Seventh graders making music together in Ms. Kitamura’s class this week!
A Reluctant Walk Down Memory Lane
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: January 29, 2021
Prepare yourself, everyone.
My best guess is that narratives about ‘all that we have lost’ and how things used to be will begin to dominate social media platforms, newscasts, and newspapers and pop up in the reminders on our smartphones in February.
February 2020 was the last month, locally, when things still ‘felt normal.’ We were still going out to restaurants, live sporting events, concerts, theater performances, and places of worship and enjoying countless other things that now seem like vestiges of another life. So much has changed since then. As such, I offer some guidance on navigating the pending onslaught of memories from a different time for yourself and your child.
As adults, we can categorize these memories rationally, and as painful and disappointing as they may be, we keep moving forward. I am mindful that many of your children do not yet have that same capacity. As we know, so much of their world has changed, and the feelings of loss are very real for them—ask any family who has been a part of a quarantine period. Coping with feelings of loss is a developmental challenge for young children and adolescents.
So, what guidance to offer then? Certainly, don’t avoid discussing this past year’s losses and your child’s potentially big feelings about them. First, it’s likely to be impossible given how loud I expect this narrative will be. Second, it may feel to a child like a bit of adult gaslighting, as if they can’t trust their own experiences of the world they live in or the restrictions imposed on them. Instead, I encourage you to honor the discussion by acknowledging what is different today from last year at this time and do so with emphasis that ‘different’ and ‘bad’ are not synonyms.
For all that we have lost, children might need help recognizing some of the things we haven’t. Some of those things—an onsite learning experience, the chance to see friends and family every day—are common to all Belmont Day students. Others may be unique to you and your family: new family traditions that have emerged through the pandemic or mastery of new skills like puzzle-solving, journal writing, video gaming, or meal preparation. This is not to gloss over the reality that things are very different. Yet viewing the next month through a frame of deficit–measuring rather than investigating and celebrating what we have gained is likely to leave your child, and perhaps yourself, feeling the worse for wear.
The natural counterbalance to the weight of loss is looking into the future—a future that includes vaccines and an improved ‘normal.’ In the meantime, we should all be ready for the inundation of messages about what we don’t have today that we had back just a year ago. Counterintuitive though it may seem, let’s consider all that has been gained since February 2020 and look ahead to the future bolstered by the strength of our community.
Stay warm this weekend, BDS.
February 2 to February 19
Tuesday, February 2
7–8:30 p.m., Investment Committee, Zoom Meeting
Wednesday, February 3
7–8:30 p.m., Lower School Parent Workshop with McLean School Consult Service, Zoom Gathering
Thursday, February 4
6–7:00 p.m., Asian/Asian-American Parent Affinity Group, Zoom Gathering
Friday, February 5
8–11 a.m., Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day, Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, February 9
5:30–7:00 p.m., Diversity Committee, Zoom Meeting
Wednesday, February 10
6:30–7:30 p.m., Ensembles Celebration, Zoom Gathering
Friday, February 12
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents’ Association Meeting, Zoom Gathering
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross-graded Partners, Zoom Gathering
School Closed for February Vacation Week: February 16 to February 19
For all Zoom meetings and gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Registration Open Until February 3
Event: Friday, February 5 from 8 to 11 a.m.
This year we will be hosting our Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day as an online event. Invitations have been mailed directly to our guests. If you have not provided contact information for a grandparent or special friend or if you prefer to register your guests yourself, please click here and fill out the form. Registration will be open through Wednesday, February 3. If you have any questions, please email Nina See for more information.
Preparing for High School Placement
Thursday, February 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Mark those calendars! 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 high school placement process.
The link for this event is available on the Parent Portal.
Lunch & Snack Menu
February 1 to February 5
Snack: apples; pita chips
Lunch: cheese lasagna roll with marinara; garlic bread; broccoli; penne pasta with marinara on the side; mixed green salad; diced pears; milk and water
Snack: pears; apple muffins
Lunch: beef chili; vegan chili; cut corn; corn chips; grated cheese; salsa; guacamole; sour cream; black bean and corn salad; fresh fruit cup; milk and water
Snack: bananas; Cheez-Its
Lunch: crispy cheesy chicken; vegan bean burger; sweet potato fries; green beans; ketchup; mixed green salad; applesauce; milk and water
Snack: fruit; animal crackers
Lunch: cheese pizza; breadsticks with marinara; Caesar salad with Romano; fresh fruit cup; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: dried cranberries; Baked Lays chips
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly Covid Testing Update
We are finishing our second week of testing. Each week, you will see two dashboards here; one a chart of pooled tests and the other a graph of individual tests. We have tested a total of 148 pools; of those pools, we had one positive result, one invalid result, and 146 negative results. Of those 105 individual tests, two have returned positive results, including the reflex test of the positive pool.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we get used to this new system and work out the kinks of our communication. Always, if you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com.
– Liz LaRocque, school nurse
ASSOCIATE TEACHER PROGRAM
Second Placements Set As the New Year Gets Rolling
Our 2020-21 group of associate teachers have enjoyed and learned from the challenges of this unique school year during their first classroom placements. A few associates rotated to new classrooms, while a couple of others will remain in the same spots for the remainder of the school year.
Here’s where our wonderful associates are now placed:
- Danny Turken is continuing in fourth grade.
- Charlie Baird has joined sixth grade with Dean Spencer.
- Evelyn Metta is working in first grade.
- Cat DiCara ’12 is continuing in third grade.
- Andrea Keohane has joined Jonathan Drummey in seventh grade.
Thank you to each of our associate teachers and Heather Woodcock, director of the associate teacher program, for all you add to our community and the teaching profession.
One Week Left to Donate to Pine Street Inn!
Keep those donations coming in! We’re two weeks into our three-week campaign (through next Friday, February 5) to support the work of Pine Street Inn. We’re collecting outreach kit items for their clients who are experiencing homelessness. These simple items are always in need during winter and especially now as we combat the health and economic effects of the pandemic. The outreach items include:
- Hats, gloves, and socks
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Granola bars and individual snacks
- Bandages and first aid kits
- Hand and foot warmers
Click here to see the full list of items needed for the outreach kits.
All items for donation can be brought into the school by students and given to classroom teachers. Parents can also drop items with greeters during drop-off and pick-up. Thank you!
Please contact Dr. Carlos Hoyt with any questions.
Asian/Asian-American Affinity Group Meeting
Diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI parent groups at Belmont Day are dedicated to creating a forum for parents to engage on topics related to social identity and social bias with others who share social identity commonalities. The next meeting of the Asian/Asian-American affinity group is scheduled for Thursday, February 4 from 6 to 7 p.m. Please RSVP for this meeting to Minna Ham, lower school head. The link for this meeting will be available on the Parent Portal.
BDS Quest Corner: Get Lost in the Search
Dates to Remember!
Scavenger Hunts: March 20, April 10, May 1
Community Event and Auction: May 15
Cost: Quest and Fest: $100 per family | Virtual Fest only: $25 per family
Looking to sponsor or donate to the event? Contact Pati Fernández for more information.
We are excited our registration and full website are up and running. Register today and join in on the fun! Please be on the lookout for an Evite with more details. Please expect a mailing next week, full of goodies and information. We encouraged families to register in the first week and submit their team name for a chance to win our first raffle item. The winner of the challenge is The Bright Stuff—congratulations John and Judy Bright! You have won a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.
This week’s challenge is to email us a landmark or attraction in your city or town. Please include location and city or town. Those who participate will be entered to win our next surprise raffle! We will announce the winner on Friday, February 5, here in the Scoop.
Email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Reminder: Get Involved
Contracts Will Be Emailed On Saturday
The 2021-2022 re-enrollment contracts will be emailed to families tomorrow morning. We are using Veracross for this process which we hope you will find easy to use. When you receive the email, you’ll be asked to:
- Review and sign the contract for your child(ren).
- Choose a payment plan for the year:
- Single payment option
- Two-payment option
- 10-payment plan
- Pay this year’s deposit.
- Update your family’s contact information.
If your family is receiving financial aid in 2021-2022, your financial aid award letter will be included with your contract.
In addition to completing your contract through Veracross, you’ll be able to pay your deposit online through a secure Veracross feature called VC Pay. Your signed contract(s) and deposit must be finalized by 11 a.m. Friday, February 12. Please note that each of your household’s parents/guardians must sign the contract.
If you have any questions, please be in touch with Catherine David, assistant to the head of school and registrar. Thank you!
February Vacation Camp Canceled This Year
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer a February Vacation Camp program in 2021 due to health and safety concerns. We are hopeful that we will be able to offer programming during the week of our April break. We will make a determination and provide information on that after March 1.
Arts Update: Painstaking Printmaking for Seventh and Eighth Graders
This week, the intensive began by creating a sketchbook and then learning Kumihimo—a traditional Japanese braiding technique—for the seventh and eighth graders in the Buck, Carter, Hannum, and Klock cohorts. Challenged to create a series of collagraph prints that explores the themes of connections/intersections, students first created two relief printing plates from lightweight cardboard, and then covered each with aluminum foil. To print the plates, students used an unusual ink—water-based markers—which they applied directly onto the foil. Students needed to dampen their printing paper before pulling the inked image from the plate; as they worked they discovered and identified the skill and concentration needed to pull a successful print. Next week the focus will turn to sculpture, and again, students will be challenged to use everyday material as their medium. Stay tuned for the details and results!
– Anne Armstrong, visual arts teacher and arts coordinator
Seventh Grade Math Tackles Real-World Applications
Seventh grade students recently completed their third math unit of study for the year. The “Comparing and Scaling” unit covered topics such as fractions, ratios, proportions, and percents. Students learned to apply each of these mathematical tools to answer questions and solve problems ranging from unit costs for groceries at a store, to how much to tip on a restaurant bill, to what ratio of paint mixtures will result in the desired color outcome. Their unit exam focused exclusively on these real-world applications of math, and as such, highlighted how math is applicable and necessary in the real-world.
The fourth unit of math study is on “Filling and Wrapping.” This unit focuses on the surface area and volume of a variety of three-dimensional objects, including cylinders, cones, spheres, and rectangular and polygonal prisms. While our math studies will focus solely on the first three dimensions, a tangential question about dimensions during class on Tuesday led to a remarkable impromptu exploration of the existence of a total of 10 dimensions in our universe (according to string-theory theoretical physicists). The discussion fascinated students and left them wanting to learn more. Once again, we proved that math is never dull and is a vehicle that can open the mind to the entire universe, or in the case of 10 dimensions, an infinite number of multiverses. If this leaves you curious to learn more, ask a seventh grader!
– Stephen Bennhoff, middle school math teacher
Athletics Update: Coach Tzelnic Instills Calm Through Yoga
The timed mile, the beep test, and the fitness circuit are all physically and mentally challenging activities on this winter’s athletics circuit. In an effort to provide balance in the program, Coach Tzelnic’s offering strikes a quite different note with middle school athletes. Every six days, students rotate through Tzelnic’s mindful yoga practice, where the focus is on calming body and mind through gentle stretching and guided breathing. Despite some initial skepticism, athletes have appreciated the calm at the end of a busy school day and look forward to their time on the yoga mats in the Downing Gym.
– John O’Neill, director of athletics
Video Highlights: This Week In Physical Education
This week in physical education, our students, from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade worked on a wide variety of activities to increase fitness and sharpen skills including kicking, striking, throwing, jumping, dribbling, shooting, and more. Starting this week, we’ll provide regular video highlights so you can see each grade in action. Mark sure to ask your student(s) about what they’re learning in PE!
– Abbey Nyland, physical education teacher
Fourth Grade: Research Begins On Ancient Egypt
This week our fourth grade researchers began taking notes for a report about an ancient Egyptian topic of choice. Topics include everything from famous pharaohs to food and farming to magic and medicine. Students found resources from the Erskine Library catalog, formulated research questions, and have been reading about their topics. In the coming weeks, they will write about what they have learned and present their findings at our Ancient Egyptian Symposium.
– Lana Holman, grade 4 teacher
Parents’ Association News
The February book club selection is Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Dalton P ’08 ’12 ’15 ’19. Julie was featured in the 2020-21 issue of the Belmont Day Magazine. Read about her writing journey here. We will meet on Wednesday, February 10 at 10 a.m. A Zoom link is posted to the PA Fun & Fundraising section on the Parent Portal. Please contact Nareeluck Stephenson with any questions.
Parents Independent School Network (PIN)
Wednesday, February 10 from 12 to 1 p.m.
Join the Parents Independent School Network (PIN) for a presentation by Jon Mattleman, MS Counseling, Clinical Director of the Massachusetts office of Minding Your Mind, an organization that provides mental health education to adolescents, teens, and young adults, their parents, teachers, and school administrators.
The topic will be “Is This the New Normal? Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health During COVID.” Grief, loss, the rise in anxiety and depression, and ongoing uncertainty about the future are impacting our children. Jon Mattleman will provide a framework to understand and support your child’s mental health. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get concrete answers and practical steps they can take now. Click here to register for the presentation.
Friday, February 12
8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
All are invited to join us for our next meeting. The Zoom link is available on the PA page in Veracross.
Faculty & Staff Appreciation
Thank you to everyone who filled out notes of appreciation before winter break. We would like to continue showing the faculty and staff how much their hard work and dedication to our children means to us all and will continue to collect and share notes of appreciation throughout the year. Please click here to submit a note of appreciation.
We are excited to continue the tradition of welcoming faculty and staff babies with baskets of books. Please help us welcome teacher Elisabeth Klock’s baby with a donation of your favorite book. Books may be dropped off next week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 2 and 3, during drop off or pick up. There will be collection bins at the front circle and the Barn. Thank you!
Learn About Marine Mammals From the New England Aquarium
The Cambridge Public Library invites you for a Family Fun Night with the NewEngland Aquarium on Tuesday, February 9 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Join marine mammal trainers for a live training session with the California sea lions and northern fur seals. Learn about training and what you can do to protect the ocean environment for these amazing animals.
Click here to register. Zoom link will be emailed to registrants one hour before the program begins. This program is free and open to the public.
Cary Library Hosts Nature Photography Sharing Event
Many nature lovers and amateur photographers alike have been spending more and more time in the great outdoors over these past months. Maybe you’re one of them and have a bunch of photos you would like to share and get some helpful feedback on? Join Lexington’s Cary Library on Wednesday, February 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. for “Nature Photography with Dave Ewing.” This online session allows participants to share their images and hear critiques and praise from a pro. Click here to register and learn more about this event.