Kindergartners played an exciting new game called, “Sort It Out,” in their physical education class this week.
A Walk in the Woods
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: April 9, 2021
If you look to the left as you drive up the driveway, just before Far Field begins, you will see a structure—I liken it to a wooden version of an old VW bus sitting driverless in the woods—constructed by our intrepid fourth graders. The construction is a showcase of student imagination during recess on these wonderfully mild early spring days. It is also a reminder of how nature and the outdoors play an important instructional role here at Belmont Day.
A glance at the interior courtyard, and you feel as though you have stumbled into a nature exhibit at the Boston Children’s Museum, with trees and bushes decorated with colored pieces of paper stuck on various branches by our youngest learners. A place of true discovery for any visitor (young and old!), the courtyard remains a constant reminder of the power of a child’s imagination and the important and positive influence that nature and outdoor play have on a child’s development.
Middle school athletics are in full swing. Disc golf, mountain biking, tennis, and lacrosse (modified for safety) are daily occurrences on our fields and courts. The joyful noise of children playing reminds us of just how important the seasons can be, especially after the restrictions of this past winter.
Truly, spring has sprung here at Belmont Day. Arriving just in time, the second leg of the BDSQuest will surely affirm how much we can learn from the variety and richness of nature. As many in our community will be traveling the countryside, a small faculty team will be here to wake up our community garden under the watchful eye of Kathy Jo Solomon and our greening committee.
Here’s the thing about our relationship to the outdoors: it is a data-backed, evidence-oriented truth that play and interactivity with nature and the outdoors are good for children, their development, and their learning. Richard Louv’s 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, made a compelling case that children were developing what he termed a ‘Natural Deficit Disorder’ due to spending less and less time outdoors. And consider that Last Child in the Woods was published two years before the iPhone was invented. While Louv hasn’t followed up with a sequel, it’s hard to imagine that he would feel much differently today, especially as we emerge from the challenges of winter in a pandemic.
So, whether you are planning on participating in the BDSQuest or not, it is my sincere hope that you are making the most of these beautiful days to get outside and play. The outdoors is—certainly for your child, and perhaps for you as well—as boundless as your imagination. Get out there and have some fun.
Enjoy the Quest!
April 10 to April 30
Saturday, April 10
7 a.m.–5 p.m., BDS Quest Scavenger Hunt
10 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Faculty Garden Workday
Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16
Capstone Presentation Week
Tuesday, April 13
6:30–8 p.m., Black- and Brown-identified Parents’ Affinity Group
7:30 p.m., Grade Six Spring Parent Social
Thursday, April 15
7:30 p.m., Grade 8 Parents’ Night In, Zoom Gathering
Friday, April 16
BDS Spirit Day!
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly, Zoom Gathering
11 a.m.–2 p.m., Jam-the-Van Clothing Drive for Cradles to Crayons
Monday, April 19
School Closed for Patriots’ Day
Spring Vacation Week
Tuesday, April 20 to Friday, April 23
ERBs for Grades 4 & 5
Monday, April 26 to Friday, April 30
Monday, April 26
Testing Day for All Students and Faculty: No School
7:30–8:30 p.m., Secondary School Panel for Grade 7, Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, April 27
School Reopens: Offsite Learning
7–8:30 p.m., Finance Committee, Zoom Meeting
7–8:15 p.m., Anti-Racist Allyship Group for White-identified Parents, Zoom Gathering
Thursday, April 29
2:30–3:20 p.m., Robbie Couch: Author Visit With Middle School Students, Zoom Gathering
Friday, April 30
Middle School Interim Grade Released
8–10:30 a.m., Board of Trustees, Zoom Meeting
For all Zoom meetings and gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Let’s Jam-the-Van for Cradles to Crayons!
Clothing Collection This Coming Week: Monday, April 12 – Friday, April 16
Are the kids growing out of everything this year? Let’s help out our friends at Cradles to Crayons find great new homes for all those gently-used clothes. Starting on Monday, the Parents’ Association will kick off our spring Jam-A-Van donation drive to collect children’s clothing and shoes.
Collection bins are available on campus so you may drop off items from Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16. The Cradles to Crayons van will also be on campus to collect your gently-used, like-new donations on Friday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thank you!
BDS Spirit Day!
Friday, April 16
Set your favorite Belmont Day blue and gold clothes aside for next Friday’s Spirit Day. We’ll celebrate the completion of Capstone Week and the start of a very well-deserved April Break week. Go BDS!
Lunch & Snack Menu
sApril 12 to April 16
Snack: pears; pita chips; Goldfish crackers
Lunch: penne with marinara on the side; crusty rolls; butter; Romano cheese; tabouleh salad; broccoli; fresh fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: bananas; granola bars
Lunch: grilled chicken; roasted tofu; Caesar salad; Romano cheese; garlic bread; sliced peaches; milk and water
Snack: apples; Cheez-Its
Lunch: beef burgers; veggie burgers; buns; ketchup; pickles; baby carrots; Kettle chips; garden salad; fresh fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: clementines; Lay’s BBQ chips
Lunch: chicken and cheese quesadillas; cheese quesadillas; corn; salsa; guacamole; sour cream; black bean salad; apple slices; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: apple sauce; pretzel twists
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly COVID Testing Update
After several weeks of all negative tests, this week we had an inconclusive pool test in sixth grade. Thankfully, all repeat tests came back negative. Keep up the good work, everyone, and stay vigilant with all safety and health precautions.
Students of all grades are on the fields and and in the woods every day during recess, class, and physical education/athletics. Please help your child get into a routine of checking themselves for ticks EVERY DAY. Ticks especially like warm, moist places—between toes, under the arms, behind knees, the groin, the scalp, and behind ears. The quicker a tick is found and removed, the less likely it is to cause illness. Questions? Feel free to check in at email@example.com.
– Liz LaRocque, school nurse
COVID-19 Testing Times for Return from April Vacation
On Monday, April 26, the school will be closed so that we can test all students and faculty. Please note the suggested time slot for your child’s grade to be tested in the first dropdown below.
- These times are the suggested times for each grade.
- Siblings are welcome to come together.
- If your grade’s assigned time does not work for you, please reach out to Nurse LaRocque.
- Testing can be done any time during the day before Cataldo leaves at 3:30 p.m.
- Teaching faculty can come during the staff time or with their grade.
April 26 Testing Times
8:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Staff and Faculty
9:00 to 9:30 a.m.
9:30 to 10:00 a.m.
10:00 to 10:30 a.m.
10:30 to 11:00 a.m.
11:00 to 11:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. to noon
12:00 to 12:30 p.m.
12:30 to 1:15 p.m.
1:15 to 2:30 p.m.
2:30 to 3:15 p.m.
3:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Staff and Faculty
Plan for Return After April Break
If you are traveling over April break …
Return by Thursday, April 22
In order to be tested on Monday, April 26, and return to onsite learning on Wednesday, April 28, all families and faculty need to return to Massachusetts by this date.
Since the school is only providing testing once per week, families and faculty who do not return by this date will need to obtain testing on their own 4-5 days after their return and wait for a negative result in order to return to campus.
If your travel plans mean that you will not be testing at Belmont Day on Monday, April 26, please let your division head and Nurse LaRocque know as soon as possible.
Monday, April 26 and Tuesday, April 27
Monday, April 26 is a testing day—no academic program will be provided
Tuesday, April 27—offsite learning for all students
Learn. Do. Share.
Eighth Graders Set to Present Their Research Projects
Since the 2003-2004 academic year, Capstone has been an educational cornerstone for our eighth graders and a shared learning experience for our entire community. The students’ research topics have known no bounds of creativity and are as varied as the students themselves. The Class of 2021 is enthusiastically continuing this tradition of excellence and we are excited to start Capstone Week on Monday and learn from their passions and hard work over this past year.
Capstone Week—Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16—is a community experience and we invite everyone to attend as many presentations as you can. Students have worked hard to share their substantial learning, and a robust audience will be greatly appreciated. Audience question-and-answer sessions are highlights of the experience for students and attendees alike. Online compliment forms will be available immediately following each presentation.
Community members will attend Capstone presentations via Zoom. An email will be sent each morning with that day’s schedule of presentations and a Zoom link for the day’s sessions. The only exception is Monday’s which will be sent Sunday evening. The entire schedule, all Zoom links, and a link to the Capstone site are also available on the Parent Portal.
This is a wonderful chance to encourage our eighth graders and contribute to a meaningful conclusion of their Capstone journey.
We are looking forward to seeing you and know you’ll enjoy what you learn from the Class of 2021!
– Jennifer Friborg, Capstone coordinator
Capstone Projects & Schedule
Monday, April 12, 8:15-10:15 a.m.
- Ripley Bright: Why Dinosaurs Are the Best | Mentor: Ellen Brandt
- Henry Monroe: A Short History of Cryptography | Mentor: Stephen Bennhoff
- Zephyr Borisy: Nanomedicines: A Miniature Approach to Disease | Mentor: Leigh Twarog
- Henry Buckley-Jones: Making Waves: Graffiti and Street Art | Mentor: Larissa Rochford
Monday, April 12, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
- Noah Kokinos: Cryptocurrency: The Future of Money | Mentor: Alex Tzelnic
- Kenna Schneider: ADHD: A Blessing and a Curse | Mentor: Emma Nairn
- Ellora Roy: Racial Implicit Bias and Its Role in American Society | Mentor: Brendan Largay
Monday, April 12, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
- Margot Klug: The Midwest: A Forgotten Region | Mentor: Dean Spencer
- Cameron Colbert: The Elephant in the Room: Animals in the Entertainment Industry | Mentor: Mary Norman
- Aviva Pearlmutter-Bearson: Misinformation: The Growing Plague of Conspiracy Theories | Mentor: Kathy Jo Solomon
Tuesday, April 13, 8:15-9:45 a.m.
- Jacob Stephenson: Ancient Religion | Mentor: Gretchen Fogelstrom
- Harry Reitshamer: Alternative Education and Its Place in Our Schools | Mentor: John O’Neill
- Bree Legrand: Black Hair: An Evolution | Mentor: Leesa Mercedes
Tuesday, April 13, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
- Sophia Tang: A Brief History of Books | Mentor: Minna Ham
- Alice Shu: Helping Small Business During This Pandemic | Mentor: Sarah Barrow
- Cody Casanave: The Amazing Technology of Self-Driving Cars | Mentor: Jim Walker
Tuesday, April 13, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
- Brooks Largay: Virtual Healthcare: How VR is Affecting the Medical Field | Mentor: Elinor Hannum
- Lucy Myers: Eating Disorders | Mentor: Ellie Brennan
- Isaac Frehywot: Splitting the Atom: The Science Behind and History of Nuclear Technology | Mentor: Tara Lightbody
Wednesday, April 14, 8:45-10:15 a.m.
- Bonnie Wang: The US & China Trade War | Mentor: Heather Woodcock
- Milly Noble: Child Labor | Mentor: Cicely Gibson
- Ben Rowe: Van Gogh Painted My Cat (and How AI Is Changing Our Future) | Mentor: Kurt Robinson
Wednesday, April 14, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
- Elijah Allen: Fixing Circadian Rhythms | Mentor: Dale McGhee
- Charlotte McIntosh: Karate: Martial Art, Sport, & Philosophy | Mentor: Fred Colson
- Dana Chang: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? | Mentor: Leal Carter
Wednesday, April 14, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
- Susanna Kelman: Prison Reform | Mentor: Anderson Santos
- Jake Walsh: Interior Design: More Than Just Furniture | Mentor: Anne Armstrong
- Alexander Colangelo: Planes: How Aviation Technology Has Changed Over the Years | Mentor: Nathalie Pellenq
Thursday, April 15, 8:15-9:45 a.m.
- Claire LaFarge: A Perspective on Children’s Rights and the Media | Mentor: Angela DeVecchi
- Devon Holman: Heritage Leatherwork and Its Place in Modern Society | Mentor: Nicole Buck
- Kendree Chen: Think Positive: The Impacts of Optimism and Positive Affect | Mentor: Alice Henry
Thursday, April 15 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
- Toby Gauld: Third Political Parties in the US | Mentor: Deborah Brissenden
- Vivian Chuang: Introversion and Extroversion: Bias in Schools | Mentor: Sunny Lee
- Clio Burger: Representation in Television: The Evolution of the Small Screen | Mentor: Julia Juster
Thursday, April 15, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
- Thierrence Mathurin: The Evolution of Computers and Where They Are Today | Mentor: Liz Gray
- Amanie Yusef: Chemotherapy| Mentor: Abbey Nyland
- Rosie Schrag: Animal Consciousness: What’s Really Going On in Their Minds? | Mentor: Carlos Hoyt
Friday, April 16, 8:15-10:15 a.m.
- Audrey Wu: Beauty: From Mirrors to Magazines | Mentor: Yui Kitamura
- Gemma Shoor: The Turnover of Hong Kong | Mentor: Catherine David
- Sarah McPeek: Housing Discrimination in Suburbia | Mentor: Pati Fernandez
- Noah Brauner: Machine Learning in Medicine | Mentor: Kaleen Moriarty
Honoring Differences Seminar Open House for Parents
The facilitators of the Honoring Differences Seminar (HDS) for our middle schoolers invite all parents to an HDS Open House!
This will be an opportunity to gain insight into the seminar—the rationale, goals, lesson plans, and how students have been engaging—from the facilitators, and to ask questions. The facilitators for HDS are Dr. Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion, Dr. Leesa Mercedes, school psychologist, Dean Spencer, grade six social studies teacher, and Joe Jean-Mary, associate director of auxiliary programs.
The HDS Open House will be held twice: Tuesday, May 4, 6:30-7:45 p.m., and on Wednesday, May 5, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
Please use this form to let us know if you’re planning to attend either (or both) of the sessions, and to provide any questions you’d like to share ahead of time.
The open house is open to all parents, pre-kindergarten through grade 8.
The Zoom links for both open house times will be made available on the Parent Portal.
Hope to see you there!
– Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion
Black- and Brown-Identified Parents Group Meeting
Diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI parent groups at Belmont Day are dedicated to creating a forum for parents to engage on topics related to social identity and social bias with others who share social identity commonalities. The next meeting of the Black- and Brown-Identified Parent Affinity Group (parents who identify as Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino/Latinx) is scheduled for Tuesday, April 13 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The link for this meeting will be available on the Parent Portal. If you have any questions, please contact me.
– Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion
We are saddened to announce that Joe Jean-Mary, associate director of auxiliary programs, will be leaving Belmont Day after 14 years. In those years, Joe has been a key figure in the development of our summer and after school programs and in the lives of our students and campers. Joe has accepted a role at Park School’s Summer Program and because his new role is for this coming summer, his last day at BDS will be April 23.
Joe’s contributions to our community are profound in their impact and extend well beyond his strong work on our auxiliary programs. From designing and piloting DEI curriculum, to developing middle school leadership programs, to teaching health and wellness, he has fostered a culture of learning, inclusivity, and innovation and always with compassion and care for the students, most especially those we serve in auxiliary programs. When students and campers think of him it is as an adult who cares deeply and aspires to make sure everyone is heard, seen, and valued.
Please join us in sending Joe off to this new stage in his career with much gratitude, admiration, and joy.
BDS QUEST & FEST CORNER
Quest Two Sets Off Tomorrow!
Are you a part of the Quest? Are you ready?
We are ONE day away from our nature-themed Quest and cannot wait for you to enjoy the day! Our second Quest scavenger hunt is tomorrow, Saturday, April 10 beginning at 7 a.m. To up the ante, you now have 10 hours to complete the Quest. The Quest will end at 5 p.m.
To participate you must have the GooseChase app and add the Quest game! Search for and select the BDS Quest 2: Nature – April 10, 2021 game, or search for game code PE378E. It is important for you to review the rules and instructions prior to the Quest on Saturday. If you have any questions prior to setting out, please contact Pati Fernandez, director of development.
Don’t forget to wear your BDS Quest t-shirt! Good luck and have fun!
Register for the BDS Fest!
The Fest: Community Event and Auction
We are very excited to host our virtual Fest on Saturday, May 15 at 5 p.m. It will be a community-wide celebration and auction event. It will include music, highlights from our scavenger hunts, and an announcement of our winners. The event will also have a silent auction and paddle-up fundraiser. The proceeds from the event will be to help defray the COVID-19 expenses and the cost of winter/spring pool testing for all students and faculty.
Have you registered for the Fest? Click here to register by May 13 and join us for the fun.
Deadline Today for Signing Up for BDSRemote
If you are considering having your student(s) engage in the BDSRemote option for the remainder of the year, please fill out this form by the end of the day today, Friday, April 9.
The final period of BDSRemote will begin when school reopens after April Break on Tuesday, April 26, and run through the end of the school year.
ERB Testing for Grades 4 & 5
All fourth and fifth grade students will be taking the ERB (Educational Records Bureau) assessments on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, April 28 to 30, and on Monday, May 3 (fifth grade only). All fourth and fifth grade families are asked to please check your email as more details were sent to you today. If you have any questions, please contact Ellie Brennan, learning specialist, or Minna Ham, lower school head.
Betty Pryor Wins School Committee Election
Kindergarten teacher Betty Pryor took the day off this past Tuesday for a very special reason. It was election day in her town of Stoneham and she was on the ballot, running for a seat on the local school committee. We are very proud to report that Betty won that race and will be starting in on her term immediately! We’re proud of all that Betty does for her students and colleagues here at Belmont Day and are excited to see her continue her commitment to education through elected service in her local community. Congratulations, Betty!
Athletics Update: Record Numbers for Tennis
In a non-pandemic year, the Belmont Day tennis program traditionally rosters a maximum of 24 players, 12 each on the varsity and junior varsity teams respectively. This spring, athletes are competing in grade-level pods rather than mixing with middle school classmates and cycling through three separate three-week programs. For the first of these sessions, sixth graders had the option of track & field, lacrosse, or tennis. A staggering 21 athletes chose tennis, representing nearly half of the grade. When you add the seventh and eighth graders into the mix, the number grows to over 40 players! Needless to say, coaches Walker, Robinson, and Hannum are creating lots of positive energy around the program and athletes are responding. The Osborne Courts are a happening place these days!
– John O’Neill, athletics director
Fifth Graders Breathe New Life Into Lesson on Lungs
In fifth grade science, students have been studying the respiratory system and how our lungs work. This week students built a model of the lung to illustrate how the diaphragm muscle helps you breathe. The balloon represents a lung and the plastic wrap represents your diaphragm. When you pull down on the plastic wrap, this is analogous to your diaphragm contracting as you inhale. This increases the space in your chest cavity, and the air rushes into your lungs. We can see this in the model because the balloon inflates! When you let go of the plastic wrap, this is analogous to your diaphragm relaxing on an exhale. The balloon deflates as the air is pushed out of your lungs.
– Emma Nairn, Grade 5 teacher
Parents’ Association News
Family Fun Event: Seeking Volunteers!
Annually, the PA hosts a family fun event and although we cannot be in person this year, we are continuing the tradition, virtually. And, we need your help!
On Saturday, June 5 we will host a series of virtual workshops for all families to participate in. We will have a number of opportunities for families to join cultural workshops to learn how to cook a dish, create a craft, or play a game from a BDS family’s traditions. We would love to include many families to reflect our diverse and vibrant school community.
Click here if you are interested in volunteering to host a workshop!
It was great to see nearly a dozen masked faces at our Friendraiser walk this past Thursday! Now that spring is here, we plan to walk every Thursday morning after drop-off. We’ll meet in the grass circle in front of the schoolhouse at 8:15 a.m. Come to reconnect with friends and make new ones! We look forward to seeing you there.
We are excited to welcome the next faculty baby this spring! Please help us welcome fourth grade teacher Mary Norman’s baby, Paige, with a donation of your favorite book. Books may be dropped off until this coming Monday, April 12 during drop-off or pick-up. There is a collection bin in the vestibule of the Schoolhouse. The Baby Welcoming committee will assemble the books into a basket for delivery. Thank you!
Help bring spring into the classrooms! We are looking for volunteers to donate “centerpieces” for the cohort rooms for April and May. This is an easy, low-stress way to contribute to BDS and a nice way to brighten the day for students and faculty. Simply bring in 12-14 small plants or seasonal centerpieces that can be placed in the rooms and will last for two to three weeks. Simple is best. Color is nice, but herbs and green plants also work well. All ideas are welcome. Your children may enjoy participating too! Plants can be brought to the main Schoolhouse entrance at drop-off. Click here to sign up for an available slot.
If you have questions, please contact the chairs of the Classroom Flowers committee by email, phone, or text: Tracy Leng, 781-526-8657; Grace Wang, 857-313-8696.
Teacher Appreciation Week 2021
We have been so fortunate to have our children attending school in person this year, let’s show the teachers how much their efforts have meant to all of us! For Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3 to 7, the PA, with your help, will create word clouds of appreciation for each classroom. Ask your child what has made this school year so great for them or why their teacher is the best. Responses can be recorded by clicking here and filling out this form. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Committee Volunteers Needed for 2021-22
We are looking for volunteers to oversee the many fabulous roles and committees such as Family Fun Event, Lost & Found, Friendraiser Committee, and many more including NEW opportunities such as the Birthday Book Committee and Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day Volunteers. There are lots of opportunities with varying levels of commitment. A listing and description of Activities and Volunteer Opportunities can be found on the PA Homepage on Veracross. If you are interested in volunteering for something specific or wish to learn more, please contact any of the PA executive team or send an email to email@example.com.
Grade Parent Volunteers Needed for 2021-22
We are looking for volunteers to serve as grade parents for the next school year. New parents and those with past experience are welcome! If you are interested in volunteering, please click here to fill out a nomination form. And if have questions about the role of a grade parent and wish to learn more, please contact any of the PA executive team or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transgender Athlete Schuyler Bailar To Speak to Parents, Students
Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m.
The Charles River School’s Parent Association is excited to host Schuyler Bailar, the first transgender NCAA D1 men’s athlete and an amazing role model and educator on all things trans. Schuyler will discuss his experiences being recruited by Harvard and swimming as the first transgender NCAA D1 men’s athlete in any sport. He explores the universal tensions of trying to “fit-in” in our media-saturated, caricature-driven culture while trying to live one’s authentic self. Some in the Belmont Day community may remember Bailar’s inspiring keynote speech during the AISNE Middle School Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Conference hosted at BDS in 2019. The Charles River School event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Click here to register.
30 Days of Science in Cambridge!
Learn something, or many things, new and cool this month! Explore the amazing world of science for a few minutes a day, every day, during the month of April with the Cambridge Science Festival! Click here to learn more and join in and take the 30 Days of Science Challenge. Daily prompts with fun activities will be provided each day.