Fifth graders are creating artwork to be displayed soon in the library.
Message from Head of School
Getting Lost In the Library
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: September 27, 2019
– Guest writer, Amy Sprung, school librarian
As I was adjusting the brand-new curved fiction shelves in the library just a couple of inches to the left…and then back again for what must have been the tenth time in as many minutes, I was reminded of a quotation I shared with families at Curriculum Night several years back. In his picture book Zen Ties, Jon J. Muth writes, “It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.” While this notion may be nothing new to those better versed in Zen Buddhism, I was struck by the rolling waves of our new fiction section that now draw you into the library. In that moment, they served as a reminder to me of the power of our community, as well as the not insignificant ways that the library enables students to discover themselves as individuals within it.
The new middle school research and collaboration room represents how students can explore their individual and community identities within our new space. For a while now, our middle school students have needed a place to call their own within our library, and that has finally come to fruition. Within hours of the furniture arriving, classes started making use of the new space for collaborative social studies work. Eighth graders planned and recorded group videos to teach their classmates the material they had studied about Colonial America. One group loved the experience so much they asked their advisor to bring their whole advisory down for resource period in the new space that same day. And more than one student grabbed a book to check out on the way out!
Our lower school students will also benefit greatly from the re-imagined space. New design features include book browser bins to support the ways in which our youngest children search for books, cozy nooks to curl up in, and colorful lines incorporated into the carpet design for guidance on where to line up. The story room remains as it was–and how it should be–with some shifts in the collection and some décor changes to come. Our fifth graders are now creating an art installation in the story room inspired by their summer reading book Finding Langston and the paintings of Jacob Lawrence. Stay tuned for their grand opening.
Passing by as the new Erskine Library was coming to life was an experience students throughout the school remarked on in these joyful moments:
“Has anyone sat in this chair yet? How about this one? I want to be the first!” – a fourth grader stopping in after school
“I love the new mini-Kiva.” – a new sixth grader, admiring the set-up of the research and collaboration room, which had been described during orientation as like a mini-Kiva
“Wait, are those seats? Like for sitting in?” – an eighth grader checking out the new reading nooks
“There are books! I don’t care that they’re I Can Read books, I used to read all of these…and they’re books!” –a sixth grader admiring the unpacking and reshelving of the very first section of books
“My favorite part of the new library is the way it smells.” – a first grader reflecting on her first library class in the new space
The whole community’s effort in this undertaking is evident. Since the beginning of this project with the AISNE self-study eight years ago, dozens of teachers and administrators have been involved in imagining the thoughtful features that have now come to life. We’re thankful to everyone who had a hand in the work, including the Library Project task force and Corrado Paramithiotti for making sure each piece of the project was completed to exacting specifications. The Erskine Library has always been a beloved space, and our aim was to preserve the character of what makes it the heart of our school, while also making sure that all children can find themselves within.
I would also like to thank the parent community, without whom the library couldn’t function on a daily basis and this project could not have happened. The profoundly generous support that came out of the Wonder auction was inspiring and energizing. In recent days, parents have stopped in to check on the progress to find out “Was this how you envisioned it?” “Are you happy with it?” The trust the parent community has placed in us as educators tasked with rethinking our library reflects the trust you grant us each day in caring for and educating your children. It is striking and humbling. So, please join us in this essential community space—walk through our waves of shelves, and, as a fourth grader noted after our visit from author Erin Entrada Kelly, “get lost in a book.”
Pre-kindergartners enjoy a ride on their trikes!
This Coming Week at BDS
September 29 to October 4
Sunday–Tuesday, September 29–October 1
Tuesday, October 1
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Varsity Soccer at Waldorf; Cross Country vs Pike; Girls’ JV Soccer at Shady Hill; Field Hockey vs Pike; Girls’ Varsity Soccer vs Waldorf; JV Flag Football at Fessenden; Varsity Flag Football at DCD
Wednesday, October 2
Grade 6 Farm School Visit
8:15–9:30 a.m., Parent Book Club
6:30–8:30 p.m., Grades 3 & 7 Parent Social, Coolidge Hall
Thursday, October 3
Grade 6 Farm School Visit
6:30–8:30 p.m., Grades 1 & 4 Parent Social, Coolidge Hall
Friday, October 4
Grade 6 Farm School Visit
8 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Board of Trustees, Coolidge Hall
8:50–9:35 a.m., Sharing Assembly – Summer Books, Barn Gym
1:15–3:15 p.m., SSAT Prep-5
Parent Fall Socials Coming Up
The fall parents socials are informal potluck gatherings, organized by students’ cross-graded partnerships, and held in Coolidge Hall from 6:30–8:30 p.m. Please connect with your grade parents to RSVP and participate in the potluck. Hope to see you there!
Schedule for fall socials:
- 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
Lost & Found Bins Filling Up!
We want to make sure that all families are aware that there is an area for lost and found in the hallway outside Madame Pellenq’s classroom near the kitchen and Coolidge Hall. If your child is missing something, please check the bins. The lost and found is monitored regularly and anything that is labeled is returned to the student’s cubby. So, please, if you love it, label it! We have a fundraiser set up through Mabel’s Labels if you would like to order labels from them—the school receives a percentage of all sales. To order go to Mabelslabels.com and in the upper right corner, click on “Support a Fundraiser,” and from there, enter and select the Belmont Day School.
Lunch & Snack Menu
September 30 to October 4
Snack: Cheez-Its; fruit cup
Lunch: vegetarian Asian-style noodles; Asian blend vegetables with bok choy, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower; greens with tomato and honey mustard
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: meatball submarine sandwiches; corn on the cob; Lay’s potato chips; garden salad with ranch
Snack: Tostitos; apples
Lunch: garlic crusted crispy chicken; chef’s choice vegetables; herb roasted potatoes; spinach salad with sherry vinaigrette and pumpkin seed
Snack: Cinnamon Teddy Grahams; carrots
Lunch: soup du jour; ham and cheese on croissant; chef’s choice vegetables; Caesar salad; popsicles
Snack: apples; cheese
Volunteers Needed for Grandparents’ & Special Friends’ Day
We need your help to make Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day a big success. There are many ways you can be a part of this very special day. Several volunteer positions are still available, such as:
- Morning Host in Coolidge Hall: greet our guests and help them find their name tags.
- Classroom Host: assist our guests in finding their way around our school and lead them from the Barn to the classrooms.
- Traveling Host: assist guests in finding their way around our school and answer questions.
Choose your volunteer position in three easy steps:
- Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com
- Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
- Sign up! It’s easy and you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.
SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. Please email Beth Sousa with any questions. We appreciate your support!
Varsity Football Comes Up Short on Final Play
The varsity flag football team dropped a heartbreaker to Park (33-26) this week. Trailing by a score with under a minute to play, the Blue & Gold had multiple chances at the end zone before time expired, but couldn’t connect. Michael Timmins had a pair of touchdowns for the home team, while classmate Quinn Foley contributed with several strong catches on in-routes. Newcomer Bernie Mattox chipped in with a big first-half interception. Eventually, Belmont Day just ran out of answers, however, and Park left campus with a seven-point victory.
More Athletics News
- The JV teams will turn to a group of underclassmen to serve as team captains this fall. Ana McEleney and Nora O’Brien earned the distinction for soccer, while Noah Brauner and Cameron Colbert will lead the way for football.
- Cross country remains undefeated following a win over Fenn, Nashoba, and LCA this week. Miles Sandoski (11:59) and Henry Buckley-Jones (12:22) both set a course record at Fenn. Team veterans Scott Abbott and Elena Ferrari also ran well.
- Outside backs Henry Monroe and Jacob Stephenson were instrumental in boys’ soccer’s 0-0 draw against Park this week. The duo routinely shut down the opposition’s wing attack.
- The girls’ varsity soccer team was shut out on the road against a talented Park team this week. Clio Burger and Anni Taylor were dynamite on the defensive side of the ball and helped keep things close.
- Park scored once in each frame en route to a 2-0 win over the Blue & Gold field hockey team this week. Ripley Bright and Aviva Pearlmutter-Bearson had some solid offensive chances.
Building Prototypes to Address Global Issues
Middle school students in Mr. Robinson’s global goals class began prototyping their projects this week. The students’ ideas for problem-solving models focused on a range of environmental challenges. From coding a soil sensor to test moisture levels to building a boat to filter microplastics out of the ocean to salvaging parts from a broken drone it is great to see the students’ projects start to take shape.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
Preparing for Emergencies
At school, we regularly prepare for keeping our students, faculty, and visitors safe in case of an emergency. We have already had our first fire drill (the students did a great job–ask them about it!), staff have run through a lockdown drill, and we have comprehensive safety plans for the school. Just like at school, it is always a good idea to have a safety and emergency plan at home for emergencies such as a fire or larger weather-related events we have seen in the news. The more prepared children feel the less scary these events are for them.
September is National Preparedness Month, and this week includes a focus on youth preparedness. A parent who works at Hanscom Air Force Base recently shared many helpful reminders from them, which are adapted in the dropdown below:
More Health & Wellness News
While emergencies/disasters can be confusing and scary for everyone, young children and teens can be especially affected during the response and recovery process. Some disasters strike without any warning, and it is helpful to have thought through a plan ahead of time. Some things to consider, so that youth understand and are prepared for emergencies:
- Family members may not all be in the same place. How will you get in touch with each other? Where will you meet? How will you get out of your house in case of a fire? What if your neighborhood is being evacuated? It’s important to make a plan, now, so that you will know what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency.
- Go over your family’s emergency kit with all members so they know the location, contents, and how to use them. If you don’t already have a family emergency kit, now is the time to put one together–doing so could be a family activity. Here is a helpful emergency kit checklist to get you started. Include your child’s favorite stuffed animals, board games, books, or music in their emergency kit to comfort them in a disaster.
- Review emergency preparedness with your family. Children who are prepared are more confident during emergencies and disasters. Social science research and anecdotal evidence support the idea that children who have learned about emergency preparedness experience less anxiety during an actual emergency or disaster. FEMA offers a good resource for this.
- Along with preparedness, go over what actions to take in case of various emergency situations that might happen in our area. For example, if there is a tornado to get away from windows and to the lowest level of the residence.
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS NEWS
Dismissal Traffic Flow Reminders
As we head into our fourth week back in school, we want to kindly remind everyone of a few key rules that help to ensure safe and efficient dismissal times.
- Line up along Coolidge Way to the front traffic circle for dismissal at the front door.
- Please do not park in the hash-marked area in front of Coolidge Hall (see photo). This is not a parking space and must be kept clear so that the buses can make the turn into the front circle.
- When lining up for the front door dismissal, please bring your vehicle as forward as possible near the fire hydrant closest to the sixth grade wing, so we can move vehicles quickly around the circle.
- Please do not use the sixth grade hallway door as an exit or entry during dismissal.
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.
Parents’ Association News
Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser
Tuesday, October 8–Thursday, October 10, during drop-off and pick-up
The PA will be outside Coolidge Hall with pumpkins of various sizes for sale, as well as colorful mums. All proceeds will help fund the many PA activities throughout the year. In addition, children can try to guess the number of candy corn in the jar to win some fun BDS swag.
We are looking for volunteers to help with the Pumpkin Patch. Click here to sign up. Thank you!
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 your children. 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.
Thank you to first grade parent Shanying Zhang and her family for providing the new mini-pumpkin centerpieces in Coolidge this week. They look great and are a wonderful way to greet the new season.
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. If you have questions, or want to participate, please contact Tammy Sisitsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 61 7-438-5340 (feel free to call or text).
Our Deepest Concern: A Conversation on Race and Anti-Racism in America
The Cambridge Friends School begins its annual speaker series on Wednesday, October 16 at 6:30 p.m. with an author talk with five distinguished panelists: Princeton professor and author, Imani Perry, historian, Kerri Greenidge, novelist and writer, Kaitlyn Greenidge, and award-wining playwright, Kirsten Greenidge in conversation with award-winning journalist and diversity advocate, Jack Hill. Click here for more information.
“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 (founded by Suzy Palitz P ’16) 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.
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.
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