2021.1.15 – Saxe Weekly

January 15, 2021

Dear Saxe Family, 

After a successful week of remote learning following our return from the holiday break last week, it was great to welcome our entire learning community back together in the building on Monday. Students and staff did not seem to miss a beat and we are grateful to be back. As we do each week, we show just a snapshot of the wonderful experiences that occur on campus each day. 

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at Science, Social Studies, Grade 8 to 9 Transition, a budget update, celebrating diversity through “Happy New Year”, Physical Education, Saxe Clubs, our Saxe SRO, an Orchestra collaboration, a.m. drop-off, Saxe Hawks, and much more… Enjoy and have a wonderful long weekend!This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at Science, Social Studies, Grade 8 to 9 Transition, a budget update, celebrating diversity through “Happy New Year”, Physical Education, Saxe Clubs, our Saxe SRO, an Orchestra collaboration, a.m. drop-off, Saxe Hawks, and much more… Enjoy and have a wonderful long weekend!

Be well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

1/18: Martin Luther King Day – No School

1/20: 1/2 Day – Professional Learning

1/22: End of quarter 2 (grades 6-8)

Save the date: Virtual Daytime Open House for grades 6-8 will be held on January 25, 26 & February 1, 2. More detailed information will be sent out next week…

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“The only way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

“We must always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” – E.B. White

“At first glance it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.”– Brian Herbert


8 Green has been learning about the solar system and what it means to create a model “to scale.”  Over the past week, students learned about the planets of our solar system and designed attractions for a “Solar System Amusement Park.” In this amusement park, each ride represents one of the planets of our solar system.  Then, students created a “to scale” poster where the distance between the amusement park attractions is scaled to represent the actual distances between the planets.  Students scaled down the large measurements in  Astronomical Units (AUs) into something smaller that we could put on paper, centimeters (cm).  Each poster represents the group’s blueprint design for their amusement park would look like along with a description of how each attraction represents each planet. 

Snapshots from Social Studies 

Throughout their time at Saxe, our students build the skills needed to be active and informed citizens. These skills are developed whether students are studying US history, world geography, or digital citizenship. Among the many skills students hone are speaking, listening, working with others and understanding multiple perspectives.  Teachers also guide students in learning how to find and evaluate sources and create evidence based arguments. The snapshots below show some of the skill work and how technology has made this happen in new ways whether students are at home or in class. 

This 5th-grade class is analyzing data and documents about the Jamestown Colony using the DBQ (document based question) online platform. It is part of their current  “Life in Colonial North America” unit. 

Here is a “Padlet” where students write and share ideas. These 6th grade students, as a part of their unit on Mesopotamia, are thinking together about what makes a civilization successful. This tool works well whether students are in person or remote. 

These 6th-grade students are working in groups to closely read a source. They are meeting via Zoom even though they are in the same classroom. 

These grade 7 students are studying about Brazil but working on how to frame an argument where there are multiple perspectives. This is a skill that they can easily transfer to other topics and issues.

These 8th-grade students are working together to research a topic connecting to their study of US territorial expansion. 

This 8th-grade teacher is working directly with a small group of students in her class as she checks in on their collaborative research. 

Students on 6Red got to hear from an archeologist this week. While the last year has been challenging for so many reasons, experiences such as this have been a positive unanticipated outcome. Connections on the local, regional, national, and even global level have become much easier and accessible and our students definitely benefit!  

8th Grade Transition Update

On Thursday, the Saxe school counselors kicked off the 8th to 9th-Grade Transition process with the 8th-grade students. Ms. Beltran, Mr. Lepisto, and Ms. Nettleton provided an overview of all aspects of the high school, including topics such as the schedule, electives, and extracurricular activities. There will be two additional lessons for students (electives and course requests) in the upcoming months. The presentation also included the introduction of alternative public high school options for NC students at the 5 schools available for our students. A reminder that all Transition information, including all of the information from yesterday’s presentation, can be found on the 8th to 9th-Grade Transition website, here.

PTC Budget Meeting with Dr. Luizzi

If you missed the joint PTC meeting with Dr. Luizzi on Wednesday, don’t worry!  It was recorded and you can access it below!

Joint PTC Meeting with Dr. Luizzi

Happy New Year!

It’s amazing how diverse the 6th grade Blue Team is and there is no easier way to demonstrate this, than with how many different languages are spoken here on our one team! Students were asked to please take a minute to leave a FlipGrid video of themselves saying the following in any language that they can speak fluently: “Happy New Year and Welcome to 2021!!”. They were encouraged to also tell us the language or dialect that they used. Of course we did not want to exclude anyone so students expanded on this by wishing a Happy New Year in English, in the language they take here at Saxe, Pig Latin, and even Sign Language. This was a nice activity to start our New Year in our full remote setting, yet helping us to feel united as a team. Thanks to Mr. Gillan for sharing… Please feel free to check out the video, Here.

Physical Education

#SaxePE teachers presented their Dance Hype Video as they got ready to launch the dance unit with their classes this week. This is a great way to hook their students with this unit which fosters inclusion, collaboration, creativity, movement, and more…Check out the video below!

FINAL Saxe PE Dance Hype Video

Physical Education teachers and students get warmed up before they begin collaborating with their groups, in person and virtually, on creative ways to develop their dance routine! Some exemplary performances might even get the chance to be on the Saxe TV’s around the building.

Saxe SRO 

We are grateful to have our Saxe SRO, Officer Deak, in our building for many reasons. In addition to keeping our learning community safe, he is also generous with his time as he visits classes to speak with students and answer questions from a law enforcement perspective. Today, he visited Ms. Baltz’s Social Studies classes to talk about the 1st Amendment, and more… 

Saxe Orchestra

Today, Saxe Orchestra students got to join the NCHS Orchestra and play some songs together via Zoom. Thanks to Ms. Dorfman (Saxe) and Mr. Ficks (NCHS) for collaborating and providing this wonderful, memorable event for all involved. The seamless, productive nature of this interaction shows how experiences have evolved this year! #SaxeMusic

NCHS students also responded to some Q&A from Saxe students. What a great experience for all!

Here is just a small sample for you to enjoy…

Saxe Clubs

Our After School remote and in person clubs are still going strong!


The 2021 Yearbook Club is well underway! The 17 students from all four grades have been meeting via Zoom.  The students have been contributing photos, organizing and labeling photos, and have recently begun building the pages. We are really excited about sharing the story of this historic year with the Saxe community. P.S. There is still time for new members to join. 

Fun China

A group photo of our first ever Chinese after school club!

Students gather together at the virtual Beijing International Airport.

Students practice their speaking skill in Mandarin.

Students fight the virus monster with their pets.

Rowing Club

Learning & wellness do not stop when the dismissal bell sounds at @SaxeMS. We are grateful that our students have extracurricular club activities to participate in each week. Here are a couple of pics from the Saxe Garden & Saxe Crew clubs. Bonus: it was beautiful out today! #SaxeClubs

Friendly Reminder

The idea of getting, sharing, and trading cards brings back great memories and is a pastime that spans generations.  As stated in our handbook, this is just a friendly reminder that these cards should not make their way to school. Yes, this message is included because we have seen an increase in cards being brought in and we want to avoid any unnecessary distractions (or, …) while our students are in school.

Morning Drop off Reminders

We love welcoming our students into the building to start the day. This week went really well and traffic seemed to flow better during the arrival period. Thanks for your continued cooperation and support! Below are the tips from earlier this week that help make the a.m. drop-off process be as efficient and safe as possible:

  • Please be sure to drop your child on the sidewalk that runs along the building leading up to the lower division entrance and not along the south end of the building or on Farm Rd. or South Ave. 
  • We have put several cones and signs out along the drop off area as a visual cue (pics below). 
  • Please have your children exit the car once you have stopped anywhere along these cones (and not drop right at the entrance/door). It is a long “runway” and extra steps are always encouraged! 
  • Whenever possible, please pull all the way up to the first cone to allow cars behind you to enter/drop. 
  • As you enter the parking lot, please prompt your child to have everything ready to depart your car. 
  • Please try to stay within the drop-off window beginning 20 minutes prior to the start of the school day (traffic picks up after 7:15 for upper division and 8:05 for lower division).
  • Please be kind and understanding that students are trying their best to get out of their cars quickly. Sometimes they need to access the rear seat or trunk to grab a large instrument or have an injury that slows them down. 
  • After you drop your child, please carefully merge and follow the loop back to exit on Farm Rd. 
  • Just a reminder, our buses run their full routes each day and are available for all families at any time. 

Around Saxe

There are so many great signs and quotes that pop up around our school. Here is yet another from today. Thanks to Dr. Clapp for sharing…

Saxe Hawks

Thanks to our Saxe PTC, these amazing canvas prints are starting to be hung around the building. Here is one that “landed” in the Upper Division office this week… 

And, our real Saxe hawk was back this week atop the flagpole welcoming students and staff into the building at sunrise…

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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