2019.3.8 – Saxe Weekly

March 8, 2019

*Quote(s) that resonated with us this week:

“You’re never too important to be nice to people.”

“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

“Preparation is the key to success.”

“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.”

Dear Saxe Family,

The days are getting longer and the temps will soon be rising. But, we are still in winter and were “treated” to almost a foot of heavy snow on Monday resulting in a snow day. In addition to some of those snowy pictures from the beginning of the week, this week we take a look at a Holocaust Survivor who visited Saxe, Professional Learning in ELA, World Language, Student Leadership Team, Innovation Space, Saxe Faculty-Senate, an engagement, and more…

Enjoy and have a great week!

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

3/9 Matchcounts State Competition

3/11 Opening evening of NCHS Art Show at Carriage Barn

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

Grade 8 Social Studies:

As a part of their current unit (War, Diplomacy, and Imperialism), 8th graders learn about the events surrounding World War II. A part of their studies involves better understanding of the Holocaust, a parallel event at this time. Yesterday, we were pleased to host Ms. Agnes Vertes who came to speak with the 8th grade about her experiences in Hungary during the Holocaust. Ms. Vertes and her two-year-old sister survived, separated from their parents, and with the help of others by moving from place to place. Ms. Vertes has an extensive resume which includes teaching math. For the past twenty years, she has been speaking in schools, synagogues, churches and a variety of organizations about her experiences during the Holocaust. Currently, she is a documentary film producer. Her film, “One out of Ten,” won the 1998 silver medal at the New York Film Festival. It is the story of eight people from different countries who were children during the Shoah, or Holocaust. Ms. Vertes spoke powerfully, not only about the Holocaust but also the power each of us has to stand up to what is wrong.

English Language Arts Professional Learning

On Thursday, March 7, the Saxe ELA team was fortunate to spend the day learning about best practices of reading instruction with the founding director of The Educator Collaborative, Dr. Chris Lehman. Chris Lehman is an international speaker, education consultant and New York Times bestselling author who has studied adolescent literacy throughout his career. Returning to Saxe after an exciting professional learning presentation in November, Chris worked with small teaching teams to study research-based best practices and methods of teaching readers. He also demonstrated a lesson in a seventh (Ms. Tomasio) and fifth grade (Ms. Helmich) classrooms to showcase effective methods to differentiate and provide small-group reading instruction to our adolescent learners. Together, teachers were able to study “teaching moves” and reflect on the next steps for the learners in their own classrooms. Teachers were inspired and motivated by this day. Literacy specialists and coordinator(s) will continue to support these methods and practices through embedded coaching and professional learning. We are so grateful to learn and grow together in these engaging professional learning experiences to enhance the teaching and learning for all of our teachers and students, and kids loved it, too!

Consultant Chris Lehman and ELA teachers working with, and learning from, Saxe students in 7th and 5th grade:

World Language

Very soon, fifth graders will be introduced to their language choices for 6th – 8th grade. Beginning in 6th-grade students at Saxe Middle School are able to continue with Spanish or switch to French, Latin or Mandarin. Students are urged to make their choices carefully as it will be the language they study for the next three years. They cannot transition to a different language until ninth grade. In addition, it is important to note that here, in the NCPS, the World Language Program is diligently working to support students in gaining proficiency in a language. Proficiency is the ability to use language to gain information by reading and/or listening and to share information by speaking and/or writing.

Effective September 1, 2017, the State of Connecticut established the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy (https://sealofbiliteracy.org/) is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

Students in New Canaan will have the opportunity to take the AAPPL (https://www.languagetesting.com/lti-for-organizations/k-12-aappl) or ALIRA (https://www.languagetesting.com/actfl-latin-interpretive-reading-assessment) language proficiency assessment before they graduate from high school. If they are able to demonstrate an Intermediate Mid proficiency level on this assessment they will receive a designation on their transcript highlighting to colleges and universities that they are biliterate in at least one other language, other than English, as defined by the State of CT.

Language proficiency or fluency is best attained after a student has either been immersed in the target language or invested in the study of a language for a significant period of time. For this reason, we highly suggest that students choose a language to study and commit to this language until, at least, intermediate level proficiency is achieved. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the Seal of Biliteracy and/or your world language choices. Thank you! Lizette D’Amico (lizette.damico@ncps-k12.org or 203 594-4559) K-12 World Language Administrator

Nat Geo GeoBee

Saxe Nat Geo Bee Champion, Rowan Richey Elliott, has qualified for the next round and will be representing Saxe as he competes with others from across the state on March 29th. Winners will move on to the National Championship in May. Stay tuned for more details and good luck to Rowan!

Around Saxe

A group of the 6th-grade Student Leadership Team working on their awesome “Saxe Cares” bulletin board!

Part of our Innovation Space adjacent to the library received a makeover recently. The newly painted “green screen” will allow for some creative ventures with our Saxe News video club, and more. Yours truly got to film a quick clip for an upcoming 8th-grade Math assignment. I can wait to see how it turns out!

Congratulations to Christina Fulco (G6 Social Studies) who got engaged over the February Break! Best wishes to Ms. Fulco and her fiance, Nelson Moreira.

A few pictures from the Saxe Faculty-Senate meeting this week. It is great seeing the whole staff together learning and participating in positive share-outs. They also got to hear about some upcoming wellness opportunities. Healthy bodies and healthy minds equal a better experience for our entire Saxe community!

Public Service Announcement… Don’t forget to “spring ahead” on Sunday morning 🙂

Have a great week!

* A special thanks to Mary Calabrese for the continuous stream of positive, optimistic quotes!

Saxe Resources:

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

Twitter: @SaxeMS

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

Weekly: SaxeMS.com

Saxe Middle School

Celebrating Our Learning Community Through Caring, Communication & Commitment

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