Seventh graders have been presenting their reports on African nations.
Making Our Actions & Interactions at BDS Count: The Goal Is Zero
Carlos Hoyt, Director of Equity and Inclusion, on behalf of the Belmont Day leadership team
Post Date: March 19, 2021
Every day at BDS there are too many acts of kindness, caring, respect, friendship, and love to count. The uncountable amount of good that happens here equals the joy that makes us the community we want to be–a community in which everyone, from the youngest Pre-K scholar to the eldest faculty member, and including every parent, is safe and seen and respected.
Beyond BDS there is much in the world that reflects and supports our values and aspirations. Sadly, we must also acknowledge the disturbing number of incidents of hatred and violence that occur in our society. Most recently, the horrible murder of eight people in Georgia, six of whom were AAPI-identified (Asian-American-Pacific-Islander) women, reminds us that we have to continue to do our best to actively push against the rising count of atrocities committed against AAPI-identified people, against women, and against so many groups that face social bias.
Being aware of the need to make sure the lives of AAPI-identified people count every bit as much as they should, and taking any actions that we can to help our society achieve equity and justice for everyone are consistent with our values and with basic human decency.
How can we do this? How can we make the world better? What are the actions that young people can take to reduce the number of hurtful incidents and increase justice for those who face social bias?
Students can make sure that in their school community the count of hurtful actions based on social identity is zero. No jokes, no gestures, no remarks, no sharing of offensive material, no behavior that might make anyone wonder if they are safe, seen, and respected here at BDS, no standing by in the face of such behavior. In fact, only students can do this.
There are over three hundred students at BDS. If every single one of them refuses to act in ways that might be harmful or offensive to anyone’s sense of identity (their heritage or ethnicity, appearance, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, race, social status, or worldview/belief system), the count of social bias incidents in our community will be zero.
None of us is perfect. All of us absorb some of the stereotypes, prejudices, and biases we receive from society. That will make it hard to achieve our goal, no doubt. Can we do hard things at BDS? No doubt. In coming to BDS we signed up to do the hard, important, and joyful work of honoring differences and making meaningful contributions. So, let’s not dwell on can we and instead focus on how will we.
One way to honor the people whose lives were lost in the senseless murders in Georgia is to recommit ourselves to making BDS a truly antibias community. Teachers have already started to create opportunities for students to reflect on what they do and what they might be able to do better to make their school safe, inclusive, and joyful. We know we can count on BDS parents to support us and to support their children in reaching the goal of zero.
Next week we’ll hold two gatherings for parents who would like to discuss the Georgia incident, the state of social bias in America, and how to support our children in the face of it all. One forum will be held on Thursday, March 25 from 5:30 t0 6:45 p.m. This forum will be for AAPI-identified parents in order to provide a safe space for them to share and offer support as members of the social identity group facing intensified bias. The second forum will be on Friday, March 26 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. It will be open to any parent interested in this issue.
Links for both online gatherings will be sent out through our Wednesday communication and will be posted to the Parent Portal.
March 20 to April 9
March is Alumni Giving Challenge Month
Saturday, March 20
7 a.m.–7 p.m., BDS Quest Scavenger Hunt
Tuesday. March 23
Middle School Student Reports Released
Online Parent Conferences: School Closed
7–8:15 p.m., Anti-racist Allyship Group for White-identified Parents; Zoom Gathering
Wednesday, March 24
Online Parent Conferences: School Closed
8–9:30 a.m., Finance Committee, Zoom Meeting
Friday. March 26
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly, Zoom Gathering
Sunday, March 28
4–5:30 p.m., Friendraiser Shopping Event The Hive in Winchester
Monday, March 29
Spring Athletics Season Begins
Wednesday, March 31
7:30 p.m., March Madness Celebration and Performance by Alisa Amador ’10
Friday, April 2
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross-Graded Partners, Zoom Gathering
Monday, April 5
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents Association, Zoom Gathering
6–7 p.m., Neighbor Reception
Tuesday, April 6
8:30–10 a.m., Committee on Trustees, Zoom Meeting
5:30–7 p.m., Board Diversity Committee, Zoom Meeting
Thursday, April 8
8:15 a.m., Friendraiser Walk and Talk
Friday, April 9
8:50–9:35 a.m., Spring Concert, Zoom Gathering
For all Zoom meetings and gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
PA Friendraiser Events
Hey parents, mark those calendars! The Parents’ Association’s friendraiser committee invites you to a shopping outing on Sunday, March 28, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at The Hive in Winchester. Come shop in person or online and receive a special discount for the BDS community. Please RSVP to email@example.com if you plan to come in person.
On Thursday, April 8, the committee is also planning a “Walk and Talk” after morning drop-off. Come to reconnect with friends and meet new ones! Meet in the grass circle in front of the Schoolhouse at 8:15 a.m.
Testing Date Change for Next Week
Next week’s COVID testing day for all students, faculty, and staff will be Monday, March 22 as school will be closed on Wednesday for parent conferences.
Lunch & Snack Menu
March 22 to March 26
Snack: pears; white corn cheese puffs
Lunch: Gemelli with sundried tomato pesto; primavera vegetables; pasta with marinara; Romano cheese; crusty rolls; butter; garden salad with dressing; fresh fruit cups; milk and water
School Closed for Parent Conferences
School Closed for Parent Conferences
Snack: bananas; Nutri-Grain Bars
Lunch: butternut squash soup; turkey and cheddar paninis; cheese paninis; carrot sticks; chips; Rice Krispie square; Caesar salad; Romano cheese; apple slices; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: clementines; Baked Scoops tortilla chips
Plan for Returning After April Break
If you are traveling over April break …
Unless you are traveling to a lower-risk state as defined by the CDC and affirmed by the Commonwealth, the following return to Massachusetts date applies. Please refer to the COVID-19 Travel Order for a current list of lower-risk states.
Return by Thursday, April 22
In order to be tested on Monday, April 26, and return to onsite learning on Wednesday, April 28, all families and faculty need to return to Massachusetts by this date.
Since the school is only providing testing once per week, families and faculty who do not return by this date will need to obtain testing on their own 4-5 days after their return and wait for a negative result in order to return to campus.
If your travel plans mean that you will not be testing at Belmont Day on Monday, April 26, please let your division head and Nurse LaRocque know as soon as possible.
Monday, April 26 and Tuesday, April 27
Monday, April 26 is a testing day—no academic program will be provided
Tuesday, April 27—offsite learning for all students
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly COVID Testing Update
Our first week of once-a-week testing went very well. We tested at the classrooms for grades 1-8, which went quickly and smoothly, saving instructional time. Students in grades 3-8 self-swabbed and did an excellent job—all were careful, thorough, and serious. AND we had all negative results with zero invalid tests, which means students did a great job self-swabbing! Please note that because we are out of school on Wednesday next week, all testing will be done Monday morning, March 22.
If your child will be out on a testing morning for any reason, please contact Liz LaRocque to arrange for alternate testing.
Have a wonderful weekend!
– Liz LaRocque, school nurse
Arrival and Dismissal Procedures
We continue to do our very best to keep the flow of traffic into and out of campus going smoothly in the mornings and afternoons. It is essential in that process that everyone please be respectful of our neighbors, particularly during those peak arrival and dismissal times. Although it may be tempting to “jump the line,” under no circumstances should drivers live park on Pinehurst Road or other neighborhood streets to wait for students at dismissal. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
BDS Summer Camp Is Hiring!
Belmont Day Camp is looking for staff for the summer. Do you have friends or family who are 16+ and great with kids? Encourage them to spend the summer working at BDS! We are especially looking for college-age (18+) counselors with childcare experience. Summer camp runs from June 28-August 20, with training the week before. Interested applicants can apply by clicking here, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sixth Graders Hone Their Creative Writing Skills
When English begins, the clock strikes WRITE! Sixth grade students continue to explore themes of growth and change–this time in their own writing. Each class starts with a unique prompt to inspire exploration and experimentation. We are starting as many stories as possible in as many ways as possible, building towards a final personal narrative project. Finally, sixth grade writers are using Flying Lessons and Other Stories, a collection of coming-of-age stories from a variety of voices, to explore the expert moves of published authors. With each story, students consider the writing style and how they might apply that, or not, to their own narrative. Stay tuned for a publication of our own stories this spring!
– Julia Juster, middle school English teacher
Eighth Grade Studies the Reconstruction Era
For the past few weeks, eighth graders have been studying the Reconstruction era in social studies. They explored the potential and promise of Reconstruction as well as the factors that came together to end the progress of the era. Students wrapped up their study this week with a structured academic controversy focused on the question: Were African Americans free during Reconstruction? Students were divided into teams and assigned a position to support. Each team had the same set of primary sources to explore to support that position. After sharing their evidence with the other team, students were able to abandon the position they were assigned and use everything they have learned about Reconstruction to share their own answer to the question of whether or not African Americans were free during Reconstruction. Students did a great job incorporating their learning about the time period!
– Kate Burns, grades 7 & 8 social studies teacher
Athletics Update: Middle School Athletes Finish Strong
Middle school athletes are finishing strong … literally. Across all three grades and all twelve cohorts, they have tackled every fitness challenge thrown their way this winter. This week, when faced with the most challenging Cross-Fit workout to date, athletes didn’t skip a beat. Collectively, their physical fitness has greatly improved over the past three months. These athletes have treated fitness like a sport, and it’s paid off. Now, as the program transitions to the spring season, middle schoolers are prepared to head back outside and turn their focus to developing their sport-specific skills.
– John O’Neill, director of athletics
Arts Update: Third Graders Contribute to Music Video
Community is the theme for the current third grade visual art intensive, and this week students widened their view of community through an exciting and unique collaborative art project. They paused their printmaking work for a day and focused on creating individual artworks that will be included in an amazing collaborative venture: the newest music video from the band OK Go! OK Go is known for its creative and intricate videos, as well as for the members’ educational outreach and work with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas. The band is currently creating a collaborative video for “All Together Now,” a song they wrote and recorded during the pandemic, and our third graders are adding their work to the project!
Be on the lookout for our students’ artistic contributions when the video is completed and released later this spring! Learn more by visiting OK Go Sandbox Art Together Now | Playful Learning Lab | OK Go Sandbox.
– Anne Armstrong, visual arts teacher and arts coordinator
PE Update: Here Comes the Sun … And the Mud!
We’ve been able to catch a few rays in our physical education classes the last couple of weeks (and some polar vortexes … and then more rays) and are relishing the spring weather. The trails are thawing out and the last icebergs on Far Field and Claflin have melted away. This means, of course, that it’s a good time to consider proper spring PE attire. Sneakers are the best option for all indoor games and activities on the tennis courts. But the mud reigns pretty much everywhere else, so if possible, having a pair of boots on hand is a good idea. In addition, we’ve noticed many people coming to class (or returning from class) covered in a slick of mud. While they seem to wear this proudly, a change of clothes could come in handy as well. And given the uncertainty of our beloved New England weather, please remember that you can always shed a layer if you have it, but you can’t add a layer if you don’t—in other words, layers rule! Lastly, water bottles are essential for hydration, especially when we’re outside for class. If you have any questions about gearing up don’t hesitate to reach out.
– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher
La tienda de ropa en la Antigua
In seventh grade Spanish, we ended a unit that focused on Guatemala. Students learned vocabulary related to stores and shopping, described clothing and footwear characteristics, useful expressions when shopping, and making comparisons. Besides the grammar content and the vocabulary covered, students also learned about the geography of Guatemala and Central America and cultural information including la máscara de jade, el quetzal, los muñecos quitapenas y el traje Maya. For this unit’s project, students created clothing stores and accessories inspired by the Mayan culture. Activities included creating flyers, discount coupons, and television commercials to market their business, and selling their designs to their peers. Check out the accompanying video and click here to see examples of the students’ projects.
– Ana Maria Restrepo, Spanish teacher
Parents’ Association News
The next book club selection is Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir by Elizabeth Miki Brina. Please join us for our online gathering on Wednesday, April 7 at 10 a.m. to discuss this book. A Zoom link is posted to the PA Fun & Fundraising section on the Parent Portal. Please contact Nareeluck Stephenson with any questions.
Appeal for PA Dues!
Thank you to all who have already contributed your annual PA dues! Despite the global pandemic—or perhaps especially so—the dues have helped the PA support BDS in ways we could have never imagined a year ago. We have hosted socially-distanced grade events and modified but engaging enrichment assemblies and activity chairs and grade parents are helping our children have a marvelous year regardless of the pandemic. If you have not paid your dues yet, please consider doing so now as we plan for the remainder of the year, and beyond. The suggested annual dues is $50 per family. (Any additional amount may be tax-deductible.) You can make payment conveniently online with a credit card, debit card, or eCheck (ACH) via the secure BDS PA Payment Portal. Although not preferred, you can also pay by paper check by contacting the PA Treasurer, Alex Min. For that matter, you can contact Alex with any questions regarding the annual PA dues at all.
Thank you for your support!
Calling All Hat Makers
The baby welcoming committee is busy collecting books and creating baskets to welcome faculty babies this spring and summer. We are looking to build up an inventory of handmade baby hats, so one can be included in each basket. Whether knitting, crocheting, sewing, or another skill, please share your talent and show your appreciation to our wonderful faculty and staff by contributing a hat. Please contact Jeana Colangelo with questions.
Committee Volunteers Needed for 2021-22
We are looking for volunteers to oversee the fabulous roles and committees such as the family fun event, book fair, and friendraiser committees, among many more. There are lots of opportunities with varying levels of commitment. A listing and description of activities and volunteer opportunities can be found on the PA Homepage on the Parent Portal. 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.
Grade Parent Volunteers Needed for 2021-22
We are looking for volunteers to serve as grade parents for the next school year. New parents and those with past experience are welcome! If you are interested in volunteering, please click here to fill out a nomination form. And if have questions about the role of a grade parent and wish to learn more, please contact any of the PA executive team or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acclaimed International LGBTQ Films Available Soon For Streaming
The Belmont World Film’s International Film Series, Virtual Edition will present two films of interest to the LGBTQ community and allies. The first film is Charlatan, which tells the true story of a natural healer and his same-sex lover caught in the cross-hairs of the former Czechoslavakia’s regime in the 1950s. Streaming of Charlatan runs from March 23 to March 29. Tickets are available here. The second is the French film, A Good Man. The film tells the story of Benjamin, a woman transitioning to a man, who, while living on an island off the coast of Brittany, he and his partner decide to have a baby. With great empathy, the film explores a trans man’s desire to have children and raise a family. Streaming of A Good Man runs from April 27 to May 3. Tickets are available here.
Support Waltham Fields Community Farm
Waltham Fields Community Farm is dedicated to the mission of food assistance and farm education in our area towns and cities. For the second year, the farm’s major fundraiser, Sprout!, has been transformed into a virtual event. The online silent auction will be held April 8-11. For information on registering to participate in the auction, donating items, or making a donation in support of Waltham Fields, visit the Sprout! event website.