Brown MS Weekly Update

Friday, Dec. 17, 2021


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.

Dear Brown MS Community,

I want to say a big thank you to our teachers and counselors who provided support for students today who were concerned about the Tik Tok threats (If you are not familiar, please see yesterday's e-mail from David Fleishman). During the day students demonstrated a range of reactions from not talking about it at all, to needing to process their thoughts and concerns with an adult. For all students, we know it is important for them to feel heard and reassure them that we are taking care of their safety. Newton Police came to Brown early in the day to ensure everything was okay and remained in the vicinity of NSHS, Oak Hill and Brown during the school day. They assured us that there was no credible threat and that they were there as a precautionary measure.

Our students were able to keep their regular routines today which was comforting and provided a sense of normalcy for everyone. Raising teens and tweens in a social media world where such messages can be shared with so many so quickly is incredibly complex. I appreciate this community so very much and am thankful to be navigating this road with the strong support you provide for me and for each other. Please reach out to teachers or counselors if your child is showing more signs of concern or anxiety. We are here to support them.

On a happier note, our students spent time this week wrapping presents for residents at the Brookview House in Dorchester. This is an annual event that truly brings the community together. Students brought the gifts down to the lobby yesterday and filled a whole truck! I want to thank all of you that contributed to this uplifting cause. The pictures below will put a smile on your face!

Wishing you a peaceful weekend,

Kim Lysaght, Principal

Brown MS Annual Gift Drive for Brookview House

Vacation is Coming Soon!

Our last day before vacation is a full school day on Thursday, December 23. School will reopen on Monday, January 3.
Big picture

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.
Big picture

Report Cards

Term 1 grades have been finalized and will be available for viewing early next week on Aspen. We will also be sending paper copies home next week through homebases. We ask that you spend time looking at the comments from teachers and discussing successes and areas of growth with your children.

Caring for Chromebooks

Please click this link to see our flyer regarding how to care for Chromebooks at home. You may want to print it out and hang it up as a reminder to your children about how best to care for their Chromebooks.

Brown FORJ Update

This week our peers at Bigelow Middle school held a successful rally in support of Principal Chassity Coston and her leadership aligned with the NPS statement of values. If you're interested to read more and missed the statement from Principal Lysaght, you can find it here.

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

Big picture
Brown MS After School Enrichment Activities

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

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.

COVID Communication

This week we had 1 covid case this week for which we did contact tracing. All close contacts were directly contacted by our school nurse. 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.

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.

A Note From the NPS Covid Testing Team

There will be no weekly COVID testing the week of December 20, 2021. This decision is based upon the following guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE.)

DESE recommends that pooled testing programs are only run when the school is able to complete the entire pooled testing process from the initial pooled test through the completion of all needed follow-up tests.

Because we cannot complete the entire process, we will not conduct testing next week. Weekly testing will resume for PreK-6 upon return from winter break - the week of January 3, 2022.

Please note: symptomatic and Test and Stay testing protocols will remain in place during the week of December 20.

You can visit the NPS webpage for up-to-date testing information. Here is the webpage: NPS COVID Testing Webpage (link.). Thank you for your continued partnership in this testing program.


NPS COVID Testing Team

School Council

Our Brown Middle School Council for the 2021-2022 school year will be meeting prior to vacation to discuss our goals and focus for the year. This year we are including students on the council to make sure their voices are heard in our discussions.

Members are:

Kim Lysaght, Principal

Xiaoguang Zhen, Parent

Chip Franklin, Parent

Joelle Tomb Zakak, Parent

Michele Shin, Parent and School Counselor

Jackie Ehrhardt, Speech Language Pathologist

Gillian VanDelft, METCO counselor

Maddie Adler, 6th grader

Emma Song, 6th grader

London Edwards, 7th grader

James Garrett, 7th grader

Riya Raghavan, 8th grader

Thomas Connelly, 8th grader

Big picture

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.

Big picture

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 (Link to PDF Document)

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.

Big picture