Lawrence Update May 23

Hello Lawrence Community- 

These are tough times… there’s no doubt about it. We hope you and your family are doing as well as you can right now. Hang in there, Lawrence! We are thinking of you and please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help during these unprecedented times. 

Thank you to Ms. Crowley and everyone who joined the Zoom meetings this week for grades, K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. It was nice to see so many teachers and parents in the virtual meetings. It has been too long since we’ve all seen each other! 

Lawrence Art Project Reminder… for Essential Workers- due Monday, 5/25

Gwen Vitti (Lawrence Art Teacher) Leslie Fagen (Makerspace @ Lawrence), Jin Suk (parent & artist extraordinaire) are working together to make a THANK YOU BANNER FOR OUR ESSENTIAL WORKERS that people will see as they walk by Lawrence school. The plan is for students to make letters, drawings, and posters which will be combined digitally! We would like to have them by May 25th. Here is a sheet that goes more into the details of the project: Thank You Banner Project

A Note from the PTO Board 

We want YOU to join the 2020–21 PTO Board! Serving on the board is a great way to meet other Lawrence parents, support our students, and give back to our school. Click here to nominate yourself or another Lawrence caregiver, and make a terrific team even better.Not sure about a board role but still want to pitch in? Click here to tell us a little about yourself, and we’ll help you find a role that fits your interests, at a commitment level that’s comfortable for you. (As little as an hour!)Questions? Just ask a member of the nominating committee: Beth HesterHeather Hoganson, or Howie Rosenblatt.

General Announcements

Have you been meaning to sign up for composting but just haven’t? Well, now is the time… Woohoo! Brookline has met 500 residents enrolled or preregistered! Black Earth Compost is excited to be partnering with the Town of Brookline to get your neighbors composting and divert even more organic material from the waste stream. The price has DROPPED and your next service charge willbe $59.99/6 months or $11.99/week depending on your subscription! You can help this effort by sharing the news of the lower price with friends and neighbors and on social media. Don’t forget about the Referral Bonus. Active subscribers will receive $10 towards our online shop for each referral we receive in their name! Thank you to all existing customers and volunteers for pioneering this movement in Brookline. You will see the price change on your next bill. Way to Go!

And if you’d like to do a little comparison shopping, another great composting company is Bootstrap Compost.  

Here’s something fun… check out the inaugural edition of The Muddy River Post, which was the brain-child of Lawrence parent, Meghna Chakrabarti. It is a paper for kids by kids! If your child becomes inspired and wants to submit something to the paper- click HERE. Thanks Meghna and your amazing teen staff and all the kids who contributed to the first issue. Great job everyone! 

Also, if you were wishing you could see teachers and parents act ridiculously on stage… look no further. A GINORMOUS amount of PTO Plays have been uploadedon-line thanks to Dennis Doughty and Peter Rhodes (2005-2019 to be exact). They are under “PTO Plays” listed alphabetically in the free resources link near the bottom of this section. Thanks Peter & Dennis! 

If you love the Lawrence Circle garden and want to keep it going, the Friends of Lawrence Park are always looking for new volunteers to help weed and water the garden over the summer. Volunteers only have to give a week each summer. There’s training, and it’s a wonderful way to feel part of the community. If you are interested, contact Laura Walters at  You can find the Select Board Guidance on Required Use of Face Coverings in Public HERE.  

Remember to fill out the Census by August 14, 2020. You can respond online, by telephone in many languages, or by paper form. An accurate count will determine Brookline voting districts and eligibility for funding local programs for the next ten years. If you can’t find your ID number, NO PROBLEM, you can use your address. 

And remember to check out the list of resources at the end of the email for new additions from the ICA, a summer opportunity at the Brookline Teen Center, Curds and Co., and a new free service for those in need from Task Rabbit called Tasks for Good. Also, the BEF has a way to honor a teacher! 

And just a reminder- feel free to reach out as needed to PTO Co Presidents, Heather Hoganson and Christina Grady via the following email address:

Town Happenings…

This message was sent from Betsy Fitzpatrick, Assistant to the Superintendent, Public Schools of Brookline: Please help us spread the word about this opportunity to volunteer your expertise in a number of areas as we work to create remote learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year. The attached has all of the specifics.Those interested in serving need to send us their statement of interest by 5pm on Tuesday, 5/26. School Committee members Susan Wolf Ditkoff  ( and Sharon Abramowitz ( chair the Remote Learning Task Force can be emailed with any questions.  Please see attached (which is also available on our website here). Thank you for your assistance! 

The School Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 6:00 PM (remote). This will be a remote meeting. Brookline Interactive Group (BIG) will broadcast live out to the cable channels and online via live stream at BIG’s cable channels will replay the meeting and post the meeting recording at for viewing after the meeting.   The agenda can be found at this link.

Brookline’s Municipal Election will be held Tuesday, June 9, 2020.   The last day to register is Friday, May 29, 2020.

Voters will be choosing:
 Select Board members, School Committee members, Public Library Trustees, Housing Authority members, and Town Meeting Members by precinctIt is very important for all voters to participate in this election.  To mitigate health risks to all voters and poll workers for this election, the Select Board is strongly encouraging Early Voting by mail.

The Early Voting process begins by completing the Early Ballot Application attached to this letter.  Instructions appear at the bottom of the form.  The Legal Voting Residence is the address appearing on the voter rolls.  The form must be signed.  An application must be submitted for each individual voter, but up to five applications may be mailed back to the Office of the Town Clerk in a single envelope with one first class stamp to:
Town Clerk’s Office
PO Box 470860
Brookline, MA  02447Or, the completed application may be scanned and transmitted by email to or faxed to 617-730-2043.  A scanned or transmitted image must contain a clear signature of the voter.

This application should be completed as soon as possible.  Your ballot will be mailed to you, with instructions for completing it.  The completed ballot should be mailed back immediately to the Office of the Town Clerk in the envelope provided with the ballot so your vote can be properly recorded.

Thank you for working with the Select Board and the Office of the Town Clerk as you consider preserving the health of your fellow voters and those who work at the polls by Early Voting in Brookline’s Municipal Election.

Wishing you all good health during these trying times,

Ernie Frey
for the Coolidge Corner SouthSide (CCSS) Neighborhood Association 

Helen Charlupski, Chair of the Interim Superintendent Preliminary Screening Committee, recently sent an email and in case you missed it, there is an abbreviated portion of it here:  
On behalf of the Interim Superintendent Preliminary Screening Committee, I am pleased to announce that today we voted unanimously to recommend that the School Committee appoint Dr. James Marini to serve as Interim Superintendent for the 2020-2021 school year.

How To Help…

BLOOD DONATIONS NEEDED: Local hospitals are experiencing significant blood donation shortages, since many drives have been postponed or canceled. If you are able to safely donate blood, both Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals have on-site donation centers as well as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & the MGH Blood Donor Center. To find a location nearer to you, visit the Red Cross website.   
BROOKLINE FOOD PANTRY: These are trying times, especially for those in our community who are the most vulnerable and struggle with food insecurity. If you can, please consider making a monetary donation to the Brookline Food Pantry. The Greater Boston Food Bank is also in need and they help support our local pantry. For more information of how you can help, please contact Chanin Kennedy at 
GOGGLES FOR DOCS– Yes, just like it sounds. Donate your ski goggles for those on the front lines.  
HENRY BEAR’S PARK IS OFFERING CARE PACKAGES: to help kids in need right now… support local kids and a local store at the same time… they sold 600 in one week! Help them keep this beautiful gesture going. 
THE MAKERY: Check out their website to see how you can help them help those on the front lines! 

MEALS ON WHEELS- DRIVERS NEEDED: Springwell is our local Aging Services Access Point, covering a large area from Waltham to Brookline. Most of their Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers are themselves retirees who were able to deliver meals during the day–until now! Most of these volunteers are wisely self-isolating for the rest of the month, at least. This situation, combined with the increased demand for home-delivered meals, has put Springwell and its clients in dire straits. Training for volunteers includes comprehensive info on how to stay safe while doing this work. If you’re willing and able to deliver meals to seniors who aren’t able to shop and/or cook for themselves, please visit their website today. You can apply online at If you have questions, please call 617-926-4100 or email volunteer@springwell.comPROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT NEEDED @ LOCAL HOSPITALS: All Boston hospitals would be grateful for any protective equipment the community may have to donate to doctors and nurses (and all those on the front lines) to use to care for patients. We do not have the masks, visors, face shields, goggles, gloves, gowns, everything that we need to protect ourselves. These can be handed to security at most hospital entrances.  
VOLUNTEER WITH THE TOWN: Fill out their general interest form HERE


MAY IS ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH: Sadly, Asian-American communities throughout the country have experienced increased hate crimes and violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. To raise visibility and inspire compassion and kindness, two photographers have started the #IAmNotAVirus campaign to share stories. Lawrence parent Sopheak Tek (grades 4, K) is among those who’ve shared their stories. To learn more, visit

B-PEN (Brookline Parent Education Network): has a ton of parenting articles worth a look.  

BREAKTHROUGH BROOKLINE: Pierce School parent Colin Stokes sends out a weekly newsletter with information about anti-racism education and social justice actions throughout the Greater Boston area. Many organizations are still offering virtual learning and action resources. To learn more or sign up, visit

CARE PACKAGES TO KIDS IN NEED: Check out what Henry Bear’s Park is doing HERE to help kids in need in our community. Donate one or a few if you can! 

A MESSAGE FROM BROOKLINE COUNCIL ON AGING (COA): Services available for Brookline residents age 60+… You don’t have to think of yourself as a “senior” to take advantage of the many excellent services (paid for with your tax dollars!! and) offered via the COA. Whether it’s something as simple as advice or as complex as multifaceted support through a difficult time, please don’t hesitate to call. You might be looking for help for yourself, a friend, a neighbor, or a loved one. COA staff are ready and willing to help. They’re not doing in-person visits at the moment, but they’re offering a wide spectrum of services and referrals over the phone and otherwise, within safe limits of social distancing guidelines. Check out this month’s newsletter for comprehensive details of everything they offer, including a brand new “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program, offering social connections and practical support from neighbors here in Brookline. Please don’t hesitate to call the Info & Referrals line at 617-730-2777 or the main COA line at 617-730-2770. 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES: The Baker-Polito Administration yesterday announced the expansion of SafeLink, the Commonwealth’s statewide, 24/7, toll-free and confidential domestic violence hotline to now include resources and support for survivors of sexual assault. Previously, SafeLink served as a hotline to specifically connect domestic violence survivors to services. The SafeLink toll-free number is (877) 785-2020. For the hearing-impaired, the SafeLink TTY number is (877) 521-2601. Advocates are available in English and Spanish and can provide translation in more than 130 languages. If you are experiencing violence within your home or concerned about a loved one that may be experiencing violence, please call the SafeLink hotline for support and resources. If you are in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1. Additional resources can be found HERE.  

FRIENDSHIP WORKS- HELP WITH ELDER ISOLATION: In an effort to combat the detrimental impacts social isolation can have on mental health, particularly for seniors and those who live alone, the Brookline Department of Public Health has partnered with FriendshipWorks to offer residents weekly check-ins through the Town’s COVID-19 Call Center. Additionally, the town has adapted its Emergency Preparedness Buddies Program to help assist isolated residents who may not qualify for the FriendshipWorks program. For more information about either program, please contact the COVID-19 Information Center at 617-879-5636 or email

HEALTH CONNECTOR SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR COVID-19: To ensure everyone who wants access to covered coronavirus services has it, the Massachusetts Health Connector announced that uninsured residents can apply and get into coverage through a 45-day window running until April 25. Click HERE for more info.  

MATCHUS: is a community-driven educator/related service provider and family response to support our students (and their families!) with disabilities/IEPs/support needs during this time of social distancing. MatchUS, an effort supported by Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change, is working with families and educators ANYWHERE (not just MA) to support 1:1 conversations about how best to support our students at home. Right now, we have many educators/related service providers eager to help and we NEED more FAMILIES to match with the number of educators we havePlease continue to share the links below with your family and education networks. 
If you know other educators/service providers eager to support, click here.Si conoces a otros educadores que quieren apoyar, presione aquí
If you know other families looking for support, click hereSi conoces a una familia buscando apoyo, presione aquí

MUTUAL AID BROOKLINE AND JP/ROXBURY: Is a community generated initiative that has created a central infrastructure for resources to be accessed quickly. We are an immediate solution to the widespread need of the people affected by COVID-19. We are also connected to the major foundations and institutions in Brookline and are actively coordinating with them. We are not a 501c3 non-profit or incorporated. We are just trying to fill the need as fast as possible. If you NEED resources or can PROVIDE resources, please click on the following links for Brookline Mutual Aid or Roxbury/Jamaica Plain Mutual Aid.  

FOR PARENTS:How to Talk With Kids about Covid-19Managing StressTalking to Kids about CoronavirusCoronavirus and Family Mental Health & How to Help Kids with Situational Anxiety (from the MGH Clay Center). Another great resource re: anxiety… she is a fabulous speaker and anxiety expert- Lynn Lyons.  


SAFETY NET FUND: The Brookline Community Foundation’s Safety Net Fund has been supporting vulnerable community members through moments of financial crisis for more than 20 years. It’s a nimble, trusted local resource operated in close partnership with The Brookline Center and a town-wide referral network. To donate to the Fund, click here. If you need assistance, call the Brookline Center at 617-277-8107 or email

For some useful, fun & educational resources, check out this list of resourcesWe know there are many other wonderful resources out there so please feel free to share your favorites with us and we can share with the greater Lawrence community.

And as always, thanks for all you do… every day… everyone.
Be strong, Lawrence families. We are with you. 

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