Pre-kindergartners enjoy a painting project out in the sun this week.
Et Tu, Latin
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: March 26, 2021
For the past three years, while the school celebrated the Barn’s opening and navigated the pandemic’s disruption, there has been another slightly quieter type of building happening on our campus. Like the Barn itself, its construction process has been one with data-backed decision-making, dogged determination, and masterful design from experts in the field.
Belmont Day’s first collection of Latin scholars will graduate this spring. These students have worked and learned under the careful eye of Latin teacher and program architect Nicole Buck. Four years ago, driven by the school’s intentional middle school enrollment growth, the language faculty at the time—Nathalie Pellenq, William Yepes, and Jen Friborg—joined Deborah Brissenden in a thoughtful and extensive programmatic review to expand our language offerings. And three years ago, Latin was launched at BDS.
The Latin program successfully embodies the values of our language department’s statement of purpose: “Language is a tool for learning how to connect with, generate empathy for, and understand others. … Students appreciate the power of words and how language has influenced and continues to mold the views of all societies.” This year’s eighth grade students will be our first graduates to have experienced the program in its entirety.
Latin echoes the emphasis in our Spanish and French programs on communication, student empowerment, and connection to the world beyond BDS. In addition to learning vocabulary and verb conjugation, Latin students have designed Roman baths and run an election campaign, complete with stump speeches. They have considered the impact that the Romans’ long-ago decisions regarding slavery, the treatment of women, family roles, and the concept of “otherness” have had on today’s global Western cultures. And like our French and Spanish students, Latin scholars are discovering connections between their language of choice and English. “I love the way your brain associates Latin with different words that are English,” one student reported.
While we’ve missed Ms. Buck’s toga-clad warnings to “Beware the Ides of March” both this year and last due to the pandemic, we witness each day how her engagement with students brings incredible life to this so-called dead language. And beware to anyone who may call it a dead language to Ms. Buck herself.
March 26 to April 16
March is Alumni Giving Challenge Month
Friday, March 26
5:30–6:45 p.m., Parent Gathering: Confronting Social Bias, 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
Saturday, April 10
7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m., BDS Quest Scavenger Hunt
10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Faculty Garden Workday
Alumni Community Service Week
Sunday, April 11 to Saturday, April 17
Capstone Presentation Week
Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16
Thursday, April 15
5–7:00 p.m., Grade 5 Migration Exhibit, Zoom Gathering
Friday, April 16
Middle School Interim Grades Released
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly, Zoom Gathering
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., Jam-The-Van Clothing Drive for Cradles to Crayons
For all Zoom meetings and gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
PA Friendraiser Shopping Event This Sunday
The Parents’ Association’s friendraiser committee invites you to a shopping outing this 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. To receive the discount online, enter the code “belmont” at checkout for a 15% discount. Please RSVP to [email protected] 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.
March Madness Celebration and Performance by Alisa Amador ’10
Wednesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Join us for an evening of music, celebration and conversation featuring a special performance by alumna Alisa Amador ’10. Beloved for her synthesis of rock, jazz, funk, alternative folk, Alisa’s song “Together” was featured in NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest “Entries That Help Us Feel Connected” in April. She will perform original songs and engage the audience with a live Q&A.
All are welcome to attend! Please visit the Parent Portal for the Zoom link.
Save the date for a musical journey courtesy of our student musicians and the music faculty. Always a joyful celebration of musical education, join us on Friday, April 9 at 8:50 a.m. for the annual Spring Concert. The Zoom link for the event will be emailed to all families directly and will be available on the parent portal.
Lunch & Snack Menu
March 29 to April 2
Passover-friendly meals and snacks available each day
Snack: applesauce; pita chips; Goldfish
Lunch: bowtie pasta; meatballs; marinara; pasta with marinara on the side; gluten-free meatballs; green beans; crusty rolls; butter; quinoa tabouleh salad; fresh fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: bananas; granola bars
Lunch: Asian teriyaki chicken; Asian teriyaki tofu; basmati rice; broccoli; fortune cookies; Asian greens with scallions and sesame dressing; sliced pears; milk and water
Snack: clementines; Cheez-Its
Lunch: herb-roasted salmon; herb-roasted chicken; Israeli couscous; steamed Brussel sprouts; garden salad; fresh fruit cup; milk and water
Snack: pears; Cape Cod Chips
Lunch: Greek chicken; Mediterranean veggie patty; ketchup; roasted potatoes; Mediterranean vegetable blend; Greek salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, and olives; Mandarin oranges; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: apple slices; pretzel twists
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly COVID Testing Update
This week, we tested on Monday, as school was closed on Wednesday for conferences. The students continue to do an incredible job self-swabbing, with minimal disruption to classes. This week saw a positive case from a test taken independently outside of school. We were able to test the affected cohort and faculty on Monday and retest on Friday. Monday’s results were all negative, and we are all hoping today’s will be as well!
If your child will be out on a testing day for any reason, please contact Liz LaRocque to arrange for alternate testing.
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!
– Liz LaRocque, school nurse
BDS QUEST CORNER
Our First Quest Was a Huge Success!
We are thankful for everyone’s enthusiasm during our first BDS Quest! Everyone’s participation has inspired and challenged us and brought joy to many in our community. We had over 100 families and more than a dozen faculty members racing around Boston this past Saturday on a joyous quest.
A huge thank you to our amazing co-chairs for the event: Carolyn Atinizian P ’27, Crissy Straub P ’20, ‘24, ‘28, and Maribel Sandoski P ’20, ‘23. This day would not have been possible without their dedication, creativity, and love for our community. We appreciate you!
For those who participated, the Quest Committee will be reviewing all submissions and the Winner of Quest #1 will be announced at the BDS Fest on May 15. As a reminder, the points will be confirmed through the review process.
Weren’t able to join us before the Quest started, and you’re interested in joining in the next one? No problem! Please contact Pati Fernandez to join the last two Quests and the Fest!
Next BDS Quest is on Saturday, April 10. Are you ready?
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
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.
Author Visits With Our Youngest Learners
On Thursday morning, grades pre-K to 1 met via Zoom with author and illustrator Sam Wedelich to talk about her new book Chicken Little and the Big Bad Wolf. In the lead-up to the event, teachers read her books to the students and made a variety of curricular connections. Ms. Oznick used Sam Wedelich’s Chicken Little books to talk to students about book features like text bubbles that show which character is speaking and examined how the author chose to use different color text to indicate who is speaking in the story.
In her presentation, Wedelich shared pictures of her artist studio with us and explained how a book gets made. She showed examples from her work that illustrated the importance of collaborating with a team when you make a book. She performed a live drawing demonstration so we could see how Chicken Little is made of different shapes and offered tips like looking at your face in the mirror while you are expressing a certain emotion so you can draw your character’s face that way.
Students were so inspired by the author’s presentation that many created their own chickens. She even offered insight into how picture books work by explaining how she plans what pictures and text to include before every page turn to keep the reader wanting more. One kindergartner in Ms. Hartvigsen’s class asked the author whether she had won any awards. When she said she hadn’t, Ms. Hartvigsen’s class took it upon themselves to design some awards for her books because they thought she had earned them!
Both Chicken Little and the Big Bad Wolf, and her first book Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale will be available in the Erskine Library collection for students to borrow. Also arriving this week is Petite Poulette, the French edition of her first book! Madame Pellenq is eager for it to arrive so she might use it with her students.
If you’d like to buy a signed book for your child, please order a copy from Belmont Books here.
– Amy Sprung, school librarian
Athletics Update: Athletes Gear Up For Spring
Beginning next Monday, March 29, middle school athletes will head back outside to compete alongside their grade level classmates. After a winter season indoors competing only amongst their cohorts, the change of season will be welcomed by all. Also returning to the program this spring will be student choice. Athletes have selected three different sports from nine unique offerings and will compete in each sport for a three-week session. For the first time since the winter season of 2019-20, Belmont Day athletes will be participating in sport-specific teams. Although competition will still be limited to intramural scrimmages and Covid-related safety protocols remain in place, this spring marks a joyous step forward for Belmont Day and the middle school athletics program.
– John O’Neill, director of athletics
PE Update: Sunny Days Fuel Students’ Energy
According to science, increased thermal leads to kinetic energy. And so it was in PE, with the sunshine giving our students even more energy than normal, and allowing them to crush a wide range of obstacle courses and implements this week. They hustled and cooperated, played and competed, and did it with a smile, giving us a preview of all the excitement and energy we can expect this spring. Be sure to check out the accompanying highlights video!
– The Physical Education Team
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.
We are excited to welcome the next faculty baby this spring! Please help us welcome fourth grade teacher Mary Norman’s baby with a donation of a favorite children’s book. Books may be dropped off from Monday, March 29 through Monday, April 12 during drop-off or pick-up. There is a collection bin in the vestibule of the Schoolhouse. The Baby Welcoming committee will assemble the books into a basket for delivery. Thank you!
Cradles to Cradles Jam-the-Van Clothing Drive
Starting to clear your child’s closet? Are they growing out of everything these days? Well, please set those items aside and keep Cradles to Crayons in mind! Although we will not be able to host our traditional donation drive and sorting event on campus, we will host a Jam-the-Van donation drive as we did in the fall to collect children’s clothing and shoes.
The Cradles to Crayons van will be on campus to collect your gently-used, like-new donations on Friday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you would like to drop off a donation at another time, you may do so at drop-off from Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16.
Help bring spring into the classrooms! We are looking for volunteers to donate “centerpieces” for the cohort rooms for April and May. This is an easy, low-stress way to contribute to BDS and a nice way to brighten the day for students and faculty. Simply bring in 12-14 small plants or seasonal centerpieces that can be placed in the rooms and will last for two to three weeks. Simple is best. Color is nice, but herbs and green plants also work well. All ideas are welcome. Your children may enjoy participating too! Plants can be brought to the main Schoolhouse entrance at drop-off. Click here to sign up for an available slot.
If you have questions, please contact the chairs of the Classroom Flowers committee by email, phone, or text: Tracy Leng, 781-526-8657; Grace Wang, 857-313-8696.
Lost & Found
As the weather is changing have you noticed any winter gear that didn’t come home? There are many student items that have been left on campus. If you are missing an item, please complete this form. We will search the Lost & Found bins for the item and it will either be returned to your student or we will be in touch to let you know that we haven’t found it. If it isn’t found at this time, it will stay on the list in case it reappears at a later date.
PA Executive Committee Nominations Open
The parents’ association is seeking enthusiastic individuals who would like to serve a two-year term as treasurer and vice president on the PA executive committee from June 2021 to June 2023. 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 [email protected] by Friday, April 2. The nominating committee will review all nominations, and the final slate will be announced by April 30. Elections will be held at the corporation meeting on May 13.
The vice president serves for one year and then becomes president of the PA for the following year. The duty of the vice president includes: being the coordinator for all grade parents serving on behalf of the school, assisting in carrying out the duties of the president, attending and leading monthly PA meetings, attending internal PA Executive Committee meetings on a need basis, and being a supportive team member of the PA Executive Team and the Parents’ Association at large.
The treasurer serves for two years. The duty of the treasurer includes: preparing the PA budget for the school year (including grade parent and committee budgets), attending monthly PA meetings and giving brief financial updates, maintaining the BDS PA Treasurer’s Gmail account, attending PA Executive Internal meetings on a need basis, and being a supportive team member of the PA Executive Team and the Parents’ Association at large.
If you have any questions, please contact any member of the nominating committee: Elise Bayard Franklin (outgoing PA President 2020-21), Kelly Baker (PA President 2021 -22), Alex Minn (outgoing PA Treasurer 2020-21), Michele Walters (PA Clerk 2020 – 22), Crissy Straub (former PA president and current trustee), Sharra Owens-Schwartz (current trustee) and Catalina Guillermety (current trustee).
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 protected].
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 [email protected].
Online Family Concert This Sunday
The Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra will present its annual Family Concert on Sunday, March 28 at 3 p.m., in a virtual format. The link for the concert is available at www.psarlington.org. After Music Director Orlando Cela presents “The Instruments of the Orchestra”, the concert will feature Pasquale Tassone’s “How Bear Lost His Tail”, a musical storybook based on a Native American folktale with illustrations by Arlington artist Abby Cali and narration by Jeff O’Neil. The concert is free and open to all!
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.