Previous Superintendent Communications
Superintendent's Message to Families, May 10, 2019
Dear Brookline Families,
Brookline’s annual spring elections bring changes to our elected boards, including the School Committee. I want to thank outgoing School Committee Member David Pollak for his tremendous service to the Brookline school community. For six years, Mr. Pollak has served tirelessly on the School Committee. His passion and expertise on capital projects were invaluable to the district as we worked to manage tremendous enrollment growth. He served as the co-chair of the Building Committee that managed the design and construction of the Coolidge Corner School, and he chaired the Capital Subcommittee when it oversaw the creation of dozens of classrooms and learning spaces within our buildings. For the last two years, Mr. Pollak was the chair of the School Committee, leading the committee while it passed significant policy improvements on student wellness and our code of conduct. Personally, I have valued his perspective, insight, and deep knowledge of Brookline.
At the same time, I would like to welcome Dr. Sharon Abramowitz to the School Committee. Dr. Abramowitz is an anthropologist and global health advocate. She has worked in community engagement, public policy and research. Before moving to Brookline, Dr. Abramowitz was a professor of anthropology and African studies at the University of Florida. She has three children in the public schools - one in BEEP and two attending Driscoll. I look forward to working with Dr. Abramowitz and know you will join me in welcoming her to the Brookline School Committee.
Superintendent's Message to Families, April 5, 2019
Dear Brookline Families,
Over the last several weeks, I have had the opportunity to enjoy several performing arts events across the district. Whether it was the kindergarten play at Heath School, the BHS drama production of When the Rainbow is Enuf, or the middle school production of Aladdin at Baker School, I leave these performances so impressed. Impressed with the student’s dedication and enthusiasm, impressed with our staff members who so expertly guide them, and impressed by the overwhelming support in our community for the arts.
Performances reflect months of rehearsals, introspection, and personal growth. Performances also strengthen existing and forge new bonds in our community. Whether it is our choral groups, middle school orchestras and bands, dance performances, plays or the many musicals that happen across our elementary schools, these performances capture our public schools at their best - diverse groups of students working together over many months, learning with the expert guidance of our skilled staff and supported by parents, families, and our PTOs. That hard work and collaboration culminate in a single evening or multiple performances that wow us, make us cheer, and swell with pride.
I encourage you to attend upcoming student performances at Brookline High School. The Brookline Friends of Performing Arts provide a complete listing of high school events, including open mic nights, improv comedy, drama productions, dance and musical performances, and more. We look forward to seeing you at these performances that celebrate the arts, our educators and, most importantly, our youth.
Superintendent's Message to Families, February 8, 2019
Dear Brookline Families,
Multiple times each week I visit classrooms in our schools. Recently I had a notable visit to Baker School which turned out to be a living, breathing example of the community building, collaboration, and communication we have been working on all year.
Baker’s 8th grade students had just finished reading Almost Home by Joan Bauer. The 12 year old main character in the book and her mother lose their home and must face the complex and overwhelming challenges of homelessness. During my visit, the 8th grade students participated in a powerful series of four parent-led presentations on specific issues related to homelessness that were raised in the book: health care, legal, nutrition and advocacy. The Baker students had also traveled to The Makery in Coolidge Corner, a design lab and makerspace. The Makery visit allowed them to deepen their understanding of some of the themes in the book by engaging in hands-on activities. The Baker students’ work was the result of the Disciplinary Literacy Initiative (DLI) that started at Brookline High School several years ago and now has been introduced in our K-8 schools. DLI provides the framework for educators to teach projects and provide learning opportunities that cross subject areas and deepen student engagement in, and understanding of, complex content and social issues.
This was an incredibly powerful example of learning across the community – in our classrooms, at The Makery, and through parents with particular areas of expertise. Many thanks to the 8th grade educators at Baker School for developing and teaching this cross-disciplinary unit that shows clearly the power of collaboration and community building in extending and deepening student learning.
Superintendent's Message to Families, December 20, 2018
Dear Brookline Families,
The December vacation is upon us! After nearly four months of hard work, learning and growing, it is a good time for everyone to recharge for the new year and reflect on the work we have done so far. Our district is fortunate to have staff who are pushing themselves everyday to improve our curriculum and teaching to better serve your children. We are proud of our students who are enthusiastic learners, advocates for social issues, and civic leaders in their schools. We are grateful to have a generous community that has supports our educators, our leaders, and our mission to serve all students.
I want to thank you personally for the part you have played in making progress on our collective work of strengthening community, collaboration, and communication and unlocking the talents within each of our students. Enjoy a fun, restful, and joy-filled winter break, and I look forward to seeing everyone back in January.
Superintendent's Message to Families, November 16, 2018
Dear Brookline Families,
I am pleased to share our November newsletter. Every year, we host a Professional Development Day for our educators across the district. School is closed for students while our staff spend the day working together to strengthen instructional practices through various school-based activities.
The day is an opportunity for teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals to restore and strengthen the relationships that are the fabric of our vibrant school community. Professional Development Day allows our educators to connect and collaborate with one other and, most importantly, to reflect on our ongoing mission to engage each student in deep learning and support them to achieve to their fullest potential.
With support and input from educators and district administrators, school leaders developed workshops, seminars and panel discussions that addressed issues of educational equity. Below are a few of the sessions our staff participated in on November 9:
- Everyday Anti-Racism: Knowing Students as Individuals (Coolidge Corner School)
- Learning About Restorative Justice Circles (Runkle School)
- Examining our Classroom Libraries and Materials for Missing Perspectives (Pierce School)
- Beginning Courageous Conversations About Race (Baker School)
- Student Panel: Listening to Student Voices on Race, Stereotypes, Income and LGBTQ Issues (Lincoln School)
- Restorative Circles (Heath School)
- Closing Outcome Gaps by Focusing on Tier I Instruction in Literacy and Math to Ensure Differentiated Instruction for All Learners (Lawrence School)
- The Reggio Emilia Approach: Student Centered and Experiential Learning for Preschool Students (Brookline Early Education Program)
- The Seven Norms of Collaborative Conversations (Driscoll School)
- A Tour of Hidden Brookline (Coolidge Corner School)
- Hidden Curriculums: How Does Your Bias Impact Your Decisions? (Heath School)
At Brookline High School, the staff continued their work around Difficult Conversations with input from a BHS student and parent panel. The following questions guided the discussion with the panelists:
- What is the value for you in BHS educators engaging deeply and actively in anti-bias and anti-racism work? What does that work look like, day-to-day, in your mind?
- What is your experience at BHS with “Hot” moments* (unanticipated bias incidents that happen in our community and culture on a daily basis)? Do you have any memories or awareness of times when these moments were handled in helpful ways or unhelpful ways? What was the impact on you of those responses?
- What are your thoughts on how our community – students, faculty, and families – can come together to be better in this important work of speaking up, being allies to one another, educating and support each other?
We greatly value the time set aside in the calendar each year for educators to share, to think and to work together to improve our collective practices.
Superintendent's Message to Families, October 16, 2018
Dear PSB Families,
For the better part of the last decade, there has been significant instability in the District and school leadership. Much of my work over the past two years has been focused on building a strong district team. I am extremely excited about the current team of principals, vice principals, deans/associate deans, directors, program and curriculum coordinators that has been built over the past two years. Not only is this team strong in terms of experience and their ability to build dynamic, positive relationships, but it is the most diverse leadership team in the history of our District.
As I communicated in September, I am charging our District leadership team, our principals, and our departments with the goal of strengthening Community, Collaboration, and Communication in our schools.
As part of our ongoing effort to strengthen communication, I am sharing both my personal goals as Superintendent for the 2018-2019 school year and the district's priority action areas. Our Offices of Teaching and Learning, Student Services, Administration & Finance, and Strategy & Performance have each developed one and three-year goals in support of the overarching priorities of strengthening communication, collaboration and community.
- Read Superintendent Bott's Goals for the 2018-2019 School Year
- View a complete list of the District's goals and deliverables for the 2018-2019 school year and beyond
I look forward to working together with the School Committee, the entire PSB team - educators, staff, students and families - and the Brookline community to reach these goals and unlock the gifts within each of our students.
Superintendent's Message to Families, September 14, 2018
Dear PSB Families,
The first week of school always brings about incredible feelings of possibility, excitement, and reflection, especially for students new to Brookline. This year, we are welcoming more than 1,100 new students to the Public Schools of Brookline. In August alone, our Office of Student Affairs (OSA) welcomed and registered more than 364 new students and their families. More than 8% of our 1st through 12th grade students are new to the district, and students are being enrolled virtually every day as registration continues. I want to personally thank our OSA staff, led by Meaghan Geaney. with Michael Chan and Diana Bookhart for guiding our newest families through the registration process and welcoming them to our community.
Of course, registration is just the beginning. Our guidance counselors meet with every new student and family before their first day of school to share information and schedules, determine class placements, and introduce them to the community. All of this individual attention ensures a smooth transition for our new students and is a wonderful example of the community, collaboration, and communication that drives our district.
Over the past few weeks I have been privileged to see our school communities in action, and after carefully listening to your feedback, I am committed to strengthening these principles for the 2018-2019 school year. Community, collaboration, and communication allow us to shape how our schools operate, empower our staff, and build strong social emotional supports. Most importantly, they form a foundation that helps our children realize their full potential and achieve the dreams they have for themselves, and for their future. These qualities must continue to drive our work in classrooms and ultimately become central to everything that we do as educators.
Our community is wonderfully diverse and full of promise and potential, and as our schools continue to get to know you and your children better, I hope we can unlock the talents and gifts within each of our students. I can’t wait to see how Brookline will build community, deepen collaboration, and improve communication this year – and I am excited to listen and learn from your voices.
- May 8, 2019 - Superintedent Bott's update on the May 2019 Town Vote
- March 15, 2019 - Update on Brookline Early Education Program (BEEP) Lease
- March 1, 2019 - Coolidge Corner Renaming Update
- January 16, 2019 - Annual Family Feedback Survey Announcement
- December 10, 2018 - Coolidge Corner Renaming Community Announcement
- December 4, 2018 - Private School Recommendations
- December 3, 2018 - Information on Winter Weather Closures
- November 7, 2018 - Dr. Kalise Wornum - new Senior Director of Educational Equity Announcement
- Novemeber 2, 2018 - Response to the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting
- October 24, 2018 - Important Update on the Upcoming Transition to Brookline High School
- October 19, 2018 - Restorative Justice Community Forums Announcement
- October 12, 2018 - Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Peer Training Program Announcement
- September 24, 2018 - Indigenous Peole's Day Notification
- September 5, 2018 - 2018-19 Welcome Letter to Families