2021.5.28 – Saxe Weekly

May 28, 2021

Dear Saxe Family, 

As we head into the long holiday weekend, it is important to take stock of all that we have to be grateful for as a school, a community, a town, a country, and beyond. This year has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but we have experienced quite a bit of growth, success, joy, and accomplishment by working together. I am certain we will look back at this period of time with confidence that there is little that can hold us back when we work as a team!

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at Memorial Day, gratitude, respect, & perspective, Jewish Heritage Month, Social Studies, Science, Mandarin, positivity in action, Health Education, recess, Grade 4 to 5 Transition, Garden Club, Rowing Club, professional learning, Saxe (&, American) Spirit, outdoor learning, Dogs of Saxe (back by popular demand!), a fun video, schools supporting schools, and much more. 

Finally, a heartfelt “thank you!” to all veterans, and families of veterans, for their sacrifices that allow us to be the land of the free and the home of the brave! Enjoy and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Be Well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

5/31: No School – Memorial Day!

6/2: 1/2 Day for students, Professional Learning for staff

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others.” – Dalai Lama

“Respecting others’ opinions doesn’t mean being untrue to our own.” – P. M. Forni

“6 + 3 = 9, But so does 5 + 4.

The way you do things isn’t always the only way to do them.  Respect other people’s way of thinking.”  – Unknown

“There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self.” – Henri Amiel

“The gift of respect is the most desired, the least given and the greatest hope of humanity.” – Ronovan Hesler

After seeing many examples of gratitude, respect, and perspective I thought it would be worth sharing a few “favorites” on the topic:

Memorial Day 

As we head into the holiday weekend, Saxe respects and honors the meaning of Memorial Day. Scroll all the way down to see some of the great Saxe Spirit Here is a snapshot of our morning announcements this morning:

Did you know? 

This month is Jewish Heritage Month. As a learning community at Saxe we honor the many contributions that Jewish Americans have made, and continue to make, to our country. As a school we are taking time to not only celebrate but learn more about these contributions. Next week we will begin to share these contributions with our learning community on the morning announcements and rotating slide show.  Here is a sneak preview of Tuesday’s announcement. 

Social Studies 

Our final unit in grade 7 takes place on the continent of Africa. Although the focus is the country of Nigeria, students also zoom out to take a look at the continent as a whole looking for patterns and connections between human and physical geography. Thanks to the PTC, we can engage our learners kinesthetically as they put geographical knowledge to work! Ms. Campbell’s classes have been exploring this map this week. 

Yep, that is one GIANT map! This is an experience they are sure to remember!

Not quite as big as the “giant map” that students used earlier this week, but the outdoor learning continues at Saxe  with some more Social Studies out on the lawn.

The big map was back out later!

And students studying & mapping out Nigeria in Social Studies class.

Positivity in Action

Seeing a student developed and led lesson on happiness, gratitude, giving, inclusion, & positivity is truly remarkable! I am grateful for our Saxe community and being able to witness these special interactions…

Students also got to share about “the good” they see in their classmates as well…

And, here is an example of “giving” from today. These students were collecting signatures for one of their classmates who will be moving out of state and I am grateful they included me. What a kind, caring gesture by them!


Grade 7 students learned the food unit this week. They tried out if they could hold well on the most common utensil in Chinese society: chopsticks!


Some amazing observations going on with eggs after they have been soaked in various substances. Honest admission, I did not know the hard shell of a chicken egg could be “removed” & the egg still maintains its shape with a “leathery” feel. It felt like a reptile egg… Students were 100% engaged!

6th graders reflect & record evidence of biodiversity from a recent trip across the street to Waveny Park. They also have examples right in the classroom from their aquariums – amazing ecosystems!

Health Education

Mr. Tiscia’s 7th Grade students completing their Virtual Calm Room. Students created their room based around stress management techniques that are effective for them

Saxe Recess 

Students are enjoying the beautiful weather and fun filled activities this past week! Recess is an important part of a student’s day as they have an opportunity to navigate a less structured environment, relax, move, play, and/or just have some time to themselves. 

Grade 5 Transition

Congrats to Dr. Clapp & the grade 4 to 5 “transition team” on a successful webinar this week! We can’t wait to welcome our newest students to Saxe from Eaast, South, West, & beyond! Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, you can access it here!

Thanks to all o f the 5th-graders who contributed their very own “Right Now” moment at Saxe for our student presentaiton (think Van Halen, circa 1991)! Click the picture below to watch the full video.


Dr. Clapp & Mr. Petrakopolous working with Saxe student leaders on the voiceover portion of the incoming 5th grade “virtual tour”! Find the full video here.


The Garden Club got busy this week! A touch of color and beauty is always a great way to brighten the day of our students and staff!

Rowing Club

The students from the Saxe Rowing Club got “real world experiences” at the boathouse on the Norwalk

River (and, I spy a Saxe Hawks mask in one of the boats – nice!).

Around Saxe

We love seeing the bike racks reaching full capacity! No better way to get to and from school… (walking is good, too 🙂 )…

8th graders are looking ahead to how they will “shine” as students, & people, next school year!

Professional Learning

Not all PL is the same and that was evident this week as several staff members learned about STEM with Makey Makey kits. Check out the amazing pictures and video of a banana, pepper, and an orange turning into a functioning piano… Thanks to the ambitious NCHS interns who led the workshop for our Saxe staff!

Saxe (&, American) Spirit

It was great to see staff and students in their red, white and blue!

Outdoor Learning

Students and Staff continue to take advantage of our great outdoor spaces and the great weather!

Dogs of Saxe

We had several requests for Dogs of Saxe this week so we captured as many as we could at morning  arrival!

 And, one youngster who wanted to be included as well 🙂

“The Best Worst Year Ever”

Ever hear of the Holderness Family? One of their latest videos has almost 100k views and is a tribute to teachers navigating the 2020-21 school year. Enjoy! 

(disclaimer: video contains elementary school sophomoric humor towards the end…:). 

Schools Supporting Schools

Lots of work is going on around the Saxe campus to help celebrate graduating NCHS seniors! The banners look great and are a wonderful tribute to the Class of 2021. Congrats to all!

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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