First graders were studying snow (and making snowflakes!) in science this week.
Touchdown for Perseverance
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 26, 2021
As February quietly comes to a close and March begins—like a lion, as they say—it is exciting to consider longer days, warmer temperatures, more time outdoors, and a long-awaited vaccine. Beyond that, I am also excited, or perhaps, more precisely, moved by something far, far away: NASA’s successful landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars last week.
Every few years, an eighth grade student will choose Mars or space exploration as their Capstone topic of study, and I am always fascinated to learn more about galactic pioneering. Invariably, the student presentations have inspired the audience to imagine what one might find on another planet and wonder about the possibility of life there. Last Thursday, it seems people all over this world also imagined that very possibility.
With the news on in the background as I made dinner with my daughter Alden, we both looked up to witness the jubilant NASA control team jumping in celebration and high-fiving upon the Perseverance’s safe landing. Alden, who regularly rails against my news-watching (“It is SO boring!” is her usual refrain), was swept up in the joy and excitement of the achievement. “That is amazing!” she exclaimed. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to go there myself, but still, for people that would, that is really exciting.”
After taking heart that my daughter doesn’t wish to explore other planets any time soon, we talked about all of the work that must have happened to get those scientists this far and the many discoveries that might result from this landing. Through it all, I noticed myself imagining a restored future—one marked by innovation and discovery, collaboration and problem-solving, and, yes, the perseverance it will take to inch closer and closer to recovery here on earth.
Welcome back, everyone. We have liftoff, and here comes March!
If your family wants to learn more about the Perseverance Rover, check out NASA’s excellent website on this mission to Mars.
March 1 to March 20
March is Alumni Giving Challenge Month
Capstone Studio Week, March 1-5
Tuesday, March 2
7–8:30 p.m., Board of Trustees; Zoom Meeting
Friday, March 5
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly; Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, March 9
Middle School Reports Released
5:30–7:00 p.m., Diversity Committee; Zoom Meeting
Wednesday, March 10
10:00 a.m., Parent Book Club; Zoom Gathering
Friday, March 12
Trimester 2 Ends
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents’ Association; Zoom Meeting
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross Graded Partners; Zoom Gathering
Monday, March 15
Trimester 3 Begins
Tuesday, March 16
7–8:15 p.m., Anti-racist Allyship Group for White-identified Parents; Zoom Gathering
7:30 p.m., Kindergarten Parent Mixer; Zoom Gathering
Friday, March 19
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly; Zoom Gathering
Saturday, March 20
7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m., BDS Quest Scavenger Hunt
For all Zoom meetings and gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
BDS Quest Scavenger Hunt: Get Your Team Signed Up!
First Event Will Be Held Saturday, March 20
Haven’t signed up yet for the first BDS Quest Scavenger Hunt Challenge? No worries! Registration has been extended through the weekend! Sign up by this Sunday, February 29 to join in on the fun.
Scroll down to see more information about the entire schedule of BDS Quest and Fest events!
Summer Programs Filling Fast!
We’re pleased to report that the return of our summer programs has been greeted with great enthusiasm and spots are filling quickly. If you wish to enroll a child, we recommend taking a look at the offerings soon as many are at or near capacity. Registration is open for the Swim & Tennis Association, Specialty Camps, Future Leaders, and general camp sessions! Join us for a fun and safe summer 2021 whether you are a camper or a family that needs a place to swim and play. If you have any questions on how COVID protocols will operate this summer, please reach out to [email protected].
Lunch & Snack Menu
March 1 to March 5
Snack: apple slices; pita chips; Goldfish
Lunch: pasta with meat sauce; pasta with marinara; roasted cauliflower; French rolls; Romano cheese; butter; Italian salad; diced peaches; milk and water
Snack: bananas; granola bars
Lunch: turkey chili; veggie chili with quinoa; roasted corn; baked Tostitos; shredded cheese; sour cream; guacamole; salsa; confetti black bean salad; fresh fruit cup; milk and water
Snack: clementines; Cheez-Its
Lunch: crispy cheesy chicken; Mediterranean veggie burgers; sweet potato fries; green beans; ketchup; Greek salad with Romaine; apple slices; milk and water
Snack: apples; Cape Cod chips
Lunch: cheese pizza; breadsticks with marinara; baby carrots; hummus; Caesar salad; fresh fruit cup; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: applesauce; pretzel twists
Tammy Thibault P ‘17 ‘19
We are heartbroken to share the news of the recent passing of Tammy Thibault P ‘17 ‘19. Her death earlier this month is a tremendous loss for all of us in the Belmont Day community. Tammy’s devotion to her family—sons, Ethan Skenderian ‘17 and Dylan Skenderian ‘19, and her husband, Robert Skenderian—and to the importance of education were remarkable and had a profound and lasting impact on our school, its students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni.
As her sons attended BDS, Tammy joyfully took on responsibilities to contribute to this learning environment. She was a passionate advocate for reading and access to books. She volunteered countless hours in the Erskine Library, rolling up her sleeves to dust, clean, shelve books, and train other parent volunteers. For more than a decade, Tammy served as co-chair of the Erskine Library Committee. In that role, she forged relationships between BDS and the Dever and McCormack schools in Boston to donate furniture and technology to those schools’ libraries.
Tammy was also focused on the environment and served on our school’s greening committee–advocating for and promoting our no-idling campaign and composting programs, and volunteering in the BDS garden. She was a constant keeper of recyclables and many classes benefited over the years from her bags of donated items that were turned into student projects.
Beyond her hard work for our school, we remember Tammy for her kind-hearted nature, her calming presence, her wonderful wit and humor, and her thoughtful advocacy for her children’s learning.
We hope you will join us in honoring the life of Tammy Thibault and find comfort in knowing that her work in life lives on in all of us in the Belmont Day community.
A tribute to Tammy is available online and an obituary is expected to be printed in tomorrow’s Boston Globe.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly COVID Testing Update
In our testing after our return from break, we had one positive pool and one subsequent positive individual test. All other tests so far this week have been negative!
Always, if you have any questions, please email me at [email protected].
– Liz LaRocque, school nurse
Cross-Graded Partners Discuss Meaning of Family
On the Friday before February break, students met with their cross-graded partners over Zoom. Together, students read the book Who’s In My Family? by Robie H. Harris. Next, students discussed the question, “What makes a family?” Some ideas that students shared included: families come in all shapes and sizes; they take care of one another; they wish the best for one another; and, even when there are challenging times, families always find a way to connect and show their love for one another. Finally, each cross-graded partner illustrated a picture showing how BDS is like a family. We have collected many of those beautiful drawings in the gallery section of the school’s website! Click here for the gallery.
We are happy to share that pre-kindergarten teacher Kate Oznick is expecting her first child in August. Kate will finish this year and then take a year-long maternity leave. Please join us in wishing Kate and her husband, Craig, many congratulations and warmest wishes as they anticipate welcoming their first child.
A search committee will begin its work soon to find a maternity leave placement for the 2021-22 academic year.
BDS Quest Corner: Get Lost in the Search
Say Yes to the Quest… and Join Us for the Fest!
The Scavenger Hunt Challenges will be held on March 20, April 10, and May 1. Our community event and auction will be held on Saturday, May 15, 2021.
This week’s challenge is to sign up by Sunday, February 29, and increase the chances of your class winning a prize!
Before the February break, the Quest Challenge had two parts. The first was to solve the following riddle:
“Duck, duck, goose! No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to let us loose! Who are we and where are we located?”
The answer was: the “Make Way For Ducklings” statue in the Boston Public Garden.
Our winners were: The Kiraly Family, The Meredith Family, The Baugh Family, and The McKeever Family. All winners will receive a special book and/or game prize. We will contact you directly.
And for the grade with the most families signed up, and the prize won for the whole class, the grade will be announced on Sunday after registration closes.
Have you registered?
Registration has been extended through the weekend. Sign up by this Sunday, February 29 to join us. We have over 50 teams registered and lots of space for more. Registration is quick and easy, so sign up today! The cost for the Quest & Fest is $100 per family and the virtual Fest is $25 per family.
Become a sponsor!
Join us as a sponsor this year. There are many opportunities to promote your business or simply support the community and make our first BDS Quest a success. This year’s fundraiser event has transformed into a family-friendly scavenger hunt challenge and virtual celebration allowing for many new ways to incorporate our sponsors throughout the Quest and Fest. Sponsorship opportunities begin at $250. Kindly respond by Monday, March 15. To become a sponsor, click here and submit the sponsorship form. Click here for sponsorship opportunities.
Only able to join us for the Fest?
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. Proceeds from the event will help defray the cost of winter and spring pool testing.
Third Graders Learn About Animal Adaptations
Third graders in Ms. Twarog’s cohort have been learning how physical and behavioral adaptations help animals to survive. After exploring adaptations that help animals in particular ecosystems, students were tasked with creating their own animals. Each of their animals fit within an existing food web and were adapted to live within one of four major biomes. Some of the adaptations students needed to include for their animals were body coverings to survive in their biome, ways to help them get food, and the ability to defend themselves from predators.
In addition to creating a 3D model of their animal, they also presented their research and optional extensions such as a poster of their animal’s life cycle and models of their animal as an infant. This study and final project guided students to form a deeper appreciation for many different animal species and how they depend on their ecosystem, their physical structure, and their behaviors in order to survive.
– Leigh Twarog, grade 3 teacher
Athletics Update: Five More Weeks of Winter
Belmont Day’s resident groundhog (sightings have been made on Claflin Field) apparently saw his shadow because there are another five weeks of the winter athletics season on tap for our middle school students. With new offerings added to the mix, including badminton, PE games, and pillow polo, athletes will have the opportunity for some playful experiences this session rather than a strict focus on fitness.
This morning, during our winter athletics sharing assembly (click here to see recording), eighth grade leaders Harry Reitshamer, Rosie Schrag, Dana Chang, Elijah Allen, Zephy Borisy, and Ripley Bright did a great job highlighting the first session of winter athletics. Collectively, this group of athletes worked extremely hard during the past five weeks and were selected by their coaches to represent their peers. Congratulations to all of our athletes on a job well done.
– John O’Neill, director of athletics
Fourth Grade Researchers Find Helpful Tools In the Tech
The research process in fourth grade continues to grow and change as we respond to the new challenges brought on by teaching and learning during this unusual time. Students and teachers are finding new ways to use technology as an effective tool that has a positive impact on teaching and learning. Currently, fourth graders have completed the note-taking process and are writing rough drafts of their Egyptian research reports. Students who have completed their draft are working on a Google Slide presentation while waiting for teacher feedback on their writing.
The slide presentation will be used when students present to their classmates at our Ancient Egyptian Symposium. Students often like to look at their rough draft while working on their slide presentation, and some tech-savvy fourth graders realized they could use the split-screen feature on their iPads to look at their report while they work on their slides. This keeps the fourth graders from having to toggle back and forth between two screens on their iPads, and for students, it is often the little things that can make being a student researcher a bit easier.
I have found Google Classroom isn’t just for remote learning, and it can be a useful teaching tool onsite as well. Students are often in different places in the research process; this is natural because most people don’t work at exactly the same pace. Some students just finished note-taking while others have completed a rough draft. This can be a tricky spot as an educator who is trying to balance what a variety of students need. Google Classroom has proved useful in helping to solve this problem. Posting short video tutorials in Google Classroom allows students to get what they need when they need it. It also gives them an opportunity to hear directions more than once and go back to directions or examples if needed. While it will never take the place of all direct instruction, it does provide a much-needed flow for students when we are doing multi-step projects such as this one. It gives more time for one-on-one feedback and instruction, and it allows students to work at their own pace. So while we look forward to masks and sneeze guards being a thing of the past, there are some new strategies and tools that we plan to keep around in the future.
– Lana Holman, grade 4 teacher
Parents’ Association News
Parents Independent School Network (PIN)
Join the Parents Independent School Network (PIN) on Thursday, March 4 from 12 to 1 p.m. The topic of discussion will be “Executive Functioning During the Pandemic: Helping Kids and Parents Meet the Challenges,” and will examine how families and kids are coping with executive functioning challenges during the pandemic and will feature a presentation by Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., MS., who is an internationally recognized ADHD/Executive Function expert. He is the producer and host of the ADHD Essentials Podcast. Brendan helps individuals, families, schools, and businesses manage the challenges of ADHD. His approach blends education, collaborative problem-solving, and accountability, with compassion, humor, and a focus on strengths and growth. Click here to register for the presentation.
Lost & Found
Have you noticed any missing gear during this snowy winter? There are many student items that have been left on campus. If you are missing an item, please complete this form. We will search the Lost & Found bins for the item and it will either be returned to your student or we will be in touch to let you know that we haven’t found it. If it isn’t found at this time, it will stay on the list in case it reappears at a later date.
We are looking for volunteers to donate centerpieces for the cohort rooms for late February and March. 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.
We are excited to welcome the next faculty baby this spring! Please help us welcome first grade teaching assistant Laura Bouchard’s baby with a donation of your favorite book. Books may be dropped off from Monday, March 1 through Friday, March 12 during drop-off or pick-up. There will be collection bins at the front circle and the Barn. Thank you!
Committee Volunteers Needed for 2021-22
We are looking for volunteers to oversee the many fabulous roles and committees such as Family Fun Event, Book Fair, Friendraiser Committee, and many more. 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 the Parent Portal. 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 protected].
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 [email protected].
Panel Discussion: Race, Justice, and the Law
Join Belmont Against Racism on Thursday, March 11 at 7 p.m. for a discussion on race, justice, and the law with Professor Renee Landers and Attorney Raymond Wilkes with moderator Attorney Dovie King. The discussion will explore the history of legislation promoting civil rights, works of restorative justice to right historical wrongs, and what more should be done to promote true equity. This program is co-sponsored by Belmont Against Racism in conjunction with Belmont Public Library’s reading of Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love by E. Dolores Johnson for their Better Through Books: Healing Community Together. Click here to register for this event.