Sixth grade athletes in the Training Camp program get in some competition at practice earlier this week.
Joy At the Center of Campus
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: October 30, 2020
Along with the many benefits of the addition of the Barn to our campus, one unintended yet meaningful shift has occurred for our community as well. Before the Barn, Big Blue was tucked neatly behind the Schoolhouse. Now, from a bird’s eye view of BDS, the locus of attention is drawn to the playground surrounded by the Schoolhouse, the Barn, and Claflin Field. I can imagine no better locus of attention for a pre-kindergarten to grade eight school than the physical representation of joy that Big Blue is for our students.
During a year that has brought much change for students and teachers, the impact of the closure of Big Blue cannot be overstated. Those of us who are outside to supervise recess have regularly noticed the children looking at Big Blue longingly, imagining the day when it would be available to them again.
I am delighted to report that yesterday, Big Blue came back online for our students. A huge shout out to Anderson Santos, Mike Faretra, Lino Medeiros, and Liz LaRocque for their work in creating a schedule and protocols to allow students to get back on their beloved playground structure safely.
This morning we celebrated Spirit Day, and while visiting the sixth grade classrooms, students regaled me with versions of ‘the best BDS cheer’ that they could muster. In each group, there was a palpable reminder of the joy that marks a BDS education. Between those expressions of school pride and the return of Big Blue yesterday, it brought real comfort to see joy on full display, made that much more reassuring by the backdrop of a pandemic that has restricted us in so many ways. It reminded me that the work of redesigning school for a safe return to campus had been done, in no small part, to preserve our core values as a fundamental part of a BDS education. With the nucleus of joy radiating on our campus once again, I appreciate another reminder of why this is all worth it.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Please remember to vote!
November 1 to November 14
Sunday, November 1
Last Day of the Online Book Fair
Monday, November 2
8 a.m.–1:15 p.m., SSAT Administered or Grade 8
Tuesday, November 3
Thursday, November 5
6:30–8 p.m., Finance Committee; Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, November 10
7–8:30 p.m., DEI Parent Group; Zoom Gathering
7–9 p.m., Investment Committee; Zoom Gathering
Wednesday, November 11
School Closed for Veterans Day
Thursday, November 12
6–7 p.m., Grade 8 Parent Forum; Zoom Gathering
7–8:30 p.m., State of the School; Zoom Gathering
Friday, November 13
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly: Zoom Gathering
12–1 p.m., Parents Independent School Network (PIN) Meeting; Zoom Gathering
Saturday, November 14
1–3 p.m., Admissions Open House for Middle School Families; Online Event
For all Zoom gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Book Fair: Online Ordering Closes This Sunday
The annual parents’ association book fair is open online until midnight Sunday, November 1! Please place your orders using the code BELFAIR2020 on the Porter Square Books website and Belmont Day will receive a portion of your purchase. If you need any recommendations, head on over to our book fair page on the Parent Portal for some great suggestions for readers of all ages and levels. Thank you for supporting both a favorite school fundraiser and a wonderful independent bookstore!
An Evening with Rosalind Wiseman: Developing the Whole Child
Tuesday, November 17, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The Ko Family and Wellesley Toyota Speaker Series presents an evening discussion with Rosalind Wiseman, author, curriculum creator, and founder of Cultures of Dignity. Please join us for an evening of learning and inspiration on raising curious, confident, and resilient children. Advance registration is required. Click here for more information and to register. If you have any questions, please email Nina See, director of the annual fund and alumni relations.
Save The Date: State of the School 2020
Thursday, November 12, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The State of the School 2020 will include remarks from Head of School Brendan Largay and introductions to the various board committees by members of the board of trustees. Participants will be invited to join breakout rooms for further conversation with board committee chairs. Please check recent emails from the school or visit the Parent Portal for the Zoom link to this event.
Lunch & Snack Menu
November 2 to November 6
Snack: clementines; pretzel twists
Lunch: gemelli with marinara sauce; crusty rolls; cut corn; romano cheese; mixed green salad; cut fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: local apples; Nutri-Grain Bars
Lunch: roast beef on whole-grain white; cheese on whole-grain white; hummus on whole-grain white; sliced cucumbers; cut fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: bananas; pita chips
Lunch: chicken with cheese quesadillas; cheese quesadillas; rice and beans; guacamole; salsa; sour cream; baked Tostitos; cut fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: harvest cheddar Sun Chips; pears
Lunch: turkey subs; cheese subs; toasted tofu salad bowls; carrot sticks; Cape Cod chips; pickles; curried quinoa salad; cut fruit cup; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: applesauce; multi-grain Rice Krispie squares
Multiple federal agencies have issued a public cybersecurity advisory about an imminent ransomware attack against the healthcare and public health sector this weekend. The CDC and other government agencies could be targets.
To mitigate your risk, the Belmont Day Tech Team offers the following guidance.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Results Show That Community Effort Pays Off
The good news continues as we remain without recording any positive tests. Our assurance testing dashboard looks a little different this week–with no classes on Wednesday, testing was pushed to Thursday. We do not have those results yet, so our dashboard for this week reflects only Monday’s tests. You will see this week’s full results next week.
If your child is home ill on a testing day, they are welcome to come to get tested in the car. Please notify Liz LaRocque to make arrangements: [email protected] or 617-932-3901.
COVID Testing Option For Families
Several Belmont Day family members and friends have found themselves in need of COVID testing options. Our testing partner, CIC Health, is now open for testing by appointment. Their testing site is located in Kendall Square at 245 Main Street, Cambridge. Individuals seeking testing simply schedule and pay for their test online, and show up at their appointed time to be tested. The testing process takes about three minutes, costs $80, and results will be returned within 24 hours, on average.
In addition, Massachusetts offers free testing to all residents through Stop the Spread. The testing sites are in areas of the state that are hardest hit. The sites are walk-up or drive-up. There is generally a wait but it is free, and most use the same lab that BDS uses. As always, if you have any questions please reach out to Nurse Liz.<
Lunch & Learn: Update on Massachusetts Community Contact Tracing
Monday, November 9 at 12 noon
All are invited to join us as our community partner, Partners in Health, will present an Update on Massachusetts Community Contact Tracing by Dr. John Welch. Dr. Welch is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative and the Director of Operations and Partnerships for the Partners In Health MA COVID Response. John is also a senior nurse anesthetist and the director of the pediatric nurse anesthesia fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is the former Chief Clinical Officer for PIH’s Ebola response in West Africa and started with PIH in 2013 as the perioperative services coordinator in Haiti, where he helped establish the nurse anesthesia education program at PIH’s University Hospital Mirebalais. He holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice and Bachelors of Nursing Science from The Ohio State University and a Masters of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from Boston College. Click here to pre-register for this event.
Student Name Videos on the Parent Portal
The videos are linked in a button directly below the button for the directory (circled in the accompanying photo). The link goes to a page with folders for each grade. From there, you can find the grade(s) and student(s) you are interested in seeing and hearing.
We hope this resource will support our ongoing efforts to make sure each and every student feels seen and known as the unique person they are–everywhere, all the time.
Initiating Diversity Equity & Inclusion Parent Groups for 2020-2021
There’s never been a more important time for us to draw on our collective BDS community endowments of compassion, strength, and resilience. The confluence of social issues facing us as a nation, as parents, as individuals, as members of social identity groups, and as members of the BDS community are challenging for sure but they also invite us to gather strength by gathering with those who share commonalities.
On Tuesday, November 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., we will hold an event to launch this year’s DEI parent groups. We will spend the first twenty to thirty minutes of the gathering all together to welcome everyone and hear remarks from Head of School, Brendan Largay, Sharra Owens-Schwartz, chair of the board diversity committee, and me.
Following the introductory remarks, we’ll shift into breakout spaces where folks will gather by self-selected social identity or interest groups. We’re very pleased to be able to offer facilitated gatherings for folks who identify as members of the following groups or are interested in an interfaith discussion:
- Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino/Latinx.
- White, raising Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino/Latinx children
- Asian or Asian-American
- White allyship
Each small group discussion will provide participants with opportunities to introduce themselves, share their motivation to take part in the group, and generate topics relevant to the group that they’d like to discuss. Each group will discuss what the best schedule and format for ongoing meetings might be (i.e. when would be the best time for members of a given group to meet, for how long, how often, and with what goals in mind). Each group’s facilitator will synthesize the input into a plan for future gatherings.
Please provide your input
Whether or not you are able to attend the opening session on Tuesday, November 10, please feel encouraged to indicate which small group you’d like to join. We’ll use that information to make sure that we include you in future gatherings.
If there is a kind of small group (social identity or topic) that you wish we could provide, please also note that. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to facilitate every group requested but we’ll do our best.
– Carlos Hoyt, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion
Supporting Operation Gratitude this Halloween
Although the annual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF drive organized by sixth grade will not be possible this year, there is still a way to make service a part of your Halloween celebration.
Operation Gratitude’s Annual Halloween Candy Give-Back Program has been connecting communities with military personnel and first responders since 2008. Americans across the nation share a portion of their Halloween candy with Operation Gratitude, and the program donates it to deployed troops, veterans, and first responders with the goal of forging strong bonds between the civilian and service communities nationwide.
Ways to participate:
- Your family can be a sponsor candy care package with a donation of $15—this amount covers the cost of shipping one care package.
- You can sign up to be a candy donor; this option involves shipping the candy to their candy processing center, postmarked by November 13.
Click here to learn all about the Halloween Candy Give-Back Program.
A reminder for parents that the Veracross Parent Portal is THE PLACE for information. This new password-protected site is the home for Zoom links, forum recordings, directories, parents’ association information, report cards, forms, and more.
Seventh Grade Focuses on Microscopes
In seventh grade science, students are learning to use microscopes and are observing the microscopic world of biology! This week, we prepared slides with onion skin samples we collected to observe under the microscopes. Students were amazed to see the individual cells that make up the onion skin. Next, we took a look at our own cheek cells. Finally, we discussed the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells, based on our own observations. This will allow us to continue investigating how life is classified.
– Leal Carter, grades 7 & 8 science teacher
Middle School Spanish Learns About The Day of the Dead
It was a terrific week in our middle school Spanish classes! Students learned about the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead. They worked on different projects to recreate and celebrate the Mexican tradition at home and at school. Sixth graders made papel picado and colored the festive icons to decorate the bulletin board outside of the Palandjian Arts Center. Seventh grade students constructed nichos, which are shallow box frames often featured on Mexican altars, and eighth graders baked pan de muerto, a type of sweet bread traditionally baked in Mexico during the holiday’s celebration. We also constructed altars for famous people and created virtual ofrendas.
– Ana Maria Restrepo, middle school Spanish teacher
First Grade Celebrates DEI/Health & Wellness Intensive
Last week brought to a close first grade’s diversity, equity, and inclusion/health and wellness intensive. Though sad it was ending, we joyfully celebrated with our friends. We gathered on Claflin Field to highlight the amazing scholarship of our students. Each student received a certificate of achievement and stood before their peers and defined one of our key terms—diversity, equity, inclusion, empathy, and justice. After every scholar proudly displayed their knowledge and was applauded by their peers, the bubble machine came on and the effervescence of our children was nearly matched by the thousands of bubbles that surrounded them on the field.
– Carlos Hoyt, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion
Third Grade Mural Dives Deep Into Ocean Research
You may see in the hallway near third grade some amazing under-water creatures. After reading Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle this summer, third graders decided this fall to further study the ocean animals that Sylvia Earle studied through her own work. Students used research that was tailored to each child’s reading level to create animal trading cards. They were then empowered to become teachers and activists by including information that led the viewers of their work to learn more about the animals, and through empathy, strengthen their understanding that these animals, and their ocean ecosystem, need to be protected.
Students also designed and created a model of the animal they studied with these three constraints: they needed to be larger than the student’s hand; shorter than the student’s height; and light enough to mount on the wall. Other than that, it was up to each student to imagine, design, and build their creation. I think you will agree—their creativity is impressive!
– Leigh Twarog, grade 3 teacher
Parents’ Association News
Next week the committee will host a virtual coffee chat on Wednesday, November 4, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Catch up with friends new and old and discuss all things fall. Come prepared to learn new recipes ideas, fall family fun ideas, and more. Bring your own ideas to share! The Zoom link can be found on the Friendraiser page under the Parents’ Association tab on the Veracross Parent Portal.
This school year, since our students are eating lunch outdoors or in their classrooms, we are looking for volunteers to donate centerpieces for the cohort rooms. 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 (e.g., pumpkin in a pot or small baskets of gourds for fall) that can be placed in the rooms and will last for 2-3 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. We do have one open slot this fall, Monday, November 16th. Please consider signing up if interested!
Your dues and participation in PA fundraising activities allow the PA to fulfill its mission of fostering community, supporting the parents of Belmont Day School, promoting communication between parents and the school, and supporting the school through educational, social, and fundraising activities. The suggested contribution is $50. Any additional donations over the suggested dues amount of $50 are very much appreciated and can be considered a tax-deductible gift to the parents’ association that the development office will acknowledge as such. You can make payment via the BDS PA’s secure online payment portal here.
The next book club selection is A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier. Please join us for our Zoom gathering on Wednesday, November 18 at 10 a.m. to discuss this book. A zoom link will be posted to the PA Fun & Fundraising section on Veracross. Please contact Nareeluck Stephenson with any questions.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE
Farm School Meat Shares Available
The Farm School in Athol has been an educational partner of Belmont Day for nearly two decades. Each year in the fall, including this year, our sixth graders travel to the farm for a wonderful hands-on learning experience connecting them with nature and our agricultural past, present, and future. The experience also helps bond the class as the students begin their middle school journey. In this time of COVID, the challenges faced by the Farm School are acute. One way to support the continuation of their mission to educate students and combat food insecurity is by ordering a meat share. The farm has various share options and works with each shareowner to accommodate their household’s preferences. To learn more about the Farm School and donation and meat share options, click here.
Meeting: Belmont Against Racism
Thursday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m.
All are invited to join Belmont Against Racism for its next virtual meeting. The guest speaker will be Cara Henderson, community outreach program specialist & black affairs special emphasis program manager for the District of Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office. Henderson will share an update on the ongoing efforts by her office. There will also be a post-election conversation for sharing thoughts and concerns. Please email [email protected] for the meeting’s Zoom link.