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Superintendent November 9 Report to School Committee


The Public Schools of Brookline
School Committee Meeting of Thursday, November 9, 2017
Superintendent Report
Andrew J. Bott
Superintendent of Schools



Professional Development Day:  Courageous Listening

As you know, tomorrow is our annual Professional Development Day during which educators from across the district will gather at Brookline High School for a day of professional learning.  I have attached the program for your information.

I want to acknowledge Gabe McCormick, Director of Professional Development, for his work orchestrating the day’s activities, including the 50+ small group breakout sessions to be facilitated by our own educators.  In addition to his work on PD Day, Gabe has also been instrumental in arranging our work with The Equity Collaborative for the year ahead.  The Equity Collaborative will be providing ongoing professional learning and leadership development to school and district administrators this year, work that will accelerate our current efforts toward identifying and eliminating barriers to educational achievement in our schools.  I have attached my October 27 letter to staff with more details about our partnership with The Equity Collaborative.

In addition to this district-wide work, each of our schools is engaged in site-specific equity work.  The content of this work is based on the needs identified within each school community.  I have referenced this work at several School Committee meetings and have attached for the Committee a detailed summary of this school-based work.


Casco Bay High School Site Visit

On Friday, October 27, I was joined by BHS Dean of Faculty Jenee Ramos, BHS Math Department Chair Josh Paris, BHS teachers Stephanie McAllister and Aubrey Love, and Heath School Ed Tech teacher Matt Durant, in a visit to Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine.  Casco Bay High School is an Expeditionary Learning school, and our site visit was designed to generate ideas that we might consider as part of the expansion and renovation of Brookline High School.  Our colleagues at CBHS generously gave of their time, providing the opportunity for in-depth observations and questions about their project based learning curriculum, social/emotional learning and supports, and heterogeneous student grouping with course embedded honors credit opportunities accessible to all learners.


1st Annual Brookline METCO Social

On Friday night, October 27, I had the pleasure of attending the 1st annual METCO Social at the Golden Temple restaurant in Washington Square.  Dr. Keith Lezama, interim METCO Director, organized the event to build unity and connections across the program, and provide an informal opportunity for METCO families to meet each other, METCO staff, and PSB educators.  This event demonstrates the District’s commitment to METCO, and reinforces the great work done to promote academic excellence and to strengthen our METCO community.    


Government Alliance on Race and Equity Training

Deputy Superintendent Mary Ellen Dunn and Human Resources Director Lisa Richardson joined me and other Town of Brookline department heads on October 31 for the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) training, held on the grounds of Hellenic College.

GARE is a national network of governments committed to achieving racial equity and advancing opportunity for all.  As stated in the May 2017 resolution approved by Town Meeting, GARE works with government jurisdictions to assess the impact of public policies and procedures on racial equity and opportunity.  The GARE approach is data-driven and includes community engagement, setting and evaluating progress toward reasonable goals, and consultation with all levels of government employees, community members and decision-makers.  I believe GARE to be a powerful network and support for the District in our educational equity work and look forward to deepening our work with them.    Detailed information about GARE can be found at

School Visits

Over the last two weeks I had the opportunity to visit several schools, including:

  • Runkle School on November 2
  • BEEP @ Putterham on November 6
  • Lower Devotion School on November 7
  • Upper Devotion School on November 8

On November 1, I enjoyed the Brookline High School Drama Society’s presentation of Shakespeare’s play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.  The talented cast and crew put on an amazing performance. I want to thank the performing arts teachers for all of their work and dedication in support of this production. I have attached the BHS Performing Arts calendar for your information.


Brookline High School Innovation Fundraiser

It was my pleasure to attend the BHS Innovation Fund Gala-Rama fundraiser on Saturday evening, November 4, at Lucky Strike Lanes in the Fenway. The evening was a great success for the Fund in support of their terrific work developing new ideas and initiatives at the high school.


LGBTQ+ Open Forum for Staff

This afternoon I attended an LGBTQ+ Open Forum for Brookline educators.  This forum, which will be repeated in December, was organized and facilitated by a working group that includes Dr. Mary Brown, Dr. Asa Sevelius, Darby Neff-Verre and Kate Sullivan.  The session allowed educators to ask any questions they may have about LGBTQ+ lives, history, and language, as well as seek ideas about how to support students and staff.  Sub-titled “Teachers want to do the right thing”, the forum was an honest and thoughtful opportunity for educators to learn ways to support LGBTQ+ students or staff in a safe, non-judgmental, non-evaluative space.

Anti-Defamation League World of Difference Peer Training for Middle School

As I mentioned in my report to you at the last meeting, we are working with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to bring their Peer Training Program to our middle school students.  We have finalized the logistics for the training of Peer Leaders from Heath, Lawrence, Lincoln and Pierce Schools; a complete summary of the training sessions is attached.  We are extremely grateful to Wheelock College for providing classroom space to us for all of these sessions.  As I mentioned last month, we look forward to bringing this training to students at Baker, Devotion, Driscoll and Runkle schools in the 2018-2019 school year.


Kindergarten Registration Family Information Sessions

In preparation for the opening of 2018 kindergarten registration in January, the Office of Student Affairs will be hosting five Kindergarten Registration Information Sessions between November 30 and December 13. Last year these sessions were very well attended, and provided parents with the opportunity to learn about the registration process and ask questions. The flyer announcing all of the sessions is attached for your information. We look forward to once again helping our newest families enter the school district!      

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