The wind ensemble rehearses before school earlier this week.
Message from Head of School
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: March 6, 2020
New and useful. That’s how we have come to define innovation here at BDS—ideas and practices that are new and useful to our students and our community.
In recent days, when I have been able to pull my head up from coronavirus news, I have seen innovation front and center here at Belmont Day. If you haven’t yet perused the pages of the Belmont Day Magazine, I encourage you to explore this most recent issue centered around innovation. The articles highlight the places where innovation manifests in our program, reminding us that excellence in teaching and learning never rests.
Additionally, this week has offered a new and useful program for our eighth grade students who are midway through their Capstone journeys: Studio Week. A quick reminder that Capstone has three equally important phases that take place during the eighth grade year—the research paper written in the fall, the project phase executed in the winter, and the presentation phase which culminates in the Capstone presentations this May. Studio Week is, in many ways, the culminating week of the project phase of Capstone, much how the final research paper represents the work of the fall, and the presentations capture the work of the spring.
So, what is Studio Week? The brainchild of Capstone coordinator Jen Friborg who worked diligently with colleagues to restructure the scheduling of the Capstone process, Studio Week provides an opportunity for students to have sizable blocks of time to work on their projects here on campus. Each day, students have had from three to five hours of open time to work in the Barn or the Schoolhouse to build, test, tinker, code, design, program, paint, survey, interview, or teach as their projects take shape. The range of projects I observed on a walk through the Barn Mezzanine was dazzling. I encountered a Papier-mâché bluefin tuna constructed to scale, and a mural painting in mid-process. Another student was building a gravity well that will teach fourth graders about black holes, and another created a life-sized “tape person” that will help fifth graders better understand the power of gene therapy.
Studio Week (click here for photo gallery) offers our community greater visibility into a critical part of the Capstone learning process. Students who are not yet in eighth grade are walking past these projects in awe. The twenty-eight teachers who served as coaches this week guided students through the rigor of the process. And this group is in addition to the Capstone mentors who have been working with the students all year! The Barn has contributed significantly to the success of Studio Week—every space has been bursting with creativity and focus—from the IMPACT Lab to the art studios to the science classroom and the gym. Finally, Studio Week has been a showcase of the power of equitable access to materials, time, and opportunity. It has truly been something to behold.
As one prescient eighth grader said to me this week, “This is so much better than last year.” Of course, I couldn’t help but ask, “How could you know that?” And, like the fearlessly confident young man he is, he responded, “Oh, I have no idea. But this week has been amazing. So, it has to be better.”
New and useful, indeed.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
Celebrating the spring-like weather this week!
This Coming Week at BDS
March 9 to March 14
Athletics Mud Week
Tech Week for Grades 7 & 8 Musical
Monday, March 9
4–4:30 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: Lego Engineering, Barn science lab
Tuesday, March 10
4–4:30 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: Hogwarts Academy, second grade classroom
6–9 p.m., Parent SEED Group, Erskine Library
Wednesday, March 11
Faculty Appreciation Breakfast
8:15–9:30 a.m., Parent Book Club, Erskine Library
4–4:30 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: Yoga I, Barn science lab
5–5:30 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: Yoga II, Barn science lab
Friday, March 13
Trimester 2 Ends
After School, Extended Day, and Enrichment Session Ends
5:30–8:00 a.m., Grade 6 Astronomy Event
8:15–9:00 a.m., Enrichment Committee, Coolidge Hall
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents’ Association, Coolidge Hall
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross-graded Partners
10–11:00 a.m., Drop-in Camp Tour
1:35–2:05 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: World Drumming, Music Room
2:30–3:00 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: Reverse Engineering, Wood Shop
2:40–3:15 p.m., Enrichment Class Share: Parkour, Barn entryway
6–8:00 p.m., Grades 7 & 8 Musical; Palandjian Arts Center
Saturday, March 14
6–8:00 p.m., Grades 7 & 8 Musical; Palandjian Arts Center
Registration for Spring Enrichments Closes Next Friday
Registration for the spring trimester of enrichment classes is now open until next Friday, March 13. The spring trimester will begin on Monday, March 16. Class descriptions and registration and enrollment materials are available on our website. Registration forms should be turned in at the front desk with an attached check to enroll. Enrichment enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently, there are still spaces available in the Once Upon A Song, BDS Superheros, Junk Drawer Engineers, Novel Experience, Digital Painting, World Drumming, and Soccer enrichments.
For parents with students in current enrichment classes, please be sure to see the BDS calendar for the schedule of sharing events. If you have any questions please reach out to Blair Fross.
Seussical JR. – Fun for All Ages!
Friday and Saturday, March 13-14
6:00 p.m. in the Palandjian Arts Center
Don’t miss your chance to join the mischievous Cat in the Hat as he narrates the story of Horton the Elephant and his colorful friends including the loud and sour kangaroo, amazing and harmonizing birds, and trouble-making monkeys as they embark on a magical journey from the Jungle of Nool. Seussical JR. is a musical for all ages! The educational themes of this production offer the idea that a person is a person no matter how small, independent thinkers are wonderful, being different is great, and anything’s possible!
Tickets are free and can be reserved by clicking here. Please note that seating is limited and tickets will be provided on a first come first served basis only. Performance dates are Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Lunch & Snack Menu
March 9 to March 13
Snack: pretzel twists; fruit cup
Lunch: cheese lasagna; chef’s choice vegetables; French rolls; mixed greens with balsamic
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: Asian style beef and broccoli; soy sauce; broccoli, bok choy, carrots, and cauliflower blend; basmati rice; Asian style greens with soy dressing
Snack: granola bars; apples
Lunch: chicken tenders; ketchup and sweet and sour sauce; seasoned green beans; Lay’s potato chips; spinach salad with bacon egg, and mushrooms
Snack: Smartfood Delite; oranges
Lunch: BDS butternut squash soup; bagel muensters; broccoli; garden salad with avocado, tomato, and balsamic
Snack: craisins; GoGurt
Sign-Ups Open Wednesday, March 11
Conference times are now available to view by clicking here. The document is “view-only” until sign-ups officially open next Wednesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. At that time, the link will once again be emailed to families and will also be accessible from the Parent Site. This early, view-only access and extended lead time for sign-ups was designed based on parent feedback and is intended to help families as they plan for conferences on the afternoons of Fridays, March 27 and April 3, and the full-day of Wednesday, April 1.
We highly recommend using a desktop computer to access the sign-up sheets. To use a mobile device, download the Google Sheets app from the App Store or Google Play.
Parents of middle school students should sign up for a conference time with their child’s advisor.
BDS to Host ‘Parents’ University’ in May
Mark those calendars and plan to join us on Saturday, May 2 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for the first Parents’ University at Belmont Day. This new program, sponsored by the Ko Family and Wellesley Toyota Speaker Series, will feature keynote speaker Rosalind Wiseman, author, curriculum creator, and founder of Cultures of Dignity, as well as workshops led by BDS faculty. We promise an engaging morning of learning and inspiration on raising curious, confident, and resilient children.
The program is open to the public, so please invite your friends and neighbors. Advanced registration, at $5 per attendee, is required. Click here to register, and if you have any questions, contact Beth Sousa, associate director of development and annual giving.
Alumni Speaking to Middle School Athletes
Next week, the athletics department will welcome back Adam DeFranc ’13 and Samantha Friborg ’14 for the second installment in the Mud Week Speaker Series. This fall, Belmont resident and World Marathon Champion Becca Pizzi shared her story with middle school athletes, and on Monday, DeFranc and Friborg will do the same. DeFranc is currently a member of the men’s basketball team at Skidmore College while Friborg is running cross-country and track & field at Yale University.
More Athletics News
- Following a successful launch this winter, Intramural Games & Adventures returns as a middle school offering this spring. Possible outings include kayaking, swimming, and adventure racing.
- The girls’ lacrosse team will begin their season by traveling to Boston College to watch the Eagles square off against Dartmouth for a fun afternoon of high-level collegiate lacrosse.
Recorders and Original Compositions
Students in the second grade music class completed the woodwind unit this week as they practiced basic resting and playing positions and the notes B, A, and G on the recorder. During this unit, students learned about the variety of woodwind instruments as part of the year-long instrumental curriculum. For the past few weeks, they have been rehearsing Hot Cross Buns and improvising melodic patterns on the three notes. By practicing aural skills, students have been able to recognize high and low notes. Furthermore, students have been working on identifying notes on the treble clef. Last week, we created whole class compositions, in which students came up with a melody and notated it on the staff. This week, students created individual original compositions using those three notes. Check out this clip of students rehearsing Hot Cross Buns!
– Yui Kitamura, music teacher, grades 2-8
COMMUNITY SERVICE NEWS
Belmont Cradles to Crayons Collection
March 9 to April 5
As noted previously in the Scoop, Cradles to Crayons is coming to Belmont for its Annual Collect and Sort and BDS is pleased to once again serve as the collection site for donations. The collection container will arrive on campus on Monday, March 9 and be located in the parking lot near the Barn. Please bring in gently used clothing (up to adult size medium), shoes (up to adult size 11), and books (for children ages 0-12) to contribute toward supporting this event.
Please be on the lookout for parents and faculty distributing Cradles to Crayons bags at drop-off or pick-up on Monday to use for your donations.
Please sign up with your family and friends to participate in the sorting event on Sunday, April 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the BDS Barn gymnasium. During that time, volunteers will be organizing books and checking donated clothing and shoes for quality and cleanliness. Teens who need community service hours can receive credit for helping at this event. This event is open to adults and children of all ages.
Spreading the News
Help spread the word by reaching out to your friends and forwarding this information and flyer to your social groups, such as book clubs, your child’s soccer team, place of worship, etc.
To sign up for the sorting event or if you have any questions, contact Kristen G. Lewis, Pamela Cuming or Elizabeth LaFarge.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION NEWS
Students Get Moving After Break
Our pre-kindergarten to grade four physical education students have been on a roll since February break, learning new games, using new materials, and getting into an athletic groove. To combat the cold-ish winter weather, students arrived to class and got right into a Tabata warm-up. Then they worked on their castle building (and castle destroying) skills leading up to castleball, a game played with a hula hoop structure comprised of six hoops. They also practiced throwing, passing, and communicating as a team in handball, and got into the mad dash spirit of gold rush. They incorporated the castles, throwing, and fitness work into some innovative obstacle courses, and spent the last week working on various net games on our badminton nets. You may think you’ve seen cooperation at its finest, but there’s nothing quite like observing a group of students try and keep a balloon in the air using pool noodles. It’s sometimes the lightest piece of equipment that can pose the greatest challenge!
– Alex Tzelnic and Abbey Nyland, physical education teachers
Monthly Highlights from BDS Alumni
We’re excited to launch the first of our monthly Alumni News highlights, which showcase the wide range of achievements and milestones in the lives of our remarkable alumni community. Be sure to visit the Alumni Highlights section on the BDS website to hear from many more voices among our alumni network. And when you have any alumni news of your own to share, please send it to Andy Rentschler, director of alumni relations, at email@example.com. Thank you!
Danya Dubrow-Compaine ’16
Danya was recently awarded a Nora Saltonstall Scholarship for study in Paris next fall. Currently a senior at Winsor School, Danya will be taking a gap year next year and is excited to kick things off at The Sorbonne in Paris during her fall semester. She follows a long line of Winsor women granted this prestigious scholarship. Congratulations, Danya!
Emily Tan ’11
Emily (pictured, second from right) just finished her Fulbright Scholarship at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development at Western Sydney University. During her time in Australia, Emily explored the role that singing—in particular, lullabies—plays in how humans acquire language. “I have been blessed with friendships shaped by shared curiosity, adventure, and the vicissitudes of life. I will be thinking of these people and this whole experience for many years to come.
New Teaching Role for Julia Juster in 2020-21
We are delighted to announce that Julia Juster, current grade five English and social studies teacher, has been hired to join the middle school team as our new grades 6, 7, and 8 English teacher. Over her three years at Belmont Day, Julia has not only been teaching grade five, but also has served as a Capstone mentor and a mentor teacher to our associate teachers, and has been employed as a head teaching fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she organizes and facilitates two graduate-level courses. With a keen eye on where middle school students have come from and a commitment to best practices in education, Julia joins the middle school team with great expertise and excitement to introduce sophisticated English language narratives and skills to our middle school students.
BDS Musician Chosen for Festival
Grade seven student Alice Shu, a clarinetist and member of the BDS wind ensemble, recently auditioned and was chosen to participate in the Northeastern Junior Districts Festival. Alice will be performing a variety of songs with middle school musicians from across the region on Saturday, March 28, at 1:00 p.m. at the Galvin Middle School in Wakefield. Congratulations Alice!
Book Order Available for Upcoming Workshop
On March 19 at 6:30 p.m., BDS will host Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World for a workshop with parents. If you are interested in ordering Dr. Heitner’s book, click here for directions. To ensure your book is available for you at the workshop, please place your order by next Thursday, March 10.
Childcare will be provided during the evening workshop. To register your child, please contact Dolly Ryan no later than Tuesday, March 17. Children will enjoy activities and a pizza dinner in the Erskine Library. If your child cannot eat pizza, please provide an alternate meal for them.
Parents’ Association News
Volunteer Appreciation Community Event
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! The PA is hosting an appreciation event for all those who come to the Cradles to Crayons sorting day on April 5. After volunteering, we invite you to join our community celebration and enjoy ice cream and a special strongman performance by BDS parent Eric Dawson. We hope to see you there!
Parent Book Club
Wednesday, March 11 at 8:30 a.m.
All are welcome to join the parent book club! There will be coffee, tea, pastries, and lively conversation on our next book, Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore. We hope to see you there! Any questions please contact Nareeluck Stephenson.
Upcoming PA Meetings
Please mark your calendars for the last two parents’ association meetings of the school year.
Friday, March 13
Friday, May 15
Grade Parent and Committee 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn Debating This Summer
The Acton Debate Institute is a community speech and debate education program serving local youth in grades 5-8. Located in West Acton, the staff works individually with students to build their public speaking, critical thinking, presentation, collaboration, and competitive debate skills. In July 2020, the institute is offering a Speech and Debate Camp as well as a week-long Girls’ Leadership Workshop. Learn more at ActonDebateInstitute.com
Bending the Arc
Wednesday, March 11
Film from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by Q&A
Chenery Middle School Auditorium, Belmont
Belmont Against Racism and the Social Action Committee of the First Church of Belmont will host a showing of Bending the Arc, an inspiring documentary about Partners in Health and the leaders that brought dignity to health care in Haiti and around the world. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.