Principal Lysaght’s Weekly Letter

Dear Brown MS Community,

We have arrived at the end of March! April is Autism Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing understanding, acceptance, and support for individuals on the autism spectrum. My son is a smart, humorous and caring young man on the autism spectrum. To be honest, raising a neurodiverse child in the Metrowest area, with such a high level of focus on achievement and competition, was humbling and isolating. In his middle school years he found a few friends with similar interests, but we still worried. Over time, my husband and I came to realize that the wonderful qualities he possesses (knowing everything about European history, being an expert at geography, science fiction and puzzles) may not be great conversation starters with peers, but they are attributes that make him incredibly interesting. Building up his courage to believe this as he enters into new social scenarios is ongoing work for him, and he is making progress toward expanded his social circles in college. Helping him to recognize his strengths is a critical part of this work. Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways, and differences are not viewed as deficits. For any of you out there with students that are neurodiverse, please know that we see you. Our staff at Brown continue to work to help the next generation understand neurodiversity, and celebrate our students unique qualities each and every day.

April is also Arab American Month where we celebrate the many contributions of Arab American citizens. On Thursday, March 21, I had the privilege of joining other NPS principals and administrators in attending the Iftar dinner sponsored by members of the Newton Muslim Community and the Newton Harmony Foundation. Many Newton city officials and leaders in the interfaith community joined in sharing this experience. During the event, I was moved by two middle school students (one Muslim and one Jewish) who read the story A Moon for Moe and Mo by Jane Breskin Zalben (see youtube video of the story below). This story reminds us that we are one humanity that must see and value each other. Our children, who join us in our honoring our community values, are watching how we live up to them in our daily lives. This was certainly a moment when those values were lived and present.

Today is the Christian holy day of Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter, I want to wish all that are celebrating a reflective and joyful holiday celebration. My family is Christian and we will be celebrating Easter with a delicious meal with my daughter and her grandmothers. Then we head to the airport to send her back to college. I can’t believe she is about to finish her sophomore year – the time is simply flying – enjoy every moment!

I wish you all a good weekend,

Kim Lysaght