustainability Corner, an initiative of our 6-8 Student Climate Action Group.
This week we feature two articles from Brookline's GreenZine by three of our Grade 8 students. Enjoy!
- Here is the link to Giulia's article about the Hillside Pond Investigations: https://greenzinebrookline.wordpress.com/2023/03/27/hillside-pond-investigations-by-giulia-taranto/
- And, here is the link to a co-written piece by Molly and Paige's article about the Climate Data Art Project: https://greenzinebrookline.wordpress.com/2023/03/27/science-data-and-art-by-molly-schroder-and-paige/
Watch this space for sustainability tips, upcoming events, and more!
Find the MCAS testing calendar, here:
Monday, April 3rd: MCAS - Grade 3 ELA Part 1
Monday, April 3rd: MCAS - Grade 4 ELA Part 1
Monday, April 3rd: Grade 5 Rainbow Club!, 11:20-11:50am
Tuesday, April 4th: MCAS - Grade 5 ELA Part 1
Tuesday, April 4th: Grades 6-8 GSA, 10:35-11:15am
Wednesday, April 5th: METCO Connections Breakfast, 7:30-8:00am
Wednesday, April 5th: Grades 6-8 Student Climate Action Group, 10:35-11:05am
Wednesday, April 5th: MCAS - Grade 5 ELA Part 2
Thursday, April 6th: MCAS - Grade 3 ELA Part 2
Thursday, April 6th: MCAS - Grade 4 ELA Part 2
Thursday, April 6th: Young Scholars, Room 209, 2:30-3:30pm
Thursday, April 6th: Term 3: Term closes for Grades 6-8 Report Cards
Friday, April 7th: School Closed: Good Friday
Monday, April 10th: MCAS: Grades 6-8 ELA Part 1
Monday, April 10th: Grade 4 Rainbow Club!, 11:20-11:50am
Tuesday, April 11th: MCAS: Grades 6-8 ELA Part 2
Tuesday, April 11th: Grades 6-8 GSA, 10:35-11:15am
Tuesday, April 11th: PTO Meeting (via zoom), 6:00-7:00pm
Wednesday, April 12th: Grades 6-8 Student Climate Action Group, 10:35-11:05am
Wednesday, April 12th: K-8 Early Dismissal at 12:40pm
Thursday, April 13th: MCAS - ELA Makeups
Thursday, April 13th: AAPI Student Affinity Group, 10:35-11:15am
Thursday, April 13th: Young Scholars, Room 209, 2:30-3:30pm
Friday, April 14th: PEP, 8:05-8:30am
Friday, April 14th: MCAS - ELA Makeups
Friday, April 14th: Term 3: Gr. 6-8 Report Cards published to parent portal
As always, be good to yourself, and be good to others,
Dr. Asa Sevelius, Ed.D. | Heath School Principal
Previous "Community Notes" can be found here: https://www.brookline.k12.ma.us/domain/718