First graders prepare to do some painting in their woodworking class.
Message from Head of School
Hitting Our Stride … And Hitting the Road!
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: October 11, 2019
Mid-October and the school year starts to feel as though all of the back-to-school traditions and ceremonies have wrapped up and the calendar is now in full swing. The most notable markers for our students—the comfortable, consistent cadence of the day-to-day; sleepier children at the end of the day with brains, hearts, and minds full to the brim; joyful connections on the playground, the Labyrinth or in the Kiva—are rooted in their relationships with their peers, and with their teachers.
For teachers, the markers are similar and have an added nuance of preparation as we ready ourselves for parent conferences in only a couple of weeks. Introductory units have ended and the true heart of the year’s pedagogy has begun to take clearer shape. Whether they are beginning their study of popcorn words, drawing the pin cherry tree outside of second grade, exploring the Great Migration, reminding themselves of our six core values or moving on from linear equations, the steady rhythm of school has arrived and moves with a beat as consistent as that which emanates from Ms. Kitamura’s music room.
This is also the time of year that many professional development workshops and conferences begin to dot the landscape of the independent school calendar. Here at school, we have been asked by AISNE (Association of Independent Schools in New England) to host the Middle School Diversity Conference on the first weekend of November. Farther afield, we have received news that yet again, BDS faculty will be presenting at both the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) People of Color Conference in Seattle in December and at the NAIS Annual Conference in Philadelphia in February. Together, POCC and the annual conference are the two largest independent educational conferences in the country, and Belmont Day will be prominently featured on those big stages.
Like many on the faculty, I, too, am beginning my own conference season here in October. Later this month, I will join elementary school heads from across the country in Nashville for the ESHA (Elementary School Heads Association) annual conference and retreat where over 100 heads of similarly sized schools gather to discuss issues relevant to pre-k to grade 8 education. This is my fourth ESHA conference and it is consistently one of the most rewarding conferences I can attend. This year, the theme is rooted in country music: “Momma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be School Heads.” Of course, the title has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek (I, for one, am glad my Momma let her baby grow up to be a school leader!), as it will be a long weekend dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with school leadership today.
At ESHA, we will attend leadership workshops at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School for Independent School Leaders, meet a co-founder of a school who also doubles as the lead singer of Old Crow Medicine Show who will help draw the analogy between country music and pre-k to grade 8 leadership and we may even take on the challenge of writing our own music with the guidance of a Grammy winner–a testament to the many different types of intelligence and sensibilities that leaders need and that this conference will engage.
For me, this conference takes on a special importance this year as I was recently invited to join the ten-person executive committee of this association which is a great honor, and one that—like the faculty who are presenting at NAIS conferences or the opportunity to host over 300 middle school students for AISNE’s diversity conference—shines a spotlight on the great work happening every day at Belmont Day School.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Middle school students are working on prototypes in Mr. Robinson’s global goals class.
This Coming Week at BDS
October 14 to October 19
Monday, October 14
School Closed: Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Tuesday, October 15
Full Day Kindergarten Begins
6:30–8:30 p.m., Kindergarten & Grade 6 Parent Social, Coolidge Hall
Wednesday, October 16
3:30 p.m., Girls’ JV Soccer at Brimmer; Varsity Flag Football vs Thayer
6:30–8:30 p.m., Pre-k & Grade 8 Parent Social, Coolidge Hall
Thursday, October 17
8–10:00 a.m., Audit Committee, Head’s Office
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Soccer vs Shady Hill; Cross Country at Park Invitational; Field Hockey at Shady Hill; Girls’ Varsity Soccer at Shady Hill; JV Flag Football vs Shady Hill
Friday, October 18
8–11:30 a.m., Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Visiting Day
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly, Barn Gym
1:15–3:15 p.m., SSAT Prep-7
Saturday, October 19
9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Admissions Open House
RSVP Deadline End of Day Today!
Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Visiting Day, Friday, October 18
The deadline to RSVP for this year’s event is the end of the day today. Please register on behalf of your child(ren)’s grandparents or special friends. Click here to RSVP!
Volunteers Still Needed
We are seeking a few more volunteers to help us make Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day a very memorable one. The positions, such as morning host in Coolidge Hall, third grade classroom host, and traveling host, are fun and important. If you have any questions or wish to volunteer, please email Beth Sousa. Thank you!
Final Call to Enroll in Parent SEED
The first meeting of Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) will be Tuesday, October 22 so if you are interested, please sign up this week. SEED is a peer-led program of community and personal development around issues of identity, equity, and social justice. The program is built on facilitated small group discussions, shared experiences (film, reading, etc), and food!
Parent SEED is open to all parents and we welcome both new and returning participants. We ask participants to commit to attending all scheduled meetings. The group will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the following Tuesday evenings: October 22, November 12, December 17, January 7, February 4, March 10, April 14, and May 12.
Lunch & Snack Menu
October 14 to October 18
School Closed: Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Snack: saltines; fruit cups
Lunch: cheese lasagna; chef’s choice vegetable; crusty French rolls; greens with balsamic
Snack: Tostitos; bananas
Lunch: chicken tenders; sweet and sour sauce; chef’s choice vegetables; pretzels; romaine lettuce with tomato, avocado, and chipotle ranch dressing
Snack: granola bars; apples
Lunch: cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, and pizza of the day; chef’s choice vegetables; kale and broccoli slaw with poppyseed dressing; chocolate milk
Community Service Cooking: Garden to Table
Friday, October 25, 12:30–3:30 p.m., Coolidge Hall
Students in grades 3-8 and parents are invited to join us for a special community service cooking activity. We will use ingredients from our garden and local farms to prepare a meal for On the Rise, a women’s shelter in Cambridge. Bring a bag lunch. Students will eat lunch in Coolidge Hall, and start cooking with Chef Lightbody at 1 p.m. We will also prepare a special dessert for the whole school community. Space is limited to 14 students. Please click here to sign up. If you have any questions, contact Ms. Solomon.
Cross Country Remains Undefeated
On a day when every other team canceled their games due to the ominous forecast, cross country braved the cold temps and blustery conditions while hosting Shady Hill and Charles River. As it turned out, it was a banner day for the Blue & Gold, with 18 of the team’s 23 runners recording personal bests on the home course. Included in that group was a trio of seventh grade teammates, Sophia Tang, Brooks Largay, and Devon Holman, whose times are a testament to all of the hard work they’ve been putting in on the trails this fall. The highlight of the afternoon may have come from sixth grade classmates, Nadia Lomeli and Olivia Zhou, who dropped a combined six minutes off of their previous bests. Couple those standout performances with yet another 1-2-3 finish from Miles Sandoski (12:27), Henry Buckley-Jones (13:08), and Alexander Colangelo (14:20), and the result was another dominating team win for cross country which now sits at 8-0 on the season.
More Athletics News
- Issac Frehywot has distinguished himself as one of the boys’ soccer teams most valuable players in the first half of the season. The dynamic midfielder leads by example during practice and controls the play during games.
- Margot Klug (varsity) and Chloe Mitzenmacher (JV) have proven to be versatile players for the girls’ soccer program this fall. Both girls have excelled at multiple positions on the field thus far and will be instrumental to their teams’ success.
- Xander Lightbody and Evan Seymour have developed into reliable pass catchers for the varsity football team this fall. The sure-handed duo has been counted on in big situations, and they routinely rise to the occasion.
- In her second year between the pipes, Amanie Yusef has established herself as one of the top field hockey goaltenders in the area. Her eagerness to learn the position during practice and her aggressive play during games have been a recipe for success.
Exploring Fiber Arts
Students in “Fiber Explosion,” a seventh and eighth grade art elective, are working with different materials to explore macrame, knitting, felting, and crotchet techniques. This week, students were finishing their exploration of wool fibers to create felt. They learned about both wet felting (using water, soap, and agitation) and then added patterns and shapes with needles, a technique called needle felting.
Summer Camp to Host Halloween Event
The Belmont Day Summer Camp team is hosting a special Trunk-or-Treat event on Saturday, October 26 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Camp and school families are invited to deck out their car trunks with Halloween or other themed decorations, hand out treats to trick-or-treaters, and sport a costume a few days before Halloween right here on campus.
If you are interested in reserving a spot for your car, please send an email to [email protected] and include your name, email address, and phone number. We have limited spaces available for decorated cars, so let us know ASAP if you would like to reserve one.
Guidance On Student Gatherings Beyond BDS
As we settle into the familiar rhythms of the school year, we seek, as always, to make our practices in all areas as effective, inclusive, and joyful as possible. Recognizing that the rhythms of the school year include gatherings of Belmont Day community members beyond school-sponsored programs, we are providing an updated set of guidelines to support families in being as thoughtful and inclusive as possible when planning such gatherings.
– Carlos Hoyt, Director of Equity and Inclusion
Students Attend Global Leadership Conference
On October 6, thirteen middle school students took part in the Global Leadership Conference at Suffolk University sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. At this Model UN event, about 200 middle and high school students learned about the issue of cholera in Haïti and were assigned countries to represent in UN-style debate and negotiation. The students worked together to delve into the issues around this topic and to explore solutions.
Before jumping into our work, students had the opportunity to hear Dr. Joia Mukherjee, the Chief Medical Officer of Partners in Health, speak about the origins and challenges of cholera in Haïti. She concluded her remarks by reminding students that they are in fact the leaders of today, working on solving the issues of the world with energy, creativity, and determination.
Participants were sixth grade students Ruby Kokinos, Ana McEleney, Tomás Wright-Katz, and Lucy Zhang; seventh grade students Margot Klug, Cameron Colbert, Bree LeGrand, Kenna Schneider, Dana Chang, Aaron Radke, and Bonnie Wang; and eighth grade students Davin Roy and Miranda Harlow.
Ana, Kenna, Cameron, and Margot were recognized for their particularly effective participation.
In November the whole Model UN club (17 students) will attend the Northeastern University Model UN conference, along with about 500 middle school students from the region.
GRADE 6 NEWS
Farm School Visit Yields Lasting Memories
Sixth grade students have been visiting the Farm School each fall for well over a decade. The weather and the different needs of the farm mean that no two trips are exactly alike, though each is busy and full of amazing moments. We do many different things each year and each student takes away their own favorite moments. Was it spending an hour petting and grooming the cows? Or was it playing with the two kittens that hung out in the barn? Was it when the baby lamb escaped during a game of “person-hunt” and had to be placed back into its pen under much excitement? Was it petting Gus the dog? Or collecting eggs? Or milking the cows? Sleeping in the tents and getting a glimpse of the clear night sky? The list could go on, but suffice it to say, we had a great time.
This year, 40 students experienced Farm School! We did have some rain, but it did not dampen our fun or limit our ability to establish our class community. Living, working, and playing together helps students strengthen their shared bonds, learn more about each other, and learn to work more effectively together. Real work that matters, the chance to have fun together, and being part of a group that cares about each other make this a trip that students remember for years.
Check out our Farm School photo gallery here.
Conference Day Off-Site Program Registration
Our external programs team will be running an exciting day off-site at XtremeCraze Fun Center, which will include laser tag, bounce area, arcade cards, a pizza lunch, and an ice cream dessert. Registration forms can be found at the front desk and on our website. Please leave all completed forms with a check (made out to Belmont Day School) at the front desk.
To ensure proper staffing, we ask that you sign up your child(ren) by Wednesday, October 16. Enrollment, if space is available, after Wednesday, October 16 will incur an additional fee of $25. For more information please contact Joe Jean-Mary.
Drop-in Care on Conference Day (October 23) and Conference Afternoons (October 25 and November 1)
During conferences, complimentary drop-in coverage will be available in the Barn for Belmont Day students only. Complimentary drop-in is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23 and 1 to 4 p.m. on the Friday conference afternoons.
Students can play in the Barn gym or come prepared with a quiet activity (no electronics, please). No food or activities will be provided, and children will stay in the Barn during the time of their parent’s conference(s) only, with a maximum of 60 minutes.
Last Call for Pre-k Sibling Applications
The pre-k sibling application deadline is just days away! Parents of current Belmont Day students who have a younger child who will be four years old by September 1, 2020 are eligible to participate in our early admission to pre-kindergarten process. The preliminary application and parent questionnaire must be submitted by next Tuesday, October 15 for your child to receive this priority consideration.
Families with pre-k sibling applicants should visit www.ravenna-hub.com, create an account and then add Belmont Day School. When you select the Pre-k Sibling/Faculty Child Application option, you will see detailed information about the necessary steps, required visits, and school paperwork deadlines.
School Directory Pro Tips!
We want to ensure that all users get the very most out of the new online school directory.
The following are a few tips and reminders that apply to viewing the directory on the DirectorySpot app (on your mobile device):
- For Belmont Day, the DirectorySpot app is configured for Display by Family which allows search by parent or student LAST NAME. Searching by first name you will not get results.
- To get the most accurate results, the search feature requires three or more characters to be entered.
The web version of DirectorySpot (for use on a desktop computer) offers:
- advanced search options such as search by student name
- options to download/print PDFs of directory content
If you are having difficulty using the app or desktop features of DirectorySpot, kindly reach out to [email protected]. We are happy to help!
Parents’ Association News
Thank you to all who supported the PA through our Pumpkin Patch fundraiser. Whether it was purchasing pumpkins and/or mums, volunteering, or taking in the delight of seeing children frolic in the patch, we really appreciate your support!
There is still time to beautify your garden, and support the work of the parents’ association! The LAST day to order bulbs is this upcoming Tuesday, October 15.
Parent Book Club
Join us on Wednesday, November 13 at 8:15 a.m. to discuss our next great read, Fleischman Is In Trouble by Taffy Beodesser-Akner. The location is TBD and will be announced in a future Scoop. If you have questions, please contact Nareeluck Stephenson at [email protected].
Climate Change in Cambridge
The Cambridge Center for Adult Education will present a panel discussion to explore projections, prevention, and preparation for climate change in the city. City officials and experts on law, housing, and the environment will take a look at the issue through a local lens on Monday, October 28 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge. This is free and open to all. For more information and to register, please click here.
First Belmont Pack 384 Meeting
Join Belmont Cub Scouts Pack 384 for its first meeting of the new school year, Monday, October 21 at 7 p.m. at the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church, 421 Common St, Belmont, MA 02478. Pack 384 is open to boys and girls in grades 1–5. At the meeting, the pack will be planning upcoming events for 2019-20 and registering new members. For more information, please visit the Pack 384 website.
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