2020.4.24 – Saxe Weekly

April 24, 2020

Dear Saxe Family,

This was an event-filled week. Not only was it our first full week back after a couple of shorter weeks, but we also had local and global celebrations going on throughout the week. Our e-learning experience continues to evolve and adjustments are constantly being made to provide the best experience possible for our students and families. I could not be more proud of our staff at Saxe who are committed to collaborating, expanding their learning, and applying new skills and strategies to balance the synchronous and asynchronous instruction to best meet the needs of our wide variety of learners. This has undoubtedly been challenging for all, but we are getting better every day and will be stronger on the other side of this situation.

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at a little e-life humor, at-home resources for activities, Administrative Professionals Day, Science, Earth Day, World Language, Mandarin, Social Studies, Music, “quarantine creativity”, Art in action, Community Kindness, Helping Hands, Saxe Spirit, Community Support, NC Scholarship Foundation, spreading joy, and more.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

4.29 Saxe Spirit – Neon Day

5.1 Saxe Spirit – Red & Black Day

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

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“You gotta look for the GOOD in the bad, the HAPPY in your sad, the GAIN in your pain, and what makes you GRATEFUL not hateful.”

“The best things in life are free: hugs, smiles, friends, family, sleep, love, laughter, music and good memories”

“One person can make a difference and everyone should try.”:

“Never let success go to your head, never let failure get to your heart.”

“Enjoy life and remember, don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Real Life Zoom Meeting

I thought we would kick off the main section of the Weekly with some real-life situational humor. This is a quick video that highlights what every educator experiences during a Zoom session. Thank you to PTC Co-President Geri Mohr for sharing. Enjoy!

At Home Resource

Thank you to 7Purple for this great chart of activities to consider while you are at home. There is certainly something for anyone and everyone. If you happen to try one (or more) out, please share your success stories! Click on the link to see the entire doc…

Staying At Home: Of Course There Is Something To Do!

Administrative Professionals Day

We are fortunate to have one of the best teams of administrative assistants an organization could ask for. Thank you to our Saxe team!

7th-grader Sajan Shah went out of his way to create and share a personal “thank you” for our administrative assistants. What a wonderful gesture!


Grade 7 purple team science students created bone/joint models from items around the house. The challenge was to see if students could use items from around the house to create a bone/joint model that simulates the movement of a joint in the human body.

World Language

Although each language meets separately each week, it’s important for all of us to meet together to ensure we are providing all of our students the same high-quality education Grades 5 – 8! Each of the WL teachers wants to remind you that we miss you dearly and cannot wait to see each of you again!

Grade 8 Social Studies:

We had so many wonderful submissions to the Japanese Internment Poster performance task that we would like to share more. To show their understanding of Japanese internment, students created posters that pulled together primary sources to create a poster that could be displayed and used to instruct others about this period in history. Thank you, again, to the hard work of students and teachers in taking this task into our new e-learning format.


Grade 6 to 8 did a live interactive Mood Meter with each other by asking “How are you doing today?”. Thank you for the Professional Learning day to inspire teachers to use the “stamp tech trick” to interact with students!

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Earth Day, 2020

Check out this interesting video clip that combines art, science, and a whole lot of creativity!

Thanks to 6th-grade Science teacher Ms. Pierce for sharing.

6 Red Team Earth Day Project

Mrs. Poidomani’s classes collaborated on an Earth Day Project. Please use the link below to check out their hard work!

6 Red Earth Day Project

8th-Grade Earth Day Posters

On Wednesday, Mrs. Caffrey’s 8th-grade students had their own Earth Day poster contest. They designed posters that could be used in elementary schools to showcase what children can do every day to help conserve resources and protect the environment.

6th-grade Science did some Earth Day pledges as they are launching into their Ecology Unit.

Keeping up with the events of the week. Today is Arbor Day!


In Ms. Sagerstrand’s class, they did a follow-up lesson with music and the mood meter. She asked two additional questions about music and meta moments. Please see the data below to see how the students were feeling. Most of the students are still in the yellow/green. For those not initially in green/yellow, many were able to move there after listening to music. Music moves minds and emotions!

Family Trio

Here is a quick intro clip of the Pantaleo boys providing the instrumental for Mom as they perform a song together. Moments like these are lifetime memories in the making.

Quarantine Creativity (and, competition!)

Ms. Veach has been living with Mrs. Portanova and her husband since January to support Mrs. Portanova as she recovers. As a result, they are still quarantined together, and are enjoying the companionship! Check out their most recent activity bases on this science video they found: https://youtu.be/W_B4y16mtZw

Enjoy! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dD04Z25z4P00CGc43NBvXc6ZeZElzT0z/view?usp=sharing

Mrs. Beatman Shares Art with Norwalk

Saxe Art teacher Mrs. Beatman thought of a great way to gather the residents of Norwalk ‘together’ while we are apart. Families signed up for ‘painting appointments’ so no one was there at the same time. The message is ‘Home. Safe. Strong.” She hopes to finish it this weekend. The Issac Street Art Park can be viewed from your car so feel free to go and see some art! This project is fully supported by the Milligan family. What a wonderful way to partner and give back during this unique time.

Saxe Community Gratitude

The Community Spirit Day on Wednesday resulted in a tremendous turnout. Thank you to everyone who participated! Below are a few pictures and a collage of most of the submissions. We are working on putting together a montage that will be shared out next week. There is nothing better than seeing a community come together to support each other. Thank you again to all first responders, essential workers, and those who continue to be hard at work during this quarantine period. You are appreciated.

Signs for Waveny with help from the 6th-Grade Saxe Girl Scouts and other youth groups!

The Finnerty’s plan to put up their sign in our yard on Saturday for the NC Cares town-wide effort, so everyone strolling down South Ave can remember those we’re thankful for in New Canaan, and around the country…

Saxe Spirit

Save the date! Spirit Day will be back in a bright way next week. Three of our Spirit Club students created a message about uniting Saxe, bringing back our Club’s Spirit Days, and having Neon Day on Wed, 4/29. Thanks to Mr. Young and his Spirit Club crew. Check out the video here, and stay tuned next week for more on Neon Day!

Saxe Helping Hands

Helping Hands is a wonderful club that supports a diverse group of students. Ms. Orlando shares a little more detail and background on the club, and its members:

“Helping Hands is an after school club that started in the fall. A 6th-grade student came up with the idea to bring students together and to make new friends. Helping Hands met every Tuesday after school in the gym. When E-Learning started we could not imagine not having our weekly gathering. Since we couldn’t meet in the gym we decided we would continue gathering on Zoom. There are about 12 students and 4 teachers who belong to Helping Hands. This past week Mr. Gusitsch joined in on the fun. I asked some of the club members what they loved most about Helping Hands. Emma Jones, founder of Helping Hands, said, “Everyone here is amazing and supportive of each other. We all respect each other and we have fun together. We are all a family.” Parthav said, “It is fun and that he really liked meeting new people.” I know for the teachers it is a high point of our week.”

Thank you to everyone who participates and makes this possible. This is a shining example of bringing joy to the lives of others.


Ms. Orlando shows off the latest addition to her household and insists that we need to have a #CatsOfSaxe to balance the hugely popular #DogsOfSaxe!

“He co-teaches with me, the kids love it. He is 8 weeks old and his name is Fauci. We need a #catsofsaxe…”

Saxe Supports NCSF

The 2020 Color Run, unfortunately, had to be canceled, but that does not mean that you still can’t participate! Log on to: http://www.nchs-sf.org/ to show your love of NC and support NCHS grads.

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 at 203-594-3081. In addition, there is a new resource for parents called “Talk it Out” available to provide help with parenting stress: 1-833-258-5011. Both English and Spanish speakers are available. And if you are in need of mental health crisis services, you can call 211 or 1-800-203-1234.

Spreading Joy

Here is a great example of kids doing great things for each other! Kudos to all involved.

Fit Bodies, Fit Minds!

Coincidence? I think not! It’s Saxe school color spirit day! Dr. Ferreira, Mr. Bedard, and Mr. Gusitsch all happened to be sporting the same Saxe Hawks gear today…

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

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