December 18, 2016               View this email in your browser

From the BHS Headmaster

Dear BHS Parents and Guardians,

Good evening, and welcome to the home stretch. On Friday 12/23 we close up the 115 Greenough Street learning and teaching shop for a little while. Yes, custodians, secretaries, administrators and others will continue to labor some, but our students and teachers take a well-earned break, at least in their work with one another. Before we "break" I wish to recognize our Asking for Courage Day this past Thursday and to share a new student opportunity loosely related to it.    

Asking for Courage
Asking for Courage is a day of learning focused on race, identity, racism, and privilege. BHS students and educators bring voice to their experiences in our school, town, and worlds. Thursday's program was incredibly powerful and thought-provoking thanks to the hard work of many. Rather than detail the personal narratives and speeches, dialogues and discussions, films and photo installations, I'd like to hone in on the core of this work - beyond the vital, visceral exploration of race, racism, and related other-ization.

For a day of programming like this to be successful, groups of committed educators work closely and thoughtfully with groups of committed students who we showcase for the benefit of all. Each Asking for Courage panel/program represents hours of collaborative work for said students and teachers: meeting regularly, considering audience, discussing purposes, sharing drafts, swapping ideas, giving feedback, and so much more. Indeed, the various student and teacher presentations we heard were often incredibly personal, and so the work activities I describe are not just sensitive but essential.

I will not identify all the students and teachers who made Asking for Courage so powerful as there were many.  I will shout out Alexia Thomas, one of our Deans, for her deep devotion to Asking for Courage. She along with Jenee Ramos, our Dean of Faculty, led immense amount of adult and student labor that spurred BHS to think about and beyond race, identity, racism, and privilege.

One fair complaint about Asking for Courage is that we hear the voices of some but not the voices of all. This is true and good fodder for discussion at home and in school. Whose voices did we hear on Thursday? Why these and not others? What messages did we hear? Which ones came easy? With which messages did we struggle? What other voices need to be heard? How do such days, discussions, and dialogues relate to our central and sacred purpose: student growth and learning?

As Jenee wrote in response to an earlier draft of this note, these and other questions
"fuel the work and fuel the good of our collective community coming together to challenge ourselves and make sure every person feels represented...we're learning with each step we take how to be better as individuals supporting one another, how to be truly empathetic." Asking for a Courage is one of these steps, one that deserves a hearty, heartfelt, "Go, team."

ADL Peer Trainers
Andrew Bott and I have shared recently that we are in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League to develop a peer training program at BHS.  Selected students will have the opportunity to participate in the "World of Difference Peer Training Program" later this winter and then engage with their peers. The ADL web-site includes this description of their peer training:

"Young people will learn how to assume leadership roles in efforts to create respectful and inclusive schools and communities. Peer Trainers learn how to effectively respond when they hear racial slurs, name-calling, and put downs in the hallways, lunchrooms and classrooms of their schools and develop the skills to lead interactive discussion and workshops for their peers and younger students."

At BHS, the program will be run by two stellar faculty members: Brendan Kobus, a dean and special educator, and Jen Martin, the teacher-leader for advisory and a social studies teacher. Jen and Brendan are looking to train 30 students to become peer leaders. Students should use this link to the application which includes information about the training commitment:  Peer Training Application.

Brendan and Jen can answer questions about this important program. Please note that applications are due on 1/4/17.

I think we're taking a break from the Blast next weekend so I'll plan to reach out again in the new year.  

Take care,


This Week At BHS

WINTER BREAK The last day of school is Friday, December 23rd. School resumes on Tuesday, January 3rd.

HEADMASTER SEARCH PROCESS SURVEY This link will take you to a short survey where you will be asked to describe the leadership qualities you believe are important for Brookline High School, share your vision for BHS five years from now, and take a moment to share any additional thoughts, ideas or comments with Superintendent Andrew Bott. Your responses to this survey will help create a Leadership Profile that will be used in the search process. Please complete the survey no later than December 21.

SCHOOL COUNCIL ELECTION Voting for the two open seats on BHS School Council will be conducted online from this Monday, December 19 through Friday, December 23.  An email, with a link to the online voting page, will be sent to all parents tomorrow.

BOOK DRIVE Bring your gently-used K-8 books to the BHS atrium and donate them to the Brookline Literacy Partnership's book drive. The Brookline Literacy Partnership is a student-run social justice club at BHS that works to increase the literacy rates in the Greater Boston Area through our tutoring program and by providing schools with books and school supplies that their students need. Learn more about us and donate at our website. The book drive runs until the end of January.

BHS Upcoming & Ongoing

JUNIOR CLASS PARENT MEETING Thursday, January 5, 2017, 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the Auditorium. Topic: Selecting Courses for Senior Year, with curriculum coordinators.

NEEDS IMPROVMENT Friday, January 6, 2017, 7:30pm – 9:30pm in the Auditorium.

ALL-TOWN CHORUS Jan. 10 & 11, 7:00pm in the Auditorium.

REVISIONS January 13, 7:30 pm, January 14, 5:30 pm & 7:30 pm in Dance Studio One. ReVisions is the only Performing Arts show of the year to display the endless talent of student vocal groups, instrumental groups, dancers, choreographers, and actors on one stage! Held in the intimate setting of dance studio one in the Tappan gym this annual showcase is not to be missed.. Tickets

WINTER INTRAMURALS began Monday, November 28th. Schedule is as follows: Fitness Center: November 28th - April 13th Monday, Wednesday, Thursday with Instructor Keith Thomas. This time period is followed by a 2-week break when spring sports get started. (March 20-31st) Spin Room: January 4th - February 15th Monday, Wednesday with Instructor Melissa O'Brien.

SWS ADMISSIONS School Within a School is a democratic school on the 4th floor of Brookline High School. Students in SWS are also mainstream students, taking classes in both places.  Students are admitted to SWS through a lottery. In order to qualify for the lottery, students must do a few things, including visit SWS classes. Results of the SWS admissions lottery will be announced on March 3rd. Admissions packets are available now at the SWS office on the 4th floor.

GIFTS THAT KEEP GIVING With the holidays upon us, it’s easy as parents to get lured into the trap of trying to fulfill our adolescent’s every holiday wish. But consider that the most meaningful and lasting gifts we can give our children this – and every -- season are not the kind we can wrap into fancy packages. B-PEN suggests that you consider these Gifts That Keep Giving, which cost little but can linger long after the holiday season.


K.I.D.S. CAMP FAIR Kids Involved During Summer is a camp fair on Sunday, January 8th in the Tappan gym, 66 Tappan street, from noon - 2pm. This event is hosted by Steps to Success. For more information visit the event website or email the event coordinator.

PUBLIC NOTICE OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE VACANCY The Brookline School Committee is seeking applicants to temporarily fill the seat on the School Committee vacated by the resignation of Rebecca Stone. The interim appointment will begin in January, 2017 and will continue until the May, 2017 Town Election. Candidates must be registered Brookline voters. Interested candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest and resume by 12:00 PM on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 to: Robin Coyne, Executive Assistant School Committee Office Town Hall, 5th Floor 333 Washington Street Brookline, MA 02445. Candidates will be interviewed by joint session of the School Committee and Board of Selectmen shortly thereafter.

WINTER WONDERLAND 2016 offered by Brookline SmartVacations. From December 27-30, choose up to 4 days of fun with arts and crafts, gym time, computer skills, and theater games. Daylong activities for students ages 5-12. Also, Archery (Dec. 27-29) for ages 10-13! Visit the SmartPrograms website.

BROOKLINE GREEN ELECTRICITY The Town of Brookline is now able to purchase electricity on behalf of residents and businesses. Rolling out in early 2017, Brookline Green Electricity is a Community Choice Aggregation program that uses bulk purchasing to offer competitive supply pricing and rate stability to consumers. The Town will mail notices to Eversource customers in January about the program rolling out in early 2017, indicating who the new electricity supplier is, that Eversource will continue to be your delivery supplier, what the new prices and plan options are, and how you can opt out of the program, if you wish. In the meantime, Brookline Climate Action Committee (CAC) members and Planning Department staff are available to address your questions. Visit to learn more or email Brookline's CAC senior planner. Maria Morelli and BHS senior Lily Bermel will be attending PTO meetings in December and January to share information and answer questions about the program. Click here to view the program brochure.

BAMBOO BICYCLES David Wang - BHS class of 2005, is the founder of the social enterprise Bamboo Bicycles Beijing in China, and is now back in the Boston area continuing his education at MIT. Max Feldstein-Nixon, a BHS senior, has spent the past year learning about these bikes and is spearheading the effort to bring bamboo bicycles to Boston. The two are teaming up with Container Collectives Bicycles to put on two bamboo bike building workshops at the Brookline Teen Center Makerspace over the weekends of January 28th and February 4th. The workshops are open to everyone regardless of age or ability. Building your own bamboo bicycle is a fun way to meet and connect with new people, learn new skills, and walk away (or pedal) with a personalized and unique bicycle–one that YOU BUILT yourself! Sign up to build or gift one here.
Sports Events

Monday 12/19/2016
Girls Junior Varsity Ice Hockey Home Weymouth  @ Larz Anderson - Kirrane Rink 4:45 PM

Coed Varsity Squash Away Needham  @ Cross Courts @ Winsor School 3:45 PM

Tuesday 12/20/2016
Boys Varsity Wrestling Home Weymouth  @ Tappan St. Gym 5:00 PM

Boys Freshman Basketball Home Braintree  @ Schluntz Gym 3:45 PM

Boys Junior Varsity Basketball Home Braintree  @ Schluntz Gym 5:15 PM

Boys Varsity Basketball Home Braintree  @ Schluntz Gym 6:30 PM

Girls Junior Varsity Basketball Away Braintree  @ Braintree  3:45 PM

Girls Freshman Basketball Away Braintree  @ East Middle School 3:45 PM

Girls Varsity Basketball Away Braintree  @ Braintree  5:00 PM
Wednesday 12/21/2016
Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Home Braintree  @ Walter Brown Arena 6:00 PM

Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Away Braintree  @ Zapustas Arena 5:00 PM

Boys Indoor Track Away Milton JV Meet #1 @ Milton  6:30 PM

Girls Indoor Track Away Milton JV Meet #1 @ Milton  6:30 PM

Thursday 12/22/2016
Boys Junior Varsity Ice Hockey Home Natick  @ Larz Anderson - Kirrane Rink 4:45 PM

Boys Varsity Indoor Track Away Framingham  @ Reggie Lewis Center 4:30 PM

Girls Varsity Indoor Track Away Framingham  @ Reggie Lewis Center 4:30 PM

Friday 12/23/2016
Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Home Minuteman  @ Walter Brown Arena 5:00 PM
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