Keep scrolling down for Meeting Updates related to the Devotion Renovation, Volunteer Opportunities, and Shopping to Make Money for Devo.
Important DASEP dateClasses begin: week of Monday, September 29
Attention, Whole Foods Market and Local Shoppers
Thank You for Your Support of the Brookline Education Foundation!
On September 15, Whole Foods Market in Brookline donated 5% of its pretax sales for the entire day to the BEF. The final number is in: the donation will total $2,630. Thank you, Whole Foods Market and local shoppers!
Brookline Education Foundation: Supporting Excellence in Teaching & Love of Learning in Our Schools
News from the Brookline Teen Center
Starting Monday, September 29, 7th and 8th grade day will switch from Wednesdays to Mondays. The hours will still be 2:30 pm-5:00 pm.
Devotion's Renovation: The 3 C's... Community, Consensus, Construction
Are you unable to attend coffees in the morning? Have you been attending coffees and now want to share your thoughts about the preferred options in a moderated conversation and know what other people are thinking too? Sharing ideas together can reveal common ground, changing them into shared community concerns. Come join us in this community building forum on September 22 from 7 to 9 pm in the Devotion library.
A special thank you to moderator Carey Goldberg and to Sadhna Brown and Abby Cox, who serves on the building committee and will attend in order to listen to parent suggestions and concerns and to provide any information that has been presented to the committee that might be helpful. It is our hope that we will listen to each other, focus on what we have in common as a community, understand and reflect on differences of opinion, and use this information to help the building committee as a whole work with our concerns. Their vote for the final schematic design choice is on September 26, and their work beyond this date is to "tweak" and develop the final design choice.
Models of the design options are available all week in Dr. Connelly's office. You are invited to stop by to take a look.
The building committee's September 10 presentation is available at the top right of this page and on the town's website.
DevoDrama Fall 2014
DevoDrama welcomes you back with a great fall program for 5th-8th graders. It will include a 6th -7th Grade Play and three 10-week classes, including Lights Camera Action!, Try Out Your Voice, and Stagecraft. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:40-4:10 pm and start September 30 and October 2.
Our play is Snow White and the Seven Robbers, and auditions are Tuesday and Thursday, September 30 and October 2 from 5:00-7:00 pm in the auditorium. Come to our Parent Meeting on Thursday, October 2 at 6:30 pm in auditorium to hear more about the rehearsal and performance schedule.
Registration begins TODAY! Your child is coming home with a DevoDrama flier and registration form. Fill out the form, write a check to “Devotion School Alliance”, and drop off at the Main Office. Fliers and registration forms are also available in Main Office and on PTO bulletin board in the front lobby or you can download here: flier and form. Contact Isabel Giraud with questions about the program or scholarships at email@example.com or call 617.935.4696.
Celebrity Series Tickets for Only $10!
Order Deadline is Friday October 3, 1:40 pm
Devo is once again participating in the Celebrity Series’ Take Your Seat program which this year includes annual favorites Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and What Makes it Great? with Rob Kapilow, as well as Itzhak Perlman, Regina Carter, Juilliard String Quartet, Christian McBride Trio, Renee Fleming, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and many more.
Please note that this year, you can order tickets now for any performance from October through May. There will be a second opportunity to order tickets in January, but some popular events sell out, so if you can plan ahead for the spring, you may want to order now. For more information, a link to the full schedule of events, and ordering instructions, click here . If you have questions, contact Carrie Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September Superintendent Meeting with Parent Leaders
At the monthly meeting with parent leaders, Bill Lupini and Peter Rowe (Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent, respectively) shared a report about how the school system will still be underfunded even after the Override Study Committee’s recommended property tax increase. They will be presenting this information to the school committee on October 2 and to the Selectmen on October 7. Both of these meetings are open to the public and community members are encouraged to attend. Meeting notes are posted in the right hand column of the DSA page (here).
Back to School Nights, PTO meetings, sports team start-ups – as you get to know other parents, this is an excellent time to consider starting a Parent Network, and B-PEN can help. Parent Networks can be as simple as a few friends meeting casually for coffee in someone’s kitchen or as structured as an open grade-level parent meeting with an expert speaker – or anything in between. These informal gatherings can offer ways to share information and help establish community standards regarding common adolescent concerns. Check out B-PEN’s Parent Networks page for tips, meeting guidelines, icebreaker topics and discussion guides.
News From B-PEN (Brookline Parent Education Network)
As each new school year gets underway, kids have the opportunity to reinvent themselves. They are a year older than last September and facing new classes, new classmates, new teachers, maybe a new look, a new attitude. All these changes represent a fresh beginning and a new developmental milestone, but with these changes come new expectations and challenges — for you and your kids. B-PEN (Brookline Parent Education Network) can help with useful advice for parents on how to navigate these challenges. Check out the wealth of information on B-PEN’s new “TRANSITIONS” page, including setting appropriate limits and parent-to-parent tips, at www.B-PEN.org.
Sign Up to Be a Room Parent
Please consider volunteering as a room parent for your child’s classroom. Room parents facilitate communication between classroom families, teachers, and the PTO. They maintain e-mail lists of the classroom; they relay information from the PTO to classroom families and questions from the families to the PTO; and they help organize classroom events. It is a great way to get to know the teacher, the children, and the families of the classroom! We are particularly looking for room parents for the following classrooms: KC, KN, 1DU, 2L, 3A, 3S, 5TG, 5W, and 8th grade. To sign up, please contact Pamela Templer at email@example.com.
Building Committee Meeting Friday, September 26, 8 am at Town Hall (room to be determined)
At this meeting, the committee will be voting on the preferred option to send to the MSBA. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
If you wish to send a letter to the Committee, the easiest way to is to send it to the Project Manager, Tony Guigli (firstname.lastname@example.org). All communications sent to Tony are circulated to the entire Devotion Building Committee. In addition, please note that all Committee members’ e-mail addresses are listed on the Town website (http://www.brooklinema.gov/Devotion-School-Building-Committee).
Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) Meeting
The first 2014-2015 meeting with Student Services Administration will take place Friday, September 26 from 8:30 am-9:30 am in the J. Walsh School Committee Room, 5th floor, Town Hall, 333 Washington Street.
Brookline School Committee Meeting
The next meeting of the School Committee will be on Thursday, October 2 at 6:00 pm in the James F. Walsh School Committee Room, 5th Floor Town Hall, 333 Washington Street. All School Committee meetings are open to the public, unless otherwise noted. A complete docket for the meeting can be found here.
Notes from the Nurse
In planning for the coming school year, please keep in mind that if you have a child entering kindergarten, fourth or seventh grade, we ask for a new physical exam to be kept on file in the clinic. Physical exams, updated immunizations, and medications can be brought to the clinic the first week of school in September. Thank you!
Devotion Discussion on Facebook
Devotion has its own parent-run Facebook group page, with more than 120 members already, for any Devotion-related questions, concerns and discussions (including the renovation): https://www.facebook.com/groups/542205932541890/. It is an "open" group, so anyone can see what's posted and anyone who wants to join will be approved within a few hours. For legal reasons, this will not be a formal PTO means of communication, rather a tool for parent-to-parent communication.
For questions, contact Carey Goldberg at email@example.com (and thank her for creating and monitoring this page).
For broader, town-wide school-system issues, there's a lively discussion on Facebook titled "Public Discussion of Brookline's Plans to Create a New School." You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrooklineNewSchool/.
Lost & Found
Don't forget to check our Lost & Found if your child is missing something! The Lost & Found closet is located in the main hallway, next to the glass display case. Smaller items, such as jewelry, keys, glasses and phones are kept in a small basket in the Main Office. Lunch boxes and bottles are in the cafeteria. To keep the Lost & Found tidy, unclaimed items will be donated to a local charity on the following dates:
- October 31, 2014
- December 23, 2014
- February 27, 3015
- April 30, 2015
- June 19, 2015
All Volunteer Parents Need To Fill Out CORI Forms
If you plan to attend a field trip or volunteer with students in the school this year, you must have a CORI form on file with the front office. Download the form here, fill it out, and give it to Linda in the Main Office (this form is also available from the principal's page). Present her with your photo ID and she'll take care of the rest. CORI clearance lasts 3 years.
Please Join Us! K-3 Games Night
Wednesday October 22, 5:30-7:30 pm in the Devotion library
Gather with friends, classmates, and Eureka! Puzzles to play some old favorite games and discover some new treasures! There will be pizza and drinks for sale. Feed the family and play a game! Please contact Jen Ziefert (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or if you want to volunteer to help out at the event. See you there!
Frequently Asked Questions, generated with the help of Devo’s expert parent reps on the Building Committee, Pam Roberts and Sadhna Brown (thank you...)
Why is Devotion being renovated?
The Devotion renovation has been under discussion since 2003, but was bumped several times in favor of other more pressing school projects. Because enrollments have increased, Devotion must be expanded to accommodate the growing student body. It’s also clearly in need of improvement, from plumbing to climate control to accessibility. Presently, Devotion is in the final stages of planning in partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority. School buildings are scheduled for renovation in the Town Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that is approved annually at Town Meeting.
What is the history of the school building?
The first school on the site was built in 1891 and named after Edward Devotion, Jr., who made a bequest to the Town for a school. The present school building consists of a central section from 1913; one wing built in the 1950s and another wing built in the 1970s. The 1913 Devotion School has historical significance because President John F. Kennedy was a student there. There has been almost no renovation to the building since 1970 with the exception of carving out more classrooms to house the burgeoning population of the school.
The Devotion House, facing Harvard Street in front of the school, was the home (built c. 1750) of one of the founding families of Brookline. It is a museum operated by the Brookline Historical Society and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and cannot be moved.
What can we expect in terms of renovation options?
It’s clear the 1950s wing and the 1970s wing will be demolished. For more detail, please come to the meetings.
When will we have an opportunity to look at the plans?
Plans were presented at the September 10 community meeting. The architects presented three different possible designs for renovating and expanding Devotion.
If you didn't make the meeting, the plans can be accessed through the Town’s website (The Devotion School Building Committee site is here). Bear in mind that the project is so big and complex that there are multiple volumes. The committee site is continually updated with minutes and drawings from the School Building Committee’s meetings.
You can always send an email with your questions or comments to either of the parent representatives Sadhna Brown or Pam Roberts (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). They will forward your thoughts to the entire Devotion Building committee.
What’s the timeline?
The three options presented on the 10th of September will go to cost estimators. The Building committee is charged with voting a preferred design. With cost estimates in hand and taking into consideration feedback from the community, members will vote on their preferred option on September 26. The package will then be submitted to the Mass. School Building Authority for their November meeting. If approved, we then begin the schematic design phase. This phase continues to refine the preferred design. We will have a design and cost estimates that will again be submitted to the MSBA for their March 2015 meeting. The current plan is to begin construction in the fall of Sept. 2016.
Will Devotion students be going to the Old Lincoln School beginning in Sept of 2015?
Yes, but that’s not because of construction; that’s because Devotion runs out of space, with burgeoning classes rising through the grades.
If I can’t make it to the meetings, how can I get informed and offer feedback?
Drawings are on the Town website here). See the following paragraph for ways to offer feedback.
Who are the Parent Representatives on the Committee?
If you write to us with feedback, we’ll forward your thoughts to the Building Committee, or you can write directly to Tony Guigli, Project Manager, at email@example.com.
How much will all this cost?
At this point, the Town Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) has approximately $100 million budgeted for this project. The money comes partly from the State and partly from the Town. In order to access State money, the project has to comply with all requirements of the MSBA. The majority of the funding for the school will be from taxpayers in Brookline, who will be asked to support an increase in property taxes through a vote to override the limits of Proposition 2 ½ in May 2015.
My children are young enough that they’re certain to be at Devotion during whatever construction takes place. What will be the process for my concerns about that?
Until we select a design, we won’t know anything about the expected phasing of the construction process, so we just can’t anticipate those details yet. But please rest assured that Brookline schools have dealt with these issues before and take them very seriously. Also, please know that the Building Committee is genuinely devoted to the wellbeing of Devotion students.
...to parents who have stepped up to help out this year:
A big thank you goes out to Shwujen You, a 1st grade parent, who will be taking care of the Lost and Found this year.
Many thanks to Boriana Primova, who has volunteered to manage the Devotion calendar. If you know of an event or activity that you think would be helpful for parents to have on the school calendar, please send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you didn't know there was an online calendar, check it out at the calendar tab at the top of this page.)
- A big thank you to Carol Reyes, who has volunteered to take the lead on the yearbook committee this year. You'll hear from her soon about what help she needs and where to send pictures you snap from events throughout the year.
- Andrew Siedlecki who will help coordinate events
- All the Room Parents who have already offered their time
- Elise Jacobson, Leslie Beau, and Alison Rosenthal who organized the Back-to-School Welcome Coffees
Devo Site Council Looking for One New Member
The Devotion School Site Council meets monthly to review school policy and create the Devotion School Improvement Plan. The Council consists of the principal, teachers, and parent representatives. Many thanks to Paige Scott Reed, who has served on Site Council for 2 years. Devotion is looking for one new parent representative to serve. For those interested, please let us know by emailing email@example.com. For more information about the role, please contact representatives Sarah Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org), Diana Nygren (email@example.com) or Mike Toffel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Looking for a Project Manager for the Printed School Directory
While the online directory is handy, many students and families still like to use the printed directory. We are looking for someone to act as project manager to get the directory produced and printed. If interested, please email email@example.com.
The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is looking for a Devo parent to work with Elise Jacobson to serve as a SEPAC liaison. Elise will be focused on the upper grades. Ideally, a lower-grade parent could work with her and focus on the needs of the K-5 graders. The position includes advocacy, parent support, and communicating with the townwide SEPAC. There is one school-wide, SEPAC-sponsored meeting at the beginning of the year. If you are interested or if you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Myska, Co-Chair, Brookline SEPAC, cell: 617.721.1155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Elise at email@example.com.
Join Brookline's Wellness Committee
The Public Schools of Brookline’s Wellness Committee needs you! This fall, the committee will begin its ninth year and would like to include a representative from every Brookline K-8 school. The committee only meets formally four times a year, Wednesday mornings from 8:30-9:30 am. Comprised of parents, teachers, health professionals, town and school administrators, and community members, this lively, engaged committee examines and supports a variety of programs addressing student health, with initiatives in areas of nutrition, fitness/recreation, mental health, chemical health, teen dating violence, and climate change awareness. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Kate Donnelly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DSA Seeking Parents Interested in Leadership Role
The Devotion School Alliance (also known as the PTO) will need to replace at least 2 directors next year. With the upcoming renovation, it is more important than ever to have strong parent leadership. Community is one of the key elements that makes Devotion special. With the right leadership, we can maintain a sense of community and continuity for our children. Please consider taking on this rewarding and important role! Contact us with any questions: email@example.com.
Tyson's Project A+
Devo is signed up for Tyson’s Project A+. Like Box Tops and Labels for Education, there is a label on the packaging that you clip and turn into the box in the labby. Each coupon is worth 24 cents. So if you buy Tyson’s products, clip, save and turn them in. It all adds up!
When You Shop at Shaws/Star Markets, Devo Makes Money!
If you haven’t done so already download the EcoApp and every time you use reusable bags, just scan the EcoApp at checkout and get money for Devo. If 100 parents shop with reusable bags each week it could eliminate the need for 100,000 plastic bags and earn Devo around $4,000. Please help!
Brookline's plastic bag ban = a new way to generate Dollars for Devo!
MY ECO is working with the town of Brookline to educate and encourage residents to reuse bags by donating money to the schools for every reused bag. Check out this article on Brookline Patch.com. Download the MyEco app onto your smartphone today. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can't Find It Locally? Shop Amazon to Support Devo!
When making Amazon purchases, start your shopping via the Devotion School website to support our school! No special password or registration is required, just click the Amazon logo and shop as usual. Last year we raised $3,014 simply by people starting to shop through the Devotion School link. A percentage of all purchases is returned to the school — your cost stays the same. Click the Amazon logo at right or here to begin your shopping. Please share the link http://tinyurl.com/devopto with friends and family!
Got a Target Red Card?
Target donates 1% of purchases made using their credit card to participating schools. If you have a Target Red Card, click on the logo at right to register it at Target.com and start earning money for Devo!
Go to Land’s End for Devo-logo Gear
Looking for shirts, backpacks, lunchboxes or other Land’s End merchandise AND you want the Devo logo on them? We’ve set up an online store, click the Land's End logo to start your shopping. (This is a service, it does not make money for Devotion.)