10-4-13 First Friday Letter

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Recently, should have received individual student results from spring 2013 MCAS testing. In August, we received the preliminary results of the 2013 MCAS testing and began analyzing that data. The Massachusetts DESE has posted the MCAS – Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System: Release of Spring 2013 Test Items on their website, www.doe.mass.edu. Included in the Release of Spring 2013 Test Items, there is a scoring guide to open-response questions, and for each guide, a sample of student work at each score point. Taken together, the questions, scoring guides, and sample student work provide a picture of the expectations for student performance on the MCAS tests. There is also information on school and district MCAS results from previous years. Over the next several weeks, we will continue to further analyze the various data on student performance. In particular, we are committed to giving all students access to a rigorous curriculum and exposure to all of the topics included on the MCAS tests.

Holidays: There will be no school on Monday, October 14 – Columbus Day.

Brown Ski & Snowboard Club: There will be an important informational meeting for all students interested in participating in the Brown Ski & Snowboard Club on Wednesday, October 9 at 8:15 a.m. in the Brown auditorium.

Triple E and Athletics: The Brown Triple E (EEE) program is officially under way. Programs generally run from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Late buses are provided for students. Our goal is to offer a variety of options for students throughout the school year. All students are encouraged to participate and to suggest clubs of interest. Please contact Katrina Antonellis at Katrina_Antonellis@newton.k12.ma.us with any questions/suggestions, or visit our school website, www.newton.k12.ma.us/brown, for an updated list of activities and sports events. Our girls’ and boys’ soccer, football, and cross-country teams are in the midst of a successful fall schedule. I know our student athletes and coaches greatly appreciate all of your support from the sidelines.

Information Night for Sixth Grade and New to Brown Parents with our School Guidance Counselors and Psychologist: Please plan to join us at our first Brown PTO meeting on Wednesday, October 23, at 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the library. Our school guidance counselors, school psychologist and health teacher will present information on their important role in middle-school life and involvement with students, parents, teachers, and staff. Among the topics they will discuss: Internet safety, peer pressure, and the importance of 21stcentury skills of empathy, collaborative problem-solving, and communication. This is an opportunity to learn more about how Brown Middle School addresses the social/emotional and developmental needs of your middle school child. We will present a brief overview of the anti-bullying portion of the Health curriculum; discuss the various social/emotional needs of this age group, including transition issues; present the roles of the various support staff in the student service department; and answer any pressing questions that you may have about the middle school experience.

Mid-term Progress Reports: The first term will end on Friday, December 6. Mid-term progress reports will be going home with students during the week of October 28. If you have concerns about your child’s work at any time, please call or email her/his teacher or school counselor.

School Dance: On Friday, Nov. 1, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. the Brown Student Government will be hosting their first school-wide dance. Dances are open to all Brown Middle School students. There will be a costume contests and prizes will be awarded for different categories. The purpose of school dances is to provide a safe and supervised place for our students to socialize and have fun. Students will be able to purchase tickets for $5.00 during the weeks leading up to the dance.

Flu Vaccine: The Health and Human Services Department is pleased to offer the influenza vaccine to all Newton students in Kindergarten through grade 12. Both the flu shot and the flu nasal spray vaccine will be administered at Brown Middle School during the school day on Thursday, November 7 at no charge to families. The flu vaccination program is free this year because the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is providing the flu vaccine for students, but insurance information will be requested to help recoup costs to administer the vaccine. To sign your child up, you should return two forms to the school nurse at least 2 days prior to the clinic: (1) Consent/Screening Form, (2) Student Vaccine Administration Record and Insurance Information Form. Forms are available online at www.newtonma.gov/flu or in the school nurse’s office. Students who are not signed up will not receive the vaccine. The Consent/Screening form requires parents to choose either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine. Information about each type of vaccine, including its risks and benefits, is described on the Vaccine Information Statement posted at www.newtonma.gov/flu. School nurses also have information and can answer any questions.

Turning Back the Clocks: Please remember that Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 3 (move clocks back one hour).

Winter Concert: Everyone is invited to attend our Winter Concerts to be held on two dates. Tuesday, December 10 will feature our vocal and string performing groups, and Thursday, December 12 will feature our instrumental performing groups. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.

Sincerely,

John F. Jordan