Fourth grade students are bringing the gods and goddesses of the ancient world to life.
Message from Head of School
Excellence Made Visible
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 7, 2020
Happy February everyone!
I have spent the past week thinking a lot about what a whole child education looks like to an outside observer, a visitor to campus, or a prospective parent. This first week of February has offered, as most weeks do, a nice collection of offerings here at BDS to make that vision clear.
On this Spirit Day, as I write decked out in blue and gold for tonight’s Friday Night Hoops match-up, it is impossible not to see the ways in which we work to honor the excellence of our student-athletes. Whether they’re with their classmates in PE or in a game with another middle school team, our student-athletes find joy in their effort to put forth their very best on the court, on the mat, or on the climbing wall.
On Wednesday night, whole child excellence came in the form of a phenomenal display of musical talent as our ensemble performing artists were showcased. The brainchild of a collection of some of the best music teachers in the business–our ensemble instructors–the first annual Ensembles Night featured all six groups with performers from first to eighth grade.
Each and every day, the whole child excellence exhibited in our classrooms is evident. From planets hanging in sixth grade–all an appropriately-ratioed distance from the sun–to Egyptian pyramids in the Erskine Library courtesy of our fourth graders; and from animal tracks welcoming our pre-kindergarteners to their classroom to the Capstone project phase that our eighth graders are designing, evidence of the academic excellence that marks the whole child education at Belmont Day is abundant.
Of course, where the whole child may be nurtured best at BDS is in the social-emotional development and understanding of the child. It is, perhaps, the least immediately visible aspect of a child’s education, and yet it is perhaps the most critical and the most cumulative in its development. It is the magic that occurs from September to June as each new group of teachers comes to know, understand, appreciate, and love each of their students. It is born of the ‘in-between’ moments: a high five to start the day; the jubilant announcement of a finished reading book; the story told at a lunch table; the invitation from a second grade class to the head of school as he passes by; or, simply a thoughtful goodbye as we head into the weekend.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
Radio producer Brian McCreath (BDS P ’17) shares his insights on conducting interviews. The students will soon be interviewing subjects as part of their Capstone projects.
This Coming Week at BDS
February 8 to February 15
Saturday, February 8
9 a.m.–3 p.m., AISNE Middle School Students of Color Conference, Inly School, Scituate
Sunday, February 9
Model UN Intro to Crisis Conference, Tufts University
Monday, February 10
Lunar New Year Observance
Tuesday, February 11
Author Visit: Maria Padian
6:30–8:00 p.m., Middle School Excellence Presentation, Coolidge Hall
Wednesday, February 12
8:15–9:30 a.m., Parent Book Club, Erskine Library
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Varsity Basketball at Carroll; Girls’ Varsity Basketball vs Carroll; Wrestling at Fenn
Thursday, February 13
8:50 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Grade 8 Field Lab, Massachusetts State House, Boston
3:30 p.m., Wrestling at Lexington Christian; Boys’ JV Basketball vs IS of Boston; Fencing vs IS of Boston; Girls’ JV vs IS of Boston
5–6:00 p.m., Drop-In Summer Camp Tour
Friday, February 14
Student Reenrollment Contracts Due
8:15–9:00 a.m., Enrichment Committee, Coolidge Hall
8:15–8:45 a.m., Erskine Library Shelving Social, Erskine Library
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross-graded Partners
10–11:00 a.m., Drop-In Summer Camp Tour
Saturday, February 15
10–11:00 a.m., STEAM Saturdays: Zip Line Engineering, Barn classroom
Friday Night Hoops
TONIGHT! Friday, February 7
Meadowbrook School, 10 Farm Road, Weston
Come cheer on the Blue & Gold as the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams play at Meadowbrook School in the seventh annual winter match-up. The boy’s game will start at 6 p.m., followed by the girls’ game at 7:30 p.m.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Monday, February 10
We look forward to a variety of special activities throughout the school day that will teach the community about Lunar New Year.
The celebration will feature information, activities, and food to expose students to the richness of this significant tradition celebrated in China and other countries. Providing enrichment activities that introduce customs and traditions from around the world adds a valuable layer of global education to our overall program.
We will take advantage of informal gathering times—Early Birds, lunch periods, and recess—to engage students in fun and exciting cultural activities.
Middle School Excellence Presentation
Tuesday, February 11
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Coolidge Hall
Join us to learn about the benefits and value of our middle school program from a panel of faculty, parents, and students.
They will speak about what to expect and look forward to during the middle school years, the importance of the eighth grade experience at Belmont Day, and the preparation provided for students and families as they consider options for high school. There will also be time for questions and breakout groups with panelists.
Rising second, third, fourth, and fifth grade families are especially encouraged to attend. All are welcome!
Snacks, soft drinks, and coffee will be served.
Early Dismissal Before February Break
Please be aware that the final dismissal for after school will be at 3:30 p.m on Friday, February 14. Please plan accordingly—the program will close promptly at 3:45 p.m. for the start of the February vacation week.
Lunch & Snack Menu
February 10 to February 14
Snack: Cheez-Its; fruit cup
Lunch: Asian chicken dumplings with plum sauce; edamame veggie dumplings; steamed broccoli; fortune cookies; bok choy and spinach salad with soy vinaigrette
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: chicken stew; vegan soup alternative; costa winter blend with baby spinach; biscuits; mixed greens with sherry vinaigrette and feta cheese
Snack: Tostitos; apples
Lunch: beef hot dogs; veggie hot dog; ketchup, mustard, and relish; seasoned green beans; potato chips; coleslaw
Snack: Smartfood; clementines
Lunch: BDS Valentine’s alphabet soup; Mr. Burchill’s grilled cheese; peas and diced carrots; chef’s choice salad
Snack: craisins; Go-Gurt
Helping Students Navigate Their Digital World
Discussion with Dr. Devorah Heitner
Thursday, March 19 at 7 p.m.
Mark your calendar! In March, we will be hosting Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World. Dr. Heitner will offer parents information about key media issues and suggestions for discussing these with your child(ren). She will discuss Internet use at various ages, navigating friendships, and exclusion in the age of texting and social media, as well as understanding privacy, digital footprint, and navigating distraction. This event is open to all BDS parents and faculty. Dr. Heitner will be at BDS during the school day to work with students.
Re-enrollment Contracts Reminder
We want to remind families that re-enrollment contracts for the 2020-2021 school year were sent by Fred Colson, director of finance, last weekend via an email from DocuSign. Please be sure to review and electronically sign your contract by next Friday, February 14 at 11:00 a.m. Also, in order to complete the process, we need to receive your deposit by next Friday.
Several parents/guardians in two-parent/guardian families have asked if both need to sign the contract. The answer is yes. In order to complete the process, both parents/guardians need to sign the contract and one must choose a payment method.
Finally, an earlier email said the 2020-2021 bus enrollment form would be sent with the re-enrollment contracts. Due to a last-minute process change, those forms will be sent shortly.
If you were expecting a contract but have not received one, please contact Fred at [email protected] or 617-932-3886. Please contact Fred if you have any questions or difficulties signing the contract.
Veteran Wrestlers Shine against Belmont Hill
In only their second year on the mat, Belmont Day tri-captains Xander Lightbody, Evan Seymour, and Theo von Gottberg all wrestled strong this week against Belmont Hill. Lightbody and von Gottberg both recorded big wins, while Seymour lost a heartbreaker after a gritty performance. Seventh grade standouts Issac Frehywot and Harry Reitshamer also shined for the Blue & Gold despite some challenging matchups. Frehywot won his only match with a pin in the second after catching his opponent with a cradle. Reitshamer split his two matches, finishing the day 1-1 and looking impressive in both. The team finishes off their regular season next week on the road against Fenn and LCA.
More Athletics News
- Ana McEleney (5-4) and Aviva Pearlmutter-Bearson (5-3) earned hard fought victories during fencing’s 18-9 win over BB&N this week. Anisah Jordan’s 5-4 win was her first of the season.
- The girls’ JV basketball team improved to 6-1 after a pair of wins this week. Nora O’Brien had a breakout game against Nashoba. Shireen Griffith-Ebrahimi played great D against Carroll.
- Jake Walsh had a big week for boys’ JV basketball, tallying nine blocks against Fenn and 11 rebounds versus Carroll. Henry Monroe was a “spark plug” off the bench with some terrific defensive play.
- The girls’ varsity basketball team lost 27-25 in OT against DCD this week. Kiki Friedbauer was strong on the boards and Margot Klug played lockdown D on the opposition’s best player.
- The boys’ varsity basketball team’s comeback fell four points short against DCD this week. Owen Khanna’s 13 points led the way for BDS. Cole Sparks set the tone defensively.
- The Gold squad won their fourth straight match this week. Kenna Schneider (Blue) and Olivia Zhou both played well at the net. Bella Lightbody had a great game for Blue.
Mural Helps Set the Scene in Fourth Grade
Fourth grade is creating a mural in their classroom, a collaboration between the art teacher and social studies teacher. Earlier this year, the students were given the challenge to create a design for a backdrop for the storytelling corner that is set up in their classroom year-round. The storytelling traditions of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, and creative writing are all part of the fourth grade curriculum.
Given the range of stories that may be told in this area, students were asked to consider a design idea that was timeless, open-ended, and could serve as a background for any story. The classroom mural is a combination of ideas presented by the fourth grade students. Using latex paint, students first created a base coat in each area of the design. Next, they applied details and textures using various techniques using brushes, crumpled paper, and cloth.
The storytelling stage will be one of three stages highlighted at the Greek Festival in April. In May and June, students will have opportunities to tell their own stories through a new, Moth-inspired storytelling unit.
The opportunity for families to directly observe and engage in their child’s learning in the classroom is a rare and welcome one. We often hear from families that classroom visits help connect them with their child, their learning spaces, and the curriculum. For educators, classroom visits can provide a showcase for the underlying structures, intentional decisions, and developmental theory behind curriculum design.
We have been hard at work designing a new structure for family visits that will provide a richer and more authentic experience for everyone, along with more detailed information about classroom programs. Please be on the lookout for an invitation from your grade-level teachers. If you have any questions, please reach out to Lower School Head Minna Ham or Middle School Head Liz Gray.
See “The Apple” on Stage
Friday, February 27 at 3:45 p.m.
Palandjian Arts Center
Don’t miss the theatrical event of the trimester! The enrichment drama club, Center Stage Players, proudly presents the sassy and satirical production of “The Apple.” The play deals with the perceptions that people create 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 BDS families and faculty. We’ll see you there!
Chess Students Compete in Tournament!
Four of our chess enrichment students competed in a tournament called the “Winter Team Challenge,” held recently in Burlington. The students were up against very skilled players and initially lost several rounds only to make a major come back in the end. Mr. Foygel, our chess enrichment instructor, was impressed and thrilled to have his students exploring this game of strategy in a competitive environment outside of BDS.
WORLD LANGUAGES NEWS
French Students Write to Mayor of Paris
Grade eight French students wrapped up a unit about house and home with an activity focused on the issue of homelessness in Paris and Boston. The students read an article in French and one in English on the issue. We learned about Pine Street Inn in Boston and a shelter in Paris. The students then designed the elements of a homeless shelter that would provide visitors with what they need, both tangibles and intangibles. We wrote letters to the Mayor of Paris, Madame Anne Hidalgo, and sent her our suggestions this week via the City of Paris website. It will be interesting to see what responses we may receive. If you’d like to see the students’ letters, they are on display in the Kiva.
– Jennifer Friborg, grades 7 & 8 French teacher
LITERARY & ARTS NEWS
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Recognizes BDS Students
Three Belmont Day grade eight students were recently honored in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The program recognizes the talent of our nation’s youth and provides opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. Young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, video game artists and science fiction writers, along with the educators who support and encourage the creative process are recognized for excellence annually.
- Kiki Friedbauer: Gold Key (Drawing & Illustration) for “One’s On” (pictured)
- Elizabeth Amaratunga: Gold Key (Poetry) for “Ballad of a Galaxy Cat”
- Elena Ferrari: Silver Keys (Flash Fiction) for “Nail Fire” and “A Path Made of Midnight” and Honorable Mentions (Poetry)
LOST & FOUND NEWS
Check the Bins Before Break
The mild winter has students shedding layers and occasionally losing track of a few of them. The blue lost and found bins located across the hall from the faculty room are now bursting with misplaced items. As we approach the February break, please take a look through to see if you and your child(ren) may just be reunited with a missing item or two.
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.
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!
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 protected].
Parent Lecture Series
Systematic Racism and the Legacy of Education
Wednesday, February 12, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Chenery Middle School, Belmont
Please join the Belmont After School Enrichment Collaborative and Belmont Beyond Racism for the 2020 Parent Lecture Series, Through the Lens: Envisioning Equitable Education Through Action and Community. The next guest speaker will be Stella Panzarella, LLM, director and co-founder of the Anti-Racism Collaborative and an anti-oppression organizer in the greater Boston area. With historical and systemic models for reference and a dash of memes for good measure, our speaker will take attendees on a journey of lens-building and reframing of an understanding of racism and oppression within and beyond the Belmont community. This workshop is designed to support a nuanced understanding of the multiple levels of oppression pertaining to equity in education. This presentation includes pauses for reflection, dialog, and Q&A. For more information, click here.
STEM Summer Scholarships
Digital Media Academy is offering hundreds of scholarships for students ages 9 to 18 to attend summer STEM programs in 2020. Digital Media Academy is the leading provider of STEM education in North America, delivering hands-on, project-based learning experiences with industry-standard programs and equipment. Founded at Stanford in 1999 and now based at Harvard, the organization has over 20 years of experience in STEM education. Scholarship opportunities inspire a lifelong passion and career in the technology sector. For more information and to apply, click here.
Friday, February 14, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Phillips Academy, Andover
Through her activism and scholarship over the last decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in our nation’s quest for social justice. Her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public sphere—has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. Davis teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she is the Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary PhD program, and of Feminist Studies. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.
Free KIBO Robotics Play Sessions
Session A: February 18-19 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Session B: February 20-21 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Tufts University’s DevTech Research Group in Medford will host a free two-day KIBO robotics lesson and play session for 5- to 7-year olds who have previous experience with KIBO. Their participation will be part of an ongoing study trying to understand the relationship between children’s programming skills and their language ability. For more information and to sign up, click here.