Teaming at Brown is done very carefully. Teams on the 6th grade level are put together on the basis of gender, feeder school, and individual student needs. There are no teams that are more academically advanced than another. 5th grade teachers meet with counselors to discuss the incoming students. (We do our best to avoid bad combinations stemming from elementary school)
Lunchtime and the Cafeteria
Students get 27 minutes each day for lunch. Our cafeteria has a wide variety of hot and cold foods. $3.50-4 will cover the price for lunch. See Newton Public School Website for more information including how to pre-pay and menus. Many students bring their own lunches from home. Snacks are also available.
Extension time is approximately 50 minutes four to five times a week where students are given an opportunity to do a number of things. The first half hour is devoted to reading. For the second half, students can catch up on missing work, begin homework given that day, meet with teachers with questions about material, make up tests and quizzes, or meet with their counselor. Extension time also is the time electives meet. Electives include chorus, band, orchestra, and Latin. Every student is assigned a place to be during extension time everyday.
Students from our four feeder schools have had different experiences with the level of homework that was expected of them. The amount of homework that is expected in middle school can be an adjustment for some students. Teachers give homework on most nights and most weekends. Often students have an opportunity to start homework during extension time. It is advisable for families to schedule evenings with a block of “homework time” even before school begins.
Middle school presents children with many new challenges. One major challenge is staying organized. Students have upwards of 6-8 different teachers and classes. Learning to negotiate keeping up with assignments and teacher personalities is a learning process throughout middle school. Most 6th graders struggle with organization, especially during the first term. Teachers will frequently run notebook and locker clean outs. It is also advisable to do a backpack clean out periodically as well. (more on backpacks later)
In order to help students keep up with assignments, each child is given an assignment notebook in the beginning of every year in which they are required to write down their daily assignments and map out their long-term assignments. Parents are strongly encouraged to check the assignment notebook and completed homework nightly to check whether it’s getting done! Some students may need help making sure completed work and other materials are getting into the correct place in their notebooks.
Lockers and Backpacks
Each child is assigned a locker near his/her core classrooms. Students are responsible for purchasing a lock for their locker. Backpacks can get very heavy with the various textbooks, notebooks and sundries that middle schoolers like to carry around. Students can use their lockers before school, during the designated locker time, extension/lunchtime, and after school. Students do not need to carry all of their books around all of the time. Teachers will help the kids to plan what books they will need to bring home on a nightly basis. Some textbooks can be either left in the classroom or at home. Be sure to check if last week’s lunch isn’t still in the backpack!
Activities at school
There are various activities available to students at Brown. The triple E program (Exploration, Excellence and Enrichment) is an after school club program open to all Brown students. Most clubs last about a month. Some clubs are yearlong, and some are seasonal. Most do not require students to sign up for them. There are sports teams available for 7th and 8th graders.
Issues with a staff member
If you have a question or a concern about something that is going on in a particular class, it is best to contact that person directly. The head of the particular department can be helpful also. Counselors can help facilitate conversations; administrators supervise all personnel in the building.