2020.2.7 – Saxe Weekly

February 7, 2020

Dear Saxe Family,

As we round out our last full week before the February break, we are grateful to be able to share a snapshot of what makes Saxe special. This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at the Saxe mascot, Health Education, Math, ELA, STEM, Digital Citizenship, World Language, Math Team, new staff, Valentines for Vets, Rocket Club, Dogs of Saxe, and much more.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates at Saxe:

2.13: Spirit Day – Throwback Thursday

2.14: No School – Have a great break!

Want to check out the “Saxe Weekly” from last week? You’re one click away, here.

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“You are the designer of your own future.”

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

“You’ve got to be a beginner before you can be anything else.”

“You are the designer of your own future.”

“Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will like the real you.”

Saxe News

After a thoughtful, inclusive process, the new Saxe Middle School was revealed. Thanks to our on-screen and behind the scenes crew at Saxe News, you can check out the excitement of the big reveal and the story behind how we “landed” on the final decision. Go Hawks!

The Saxe News roving crew was out right away getting feedback on the announcement of the new mascot. Stay tuned for this feedback and much more in future episodes…

Health Education

The Wall of Happiness is growing and is a great way for our students to share their gratitude while spreading a positive vibe. Thanks to Health Education teachers, Ms. Orlando and Mr. Tiscia for their role in educating the “whole-child”!


Students in pre-algebra class worked together on a card sort activity that incorporated learning about tables, graphs and equations. Students in math work on discourse, defending their answers and providing explanations to support their thinking. Great teamwork!

Students in geometry class learned about the geometric mean and relationships with right triangles. Proving their thinking by reasoning about math helps students understand and justify their answers.

In algebra, students were learning about exponential growth and exponential decay. They can tell you the value of an antique car or how much money you can save! Real-world problem solving is an essential skill we strive to achieve with our students!

Math Team

Congratulations to all the members of the Saxe Math Team who participated in the Southwest Connecticut Chapter Mathcounts competition this past weekend at Fairfield University. Over 20 area schools and almost 200 students competed, and the Saxe team of Luke Huang, Daryl Lavin, Cormac Kilkenny and Alex Yuan won second place and will move on to compete at the Mathcounts State competition in March. In addition, Amy Meng qualified for the State competition as an individual competitor. Luke Huang came in second place overall in the individual rounds, and 3rd place in the Countdown round. Atma Krishnan, Kevin Zuo, Christian Xia, Eric Huang and Brandon Ma also represented Saxe well at the Chapter Competition. Go Saxe!


Saxe STEM Students Solve Real-World Problems… Saxe Middle School STEM students once again helped the Nambale Magnet School in Nambale, Kenya. This year students donated drums to help the school put together its first marching band. The founder and director of the Kenyan school Evalyn Wakhusama came to accept their gift. We are so proud of our students. Over the past few years, our STEM students held a fundraiser and donated books, a playground, and a solar water heater. Over 450 students in Kenya benefit from our students’ philanthropy. This year the students presenting the drums are Ben Skrelunas, Alexandra Gelvin, Alex Dathan, Alexandra McManus, Kailin Downy, Maggie Dinger, and Anav Sahay.


Pictured left to right: Maggie Dinger, principal Dave Gusitsch, Alexandra Gelvin, Anav Sahay, Ben Skrelunas, Alex Dathan, Cornerstone Chairman Martine Nolletti, Founder Evalyn Wakhusama, STEM teacher Vivian Birdsall, and music teacher Janet Rosen.

Grade 7 Digital Citizenship

The conversations and discussions that mark the beginning of 3rd quarter Digital Citizenship are rich and reflective. Students consider their own digital usage and how that may have changed throughout the years. Teachers create a safe and respectful place to hold these conversations where students feel comfortable to share different experiences and opinions. This foundation is important as they learn together about privacy and security, digital identity, relationships and communication, media balance and well-being as well as digital literacy.

These students (above) are creating visuals representing their digital identity. This will be used as students reflect on their usage.

This 7th-grade class is having a lively discussion about platforms and their digital footprint.

English Language Arts:

Students came into February learning how to become experts in a topic with non-fiction text. Students in grades 5-8 are closely reading and analyzing complex information text, developing theories about a chosen topic while reading multiple sources to deepen understanding, and communicating the information using digital media strategically. Check out the great work happening throughout our classrooms!

(Above) Teachers model the research process to gather information and theories about a topic. Here is Mrs. Hubbard’s (5th grade) research journey.

(Above) Students in Mrs. Helmich’s class (5th grade) are intentionally choosing text features and structures to best communicate their ideas and support their writing.

(Above) Students in Mrs. Hammell’s class (6th grade) are “tasting” and “sampling” books and topics of interest in a “Book Tasting.”

(Two Photos Above) Students in Mrs. Martocci’s class (6th grade) are transferring their notes into a visual representation to display/share the central ideas of their topics. Skyla Warren created the “sketchnote” above to make her thinking visible.

(Above) Two seventh grade girls in Mrs. Reed’s class are working in partnerships to share their new learning from their non-fiction independent reading book. (Special shout-out to the PTC for the new stools and seating areas!)

(Above) Partnerships in seventh grade are learning how to communicate with each other about their topics of interest. This collaboration will help students develop research questions for inquiry.

(Above) Eighth-grade students have studied multiple perspectives of an event and they are designing websites and visual presentations to communicate their understanding. Students in Dr. Walker’s class consider the text structures to support their message about the event.

Welcome, Ms. Bonnie Dubson to Saxe ELA!

We are pleased to announce that Ms. Bonnie Dubson will be conducting her graduate school student teaching placement in our 7Blue English Language Arts classroom for the next sixteen weeks. Bonnie is a 1994 graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese and Sociology. She also earned a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Texas, Austin in 1997. Currently, Ms. Dubson is pursuing her English teaching certification through the ARC Program in Hartford, CT. Ms. Dubson has been a part of the New Canaan Public Schools since the start of this school year as an English Language tutor. Bonnie has a wonderful rapport with students at Saxe and at New Canaan High School, and we feel fortunate to have her join our team!

“Valentines for Vets”

Saxe students had a chance to participate in a great community project, “Valentine’s for Vets”. Creating handmade cards was an opportunity for students to continue to show their appreciation for veterans throughout the year. Teachers across curriculums encouraged their students to participate and a maker station for the project was set up in the library. We collected 336 cards to be delivered to veterans in the Bridgeport area today. A big thank you to everyone that participated in this project!

Creating cards in the library at the maker station.

Mrs. Beatman’s art classes participated in making Valentines for Veterans. There were a variety of materials ranging from drawing collage and watercolor paint.

World Language: Mandarin

Thank you for the amazing PTA that we have at Saxe! Our Mandarin classroom received a brand new Emotional Intelligence (EI) rug this week. Many of the students, the first thing they did when they came into class, hopping on one of the emotion squares and saying “I am feeling ________(joyful, confident, excited, etc.)!”

Grade 6 students gathered on the EI rug when they saw it on the first day!

Grade 7 students seemed cozy on the EI rug in the small group teacher station.

8th-grade students did a self-directed study group for a new lesson on the EI rug.

Faculty Meeting

The Saxe faculty met on Thursday and discussed relevant topics that have a positive impact on our students and our school culture. Topics included a reflection on “Start with Hello Week”, our charter, homework, and the overall well-rounded experience that our students/staff are involved in.

We are so fortunate to have a great faculty-senate leadership team who believe in great treats to set the tone for our meetings!

Rocket Club

Cape Canaveral or Saxe Field? The inaugural launch for the Saxe Rocket Club took off this week! Students have been learning about force, weight, thrust, and aerodynamics and got to see their efforts literally take off. Thanks to Ms. Walsh and Ms. Birdsall for providing a terrific opportunity for our students. Stay tuned for more updates from this exciting club.

Community Event

Technology has many positives for our students but many downsides as well. Saxe hosted educator Diana Graber, author of “Raising Humans in a Digital World” this week. She led a frank discussion on how to avoid the potential harms of technology while focusing on the many rewards. Below are a couple of slides/messages that were shared as well as contact information if you would like to learn more. Thank you to our PTC and NC Cares for bringing Ms. Graber in to speak.


Our Library Staff takes such great care of our learning community!

One of the many reasons that greeting students in the morning is a great way to start the day… You never know what to expect and we are usually in for a few laughs each morning!

Dogs of Saxe

Another awesome shot of some of our favorite 4-legged friends dropping their human off at school!

Have a great week!

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

Saxe Resources (live links)

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

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

Twitter: @SaxeMS

The Saxe Weekly: SaxeMS.com

Saxe Middle School

Celebrating Our Learning Community Through Caring, Communication, & Commitment

One thought on “2020.2.7 – Saxe Weekly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s