March 2018 Family Newsletter - Collaboration, Budget, BEEP and BHS

  • PSB Family News - March 2018


    Dear PSB Families,

    This is a busy winter (and soon, hopefully, spring). As always, with your expert guidance and support our students are deeply engaged in learning during what is typically one of the most productive times of the year. In our March newsletter below you'll read about some great collaborations among students and staff that are moving our schools forward. Don't miss the udpates on BHS students addressing stress by developing mindfulness techniques, Brookline METCO’s 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Retreat, and our K-8 Disciplinary Literacy Initiative where teachers and K-8 coordinators are learning about connecting literacy across the curriculum. These are powerful examples of the collaboration that is at the root of our success.

    Budget Update - After months of working with principals, coordinators, and directors, I presented the proposed FY 2019 budget to the School Committee in January and February. The FY 2019 budget focuses on three priorities - maintaining the progress in staffing, student support, and class sizes we have achieved as a result of the 2015 override; modest increases in staffing and programs to keep up with the ongoing enrollment increases our schools face; and a limited number of strategic investments tied directly to my goal of equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students. My budget proposal details how, in a year when we face the smallest revenue increase since 2010, we face a significant structural deficit due primarily to trying to keep up with the growth in our schools. The School Committee has requested additional revenue, and this week the Select Board voted to place an operating override on the May Town ballot. Now that the Select Board has officially made the override request, we will finalize both our non-override and override budgets over the next two weeks. These will be discussed at the March 15 School Committee meeting. For more details about the override including a memo from Town Administrator Mel Kleckner, please visit the Town website.

    Building Projects - We have also made significant progress on major building projects over the past month. The Brookline High School Expansion and Renovation Project passed an important milestone on February 27th when the Building Committee, School Committee, and Select Board all voted unanimously to approve the program, schematic design, and project budget. On March 14, the Select Board approved a ballot question for May that, if approved, would provide funding for BHS expansion. The Early Education Center that will be built at 127-131 Harvard Street (to be leased by the PSB for use by BEEP) got Zoning Board Approval on Monday, March 12. Congratulations and many thanks to BEEP Principal Vicki Milstein for her vision and to the BEEP staff for all their work in supporting this important effort. The 9th School Alternative Site Study continues. The Select Board and School Committee will get an update on the review of non-town owned sites in the upcoming weeks. They are aiming to make a decision on one site or multiple sites in early to mid-April.

    All the best,

    Andrew J. Bott


    Annual Family Feedback Survey is Underway  - Make sure to complete your survey by March 23. Look for the 2/27 email and reminders from Panorama Education for the link to complete your Family Feedback survey for your school or contact

    Superintendent Bott's letter to families about MCAS  - The superintdent addressed questions on preparing for the MCAS, and how PSB uses the results .

    Community Happenings
    24th Annual Brookline Rotary Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser-  March 24 at 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Family friendly, activities, and heaps of pancakes to raise money for local groups. 
    Brookline Talks: The Secret Lives of Teens & Tweens  Find out what teens and tween are really thinking. Pierce School Auditorium, Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m
    Science on Screen Junior at the Coolidge Corner Theater - Focuses on endangered species with a showing of The Last Unicorn. Saturday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m.
    National Public Health Week is April 2 - 7. Check out the events happening in Brookline
    Brookline's 8th Annual Climate Week is April 7 - 14. Climate Action Brookline and the DPW hosting climate related events all week. 
    Brookline Reads  The Underground Railroad - See all the events in April including a talk with Pulitzer Prize winning author Colson Whitehead on April 25
    Featured Stories From Across Our PK-12 Community

    “Today’s Future, Tomorrow’s Leaders” Brookline METCO holds hugely successful 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Retreat

    When it started 10 years ago, a small number of seniors from BHS attended. Now in its 10th year. The Brookline METCO’s Annual Women’s Leadership Retreat welcomed more than 125 young women of color from every Brookline school. Read more about what these young leaders learned during a remarkable day.

    BHS Helping Students to Learn how to Manage Stress In and Out of School
    Now in its 3rd year, the BHS Mindfulness Initiative is taking root across the school and helping BHS students and staff develop strategies for managing stress in school and beyond. Learn more about how students and staff are incorporating mindfulness techniques into their daily lives.

    Brookline’s Disciplinary Literacy Initiative: Exploring Ways to Support Literacy Across the Curriculum and the Continuum
    A team of 36 educators from Baker, Heath, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pierce, Runkle, and Brookline High School are learning how powerful teaching literacy in all subjects can be for students and for teachers. Read more about how Brookline’s Disciplinary Literacy Initiative came to be, what the team is doing, and why this work is so important in developing reading skills

    In Our Schools

    Brookline High Team Dispatches Needham in WGBH High School Quiz Show
    On February 17, BHS defeated Needham High School 540 to 375 in opening round of this year's WGBH High School Quiz Show. Next up, the BHS team will face the winner of the Thayer vs. Hingham contest on April 7. For more information and a replay of the Needham contest, go to 

    Brookline Education Foundation Accepting Nominations for the Caverly Award. Each year the Brookline Education Foundation honors a high school and an elementary school teacher as Ernest R. Caverly Associates recognizing them for their professional achievements and contributions to the Brookline Public Schools. BEF is accepting nominations until March 23rd. For complete details for how to nominate an excellent PSB educator please visit the BEF website

    Let Us Rise As A People - A Gift of Music at the Winter Concert 
    In case you missed this incredible performance of an original composition inspired by, written with and peformed by PSB students, make sure to see the videos of this remarkable productionLet Us Rise As A People was the first of a number of songs that award winning composer and Brookline resident Jim Papoulis is creating in collaboration with students across the district. The Brookline Education Foundation made this yearlong "Gift of Music" possible with their 35th Anniversary Gift to PSB's Performing Arts Department.

    BHS Students Earn Third Place in C-SPAN's National Student Cam Video Documentary Competition - Congratulations to the BHS seniors Chloe James, Bryan Zhu, and Romy Meehan for getting third place for their documentary Under Siege about the assault on the American press and efforts to censor the media. In this year's national competition 6-12 graders from across the nation created documentaries on this year's theme, "The Constitution & You." Click here to see the award winning video. 


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