2020.5.21 – Saxe Weekly

May 21, 2020

Dear Saxe Family,

As we move into the long holiday weekend, we all have an opportunity to enjoy some time relaxing, recreating, and hopefully, rejuvenating. As we work our way down the stretch of this wild school year, we keep our eyes on the finish line and look forward to celebrating many accomplishments and all that we have to be grateful for. Thank you to all members of our learning community who have rallied and made this unforeseeable situation manageable. Easy? No. Definitely, not… However, the spirit of community has kept us going!

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at personal belonging pickup, our terrific Saxe PTC, Saxe Spirit Bench Club, a couple of inspirational videos, Saxe Spirit, Mandarin, quarantine entertainment, a Twitter shoutout, Student Support resources, Trout & Salmon Club, and more.

Enjoy and have a wonderful long weekend. Happy Memorial Day!

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

5.22 Distance Learning day off

5.25 Happy Memorial Day, Enjoy!

5.27 Grade 4 to Grade 5 Parent Webinar

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

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Thank you to all of our brave armed forces service members and their families! Your sacrifice has maintained our freedom and for that, we are grateful… “All gave some. Some gave All. We give thanks.”

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for the blessing instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest. You can’t do it all, but you can do your best.” – Jaya Pawar

“Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles.” – Charlie Chaplin

“We are not stuck at home, we are safe at home. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” – Unknown

“Don’t give up because you had a bad day, forgive yourself and do better tomorrow.” – Unknown

Personal Belonging Pickup

Our staff has been working hard, we have a plan in place, and we began the pickup process with 5Red and 5Blue today (5.21). We will move through each grade-level and hopefully get to each team by the end of next week. 5Green and 5 Purple are scheduled for pickup on Tuesday (5.26). We will continue to update and communicate the specific details, instructions, times, and plans for each day. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we coordinate all of the details in this sizable effort.

Thanks to our dedicated staff for their tireless efforts!

A look at the staging site:

Thank You to Our Saxe PTC Volunteer Corps!

The below message was recently sent out through our PTC. It is included in our Saxe Weekly because it shows just how many people are involved and volunteer to make Saxe the best that it can be, for all. Thank you to each and every person who has generously donated their time, energy, and resources. Your efforts truly make a difference and are greatly appreciated!

Dear Saxe Parents,

Each May the PTC hosts a Volunteers’ Breakfast to thank our parent community for their support, generosity and dedication throughout the year. This year’s meeting was scheduled for today and, while we are unable to get together in person, we would still like to honor those parents who have donated countless hours to our various events this past year. The PTC Executive Board would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the following committee chairs:

New to New Canaan Chairs – Jaime Fitzpatrick and Danielle Sieckhaus

5th Grade Parent Coordinators – Lisa Frangione and Caryn Kelly

5th Grade Parent Coffee – Courtenay Brown and Lindsay Celiberti

PTC Welcome Back Coffee – Melissa Baker and Jen Russey

Annual 5th Grade Fun Run – Courtney DeKanter, Colleen Prostor and Abigail Skidmore

CELEBRATE SAXE Co-chairs – Nadine Finnerty, Kristen Grzymski, Sara Koch and Julie Passios

Saxe SpiritWear Team – Emily Cannon, Jenn Fittipaldi, Katie Holmstead, Kristin Mallozzi and Andrea Wilderman

Open House Chairs – Shannon Goetz and Liz Squillante

Board of Ed Liaisons – Heather Boulanger and Elichia Brown

Assistant Editor, PTC Newsletter – Eileen Murphy

Lost and Found Chairs: Krista Breed, Maura Delaney, Michelle Ernst

Membership and Directory Chairs – Laurie Barnes and Tammy Dluzyn

In House Enrichment: Jenn Hladick and Caryn Kelly

Picture Day Chairs – Jayne Benton and Nancy Burges

Teacher Appreciation Week Chairs – Lisa Hill and Lotten Milligan

Saxe Book Fair Chairs – Kristie Breed, Heather Carroll, Sara Sharma and Michele Waits

5th/6th Grade Musical Chairs – Silvia Baldini, Carrie Laska and Danielle Sibilia

7th/8th Grade Musical Chairs – Sarah Haddad and Danielle Sibilia

Band Concert Chairs – Jayne Benton, Lori McLaughlin and Suzanne Messina

Coral Concert Chair – Meg Saunders

Orchestra Concert Chair – Caryn Frick

4th to 5th Transition Night Chairs: Courtney Langford, Maria Magliacano and Katrina Parkhill

5th Grade Field Day Chairs – Jenny Mehta and Lauren Walther

6th Grade Fun Day Chairs – Laurie Barnes and Tammy Dluzyn

8th Grade Promotions Chairs – Kristin Barnard, Susan Gelvin, Jen Murphy and Kate Van Dussen

8th to 9th Transition Coffee Chairs: Stefania Bopp and Mary Lydon

We would also like to thank the numerous PTC volunteers who assisted at one our many events this past year as well as the parents who donated so generously to our Celebrate SAXE Campaign. Your generosity and commitment to supporting the many enrichment programs, after-school activities and faculty grants have immeasurably enriched the lives of our children, both inside and outside the classroom. Your participation is vital to the success of the PTC and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this Saxe community!

With tremendous appreciation,

Geri Mohr and Patty Zoccolillo

Saxe PTC Co-Presidents

Hot Off the Presses

Saxe Middle School students are keeping outdoor art alive, even during the pandemic, by painting “Saxe Spirit Benches” at the school’s entrance. Thank you to Ms. Beatman for keeping our students connected with this club while improving our exterior appearance! Check out the full press release, here.

The benches are shaping up thanks to our dedicated “Saxe Benches Club” and advisor, Ms. Beatman. We are excited to see the finished product!

Make The World Better

If you want to go into the weekend that “feel good” feeling, give this inspirational video a quick watch. Thanks to Dr. Bliss for sharing with our school counselors and including me on the email. Maybe it will be an inspiration for some of our students to create something similar 🙂

Some Good News (SGN)

Early in the e-learning process, 6th-grade teacher, Ms. Taylor, mentioned a great show to check out to help lift spirits and get a regular dose of positivity. It took weeks for me to finally search “Some Good News” with John Krasinski and click on an episode. The attention grabber for me was one of our 5 C’s in the title: The SGN Community Episode. Wow! I soon realized that I had been missing out and will be watching past episodes this weekend. This is what we all need right now, SGN. Enjoy…

Saxe Spirit

What a spirit day turnout! We had over 50 participants during each grade’s respective lunch block for our live, Saxe & Staff Kahoot games. It was amazing to have so many students and staff join us, and a special thanks to the 40+ faculty members who graciously entertained us with their fun facts. We look forward to continuing this new tradition of hosting Spirit Day trivia lunches, so keep a lookout for what will be coming next! Thanks to Mr. Young and the Saxe Spirit Club for keeping the good vibes going…


CSDE Call for Feedback – Your Voice Matters

The CT State Department of Education is asking for your help! Please see the note below and make your voice heard.

Dear Connecticut Student,

We know that current events related to Covid-19 have caused major disruption in the lives of students. The sudden move to distance learning has been a challenge for all of us. As this school year comes to an end, we would like to hear ideas from students like you on how to improve distance learning should we need it again for some part of next school year. The feedback gathered here will be shared with the Commissioner of Education, the State Board of Education, and other leaders across the state as they consider decisions on reopening.

Thoughtexchange keeps confidential who shared each thought and who assigned what ratings. You can rate as many thoughts as you’d like before moving on to Discover where you can see all the thoughts sorted by the average star rating. The entire process is described in the introduction. Thank you for participating in this important conversation.

Notes about this process:

  1.     It could take you as little as 5 – 10 minutes to participate.
  2.     You can complete questions at your own pace and come back to review your answers at any time.
  3.     There are three ways you can access the Thoughtexchange

Thank you for participating in this effort.


Mandarin – Grade 8

Students interviewed Jiazhen Liu, a Mandarin native speaker. Each group was responsible for a common category to interview, listened to the responses, and recorded what they heard. Topics included school life in China, sports, music, weather, hobbies, travel, and personal information. Students had fun trying out their language skills in an authentic setting. Check out the following video clip!

Interactive learning for writing Chinese characters. Students wrote characters on screen and got instant feedback!

Alexa Saridakis wrote the word, “Biang Biang noodle” with the most stroke order Chinese character. Are you ready to challenge yourself?

Quarantine Entertainment

This week Mrs. Portanova and Ms. Veach were inspired by their favorite TV show to find a new fun activity to do during this 10th week of social distancing! Take a look! 🙂 It’s important to keep having fun during these crazy times! Click on the picture to get the link for the video or you can click on the link below!

Cheese puffs.mp4

*Disclaimer: please do not try cheese-puff stunts at home…

It’s a Small Twittersphere

Mr. Tiscia recently shared that one of his most influential books was written by Donald Driver. As he posted this on Twitter with the daily Saxe Wellness Tip of the Day, he tagged him in the post. To his surprise, he got a return response!

From the Student Support Professionals: Dealing with Disappointment

We recognize that the news that the school buildings will remain closed this year may bring many emotions for you, and for your children. While each student is different in their reaction, many will feel a sense of loss. They may feel loss at not seeing their teachers and friends, and at not participating in sports and other extracurricular activities. They may be experiencing the loss of the end of year rituals, which are such an important part of how we say good-bye, honor our accomplishments, and move on to new challenges.

Children and teens have many different ways of coping with their emotions- some will want to avoid the subject (and might get upset later) while others may break into tears. Others may be more irritable, oppositional or regressed as they feel frustrated at their lack of control over this challenging situation. We will be trying to help students with these feelings in the coming weeks- but wanted to give you some resources as well about how best to talk to your child at this difficult time.

  1. Ask questions about how they are feeling. Don’t force them to talk, but follow their lead. If they are quiet you can suggest that “many kids” are feeling disappointed or frustrated – and you wonder what they are feeling. As Marc Brackett, Ph.D. says- “Name it to Tame it.” Helping your student label and understand his or her feelings is an important step toward regulating them.
  2. Validate feelings. Don’t rush to reassure them. Spend some time talking about their feelings and disappointments- validate how difficult it must be for them. Even small losses can feel big to children- and it is important to let your child know you understand. Empathy, and their connection with you, are the most powerful ways to help children regulate their emotions, and to allow them to move on and accept these difficult circumstances.
  3. Problem-solve together. After you have spent time just listening and understanding- (be careful not to rush this) your child may be ready to think about ways to handle the situation. This might take a day or two! Ask if they want to think of ways to manage the disappointment. Ask them for their ideas in problem-solving. (This way, you are teaching them the life skill of how to problem solve on their own.) How can they say good-bye to good friends in their class? To their teacher? How can you celebrate the end of the year? Plan something fun in the future?
  4. Help them with regulation strategies. Ask how they can help themselves feel better- when they are ready. Help your child make a list of strategies that they can use to shift their mood. Listening to music? Putting together a digital collage of memories of the year? Talking to a friend? “Reframing” the situation (looking at it from another point of view- i.e. by not returning to school we are keeping people safe and helping the doctors and nurses….). Practicing gratitude? Helping children consciously think about how they will manage their emotions is a life skill!
  5. Take care of yourselves. This is a tough time for parents. Trying to manage full-time parenting, becoming homeschool teachers, managing your own responsibilities, and taking care of children is extremely taxing. You are dealing with your own grief and frustration. Take time for your own self-care. Practice self-compassion. Walks, good nutrition, sleep, connection with adults (through Zoom of course). You know it- please do it!
  6. Reach out. As always, please reach out to your building principal or social workers, psychologists and counselors for assistance or advice. We are here!

For more information on grief during this difficult time, read this article from the Harvard Business Review.

For Financial and Mental Health Resources, click here.

NCPS Data Verification

Please remember to check your email and complete the data verification for your child(ren). This information is essential as we continue planning for next year as it relates to enrollment, transportation, scheduling, and more. Please complete the AUP that is included as well. Thanks in advance for your attention to this important request.

Trout & Salmon Club

Our Saxe fish are still doing well and are set to be released in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more updates soon…

The Grounds are looking great. Thanks to our dedicated staff!

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


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s