January 3, 2020
Dear Saxe Family,
Happy New Year! As we get our feet on the ground in this new decade, it is my hope that you had a wonderful holiday break and are feeling refreshed and optimistic about the future. While we were only in session for two days this week, we did not seem to skip a beat. I was able to make it around to each grade-level class to welcome our students back and let them know that we are excited to have them back with us. It was inspiring to see the engaging conversations about the break, time with family or friends, and what lies ahead in their classes. This is truly where relationships are strengthened as our little “classroom families” get to learn more and more about each other.
This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at classroom libraries in ELA, the ICT/Design Lab, Grade-5 Team Meetings, Student Leadership Team, our Saxe Mathletes, 8th-grade transition coffee, and more. Enjoy…
Wishing all the best to you, and your families, in 2020 and beyond!
Principal, Saxe Middle School
Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:
1.6: Board of Ed Meeting
1.9: 8th-9th Parent Transition Coffee (@ NCHS); Geography Bee
Want to check out the “Saxe Weekly” from last week? You’re one click away, here.
*Quotes that resonated with us this week:
“New Year’s Day is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”
“A little progress each day adds up to big results.”
English Language Arts: Classroom Libraries
Happy New Year! We know that the greatest impact on reading achievement is reading volume, (Krashen, 2004) and we love seeing your children wrapped up in great books! (Click here to read more about the research and power of independent reading curated by teacher and author, Donalyn Miller). Here at Saxe, ELA teachers are working hard to make classroom libraries inviting and exciting spaces for students to find complex, diverse, interesting texts to read and enjoy. And, we’re always looking for great new books to meet the diverse levels, interests, and topics for our growing learners. Guidelines suggest that each classroom library should include approximately twenty books per student (Scholastic, 2019). In a middle school classroom, each teacher teaches around 90-100 students, meaning that libraries should include about 2,000 texts each! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s classroom teacher to ask about books that might enhance their library. We’re always looking for new, exciting books that students love. Thank you for your support!
In 6th-grade ELA, after students chose and read a realistic fiction book, students used their learning to develop a realistic fiction narrative writing piece that highlighted the transfer of understanding about characters and stories to share an experience. They used a podcast format this week to interview each other about the choices they made after writing their own piece focusing on the author’s craft and purpose. Students recorded in their classrooms and design lab. Stay tuned for some samples in an upcoming Weekly!
Grade 5 “Color Team” Meetings!
Grade-five students are preparing to have a bit more freedom as they will soon be allowed to sit by their color team. Today the “Purple Team” (the homeroom classes of Mrs. Hubbard, Mrs. Lanna, Mrs. Dobransky, and Mrs. Harrington) met as a team today to review the Saxe Behavior Expectations Matrix (linked here), and renew their commitment to our grade level charter (linked here) by pledging “to do just one thing” related to safety and respect. Next week the Red, Blue, and Green teams will meet and make similar commitments. Dr. Clapp, Ms. Veach, and Mr. Gusitsch all added positive messages of the continued commitment to excellence!
Student Leadership Team
Members of the 6th and 7th-grade student leadership team attended the Connecticut Association of Schools Middle-Level Leadership Conference at Sacred Heart University today. Presenters discussed the following topics: building a climate of acceptance, communication, making a difference at school, mindfulness, taking risks/rising to the occasion, and social media safety and awareness. These topics are closely tied to the important work that has been a focus in our district and we are looking forward to seeing this great work be put into action within our Saxe community in the near future. Special thanks to advisors/attendees, Mr. Lepisto, Mrs. Risoli, and Mr. Bedard.
American Mathematics Competitions: AMC 8
Congratulations to the 24 Saxe students who participated in the AMC 8 National Math competition in November. This is a 25-question, 40-minute, multiple-choice examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development of problem-solving skills. The results are in, and the Saxe Math team did really well! Luke Huang scored a 24 out of 25, which earned him the gold medal for Saxe, as well as National Honor Roll with Distinction (top 1% in the Nation), Sahil Teredesai was the silver medalist with a score of 18, and there was a 3-way tie for the Bronze Medal with Avery Cotton, Eric Huang and Christian Xia all scoring 17. The top 3 scores get combined for a school “team” score of 59, which earned Saxe a School Certificate of Merit. The Saxe Mathletes will continue to compete in the Mathcounts competition, coming up on January 17th. We are really proud of our Mathletes! A special thank you goes out to their coach, Ms. Wolff as well!
Just a friendly reminder that we will officially kick off our high school transition process Thursday, January 9th with the 8th Grade Parent Transition Coffee. The presentation will take place in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School from 9:15am to 10:15am. This will be the first opportunity of many for NCHS and Saxe administrators and counselors to share information and answer questions regarding this important milestone for our 8th graders. For those unable to attend the coffee, the session will be recorded and posted to the transition website accessible through the link: 8th Grade Transition. As always if you have any questions, please contact your child’s counselor.
Have a great week!
* A special thanks to Mary Calabrese for the continuous stream of positive, optimistic quotes!
Saxe Resources (live links)
Saxe Middle School
Celebrating Our Learning Community Through Caring, Communication, & Commitment