Brown MS Weekly Update

Friday, Feb. 4, 2022


To translate this news letter, click on the newsletter and select the word "translate" at the top right hand side under Accessibility. Select the language from the drop down menu.

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

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National School Counselor week starts Monday

This coming week is National School Counselor week. We have an amazing counseling department department at Brown: Sharon Finelli, Shana Gleason, Matt Kelly Sam Schneider, Michele Shin, Katie Tomasetti, Kevin Travers, and Gillian van Delft and Kelly Unger. Please be sure to give them a big thank you sometime this week for all the work they do to support the social emotional and mental health of all of our students!
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COVID Communication

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.

    • Access the Opt-in form through Aspen parent/guardian account: Aspen

    • Follow these instructions (link) once you are logged into Aspen

  • 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.

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.

Here is an FAQ that you can read to help with questions you may have.

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Black History Month

Our advisories will be engaging in activities during the month of February that celebrate influential individuals in the black community . Our 6th grade advisories will be creating posters about influential black individuals that will be on display for all students to learn about these important role models.

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.

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Lunar New Year Celebration

We hope that all of our families celebrating Lunar New Year a continued happy holiday season. The Lunar New Year began on Feb. 1 and continues for a 15-day celebration. We wish all of our families celebrating this holiday health and happiness!

Urban Improv Coming to Brown!

We recently earned a co-sponsored grant from the Newton Schools Foundation and METCO to have Urban Improv come to Brown in the spring.

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 Meeting ID: 836 3117 2439 Passcode: 103355

If you have questions, please contact Shari Engelbourg at

Brown MS - Superintendent and School Committee Zoom Meeting - Feb. 16 at 7:00PM

We hope you can join our Superintendent, David Fleishman and members of the Newton School Committee on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:00 for a Zoom meeting. This is an oppotunity to hear from Dr. Fleishman and the committee on all things related to NPS. There will be opportunities to aks questions.

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:

Brown MS After School Enrichment Activities

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

Basketball at Brown!

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Cabaret Rehearsals Going Strong!

Our Cabaret cast and crew have been working hard each afternoon to prepare for the show which is coming up on February 15 and 16.
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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

Student Services/SEPAC/NWH are pleased to announce an upcoming event on

Parenting and (Still) Fostering Resilience through Covid-19. This event will

be held on March 30, 2022, 7-8 p.m.

Click this link for more details or contact Katie Donnino


Newton Food Pantry

The Newton Food Pantry is now serving over 1,800 Newton residents at our renovated City Hall basement location, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue. Clients are able to shop for the items they want and need, selecting from a variety of dry goods, fresh produce, dairy, proteins, personal care items and culturally-relevant foods. Walk-in shopping hours are every Wednesday from 3pm to 7pm.

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)

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.