A sunny spot in the Erskine Library to share a book with classmates.
Message from Head of School
The Benefits of a Break
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 14, 2020
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and by the time you are reading this: happy February vacation!
As you head off, I hope you find that a break from the daily routine and structure of school provides you with the benefits intended from time away. A quick perusal of any number of psychological health and wellness websites and articles speaks to the importance of intentionally taking time for rest and rejuvenation. The doctors and researchers seem to agree: vacations can improve mental and physical health, and they can lead to a greater sense of well being on the whole.
I am hopeful, too, that the week provides the opportunity for families to reconnect at a busy time of year. Vacation time can be an excellent opportunity to disrupt the norm at home—a chance to gather for play, for a board game, or a movie, and for those who can travel, a chance to explore and share new experiences. But more than anything, vacations can provide that dedicated time to be together, which, in and of itself, can be stress-reducing and restorative.
Above all, I hope the break is a time for you to play together. We offer joy as a core value with intent, and vacations are ideal for celebrating the joyfulness in your family. Wherever these next days may take you, I wish you a relaxing vacation, and I look forward to seeing you all when we return on the 24th.
On Monday, we celebrated the Lunar New Year with various activities throughout the school day.
This Coming Week at BDS
February 24 to February 28
February 17–21: February Vacation Week & Vacation Camp
Monday, February 24
5:45–7:30 p.m., Diversity Committee, Barn conference room
6:30–8:00 p.m., Introduction to High School Placement, Coolidge Hall
Tuesday, February 25
8:15–9:45 a.m., Grade 1 100th Day Celebration, Coolidge Hall
Wednesday, February 26
8:15–9:30 a.m., Parent Book Club, Erskine Library
Thursday, February 27
3:45 p.m., Enrichment Class: “The Apple” presented by Center Stage Players, Palandjian Arts Center
5–6:00 p.m., Drop-In Summer Camp Tour
Friday, February 28
Winter Athletics Season Ends
8–8:45 a.m., PA Executive Committee, Head’s Office
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sports Highlights & Sharing Assembly
See “The Apple” on Stage
Thursday, February 27 at 3:45 p.m.
Palandjian Arts Center
The enrichment class, Center Stage Players, proudly presents the sassy and satirical production of “The Apple.” The play deals with the perceptions that people have of and project upon art. It explores, in an absurd way, how some people mistakenly think the work of art is responsible for their perceptions, and how sometimes this thinking can culminate in an act of censorship. The show is open to all families and faculty.
Preparing for Secondary School Placement
Monday, February 24
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Seventh grade parents are invited to join Director of High School Placement Sarah Merrill, Middle School Head Liz Gray, and Head of School Brendan Largay for an introduction to the secondary school placement process.
Lunch & Snack Menu
February 24 to February 28
Snack: salt and vinegar chips
Lunch: cheese ravioli with marinara sauce; chef’s choice vegetables; warm crusty bread; greens with balsamic
Snack: saltines; apples
Lunch: pork fried rice; vegetable fried rice; chef’s choice vegetables; Asian spinach salad with Mandarin and soy/ginger dressing
Snack: chocolate chip granola bars; bananas
Lunch: herb roasted salmon; chef’s choice vegetables; basmati rice; kale salad with poppyseed dressing
Snack: pretzel twists; oranges
Lunch: clam chowder; warm turkey and cheese submarine; pickles; chef’s choice vegetables; Cape Cod chips; Caesar salad
Snack: pears; Go-Gurt
COMMUNITY SERVICE NEWS
Belmont Cradles to Crayons Collection
March 9 to April 5
For the seventh year, Belmont Day School will be the collection site for the town-wide Belmont clothing drive and sorting event to support Cradles to Crayons. As you begin your spring cleaning, please set aside gently used children’s clothing (up to size adult medium), shoes (up to size 11) and books (for children ages 0-12) to contribute to the effort. The school’s relationship with Cradles to Crayons goes back several years and in that time the local clothing drive has helped to provide needed clothing and supplies for thousands of children across the state of Massachusetts.
The collection container will be on campus beginning Monday, March 9. A sorting event will take place on Sunday, April 5 in the Belmont Day School Barn Gymnasium. Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details on donations, how you can help spread the word, and the sorting event.
Volleyball Aces Second Season
Led by head coach Ellie Brennan, the volleyball team made tremendous strides this winter and is now poised to consider a shift to interscholastic competition next year. In their second season of intramurals, the team grew from 13 to 23 players and competed in weekly games against each other. In the final showdown between to the two squads, Blue came out on top 2-1. It was Blue’s first win of the season and a testament to their resiliency on the court and their support of each other. Led by co-captain Elena Ferrari’s strong serves, Blue took an early lead and never looked back. Newcomers and sixth grade classmates Chloe Mitzenmacher and Nadia Lomeli both played strong for the victors and finished their seasons on a high note. All in all, it was a great winter for the team and it will be a busy off-season as players and coaches consider whether or not to move the sport into the fall next year.
More Athletics News
- Cameron Colbert’s hard-fought comeback highlighted a tough tri-meet vs Fenn and Fay this week. The wrestling team battled back against LCA, however, winning 10 of 12 matches.
- With a pair of lopsided wins against SSDS and ISB this week, the girls’ JV basketball team finished the season with an 8-1 record. Dana Chang and Milly Noble had breakout performances.
- The boys’ JV basketball team closed out their season with a resounding 38-16 win. Bernie Mattox and Jake Walsh combined for 20 points. Elijah Allen chipped in with some terrific D.
- Coming off a memorable 2-point win at Friday Night Hoops, the boys’ varsity basketball team fell to Carroll this week. Classmates Alexander Colangelo and Aaron Radke shined in defeat.
- The girls’ varsity basketball team finished their season with an even 4-4 record. After terrific seasons, eighth graders Camille DeStefano and Elizabeth Amaratunga will be sorely missed next year.
- The fencing team finished their season at home in front of a large crown in Coolidge Hall. Team captains Ashley Luo, Scott Abbott, and Aviva Pearlmutter-Bearson all fenced well.
Actors Rehearse for Seussical JR Premiere
A cast of seventh and eighth grade students have been busily rehearsing for their upcoming production of Seussical JR, a fantastical musical journey that brings together all of Dr. Seuss’s beloved characters. Performances will be on Friday, March 13 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 14 at 6 p.m. in the Palandjian Arts Center. Complimentary tickets are available online at www.belmontday.brownpapertickets.com. Oh, the people you will see and the thinks you will think! In Seussical JR the cherished Dr. Seuss books have been turned into a magical musical extravaganza from Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, featuring memorable characters, including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie LaBird, and all of the Whos of Whoville! Imagination runs wild amidst the toe-tapping cornucopia of musical styles, ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel, and R&B to funk. For children and parents who grew up reading Dr. Seuss books, this musical stage show adaption of the classic stories will be fun for the whole family!
At Belmont Day School, we strive to be the very best community members and neighbors that we can be each and every day. As part of that effort, we offer these gentle reminders to all about traffic patterns to and from school. Thank you for your thoughtful participation and if you have any questions, please contact Brendan Largay.
- Please do not use Wellington Lane at the bend near the bottom of Concord Avenue as a cut-through when traveling either to or from school in the mornings. This is an important safety issue as there are often young children walking along Wellington and it is a narrow one-lane road.
- Also, please do not use Old Concord Road as a cut-through and be mindful of the posted traffic signs for hours of use and speed limits.
Registration for Spring Trimester
Registration and enrollment materials for the spring trimester of enrichment programs will be emailed to families over February vacation. Registration will be open from Monday, February 24 to Friday, March 13. Forms should be turned in at the front desk with an attached check to enroll. Enrollment, when available, after March 13 will accrue additional charges.
Our current winter trimester ends on Friday, March 13 and the spring trimester will begin on Monday, March 16. Enrichment enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have any questions please reach out to Blair Fross.
MIDDLE SCHOOL NEWS
Panel Shares Insights on Middle School Experience
On Tuesday evening, a panel of students, faculty, and parents shared their insights on the Belmont Day middle school experience. From Capstone, athletics, and clubs to homework, high school placement, and the arts curriculum, a great variety of topics were explored. For parents of elementary school children, the Middle School Excellence presentation offers a valuable snapshot of the unique qualities and value of the grades 6-8 education at BDS. The presentation was video recorded and can be viewed here. Thank you to all of our wonderful panelists!
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Social Studies Faculty Reflect on Conference
In November, four Belmont Day social studies teachers attended the National Council on Social Studies (NCSS) annual conference in Austin, Texas. From a city well-known for great music, the team returned with their minds dancing with new lesson plans, resources, pedagogical approaches, and professional contacts. Attendees Larissa Rochford ’93 (third grade), Julia Juster (fifth grade), Dean Spencer (sixth and seventh grades), and Suzanne Caruso (seventh and eighth grades) recently reflected on their takeaways from and impact of the conference:
Ms. Rochford: This was my first time attending the NCSS conference. I was amazed by the breadth and depth of the workshops and presentations offered. I walked away with a wealth of resources to bring to my third grade social studies curriculum. In particular, I learned about new ways to engage students in analyzing primary source documents, especially photographs. I look forward to incorporating this into our upcoming women’s studies unit. Given the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, there were many workshops to take on women’s rights and history. I also learned about a teaching structure called Storypaths. With Storypaths, the students become part of the story that they are learning. I used this structure to teach my unit on Massachusetts and involved role-playing, writing, research, and art.
Ms. Juster: Not only did NCSS allow me critical time to connect with other practitioners (including my wonderful BDS colleagues), but it also inspired me to make immediate changes in my curriculum. Using strategies and resources from the experts in Austin, I updated the fifth grade exploration of migration across the U.S. southern border to include cross-text comparison, visual thinking strategies, and the power of GoogleMaps. Next up is our study of refugee communities, and I can’t wait to continue infusing my teaching with the most relevant practices.
Mr. Spencer: The NCSS conference is always a tremendous source of ideas and resources for me. In past years I’ve brought back materials and ideas from places like the National Gallery of Art and the Right Question Institute that I’ve fit directly into my teaching. This year I’m excited about contacts and resources I’ve found for both my grade seven food systems unit and my grade six world religions unit. Also, there are at least three initiatives I’m excited to share with my colleagues: great approaches to developing primary source albums; geographic information systems with detailed digital mapping; and some common language and philosophy we can bring to the ways we approach student inquiry and exploration.
Ms. Caruso: There were so many workshops at the NCSS conference that it was challenging to decide where to go and what to learn. What I ended up gaining from all the workshops I attended was a reinforcement that inquiry-based teaching is an effective tool when it comes to examining history, and that being a social studies teacher does not mean we are stuck studying and teaching about the past. Instead, our job is to create learning opportunities where students can see how the past relates to the present and from that understanding, make better decisions for their future.
Vacation Tips for Internet Safety
Did you know that companies and individuals are falling victim to Ransomware at a rate of 11 victims per second globally? It is predicted that by 2021 this will be a trillion-dollar business for scammers. According to a 2019 report, attacks are up 78%, malicious scripts have increased 1,000%, and Microsoft Office files make up 48% of malicious email attacks. So, how do you stay safe? Here are a few recommendations to consider during the vacation week:
- Make sure to keep your devices up to date with the latest operating system and back up your data regularly.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis and make sure they are no less than 8 characters long.
- If you shop online I often advise people to use visa/mc or Amazon gift cards to pay with. This is a great way for your child to learn how to budget and protect their credit, especially if they are downloading paid apps and games and you are not putting your bank or personal credit cards more at risk.
- If traveling you are better off turning your phone into a password-protected hotspot (tethering) than using public free wifi and never use free wifi to do any type of banking. Try not to use those public USB charging stations as these USB ports can contain malware. Pack your own adapter and plug it into an outlet or get yourself a pocket-size battery pack to hold you over on long trips.
How do you know if a website is safe? Follow these five tips.
– Dolly Ryan, director of technology
Students Attend Model UN Conference at Tufts
On Sunday, February 9, six middle school students participated in a Model UN conference at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. This was a special conference with the focus on a single issue: the Arctic crisis. Delegates from 15 area middle schools had a short preparation period in the morning followed by discussions relating to the Arctic. Students were challenged by various crises being added to the mix in real time. Topics for our delegates included an oil spill in the Arctic, shipping routes, and the safety of native peoples. BDS delegates had thought-provoking and meaningful conversations as they worked to solve these global issues.
Participants were: from grade eight, Miranda Harlow; grade seven, Cameron Colbert, Aaron Radke, and Bonnie Wang; and grade six, Ella Blecher and Lucy Zhang.
New Echo Magazine Is Out!
After weeks this fall and winter compiling submissions, editing, and designing, the latest edition of Echo, the Belmont Day arts and literary magazine has been published! This labor of love is the work of the middle school magazine club and is full of students’ poems, stories, photos, drawings, and paintings. Copies are available in the gallery of the schoolhouse and online here.
Editors for this edition were Elena Ferrari, Rosie Schrag, Alice Shu, Audrey Wu, and Olivia Zhou.
Parents’ Association News
Parent Book Club
Wednesday, February 26 at 8:30 a.m.
Looking for a great book to read over the upcoming school break? Grab The Seine: The River that Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino and then join the parent book club for a lively discussion!
Lower/Middle School PIN Meeting
Monday, March 2 at 9:30 a.m.
Fessenden School, West Newton
The Parents’ Independent School Network (PIN), a non-profit organization of independent schools in the Greater Boston area that provides parent education opportunities for its member schools, will hold a meeting at Fessenden School, 250 Waltham Street, West Newton, MA. Coffee begins at 9 a.m. and the meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.
The topic of discussion will be “Making Caring Common,” an initiative of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in which public and private schools collaborate with Making Caring Common as part of the Caring Schools Network and the Caring Schools #CommonGood campaign. Panelists from schools involved in the Making Caring Common initiative will explore topics such as how schools can help students build healthy relationships and develop key social and emotional skills such as empathy and gratitude, and how schools can help reduce bias, combat sexual harassment, and minimize bullying and other problem behaviors. If you have any questions or would like to carpool, please reach out to PIN chairs: Carolyn Atinizian or Crissy Straub
Upcoming PA Meetings
Please mark your calendars for the last two parents’ association meetings of the school year.
Friday, March 13 (was previously March 6)
Friday, May 15 (was previously May 8)
Volunteers Needed for 2020-21
We are looking for volunteers to oversee the many fabulous roles and committees such as Friday Night Lights, Auction, Book Fair, and many more. The grade parent roles also need to be filled. There are lots of opportunities with varying levels of commitment. 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.
Families and Schools: Partners in Raising Sexually Healthy Kids
Thursday, February 20, at 6:30 p.m.
Shore Country Day School, Beverly
Join the Shore School for a discussion by sexuality educator Deborah Roffman entitled, “Families and Schools: Partners in Raising Sexually Healthy Kids.” One of the many comforting messages is this: the secret to raising sexually healthy children is that there’s no secret! Good parenting is good parenting, and everything important you already know about nurturing healthy, ethical, and capable children applies to this aspect of their development as well. Ms. Roffman will demonstrate how her “5:5” parenting/nurturing model can support parents and teachers in putting “The Developing Child” at the center of the conversation, not the word “sex.” This event is open and free to the public. Click here for more information.
BDS Faculty On TV
Catch Dr. Hoyt on Maine Cabin Masters
Monday, February 24 at 9 p.m.
Our own Dr. Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion, will be appearing on the February 24 episode of Maine Cabin Masters on the DIY Network. In the episode, the crew from the show beautifully transforms one of the cabins at Agassiz Village, an overnight summer camp in West Poland, Maine for disadvantaged youth in the Boston area. Dr. Hoyt is a trustee of Agassiz Village and met his wife, Leslie, at the camp when they were teenagers.