2018.9.21 – Saxe Weekly

September 21, 2018

Quote(s) that resonated with us this week:

“Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.”

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Dear Saxe Family,

I hope your week was a great one and that you enjoy this snapshot of our “Week at Saxe”. We will be back next week with our first “full week” of the school year and many more events that are starting to gear up. Have a great weekend!

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School


Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

9/27 5th grade fun run

9/28 Celebrate Saxe kickoff

Saxe Resources:

Website: https://www.ncps-k12.org/saxe

Twitter: @SaxeMS

PTC: http://www.saxeptc.org/

Weekly: SaxeMS.com

Want to check out the weekly from last week? Click, here.


English Language Arts (ELA):

The ELA team has worked hard to create learning spaces and environment that match our values of authentic and lifelong reading. We value choice and strive to find a book matched to each child’s level and interest. We aspire to meet the whole community Saxe goal to “nurture learning environments that are responsive to and respectful of the social, academic, personal, and behavioral needs of students with diverse backgrounds, interests and performance levels.” Our classroom libraries, generously supported by the PTC, are filled with books matching a variety of levels, topics and genres sure to engage students in a great story, and our learning spaces are flexible to foster an authentic reading experience. We believe the stamina and practice of reading a book will lead to greater independence and wonder as a child progresses through our complicated and technology filled 21st-century world. This month, teachers 5th through 8th grade have been engaging students in the conversation of their “reading lives” and modeling strategies to choose appropriate, authentic texts to flex their brain muscles.

Additionally, Students in Mrs. Devine’s and Ms. Ordway’s fifth-grade reading classes recently read the short story, “Eleven”, by Sandra Cisneros, during their study of metacognition. Ms. Ordway and Mrs. Chard helped students connect to the story by staging impromptu visits to Mrs. Devine’s classes and acting out the scene from the story where the teacher demands to know who owns the old red sweater that had been sitting in her closet. Students were surprised and delighted to see the scene brought to life.

Writing is alive and well at Saxe. Fifth graders are focusing on the sentence as the building block of writing and thinking. Students are exploring sentence grammar to build syntactic range and compose complex sentences that lend power to the written word. Drawing on quality literature as mentors, this sentence-composing approach will strengthen the revision process in writing for the entire year.

Speaking of the composing process, some sixth grade ELA teachers, attended a workshop last Saturday in Southbury where Carl Anderson (Columbia Teachers’ College) gave expert insight and strategic tips into the conferring process with young writers. All are excited to move our blossoming writers forward.


Visual and Performing Arts:


Saxe students have the opportunity to expand and deepen their arts experiences through a broad and comprehensive array of offerings. Founded on the elements of art and the principles of design, students engage in a range of challenging creative projects in two and three-dimensional media and they also have an opportunity to work in our VPA MacLab with programs including stop animation, digital imaging, and private online portfolios. Our Saxe Art teachers have created a blog to help keep parents and students up to date: http://saxeart.blogspot.com/.

Saxe Art students grades fifth through eighth have assembled a bulletin board in the new art wing illustrating all the things they believe art can be. Over two hundred students contributed to this collaborative project. Come take a look at the beautiful work being created in the Art Department!


Saxe students are given a choice for their fifth- grade music course at the end of fourth grade. We share with students that this is an important choice as they will stay in the same music course for the duration of their Saxe experience. Band, choir and orchestra students perform in two concerts each year. Students in these ensembles participate in skills-based lessons where they learn the fundamentals of music literacy; and in ensemble classes where they apply learning through the study and performance of repertoire. In addition, students in Grades 5-8 may elect to enroll in Music Technology instruction where they learn piano keyboard and the rules of music composition through Garage Band.


Our theater program has become a meaningful event for our Saxe students. This year, approximately 100 fifth and sixth-grade students are participating in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr. In addition, seventh and eighth-grade students will perform Disney’s High School Musical. Students that participate in our program learn theater craftsmanship and the rewards that come from of focused work. Participating in the shows teaches students how teamwork enhances their own learning as they work together to achieve a common goal.


Physical Education:

Students are beginning the year learning about the Health Related Fitness Components. They have the opportunity to participate in a variety of lead up activities and dynamic warm-up exercises building their confidence and competence as they move on the journey to lifelong fitness.


PTC Welcome Back Coffee

The annual Saxe PTC Welcome Back Coffee was held (in style!) this past week at Waveny. Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this such a successful event. There were over 130 people in attendance and despite the hot, tropical weather, it was a great time!

And, our incredible Saxe PTC crew back at work preparing for the big Celebrate Saxe kickoff next week! Feel free to check out more info, here.

Pics from around Saxe:

Favorite t-shirt (and fact) of the week!
Mr. Petrakopoulos and his film club interviewed Mr. Gusitsch this week. 
Celebrating the last official day of summer out at recess!

Following a gathering in the main lobby, the Saxe Faculty-Senate meeting included an opportunity for staff to participate in some wellness related activities while collaborating with colleagues. Thanks to Mr. Young and Mr. Adams who spearheaded this fine opportunity for all! Healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy staff…

Mr. Lepisto braving the ladder for a group shot.
What Mr. Lepisto saw through his viewfinder (nice shot!). 


Thanks to our fantastic maintenance staff for getting our Lower Division #WeAreSaxe banner up to match our front entrance banner! Thanks again to our Saxe PTC for their continued support in making it all happen…


Saxe “Did You Know?”

Did you know that the Principal’s Secretary at Saxe, Lisa Jarosik, dives with sharks? She put on a great show this past weekend at the Maritime Center and Mr. Gusitsch’s family happened to be in attendance. Mr. Gusitsch’s son Nicholas turned 8 a few days ago and was treated to an underwater “Happy Birthday” and a few shark teeth from the bottom of the tank (Fun Fact: sharks can lose 30,000 teeth in their lifetime!).

Ms. Jarosik surrounded by sharks. 
Ms. Jarosik pointing out some shark anatomy. 
Ms. Jarosik talking to the “land people” from inside the tank. 
Ms. Jarosik holding up one of many shark teeth that she recovered from the “sea floor”. 
Ms. Jarosik back on solid ground with one of her biggest fans!

3 thoughts on “2018.9.21 – Saxe Weekly

  1. Thanks for sharing the link to the Art Department! It was wonderful to see art from each grade and teacher, along with the teacher’s own work. Would love a Saxe Art Show. These weekly updates are great!


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