Seventh grade Spanish students learn the words for various articles of clothing by designing and sharing fashions.
Message from Head of School
Learning From the Complicated Legacy of Dr. Seuss
Brendan Largay, Head of School Post Date: February 28, 2020
I haven’t yet met the person who can’t recall with vivid detail their earliest encounters with the joyful and lyrical language of Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel, affectionately known as Dr. Seuss. His stories shaped the memories for so many of their earliest days as a reader and learner. They playfully tumble from the lips of parents reading Yertle the Turtle or Horton Hears a Who to their children.
For me, the story of The Lorax—that curious and rather crotchety old orange creature that emerges from a fallen Truffula Tree telling of the perils of mistreating the environment—is more than a mere childhood memory. The bright colors, whimsical artwork, and delightful rhythm and rhyme of Seuss’s tales are reminders of the nature of childhood itself. His work often offers a clear depiction of right and wrong, and perhaps more remarkably, also explores the gray area between. Indeed, who doesn’t appreciate the arrival of Thing #1 and Thing #2, even as they terrorize the home and bathtub of the children who so adore them?
This personal connection has provided important context for me as an educator, especially in recent years, where the legacy of Dr. Seuss has become more complicated. The review of his now-infamous artwork, drawn before the days of Mulberry Street or The Sneetches, has been recognized as politically charged and racist. Several articles have explored the complicated legacy of this man and his works. As each emerged, I felt a terrible discomfort as some of my fondest childhood memories were reshaped by the history of the man who crafted them. As the challenge to Seuss’s legacy became more visible to the common eye of the public, so too did Seuss’s public apology—referenced here—in which he took account for his work, and how he had grown, changed, and learned since those days.
As an educator, the power of a growth mindset, of the ability to move forward and learn from the mistakes we have made, allows me to take comfort in an apology that restored my faith in Bartholomew Cubbins.
As we embark on several celebrations of Dr. Seuss’s work here at Belmont Day, let’s consider the cognitive and emotional dissonance that results from awareness of the injury and pain inflicted by a beloved author. There is tension between the man, his work, and his legacy. I believe that this complexity contributes to the value of teaching of Dr. Seuss. For kindergarteners and first graders who will celebrate Seuss week, their journey of language, art, and wonder will be something to behold. Whether our students arrive at school with wockets in their pockets or with socks on a fox, they will revel in the study of language and literacy with a most joyful guide. Earlier this year, third graders explored social justice and social bias with The Sneetches, a story that makes conversations around similarity and difference accessible to students. It is hard not to see the irony of Seuss’s legacy there. Our seventh and eighth grade actors will present Seussical JR. in March. For middle schoolers, whether through performance or discussion, the layers of Seuss make great fodder for an intellectual debate of whether one can grow beyond their complicated legacy, and to what extent they are accountable for their earliest actions.
Through it all, however, one thing is certain, with Dr. Seuss, there is no telling all the places you’ll go.
Parents, guests, and faculty shared in the activities and fun as first graders celebrated passing 100 days of school.
March 2–6: Athletics Mud Week & Capstone Studio Week
Monday, March 2 6:30 p.m., Open Forum on COVID-19 Preparedness, Coolidge Hall
Tuesday, March 3 7–9 p.m., Board of Trustees, the Barn
Thursday, March 5 8:30 a.m., Pre-kindergarten Visiting Morning
Friday, March 6 8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly 6 p.m., Steppingstone Foundation Retreat begins
Saturday, March 7
11 a.m., Steppingstone Foundation Retreat ends
Cradles to Crayons Collection Starts March 9
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. A collection container will be on campus beginning Monday, March 9. We are seeking gently used children’s clothing (up to size adult medium), shoes (up to size 11) and books (for children ages 0-12). 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 sorting event will take place on Sunday, April 5 in the Barn Gymnasium. Stay tuned for more details!
Forum: Coronavirus Prevention & Planning
Monday, March 2 6:30 p.m. in Coolidge Hall Join us for an open forum with members of the administrative team and school nurse Liz LaRocque who will answer your questions and address your concerns.
Lunch & Snack Menu
March 2 to March 6
Monday Snack: BBQ Lays chips Lunch: spaghetti with meatballs and vegan meatballs; roasted Mediterranean vegetables; garlic bread; Italian style salad
The theater department is proud to announce that tickets for Seussical JR. are now available! Tickets are free and can be reserved by clicking here. Please note that seating is limited and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Performance dates are Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 at 6 p.m.
Boys’ Varsity Basketball Graduates Nine Eighth Graders
Following back-to-back winning seasons, the boys’ varsity basketball team will need to rebuild next year. A program-record nine eighth grade players were on the roster this winter, and their experience will be sorely missed moving forward. Led by four multi-year varsity players—Owen Finnerty, Owen Khanna, Miles Sandoski, and Davin Roy—the success of this year’s team was predicated on the camaraderie between a tight group of classmates. The team’s season was highlighted by a dramatic two-point win over Meadowbrook at Friday Night Hoops, a memory that this group of eighth graders will take with them for a lifetime.
More Athletics News
The athletics season shifts into Mud Week where middle schoolers will embark on a variety of activities including Capstone studio time, the musical, and a sixth grade badminton tournament.
The spring season kicks off on Monday, March 16 with boys’ lacrosse, girls’ lacrosse, track & field, tennis, ultimate, and intramural games all on tap for our middle school athletes.
Students Develop Range of Woodworking Skills
Students in the woodworking studio experience a broad range of lessons as their skills develop from first grade through eighth. In first grade, students recently completed work on some very colorful pencil holders which they designed and created. Students in grades seven and eight are making progress on learning the intricate art of wood carving. Visit our website to see more photos of the students’ work.
ASSOCIATE TEACHER NEWS
ATP Alumni Newsletter Launched
We are excited to present the first edition of the Associate Teacher Program Alumni Newsletter! With over 200 graduates, the Associate Teacher Program (ATP) has been a staple of the Belmont Day School community for almost twenty years. We started this newsletter to give our program graduates and the larger Belmont Day School community a chance to stay up to date on the ATP’s current happenings, as well as a peek at where our associates have been since they left BDS. Click here to see the newsletter.
Registration Now Open for Spring Trimester
Registration for the spring trimester of enrichment classes is now open until Friday, March 13. Registration and enrollment materials were emailed to families over the February vacation. 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.
March Madness Class Challenge Tips Off on March 1
We are excited to launch our second annual alumni giving challenge, the March Madness Class Challenge, on Sunday, March 1! This year, we are shaking things up with a new philanthropic-spirited competition that mirrors college basketball’s iconic tournament. Each alumni class will compete against one another to reach 100% participation toward the Belmont Day Annual Fund.
If you are a BDS alumnus/a and have already made a gift this school year, your donation will count toward your class total for the challenge, and parents of alumni are welcome to make gifts on behalf of their graduates. Gifts in any amount count toward participation and support Belmont Day while helping to move the class one step closer to victory! Click here to donate today, and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram for videos, posts, and updates on the challenge.
Childcare Available During Workshop
On March 19, we will host Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World. Dr. Heitner will work with students in grades five to eight during the school day. That evening at 6:30 p.m. she will offer a workshop for parents. In preparation for the workshop check out this podcast from NPR’s Life Kit: parenting series.
Childcare will be provided. To register your child, please contact Dolly Ryan no later than Tuesday, March 17. Children will enjoy activities and a pizza dinner in the Erskine Library. If your child cannot eat pizza, please provide an alternate meal for them.
All are welcome to join the parent book club! There will be coffee, tea, pastries, and lively conversation on our next book, Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore. We hope to see you there! Any questions please contact Nareeluck Stephenson.
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
Friday, May 15
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living Democracy – Frances Moore Lappe and Adam Eichen Sunday, March 1, 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. First Church in Belmont, Parish Hall, 404 Concord Avenue
Join in a conversation between generations when Frances Moore Lappé, author of 18 books including Diet for a Small Planet and activist and organizer Adam Eichen, discuss their book, Daring Democracy, which includes finding solutions to our current crisis. This event is presented by Belmont Against Racism. For more information, visit their website.
Mystic Chorale Concerts Saturday, February 29 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m. Converse Hall, Tremont Temple, 88 Tremont Street, Boston
The Mystic Chorale continues its 30th anniversary celebration with the gospel concert, Mystic Chorale: Raise the Praise, with special guest artist Athene Wilson. The 250-voice chorale, which includes BDS French teacher Natalie Pellenq, will present two joyful and spirit-filled concerts. The concerts will include a diverse mix of spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel classics, and some hand-clapping favorites—all united by themes of love and hope. For more information and tickets, click here.