Ms. Juster’s sixth graders having some fun over Zoom.
For this week’s Opening Message, we are making available the full recording of Thursday night’s State of the School 2020 presentation from Brendan Largay, head of school, and members of the board of trustees. If you were unable to attend, we encourage you to watch it in its entirety. Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend.
December 7 to December 14
Monday, December 7
2–3 p.m., Tech Office Hours for Pre-k to Grade 3 Parents, Zoom Meeting
8 p.m., Beer Tasting Event; Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, December 8
5:30–7 p.m., Diversity Committee; Zoom Meeting
Wednesday, December 9
2–3 p.m., Tech Office Hours for Pre-k to Grade 3 Parents, Zoom Meeting
6:30–8 p.m., Finance Committee; Zoom Meeting
Thursday, December 10
6–8:15 p.m., Parent Workshop with McLean Hospital; Zoom Gathering
7–8 p.m., Admissions: An Evening With the Head of School: Zoom Gathering
Friday, December 11
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents’ Association; Zoom Meeting
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross-graded Partners: Zoom Gathering
Monday, December 14
BDS Giving Day
8:30–10 a.m., Committee on Trustees: Zoom Meeting
For all Zoom gatherings and meetings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Tech Help for Pre-k to Grade 3 Parents
The tech department is offering office hours for parents with students in pre-kindergarten to grade 3. Please feel free to pop in while members of the tech team are on hand to answer your questions and troubleshoot with you. The next tech office hours will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. on Monday, December 7, and Wednesday, December 9. The Zoom link for the office hours is available on the Parent Portal. If questions arise that cannot wait for office hours, please contact your child’s teacher first as they will know if it’s a quick fix on their end or if support from the tech department is required. If this isn’t possible, you can email the tech office at email@example.com.
Save the Date! BDS Giving Day
Monday, December 14
Join us for our fall BDS Giving Day, when parents, alumni, and friends will have 24-hours to support our school. Every gift, no matter the size, helps BDS now and in the future! We hope to reach 100 gifts of support in one day. Together, we can all achieve this goal! This day is all about participation and celebrating our community and Giving Day will kick off a week of appreciation for our community before we head into winter break. Stay tuned for more details and ways you can support the school we all love!
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Assurance Testing Through Thanksgiving Break
What a successful first round of assurance testing we have had! Our weekly testing did exactly what we hoped it would, providing early detection of cases on campus to stop the possibility of community spread. Our assurance testing caught asymptomatic cases and our drive-up testing confirmed symptomatic cases. We were able to identify cases originating outside our community and we continued to track known positive cases. As always, we appreciate the community’s caring throughout these cases, providing help to close friends, and respecting the privacy of all involved. Testing will resume in January—information on re-entry testing will be sent in the coming weeks.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Nurse Liz LaRocque: firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-932-3901.
Student Immunization Against Flu Mandatory in MA
All school children in Massachusetts must receive immunization against flu before December 31 in order to return to school in January. This is a state-mandated requirement; we are not able to waive it or ignore it. As of December 2, twenty percent of BDS students have not provided documentation of this immunization. You will receive notifications from Magnus if this documentation is due. Beginning Tuesday, December 8, if you receive a notification that flu immunization is due for your child that you believe is in error, please contact Liz LaRocque at email@example.com. Otherwise, please ensure your child receives the immunization, and documentation is provided to the school prior to December 31. To upload the form to Magnus, please follow these instructions. From the Magnus home page, go to Student Health Tracker > Immunizations Tab > Edit. From there you can upload a new form. If you run into any issues, you can submit an electronic copy to Nurse LaRocque.
Testing Available During Break
If you would like to get tested over the break, our testing partner, CIC Health, is open for testing by appointment and offering Belmont Day families and friends a $10 discount per test. Their testing site is located in Kendall Square at 245 Main Street, Cambridge. Individuals seeking testing simply schedule and pay for their test online, and show up at their appointed time to be tested. The testing process takes about three minutes, costs $80, and results will be returned within 24 hours, on average. Use the code BDSfamily when scheduling an appointment to receive the discount.
Model UN Conference Inspires Students
On Saturday, November 21, eight middle school students took part in the Middle School Model UN conference sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. Our students virtually joined 400 other middle school students from New England and across the country to discuss world challenges and devise possible solutions. Each student became a specialist in one of these topics:
- the rights of asylum seekers
- the humanitarian crisis in Yemen
- economic barriers for women
- drivers of climate change
- the economic crisis in Venezuela
Before jumping into our work, we had the opportunity to hear comments from Dr. Julie Garey, a professor of political science at Northeastern University, which is a co-sponsor of this annual event. Dr. Garey spoke about the qualities needed for fruitful discussion and innovative problem solving: being a good listener and bringing passion and empathy to our work. She maintains that, although many things seem to be out of our control, we do in fact have some control. We can look at challenges and decide to learn from them. This hopeful message sent students off on an interesting virtual adventure. Our students were courageous and excited about experiencing this conference. They are dedicated to learning about the world, thinking about solutions, and gaining confidence in talking about important ideas in a public setting.
Conference participants were eighth graders Zephy Borisy, Bonnie Wang, Sarah McPeek, Cameron Colbert, and Bree LeGrand; seventh grader Betel Zewude; and sixth graders Sahana Miduturu and Marco Frazzoli Cassi.
– Jen Friborg, middle school French teacher, Capstone coordinator, and Model UN club advisor
Enjoy an Hour of Coding (or More!) at Home
Looking for something fun to do as a family? How about some coding? The Hour of Code is a global movement where students and families in more than 180 countries participate in building coding skills while having fun. There are activities and tutorials for all ages and abilities. Joining in or hosting an Hour of Code event is a great way also to celebrate Computer Science Education Week from December 7 to 13. For more information, click here.
– Dolly Ryan, director of technology
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
Limited Enrollment Available for January
We are opening enrollment for limited programming in January for students in pre-kindergarten, grades 2, 4, and 5, and all middle school students. After School period three will begin on Wednesday, January 6. At this time we cannot accommodate students in kindergarten and grades 1 and 3. Current students will be auto-enrolled for period three. There is no action necessary if your child(ren) are already enrolled in the program. Please reach out directly to Joe Jean-Mary and Blair Fross regarding first-time enrollment for period three. Registration for this period will begin on Monday, December 7, and closes Friday, December 18.
Baking Up Some Cookies With Ms. Fross!
We’re so excited to share a super special activity to enjoy with your family at home! Ms. Fross, director of after school and enrichment programs, has a wonderful cookie recipe for you and she hopes you will check it out—watch the video for directions. Ms. Fross even brought out some special guests to help her in the kitchen. We bet your cookies will taste just as scrumptious!
– Joe Jean-Mary, summer, after school, and enrichment programs administrator
School Photos Now Available to Order
The 2020-21 student, cohort, and class photos taken this fall are available for ordering online! To sign in to see and/or purchase photos, please go to Porter Gifford Photography. You will need to enter your email address and a password. Please refer to the email you received for the password.
- Your email address will only be used for identification and ordering purposes.
- Photos are organized by grade. Scroll down to just beneath the all-school collage for the menu bar where you can select your child’s grade. Students are not identified by name.
- Click on a photo’s shopping basket to see the sizes available and their prices.
- You may purchase just one or an assortment of your child’s/children’s photos; there are no photo packages.
- When you place an order over $30, you may select a free 5×7 class or cohort picture (a $24 value.)
- Purchased photos will be mailed directly to the address you provide during ordering.
- If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share Your BDS Pride!
Searching for a joyous and warm gift for a friend or relative at this special time of the year? Want to share some of your BDS pride? Check out the school store! There’s a winter hat, a tie-dyed sweatshirt, or flannel pajamas (and so much more) for everyone on your list. Click here to start browsing.
Arts Update: Creating Dimension With One-Point Perspective Drawing
Sixth graders in Mr. Segil’s and Ms. Juster’s cohorts have been focusing on one-point perspective drawing this week in their visual art classes. After choosing a word, students used paper, a ruler, pencils, and other drawing materials to draw letters to a vanishing point to make them appear three-dimensional. Next, they added shading to emphasize and add depth to the letters and dynamic backgrounds to finish these drawings.
– Kathy Jo Solomon, visual arts teacher
Studying Icons In Pre-kindergarten
We have had a busy first week of pre-kindergarten learning from home! Without skipping a beat, students dove in, easily readjusting to remote learning. During the two weeks earlier this fall when pre-k was offsite, they learned how even though we were physically apart we were able to connect using different types of technology. These technology tools made it possible to gather, sing, read, eat, create, and share with one another! We learned all about icons, and how these little pictures carry secret messages that tell us what to do. We noticed that icons were everywhere, in Zoom, on phones, and even in Seesaw! When we returned to school, we used icons to help us in the classroom too. At Friday morning’s sharing assembly, we highlighted how we did that!
This week, we enjoyed gathering together each morning. One morning, we used supplies from our remote kits to act out the story of the Billy Goats Gruff. We used unifix cubes and popsicle sticks to create a bridge and four teddy bear counters to be the characters of the story.
Students love the opportunity to welcome their classmates and teachers into their homes! It has been a wonderful chance to bridge their lives at school to life at home. We have introduced our siblings and family members and showed special toys and artwork that would not have been possible at school this year. The eagerness to connect with one another inspired a special show-and-tell morning this week. Students practiced their public speaking skills as they described the item they brought with them. Additionally, the audience had the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. They practiced saying the classmate’s name they wanted to speak to, waiting for them to look up at the screen before asking their question. While this activity may have looked a little different virtually, regardless of the environment and situation, these young learners demonstrated that they can learn anywhere!
– Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher
Sixth Graders Create Symbols of Rebellion
After reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in their English class, sixth graders analyzed and discussed the Mockingjay as a symbol of resistance and rebellion. They were then assigned to design and create their own symbols in a media of their choosing. Inspired by both the book and by protests of the past and present, students created a representation of resistance. May the odds be ever in the favor of the people!
– Julia Juster, middle school English teacher
Fourth Grade Maps the Ancient World
Fourth graders have been mapping the civilizations of the ancient world. After looking at a timeline, the students chose a civilization, read about it, and wrote a paragraph. Civilizations include the Indus River Valley, Aksum, Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula, Rome, and Nubia. After writing, the students explored museum websites from around the world to find artifacts from their civilization. They then added their paragraph and artifact photo to a group map they created using Google Maps. Students are finishing up their work this week before embarking on a storytelling project for their cross-graded partners.
– Lana Holman, grade 4 teacher
Physical Education Races into Remote Learning
Remote learning has not slowed down any of the action in our physical education classes. Students left campus prepared with the necessary equipment to have fun and stay active.
In grade 5, students participated in a double-elimination Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament, completed two rounds of Tabata, examined our school’s core values through the lens of physical education, and began a yoga unit.
The third and fourth grades have been focusing on Tabata and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts as ways to maintain endurance and muscle strength. The power of doing a group workout together on Zoom may sound silly at first, but our students have embraced and cherish their time together. Looking to try some challenges at home as well? Feel free to participate in various Tabata and HIIT workouts, more exercise trivia, or even a ‘would you rather’ workout challenge.
The first and second grades began their jump rope unit. What better way to stay fit in a tight space than working on rope skills and jumping around! If you’re looking for a jump rope workout that the family can do at home, try this one.
Our youngest students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten have been moving their bodies by playing freeze dance, yoga, Simon Says, ‘would you rather’ workout challenge, yoga, and Tabata workouts. Have you ever realized how laughing really hard is a great core workout? Well, these students have mastered that art! The combination of silly faces (now that we can see each other’s smiles) and sharing jokes has our students developing core strength that is stronger than ever!
If you are looking for additional resources while we are remote, please contact your child’s physical education teacher.
– Abbey Nyland, physical education teacher
Parents’ Association News
Friday, December 11
8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
All are invited to join us for our next meeting. We will be dedicating this meeting to a Parent Community Conversation with the head of school Brendan Largay regarding the January/February offsite learning option and return to onsite learning in January. The Zoom link is available on the PA page in Veracross.
The Friendraiser committee will host their next virtual coffee chat on Wednesday, December 16, from 9 to 10 a.m. Catch up with friends new and old and discuss all things wintry; cozy or cold! Come and learn new recipes ideas, winter games, movies, and more. Bring your own ideas and traditions to share! The Zoom link can be found on the Friendraiser page under the parents’ association tab on the Parent Portal.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Friendraiser Committee chairs, Carolyn Atinizian or Crissy Straub.
Faculty & Staff Appreciation
Thank you to everyone who made a donation to the faculty and staff self-care gifts. Your generosity has raised over ten thousand dollars!
There is still time to honor the BDS faculty and staff with a gift of a donation and/or a message. The deadline to participate has been extended! We will be accepting submissions and contributions through Monday, December 7. Click here to make a donation.
Express Yourself With a Video
Make a video with your family and submit it through Tribute and we will create a video montage that will debut during the Share the Warmth Assembly later this month. Click here to submit a video.
Write a Note of Appreciation
You and your child(ren) are welcome to participate by sharing your heartfelt thanks to those faculty and staff that you’ve connected with. Click here to send a note.
“Switch Up” at Didriks and Local Root for Furnishing Hope
Didriks in Belmont Center and Local Root in Newton have teamed up with Furnishing Hope of Massachusetts for a “Switch Up” fundraiser. Now through December 10, add a “Home Starter Kit” to your purchase and you will receive 15% off your purchases over $200 total. Each kit donated includes dinnerware for a family of four. Furnishing Hope, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that helps Boston area families transitioning out of homelessness.
Furnishing Hope is an organization supported by Belmont Day on Community Service Day each year and was founded by Suzy Palitz P ’16.