Enjoying the unseasonably warm winter weather on Big Blue!
Message from Head of School
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 8, 2019
You can find this week’s Blue Handprint Studios audio below:
Last week in this space, I wrote about the AISNE accreditation 5-year visit. The team spent the better part of Monday visiting with us and left offering kind words about the thoughtful work being done, both in response to the AISNE recommendations and, more broadly, at our school. It is always great to have an opportunity to showcase the school to folks from outside the campus, and Monday felt particularly good in light of all the work the school has done in the past five years.
Recommendation 5 encourages us to take a fresh look at our Statement of Purpose—a powerful, important, and long-standing artifact for our school. We will approach this recommendation by engaging a mission subcommittee of the strategic planning committee to author the school’s first mission statement through an inclusive, community-wide process scheduled to take place over the next four months.
Last night at the annual board-faculty dinner and again this morning at the parents’ association meeting, we started this process by looking to the future, and imagining what might be on the minds of our school community in 2027, when the centennial graduates of Belmont Day will receive their diplomas. Then we considered where we are today. In an exercise designed by the Greenwich Leadership Partners and Stephanie Rogen, we filled countless sticky notes and ‘big paper’ with a wonderful diversity of thought and opinion among the various constituencies represented at the dinner—trustees, faculty, parents, and alumni.
We considered the following:
How will parents, alumni, faculty, and students describe their BDS experience in 2027?
What will have changed since the winter of 2019?
What will have been preserved? Why?
We also looked at where we are today:
What is the educational promise we make to families in 2019?
What approaches to learning are we putting forth?
What unique or special learning opportunities do we promote?
What do we say about our culture and community through our traditions, our school-wide events, or our board, parent, and faculty committees?
The answers were far-ranging but entirely fulfilling. They were a testament to the passionate belief in all that we aspire to do here on behalf of children, and always kept the experience of our students at the fore.
What comes next will be a design-oriented process of data gathering, discovery, brainstorming, iteration, prototyping, and testing our results. We will begin the initial drafting process next week at the committee level and bring our ideas back to the community multiple times throughout the spring. Most notably, keep an eye on the March calendar for some focus group opportunities to offer your feedback and insight into our work. Ultimately, the goal of the subcommittee will be to have a draft to submit to the board for consideration at the end of the school year. Between now and then, we will need your help and will be asking for it frequently.
Thank you in advance for your hard work. And have a great weekend.
P.S. Patriots. Super Bowl Champs. That means our eighth grade students will have witnessed ten local professional sports championships in their young lifetimes. Not bad.
Teamwork on a math problem during Lower School Parents’ Visiting Day.
This Coming Week at BDS
February 11 through February 15
Monday, Febuary 11
8:15–9:00 a.m., Erskine Library Committee, Erskine Library
Tuesday, February 12
8:15–9:15 a.m., Head of School Forum, Coolidge Hall
3:30 p.m., Boys’ JV Basketball VS SSDS; Girls’ JV Basketball vs SSDS
6:30–8:30 p.m., Film Screening: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Coolidge Hall
Wednesday, February 13
8:45–9:45 a.m., Grade 1 100th Day of School Celebration, Coolidge Hall
3:30 p.m., Girls’ Varsity Basketball at Carroll; Wrestling at Beaver; Boy’s Varsity Basketball vs Carroll; Fencing vs Beaver
6:30–8:00 p.m., Parent Workshop on Executive Functioning, Erskine Library
Thursday, February 14
12:00–1:00 p.m., Middle School Poetry Slam
1:30–2:15 p.m., Author Visit: Holly Goldbery Sloan and Meg Wolitzer, Palandjian Arts Center
3:30 p.m., Wrestling at Fessenden; Boys’ JV Basketball vs ISB; Fencing vs ISB; Girls’ JV Basketball vs ISB
5–6:00 p.m., Drop-In Camp Tour
Friday, February 15
Student Re-enrollment Contracts Due
8:30–9:30 a.m., Grade 5 Play, Palandjian Arts Center
10:00–11:30 a.m., Admissions Casual Friday
4:00 p.m., After School Program Closes
*Reminder: School will be closed for February Vacation, February 18–22, and will also be closed of Monday, February 25 for faculty professional development. School will re-open on Tuesday, February 26.
Authors Visit BDS
Thursday, February 14
1:30–2:15 p.m., Palandjian Arts Center
Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer will present to students in grades four and up.
Holly Goldberg Sloan is a film director, producer, screenwriter, and author of the middle grade books Counting By 7s and Short, both New York Times bestsellers. Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Interestings, The Uncoupling, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel Belzhar.
Ms. Sloan and Ms. Wolitzer have collaborated on a soon-to-be-released new book for young readers: To Night Owl From Dogfish.
If you have questions, please contact librarian Amy Sprung.
After School Program Schedule
On Friday, February 15 the after school program will close early. The final dismissal will be from 3:30 to 3:45 p.m., and the program will close promptly at 4:00 p.m. Please plan accordingly, and if you have any questions contact Blair Fross.
Grade 5 Play
Friday, February 15
8:50–9:35 a.m., Palandjian Arts Center
Fifth grade will present “Princess Who?”, a fun-filled, fairy-tale mystery of a young girl who wakes up in the woods with no memory! Adventures and laughter follow as she makes her way through the Misty Forest, meeting many recognizable characters along the way, each providing a new clue to her true identity. Don’t miss this must-see show!
Lunch & Snack Menu
February 11 to February 15
Snack: Cheez-Its; fruit cups
Lunch: gemelli with creamy tomato sauce; steamed broccoli; soft wheat rolls; kale salad
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: chicken stew; Costa winter blend with baby spinach; biscuits; mixed greens with sherry vinaigrette and feta cheese
Snack: Nutri-Grain bars; apples
Lunch: beef hot dogs; veggie hot dogs; ketchup, mustard and relish; seasoned green beans; potato chips; coleslaw
Snack: Smartfood; clementines
Lunch: BDS Valentine’s Day tomato soup; Mr. Burchill’s grilled cheese; peas and diced carrots; chef’s choice salad
Snack: raisins; GoGurt
Shop at Wilson Farm for BDS
Mark your calendar for a wonderful opportunity to pick up some fruits and vegetables, gardening supplies, flowers, and so much more while benefitting Belmont Day! On Thursday, February 28 20% of your total purchase will be donated to BDS. Organized by the parents’ association, all funds raised will go toward supporting events and programs at the school.
REMINDER: RE-ENROLLMENT CONTRACTS DUE NEXT FRIDAY
We want to remind families that re-enrollment contracts for 2019-2020 were sent earlier this week via an email from DocuSign. Please be sure to review and electronically sign your contract by Friday, February 15 at 11:00 a.m. Also, in order to complete the process, we need to receive your deposit by next Friday.
Some have asked if both parents in two-parent/guardian families must 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.
If you did not receive a contact, please contact Fred Colson at email@example.com or 617-932-3886. Also feel free to contact Fred if you have any questions or difficulties signing the contract. Thank you!
Fencing Sits at 5-1 with Two to Go
John O’Neill, Director of Athletics
The fencing program’s record for wins in a season is six. This year’s team currently sits at 5-1 with two matches on the schedule next week. The first of those matches is against Beaver Country Day, a team Belmont Day has already seen twice, losing the first (15-12) and winning the second (14-13). To have a chance at the record, the team will need standout performances from their most talented fencers, including Henry Buckley-Jones, Ashley Luo, and Paul Lyons. Over the course of the season, these three athletes have been instrumental to the team’s success, both on and off the strip and have set a great example for their less experienced teammates.
More Athletics News
- The wrestling team took eight out of 10 matches against Lexington Christian Academy this week. Highlights included Cameron Colbert’s win by pinfall with a cross-face cradle and Evan Seymour’s dominating performance.
- After taking a one-point lead into the half against Shady Hill, the girls’ varsity basketball team finished with an 18-point win. Camille DeStefano and Julia Clayton combined for half the team’s points.
- Owen Finnerty logged serious minutes on the wing and netted a pair of important three’s during boys’ varsity’s 43-42 loss at Shady Hill this week. Owen Khanna had a solid defensive game.
- Kendree Chen has evolved into a confident and consistent player for the badminton team this winter, thanks in part to her ability to force her opponent deep and then use a drop shot for the point.
- Elena Dainora Cohen, Mina Cho, and Jazmin Cruz have all improved significantly over the course of the season and are prepared to continue their volleyball careers in high school.
- The girls’ JV basketball team hung tough against a talented Carroll squad, eventually losing 24-18. Milly Noble and Kiki Friedbauer played great on both ends of the floor.
- Toby Gauld knocked down a big three during boys’ JV basketball’s 34-17 loss at Carroll this week. Alexander Colangelo led all scorers. Henry Monroe was solid on the defensive end.
Fourth Grade Artists Create Beaded Bracelets
Kathy Jo Solomon, Visual Art Teacher
Fourth graders are learning about indigenous designs and artworks from the Americas. After looking at various examples, they were inspired to develop repeating geometric patterns, and are now using beading looms to create bracelets based on their own unique designs. To see more photos of the students creating the bracelets, visit our website.
Students Attend AISNE Conference
This past Saturday, eight students (Elijah Allen, Alexander Colangelo, Breah Legrand,
PHYSICAL EDUCATION NEWS
February Is a Month for Reflection and Action!
During February, we honor Black History Month, Heart-Health Month, and National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The physical education department is taking
Black History Month is a great way for all to celebrate, reflect on, and understand the stories of those athletes who broke barriers and changed society through their actions in sport.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day (Wednesday, February 6) was a way for us to highlight how Title IX has impacted sports. We welcomed a number of guests in PE to celebrate the day, including director of
In pre-k and kindergarten, students have been working with the parachute and hula hoops and improving their rolling and tossing skills. In grades one to four, students are learning about endurance and how to work their heart at a level that is above their normal heart rate for an extended period of time. In fifth grade, students are being introduced to wrestling and fencing, which is a great way to prepare them as they consider their sports options for the middle school.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
From Liz LaRocque, School Nurse
BDS has been fortunate to partner with the McLean School Nurse Liaison Project, offering us a myriad of resources and consultation this winter. This thoughtful article on validation is from the project’s coordinator, Julie Love:
Yet another word we use without really understanding what it means. We know that invalidating is bad, but don’t realize how often we do it, even when we’re trying to be supportive. First and foremost, “validation” does NOT mean “agreeing with.” This mistake poses a serious barrier, as people struggle – “I can’t validate that, it’s wrong!” If someone tells us they feel like a complete failure, we rush in with examples of their accomplishments – thus telling them that they’re even a failure at having the “right” feelings. If someone accuses us of harming them, we defensively insist that we didn’t, and so cause more pain by denying the pain they are expressing. It’s the pain you have to listen to. To validate, first you need to look past the words, past the content, and hear the emotions. That’s what needs validation.
Some ground rules:
- Emotions are neither right nor wrong, they simply are.
- “Should” does not apply to feelings.
- Everyone gets to have their own emotions.
- Another person’s feelings do not have to match yours.
- Another person’s different emotional reaction doesn’t negate yours.
Now take a guess at the feeling being expressed, and simply acknowledge it:
- “I can’t do anything right!” (“It sounds like you’re really frustrated.”)
- “You picked me when I didn’t know the answer just to make me look stupid!” (“I can see you were embarrassed, and now you are mad at me.”)
- “It’s stupid Herbert’s fault we lost the game! I hate him!” (“You care a lot about this sport, and are disappointed you lost the game.”)
There’s a place later in the conversation to look at conflicting facts, encourage a person to consider other viewpoints, or work on developing a sense of proportion. But you’ll never get to that part of the conversation if you start by telling them, indirectly but
clearly, that you aren’t listening to them and their feelings are wrong or don’t matter.
– Julie Love, Director
And here is an excellent TED talk about validation.
LOST & FOUND
Reminder: All Unclaimed Items Left by February Vacation Will Be Donated
We’re all looking forward to February vacation week. But before we start the week off from school, we ask you to please do one thing: check the Lost & Found bins! All unclaimed items left in the Lost & Found after next Friday will be donated to Cradles to Crayons. The bins are located above the cubbies in the hallway across from the new faculty room in the Schoolhouse … and they are overflowing with unclaimed items!
Update on Tufts Engineer-In-Residence Partnership
In the fall of 2018, Director of Technology Dolly Ryan established a relationship with the Tufts Center for Engineering, Education
Using the Personal Learning Community (PLC) model teachers self-selected to be part of a
Kurt Robinson, innovation and art teacher, and Amy Sprung, librarian, have each taken on leadership roles within the group to help coordinate schedules, foster discussions, identify needs and prepare for the upcoming professional development day. Also, in mid-January, we completed our site visit as part of the application process for a grant from the McCluskey Foundation in support of this initiative.
Parents’ Association News
Parent Book Club
Please join us to discuss Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover on Wednesday, February 27 from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. in the Erskine Library. Refreshments will be provided. Please contact Nareeluck Stephenson with any questions.
Shop at Wilson Farm Day
ALL DAY! Thursday, February 28, Wilson Farm in Lexington
PA Nominations Open
The parents’ association is seeking individuals who would like to serve a two-year term on the PA executive committee from June 2020 to June 2022.
The vice president serves for one year and then becomes president of the PA the following year. The vice president is the coordinator for all grade parents serving on behalf of the school and also assists the president in carrying out his or her duties. The vice president also attends monthly PA and PA executive committee meetings.
The treasurer serves for two years. Duties include attending monthly PA and PA executive committee meetings, preparing an annual financial statement and PA budget, collecting annual dues, retaining custody of and disbursing funds.
Both of these positions offer wonderful opportunities for involvement and influence in our school community. We encourage you to nominate individuals who you believe will represent the voices of our parent body. Self-nominations are strongly welcomed and encouraged!
Nominations may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or may be placed in the PA Box in the school foyer until Thursday, March 7, 2019. The nominating committee will review all nominations, and the final slate will be announced on April 12, 2019. Elections will be held at the corporation meeting on May 16, 2019.
If you have any questions, please contact any member of the nominating committee: Crissy Straub (PA president 2019-20), Katherine Sayn-Wittgenstein (outgoing PA president), Elise Bayard (clerk 2018-20), Tyl Pattisall (outgoing treasurer), Catalina Guillermety (current board member), Elliot Targum (former PA president) and Augusta Sparks (former PA president).
Seeking Business Sponsors!
Do you own or know a business who may be interested in sponsorship opportunities?
As a sponsor of Wonder, we will put your business in front of the Belmont Day community of families, faculty, and staff of more than 300 people who will learn of your commitment to support our school. Learn more about the support levels that are available.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our current Wonder sponsors, which include:
Carolyn Atinizian & John Yardemian P’27
One2One Bodyscapes Personal Training
Gail Roberts, Ed Feijo & Team
MANDARINA Interior Design Studio
Keller Williams – Boston and Cambridge Homes, LLC
OTA The Koomar Center
Red Apple Farm
A Day at the Opera
Gluck: Paride Ed Elena
Friday, February 15, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 17, 2 p.m.
Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston
Odyssey Opera’s fully staged production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s third reformed opera telling the story of the events between the Judgment of Paris and his flight with Helen to Troy. Catch Belmont Day after school violin teacher Sonia Deng as a member of the orchestra for this exciting production. For more information and tickets, visit Odyssey Opera.
BDS Student to Perform in Dance Production Celebrating Black History Month
Sankofa: Past | Present | Future
Saturday, February 16, 5 p.m.
Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road,
The Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts and A. Major Dance Company will present a Black History Month tribute, “Sankofa: Past | Present | Future,” a celebration of African-American history from past to present day. BDS second grader Kali Owens-Schwartz will perform a part in this stunning production. Tickets are $30 each and are available online.
Science on Saturday
Teaching Computers to See, Play, and Think
Saturday, March 2, 10–11:00 a.m.
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Explore how computers see the world using cameras and other sensors, and how deep learning helps computers and robots know what’s going on around them. Computers are also playing video games to learn how to explore the world! There will be exciting demos of computer vision, augmented reality, and video games used in current machine learning and artificial intelligence research to build self-driving cars, smarter voice assistants, and even basketball-playing robots! Recommended for ages 5-17. For more information and registration, please visit Science on Saturday.
Lecture: Perils of Perfectionism
Wednesday, February 27, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
The Winsor School, Boston
In a community of high-achievers, the unrealistic pressures that teens put on themselves can leave them feeling as though nothing they do ever measures up to their ideal. If unchecked, the drive to be “perfect”-intellectually, socially, physically-can lead to a perilous spiral. Join a panel of experts for a special evening on the “Perils of Perfectionism.” The diverse panelists will guide us in understanding ways to create healthier and more balanced perceptions of success for our children-and ourselves. This event is free and open to all. For more information and to RSVP visit the event website.
Parent Lecture Series
The Belmont After School Enrichment Collaborative and the Belmont Public Schools will present the 5th Annual Parent Lecture Series with three speakers in March, April, and May. The topic this year is “Thriving in a Diverse World: Raising Racially Aware Children.” The lectures are free and open to all. For more information, visit the
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