Thank you to all the families who were able to participate in the first round of the Principal/PTO forums for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. We discussed the successful start to the 2021-202 school year, the joy and excitement that staff and students are experiencing each day being together and learning in the building, and the continued important mitigation behaviors that we are following to ensure that all are as safe as they can be while in the building.
Principal/PTO Forum Recap - September 2021
These forums are held every other month, generally by grade band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) and virtually. The schedule rotates among morning/afternoon/evening so that we can try to accommodate as many schedules as possible. These recaps are not comprehensive but aim to give the key highlights. The forums are one important vehicle to learn about what is happening in school and with the PTO.
The next forum will be for all families K-8 on Tuesday, November 2nd at 4pm and Superintendent, Dr. Linus Guillory will be with us to meet Lawrence families. This will be a virtual meeting starting at 4pm. Link to follow.
This year the PTO is focused on building community and connections, and making it easy to find the information and resources you need.
Bridget Baird-Francescone - ETF - oversees everything related to special education at Lawrence
Sarah Gottfried - Adjustment guidance counselor providing additional support for mental health and social-emotional learning
In addition, Laura Basileo has moved to 3rd grade; Deb Mercer is a new 5th grade classroom teacher; Kevin Mackenzie is the new grade six social studies teacher, two new special educators-Raina Weismantel and Jenna Murray, new part-time art teacher Carolyn Vanasse; 2 new PE wellness teachers - Erin Grogan, Colin King
Dr Guillory visited Lawrence and classrooms last Friday and met all the students and staff.
Upcoming Open houses offer an opportunity to build connections with your student(s) classroom teacher(s). October 7th (grades K-5) and October 14th (grades 6-8). Details will be shared by classroom teachers regarding details and format (in-person or Zoom).
Friday Oct 29th - K-2 Halloween Parade at 1:20 PM. Only K-2 to parade on the track, but the rest of staff and students may line up around the field and cheer them on. All staff/students will be asked to wear masks. Families are welcome to attend but asked to distance and masks will be encouragedd.
Fall Open Houses
Another important vehicle that fosters communication is the relationship you build with your children’s teachers. We are hosting our annual “Open House” meeting this fall. Grades K-5 will have their open house on Thursday, October 7th and grades 6-8 will host on Thursday, October 14th. Your child’s teacher will email details if the meeting is in person or will be virtual. If the meeting is virtual, there will also be an opportunity for parents/guardians to visit the classroom for a brief visit to see your child’s learning space before or after school.
Learning at Lawrence:
September and October:
Focusing on building positive relationships so every child is known, feels heard and valued
-Utilizing the many tools that staff have and that Dr. Dubois in the newly designed staff SEL Toolkit and website. (Found on the Public Schools of Brookline website.)
Building learning communities where all students can take learning risks and have their needs met.
-Working with the new Director of Diversity Equity, Jenee Uttaro, to meet the needs of all students. Please see the new PSB Educational Equity Website. (Found on the Public Schools of Brookline website.)
-Lawrence staff is alo continuing our Climate and Culture work started last year as it pertains to Equitable Classroom Practices in grades K-5 and Grading for Equity in grades 6-8
The Learning Expectations are the curriculum guidelines for all content areas, Grades K-8. To view the full Learning Expectations for Grades K-8 lease visit Public Schools of Brookline website.
Please join the PTO presidents, some Lawrence staff and me at the upcoming PTO/Principal Forums. We will be hosting these virtual gatherings every two months like we did last year to update families on our learning community. They will be virtual and the time of day will vary to make sure that all parents/ guardians can make some during the year.
Grades K-2: Tuesday, September 28th 8:15-9:15am-Virtual Meeting: Link sent to familes on 9/26
Grades 3-5: Wednesday, September 29th 8:15-9:15am-Virtual Meeting: Link sent to families on 9/27
Grades 6-8: Thursday, September 30th 8:15-9:15am-Virtual Meeting: Link sent to families on 9/28
I hope all is well. We have been in school for almost three weeks, and it has been a positive and productive start to the school year. We have had many holidays during the first few weeks, and I look forward to a run of full, five day weeks ahead.
I hope your child/ren are enjoying the start of school and feel excited to be back in the building. The energy has been so joyful and uplifting. Their smiles and desire to learn make each day a delight and so rewarding.
Please join me and other Lawrence staff at the upcoming PTO/Principal Forums. We will be hosting these virtual gatherings every two months like we did last year to update families on our learning community. They will be virtual and the time of day will vary to make sure that all parents/ guardians can make some during the year.
Grades K-2: Tuesday, September 28th 8:15-9:15am-Virtual Meeting: Link to follow.
Grades 3-5: Wednesday, September 29th 8:15-9:15am-Virtual Meeting: Link to follow.
Grades 6-8: Thursday, September 30th 8:15-9:15am-Virtual Meeting: Link to follow.
We had three great first days with our entire learning community back in the building. It was wonderful to see old friends and make new connections.
Students and staff spent time meeting each other, learning about one another and started building postive and productive relationships. Our new superintendednt, Dr. Gillory, visited and started meeeting children as well. The happy energy and smiles have been so uplifting.
We had so much fun this week hosting the outdoor June community meetings for students in grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8 on the field. Many of our RLA students participated and reconnected with their friends in the building and shared they are excited to return in September. We cannot wait to all be together again!
The GSA student members, advisors and I are teaming with the town to decorate the Harrison/Francis Streets crosswalks and the Toxteth/Francis Streets crosswalks.
The painting of the crosswalks will take place on Tuesday, June 15th at 3:30pm. The town will prepare by blocking off the roads, provide all the necessary materials and guide us in painting the crosswalks to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community and members.
The town will reach out to school neighbors to share that this event will take place. I hope that you can make it as well!
Grade 8 Graduation:
Thursday, June 17th at 4pm on the Lawrence field. Rain date will be on Monday, June 21 at 4pm.
We will host a modified graduation that will feature some of the traditional Lawrence elements that are deemed COVID friendly.
Placement Mailings: Change in Process: Letters to be sent electronically on or close to August 1, 2021. Please see family updates as to explanation.
Thank you to the PTO for a wonderful teacher appreciation luncheon on Tuesday, May 4th and the METCO families for a delicious staff appreciation breakfast on Friday, May 7th. We are so appreciative of your support! We are also ecited about the BEF staff appreciation luncheon for May 14th!
Did you know that May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month? The Brookline Asian American Family Network (BAAFN) worked with all 8 schools to create posters celebrating AAPI heritage and culture, to be displayed in school throughout the month of May. I hope you have seen this beautiful display in the main lobby! Thank you Lawrence DICE Team for coordinating this effort with BAAFN!
Principal/PTO May Forums (Round 5 for the 20-21 school year)
K-5: Tuesday, May 11 at 7pm
6-8: Wednesday, May 12 at 7pm
Incoming Grade 6 Parent Evening
-Virtual welcome and information meeting set for Wednesday, June 9th at 4pm. Includes current RLA families.
Incoming Kindergarten Event
-Virtual welcome meeting set for Thursday, June 10 at 4pm
Grade 8 Graduation
Thursday, June 17th at 4pm on the Lawrence field.
-We will host a modified graduation that will feature some of the traditional Lawrence elements that are deemed COVID friendly. Includes current RLA families.
ChromeBook Collection or Not: The district wide Tech department (led by Scott Moore with all ETS staff) is discussing as to whether schools should or should not collect student Chromebooks to allow students to use over the summer. Once a decision has been made and principals have been notified, we will follow up with families.
Used Book Fair: Will be held under the tent at the following times:
Tuesday, June : 8am to 2pm
Wednesday, June 2: 8am to 4pm
Thursday, June 3: 8am to 2pm
Friday, June 4: 8am to 12pm
Students not Returning Next Year:
If your student is not planning to return to Brookline Public Schools in September please fill out the online withdrawal form at: https://www.brookline.k12.ma.us/Page/2326 as soon as possible. Whatever date will be the last day your child will attend school here at Lawrence will be the withdrawal date. For students finishing this school year 6/22/21 is the last day of school. The withdrawal process would not only apply to students moving out of Brookline but also apply to students who will be transferring to a private school, including 8th graders who will attend a high school other than Brookline High School. The main office is happy to provide any documents you need for your departure such as transcripts, attendance records and certificates of enrollment and it is never too soon for us to get started on them. Please note that the secretary will be off beginning July 3rd so we will need to process all your requested documents by July 2nd. If you have any questions about the withdrawal process please do not hesitate to contact school secretary, Christine Kohlsaat, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-879-4301.
Congratulations to every single staff member, student and family for supporting our first, very successful full week in with all K-8 students and staff!!!
I hope you take this april break to simply kick back and relax. It has been a long and challenging fourteen months since we were all in the building. Now that we know we can make it happen while continuing the important mitigation behaviors and protocols, I hope we are able to recharge and then come back strong for the remaining eight weeks and two days of school for a solid stretch of robust instruction and learning.
The last day of school is on Tuesday, June 22 with a noon dismissal-lunch not served. The program and date for the Grade 8 graduation have not been finalized. Once principals have a process and date, we will share with families.
All K-8 students will be back in the building on Monday, April 12th!
COVID Update-Week of April 4, 2021
-All staff and student pool tests (close to 3,000) for this week across the district were negative.
-1 positive case at Lawrence (not in school during infectious period,) so no close contacts.
1. April Community Meeting for Students and Staff in School-Ask your children about these meetings!
3-5 - Tuesday April 27 8:05-8:25
K-2 - Wednesday April 28 8:05-8:25
6-8 - Thursday, April 29 2:05-2:25
2. Black History Month and Women’s History Month-Thank you and kudos to all students and staff who created and designed such interesting door displays honoring so many accomplished and important people who are valued members of our society. Enjoy the slideshow here.
3. Author Visit-Librarian, Kathy Moriarty, has arranged for a K - 2 virtual author visit with Sarah Reul (reuler.com) on Tuesday, April 27.
Tuesday April 27 (on Zoom)
8:30 - 9:15 Second Grades
10 - 10:45 First Grades
11:15 - 11:45 Kindergarten classes
4. Lexia and Dreambox-Thank you to Katy McGraw for hosting a parent information session for K-2 parents this past Wednesday at 4pm about Dreambox.
We now have Lexia and Dreambox licenses for all K-2 students, and Lexia licenses for identified students in grades 3-8. I hope to have licences for all K-2 and maybe grade 3 next year as we continue to identify additional supports to Tier 1 instruction to use in school and at home as a result of the interrupted learning experience created by the pandemic. Of course this is budget dependent.
I held a parent meeting on Wednesday, April 7 for K-2 parents interested in learning more about the Dreambox Learning accounts their children have for online math learning.
From Ms. McGraw:
I posted videos and answers to the questions about Dremabox that I received on my website. Those can be accessed at this link.
Parent Drop Off Procedure-Update (From Christine Kohlsaat in the Main Office)
As we embark on the remainder of the year with all students returning to in person learning we have realized a need to streamline our drop off table procedure. We are going to try something new in the hope that it will be successful. Outside of the main entrance there is a big brown deck box that you will be able to drop your student’s forgotten belongings into. We ask that you then scan the QR code and complete the short form to alert us that your child’s belongings are there. When you fill out the form the Main Office Staff will receive an email with the information so that the belonging can be delivered. The sign with QR Code is was shared via email, so that you can scan and become familiar with the process or save it as a tab on your phone. If your item is perishable (lunch/snack) or time sensitive (chrome book, shoes for PE, project needed for presentation in class, etc.) you may still ring the doorbell to alert us but know that we will have the rest of the info we need via the QR code form thus making for a more efficient drop off for you and the office staff.
COVID-19 pooled testing program for asymptomatic students and staff at our schools.
Posted by Monica Crowley on 3/1/2021 7:00:00 AM
Dear Staff, Parents, and Guardians,
We are writing to share important information about our plans to continue with asymptomatic testing of staff and, as we had previously indicated, to begin to incorporate student testing. We would like to thank all of you for your continued partnership during this unprecedented school year. Together, through mitigation strategies, we continue the work of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.
Following our initial program of individual testing for asymptomatic staff, we have worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement aCOVID-19 pooled testing program for asymptomatic students and staff at our schools.
Pooled testing involves mixing several asymptomatic individuals’ test samples together into one “pool” and then testing the pooled sample for COVID-19. This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested at one time and allows us to regularly test our school community for COVID-19.
The voluntary weekly asymptomatic pooled tests will begin the week of March 1st.
March 2nd - All interested student-facing staff
March 9th and 11th - All interested students in grade 9-12 and all student-facing staff
March 16th and 18th - All interested studentsgrades 6-12 and all student-facing staff
March 23rd and 25th - All interested students PreK-12 and all student-facing staff
This test requires an observed shallow nasal swab for all participating individuals. Schools will receive the pool results within 24-48 hours. If the result of a pool is negative, then all individuals are presumed to not have COVID-19. If the result of a pool is positive, then all individuals in the pool must be retested individually. Because pooled testing does not give individual results, participating staff or parentswill only be notified if individual follow-up testing is required. Our school will be providing the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests for follow-up or “reflex” testing which allows students or staff in a positive pool to be tested as soon as possible and receive individual results in 15 minutes.
Our staff has been thoroughly trained on how to administer pooled testing, as well as the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests should they be needed for follow-up testing. A school nurse will contact you if you or your child is part of a positive pool and requires follow-up testing. Once completed, you will be notified of the individual testing results, whether positive or negative positive, and advised on what to do in each scenario.
All participants must be willing and able to commit to following up with the reflex test if they are notified that you or your child was in a positive pool. This reflex test will be administered at a central location, likely the high school. The reflex test will be scheduled and as quickly as results are shared with us. We anticipate reflex tests to be done on Wednesdays from 1-5 pm for those who tested on Tuesday and on Friday from 1-5 for those who tested on Thursday. There is a possibility that this reflex test would need to be performed on a Saturday morning if the results from Thursday’s pool are not returned within 24 hours.
PSB will report all positive follow-up test results to DPH.
We will send out sign-up and consent information separately, from each individual school in the coming days.
The program offered by DESE is available until March 28th. At the completion of this program, we will review our data and make decisions about the best options for proceeding with voluntary asymptomatic pooled testing.
The Public Schools of Brookline are extremely grateful to our committed staff and families that continue to show great flexibility and resilience as we navigate through this school year. It takes all of us working together to contain the spread of this virus. We are excited to add pooled testing as another mitigation strategy for our school community, as we continue to work together toward the safe return of all students and staff to the school.