2021.1.29 – Saxe Weekly

January 29, 2021

Dear Saxe Family, 

Somehow, this week already brings a close to the first month of 2021. This is another reminder that time goes just a little bit faster the older we get. The past year has brought challenges and events that have us all feeling emotions that range a broader spectrum than probably ever before. Now, more than ever, we need to continue to focus on what is most important in our school, in our social circles, in our community, and beyond. Being kind, being caring, and doing what is “right” are simple ways to think about it. 

Recently, we have been made aware of various social media sites that have been used to gossip, make jokes, or spread rumors. These forums can end up being a recipe for trouble and once it crosses the line of impacting our students in school, we coordinate our resources and request these sites be flagged and shut down. We respect student’s rights outside the borders of our campus, but when unkind, mean, or hurtful comments impact how students access their education, we will continue to hold students accountable for their actions through their digital presence, to the fullest extent of our abilities. Below, you will find more information, talking points, and resources around the topic of social media. It is disheartening to have to address this topic so prominently in our Weekly newsletter, but I am confident that our continued efforts will help make a positive difference. 

On a lighter note, this week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at a shout-out to our remote learners, a reminder about tech and social media, a.m. dropoff, charter words, theatre news, Math, World Language, Physical Education, Saxe celebrations, Model UN, Student Leadership Team, artwork, Saxe Hawks, the Wolf Moon, and more. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Be well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School 

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

2/1: Virtual Daytime Open House for 8 Blue, 7 Green and 6 Blue

2/2: Virtual Daytime Open House for 8 Purple, 7 Red and 6 Red

2/3: 1/2 Day for students;  Professional Learning for staff

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” – Robert Tew

“What good is the warm of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck

“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” – Frida Kahlo

“Give whatever you are doing and whomever you are with the gift of your attention.” – Jim Rohn

“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William Arthur Ward

A Social Media Update

We continue to maintain a strong focus on our commitment to partnering with parents and the community in educating students about the challenges that come with the use of digital devices and social media. Without appropriate limits, instruction, and/or supervision, smartphones and social media are powerful tools that can result in lasting emotional impact and a damaging digital footprint. I have heard the analogy of giving the keys to a street-legal race car to a newly licensed driver. It is necessary to build the skills, strategies, and knowledge to adeptly access and use these tools responsibly. 

As we receive a lot of feedback and information on this topic, below are a few talking points that have been helpful to review and/or initiate conversation:

  • Screen time limits
  • Appropriate digital communication (“if you would not say it to their face, do not post”, or “would you be embarrassed if your parents or grandparents saw your online interactions?”)  
  • Before you hit send, did you “THINK” (is it: True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind)
  • There are age-limits (13) on social media sites/apps for a reason. The brain will continue to develop at various rates over the next decade+ and being under 13 puts children more at risk to the perils of digital influence. 
  • If/when uncomfortable situations arise, please let your voice be respectfully heard by communicating with the other individual and/or parents, letting them know how you feel, and asking them to stop. 
  • Cell phones and personal devices are not allowed in school (including lunch/recess)
  • Check your child’s phone and the apps they access regularly (parents have been held liable for what their children post on the internet and social media) 
  • There is a beautiful world filled with wonderful people right in front of you, everyday. Looking up from your screen more often will allow you to see and appreciate this 🙂

NC Cares offered an opportunity to view “The Social Dilemma” this week. If you have not had a chance to view it, it is worth the time to see the psychology, engineering, and extremely smart people behind the scenes of social media apps and platforms. The strategic and methodical approach of pulling your attention continually to your device is amazing and frightening. Here are a couple of quotes from The Social Dilemma:

“We want to psychologically figure out how to manipulate you as fast as possible”

“We’re the product. Our attention is the product being sold to advertisers”

“If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product”

As parents and educators, these are difficult opponents to combat but we look forward to continuing to partner with you to best support our students. If you have questions or need support, please reach out to your child’s counselor, grade-level administrator, or any trusted adult at Saxe. 

Updates and Reminders

School issued devices are to only be used for school related purposes. Please keep games like the ones below for personal use outside of school. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding. 

A.m. Dropoff

For parents dropping their children off in the morning, please continue to use the designated drop zone at the Lower Division entrance. For the safety of everyone, please do not drop students along Farm Rd. or South Ave. We recognize the lines take some time to work through in the morning, but we appreciate your continued cooperation and support. 

A Shout-out to our Remote Learners

Saxe Middle School is a large learning community and while we may not “see” all of our remote learners as often as our in-person learners, each one is just as much a part of our learning community as anyone else. This is a shout-out to each of you and your commitment to Saxe; we salute you! If you would like to share anything that represents your remote learning experience (work, pictures, stories, etc.), please send them to Mr. Gusitsch (david.gusitsch@ncps-k12.org) and Ms. Jarosik (lisa.jarosik@ncps-k12.org) and we will include it in the Saxe Weekly for all to celebrate. This is a standing offer and you are welcome to submit as often as you would like.  

Saxe Charter Words

Our Charter words have begun to be hung around the building. Here is a shot from LD School Counselor, Ms. Hillyer’s Office. They turned out great and are an important tool in us maintaining the best learning environment possible. 

Theatre News

We are happy to announce our 7th & 8th Grade Musical will be:

For Information about the process and how to audition VIRTUALLY (Deadline February 5th) Check out the 7th & 8th Grade Musical Website!


Students in Ms. Kiley’s 7th Grade Pre Algebra class are learning about slope! They applied what they learned to create drawings of their names using positive, negative, zero and undefined slope. The students created their designs on paper or digital format. 

Here is a time lapse video shared by a student!

Students in Ms. Hafkemeyer’s 5th Grade class are working on volume. This week, they explored the amount of water that a cubic centimeter displaces when dropped into a graduated cylinder. Through this experiment, they discovered that 1mL = 1 cubic centimeter! Students applied this new understanding to real-world volumes, such as fish tanks and other rectangular prisms. 

Here we are seeing how many mL will fill this cube.

Here we were able to check the volume using cubic centimeters.

We started with 40mL and when we added one cubic centimeter it went up to 41mL

When we added 10 cubic centimeters it went from 40mL to 50mL


Grade 6 performed short dialogues in front of the class to show what they can do in Mandarin so far.


In 6th grade, Latin students are learning about Roman Households and what clothing Romans would wear. They are getting familiar with seeing questions in Latin! 

Quot personae sunt in familia? (How many people are part of this household?)

Quid gerunt? (What are they wearing)

In 6th grade, Latin students are also learning vocabulary for “partes corporis” (parts of the body). Playing ‘Simonus dicit’ (Simon says) is one way for students to practice their new words, such as “caput” (head) and “pes” (foot). This student led game is twice as fun in another language! 

In 8th Grade, Latin students are learning about Roman Baths – how the Romans kept clean even without baths/showers in their OWN HOUSE!


This week in French classes, 7th-graders worked with partners as well as zoom partners to make flipgrid presentations. They had a booklet competition and 6-8 French students chose their favorite song in our Manie musicale.

Physical Education

The PE Dance unit is in full swing and students are “jumping in” and going all out! 

Saxe Celebrations

Today, the Connecticut region announced 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards winners. 8th-grader Amy Meng took home a Gold Key in Drawing & Illustration, a Gold key in Poetry, and an Honorable Mention in Science Fiction & Fantasy. Check out this amazing drawing of her sisters, below. Congrats to Amy and best wishes as your artwork and poem move on to the national level!

Certificates of Gratitude

Each month, Saxe staff are able to recognize students, and each other, by submitting events that are truly extraordinary. Another batch of Certificates of Gratitude went out today. We are grateful for each of these people who, through their thoughtful acts, help make Saxe the special place that it is!

Around Saxe

Ms. Fulco’s students remained focused all the way until “the bell” on this Friday afternoon!

Great teamwork in action as Saxe Science teachers, and friends, pitch in to assemble lab packs. They are committed to providing the best experience possible for our students, and we are grateful!

Model UN Club Update

The 7/8 Model UN Club meets weekly on Tuesday at 3:00.  Currently, the HS MUN Club Saxe liaisons and I are preparing some of our members to participate in the in-person NCHS MUN Club Scrimmage on Saturday, 2/6/21.  Our students are part of the General Assembly, representing different Senators who will discuss Prison and Criminal Justice Reform.  Those not participating are helping to complete the research necessary to join the debate, and many will attend part of the day to observe and learn how MUN works. 

Snowflake Initiative

This project that is part of the Student Leadership Team spreads positivity around Saxe. Thanks to Mr. Lepisto for leading and to all of our students who are involved!

New Canvas Prints

Thanks to the support of our PTC, and the craftsmanship of our maintenance team, our first batch of canvas prints have found their new homes around the building. They add a nice pop of color and spirit around Saxe!

This inspiration for the above print…

Saxe Hawks

Ms. Jarosik captured some nice close-ups of one of our resident raptors as it sat atop our flagpole out front!

And, thanks to Ms. Sharma for sending in these wonderful shots from the pickup line!

The First Full Moon of 2021 – The Wolf Moon

Thanks to Owen Ditlevsen for capturing this great shot!

Here a few more…

A little snow last week may be a foreshadowing of our start to next week?  

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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