Community Update: June 18, 2021
Welcome to this week’s community update. The communication below provides important information from the Public Schools of Brookline. Translated versions are available at the following links:
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Welcome to my final community update! 2020-21 has been a difficult experience for all of us, and I know that we are looking forward to the start of summer vacation next week. While we eagerly await this period of rest and calm, I encourage you to also take a moment to reflect and celebrate. After all, we have done some extraordinary things this past year! Some of my highlights include:
- Our operations team working in placing tents, portable HEPA-filtered air purifiers, and upgraded HVAC system filters throughout our school buildings to create a low-risk environment for transmission;
- Our school nurses tracking positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts at our schools and offices, implementing multiple asymptomatic testing programs for students and staff, and organizing vaccination sites at our schools;
- Our building custodians keeping bathrooms, classrooms, and common areas stocked with cleaning and disinfection supplies, PPEs, and other important resources, not to mention for taking the time to sanitize touchpoints and floors before and after school;
- Our food service workers cooking, serving, and organizing meals so that breakfasts and lunches at our schools are free, available, and accessible to our students and families;
- Our school guidance team providing counseling, workshops, and other mental health support to students, families, and staff to help us manage our anxieties and stress;
- Our families and community members volunteering their time and energy to develop best practices in educational equity, socio-emotional wellbeing, remote learning, and the health and safety of our district, as well as organizing virtual events and celebrations;
- Our teachers, paraprofessionals, and school leaders providing comprehensive support, innovation, and persistence in ensuring that learning continues despite a global pandemic;
- And finally, our students taking care of one another and engaging in their education, despite the myriad of challenges present. You inspire us every day with your resilience and flexibility!
I cannot stress the incredible team effort and collaboration we have endured this past year as a town, as a school system, and as a community, and I want to thank you for all you have done in this service. All of us have learned a lot, and we will take these accomplishments in stride as we prepare for a renewed school experience in September. I know that Brookline will be in safe hands in the future, and I am optimistic about the opportunities ahead for our students and their schools.
Graduation and Commencement for our 8th and 12th grade students
We are very grateful to have experienced wonderful weather and safe gathering conditions over the past few weeks to honor the accomplishments and achievements of our students. Graduations have always been a special time for reflection and celebration, and we want to take the time to thank our staff, families, and community members for shaping our students’ lives. You can see some photos of the ceremonies here. Congratulations to the class of 2021 and the class of 2025!
Wrapping Up Remote Learning Academy (RLA)
As you know, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PSB developed a remote learning option for students and staff and created the Remote Learning Academy (RLA), a ninth K-8 school at PSB that served over 500 students and 100 staff. RLA will close next year as we prepare for full-time, in-person learning for all students and staff in September 2021.
I want to thank Principal Meg Maccini, consulting Principal Christine Moynihan, and all of our RLA staff for their leadership and dedication. In addition to taking on the unique and incredible challenge of creating a brand new school in such a short time, I am especially grateful for their flexibility in working with students moving in and out of RLA throughout the year. Their work, along with the RLA PTO, gave our students and families a sense of community and belonging in spite of a difficult transition.
School-based Practices and Routines
The pandemic provided our staff opportunities to change our educational practices and routines to the benefit of our students and staff. Our current outdoor arrival and dismissal routines have improved the beginning of the school day by giving students and staff more focus as they begin the instructional day. Therefore, we will continue to follow the same pick-up and drop-off procedures for before and after school in September 2021.
Summer Resources 2021
In addition to the Universal Summer Program and other enrichment, educational, and/or extracurricular programs hosted by our community partners, PSB will be providing our families with online resources to help students stay engaged during the summer months. As of today, materials for reading and math have been finalized - with more resources to be published and made available throughout the summer!
- REMINDER: Celebrate Juneteenth this Saturday, June 19th: Juneteenth is an occasion that celebrates the freedom and end of slavery in the United States. This was first established following the end of the Civil War on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Grange of the Union Army notified the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas of their emancipation and freedom. Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday after President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act yesterday.
The town of Brookline will also host its First Annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Ruffin Ridley School this Saturday. The event will begin with a march to Brookline Avenue Park, followed by a day-long family-friendly celebration featuring kids’ games, food, music, dancing, and more. This celebration will be free to the Brookline community. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more!
- New Ice Rink Facility in Brookline: The Department of Public Works, Parks, and Open Space Division would like to invite you all to the first virtual public meeting to discuss preliminary designs, concepts, and feasibility for a new ice rink facility in Brookline. The first virtual public meeting will take place at 6:00 pm next Thursday, June 24, 2021, via Zoom. This meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss project goals, community needs, existing facility conditions, and activity and programming parameters. You can register in advance using this link. Should you have any questions or need further information, please visit brookline.gov/parks or feel free to contact our Director of Parks and Open Space, Alexandra Vecchio, at firstname.lastname@example.org.