Sixth graders enjoy some loud learning on the bucket drums.
At the Confluence of Mother’s Day and Faculty Appreciation Week
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: May 7, 2021
Stay in education long enough, and you are certain to get this question asked of you: Who was the most influential teacher in your life?
For me, the answer is quick and relatively easy. There are two.
The first is my mother. When I think back, especially to my early childhood and upper elementary years, she was there. While I was trying to figure out how to add fractions, she was trying to understand me and how I learned. She had many wonders:
- For a child to whom things seemed to come so quickly, why does he forget to put his shoes on in the morning?
- After getting help to navigate his social studies homework and reminders to put his work in his book bag, how on Earth could he fail to turn it in?
- What is this new (in the mid-eighties) learning difference known as Attention Deficit Disorder, and how is it that his learning profile seems to align with the research as though he had been the subject of study!?
Yes, the first answer is my mother because she helped me understand that a love of reading is a lifelong gift and helped me understand myself as a learner.
So, to the moms who are working on similar discoveries in partnership with the teachers at Belmont Day, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. In so many ways, you are doing critically important work as a teacher, too. May you enjoy this Sunday with your families.
The second most influential teacher is my high school choral director. As one might expect, he was excellent at his craft, but then, all of my high school teachers were. What made Mr. Shephard (or ‘Shep’ as he was known to his students) such a phenomenal educator was the time he made for me, the possibility he saw in me, and the confidence he had in me even when I did not believe in myself. I’ve told him as much since those days. His work with me changed my life, and I can easily—almost linearly—attribute my career path to head of school to being Shep’s student as a freshman in high school.
The way Shep supported and inspired me mirrors what I see happening every day at Belmont Day. Great teachers make the most of those ‘in between’ moments with students. I wonder—when a teacher brings a favorite TV show character to life by constructing a 6-foot Gigantosaurus with her pre-k students; or encourages interest in a new sport; or allows extra time for the spark of understanding of a complicated math problem, scientific reaction, or line of poetry to land—are these the moments that will alter a child’s path in a new, inspiring direction? Our faculty’s willingness to individualize and go the extra mile for their students has long been the hallmark of our school.
So, as Teacher Appreciation Week concludes and Mother’s Day arrives, there is no better reason for the two of those critical influences to be recognized here in the Scoop, one of the places where family and school meet.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
May 10 to May 21
Monday, May 10
ERBS for Grade 6
6–7 p.m., Looking Ahead to Grade 8, Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, May 11
ERBS for Grade 6
8–9:30 a.m., Investment Committee, Zoom Meeting
5:30–7 p.m., Board Diversity Committee, Zoom Meeting
Wednesday, May 12
ERBS for Grade 6
Thursday, May 13
6:30–8:30 p.m., Annual Corporation Meeting, Zoom Gathering
Friday, May 14
Faculty Appreciation Luncheon
8:50–9:35 a.m., Enrichment Assembly, Zoom Gathering
Saturday, May 15
5 p.m., BDS Fest Community Event & Auction, Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, May 18
7–8:15 p.m., Anti-racist Allyship Group for White-identified Parents, Zoom Gathering
Friday, May 21
Community Service Day
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m., Grade 2 Field Lab, Gaining Ground, Concord
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents’ Association, Zoom Meeting
For all Zoom meetings and gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Annual Corporation Meeting and Annual Parents’ Association Meeting
Please join us next Thursday, May 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to celebrate our school, recognize the accomplishments of our parents’ association and departing trustees, and honor faculty milestones. Please click here to register and you will be sent the Zoom link.
If you cannot make the meeting, we kindly request that you complete the proxy form to cast your vote for the slate of nominees to the Belmont Day Board of Trustees.
Register for the BDS Fest!
The Fest: Community Event and Auction
We are very excited to host our virtual Fest on Saturday, May 15 at 5 p.m. The community-wide celebration and auction event will include music, highlights from our scavenger hunts and an announcement of the winners, a silent auction, and a paddle-up fundraiser. Proceeds will be to help defray the COVID-19 expenses and the cost of winter/spring pool testing for all students and faculty.
Have you registered yet? Click here by May 13 and join us for the fun.
Lunch & Snack Menu
May 10 to May 14
Snack: apples; white corn cheese puffs
Lunch: pasta and meat sauce; pasta with sauce on the side; green peas; crusty rolls; butter; Romano cheese; garden salad with dressing; fresh fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: clementines; Nutri-Grain Bars
Lunch: chicken tenders; vegan nuggets; celery sticks; carrot sticks; ketchup; sweet and sour sauce; Lay’s Chips; coleslaw; apple slices; milk and water
Snack: bananas; baked tortilla scoops
Lunch: pork fried rice; veggie fried rice with tofu; Asian vegetable blend; soy sauce; fortune cookies; Asian greens with Mandarins and sesame dressing; fresh fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: apple slices; whole grain Rice Krispies
Lunch: beef burgers with bun; vegan burgers with bun; grape tomatoes; sweet potato chips; ketchup; pickles; cookies; Caesar salad; Romano cheese; Mandarin oranges; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: Real Fruit Gummies; Cape Cod Chips
After a very successful, but challenging year, first grade teacher Katie Alexander has decided to step away from full-time teaching. Katie dedicated this year to integrating into a new school community and grade, learning new curriculums, and creating and implementing a first grade online class, all during a pandemic. At this juncture in her life, Katie has decided to take a professional pause and focus on her upcoming wedding, her health, and her family. Fortunately, Katie will stay connected to BDS. She will be available to tutor students, may sub from time to time, and will teach a course in our teacher training program. Although we will deeply miss Katie and her phenomenal teaching, we are grateful we will continue to benefit from her good work with children and adult learners. It is our hope, should Katie consider a return to full-time teaching, that BDS will be the place to which she returns!
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly COVID Testing Update
We enjoyed another successful week of testing, with all negative results! Please see our dashboards for the results since we began pooled testing. Please note that anyone who misses our in-school testing on Wednesdays must get an outside test to be in school the following week. If you need to be out on a Wednesday morning, please be in touch with School Nurse Liz LaRocque to make arrangements for testing as soon as possible!
Change in Out of State Travel/Activity Guidelines
Given the change in Massachusetts travel recommendations and the low rates of COVID-19 in our neighboring states, we are making the following change: Overnight travel to New England states is now allowed without a need to quarantine or test on return.
In our experience, several travel activities remain high-risk and have led to cases on campus. These include all large indoor gatherings such as sports competitions, tournaments, and large family events such as weddings.
If your student travels to attend any of these events, in any location, our travel restrictions remain in place: Your child must quarantine on return and be tested on day 4 or 5 after the return. Once they have a negative PCR test result, they may return to school.
IBDS QUEST & FEST CORNER
The Quest Has Come to its End!
Thank you to our amazing Questers! It has been quite a journey, and although our winning teams haven’t been determined just yet, in our eyes all of our teams are winners. It has been a humbling experience to reimagine our biannual community event and auction, and you have all made them a success. We hope to see you all at the Fest next Saturday, May 15!
Click here to check out all the teams and their fun and inventive names.
Also, we’d like to take a minute to thank our generous sponsors who have gone above and beyond to help the school meet its fundraising goal. Click below to see all the great Quest & Fest sponsors.
Friendraiser Walk Reconnects Childhood Pals
During this week’s Friendraiser Walk & Talk, several parents weaved through the woods around the school chatting, laughing, and getting to know one another. During the walk, Caroline Gray (parent of fourth grader Copeland Maier) and Wendy Fulenwider Liszt (parent of pre-kindergartner Susanna Liszt and first grader Cyrus Liszt) started sharing their own school experiences. As the walk progressed and the conversation continued, the two realized there was quite a bit of overlap, as both had grown up in Massachusetts. Once a few more details were shared, including last names, they realized they had been childhood friends! They lowered their masks, took one another in, and squealed with excitement! Thank you to the Friendraiser committee for reconnecting two old friends. Caroline and Wendy are looking forward to many more walks together in the future.
The Friendraiser walks are held each Thursday morning. See the parents’ association section below for the details.
– Judy Bright P ’21, admissions and outreach program manager
Author Robbie Couch Shares His LGBTQ Story With Middle School Students
On April 29, BDS middle schoolers were delighted to hear from novelist Robbie Couch, who recently released his heartwarming debut book, The Sky Blues. While reading the book, we were moved to tears following the novel’s protagonist, Sky Baker, in his experience as an openly queer high schooler. Robbie Couch, and his book’s main character, Sky, are both such inspirations, and it was incredible to be able to see themes the BDS Gender and Sexuality Alliance has discussed in the past, woven into the young adult romance novel. During the Q&A session, the author shared his own journey with coming out, as well as his childhood in a small town similar to where Sky’s story is set, and the process of writing a 336-page novel. Couch encourages us all to share our own stories and experiences, noting that his experience is only one queer story of many. He also encouraged us to support LGBTQ authors. Be tough, be blue, be proud.
If you haven’t already, check out The Sky Blues, a touching story that will have you turning pages, laughing, and rooting for Sky until the very end.
– Audrey Wu ’21, Ripley Bright ’21, and Aviva Pearlmutter-Bearson ’21, on behalf of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance
Please Provide Your Feedback By May 19
The relationship between parents and the school has, since its founding, been critical in establishing the high standard of excellence to which we aspire. Through this satisfaction-based survey, the school is eager to hear from parents to better understand your family’s experience this year and gauge the health of our community. We see this as an important tool to help us realize opportunities to improve the school experience for our students and families in the future.
We hope that many of you will take the time to participate in the survey. You can expect it to take about 35-45 minutes to complete.
Your honest and specific feedback is valuable to the school and will help us to better serve our students and families moving forward. The survey is open until Wednesday, May 19. Thank you!
Introducing Summer Spark: A New Academic Program At Belmont Day
We hope that you will spread the word to friends, neighbors, and colleagues who may be looking for a summer academic program to bolster their child’s skills and confidence in preparation for the 2021-22 school year.
Our new Summer Spark program is an academic review and summer fun program for rising first through sixth graders who are either incoming BDS students or students at other schools. Many area schools have been in either remote or hybrid learning modes for much of this school year and their students may benefit from a supportive program to review skills.
The program will run from July 12 to August 6.
Click here to learn more about Summer Spark and refer families to the program.
Pre-kindergartners Create Giant New Dinosaur Sculpture and Friend
Measuring 71 inches tall, 13 feet long, and three feet wide and taking over six weeks to complete, the pre-kindergartners are proud to share a completed Giganotosaurus sculpture! Grown from a love of dinosaurs, this project started as an example of an emergent curriculum that ultimately flowed into our spring sculpture curriculum. While the final result is truly a phenomenal showcase, the process and learning behind the product is where the true magic lies.
Early in the year, an interest in dinosaurs emerged as we were drawn to dinosaur books and figures. As the year continued this fascination continued to be a predominant theme in play. Next, we embarked on a collaborative large-scale project using recycled material to create our very own Giganotosaurus. We learned a variety of painting techniques and tools during the process.
We began by painting large cardboard boxes. We added a base layer to cardboard pieces using sponge brushes. We practiced “bunny hopping” movements that added an important layer of texture for the next layer of paint to adhere to. Once that dried, we moved to a different shades of green paint that would ultimately be the color of Giganto!
As we moved through the various stages of the project, we researched, or referred back to the illustrations of Giganto to provide us with accurate information as we moved through creating the various parts of Giganto! Returning to the source is a crucial information literacy skill that children will continue to explore over their academic journey.
After lots of painting, we learned how to make papier-mâché using glue, water, and newspaper. We dipped the newspaper in the gooey glue water and then placed it on the chicken wire framed tail, arms, and hands.
As we moved towards our spring curriculum of sculpture, the children discovered that they were actually sculptors themselves now that our Giganotosaurus was finished. No longer was Giganto just a dinosaur friend in our classroom, we referred to it as a sculpture! We learned that a sculpture is a piece of art that can be seen from all sides, and we can do exactly that!
–Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher
Athletics Update: Fitness Remains a Priority
After a winter season devoted to fitness, the spring coaches continue to make it a priority during their sport-specific offerings. At 3:20 p.m. every day, middle school athletes scatter throughout campus to participate in lacrosse, tennis, track & field, volleyball, fencing, badminton, mountain biking, trail running, and disc sports. In addition to all the skill development and modified competitive play, there is also a commitment to fitness. During the pandemic, many of us have become more sedentary. More screens. More confinement. Less movement. From day one, Belmont Day’s coaches have made a concerted effort to combat all the sitting and screens, and even as we head outside and begin to focus on our traditional sport offerings, the commitment to fitness remains.
– John O’Neill, athletics director
Seventh Graders Explore the Issues of Food Justice
In seventh grade, students are learning about food justice, specifically analyzing food policy in the United States. After watching the documentary “The Garden” about the push and pull of different stakeholders over a 14-acre plot of land in South Central Los Angeles, students were given the opportunity to present their own thoughts on how funding should be distributed.
In teams, students created percentage pies that demonstrated their distributions and then presented to the class with explanations for each sector.
– Gretchen Fogelstrom, middle school social studies teacher
PE Update: Kindergartners Love Parachute Games
There is no better feeling than the wind in your face and all your classmates smiling and laughing and bright colors surrounding you. This week in kindergarten physical education classes, the students developed their teamwork skills while taking part in parachute games. Cat and mouse tag and big ball blast off were the favorites among the groups.
– Abbey Nyland, physical education teacher
Parents’ Association News
Faculty Appreciation Luncheon
On Friday, May 14, the parents’ association will be providing faculty and staff with a beautiful lunch from East Meets West catering in individualized boxes, which meets our COVID safety requirements.
The PA is looking for donations of beverages or individually packaged desserts. Safe packaging will be provided to those who sign up for desserts. Belmont Day is a nut-free campus, so please keep that in mind when planning your dessert contributions. Please bring beverage and dessert donations at the morning drop-off on Friday, May 14. There will be a table in front of the PAC. Please click on this SignUp Genius link to sign up.
Additionally, we invite your children to make a thank you sign for our amazing faculty to be hung in the school during the week of the luncheon. There will be a marked bin outside of the PAC door for signage collection starting on Monday, May 10. If you have any questions or need supplies, please contact Pati Fernández.
Family Fun Event
Save the date! Saturday, June 5 will be our at-home edition of Family Fun Night: Pizza and Origami
Registration will be available soon and your family can sign up to make a fun meal together and learn to fold beautiful origami creations while the pizzas cook! Breakout rooms will be created so kids can socialize, and families can see old friends and make new connections.
If you are interested in volunteering to co-host this virtual event, please contact the committee using the volunteer registration form.
The next book club selection is Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Please join us for our online gathering on Wednesday, June 9 at 10 a.m. to discuss this book. The 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 pre-kindergarten teacher Kate Oznick’s baby, with a donation of your favorite book. Books may be dropped off until Friday, May 21 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!
The Friendraiser committee is hosting a walk every Thursday morning after drop-off. Come discover the trails around BDS, reconnect with friends, and meet new ones. We look forward to seeing you there! Meet in the grass circle in front of the schoolhouse at 8:15 a.m. Also, see the fun Friendraiser walk reunion story in the news section above.
Have you participated in the Birthday Book Program this year? In the program, parents have the opportunity to have a book added to the Erskine Library in honor of their child’s birthday. It is entirely optional. Your child’s name will be put on a special bookplate that is placed in a library book to recognize your gift, and Amy Sprung, school librarian, will bring the book to your child to checkout. In the past, parents would drop off a check or cash and either browse the new book cart or indicate special requests. This year, we are trying something a little different by regularly updating wishlists at two local independent bookstores, Porter Square Books and Belmont Books. Please consider purchasing a book from one of our wishlists to be added to the Erskine Library collection. If you would like a bookplate added to your donation in honor of your child’s birthday, please email Amy Sprung with the name of the book you donated. If you would prefer to send a check as in the past, please email Amy.
Lost & Found
While many items have been claimed from the Lost and Found, many are still waiting to be claimed! 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.
Help bring spring into the classrooms! We are looking for volunteers to donate “centerpieces” for the cohort rooms for May and June. 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.
Panel to Address Environmental Justice
We will never survive the climate crisis without ending white supremacy. – Hop Hopkins, director of organizational transformation at the Sierra Club
Belmont Against Racism will be hosting a panel discussion on the issues and efforts around environmental justice on Thursday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. The panelists will be state Rep. Dave Rogers of Cambridge, the Rev. Vernon Walker with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather, Dwaign Tyndal with Alternatives for Community & the Environment, and Amy Tai and Pattie Heyman with Mothers Out Front. All are invited to attend. Click here for Zoom link to the event.