First graders are learning and moving with hula hoops in their physical education classes.
Message from Head of School
Observing Our Culture of Caring
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: September 20, 2019
On the morning after our Lower School Curriculum Night, I am left reflecting on what I hope everyone saw on display at our school last night: caring. Of course, every aspect of our mission was on display, but what has long distinguished the Belmont Day experience is the simple caring that goes into every teacher’s lesson, every moment of contact between adult and child, every curricular decision, from the moment a child arrives to the moment they leave our care each day.
Last night’s gathering also had me thinking of yesterday morning. As bandwidth has become a bit more available without a Barn to build or major programmatic shifts like a new middle school entry point to navigate, I find myself in more and more classrooms taking a first-hand look at the teaching and learning that happens here every day, and visits yesterday morning showcased a different kind of caring from our older students.
My day began outside of the Barn shaking hands with our Early Bird arrivals. It was a perfect fall morning–crisp enough for a jacket, but still bright enough to remind you that summer isn’t too far gone. At 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday, the Barn welcomes seventh and eighth grade art students to their woodworking, innovation, and visual art classes. I stopped by each and heard about the canoe a handful of eighth graders will be building in woodworking with Mr. Smith, saw a brilliant collection of collages put together in one visual art classroom with Ms. Solomon, and learned how to make a multicolored stencil and float print from Mrs. Armstrong in the other. Beyond that, though, I saw teachers who knew exactly what each of their students needed in order to be successful in their endeavors. An appropriate evolution of the care I would see last night at Curriculum Night for the Lower School.
My stop in the innovation space revealed what that care looks like as we face outward. Together with Mr. Robinson, the students in his “Global Goals” classroom were iterating their designs to help improve our world in various ways. There were so many incredible ideas matched with the energy, creativity, and knowledge to make them real.
One student discussed his design to create a machine that could irrigate barren farming lands autonomously. Another offered using bat houses in a protected forest that could doubly serve as an early warning system against forest fires. Others added their ideas for a system to draw mosquitoes away from illness-ridden populations, and creating a symbiotic system with a plant resting on water that would simultaneously clean the air and the ocean.
What struck me about each of the innovative projects, was the common thread of environmental care that ran through them–all on the eve of a student-organized global strike to bring awareness to climate change. Led by Swedish sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg the global strike (which several BDS students, families, and faculty plan to attend) brings that care to scale. What you saw last night at Curriculum Night–the modeling and nurturing of care between students and their teachers–grows in scope as the students travel through their years at Belmont Day. It shapes them to be caring global citizens capable of affecting meaningful change for generations. For those of you in attendance last night, I hope you saw threads of it. For those of us in the building, we have the opportunity to see it taking shape every day, and then nurture it with some care of our own.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
PS – The answer to last week’s ‘24’ problem: ((3×5) – 7)*3 = 24
Let the games begin!
This Coming Week at BDS
September 23 to October 1
Monday, September 23
School Picture Day
8:15–9:00 a.m., Erskine Library Committee, Erskine Library
Tuesday, September 24
School Picture Day
5–7:30 p.m., Faculty SEED Group
Wednesday, September 25
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Varsity Soccer vs Park; Cross Country at Fenn and Nashoba Brooks; Field Hockey vs Park; Girls’ Varsity Soccer at Park; Varsity Flag Football vs Park
Thursday, September 26
6:30–8:30 p.m., Grades 2 & 5 Parent Social
Friday, September 27
8:50–9:35 a.m., Cross-graded Partners
1:15–3:15 p.m., SSAT Prep- 4
Sunday–Tuesday, September 29–October 1
School Picture Days
Smile! It’s Time for Student Photos
We will welcome back photographer Porter Gifford on Monday and Tuesday, September 23 and 24, to take this year’s class and individual student photos.
The schedule is as follows:
- On Monday, September 23, we will photograph all students in pre-kindergarten, 2, 3, 5, and 6.
- On Tuesday, September 24, we will photograph all students in kindergarten, 1, 4, 7, and 8.
Please contact Catherine David if you have any questions.
Collecting Donations for Hurricane Relief
Belmont Day is accepting financial donations on behalf of the Bahamas Red Cross Society that is working tirelessly along with many other organizations, NGOs, and individuals to assist those most affected by the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. A collection jar is located in the front entryway of the Schoolhouse if you would like to contribute. You can also donate directly on the Red Cross Society website. To see the Red Cross in action, follow them on Facebook. Thank you!
Lunch & Snack Menu
September 23 to September 27
Snack: granola bar; fruit cup
Lunch: cheese tortellini with marinara; seasoned green beans; warm rolls; Italian salad
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: pork fried rice; veggie fried rice; stir-fried vegetables; fortune cookies; soba noodle salad; Asian greens
Snack: potato chips; pears
Lunch: grilled chicken Caesar salad; steamed seasoned broccoli; garlic bread; no dairy potato salad
Snack: Smartfood; clementines
Lunch: chef’s choice soup; bagel muensters; fresh apple cider; crudite with hummus; garden salad
Enrollment Open for Parent SEED Group
Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) is a peer-led program of community and personal development around issues of identity, equity, and social justice. Topics include race, gender, religion, class, and other social identifiers we all hold, and the intersectionality of these identities. This work helps to deepen our empathy, our understanding, our awareness and our ability to respond to what is happening in the world around us, including our roles as parents.
SEED is built on facilitated small group discussions, shared experiences (film, reading, etc), and food! Sessions will be facilitated by school psychologist Dr. Leesa Mercedes and middle school social studies teacher Dean Spencer.
Parent SEED is open to parents of any BDS student and we welcome both new and returning participants. Commitment to each other in the group process is important as we build trust and understanding. That’s why 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.
Noble, Friedbauer Both Strike Twice in 5-1 Win
After taking a 1-0 lead into the half, the girls’ varsity soccer team exploded for four goals in the second frame on their way to a commanding 5-1 win over DCD in their season opener. In front of a supportive home crowd, Kiki Friedbauer kicked off the scoring at the 21:07 mark off a beautiful cross from Milly Noble. The duo really turned it on in the second half, however, and was directly involved in the team’s final four goals. Another standout for the Blue & Gold was newcomer Alice Shu. Shu demonstrated tremendous composure in her first game and connected on a handful of well-placed passes up the field. The varsity squad will travel to Park next Wednesday looking to avenge a lopsided loss last year.
More Athletics News
- The boys’ soccer team dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker at DCD this week. Isaac Frehywot tallied the lone goal for the visitors and goaltender Harry Reitshammer made some big saves.
- Strong play from Xander Lightbody, Evan Seymour, and Theo Wallach wasn’t enough to lift the varsity flag football over Solomon Schechter this week. The Blue & Gold fell 40-26 in their opener.
- The field hockey team was blanked at home by DCD this week. Newcomers Bella Lightbody and Eliza Kuechle had strong performances in their first-ever interscholastic game.
- The cross country team ran away with a lopsided victory over DCD and LCA this week. Angel Chavannes (23:10), Olivia Zhou (28:51), and Anisah Jordan (28:53) all took at least 2 minutes off their PR.
Studying Ancient Laughs
In Ms. Dempsey’s theater arts elective, The History of Comedy, seventh and eighth graders are learning about the origins of western comedy and its influence through the ages. In an introduction to Greek theatre, they examined the differences between tragedy and comedy. The students also learned how early comedies reflected on and made fun of politics, society, literature, and war. Later comedies in Ancient Greece and Rome focused more on daily life, romance, mistaken identities, and misunderstandings. The students watched and discussed excerpts from plays by Aristophanes, Plautus, Shakespeare, and Stephen Sondheim. Next week the class will dive into the world of Commedia Dell’Arte, an improvised comedic theatre form that flourished in Italy in the 1500s.
Annual Fund Kick-Off Event
Mark those calendars for our very first Annual Fund Kick-Off Celebration on Thursday, October 24 from 6–8:00 p.m. in Coolidge Hall. Join us for an evening of inspiration and community connection to kick off this year’s campaign! With generous participation from across the entire BDS community, the Annual Fund is an important source of financial support for programs vital to our school’s mission.
Kindly RSVP to Beth Sousa by Thursday, October 17. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served. Please note that this is an adult-only event; no childcare will be provided.
Parent Fall Socials Coming Up
The fall socials are a great way to connect with fellow parents as the new school year gets rolling. The parent socials are organized by students’ cross-graded partnerships so that just like the students, parents can share their insights and ask questions from different points in their BDS experience.
The socials are informal potluck gatherings, held in Coolidge Hall from 6:30–8:30 p.m. Please connect with your grade parents to RSVP and participate in the potluck. Schedule for fall socials:
- Thursday, September 26 – Grades 2 & 5
- Wednesday, October 2 – Grades 3 & 7
- Thursday, October 3 – Grades 1 & 4
- Thursday, October 10 – Grades Pre-K & 8
- Tuesday, October 15 – Grades K & 6
Pre-k Sibling Applications Due Early in the Fall
Parents of current BDS 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 this fall.
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 to have your child considered in this priority round of admission.
With interview and application deadlines approaching quickly on October 15, we encourage you to begin the application process right away. If you have questions, please email [email protected].
Deadline Extended to Order Books by Visiting Author
Jennifer Nielsen, the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award winner for 2019, will be at BDS on Tuesday, October 1 to discuss her latest historical thriller, Words on Fire. The deadline to pre-order her new book and other titles from Belmont Books has been extended to this Monday, September 23. Please follow the instructions on this flyer if you are interested in having a book signed and personalized for your student on the day of the event.
Raising Digital Natives
At a recent Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) event, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Devorah Heitner, author of the book Raising Digital Natives. Her thought-provoking and informative session provided great insight and guidance on the challenges and opportunities we face as educators and parents helping children safely navigate their digital lives. Heitner’s latest Digital Natives blog posts tackle issues of screentime, college admissions, and digital reputation and I highly recommend it as a resource.
– Dolly Ryan, Director of Technology
It’s Not Too Late to Get on the Bus!
If you have considered taking advantage of bus transportation for your student but have not signed up yet, there is still time. Limited enrollment is available on the Cambridge and WAM (Winchester, Arlington, Medford) lines. Please complete a Bus Enrollment Form by Tuesday, October 2. If you have questions, contact bus coordinator Anderson Santos.
Parents’ Association News
We are looking for volunteers to donate centerpieces for the lunchroom tables in Coolidge Hall throughout the school year. This is an easy, low-stress way to contribute to BDS and nice way to brighten the day for students and faculty. Simply bring in 13 three-to-five-inch plants or seasonal centerpieces (e.g., pumpkin in a pot or small baskets of gourds for fall) that can be placed on the round tables in Coolidge 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 Coolidge Hall at drop off. Click here to sign up for an available slot. If you have questions, please contact Tammy Sisitsky (mother of eighth grader Camille DeStefano, and chair of Lunchroom Flowers) at [email protected] or 61 7-438-5340 (feel free to call or text).
Please consider buying your fall bulbs and plants from our Flower Power fundraiser. Plant them now for springtime cheer and support the work of the PA! Don’t know how? Just dig a small hole, drop 5-8 bulbs in it, cover it up with the dirt, and you’re done! So simple, and so much fun to do with the kids. They’ll love seeing them grow and bloom in the spring. Don’t have a garden? You can buy and donate bulbs for the BDS grounds for everyone to enjoy in spring!
Online ordering is quick, easy, and fun! Just click here to get started. And the best part: 50% of your purchase total will be donated to the BDS PA! Orders made by October 15 will be sent right to your home.
Science on Saturday
MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 255 Wood St., Lexington
Saturday, October 19, 10 to 11 a.m.
Light and optics serve as the foundation for much of the cool technology found in our modern world! Come experience some of the amazing properties of light such as laser light bending and bouncing. Learn how different colors of light combine and watch how flat images pop up in 3D. Click here to register.
“Switch Up” at Didriks and Local Root for Furnishing Hope
If you’re thinking of updating your dinnerware and kitchenware, now’s the perfect time! Didriks and Local Root in Belmont Center and Newton have teamed up with Furnishing Hope of Massachusetts for a “Switch Up” fundraiser.
Now through October 10, trade in your used dinner and kitchenware in-store at Didriks and Local Root and receive 15% off corresponding items. Collected items will be donated to Furnishing Hope, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that helps Boston area families transitioning out of homelessness.
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