A new session of middle school clubs, including pop knitting, got underway this week.
Message from Head of School
The Power of Three
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: January 31, 2020
I am a big believer in the power of three. Whether considering the structural strength of the triangle, the magic of literary characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione, or the masterful speechwriter’s rhetorical device of delivering ideas in threes, I have always believed in and subscribed to the power that a group of three things can have.
So, what three things are preoccupying me as we turn the calendar page from January to February? The same three things that always do at this time of year: admissions, high school placement, and hiring. Three fundamentally critical aspects of our school’s health that all happen to intersect at the same time.
The admissions work of our dynamic team of Audra, Hema, and Andy (another power trio!) has helped to ensure that BDS will see another wonderful collection of students join us in the fall. They, with the support of faculty, have spent January welcoming and screening countless prospective students to inform the decisions we will make for that critical moment when we send out our letters to families on March 10. From my vantage point, that team has some magic of its own, as the work being done defies its small size.
High school placement, under the guidance of Sarah Merrill, and with the support of Liz Gray, is the counterweight to admissions—the graduation of eighth graders counterbalances the arrival of students in the younger grades. This year, our eighth grade students applied to 28 independent high schools, including eight boarding schools and four single-gender schools, and five families have selected their public school option for next year. The process of ninth grade admissions is a process equally rigorous to ours. English and math recommendation letters, a letter co-written by Sarah, Liz, and me, myriad phone calls, and campus visits are all part of our advocacy for students as they seek entry into some of the region’s (and country’s) most selective schools.
Hiring season—the last of this trio of comings and goings—brings with it the emotional pull of goodbye and also warm welcomes. Teachers choose to move on from BDS either in pursuit of a new calling or to enjoy retirement; we hire to fill their shoes and currently, to support our five-year middle school enrollment growth initiative. The hiring process is a rigorous one internally. Every search is posted and recruited for at a national level. Hiring teams include a combination of four to six faculty and administrators who work collaboratively to review potential candidates. They keep an eye towards excellence in all things—instruction, innovation, cultural competency, and a child-centered ideology—to determine who will be that next great teacher that joins Belmont Day.
Candidates spend time with Dr. Hoyt, me, and with the folks in the respective department or division. Teaching faculty candidates teach sample lessons. Preserving and advancing the excellence of our faculty is of the highest importance and the intentionality and the thoroughness of our process helps to ensure that we continue to meet that high standard for our students.
These three key aspects of our work at Belmont Day fall at just about the same time; while each is powerful independently, as a triad, they gather significance and strength for our school.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
Kindergartners enjoy a variety of creative activities during choice time.
This Coming Week at BDS
February 1 to February 10
Saturday, February 1
8 a.m.–12 p.m., Prospective Student Visits – Kindergarten
8:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Middle School Classic Basketball Tournament, Barn Gym
Monday, February 3
8:15–9: a.m., Erskine Library Committee, Erskine Library
Tuesday, February 4
8–10 a.m., Investment Committee, Barn conference room
1–3 p.m., Prospective Student Visits – Grade 1, LS Breakout Space
6–9 p.m., Parent SEED Group, Erskine Library
Wednesday, February 5
3:30 p.m., Fencing at BB&N; Boys’ JV Basketball at Fenn; Girls’ JV Basketball vs Nashoba; Wrestling at Belmont Hill School
6:45–7:30 p.m., Pre-Concert Reception for Ensembles, Coolidge Hall
7:30–8:30 p.m., Ensembles Winter Concert, Palandjian Arts Center
Thursday, February, 6
1–3 p.m., Prospective Student Visits – Grade 1, LS Breakout Space
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Varsity Basketball vs DCD; Boys’ JV Basketball vs Carroll; Girls’ Varsity Basketball at DCD
6–8 p.m., Board & Faculty Dinner, Coolidge Hall
Friday, February 7
8:50–9:35 a.m., Enrichment Assembly
6–8:30 p.m., Friday Night Hoops: Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity Basketball at Meadowbrook
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
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.
The Lunar New Year program is an opportunity to pilot a model of integrating ethnic-cultural customs into school life in a way that is meaningful, manageable, and inclusive. We hope this model will redound to students, families, and faculty.
We know that it is important for each of us to be recognized, celebrated, and known as members of our respective cultures. We are a school that values celebrating and embracing the myriad ways human beings come together to form communities and enjoy one another’s company.
Friday Night Hoops
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. Our athletes invite the entire Belmont Day community, including alumni, faculty, students, and families to attend.
Please note that this is not a drop-off event and children must be supervised by parents at all times.
Lunch & Snack Menu
February 3 to February 7
Snack: Teddy Grahams; fruit cup
Lunch: creamy pesto pasta; primavera vegetables; warm rolls; Italian style salad
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: beef meatball submarines; green beans; pretzels; broccoli salad
Snack: Baked Lays; carrots
Lunch: turkey tacos; veggie tacos; cheese; tomato; shredded lettuce; sour cream; salsa; guacamole; cut corn; flour tortilla; corn tortilla; taco salad with chipotle ranch dressing
Snack: chocolate chip cookies; oranges
Lunch: cheese pizza; pepperoni pizza; chef’s choice pizza; summer blend vegetables; Caesar salad
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.
AFTER SCHOOL NEWS
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.
Girls’ JV Basketball Continues to Roll
With a pair of victories against Newton Country Day School and Dedham Country Day this week, the girls’ JV basketball team extended their winning steak to four in a row. Currently, at 4-1 on the season, the team has used a balanced attack to outscore their opponents by a combined 76 points so far. This week the team leaned on Sue Kelman and Emma Kass offensively. Both girls recorded double-digit tallies in the scoring column and finished strong at the basket. On the other side of the court, first-year players Shireen Griffith-Ebrahimi and Olive Kiraly took advantage of increased playing time by creating turnovers and grabbing rebounds. The team will look to keep their winning steak alive next week against Nashoba Brooks and Carroll.
More Athletics News
- Miles Sandoski’s 16 points paced boys’ varsity in their double-digit win over SSDS this week. Cole Sparks provided great energy on both ends of the floor for the home team.
- The girls’ varsity basketball team doubled up SSDS on the road this week. Kiki Friedbauer was terrific on the boards and Lynn Lewis was strong at the point. Ruby Kokinos chipped in with great D.
- Cody Casanave and Adam Kokinos were great in transition during the boys’ JV’s 28-19 win over CFS this week. Yafet Ayalew had a gritty performance the following day against DCD at home.
- Strong play from Maya Gregor, Bonnie Wang, and Noah Kokinos led Gold to another win for volleyball. Alice Guo stepped up for Blue with some clutch serving and consistent play.
- Fencing dropped a heartbreaker 14-13 to Beaver this week. Jayden Lotin had a huge 5-4 win against a more experienced opponent. Angel Chavannes continued to fence strong for BDS.
- Matthieu Small ignited the wrestling team with a great win by scoring a crucial takedown in the waning moments of his match. Nikos Axiotis had a great head throw to pin combination.
Back to the Future
Using web-based code editor Microsoft MakeCode Arcade middle school students in the games programming arts elective are creating retro arcade games. We have delved into six of the most common level design patterns present in 2D videogames. Who needs 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) when you can create a game with a screen size of 160×120 pixels and 16 available colors? Although it might seem simple this 2D game engine has sprites, platformer-style collisions, tile maps, and particle systems. Students are learning how hard it is to program a simple 2D game and gaining an appreciation of how much thought goes into creating one level of the games they like to play.
– Kurt Robinson, innovation and art teacher
COMMUNITY SERVICE NEWS
Roots and Shoots Wants Your Used Markers
Do you have used markers at home? Do you want to save the environment? The Roots and Shoots club is currently collecting used and dried markers for recycling. The club will have a collection box in the school’s front entrance gallery. The aim is to ship at least 10 pounds of markers for recycling, so drop off your used markers today! Thank you.
Advisory: Cold and Flu Season and Coronavirus
Cold and flu season, regrettably, is upon us. We appreciate your support of our efforts to reduce the spread of illness and maintain a healthy school environment by keeping children home when they are ill. Thank you for your partnership with us in ensuring that your children are getting the rest they need, keeping their hands clean, and following good hygiene practices to keep colds and flu at bay. (Click here to review the BDS Studnet Illness Policy)
Of course, we are also paying close attention to the national news regarding the Coronavirus, a novel virus that originated in Wuhan, China. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the international health community are closely monitoring the outbreak of this virus, and we are tracking it here at BDS as well. As of today, there are five confirmed cases in the United States.
Under the leadership and guidance of Nurse Liz LaRocque, Belmont Day takes concerns about the Coronavirus seriously as student safety remains our highest priority as a school and community. We have been closely following the guidelines and updates from the CDC and the World Health Organization. We have also been in touch with our local health agencies for guidance and will stay apprised of state and regional updates. As health officials manage the response to the Coronavirus, they tell us there is a very low risk to our community at this time.
That said, to err on the side of student safety, we offer information about the virus, the CDC’s guidelines, and preventative measures you and your family might take:
Where Things Stand in the U.S.
As of a January 27 conference call with CDC state and local health partners, we learned there are 110 persons under investigation:
- 5 confirmed cases—Washington, Arizona, California (2), and Illinois
- 73 individuals are pending laboratory testing in 26 states
- 32 individuals have tested negative
- Screening has increased at U.S. airports, including Boston Logan Airport; there are no direct flights to Wuhan Province in China
What are the symptoms?
Fever, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, and pneumonia are all common symptoms experienced with the 2019-nCoV. If you are showing signs of these symptoms and have been traveling or in contact with someone that has been traveling in the Asia-Pacific region, seek medical attention immediately.
- PreventionWash hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available
- Cover coughs with a disposable tissue or cough into your sleeve
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as germs often spread this way
- Stay home when sick and keep sick family members away from well family members
- Avoid close contact (hugging, kissing, handshakes) with sick individuals
- Avoid sharing cups, water bottles, and eating utensils; do not eat from community snack bags/bowls that many people are putting their hands in
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, remote controls, keyboards, and technology devices
- Do not leave family toothbrushes touching each other; remember to replace your toothbrush after being ill
- Please review the CDC Travel Health Notice for any planned travel
- Individuals that have traveled recently, especially to the Asia-Pacific region, and are experiencing the above symptoms should seek medical attention immediately
- Avoid contact with sick people, livestock (alive or dead), animal markets, and avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and eggs
Practice Good Health Habits Every Day
- Wash hands frequently
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Get plenty of sleep
- Engage in physical activity
- Learn to manage your stress
As always, we will stay abreast of developments that could impact the health of our students, and we will be sure to keep you informed about updates requiring your attention. If you have any questions, please reach out to your health care provider or Nurse Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-932-3901.
As we do our best to stay informed and healthy in the face of the coronavirus, it’s also important to be mindful of how we cope with concerns about the outbreak and talk about illness at school.
A remark meant to be humorous might instead result in hurt feelings. For example, a student’s playfully wondering if a friend who has a cold has the coronavirus might seem harmless, yet the question has an unintended hurtful consequence. Some of us may be connected, one way or another, to people around the world who are suffering from this very serious illness. We should all care about those who are suffering, whether or not we have a direct connection to them.
As a community that values caring, respect, and responsibility, I’m confident we’ll discuss this situation and any concerns we might have about it in ways that don’t diminish its seriousness or cause anyone to feel offended.
Thanks for epitomizing community.
– Dr. Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion
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.
Beth Krebs, First Grade Teacher
It is with regret that we will be saying good-bye to Beth Krebs in June. After ten years at BDS, first as an associate teacher in the Lesley University collaborative program and then as a first grade teacher, Beth has decided not to return next year to have a more flexible schedule. She looks forward to spending more time with her family, traveling, and devoting time for volunteering and her hobbies. Beth’s love of young learners and her passion for math helped solidify her place at BDS. Not only has Beth dedicated her work to first graders, but she also served on the mentoring committee and numerous hiring committees. We will always think of her in February when first grade has its hallmark 100th Day of School celebration. Her collegiality, diligence, and kind spirit will be greatly missed. We are beginning a hiring process to fill this position.
Suzanne Caruso, Middle School Social Studies Teacher
It is with sadness for us, and great enthusiasm for Suzanne Caruso, that we will bid her farewell at the end of this academic year. Suzanne will be leaving Belmont Day to pursue teaching opportunities at local public schools, a long-held goal of hers. We are beginning a hiring process for a seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher to fill this position.
Middle School English Teacher
We are beginning a search for the last of our new full-time teaching positions to fulfill staffing for the long-term plan for middle school enrollment growth. Next year our eighth grade will be the biggest yet, making it the first class of more than 40 students to graduate from Belmont Day. We will be hiring an English teacher to teach grades six, seven, and eight alongside Jonathan Drummey and Elisabeth Klock. Brendan Largay, who has been teaching one section of our seventh grade Mods program, will instead be teaching a unit to seventh and eighth graders in collaboration with our English department teachers. This will ensure that Brendan teaches all eighth grade students before they graduate. The new hire will take over Brendan’s Mods class and teach English in sixth and seventh grades.
Parents’ Association News
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@example.com.
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.
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.
Learning to Negotiate
Saturday, February 8, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Moms As Mentors is offering a free half-day workshop on the critical skill of negotiation at the Tobin Beaudet Schools in Needham. Moms as Mentors believe moms who are more comfortable negotiating on their own behalf will be even better equipped to raise confident girls. This is a workshop is for adults only.
Click here for more details and to register. Registration closes on February 5 at 5 p.m.