Vol. XIX • Issue 38 • May 19, 2017


Message From The Middle School Principal

Dear Middle School Parents,

We’re officially in the homestretch of the 2016-2017 academic year. Teachers and students have finished  classes, exams begin and end next week, and then it’s on to the 8th Grade Celebration Ceremony on Thursday 25 May. As I noted last week, it’s especially important to ensure that your child maintains balance in this upcoming week with sleep, studying, good nutrition, and exercise.  As a quick reminder, as noted in the “Important Dates” section below, our exam schedule is Monday-Wednesday 22-24 May, with Thursday 25 May as a make-up day.

Here is the important information to know and consider as we move forward:

Middle School Exams:  Please read and save the exam schedule included in this newsletter so you can help your son/daughter during exams. A few important points as we move forward: A) Please note the end time of exams each day and the changes in the bus transportation schedule. If your child has private transportation, please make arrangements for pick-up after the last exam each day.  B) If your son/daughter is ill and cannot attend school on the day of an exam, please notify the Middle School Office immediately about the absence. Also note that we have a make-up exam session on Thursday morning so any absent student can finish any unwritten exams. The exam schedule link is noted below.

Final Exam Schedule

Finally, please feel free to email or call me with any questions regarding exams. I’m happy to help clarify anything and to provide assistance as needed.

Middle School Student End-of-Year Calendar: These calendars have been posted on Homeroom doors and in the Atrium to provide students information on activities and times in the last ten days of this year. This document is noted below so you and your child can access it.

End of Year Schedule for Students

For Parents of Current Grade 8 Students:
On a related note: If you are helping your son/daughter send the baby photo and current photo for the 8th Grade slide show, please read the instructions in the letter that you have received on this event. You also can access the letter in the link below. Just click on the document to open and then enlarge it as needed. Also, please ensure that the baby and current photos are individual shots of your son/daughter. Do not send group photos.

Transportation Update on Release Times and the Brent Bus Schedule Next Week: Please see the schedules included in this newsletter for bus transportation times during exams and for the following week. If your son/daughter has private transportation, please make arrangements for pick up according to the noted times.

This Week’s Article: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new toy craze going around that many Brent MS students have latched onto this semester. The Fidget Spinner is seemingly ubiquitous, and not just at Brent. Read on to learn more about its genesis and its impact.

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That’s it for this week. Take care and safe travels.


Andy O’Hara
Middle School Principal

The following information has been
posted in previous web articles.

Important Dates: Here’s a brief list of important dates as we move forward. You should also read the school calendar and activities calendar for more complete information.

MAY 19, Friday: (Day 2) Last day of regular classes

MAY 22-24, Monday to Wednesday: Final Exams

MAY 25, Thursday: Make-up Exams and 8th Grade Celebration Ceremony
9:30 – 12:00   Grade 8 Celebration Ceremony in the Theater and Lunch in Atrium
11:15 – 12:15   Grades 6 & 7 have regular lunch in the cafeteria

Early dismissal:
Students’ day ends at 1:10; buses leave at 1:30.
Teachers’ day ends at 2:30; faculty bus leaves at 2:30.

MAY 26, Friday: Faculty In-service [No Classes for Students]

MAY 29, Monday:  All-School Eucharist, GANZA Distribution and yearbook signing 10:30 – 11:30 am in Gym 2.

Early dismissal:  Students’ day ends at 11:30; buses leave at 11:45.

MAY 30, Tuesday: Last day on campus for students
8:00 – 9:20 Middle School Awards Assembly (includes academic and athletic awards) in Theater
9:30 – 10:30  All-school Moving Up Ceremony in Gym 1
10:30 – 10:50 Report card Distribution

Early dismissal:  Students’ day ends at 10:50; buses will leave at 11:00.

Important for Parents of Current Grades 6 and 7 Students: Your son/daughter received a middle school course preference sheet to sign up for electives and foreign languages for the 2017-2018 academic year. If you’re a parent of a current 6th grader, your child will select a full-year language course and an elective for grade 7. If you’re a parent of a current 7th grader, your child only has to select a Fine Arts or Performing Arts elective for Grade 8. The deadline for submission was Tuesday 2 May, so if you have not submitted it please do so immediately.

Middle School Exams: Our exam period will run from Monday – Wednesday 22-24 May with Thursday morning May 25th serving as an exam make-up time before the Grade 8 Celebration Ceremony at 9:30 AM. If you know that your son/daughter will have an exam conflict during our exam period and cannot attend a scheduled exam, please notify Andy O’Hara and cc the Middle School Office as soon as possible.

Previous Articles on Education and Parenting Article: I want to start sharing reading resources that I find especially valuable for parent education. There are a few online resources that I always read, chief among them is the New York Times family and parenting site Well Family. Here’s a great article on parenting and dealing with your child’s independence called “Being the Voice in Your Child’s Head.” Just cut and paste this link into your browser and enjoy. My goal is to keep a list of these articles in the future for parents to access, read, and share.


“Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs with Smartphones?”


The topic is “Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class.” The article makes perfect sense to me plus it works as a lead into our future middle school conversation about scheduling a recess of some type next year during lunch. The central points of this article can apply to your child when studying at night or for even longer times on sustained study and work sessions on weekends. Simply put, it pays to get up and move around.

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Regardless of the age of your child, this article should address some interesting points for you to consider. It’s called “Is Snooping on Teenagers Ever OK?” and it’s provided some interesting talking points for my wife and me as we navigate the ever-changing world of teenagers in our house.

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I found this New York Times op-ed article on building resilience in children to be especially compelling. To be sure, the author’s main points on resilience and having conversations with loved ones after a significant loss apply to us adults as well. Please take ten minutes of your time to read this article.  I think it will change the way you handle loss and the ensuing conversations with your kids.

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This article is a vote of support to all the “likeables” and their admirable qualities out there in our school community. It’s a short piece but an important one that stresses qualities like sharing, kindness, and openness.

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The article “Why We Can’t Look Away from Our Screens” brought home to me that I am guilty, as charged, of displaying some of the behaviors that the author notes as deleterious to one’s well being, e.g., keeping my phone at my bedside and, at times, checking my emails in the middle of the night (a big no-no!) Read on to get suggestions for you and your children on ways to deal with the irresistible lure of smart phones.

(Click image to link)


Brent International School requires all parents/visitors to sign in and get a visitor’s ID card.Permanent ID cards are available for all parents through the Security Office in the Administration building. When displaying a permanent ID card, parents are no longer required to get a visitor ID card each visit.

Tardiness/Absences: Being late to class or missing school affects your child’s learning. Please remind your children to report to the Middle School Office if they are late to school. This will ensure that our office will keep complete and accurate records.

Bus Rules: Please remember that students are expected to be courteous and obey the bus attendants at all times. Parents should also be aware of the following policy regarding who can ride our buses.

“Only authorized riders may ride the school bus. All riders must ride their assigned bus only. If there is a need to a ride a bus other than the one assigned, transfer to another route, or change pick-up and/or drop-off point, a written request must be sent by the parent or guardian to the Transportation Office first thing in the morning, through the bus attendant or contact Transportation office.”

Emergency Contact Information: Please be sure that our school has your complete contact information. Current information is critical in case of sickness or other emergencies when contacting the parents in necessary. Brent School will do everything possible to watch over the safety of your children while at school. We are counting on you go keep this information up-to-date.

Corporate Text Messages: As I pointed out at the Middle School Open House, corporate text messaging has become the communication of choice in the past few years. It is quick and easy, and it reaches our entire Brent community. All parents at Open House, and students on the first day of school, were given a blue form asking for your mobile phone number(s). Please complete this form and send it with your child for us to update your information OR call the Middle School Office to give the information to our secretaries. Please do this before you miss a more urgent message.

School Clinic: Next to having your emergency contact information, making sure that the school clinic has updated medical information is next on the list. Please make sure that the clinic is aware of current medications, allergies, and other medical conditions that may be important in the case of an injury or medical emergency. Should an emergency occur this information becomes vital. Please help us to ensure that it is accurate.