Brown MS Weekly Update
Friday, Feb. 4, 2022
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February 4, 2022
Dear Brown MS Community,
Today I want to follow up on my communication regarding the swastika found here at Brown last week. We have completed our investigation and determined how it happened. While I can not share the details of the investigation, I can assure you that appropriate consequences and corrective actions have been taken. I can also share with you that this incident is not connected to a similar incident at Newton South last week. We have shared all of this information with the Newton Police who will report this to the ADL. More detailed information regarding our policies and protocols can be found in David Fleishman’s letter in the NPS District News from February 2.
We take these types of incidents very seriously and are now focused on helping the community heal. Not every child knows or understands why a swastika is harmful to our community. As a result, we are doing an advisory lesson for all students next week that will give them a meaningful opportunity to learn a powerful story from someone in our community. Our Assistant Principal, Ruthe L'Esperance, has created a video to tell the story of her aunt, who was a Holocaust survivor. We will provide an optional affinity space for our Jewish students to engage in this lesson if they would prefer.
In addition, our 8th grade teachers continue to develop their Holocaust unit. There was a recent article in The Newton Tab that quotes Sam McGraw, 8th grade civics teacher. (Link is here.) Concurrently, our 8th grade ELA teachers will be providing students with literature about the Holocaust to provide a more interdisciplinary experience for our students.
I realize how upsetting this has been for all of our community and want to assure you that we will continue to work to help students learn so they can honor and celebrate each other and come together in solidarity.
I hope you are able to remain warm and dry on this icy day!
Kim Lysaght, Principal
National School Counselor week starts Monday
This week we had 4 individuals that tested positive so our numbers remain low. We will continue to send notifications to any teams with a positive case daily and advise families and staff to actively monitor for/stay home if symptoms develop. For more information: NPS COVID Case Count and Vaccination Rates.
Our new weekly at-home rapid antigen test for ALL students PreK-12+ (vaccinated and unvaccinated) starts next week. Please review details below:
All families need to “opt-in” to this new testing program. The previous consent form will not apply.
An at-home rapid antigen test kit will be distributed at school every other week. Each kit will contain two tests.
NPS recommends that all families conduct a rapid test on TUESDAY of each week.
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.
IMPORTANT!! If your student is within 90 days of a COVID infection, they should NOT test. DESE program guidance indicates that any student within 90 days of a COVID infection should not participate in this weekly at-home rapid antigen test for asymptomatic individuals.
In addition to the weekly at-home rapid antigen testing program, we will continue in-school symptomatic testing for students and staff that develop symptoms during the school day. We will discontinue the Test and Stay testing program and contact tracing. All testing information can be found on our website here: NPS COVID Testing Webpage.
Black History Month
Additionally, this past Thursday our advisories engaged in lessons about microaggressions. Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. Advisors reported that students had excellent insights and were reflective, open and thoughtful.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Urban Improv Coming to Brown!
Urban Improv's Rehearsal for Life uses improv theater to give kids a chance to practice reacting to prejudice, bullying and other tough subjects. Actors work with the school to tailor the program to the issues most relevant for that school. They conduct an improv workshop with each team so every student will have the chance to participate. Exact dates and more details will be forthcoming.
FORJ Citywide meeting - Thurs., February 10 at 7:00PM
Join FORJ Newton this Black History Month with the February Citywide meeting with a panel on the Civil Rights Movement!
This month, we will have a panel discussion about teaching/learning about the Civil Rights Movement. This conversation will focus on the birthplace of the American Voting Rights Movement: Selma, Alabama, Foot Soldiers Park and the work they are doing in Selma and beyond. Their work is centered around a program that takes youth on trips to historical sites for the Civil Rights movement.
8th Parents of students with an IEP - Info. Session Feb. 11
On Friday, February 11, 2022 from 9:00-10:00AM please join us for an information session on the 8th grade transition to high school. Melissa Gamble, Department Head for Special Education and Kimberley Borgida, Assistant Department Head for Special Education will provide information to you on Newton South, specifically as it pertains to special education. Additionally, there will be time for you to ask questions.
Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83631172439?pwd=aHRKZTBZUTdPZFhEZThsVWFxakZqUT09 Meeting ID: 836 3117 2439 Passcode: 103355
If you have questions, please contact Shari Engelbourg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brown MS - Superintendent and School Committee Zoom Meeting - Feb. 16 at 7:00PM
A zoom link will be provided as the date gets closer.
Interpretation for this meeting can be available. Please complete this Google form at least three days before the meeting if you require interpretation: https://forms.gle/daA8qQjm61BJDocD7.
NEW ACTIVITIES - click above to see a full listing of all after school activities.
Basketball at Brown!
Cabaret Rehearsals Going Strong!
Save the Date - Middle School Matters - Thursday, March 3, 2022
Please save the date for an important community forum with guest speaker Phyllis Fagell. Ms. Fagell is a licensed clinical professional counselor, certified professional school counselor, journalist, and author of the best-selling book “Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond—and How Parents Can Help.” She is also a Day and North grad! This will be a terrific night filled with important information and dialogue, including how families can help their students navigate through the pandemic. More details coming soon, but please Save the Date - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. You can take a sneak peek at her work on her website.
Parenting and (Still) Fostering Resilience Event
Newton Food Pantry
Shoppers must be Newton residents (with the exception of Newton-based college students and staff), provide proof of residency and complete a New Client Registration Form, found here. The form is translated in four languages, as is our Get Help page.
In addition to our pantry, the Newton Food Pantry, in collaboration with other local businesses and organizations, opened the Newton Community freedge in March of 2021. The freedge is a free refrigerator and pantry open all day, every day to anyone. No forms or Newton residency required. The freedge is located at 420 Watertown Street, in the Central Drapery and Dry Cleaning parking lot.
Click on the icons above for translated versions of the Food Pantry flyer.
School Calendar for the 2022-23 School Year
At their meeting on Monday, December 6, 2021, the Newton School Committee approved the calendar for the 2022-23 school year. You can find it here:
NPS School Calendar 2022-23 (PDF Document)