Grade 6 students are simulating and recording meteor strikes on various planet-like surfaces in Ms. Moriarty’s science class.
Message from Head of School
Sprinting Through the Marathon
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: November 15, 2019
Leading into the first marathon that my wife and I had ever run a few weeks ago, I offered up a bit of my pre-race nervousness to a parent in attendance at a recent school event. After empathically sharing the story of his own first marathon, he added, “… and think about the possibilities for the Scoop! Hard to find a better metaphor than actually running a marathon.” True enough, my friend. Let’s see if the months of training paid off…
The old cliché “it’s not a sprint” is something we often hear when asked to take the long view of something. But here’s the thing: sometimes, it sure feels like a sprint. We may all try to avoid answering, “busy,” when those who care about us ask how we are doing. But the truth is, we are busy, and life very often feels like it requires demanding short bursts rather than focused and sustained effort.
In fact, the more consideration I give to the school year analogy, the less marathon I find. Consider, to prepare for this one morning-long marathon involved four months of training. While there are certainly months-long build-ups in the course of a school year–rehearsals for a grade level play, a cumulative math assessment at the end of a trimester, preparation for the Greek Festival, and many more–paradoxically, education can feel like the 100-meter dash. We need to get from here to there quickly because that next sprint is waiting for us.
Perhaps, then, what marathon running has reminded me is that our lives are spent largely mid-sprint. I wonder if we’d be better off taking that long view more often rather than focusing on the finite bite-sized immediacy of our students’ or children’s experiences. Today’s 100-meters, however quickly we travel it, actually succeeds in getting us 100-meters closer to our larger goal—the 26.2-mile course known as a pre-k to eighth grade education.
Metaphorically-speaking, along the course there will be hills and hardships; these are also a challenging truth of the actual experience. Sometimes, we run at our race pace and sometimes we walk because the path is more challenging than we expected. But always, we are moving towards a goal more significant than the finish line. We are moving towards a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment not marked by medals or times, but instead by navigating joyful, humbling, exhilarating, and sometimes painful moments to arrive at a goal that you once questioned if you would be able to reach.
Also worthy of note, despite some long quiet runs, we never felt alone, not only because we trained together, but because we ran—and our students learn—with an awareness of a mighty and invisible team of supporters at our side. We had the support of advice-givers, specialists, and more experienced runners who could offer counsel to us. Our family and friends were on the course itself. I invite you to build on the metaphor here: Consider your child’s journey through school. How many of the mighty and invisible are there supporting them?
The marathon metaphor is an ample one, to be sure. It offers a rich point of comparison to school life. Sometimes a day, a month, or a year in the life of your child, or even in your own adult life, can feel like a sprint, not a marathon. But the marathon is there if you’re willing to look for it, and your child is running it and running it well.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
First grade students are hopping their way to learning addition.
This Coming Week at BDS
November 16 to November 23
Athletics Mud Week, November 18-26
Saturday, November 16
8 a.m.–12 p.m., Strategic Planning Retreat, Coolidge Hall
10 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Garden Workday
10–11 a.m., STEAM Saturdays 1
7 p.m., Grade 8 Parent Social & Class Gift Kick-off, Parent Home Cambridge
Monday, November 18
8:15–9 a.m., Erskine Library Committee, Erskine Library
Thursday, November 21
9 a.m.–1:45 p.m., Grade 4 Field Lab, Crane Beach, Ipswich
Friday, November 22
8:30–9:30 a.m., Parents’ Association, Coolidge Hall
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sports Highlights & Sharing Assembly, Barn Gym
Saturday, November 23
Middle School Model UN Conference, Northeastern University
TOMORROW, Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Belmont Day parents, students, alumni, and staff are invited to help put the garden to rest for the winter. Students with a parent will be mulching, clearing, organizing, and having fun. Bring a pair of gloves and a shovel if you have one (we have them too!) and enjoy being outdoors and working together to maintain our outdoor classroom and community gardens. To RSVP and for any questions, please contact Kathy Jo Solomon.
Winter Trimester Enrollment Ends November 26
Registration for our winter trimester is still open! Our current trimester ends with the final day of classes on Tuesday, November 26. Our winter trimester will begin the first day we return from break on Monday, December 2.
Many classes are capped at ten students and fill quickly. We suggest returning forms promptly to Barbara Carey at the front desk once you have completed them. Registration ends Tuesday, November 26. Registration if available after that will incur additional fees. Click here to see class descriptions and download the registration form.
Please contact Blair Fross with any questions.
Lunch & Snack Menu
November 18 to November 22
Snack: Smartfood; fruit cup
Lunch: potato and three cheese pierogi; marinara sauce; chef’s choice vegetable; crusty French bread; greens with balsamic
Snack: Tostitos; bananas
Lunch: beef tacos; vegetarian tacos; guacamole; shredded lettuce; cheese; salsa; sour cream; diced tomato; flour tortillas; crispy taco shells; chef’s choice vegetable; taco salad
Snack: pretzel twists; apples
Lunch: citrus herb roasted salmon; chef’s choice vegetable; rice pilaf; broccoli salad
Snack: Nutri-Grain bars; clementines
Lunch: BDS alphabet tomato soup; chocolate milk; wheat grilled cheese; chef’s choice vegetable; garden salad with honey mustard
Thursday, December 19
6:30 p.m. in the Downing Gym
We hope you will join us for this annual celebration of the season, our community, and our students’ musical development. Below are the details and logistics for all students and their families.
Ensemble/Middle School Chorus Members: black on bottom, white on top
Lower School Chorus Members and all other students: dressy, festive attire
Arrival at BDS:
Parking: Please coordinate your plans so that the fewest possible cars arrive on campus that evening as parking is limited, especially if there is snow. The processional of students into the Downing Gym will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m.
Meeting Times and Places for Students
Ensemble Students: Please meet in the following places at 5:45 p.m.
- Chorus: Music Room
- Orchestra: Downing Gym
- Wind Ensemble: Downing Gym
- Guitar Ensemble: Polygon
- Drumming Ensemble: Green Room
All other students: Please meet in the following places at 6 p.m.
- Pre-k through Grade 5: Homerooms/Classrooms
- Grade 6: Room 269 (Mr. Spencer’s Room)
- Grades 7 and 8: Kiva
Families and visitors who are dropping off ensemble students before 6 p.m. are invited to meet in the front lobby. At 6 p.m. we welcome all parents into the Downing. At 6:20 p.m. we ask families/visitors to find their seats, so students may line up for the processional.
- Prek and K families are seated in the first few center rows.
- Grades 1-8 families may sit anywhere in the gym, except the rows reserved for Pre-k and K families, and for classes. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Following the concert, students may be picked up from their assigned meeting spaces (see above.)
After School Students
Students who are usually enrolled in after school on Thursdays and who will not be going home before the concert will be supervised by the after school staff until their usual pick-up time at 5:30 p.m. A pizza dinner will be provided. If your child cannot eat this meal, please pack a bag dinner. Families should plan to bring their child’s concert dress so that they can change before going to their assigned meeting spaces. Families are responsible for supervising their children from 5:30 until either 5:45 or 6 p.m. (see scheduled arrival times above).
Please make sure you inform the after school team if your child is staying until 5:30 p.m. and will be eating pizza.
A Note About Weather
If there is significant snow on the evening of the event, we may have to postpone the concert. We will use our ConnectEd communications platform to inform you should we need to reschedule.
Cross Country Shines at States, Finishes Unbeaten
Belmont Day’s cross country team is on quite the run. Last Saturday, the team put the finishing touches on their second consecutive undefeated season with a trio of top three finishers at the State Championships. Under the guidance of coaches Anne Armstrong and Elinor Hannum, the largest team in program history was just that … a team. By measuring success in terms of effort and improvement instead of in wins and losses, the team was able to cultivate an environment where every runner was challenged, supported, and appreciated. With such a large team, the Blue & Gold relied on three captains this fall—Elena Ferrari, Miles Sandoski, and Cole Sparks. Having grown-up in the program, all three captains clearly understood what it took to create a sense of team in a largely individual sport and were strong leaders on and off the trails. Congratulations to all 23 runners on a memorable season.
More Athletics News
- All middle school athletes will participate in grade specific programing during Mud Week, which will include fitness testing, goal setting, and cooperative games.
- After team meetings on Monday, November 25, the winter season will officially kick off on Monday, December 2. The following sports will be offered: basketball, wrestling, fencing, volleyball, and intramural games.
“Why do you start; and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?”
Sixth graders in theater class are engaging with Shakespeare. Inspired by a line of text from one of Shakespeare’s plays, small groups developed a series of tableaux to tell a story. The class was then given a list of Shakespearean insults and compliments. They looked up the meaning of intriguing words on the list such as bawcock (a fine fellow), then wrote their own insults and compliments and used them in an original scene. Discussion followed around the power of words and how they can be used to do harm or good. The class will next read and discuss a summary of Macbeth and begin work on an adapted scene from the play. Their performance of the scene is a culmination of the skills they have learned this term.
CORI/SORI Process for Parent Volunteers
From its founding in 1927, Belmont Day School has been enriched by the strong involvement of parents in the community life of the school. To this day, we value and appreciate the many hours of service given by parents to further the educational experience of our students. We thank all of our parent volunteers and wish to encourage that practice in the years to come.
Since 2007, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has required schools to conduct background checks on all employees, volunteers, and independent contractors who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children, including any individuals who regularly provide school-related transportation to children. Today the process is known as a CORI check, or Criminal Offender Record Information check, utilizing a database maintained by the Commonwealth. Additionally, Belmont Day School also conducts a check of the Sex Offender Registry (SORI) Information system. The checks were mandated for the protection of all members of the school community. You can view the school’s CORI Policy here.
We are asking all adults in the community who are currently, or who may be in the future, volunteering for parents’ association activities, supporting community service efforts, or helping in classrooms to complete a CORI Acknowledgement Form. Having this information on file in advance will streamline the process of volunteering when opportunities arise. Please use the link to download a fillable form.
To Complete the Process:
Bring the CORI Acknowledgement Form to school along with your government-issued ID. Designated faculty members will help you complete the process by verifying your ID and the information on the form.
Opportunities to submit the form are as follows:
- PA Meetings (including the meeting next Friday, November 22, 8:30–9:30 a.m.) – Designated faculty will be present at select meetings of the parents’ association to receive CORI forms.
- 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. – Stop by Early Birds when dropping off your child. Most days either Deborah Brissenden, assistant head of school or Fred Colson, director of finance are on duty. Both Deborah and Fred can help you with the process.
- 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Stop by the business office where Sarah Barrow, Dale McGhee, or Fred Colson are available to receive your form and check your ID.
- 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Stop by the front desk where Blair Fross or Joe Jean-Mary should be available to receive your form.
These drop-off points will be available to you most days. However, on rare occasions, you might find that a designated faculty member is not available. We do apologize in advance should that happen.
If you have any questions about the CORI process, please contact Bea Rooney, director of summer programs or Fred Colson, director of finance.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Preparing for Cold Weather
It’s getting to be that time of year again. This week’s freezing temperatures have been a great reminder to make sure you have all the necessary cold-weather gear your child will need for recess, athletics, and after school this winter.
We aim to get outside for recess every day. On days when it is exceptionally cold (when the temperature with wind chill falls below 15 degrees), we will limit our outside recess time. Hopefully, we will have very few days where it is so inclement that we are unable to go outside at all.
All students, from pre-k through grade eight, joyfully participate in outdoor recess every day. In order to be safe and comfortable, your child should always have:
- A warm coat; a sweatshirt, fleece, or vest is not enough below 40 degrees
- A winter hat or hood
- Gloves or mittens
- Boots and snow pants; students without this gear will be unable to join their friends playing in the snow and will instead remain on the pavement
If you are able, it is a good idea to keep a set of outdoor gear in your child’s cubby/locker so that they are always prepared. It is also a great idea to keep a set of spare clothes at school (no matter your child’s age) in case clothes become wet or muddy playing outside.
Middle school athletes go outside year-round so they should have long pants/sweat pants available each day as well as appropriate gear for the weather.
After school enjoys the outdoors daily as well, especially on Fridays. Along with lunch on Friday, please make sure that your child is outfitted for healthy and happy play outside.
Please let Liz LaRocque know if you have any questions or concerns.
Please Check Lost & Found Before Thanksgiving Break
The Lost & Found bins, located in the cubbies across from the faculty room, are overflowing. If your child is missing any items, we strongly advise you to check those bins. All the items will be on display before and after the Thanksgiving Assembly on Tuesday, November 26. Shortly after the assembly, all unclaimed items will be donated to Cradles to Crayons.
Apple Crisp Recipe
As part of the Thanksgiving-style lunch that was served on Wednesday, we enjoyed a special treat: apple crisp. The crisp was very popular with students and faculty and many asked for the recipe so they could prepare it at home. We’re very happy to share the recipe below.
A great big thank you to all the student and parent volunteers who took part in the community service cooking event on November 1. The volunteers cooked up the apple crisp to share with the community and also prepared a wonderful meal for On the Rise, a women’s shelter in Cambridge.
Fall Apple Crisp* – Serves 8
6 cups apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter*, cut into small pieces
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Gently combine the apples with the sugar, flour and cinnamon; place in pie plate.
- Prepare the topping: Combine the oats, flour, both sugars and salt in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or 2 knives to work in the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
- Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly. Serve in dessert bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.
*You can substitute AP flour with gluten-free flour and butter with Earth Balance vegan buttery spread to accommodate gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Parent Survey on Social Identity, Bias, and Justice
We’re providing an opportunity to express any wishes parents might have regarding connecting with others who share their experience or interest in matters related to social identity, social bias, and social justice.
Please take a look at this survey, and, if you’d like, share your input.
As always, please feel encouraged to contact me directly.
– Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion
Visiting Author: Lee Bacon
Wednesday, December 4
This is a reminder that all book orders for author Lee Bacon’s visit are due to Belmont Books on Thursday, November 21. He will be visiting to speak with students in grades 4-6. Please see this flyer for instructions on how to get a copy of The Last Human or books from the Joshua Dread series.
Parents’ Association News
Thank you to Morgen Bergman, parent of Asher Sarpeshkar in first grade, for the decorative centerpieces being enjoyed by all in Coolidge Hall.
Baby Book Collection
The PA is now collecting baby books for a baby who will soon join the community! Please consider dropping off a new book (unwrapped is ok!) for librarian Amy Sprung. Books are being collected in Pati Fernández’s office, located opposite the PAC. Please join us in this wonderful tradition of welcoming faculty babies!
Learn About the Ensembles Program
Friday, November 22, 8:30–9:30 a.m., Coolidge Hall
Please join us at the PA meeting on Friday, November 22, as we learn more about the ensembles program and the talented musicians that teach our students. Ensemble teachers, Timur Rubinshteyn, Kristian Baverstam, Meghan Carye ’91, Susan Dempsey, and Yui Kitamura will be sharing information their ensemble work and their experiences outside of BDS!
Moms As Mentors
Build Bridges! Mini-Workshop
Sunday, December 8, 2–3:30 p.m.
Dedham Country Day School
Moms as Mentors programs offer interactive team-building and bonding activities for girls and moms. At the Build Bridges! mini-workshop there will be a featured STEM activity. Plus, you’ll leave with resources and practical tips on how you can nurture your daughter’s confidence in the STEM fields. This program is intended for moms and girls ages 4-7. Click here for more information and registration.