2020.5.1 – Saxe Weekly

May 1, 2020

Dear Saxe Family,

Happy May! I am still trying to figure out if April took forever or flew by (is it possible that it was both?!). Even though the day started out foggy and rainy, the sun is trying to break through and there are actual seasonal temps forecast for the weekend. After living through the past couple of weeks of cold and rain, this is exciting news…

As we wrap up another full week, I continue to be impressed with the ongoing growth of the e-learning program at Saxe. Our staff has been fully committed to not only delivering quality instruction in their respective disciplines but have also maintained the focus on what is most important to our students right now, social connections and relationships. Opportunities for real-time interactions with students and teachers continue to expand. I have enjoyed “visiting” many of these classes while they are in session and they are interactive, engaging, and oftentimes, fun. There is a delicate balance between synchronous (live/real-time) and asynchronous (structured, but not done real-time) learning, and both have value. Much of our professional learning is focused on this balance and maximizing the student experience as our staff continues to learn, grow, collaborate, and calibrate.

We recognize there are many learning styles and considerations (especially in this environment) and our teachers, counselors, and support staff have been wonderfully flexible and adaptive to meet the needs of our students, and families. The key to this is communication. If you are navigating situations that are challenging, please continue to communicate with your child(ren)s teachers and counselors. They are their advocates, they are great at their jobs, and we are grateful for them!

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at Saxe Community Spirit, the latest 1-Second Everyday, multiple tributes to essential workers, virtual clubs at Saxe, tips for Google Classroom, Family Fitness Calendar for May, NC PPE, Mandarin, The Great Marble Challenge, Arbor Day, Pay It Forward Day, Saxe Spirit, available support resources, and more…

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend,

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

May 4th Saxe Spirit Day – Star Wars Day (May the 4th, be with you!)

May 5th Cinco de Mayo

May 8th Saxe Spirit Day – School Colors

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

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“All that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae!”

“Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.”

“I woke up to running water, clothes to wear, and food to eat. I am thankful.”

“All you need in life is the love of your family and chocolate cake!”

“When the dust settles, we will realize how little we need, how much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.”

Check out the latest, updated Saxe Middle School 1-Second Everyday! “Life is made of seconds…” Enjoy!

Thanking Our Essential Workers

Our recent Spirit Day around “community” was captured in video form through all of your submissions. Thank you to everyone who participated and enjoy this moving tribute to our essential workers!

Thanks to Mr. Petrakopoulos for his expertise and care in putting this together!

Here is another awesome tribute submitted by the Culliss Family in collaboration with Jon Bon Jovi (that’s right, the JBJ!). You’ll have to watch the video to find out the whole story… Well done and thank you for sharing for all to enjoy! “If you can’t do what you do, do what you can…”

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds

I’m sure you heard about the flyover tribute by the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. While I did not get to see it personally, many shared their photos and videos of this historic event (thank you!). Below are a few for you to enjoy.

Ms. Harrington’s husband caught these great shots:

Thanks to Mr. Chard for sending this one in:

This is a screengrab from a video that Ms. Line’s son shared with her:

Saxe Virtual Clubs

We are now offering students some of their favorite clubs “virtually”! You can find out more information and sign up through the Saxe website using this link: Saxe Virtual Clubs. We can’t wait to hear about the club experiences and see some of the pictures from the different groups!

Community Reminder

While some trails around NC have reopened, please remember that school fields, playgrounds, and parking lots remain closed. Parking in the parks and school parking lots is permitted only for the purpose of accessing walking trails for now. Thank you for doing your part in helping the purposeful reopening process go smoothly.

Google Classroom Assistance

Below is a link to a video to help students and parents navigate Google Classroom and locate feedback from their teachers.


Family Fitness Calendar: May

The Physical Education Department continues to encourage students to be active with their family throughout each and every day. We hope you take the opportunity to have fun and share an active moment during any of our Theme Days during the week. We miss you and wish you all the best!

May Families as Fitness Partners Calendar:_Saxe Hawks

NC Logo PPE Mask

There are now NC logo masks available through the Spirit Wear Store at the high school. Three different colors, two styles. A portion of sales will go to the New Canaan Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund. If you would like to purchase a mask, the link is: https://www.ncrams.com/face-masks

At Home Resource (2.0)

The list continues to grow! Thank you to 7Purple, and everyone who has helped crowdsource, 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!


Grade 6 to Grade 8 had Mandarin Game Day for reviewing the content knowledge they just learned. Grade 6 reviewed new vocabulary. Grade 7 practiced sentence patterns by putting words in order, and Grade 8 practiced Chinese character recognition skills by drawing out words. Check out the following short video clip.

Mandarin Character Recognition Skills

A snapshot of the Saxe Spirit Neon Day in synchronous Mandarin class!


Below are a couple of problems that were worked on during live sessions this week. It was terrific watching the live instruction, student interactions, and just seeing some of our Saxe students!

The Great Marble Challenge

It’s a new week and Ms. Veach and Mrs. Portanova have been up to finding more ways to entertain themselves! So, inspired by all the marble racing and tracks they kept seeing, they created their own. Take a look at the video, here! If you decide to make one and want to send it to be shared, please email:

caitlin.portanova@ncps-k12.org. We hope to see some great examples of this creative thinking on display!


Arbor Day Challenge

To celebrate Arbor Day last week, the grade 6 Red and Blue team challenged each other to identify trees local to New Canaan. Students had to submit a picture of themself with a tree. Next, they had to research the tree to identify its scientific and common name. It was a close battle, but Blue Team won the competition with the most submissions!

Check out all of the submissions, here…

Pay It Forward Day

Tuesday, April 28th was “Pay It Forward Day.” A BINGO card was shared with students with safe, easy ways to spread kindness. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Mrs. Cromwell’s class decided to take up the challenge. Here are a few of the things they chose to do to pay it forward that day:

“I unloaded the dishwasher and then put my plates in.”

“I put some thank you notes up for the postman.”

“I made homemade macaroni and cheese.”

“I gave a friend with a broken arm homemade chive pesto and supplies for the quarantine.”

“I did a food rescue and the people at Person to Person were very happy!”

“I wrote my mom a kind note.”

“I called my friend with MS. She is wheelchair bound and now homebound.”

Saxe Spirit

It was fun to see all of the bright colors around for Neon Day!

Red and Black Day

The last day of each week is school color day. Thanks to everyone who participated! Below are a couple of pictures that were shared today.

Ms. Helmich is starting her little guy young with the red & black school spirit! Nice work, it’s never too early for that Saxe spirit!

Monday is a special day!

If you are showing off your Star Wars Gear on Monday, we would love to see it! Please send pictures to David.Gusitsch@ncps-k12.org and Lisa.Jarosik@ncps-k12.org. We would love to share some Star Wars Spirit!

Mental Health and Financial Resources for Parents

We understand that these are challenging times, and families may need help with financial or mental health support. Please email your building principal if we can be of assistance in any way. 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. Please remember our support staff (counselors, social workers, psychologists) are all here for you as well during school hours. Here is a list of other community supports that may be helpful:

Mental Health Support/ Resources

Dial 211 or 1-800-203-1234- 24 hours a day for crisis mental health services and information/referral.

Kids in Crisis (203) 661-1911 – available 24 hours a day for confidential crisis counseling and advice for youth and families.

“Talk it Out” – a helpline available to provide parents support during stressful times- 1-833-258-5011. (M-F, 8:00-8:00; S-S 1:00-8:00)

New Canaan Cares – 203-966-7862, is another community resource that offers parents support and access to community resources to strengthen youth and families

Domestic Violence Assistance: 1-888-774-2900, Connecticut Safe Connect offers a 24 hour helpline (call or text) and information and referral

Financial Resources/ Community Information

New Canaan Youth and Family Services, 203-594-3081, are available for help with financial assistance, and information and referral to other community resources.

Other helpful tips for parents:

Strategies to assist with e-learning

Strategies for helping students manage anxiety

Beautiful View

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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