Our associate teachers get accustomed to remote learning!
News & Updates
Pre-k Launches Lunch Bunch!
Community building and social-emotional learning are the cornerstones of pre-kindergarten education, and we are doing our best to maintain these in our offsite learning. Last week, we provided more self-recorded read alouds, songs, and movement activities. Our “Peek of the Week” video has been a favorite touchpoint for children and families. We are continuing this tradition by sending out a new kind of “peek.” Instead of images and videos depicting our work at school, we invited families to share what pre-k at home looks like! It was such a treat to see everyone so happy and engaged. This and all of our previous “Peek of the Weeks” can be found on our Pre-k Offsite Learning Site.
This week we were thrilled to introduce Pre-k Lunch Bunch! Students had lunch virtually with a few of their friends and a teacher. Lunch is always an important social time and we were eager to find a way to replicate this remotely. It was a delicious success! We loved munching, laughing, and have a special time with friends. Next week, children will have the chance to eat with different classmates and teachers.
– Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher
Sixth Grade Studies Civil Rights in America
Students in sixth grade social studies have been exploring the philosophy and mechanics of non-violent direct action. Having studied about what segregation was like in the United States, they are now looking at how civil rights advocates went about challenging it, using documentary film resources such as Eyes on the Prize and Freedom Riders. Students wrestled with questions like: How did young people change the world? Why would some people respond to peaceful protests with violence? Why would some risk their lives to take action or choose to go to jail? Why would some people who were “outsiders” choose to get involved? Students will look more deeply at the events of Birmingham in 1963 before designing individual projects focused on civil rights and human rights issues anywhere in the world. After all, this is not just about what happened in the past, it is about all of us, every day.
– Dean Spencer, grade 6 social studies teacher
Making Music With Toys
In our pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade music classes, we learned that even a toy musical instrument can be used to make music. The instruments do not need to be fancy. Mr. Toppa showed students in Ebeneezer Sneezer just that when he played on his toy ‘Keyboard Xylophone.’ The students also sang along in solfege to the song. Whatever musical instrument a student has at home (or they can make one!), this is a good time to work on music-making skills. I am practicing my baritone horn (see photo) on a daily basis. Think about how your student can use this time to explore some of their musical interests.
– Frank Toppa, music teacher
COMMUNITY SERVICE NEWS
Volunteers 3D Print Face Shields
Innovation teacher Kurt Robinson visited his classroom earlier this week to put the school’s 3D printers to good use creating medical face shields. With the help of Anderson Santos and seventh grader Ben Rowe and his family, they collectively printed more than 100 shields. Each of the masks will be donated to local medical facilities. If you have a 3D printer at home, downloadable plans for the shields are available here and more detailed instructions are available here. Contact Mr. Robinson if you’d like some help or if you have any questions.
Preparing Meals For Those Most In Need
As I am unable to feed our community, I decided at least I could help feed those who may not have access to food during this time. My husband, Robert, and I visited the Greater Boston Food Bank in Dorchester this week. We worked with 15 volunteers, at safe distances, to sort donated food to pack for families in need. I am very happy to report that in three hours our group sorted 5,414 lbs. of food. This is the equivalent of about 4,511 meals. To put that in perspective, a family of four requires 4,368 meals per year. It was an honor to be able to help others at this time of great need in our community.
– Tara Lightbody, chef and kitchen manager
BDS Garden Gets Growing at Home
Early spring is the time of year when we start seeds indoors for the school garden–kindergarteners plant the winter squash, second graders plant the tomatoes, and the middle school garden club plants flowers and other vegetables. Well, with heating pads, soils, seeds, and grow lights, we’ve started this process at my home. Only planted this past Sunday, some of our flowers have already sprouted! Stay tuned for more news as the garden continues to grow.
– Kathy Jo Solomon, arts teacher and sustainability coordinator
Zoom, Privacy, and BDS
Concerns have been raised regarding security and privacy around the use of Zoom. The technology team is working hard to stay on top of new issues for vendors, including Zoom, as they work with Pre-k to 8 institutions to take care of their unique needs, namely age-of-use restrictions and business vs. education products. A major concern now is ZoomBombing, which is a form of internet trolling. Unauthorized participants can enter a meeting, take over your screen, and put up inappropriate images or hateful language if your accounts and meetings are not properly secured. We became aware of ZoomBombing over a week ago and have spent time training faculty on how to properly set up Zoom meetings while adhering to compliance regulations.
Zoom is a tool that was mostly used in business and higher education. For Belmont Day, the Google for Education environment and its Meet video conferencing feature have met our needs. However, with this changing landscape, Zoom offers features some of our teachers prefer, so we are doing our best to provide tools that meet curricular needs in the safest way possible. We are in new territory with varying learning curves for our teachers, administrators, students, and parents. We have found that Zoom is responding to concerns raised by schools.
This outline of Zoom security settings contains help links that can help you secure your own Zoom meetings. We hope you find this helpful.
CommonSense Media Offers New Resource Site
CommonSense Media has a new space for parents and teachers called Wide Open Schools. Wide Open Schools is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors of Common Sense. There is so much good happening with schools adjusting to the challenges of remote teaching and learning, and this new site will gather the best and organize it so teachers and families can share and enjoy each day.
Use AmazonSmile to Support BDS
We’ve heard from members of our community asking how to add Belmont Day as an organization of choice on Amazon.com. It is an easy way to give back as you shop more regularly online. Register for AmazonSmile and 0.5% of the purchase price of your future purchases will be donated to BDS.
AmazonSmile is operated by Amazon.com and the products, prices, and shopping features are exactly the same. And there is no extra cost to you! To register with AmazonSmile and benefit BDS, please follow these easy directions:
- Step 1: In your internet browser go to smile.amazon.com and log in using your Amazon credentials.
- Step 2: On the AmazonSmile home page, click the “get started” button.
- Step 3: Search for and select Belmont Day School as your benefiting organization.
- Step 4: Shop as usual!
Update on Medical Mask Donations
Thank you to all of those in our community who have rallied around mask donations! From handmade cloth to store-bought masks and 3D printed shields, we have been able to donate valuable supplies to area hospitals. We are told that the need is still acute locally so know that your continued efforts are providing a big help at a critical time! Keep up the great work! Please email Judy Bright and Lauren Kiraly for more information on making and donating masks.
PA Nominations Open
The parents’ association is seeking enthusiastic individuals who would like to serve a two-year term on the PA executive committee from June 2020 to June 2022.
The vice president serves for one year and then becomes president of the PA for the following year. The duty of the vice president includes: being the coordinator for all grade parents serving on behalf of the school, assisting in carrying out the duties of the president, attending and leading monthly PA meetings, attending internal PA Executive Committee meetings on a need basis, and being a supportive team member of the PA Executive Team and the Parents’ Association at large.
The clerk serves for two years. The duty of the clerk includes: taking minutes at the monthly PA and PA Executive Committee meetings, attending PA Executive Internal meetings on a need basis, and being a supportive team member of the PA Executive Team and the Parents’ Association at large.
Both of these positions offer wonderful opportunities for involvement and influence in our school community. We encourage you to nominate individuals who you believe will represent the voices of our parent body. Self-nominations are strongly welcomed and encouraged!
Nominations may be sent to [email protected] by Wednesday, April 8th. The nominating committee will review all nominations, and the final slate will be announced on April 23, 2020. Elections will be held at the corporation meeting in May.
If you have any questions, please contact any member of the nominating committee: Judy Bright (PA President 2020-2021), Crissy Straub (outgoing PA President), Alex Minn (PA Treasurer 2019-2021), Elise Bayard Franklin (outgoing clerk), Katherine Sayn-Wittgenstein (former PA president), Maribel Sandoski (current parent), Sharra Owens-Schwartz (current trustee) and Catalina Guillermety (current trustee and chair of committee on trustees).
Monthly Highlights From Alumni
Our monthly alumni news highlight showcases the wide range of achievements and milestones in the lives of our remarkable alumni community. Be sure to visit the Alumni Highlights section on the website to hear from many more voices among our alumni network. And when you have any alumni news of your own to share, please send it to Andy Rentschler, director of alumni relations, at [email protected] Thank you!
Andy Donnelly ’00
Andy is among a number of alumni medical professionals on the front lines battling COVID-19. As a geriatric nurse practitioner at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Andy had been treating many of his patients without any protective gear until friends stepped in, sewing and donating masks for Andy and his colleagues at the hospital. This act of kindness demonstrates the inspiring power of community and serves as a reminder of the incredible work of the medical community at this time. Please join us in wishing Andy, as well as medical professionals all around the world, our best wishes and most sincere gratitude.
Arnav Prasad ’14
Arnav was recently recognized at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, an annual gathering in Boston for some of the nation’s top data analysts. In just his first visit to the conference, Arnav was presented with an award for winning the student division of the conference’s ESPN hackathon. “I think one thing which makes sports so captivating is its emphasis on community and teamwork–and that’s certainly something BDS has done an excellent job in emphasizing and instilling in its extended family of students, faculty, parents, and alumni.” Click here to read about Arnav’s award-winning project.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Mindfulness Tips and Tactics
As these days of social distancing go on, I find myself looking for ways to stay calm and centered. Mindfulness and meditation go a long way to helping us weather what life brings on a daily basis. Whether you have your own mindfulness practice or are simply looking for ways to cope through these unprecedented days, check out these free resources from The Awake Network!
– Liz LaRocque, school nurse
Maybe An Album Next?
We hope you caught the beautiful rendition of James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes,” provided by Dr. Carlos Hoyt and his family. If this is what they can do from the living room couch, we may need to get them to a studio! Check out their song on Facebook!
Share Your Joyful Traditions: #JoyIsACoreValue
Check out Mr. Largay’s Opening Message video above! He’s calling out for the Belmont Day community to share our joyful traditions, be it a favorite family recipe for cookies or a game that never fails to gather the kids and adults. What better time than now to share this timeless treasure for others to enjoy? Shoot a quick video or take a few photos and share them via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Add the hashtag #JoyIsACoreValue and tag BDS so we can share it as well. Thank you!
Class of ’79 For the Win!
Fun at Home
After School at Home
Our after school team has put together a website chock full of wonderful activities for students when school time has ended for the day. These activities continue our program’s mission of fun with the intention of enhancing skills, spurring creativity, and building community. Each week the team will update the site with new options. Click here to visit the site.
This Week: Don’t Miss the Harry Potter Escape!