2021.3.19 – Saxe Weekly

March 19, 2021

Dear Saxe Family, 

Happy Spring (almost….)! The days are getting longer and the weather is getting a little warmer each week. We have made great strides in our return to some semblance of normalcy over the past year and we continue to be grateful for the role that each member of our learning community plays in this team effort. To all of our faculty, staff, parents, community members, and most importantly, students – Thank you!   

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look Middle Level Education Month, a tribute to our staff, reminders from our nurses, a call-out to our remote learners, Science, Art, March Madness! (“Library style”), 8th-grade transition, World Down Syndrome Day, Lots of Socks, Health, celebrating differences, St. Patty’s Day, Saxe Spirit, Saxe Clubs, Dogs of Saxe, and much more! Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend. 

Be Well,

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

3/20: Day 1 of Spring! And, International Day of Happiness

3/21: World Down Syndrome Day

3/22: Charter Week – Neon Day

3/23:  Charter Week – Clash Day

3/24:  Charter Week – College Day – 1/2 Day for students, Professional Learning for staff

3/25:  Charter Week – Career Day

3/26:  Charter Week – Unity Day – 5th Gr. Minions, 6th Gr. Waldo, 7th Gr. Tie Dye, 8th Gr. Camouflage

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Don’t settle for average. Bring your best to the moment. Then, whether it fails or succeeds, at least you know you gave all you had. We need to live the best that’s in us” –Angela Bassett

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” –Coco Chanel

“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” Harper Lee

“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

“I am thankful for my struggle because, without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” – Alex Elle

“Good Job” – Thank you to our teachers…

This week in our staff meeting, we reflected on how grateful we are for all that our Saxe faculty and staff have done for our students this past year. Please feel free to check out this wonderful, powerful tribute that we chose to share to get our point across:

Middle Level Education Month

Throughout the month, we have asked our staff what their favorite part(s) of working with students of this age is/are. Below are some of the responses that provide a little insight as to why we love this special developmental age-group! 

The conversations and connections made with students.

They are so full of energy and curiosity, which leads to a genuine passion for learning. They present new challenges every day as they grow (physically and emotionally) before our eyes.

They are independent and dependent at the same time! Yearning to be their own person while insecure and needing to know they will be supported!

How much growth they are capable of and exhibit in almost every aspect

…they are starting to think like adults but still have a lot of the innocence of children.

I love that 6th graders are old enough to challenge, but still young enough to be silly and not think their teacher is a total loser just yet. I think that happens later!

The combination of “grown-up” and “Little kid”

Middle school is a pivotal time in a child’s life. They are trying out personas and finding ways to fit in. As a teacher we can help children navigate those difficult waters.

I love middle schoolers’ curiosity and connection with the teachers. They laugh at my jokes too!

Watching the light bulb go on resulting in a renewed excitement for learning!

They’re fun! My kids are old enough to have fun with but young enough to have fun with!

watching them grow, both physically and mentally!

Relationships with their teachers. I love to see when the kids are proud of themselves.

Innocent laughter. A remote student’s cat jumped in the Zoom frame and the whole class giggled and loved it. It was really sweet to see.

Their enthusiasm, sometimes unbridled, sometimes misdirected, but always energizing!

the ability to shape the mind

that I feel as if I can SEE their brains growing, because they make so much progress in a year!

The growth and development is sometimes so stark, especially when you catch a glimpse of a 5th-grader and 8th-grader in proximity to each other…it is almost startling.

Their grit and resilience.

Being that trusting adult that the students turn to.

Seeing them grow emotionally and academically.

Their sense of humor!

Seeing the transformation of students coming in as elementary students and leaving as mini adults

Middle School: A Place to Belong and Become

Here is a great quote from the Association of Middle Level Education that captures why the best middle level education possible is so important for our students: 

“We’ve found a common denominator in our work—a thread that ties together concerns of students, effective middle level practices, and young adolescent development. That common factor is the profound need and desire for young adolescents to find places where they feel they can belong and can discover who they are and who they want to become.”

Update from our Nurses

Below is a friendly safety reminder from our terrific Nursing Staff. We are grateful for all that they do to keep us safe and well!

As we welcome spring, the NCPS nurses want to remind everyone of the importance of the strategies we have used to get us to this point.  We are turning a corner but we are not out of the woods yet.  We all need to work together.

We have 2 goals for you.  Avoid contracting COVID-19 and avoid being quarantined!

  • SELF MONITOR BEFORE COMING TO SCHOOL.  Mild symptoms such as stuffy nose or headache can be the only symptoms.
  • WEAR A MASK that fits properly and covers your mouth and nose
  • NOTIFY THE NURSES OF A POSITIVE CASE IN YOUR HOME.  There can be a delay before we hear from the Health Department

As always please contact your school nurses with any concerns or questions.

Sara Paine, Upper Division Nurse , Sara.Paine@ncps-k12.org, 203-594-4573

Joelle Graham, Lower Division Nurse, Joelle.Graham@ncps-k12.org, 203-594-4526

Janet Reed, District Nursing Supervisor,  Janet.Reed@ncps-k12.org

Also, an important travel reminder:

All travelers should quarantine for 10 days upon returning to CT from another state (besides NY, NJ, RI) or a country unless:

  • You test negative within 72 hours of return, or after returning, to CT.
  • You’ve recovered from a positive COVID-19 infection within 90 days.
  • Your stay was less than 24 hours.
  • You’re fully-vaccinated (14-days after the last shot)

To Our Remote Learners…

You are an important part of our learning community and we want to hear from you! If you would like to share any of your learning experiences, please send any stories, pictures, or videos to Ms. Jarosik (lisa.jarosik@ncps-k12.org) or Mr. Gusitsch (david.gusitsch@ncps-k12.org). Whether you are learning from here at Saxe or from your own home, you are contributing to what makes Saxe Middle School special! 


Following the reading of a poem, grade 6 students on several teams planted 3 seeds in a big cup of soil. At home, all students will be growing string bean plants to better understand how plants interact with the environment, create a stable growing environment (but be able to problem solve changes), and use the Science & Engineer Practice: carrying out an investigation. Below are some pictures to capture the excitement that the Red Team had for this adventure. Enjoy!


Ms. Bennett’s students/Art class got out for some fresh air and direct sunlight to capture images to use for their Lichtenstein Art project. Can’t wait to see the creative results! 

Ms. Pennoyer’s Art students producing some impressive watercolor pieces!

MARCH MADNESS sweeps the Library!

The Library is having a battle of the books tournament and students vote to decide which book will become their grade CHAMPION!  

To kick off March Madness, an email went out, on 3/18, to all students with a link to a grade level website for voting.  We have already had 350 students vote for their favorite book!  

The website also features an interactive bracket of the “Sweet 16” of the most checked out books this year.  Students can simply click on a book cover and be taken to our destiny system to see the description of the book or to put it on hold.   

This is an example of what the students see in the grade specific websites.

We’ve created matching bracket bulletin boards for each grade. Students will be able to track the tournament results online and on the bulletin boards and the champions will be announced prior to spring break!  

We’re turning book FANs into reading FUN  – March Book Madness!  

8th Grade Transition 

On Thursday, March 18, the Saxe School Counselors, along with NCHS Student Advocates, provided the third and final 8th to 9th Grade Transition Lesson.  The lesson focused on: how to think about building a NCHS schedule, entering course requests in PowerSchool, the Appeal Process, Elective classes, and more.  

Elective requests and Appeals are both due by April 1. The students were reminded that even though this was the final lesson, that their school counselor, Mr. Bedard, and their teachers are still of course available to work with them on anything related to the HS. The lesson slides, as well as all other Transition information, is located here:  8th to 9th Transition Website

Lots Of Socks Campaign

This Sunday, March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day. World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21st, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome. The Saxe community celebrated World Down Syndrome Day (3/21) by wearing bright, mismatched, or silly socks and participated in the #LotsOfSocks campaign. Check out our socks!

To help kickoff World Down Syndrome Day, Andrew did an amazing job leading the Pledge of Allegiance during morning announcements today!

Health Education

6th graders braving the cold today to “Chalk Their Walk” and spread positivity. Awesome… 

Around Saxe

Students in Mr. Gillan’s Social Studies class were exploring what makes each of us unique and celebrating our differences. I am continually amazed and impressed by our students thoughtfulness, compassion, and empathy…

Saxe Spirit

The official Saxe Hawk was out and about to kickoff the #SaxeCharter Week for next week. We look forward to celebrating our Charter Words, 5 Cs, and some Saxe Spirit all rolled into one! To Celebrate Middle Level Education Month, kick off Charter Week, and reflect on all that student have experienced and accomplished, students all watched this video together:

St. Patrick’s Day Spirit

Lots of fun and spirit to go around on Wednesday!

Saxe Clubs

Amazing collaboration between NCHS and Saxe students in Ms. Birdsall’s Coding Clubs! Thanks to all involved!

March 20th – International Day of Happiness

We can all use a little “Happy”. Happy International Day of Happiness!

Dogs of Saxe

I couldn’t pass up a chance to take a selfie with a dog named, “Gus”!

Nova gets the “Spirit Award” for this week…

Sunrises at Saxe 

It takes a little adjusting to the time change, but we are back to some beautiful morning scenes…

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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