Category Archives: First Friday Letter

Principal’s First Friday Post – Feb 2, 2018

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The school year seems to be flying by!  Mid-year feedback reports have been be going home with all students.  We ask that you please review the mid-year feedback report(s) with your child.  The mid-year feedback reports provide an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about their progress this school year.  The second term ends on Monday, March 19.

As you have likely noted on your calendars, February 7th and March 8th are early release days for all students. On these days, our faculty and staff will participate in Courageous Conversations training, which is part of a district-wide initiative to create greater understanding about the impact of race and racial identity on the school experience. This training is part of our commitment to becoming a more culturally responsive district in which all students consistently feel connected to school and achieve at high levels.

The Courageous Conversations training is based on the book Courageous Conversations
about Rac e by Glenn Singleton and Curtis Linton and includes learning around the distinction between equity and equality, the definition of micro-aggressions, and the impact of race on academic achievement and social/emotional growth. To become more effective educators, we believe we must understand the development of racial identity and build our capacity to lead conversations on these issues.

The district is in year three of its six year professional development plan to provide training to faculty and staff at all school levels and at the administrative level. We are pleased that all four middle schools are receiving this training this year.

We know early release days present scheduling challenges for you and we appreciate your flexibility. It is our sincere belief that providing this training to our faculty and staff will lead to greater awareness of race and culture and improve the academic outcomes and the school experience for all students.  Let me know if you have any questions about our professional learning or would like to learn more about this work.

Our Musical Production:  The cast, crewmembers, costume & set designers, and directors of “Grease” are all working hard, and continue to be very busy focusing on final preparations and rehearsals for their upcoming performances.  We hope that you will plan to join us on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 and Wednesday, February 14, 2018. at 7:30 p.m. in the Brown auditorium for what promises to be two incredible performances of “Grease.”    Winter Vacation:  School will close at the end of the day on Friday, February 16 and will reopen the morning of Monday, February 26.

High School Course Registration:  After February vacation, our eighth grade students will be receiving registration materials from either Newton North or Newton South High Schools.  Their teachers will make recommendations for the courses they will take.  Please look carefully at your child’s registration sheet and the high school course catalog so that you may decide if the recommended course is appropriate for your child.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s subject teacher and/or guidance counselor.

Parents of eighth grade students are invited to meet with Joel Stembridge (principal) and members of the Newton South High School faculty and staff on Tuesday, February 27 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Newton South. If your child will be attending Newton North High School, there will be a meeting on the Thursday, March 1 with Henry Turner (principal) and members of the Newton North High School faculty and staff from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Newton North.  These meetings will initiate the process of transition into ninth grade.  You will have an opportunity to learn about the high school’s academic program, the course registration process, school activities, as well as the orientation process that has been designed to support your child(ren) as they move into a new school at the end of this year.

2018 MCAS Testing: This year, students in all three grades at Brown will be participating in the computer-based version of the Next-Generation MCAS testing.  Last year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) upgraded MCAS to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century.  There will be two testing sessions in English language arts and two testing sessions in mathematics during April 4 – May 22, 2018.  Specific MCAS testing dates are listed in the schedule below:

Grade Tests Dates     Grade 6 ELA (English Language Arts) Tues., April 24
(ELA testing sessions on two days) Tues., May 1   Mathematics Wed., May 9   (Math testing sessions on two days) Thurs., May 10

Grade 7 ELA (English Language Arts)  Fri., April 27   (E LA testing sessions on two d ays) Mon., April 30   Mathematics
Tues., May 15   (Math testing sessions on two days ) Thurs ., May 1 6

Grade 8 ELA (English Language Arts) Wed., April 25   (ELA testing sessions on two days) Thurs., April 26   Mathematics  Fri., May 11   (Math testing ses sions on two days) Mon., May 14   Sci./Tech. Eng. MCAS  Mon., May 21   (Sci/Tech.Eng. testing on two days) Tues., May 22

Spring Ahead:  Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 11.  Yes, once again this spring it is several weeks earlier then in previous years!  Don’t forget to move the clocks ahead one hour.

Looking ahead to June:  Our “Moving On” Ceremony for eighth grade students (and their families) will be held on the last day of school.  In April, the specific date will be confirmed when the Newton School Committee votes to establish the last day for students.  Thus far, there have been two snow days and the “tentative date” is Tuesday, June 19 at 8:15 a.m. in the Newton South High School field house.  However, the date will change if there are additional snow days.  This morning, the “Ground Hog-Punxsutawney Phil” spied his shadow and according to popular folklore that means there will be six more weeks of winter weather.

John F. Jordan

First Friday Letter

September 2017

Dear Brown Families,

It has been most impressive to observe how quickly our 754 students have settled into the daily routines of middle school life.  As I visit classes, I am delighted and inspired by the hard work and effective efforts of both students and teachers engaged in exciting and meaningful learning experiences.  And special thanks to our Brown PTO Presidents, Liz Hiser, Maureen Oates, and Liz Padula for their support as we begin the new school year.

Please plan to join us for “Brown Back-to-School Night” on Tuesday, September 19, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. We look forward to sharing with you the many and varied opportunities that your child(ren) experience here at school.  On Monday, September 18 your child will bring home a copy of his/her schedule for you to follow on Tuesday evening.  I strongly encourage you to please take a photo of the schedule using your phone.   Our Back-to-School Night will begin at 6:00 p.m.  We invite all parents to join us in the auditorium for welcoming remarks, an opportunity to meet new friends, and an overview of the evening.  At 6:45 p.m., parents should report to their child’s Advisory.  As the evening progresses, parents will be able to visit each of their child’s classes.  Teachers will share with you their goals, information on their program, and an overview of the curriculum.  It is our hope that all parents will attend this important evening event and become better acquainted with the teachers and programs here at Brown Middle School.  Please note that the schedule for the evening does not provide time to discuss the progress of individual students.

All parents are invited to visit Brown Middle School in session on the following mornings between 8:45 and 10:00 a.m.:

Thurs., October 12 (grade 8);

Mon., October 16 (grade 7); or

Tues., October 17 (grade 6)

We have identified grade levels in parenthesis for mornings that students are in their “team” classes.  It is strongly suggested that you check with your child about their schedule for the day you intend to visit.  We hope you will be able to join us.

It has been another busy summer at Brown.  There have been several summer programs for students as well as basketball camps held at Brown during July and August.  Our custodians did a fantastic job, working hard to complete summer cleaning, classroom moves and getting the building looking good for opening day.  We also have several building improvement projects in progress.  Over the past several weeks, contractors have sanded, repaired and refinished the auditorium stage floor; installed new carpeting in the library; and new tile flooring throughout our student services office suite, and a major renovation of our ABA special education classrooms is nearing completion.

Brown Music Ensembles:  Our music ensembles meet during ”extension” periods in the schedule.  During this next six-day cycle, students interested in participating in Band, Chorus and Orchestra will begin their regular meeting times.  Matt Bailey Adams will direct our vocal ensembles (6th grade chorus and combined 7th/8th grade chorus) and Laurie Wadsworth will direct our instrumental ensembles (6th grade band, combined 7th/8th grade band and Brown orchestra).

Early Release Day:  On Wednesday, September 27 all middle students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. for system-wide professional development workshops for teachers and staff.  Lunch will be served at school before dismissal.

Sincerely,

John F. Jordan

First Friday Letter

Brown Middle School

First Friday Letter

May 5, 2017

Dear Families,

This year, the week of May 1 – 5 marks Teacher Appreciation Week.  I would like to publicly thank each of our teachers for the excellent work that they do on behalf of students at Brown.  Our teachers are very talented and outstanding at what they do.  Please remember that School Policy does not permit teachers to accept personal gifts from parents or students.  If you would like to recognize or thank your teachers a card, note, or email is suggested as an appropriate gesture.  You may also want to make a contribution to the Brown Middle School PTO to support our school community.  I would also like to thank Felice Scheff and Nancy Braudis   and all of the parent volunteers on the PTO Teacher Appreciation Committee for the delicious dessert buffet held this past Tuesday in recognition of our Broun Faculty and Staff.

National School Nurse Day will be held on May 10th.  This day of recognition has been set-aside since 1972 to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting.  This specialized practice advances the well-being, academic success and life-long achievements of students.  At Brown, we are extremely grateful for all of the caring and professional attention that our highly talented Lucy Boyer provides to the entire school community.

As we begin the process of organizing student placement on teams for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, it is important to verify enrollment.  If your child(ren) in sixth or seventh grade will not be returning to Brown in September, please notify our student services office at 617-559-6907.  Thank you for your cooperation.  If you have any questions regarding this request, please do not hesitate to call me at 617-559-6900.

Next-Gen MCAS Testing:  In May, MCAS testing in Mathematics for all grades and Grade 8 Science/Tech. Eng.  Specific Next-Gen MCAS testing dates are listed in the schedule below:

 

Grade         Tests                                                          Dates                          

Grade 6      Mathematics                                              Wed., May 10

(Math testing sessions on two days)           Thurs., May 11

Grade 7      Mathematics                                              Thurs., May 18

                              (Math testing sessions on two days)           Fri., May 19

Grade 8      Mathematics                                              Tues., May 16

(Math testing sessions on two days)           Wed., May 17

Sci./Tech. Eng. MCAS                                Tues., May 23

AIDS Walk:  It’s time to dust off your walking shoes and join the Brown Bears at the 32nd annual AIDS Walk on Sunday, June 4. Brown Middle School will continue our proud tradition of being the largest team to walk 10K in support of AIDS Action Committee!  Information on registration and T-shirt orders has been sent home with your child.  Families who plan to walk need to register their child and any other family members joining them by May 8.  T-shirt order forms and money are also due Wednesday, May 10.  Last year, we raised over $37,000 for AIDS Action Committee Boston.  Should you have any questions about this year’s walk, please contact our AIDS Walk Team Captains Elizabeth Messina and Sarah Hildebrand.

Spring Sports & Triple E Activities:  There is an ambitious schedule during the month of May for the baseball, softball, track & field and lacrosse teams.  We hope to see you on the sidelines!  This year, the last day for “Enrichment” activities will be on Thursday, June 8.

Art Announcements from Ms. Rosen:

  • The Spring Art Showcase will take place on Wednesday May 24th from 5-7pm. Join us in the Brown Lobby to celebrate the incredible artwork our students have created! All term 3 artists will have work on display.
  • Calling all parent and family volunteers to help and support with the Spring Art Showcase on Wednesday, May 24st! Please email Ms. Rosen directly if you would like to be involved! rosensh@newton.k12.ma.us
  • Follow the Brown Art Studio on Instagram! Follow @thecharliebrownartstudio to see daily art works from our Brown artists!

No School:  School will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Spring Concerts:  Our Spring Concerts will be held on two evenings @7:30PM :  Wed., May 24 (Band & mostly Brass) ) and Tues., May 30 (Chorus & Orchestra).

Brown Book Fair:  Our annual Brown Book Fair will be held Tuesday, May 30 – Friday, June 2 in the main lobby. This is a great time to stock up on great summer reads as well as your student’s all-grade book for September.  Students and parents/guardians will be able to visit the Book Fair during school hours. Keep an eye out for volunteer sign-up instructions and details in the upcoming Brown Bear Reports.  Proceeds from all sales directly support our Brown PTO.

Step-up Day:  On Friday, June 9, fifth grade students will be visiting Brown.  Our present sixth grade students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. on that day.  Seventh grade students will follow their regular schedules and eighth grade students will visit Newton North or Newton South. If you have any questions about next year’s program, please contact your child’s school guidance counselor.

Looking ahead to June:  Our “Moving On” Ceremony for eighth grade students (and their families) will be held on Friday, June 23 at 8:15 a.m. in the Newton South High School field house.

Last Day of School:  The Newton School Committee voted to establish the last day of school for students as Friday, June 23, 2017.  Dismissal will be at 11:30 a.m.

Thank you,

John F. Jordan

 

First Friday Letter March 2017

The second term ends on Tuesday, March 21. Later in the month, we will send you an important email message detailing how to access your child’s report card electronically through the secure Parent Portal in Skyward. I would also like to welcome all of the incoming sixth grade families from our four elementary feeder schools. We will email you with electronic copies of information from Brown Middle School.

High School Course Registration: Next week, our eighth grade students will receive registration materials from either Newton North or Newton South High Schools. Their teachers will make recommendations for the courses they will take. Please look carefully at your child’s registration sheet and the high school course catalog so that you may decide if the recommended course is appropriate for your child. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s subject teacher and/or school counselor.

Parents of eighth grade students are invited to meet with Joel Stembridge (principal) and members of the Newton South High School faculty and staff on Wednesday, March 8 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Newton South. If your child will be attending Newton North High School, there will be a meeting on Thursday, March 2 with Henry Turner (principal) and members of the Newton North High School faculty and staff from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Newton North. These meetings will initiate the process of transition into ninth grade. You will have an opportunity to learn about the high school’s academic program, the course registration process, school activities, as well as the orientation process that has been designed to support your child (ren) as they move into a new school at the end of this year.

Early Release Day: On Thursday, March 9, all middle students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. for system-wide professional development workshops for teachers and staff. Lunch will be served at school before dismissal.

Spring Ahead: Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12. Yes, once again this spring it is several weeks earlier then in previous years! Don’t forget to move the clocks ahead one hour.

Annual Food Drive: Our annual Brown Food Drive to benefit the Newton Food Pantry will run from Thursday, March 9 through Tuesday, March 14 and is being organized by our sixth grade students and teachers. Each year, a representative from the Newton Food Pantry helps us to kick-off this important community service project with a presentation to the sixth graders to discuss issue of hunger in our state and our community and explain the work that the pantry does to assist Newton families. Students can drop off non-perishable food items and/or toiletries to their “home base” teacher. The home base with the most food items collected will earn a prize provided by the Brown PTO. Items, which are most in need, are the following:. Low Sodium/Salt Canned Foods (soup, vegetables, meals in a can), Broth (chicken, beef or vegetable), Canned Pineapple, Canned Beets, Oil, Toothpaste and Toothbrushes (regular NOT travel size), Shampoo, Body Lotion, Laundry Detergent We encourage students to go to the store with their parents, as we will not be accepting opened, expired or damaged items. The homebase with the most food items will earn a pizza luncheon sponsored by the Brown PTO.

Faculty Foul-Ups: Our annual tradition continues, as students, teachers and staff at Brown will show off their foul shots skills at the Faculty Foul-Ups event on Thursday, March 16 at 3:15 pm. Please join us and have fun in this school spirit event!

Music Showcase: Our annual Brown Winter Music Showcase will take place on Thursday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The evening concert will be organized by Ms. Wadsworth and is intended to provide an opportunity for students to share their individual music talents. All instrumentalists and vocalists are invited to audition either as soloists or in small groups. Please have your child speak to Ms. Wadsworth to set up an audition time.

Spring Sports: Our “spring sports season” will begin in several weeks. There will be more specific informational meeting for each of the sports next week. There is also important information on the Brown website regarding what students need in order to tryout.

Registration Process: This will take you directly to the Brown FamilyID Registration SiteA parent/guardian should register by using this link: https://www.familyid.com/organizations/brown-middle-school-athletics

Incoming Sixth Grade: Parents of fifth grade students are invited to meet with members of the Brown Middle School faculty on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. sharp in the auditorium at Brown Middle School. This meeting will initiate the process of transition into the sixth grade. You will have an opportunity to learn about the sixth grade program and school-wide activities, as well as the orientation process that has been designed to support your children as they move into a new school at the end of this year. Additionally, we invite you to visit Brown Middle School in session on the morning of Thursday, April 6 between 8:45 – 9:45 a.m. Stop by the cafeteria to meet school counselors and Brown parents, have a cup of coffee and be matched up with a sixth grade student guide to take you on a tour of the school.

Next-Gen MCAS Testing: This year, students in all three grades at Brown will be participating in the computer-based version of the Next-Generation MCAS testing. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is in the process of upgrading MCAS to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century. There will be two testing sessions in English language arts and two testing sessions in mathematics during April 6 – May 24, 2017. Specific Next-Gen MCAS testing dates are listed in the schedule below:

Grade Tests Dates
Grade 6 ELA (English Language Arts) Tues., April 25
(ELA testing sessions on two days) Wed., April 26
Mathematics Wed., May 10
(Math testing sessions on two days) Thurs., May 11
Grade 7 ELA (English Language Arts) Thurs., April 6
  (ELA testing sessions on two days) Fri., April 7
  Mathematics Thurs., May 18
  (Math testing sessions on two days) Fri., May 19
Grade 8 ELA (English Language Arts) Thurs., April 27
  (ELA testing sessions on two days)  Fri., April 28
  Mathematics Tues., May 16
(Math testing sessions on two days) Wed., May 17
Sci./Tech Eng. MCAS Tues., May 23

Spring Play: There will be one evening performance of our “Spring Play” under the direction of Ms. Miller (drama teacher). Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium.

Holidays: School will be closed on Friday, April 14 in observance of “Good Friday,” and there will be no school the week of April 17 – 21, “Spring Vacation.”

Best regards, John F. Jordan

First Friday Letter

February 3, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The school year seems to be flying by!  Mid-year feedback reports will be going home with all students.  We ask that you please review the mid-year feedback report(s) with your child.  The mid-year feedback reports provide an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about their progress this school year.  The second term ends on Friday, March 17.

Our Musical Production:  The cast, crewmembers, costume & set designers, and directors of “Fiddler on the Roof” are all working hard, and continue to be very busy focusing on final preparations and rehearsals for their upcoming performances.  We hope that you will plan to join us on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 and Wednesday, February 15, 2017. at 7:30 p.m. in the Brown auditorium for what promises to be two incredible performances of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Winter Vacation:  School will close at the end of the day on Friday, February 17 and will reopen the morning of Monday, February 27.

High School Course Registration:  After February vacation, our eighth grade students will be receiving registration materials from either Newton North or Newton South High Schools.  Their teachers will make recommendations for the courses they will take.  Please look carefully at your child’s registration sheet and the high school course catalog so that you may decide if the recommended course is appropriate for your child.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s subject teacher and/or guidance counselor.

Parents of eighth grade students are invited to meet with Joel Stembridge (principal) and members of the Newton South High School faculty and staff on Wednesday, March 8 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Newton South. If your child will be attending Newton North High School, there will be a meeting on the Thursday, March 2 with Henry Turner (principal) and members of the Newton North High School faculty and staff from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Newton North.  These meetings will initiate the process of transition into ninth grade.  You will have an opportunity to learn about the high school’s academic program, the course registration process, school activities, as well as the orientation process that has been designed to support your child(ren) as they move into a new school at the end of this year.

Next-Gen MCAS Testing: This year, students in all three grades at Brown will be participating in the computer-based version of the Next-Generation MCAS testing.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is in the process of upgrading MCAS to better measure the critical thinking skills students need for success in the 21st century.  There will be two testing sessions in English language arts and two testing sessions in mathematics during April 6 – May 24, 2017.  Specific Next-Gen MCAS testing dates are listed in the schedule below:

 

Grade         Tests                                                          Dates                           

Grade 6      ELA (English Language Arts)                         Tues., April 25

(ELA testing sessions on two days)             Wed., April 26

Mathematics                                                 Wed., May 10

(Math testing sessions on two days)           Thurs., May 11

Grade 7      ELA (English Language Arts)                         Thurs., April 6

(ELA testing sessions on two days)             Fri., April 7

Mathematics                                              Thurs., May 18

                              (Math testing sessions on two days)               Fri., May 19

Grade 8      ELA (English Language Arts)                       Thurs., April 27

(ELA testing sessions on two days)             Fri., April 28

Mathematics                                                Tues., May 16

(Math testing sessions on two days)           Wed., May 17

Sci./Tech. Eng. MCAS                                Tues., May 23

 

Spring Ahead:  Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12.  Yes, once again this spring it is several weeks earlier then in previous years!  Don’t forget to move the clocks ahead one hour.

John F. Jordan