First graders were jumping across the craters of the moon this week in physical education.
Why I Give
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: October 8, 2021
Traditionally, I have saved a column like this for a day closer to National Giving Day in November. The seasonal timing was always nice and after a solid two months into the school year, the rationale for why a parent would give to Belmont Day had crystallized. By November, students have found their footing in the classroom, and they feel seen, known, understood, and cared for by their teachers. Connections to other parents have been solidified at socials or by attending assemblies. The hope is that by November, every student and parent feels we are delivering on the promise we make each year.
I thought, however, in this case, why wait? Yes, patience is truly a virtue. And yes, good things do come to those who wait. And yes, we have certainly asked, over the past year and half, and continue to ask for so much patience from everyone reading this column. However, I see the promise being fulfilled each day, throughout the school year and beyond. There is no reason to wait.
This week alone, I observed:
- pre-kindergarten students, joyfully finding artistic inspiration in the garden.
- upper elementary students dutifully working their way through complex and challenging math problems and principles.
- middle school artists designing and painting murals to hang in the Erskine Library for all to see.
- parents rediscovering friends at their grade level socials or on the sidelines of athletic competitions.
- teachers reimagining their curriculum as the constraints of last year begin to fall away, innovating in anticipation of a return to something much more familiar.
The promise is here already.
I marvel at how teachers energetically reimagine and reinvent themselves and their work for a new group of students every year. After a pandemic year that kept us at arm’s length, I marvel at how this community has seamlessly returned to find the joy of camaraderie again. I am inspired by how our children lead the way with resiliency, taking the demands placed upon them by a pandemic in stride. So, each year, I give in appreciation of it all—the excellence in the classroom, the joy in the children, and the caring community that defines BDS each and every day.
So, the natural question I might expect: What about your bias as head of school, Brendan? Yes, of course, my role introduces a certain amount of bias, but I also offer an alternative to the simplicity of that justification. I see the impact of BDS on my kids every day. Since they joined this community six years ago, I continue to see this impact in my seventh grade daughter and even my sons, who began their junior and freshman high school years in September. I see it in how they approach their work, care for their friends, take intellectual risks, find their voice, behave with respect and responsibility, and understand that they contribute to the greater good. And then, after I look at BDS through the lens of my own children’s experience…that’s when I put my other hat on—my head of school hat—and I see it in all of our kids. And that, truly, is why I give.
It is my hope, of course, that you see the same in your children because I can promise you that the adults who work with them every day certainly do. And I hope that you will consider supporting the mission, the promise, and the actions that make BDS a very special place.
Thank you! I wish all of you a healthy and joyful long weekend.
October 11 to October 22
Online Flower Bulb Sale: Ends October 15
Online Book Fair: October 22 to October 31
Monday, October 11
School Closed: Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Tuesday, October 12
6–8 p.m., Grade 5 Parent Social, Belmont Day School
Wednesday, October 13
11 a.m.–12 p.m., Author Visit: Phaea Crae, Zoom Gathering
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Varsity Soccer at Carroll; JV Girls’ Soccer at Carroll; Girls’ Varsity Soccer vs Carroll; Cross Country Vs Nobles
6–8 p.m., Grades 1 & 6 Parent Social, Belmont Day School
Thursday, October 14
8:15 a.m., Friendraiser Walk & Talk, Belmont Day School
3:30 p.m., Varsity Flag Football at Fenn; Field Hockey vs Nashoba; JV Flag Football at Carroll
Friday, October 15
8:50–9:35 a.m., Lower School Summer Book Sharing Assembly, Belmont Day School
Sunday, October 17
10–11:30 a.m., Admissions: Lower School Open House, Zoom Gathering
Monday, October 18
10:45–11:45 a.m., Author Visit: John Patrick Green, Zoom Gathering
6–7 p.m., Parent Learning Forum: Middle School Math, Zoom Gathering
Tuesday, October 19
3:30 p.m., JV Soccer vs Cambridge Friends; JV Flag Football vs Shady Hill
6–7:15 p.m., Choices Curriculum Open House, Zoom Gathering
Wednesday, October 20
Grade 7 Cardigan Mountain Trip
6:30–8:30 p.m., Development Committee, Zoom Meeting
Thursday, October 21
Grade 7 Cardigan Mountain Trip
8:15 a.m., Friendraiser Walk & Talk, Belmont Day School
9:30–10:30 a.m., Author Visit: Paula Chase, Zoom Gathering
10 a.m., Parent Book Club, Zoom Gathering
Friday, October 22
Grade 7 Cardigan Mountain Trip
8:50–9:35 a.m., Lower School Specialists Curriculum Sharing, Belmont Day School
10–11 a.m., Author Visit: Laura Vacarro Seeger, Zoom Gathering
For all Zoom meetings, gatherings, and presentations, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Parent conferences will be held Tuesday, October 26, and Wednesday, October 27. There is no school or student programming on these days. All conferences will be on Zoom.
Next Tuesday, October 12 you will receive a Calendly invite from middle school advisors and lower school teachers to choose a time slot for your conferences.
Spring parent conference dates and timing will reflect changing COVID protocols and feedback from families. We will share them as the dates gets closer.
A reminder that throughout the month of October, the parents’ associations’ Friendraiser committee is hosting a walk every Thursday morning after drop-off. Come discover the trails around BDS, reconnect with friends, and meet new faces. We look forward to seeing you there! Meet in the grass circle in front of the Schoolhouse at 8:15 a.m.
Lunch & Snack Menu
October 11 to October 15
School Closed: Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Snack: bananas; Nutri-Grain bars
Lunch: ravioli with marinara on the side; penne pasta with marinara on the side; broccoli; crusty rolls; butter; Romano cheese; Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches; Caesar salad; applesauce; milk and water
Snack: apples; Baked Tostitos
Lunch: crispy pollack; grilled chicken; French fries; green beans; Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches; ketchup; tartar sauce; garden salad; fresh fruit cup; milk and water
Snack: clementines; Lay’s BBQ Chips
Lunch: cheese pizza; Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches; Caesar salad; baby carrots; ranch dressing; apple slices; milk and water
Snack: craisins; pretzel twists
Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup
A favorite of students and faculty, the BDS squash soup is a very welcome, warming, and delicious fall treat. If you want to make it at home, try the recipe below. And if you love cooking shows and want a little cooking guidance from the BDS kitchen, click here to watch assistant chef Vlad Hucko walking you through the quick and easy preparation.
Recipe for BDS Butternut Squash Soup
Makes 8 cups
Total cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 whole garlic cloves
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. dried basil
1-½ lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, or 1 (20-ounce) package pre-cut squash
1 tart apple, cored and cubed
8 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
- Toss the squash with onion, apple, celery, garlic, curry powder, brown sugar, and oil.
- Baked in oven at 350 degrees until it has a nice roasted color.
- Put the roasted mixture in a large pot with the vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the soup.
- Serve immediately.
*Recipe was adapted from one featured in ChopChop Magazine
Make That Two Years In A Row! Belmont Day Students Win International Technology Competition
For the second straight year, Belmont Day School students have shown their creativity, commitment, and expertise in devising technology-based solutions to address environmental issues facing the world today. In late September, the micro:bit Educational Foundation announced the winners of its 2021 Do Your :bit Challenge. Taking first place for North America were Kenna Schneider ‘21 and Margot Klug ‘21, and earning an honorable mention as runners-up were their classmates, Noah Kokinos ‘21 and Alexander Colangelo ‘21.
The London-based micro:bit Educational Foundation collaborates with educators to inspire and enable students to engage in the digital world in creative ways. The organization’s Global Goals curriculum–taught at BDS in the Global Goals middle school arts elective by innovation teacher Kurt Robinson–challenges students to devise a technology-based solution to address an environmental issue. In 2020, Lynn Lewis ‘20, also earned a top honor for her idea and prototype to combat deforestation with a device to notify park rangers of illegal foresting via posts to Twitter.
Kenna and Margot teamed up to design and create a prototype for a portable filtration device, which addresses the Global Goal category of clean water and sanitation. The team’s efficient, solar-powered device uses a micro:bit to control UV LEDs that work to sterilize drinking water. They picked the challenge of addressing the need for clean water because of how widespread the issue is around the world.
“We chose clean water access because we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have clean water. It is an essential component of life,” Kenna said. “It is truly disheartening to know that some people have to walk miles just to drink dirty water. We hope that our prototype will bring more attention to this crucial global issue.”
Noah and Alexander designed and programmed a new package-carrying drone that aimed at reducing the traffic on our roads and thus cutting harmful vehicle emissions.
Mr. Robinson said he was proud of these teams and their classmates in the Global Goals class.
“The Global Goals curriculum embodies how our students put the BDS values into action,” Mr. Robinson said. “I am inspired by the students’ creativity and caring and how they innovate as they gain a mastery of new technology. Winning this competition, especially two years in a row, is a great accolade, but experiencing how our students are investing what they learn in trying to help to improve our world is truly the prize.”
Read about all the winning entries on the micro:bit website.
Launching Parent Social Identity Discussion Groups for 2021-2022
Dear Belmont Day Parents,
You are invited to the kick-off gathering for this year’s Social Identity Discussion Groups (SIDGs) via Zoom on Tuesday, October 26, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
“Social Identity Discussion Group” is the term we’re using for groups that center on shared experiences related to social identity. If you are interested in learning more about or resuming your participation in any of the groups being offered, we hope you’ll be able to join the gathering on October 26.
We’ll devote the first twenty to thirty minutes of the gathering to providing introductions of facilitators and a sense of the purposes and approaches the SIDGs will take. Following the introduction, each SIDG will use the remaining time to meet in its own breakout space to focus on plans for the year (goals, meeting dates, etc.).
After this kick-off event, each group will proceed for the rest of the school year based on the goals and logistics that are best for its members.
We’re very pleased to be able to offer facilitated gatherings for folks who identify as members of the following groups and for folks interested in an interfaith-worldview discussion group:
- Black/African American-identified or Hispanic/Latino/Latinx-identified – Carlos & Sharra Owens-Schwartz, Chair of Board DEI Committee, Parent of BDS 5th-grader
- White-identified, raising Black/African American-identified or Hispanic/Latino/Latinx-identified children – Dr. Mercedes, School Psychologist
Asian or Asian-American-identified – Minna Ham, Head of Lower School
- White-identified allyship – Suzanne Caruso, former BDS Social Studies instructor
- Interfaith-Worldview – Matt Segil, Math Instructor
- Parents of kids with transgender or non-binary identities – Jen James, Assistant to the Head of School and Registrar
Please use this form to indicate which group or groups you are interested in. If there is a social identity group or groups you’d be interested in that are not listed here, please let us know that, and we’ll do our best to explore ways to create those groups.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Hoping to see you,
Dr. Carlos Hoyt, director of equity and inclusion
Choices Curriculum Open House
Parents are invited to learn about our new Choices curriculum at the Choices Open House Zoom gathering on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Choices synthesizes Health & Wellness, Social-Emotional Learning, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion education for pre-kindergarten to grade 8 into a scope and sequence of content designed to prepare our students to be good decision-makers.
Nurse Liz LaRocque and Doctors Leesa Mercedes and Carlos Hoyt will share the information about the course and answer your questions. If you’d like to share a question ahead of the event, please use this form. The link for the open house will be shared on the parent portal.
Hope to see you there!
CDC Guidelines: Planning for Holiday Travel
As families begin to consider holiday season travel in November and December, we remind you that Belmont Day closely follows the CDC travel recommendations.
We ask that all families, please refer to the recommendations for domestic travel for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. Please see the included chart and click here for the latest from the CDC. Domestic travel is considered any interstate travel by plane, bus, train, or other public transportation.
And if you will be traveling outside of the United States, please learn more about the CDC recommendations for international travel by destination.
In Search Of Your Old Button-Down Shirts
Paint is splattering as our students create colorful new creations in our woodworking studio and we’re in need of some new smocks. Woodworking teacher Bill Smith is sending out the call for any and all old adult button-down shirts you may have at your home. They certainly don’t need to be in perfect shape or in any specific size.
If you have an old shirt or two to donate, please send it to school with your student(s). A box will be placed at the Barn labeled “Wood Smocks” where they can leave them. Thank you!
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Weekly COVID Testing Update
We continue to learn and grow into this new system. This week, we have results for 47 of our 48 pools; we are working to find out what happened to the results of the 48th pool but do not have that information as of yet. Once we do, we will share that information, either with the community at large or the affected pool. Until then, no news is good news! See the chart for our testing totals to date.
If your child will be out on a Wednesday for any reason, there are very limited windows available for drive-up testing–please let Nurse Liz LaRocque know with as much advance notice as possible if your child(ren) will need to test at another time.
Cold & Flu Season Is Here
Cold and flu season is well underway. Please remember to complete the Daily Health Checklist (below) each day. Students should stay home with any symptoms until they have a negative Covid test, are fever-free for 24 hours without medication, AND have an improvement of their symptoms. A good question to ask yourself before sending your child to school: “Would I want my child sitting next to someone who looks and sounds ill like this?” If the answer is no, please allow your child more time to recover at home before returning to school, even if their Covid test is negative.
Any student or faculty member with any of these symptoms should stay home and contact their health care provider about the need for testing. If in doubt on any given day, please call Nurse Liz LaRocque, at 617-932-3901. Thank you.
Sixth Graders Participate in Model UN Conference
On Saturday, October 2, two sixth grade students, Duncan Bierne and Quinn Clark, took part in the Global Leadership Conference sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. This activity was a Model UN event, held virtually. We explored the issue of the internet as a human right. Duncan and Quinn were assigned countries to represent in UN-style debate and negotiation. They worked to delve into the issues around this topic and to explore solutions. There were about 130 middle school students at the event, held in conjunction with the MUN club Suffolk University. There were students from about 15 states and 8 countries.
Before jumping into the work, we had the opportunity to hear comments from Marvin Venay, Director of Advocacy at the Boston-based non-profit organization, Tech Goes Home (TGH). They are dedicated to addressing digital inequities that pose a barrier to opportunity and success for students, workers, and families across Greater Boston. TGH believes that access to the internet, devices, and digital skills training is critical to ending entrenched inequities. It was invigorating to hear Mr. Venay’s comments to set the stage for the conference. He praised students for modeling the collaboration critical for solving world problems.
Quinn and Duncan were first-time Model UN participants. Quinn earned recognition in his particular committee group for being a particularly effective delegate. Both Duncan and Quinn were courageous and engaged about experiencing this virtual conference. Quinn specialized in crafting resolutions, and Duncan was a leader in making sure everyone in his group was heard. They are dedicated to learning about the world and gaining confidence in talking about important ideas in a public setting. Our MUN club is looking forward to another conference coming up on November 21.
– Jennifer Friborg, Model UN club advisor
AUXILIARY PROGRAMS NEWS
Meet the After School Team: Sophie Rothman ’13
Meet Sophie Rothman ’13, our pre-kindergarten after school teacher. A BDS alumna, Sophie has been a member of the community since her first day here as a pre-k student in 2003 (that’s a photo of her on her first day of school). She has spent many summers as a BDS camp counselor. This past summer, Sophie was our arts specialist, sharing a joyful appreciation of art with campers. Sophie shares this passion for art after school as well when students take part in all sorts of creative projects like painting, drawing, sculpture, and beading. She is also an experienced volleyball player and enjoys exploring beach towns on foot. Say hi to Ms. Rothman when you see her next around campus and click here for a more recent photo!
Combatting the Harmful Effects of Social Media
Many of you may have seen or heard the news about the recent emails leaked by a Facebook whistleblower. The emails are a look into the potentially harmful effects of social media and specifically Facebook’s very popular Instagram platform. The leaked internal documents reveal how harmful their algorithms can be to young teens.
As parents, guardians, and teachers of children growing up in a digital world, we should all be aware of the hazards of social media and the steps we can take to help them navigate that environment.
I highly recommend this article by Devorah Heitner, founder of Raising Digital Natives and a past visitor to BDS, on this topic of Instagram and provides 7 ways we can help our children and students.
– Dolly Ryan, director of technology
First Grade Puts Their Hopes and Dreams on Display
The first graders worked hard this week to figure out what they want to get better at this year by thinking about their small and big elastics. Small elastics are things you feel you are not as good at and big elastics are things you feel you are really good at. Students chose a small elastic that they want to become a big elastic in first grade as their hope and dream. Each student wrote and drew their hope and dream to share with others outside our classrooms. The students will continue to work towards their hopes and dreams all throughout the year.
– Nicole Campailla-Miller and Geoffrey Fox, grade 1 teachers
Pre-kindergarten Explores Feelings and Life Cycles
In pre-kindergarten this week, we are learning about feelings. Children are learning to identify and verbalize their feelings as well as recognize the feelings of others. This topic is one strand of our “All About Me” theme, which aims to build self-confidence and a sense of belonging in the classroom. In addition, we are also learning about life cycles as we observe and compare the life cycle of a monarch butterfly to that of a mealworm.
– Nicole Siverls and Sharon Gillespy, pre-kindergarten teachers
Athletics Update: A Pair of Wins for the Football Program This Week
On Tuesday afternoon, the junior varsity flag football team opened up their season with a commanding 28-14 win over Fessenden. Yesterday, the varsity team followed suit with a 32-21 win over Solomon Schechter Day School and improved to 2-0-1 on the season. Team captains Andrew Green and Gianni Squillante were responsible for all of the offense for the junior varsity team and provided a few highlight-reel plays in the process. Defensively, the JV squad relied on strong QB pressure from Yaseen Saeed and Tadhg O’Sullivan who were in the backfield most of the afternoon. The varsity team’s captains also had strong performances with Bernie Mattox leading the team in flag pulls and Liam Brodeur spinning multiple TDs, including a dime to Rami Flummerfelt who toe-tapped the sideline of the endzone. Speaking of Flummerfelt, Rami’s twin brother Kaden single-handedly shut down the opposition’s passing attack with three first-half interceptions and a pair of pass deflections. The football program will look to remain undefeated with games against Carroll and Fenn next week.
– John O’Neill, director of athletics
More Athletics News
- Alexander Meredith, Veronica Wang, and Brendan Bandar all knocked significant time off of their previous PRs during cross country’s dual meet loss to Pike this week.
- Eliza Kuechle commanded the field and demonstrated strong leadership during field hockey’s hard-fought 1-0 loss to Shore this week. Audrey Chuang played solid D and moved well off the ball.
- The girls’ soccer team came up just short (2-1) on the road against Pike. Nora O’Brien was active all game and banged one off the crossbar in the second frame. Emma Kass was solid in net.
- Both the boys’ and junior varsity soccer teams were blanked at home this week by Pike and Shady Hill respectively. JV received strong goalie play from Lila Abruzzi and Wisdom Badgett was active up top.
PE Update: Hula Hoops Are Education in the Round
What can you do with a hula hoop? Sure, there’s the act of hula hooping, but as our students have displayed, that barely scratches the surface. We practice all kinds of hula hoop skills in physical education, including twirling hoops, rolling them, walking the dog (rolling the hoop with backspin so it returns to its owner). Younger learners use the hoops as cars to navigate an obstacle course, and older students use them as targets to practice precision passing. Hula hoops form the “ring of fire” on our wall that requires impeccable body control to get through, and all grades use hoops to work on kicking skills in the beloved game of Hula Hoop Tag. They improve our non-verbal communication as birds nests in the game of Hunter Hawks and can be constructed to form orb-like castles for the game of Castleball. All told, these sturdy plastic circles have provided countless skill-building opportunities, infinite entertainment, and creative uses our students have discovered that we didn’t even think of. In PE, we are truly living that hoop life.
– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher
Parents’ Association News
Flower Bulb Fundraiser
Click here to order bulbs now through October 15 and plant some spring cheer! Bulbs will be shipped directly to your house in time to plant them this fall, and the parents’ association will receive 50% of the cost of your total purchase. The proceeds will support teachers and grade parents and will help secure great guests for enrichment assemblies and more. If you have any questions, please contact Lia Meisinger or Mamie Cantor.
Friday Night Lights returns this fall! We are very excited that this wonderful community and athletic tradition is coming back after a year off. Friday Night Lights will be held on Friday, October 29 at Babson College, starting with the girls’ varsity soccer game at 6 p.m. and followed by the boys’ varsity soccer game at 7:30 p.m.
The parents’ association always plays a role in making this a special night and we’ll need your help. If you are interested in volunteering for the evening, please contact Jeana Colangelo.
The dues collected by the parents’ association fund all of our activities. The generous support of families through the past year made it possible for the PA to support BDS in ways we could have never imagined before the pandemic. We hosted socially distanced grade events, modified but thoroughly engaging enrichment assemblies, and virtual community activities to help our children have a marvelous year at BDS regardless of the safety precautions in place due to the pandemic.
The suggested annual dues is $50 per family. (Any additional amount may be tax-deductible.) You can make payment conveniently online with a credit card, debit card, or eCheck (ACH) via the secure BDS PA Payment Portal. Although not preferred with the ongoing pandemic, you can also pay by paper check by contacting the PA Treasurer, Jeana Colangelo. Thank you!
Upcoming Grade-Level Parent Socials
Thank you to all who planned and attended the grade-level parent socials. They have been a wonderful opportunity for parents to connect and catch up and greet new faces.
Please mark your calendar for the remaining grade-level socials and reach out to your grade parents with any questions.
- Tuesday, October 12, Grade 5
- Wednesday, October 13, Grades 1 and 6
First Grader Wins Figure Skating Events
Congratulations to BDS first grader Lily Ghai, who has been competing recently in figure skating competitions around the region. In fact, Lily just won gold at the Boston Open! And with that win, she made it a clean sweep of the elite tournaments in New England, having won earlier at the Cranberry Open. Great job, Lily, and best of luck at future tournaments!
Belmont Hosts Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration
All are invited to Belmont’s first celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, on Monday, October 11 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Winn Brook School Field, 97 Waterhouse Road in Belmont. The celebration will feature a performance of Bomba, the oldest living musical tradition of Boriken, the island currently known as Puerto Rico. Bomba music and dance originated on the sugar plantations when the enslaved were “allowed” one day of rest. Practitioners of Bomba dive deep into its history and traditions and engage the audience in learning and experiencing its joy and importance. Click here for more information.
Donate Dinnerware, Cookware to Help Families in Need
Didrik’s and Local Root’s Annual Switch Up Campaign returns to benefit the families of Furnishing Hope of Massachusetts, a longtime BDS partner organization on our Community Service Day.
Now through Tuesday, October 12 bring your gently-used dinnerware, glassware, and cookware into Didrik’s and Local Root’s Belmont or Newton locations and receive a 15% discount on a corresponding item. Click here for more information on the program and locations of the participating stores.
Your participation in this event will provide local families transitioning out of homelessness with much-needed dinnerware, glassware, and cookware. and make a huge difference in their daily lives.