2020.4.9 – Saxe Weekly

April 9, 2020

Dear Saxe Family,

As we round out our fourth week of e-learning, I continue to be amazed, inspired, grateful, and proud to be part of a team, and community, who have rallied to create programming and procedures that have never been done before with great success. While it is a work in progress and we continue to evolve, together, we will adapt to provide the best product possible for our students and families. “Thanks” goes out to everyone for your patience, for your generosity, for your flexibility, and most importantly, your “can do” attitude. With this all-hands-on-deck approach, our students are continuing to learn, well, maintain connections with teachers, staff, and classmates, and hopefully have some fun along the way.

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at a Saxe community video, 5 Days of Kindness, tips and resources from our Student Support Professionals, National Assistant Principals Week, ELA Updates, Virtual Art Show, Mandarin, Saxe professional learning, Saxe Spirit, and more…

Enjoy and have a wonderful extended holiday weekend!

Be well,

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

4.10 no school

4.13 no school

4.16 ½-day schedule

4.17 no school

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

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Not all superheroes wear capes. Thank you first-responders.”

“Appreciate the little things, there are so many.”

“Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.”

“This too shall pass… One day at a time.”

From Our Homes to Yours

If you have not had a chance to check out this video of Saxe staff and families sending their love to our Saxe students, please do so. You will not be disappointed, you will smile the whole way through, and maybe even have a few “laugh out loud” moments. It is a true “feel-good” watch for our Saxe community… Thanks to Ms. Orlando, Ms. Pacelli, Mr. Petrakopoulos, and everyone who contributed, for putting this together!

Thanks to @NCPSWorldLanguages for taking it to the next level and translating this tweet in multiple languages!

Quick Tips

We are all looking for what works best in our own homes during this e-learning experience. This list from our national organization, Association for Middle-Level Education (AMLE), has some strategies that may fit well in your e-learning home environment.

Supporting your Middle Schoolers at Home

5 Days of Kindness

There were so many examples of people sharing their acts of kindness throughout the week. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Here is a recap of each day of the 5 Days of Kindness:

Day 1: Say “Thank You” to 3 people.

Day 2: Write to someone who has made a difference in your life and tell them how your life is better because of their actions.

Day 3: Do something unexpectedly nice for someone.

Day 4:Tell family members you love them.

Day 5:Send a kind message to a classmate outside of your friend group.

Below are a couple that show the power of keeping kindness as a priority.

5th-grader, Cary Wang reached out to the Waveny Lifecare Center on “Day 2”:

“I am writing to you regarding the 2nd day of kindness in your morning announcements saying “Write to someone who has made a difference in your life. Tell them how your life is better because of their actions.” This, I thought was a great idea so I wrote a letter to Barbara Jeffries, the Assistant Director of the Waveny Lifecare Center and the New Canaan Inn. She responded right away as below.

I performed my solo concerts there every year since I was 7. Many seniors saw me, whether in a wheelchair or with breathing tubes. When I heard the news of the passing of people in the Waveny Network, I decided to write a letter to them with some videos of my recent performances to brighten their days. I hope I can perform there soon! Best Regards, Cary”

And, you can enjoy some of Cary’s music as a pick-me-up. Enjoy!


This is Schubert Impromptu in E-flat major D.899, op 90, no 2


Concerto competition: Mozart Piano Concerto in C Major, K 467,3rd movement.

And, Magistra MacQuarrie on “Day 4”:

National Assistant Principals Week

Thank you to the tremendous Assistant Principals of Saxe Middle School! Mr. Bedard, Dr. Ferreira, and Dr. Clapp, you are excellent professionals and greatly appreciated!

Virtual Art Show

The show is made up of art created by students in grades 5-8 from our first E-Learning lesson. Students were asked to choose between three observational drawing prompts. They had to select and arrange their subject, consider lighting and composition, create sketches, and then submit a final drawing in any materials they had at home and were comfortable with. The subject matter reflects what students are viewing and experiencing from home and we couldn’t be more proud. Stay tuned for the next compilation of student work in our 2nd E-Learning art show!

Student Support Professionals: Introduction to Stress Less Workshop

Hello Parents and Students! We are pleased to inform you that we have created a “Stress Less Workshop” google site so that all students will have access to stress-reducing strategies during the school closure. Here is the link to the google site: https://sites.google.com/ncps-k12.org/ud-stress-less-workshop/home

The Stress-Less Workshop provides an opportunity for students to learn skills to help with stress management, anxiety reduction, emotion regulation, and attention. Topics in this workshop will include:

  • Strategies to manage stress and other difficult emotions
  • How to show gratitude and the effects of positive thinking
  • How to be present, and attentive, in school and throughout our lives
  • How our thoughts, emotions, and actions are connected

The workshop consists of ten lessons total. Every Monday morning, we will make the next lesson available. Currently, Workshop #1 is already available to view. Like any sport, instrument, or craft, stress reduction skills are cultivated through practice. We look forward to helping your child and your family use these skills to feel less stressed and be more present!


Saxe Support Professionals

Student Support Team Messages: Financial, Mental Health, and Technical Support

We understand that these are challenging times, and families may need help with financial, mental health or technological support. Please email the building principal if we can be of assistance in any of these areas as they relate to your child’s education. If we are unable to provide the assistance, we will work to connect you to the appropriate resources. We want to be sure that all of our students and families are able to fully access their education and we are here to support you. New Canaan Youth and Family Services are also available for assistance 203-594-3081, and 211 is available for in-home support in the event of a mental health crisis.

School Counselors

Be on the look-out for new Google Classrooms set up by the counseling staff. These classrooms will allow easy communication between students and counselors and will have wonderful strategies to help your student(s) manage stress and be ready to learn. They will also include fun activities where students can virtually connect with one another. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to your child’s counselor: contact information, here.

Additional Tips

Here are a few more tips for getting through while our buildings are closed… Parent Strategies for E-Learning and Managing Anxiety Related to Coronavirus. Please reach out to school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and others at school with any questions or concerns. They are here to help you and continue to work during e-learning. Their contact information is here, and here.

ELA Update from Mrs. Broas

Dear Parents,

Thank you for filling out our survey about reading materials. I have received some inquiries requesting the links to popular titles that we had linked in the form. I am attaching the lists here, so you can help your child find a book. These are by no means an exhaustive list, but they’re popular titles that many students have enjoyed. As always, please work with your child to identify books that match your child’s maturity, approximate reading level, and interest.

Grade 5– Your child’s teacher will be notifying you about whether your child will need a fantasy or mystery book.

Grade 5: Fantasy (Organized by level and from “Batch of Books”)

Grade 5: Mystery (From “Batch of Books”and “What We Do All Day“)

Grade 6- Your child should have come home with books in this genre; however, if he/she needs more, here are some ideas.

Grade 6: Social Issues

Grade 7- Your child should have come home with Historical Fiction books; however, if he/she needs more, here are some ideas. The next unit of study will be “Surviving the Unknown.” Students did not come home with books in that genre.

Grade 7: Historical Fiction

Grade 7: Surviving the Unknown (Saxe Favorites and “GoodReads” Picks)

Grade 8- Your child should have come home with a classic text; however, if he/she needs more, here are some ideas. The next unit of study will be “Dramatically Speaking” and students will read novels in verse. They did not come home with books in that genre.

Grade 8: Classic Texts

Grade 8: Novels in Verse (“GoodReads” Picks)

I am also attaching the fabulous resource that our Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Mona Biondi, put together to access many of these texts through digital platforms. (Click here)

Thank you for your continued support. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.


6th-grade did an online presentation to introduce their family members in Mandarin. The information includes name, family tree, age, school level, location, jobs, and nationality. Check it out!

Around Saxe

Here a few of our Saxe students taking care of business in their respective home e-learning environments:

Crossing curriculum

6th-grader, Marco T used a recent Social Studies debate class as the subject for his art project!

Professional Learning

Below are a few photos of the e-learning professional learning sessions that were held this afternoon. We continue to look at ways to evolve, improve the learning experience for our students, and allow them to stay connected with teachers and classmates. Thank you to our facilitators who provided great learning opportunities for their colleagues!

Saxe Spirit

We are certainly growing through this, together!

Mr. Bedard made a surprise stop-by this week as he had to pass through the neighborhood. It was great to see a Saxe colleague, in person! (note: appropriate social-distancing was maintained at all times).

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

Saxe Weekly: Weekly “Features”

1st week ELA, Math

2nd week Science, Social Studies

3rd week World Language, VPA, Tech

4th week Health/PE, Counseling, Special Education

5th week all/any

Note: anyone is invited to include a submission on any given week outside their “featured” week


  • Please have all submissions in by 10:00 a.m. on Friday
  • Less is more; pics w/quick notes; lengthier info should include a quick description and a link to “more info”…

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