2020.9.25 – Saxe Weekly

September 25, 2020

Dear Saxe Family, 

As we celebrate another successful week of learning at Saxe, we look forward to welcoming our 5th-grade students back, in full, on Tuesday! For more detail, you are welcome to view the message that went out to our 5th and 6th-grade families yesterday, here. We also look forward to opening our “virtual doors” for our Curriculum Open Houses next week (more info below).  

We are proud of how well our students (and staff) have followed the safety mitigation strategies that have been put in place. We continue to reinforce this messaging and the important role these layers play in helping us continue to keep everyone healthy and well both in the building and throughout the community. Thank you for your continued support, it is greatly appreciated!

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at an attendance reminder, Curriculum Open House, wellness reminders, Saxe Theatre, the latest 1-Second Everyday, ELA, Social Studies, PE, Saxe Spirit, EI in action, recess, Walk to School Day, Moon Night, Saxe outdoors, Campus Cuisine, Masks of Saxe, and more… Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Be well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School 

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

9/28 – No School – Yom Kippur

9/29 – Grade 5 Full Return! – Cohort X in School Grade 6/7/8; Grade 5/6 Open House

9/30 – Half Day of School – Cohort X in School Grade 6/7/8; Grade 7/8 Open House

10/1 – Cohort Y in School Grade 6/7/8

10/2 – Cohort Y in School Grade 6/7/8 – Saxe Walk to School Day

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“One who conquers the sea today is ready to conquer the ocean tomorrow.” -Matshona Dhliwayo

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”  

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

“Regardless of parentage, heritage or origin, dreams are meant to be pursued and grasped and pulled from the sky. If you work hard, educate yourself, strive, and never forget to be kind to others, your dreams can come true.” -Michael Lee-Chin

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” -Malcolm X

Attendance Reminder

If your child is scheduled to be in school but will not be able to attend, please be sure to call the attendance line at, 203.594.4500. If your child is not feeling well enough to attend in person (or remotely), they will be marked absent and will get any missed work from their teacher(s) once they are feeling better. If you decide to keep your child home due to them not feeling well enough to attend in-person, you must still call the attendance line and they will be marked as a “Temporary Remote Learner” for the day. This must be registered through our attendance system and not communicated to teacher(s) directly. If a student is scheduled to be in-person and attends class remotely without going through the attendance line, they will be marked absent by the teacher. Thank you for your cooperation with this important matter. 

Wellness Reminders

To accompany the above message, here is a great resource from the NCPS COVID Resource website that helps you determine if your child should stay home from school (or you should stay home from work) WHEN TO STAY HOME. You can access the full site and a plethora of COVID/pandemic related resources and information at CHARTING OUR COURSE. 

Curriculum Open Houses

Next week will feature another “first,” in a year of many “firsts,” with our first-ever virtual open houses! Grades 5 and 6 will present to parents via Zoom on Tuesday 9/29 and grades 7 and 8 will present on Wednesday 9/30. Each night is scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m. and wrap up by 8:40 p.m. Prior to the event, it will be helpful to have a copy of your child(ren)’s schedule, which you can found on the parent portal linked here (and anytime on the Saxe homepage). A schedule matrix like the one pictured below will be sent out to you prior to the event. Simply click on the teacher your child is scheduled with and you will be directed to the Zoom session. “Classes” are only 10 minutes each, so it will be important to follow the outlined schedule closely. Teachers will be either recording or posting their presentations for anyone who cannot attend the live sessions.  

(note: the below image is a sample of what you will receive next week and does not include live links).

Saxe Theatre News

All 5th and 6th-grade students and parents interested in learning more about our Fall Musical can join our Info Meeting on Zoom this Wednesday, September 30th at 5:30pm. To ensure the safest model possible, final details are still being determined. We will update you on the final format next week and look forward to providing a high quality, positive experience for all involved!


Meeting ID: 998 5165 4288

Passcode: Drama

Back again for this week – the latest, updated Saxe Middle School 1-Second Everyday! “Life is made of seconds.” Showcasing so much of what makes Saxe Middle School great! This is a recurring, bi-weekly feature. At the end of the year, we will have a full version that includes every single day of the 2020-21 school year. Enjoy! 

Mask Guidance from Mrs. Reed (District Nursing Supervisor)

Mask Guidance-Addendum 11 provides guidance on masks. Based on this guidance, NCPS does not allow bandanas or masks with valves.  The neck gators must be more than one layer of thickness. We ask individuals who have been wearing masks with valves to please discontinue immediately. Thank you for your support in helping keep everyone in our community safe and well. 

English Language Arts

ELA teachers have been hard at work building community and reading “identities” with students. Books can provide opportunities to be a mirror, a window, or a sliding glass door!  Students can seek to find  themselves in books (mirrors), learn about others through reading (windows) and make connections between themselves and others to build empathy and perspective (sliding glass doors). We will continue to foster these mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors (Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990) through our curriculum and instruction. Check out the great examples of how our teachers are getting to know their students as readers, writers, and thinkers!  

Ms. Dobransky (5th grade) created a Google Form for her students to get to know them better and used their answers to create a Kahoot. They had fun playing! First place was the student in the Y cohort.. Second and third placed winners are (socially distanced) next to him. 

Ms. Saxonmeyer, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Hammell, and Mrs. Martocci’s classes (6th grade) created “Reading Timelines” and “Book Jackets” to represent students’ identities and their experiences with reading. Students will use these to think about how reading helps to shape their own lives, build perspective, and foster positive connections.  

Seventh grade students have been building community through book talks, recommendations, and building identity in personally decorated reading notebooks! 

Dr. Walker’s students (8th grade) are working to learn about one another and to add style to their creative writing by drafting vignettes based on Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name”. Instead of a traditional classroom gallery walk, the students participated in a digital gallery walk by using Flipgrid. They were able to share their work, see the work of their peers and provide positive feedback! It was a great day for literature, creativity and community in 219! 

Grade 7 Social Studies Spotlight

As a part of their current unit, Geography: Resources and Power, students focus on a case study of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Students refine and build upon skills as they concurrently build their learning communities. Thank you to Ms. Campbell, Mr. Devine, Mr. McCormack and Mr. Zajdel for reinforcing not just content, but the skills needed for success. 

The QFT method, first introduced in 5th grade, helps students brainstorm, refine and sort questions they will use during the unit.  

Refining questions is an important skill that is continually developed over the course of the year. 

Students use the PERSIA +GT conceptual framework as they learn about each new case study. The intersectionality among concepts is an important part of the skill in grade 7. They will continue to use this throughout their time in NCPS.

Students refine reading skills as they work with a variety of primary and secondary sources. This class is working on annotating documents.

Saxe Spirit


Enjoying the weather (and a furry companion) while remote learning!

Stefania Bragason remote learning during math today with a little birthday spirit

Wellness Wednesday Feedback

Harold boys are loving Wednesday Wellness breaks! To quote Jack, “Best idea ever!” 

Emotional Intelligence in Action

In the Upper Division Office, students have the option to check in with their feelings using the mood meter. They can first identify what quadrant they are in and then pick from many strategies to help move them towards the emotion that they are hoping to feel!

Saxe Physical Education

Your Saxe PE teachers are enjoying the beautiful fall weather outside while also connecting with their students at home.  A short poem that they shared with their classes and plan to share with parents during Open House states: 

We will teach you in a room 

We will teach you now on zoom

We will teach in a house 

We will teach you with our mouse

We will teach you here or there

We will teach you because we care

Below is the goal and expectations the Saxe PE department developed for all aspects of teaching and learning during Physical Education in the hybrid model.

Saxe Recess

As we know, an important and beneficial time during a child’s school day is “recess”.  The unstructured, active play that students experience as part of their day has a tremendous impact on their focus, reduction in stress, increased cognitive ability and much more.

Linked here and on the image below is a resource document of some socially distant/no equipment recess activities students can enjoy participating in. 

Saxe Emotional Intelligence Work

As part of our ongoing emotional intelligence (EI) work, grade 5 students were asked, “How do you want to feel when you are at school. 290 students responded with 1,450 responses! The word cloud below represents all of those answers, and the top five were: Safe, Happy, Respected, Included, and Calm. These five words will be the basis for their “class charter,” which is one of our five EI anchor tools (more info about Class Charters can be found here). Look for more about the grade five charter in the coming weeks.

Fifth-Grade Comes Out of Hybrid Next Week

Here is the big give away, we’re ready for ya!

Walk to School Day (October 2nd)

Saxe is partnering with South Elementary and the Town of New Canaan to encourage students and families to begin walking or bicycling to school to promote healthy lifestyles (and ultimately reduce traffic in the Saxe, HS, & South campus areas). For anyone wanting to participate who may live outside of “walking distance” from campus, the Center School Lot (South, Maple, Main) has been designated as a drop-off area. We hope students will wake up a few minutes earlier, have a hearty breakfast, and join in the fun with friends or families to help us kick off this initiative on the morning of Wednesday, October 2.

It will look a little different than years past, but here’s what we’ll have in place to help make it a fun and safe event:

  • Staff members will be stationed (safely distanced) on the sidewalks around Saxe to greet walkers and direct them to safe places to cross. 
  • “Walk to School Day” signs will be posted on the neighboring streets to encourage motorists to drive slowly.
  • Additional personnel from the police department and town will be stationed on the streets and at intersections. There will be extra coverage near any road construction.
  • Help us celebrate the “still new” bike racks from the PTC by the lower division entrance. Bicycle riding to school is permitted. Bicyclists must walk their bikes across the street at appropriate crosswalks and always wear their helmets.
  • Police and town personnel will be stationed on the streets at dismissal time for those students who will also walk home. 

If the weather is questionable, please check your e-mail and the Saxe School website for a cancellation notice. We hope to see you on the morning of the 2nd!

Saxe Science: Celebrate International Observe the Moon Night!

Lunar phenomena have much to offer teachers as both an engaging narrative and visible presence in the sky. International Observe the Moon Night, being held this year on Saturday, September 26th, is a time to honor the educational, cultural, and personal connections to the Moon. Note that this night marks the first-quarter Moon, offering excellent viewing opportunities along the terminator (the line between the light and dark side of the Moon), where shadows enhance the Moon’s cratered landscape.

Around Saxe

It’s great to see classes out and about on our beautiful campus

Campus Cuisine

We are grateful for our terrific Cafe staff. This week, they kicked off the use of the Campus Cuisine mobile cart to help make the cafe experience an even more efficient one. Check out the first day of operations and some of the healthy options for students!

Masks of Saxe

Have a great week!

* A special thanks to Lauren Sherwood 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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