2021.9.24 – Saxe Weekly

September 24, 2021

Dear Saxe Family, 

Congratulations to our entire learning community on completing our first *full week of school for the 2021-22 school year! We have much to celebrate and are continuing to settle into the rhythm of the year. This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at some friendly reminders, being our best selves, lockers, Science, new staff members, our Dean of Students, Special Education, STEM, Math Team, School Counseling, EI in Action, Tech Services, Saxe Spirit, t-shirts of Saxe, parent tours, chorus, our Saxe SRO, Art, Physical Education, Health Education, Theatre, Dogs of Saxe, and much more. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend! 

Be Well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

* Hurricane Henri caused a 2-hour delay in our first full week…

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

9/27 Grade 5/6 Open House (Details and links will be sent out Monday)

9/29 Grade 7/8 Open House (Details and links will be sent out Wednesday) 

9/30 Saxe Gr. 5 “Bonding” Fun Run @ Saxe Fields  (Period 8 & 9)

10/1 Saxe Gr. 5 “Bonding” Fun Run @ Saxe Fields (*rain date) 

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” – Jamie Paolinetti

“Hard work compounds like interest, and the earlier you do it, the more time you have for the benefits to pay off.” – Sam Altman

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s what you’re made of. Not the circumstances.” – Unknown Author

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

Friendly Reminders

We have masks for emergency purposes (broken, lost, etc.) but please remember to bring a mask to school every day. Thank You!

Caring for our Community

On Wednesday morning, an announcement was made to the school about some recent vandalism that had taken place in our restrooms. While this is something that we work through on occasion, we felt it necessary to address this in a more direct manner due to the recent TikTok challenge/trend that encourages this unfortunate behavior. Being in middle school can be challenging enough, having external negative pressure such as this is, can make it even more difficult. The message over the PA system reminded students about the recent grade-level meetings that were held which stressed what we value as a learning community. Of course, there was also the reminder that phones are not allowed to be out in school and bathroom logs and security cameras are accessed to help track down possible culprits. Those who are found responsible are held accountable with disciplinary consequences. 

More importantly, we stressed that we know our students are “better than this”. From a social media perspective, we strive to be good digital citizens. From a physical standpoint, we strive to be caring members of our school who represent ourselves with good character (i.e., “who are you when you think no one else is watching?…”) and can/should be “upstanders” if we witness something that does not seem right. Last but not least, we personalized it by sharing that this behavior is not just a simple act, but one that is unkind and disrespectful to some of the most important members of our school, our custodial and maintenance teams. They are left to clean up after these careless deeds and that is simply not fair. 

We are a large school community and these events are fortunately few and far between, but we felt it was important to address what is going on across the country. If you are a parent reading this, here is an article that was shared this week that may be useful, “How to talk to your kids about the Devious Licks school TikTok challenge”. There has also been a positive response, and who knows, maybe we will see our own positive response at Saxe that shows how caring our school community truly is! 


The much anticipated return to using lockers is on the horizon! We will be phasing in the use of lockers beginning next week. Initially, they will be used and available to store belongings at the beginning of the school day, before/after lunch time, and at the end of the day. Students will be permitted to “opt out” and continue carrying what they need, if they wish as well. 


Science rocks! We got a behind the scenes look at the ongoing 8th-grade Workshop experiment from Mr. Chard this week. Very cool!🧪 🧬Below is a brief write-up on the experiment – enjoy!

8th grade science teachers are using Wisconsin Fast Plants to conduct a genetics experiment in their

Workshop classes as a STEM component. Plants are grown from selectively bred seeds under a 24-hour

light source. The species is Brassica rapa which is a field mustard of ancient origin. The experiment deals with stem color that is dominant or recessive. Bee sticks are made to facilitate cross pollination. Pea pods are produced as a result of fertilization and then allowed to dry out. This resulting generation of seeds in the pods are germinated hydroponically to see stem color. The presence of Anthocyanin (purple stem) indicates a dominant gene for stem color. Green stem color indicates a recessive gene. Three purple to one green stem indicates a classic Mendelian result in which most are dominant purple but recessive genes can still be produced. This is an excellent example of a single gene cross that comes alive in the classroom.

Awesome Science experiment going on in Mr. Ekstrom’s Workshop period! Can’t wait to see the outcome and compare between the Saxe Greenhouse, his class, & Mr. Chard’s class! 

As a part of our unit on DNA, 8th grade green team students extracted DNA from Wheat Germ cells in science class today!

New Staff Highlight

Check out the slideshow of our new Staff Members! Each slide has a little bio and some fun facts about the newest members of our learning community. Enjoy getting to know them a little better!

Dean of Students Update

(social distance note: this photo was captured in approximately :05 seconds & everyone spread back out… 🙂 

Dear Saxe Families, 

I hope your school year is off to a great start.  As you have read through the press release, I have transitioned to a new role at Saxe Middle School as the Dean of Students. As this is a new position to the school community, the administration and myself are working together so that I can best our students, teachers and families in this new capacity. As Dean of Students, it is a top priority of mine to build positive relationships with all students, staff, and parents at Saxe Middle School.   Throughout this week I have popped into some classrooms and engaged with students outside at recess and lunch to give a quick hello and let students know where I am located and how I can best serve them.

This is my 13th year at Saxe Middle School where I started as a health education teacher, and most recently served as the Coordinator for Health/Physical Education. Over the course of my career I have built positive relationships within the New Canaan community and am looking forward to strengthening our partnerships that will afford our students additional opportunities and resources.

My wife Lina and I with our two wonderful children and black lab Mae live in Trumbull CT. Lillian, 9 years old, currently in 4th grade and  Graham (aka Spiderman), 6 years old, currently in 1st grade are having a great school year and are actively involved in extracurricular activities. 

Please feel free to reach out via email: jonathan.adams@ncps-k12.org 

Special Education

The Saxe Charter, created by students for our community, calls for our entire community to help one another feel comfortable, happy, respected, included, and safe. With that in mind, we will be sharing information with our Saxe student and parent community on neurodiversity and the many ways the brain can function that impacts how we see and engage with the world. The video below is approximately 4 minutes in length. If you would be so kind as to watch the video with your children and start a discussion around neurodiversity in your home, our Saxe family would greatly appreciate it! After all, #WeAreSaxe!


Ms. Ford’s workshop students finished their 6-day STEM cycle with Mr. Petrakopoulos and Ms. Birdsall. Their focus was the Design Process and the blockchain, which is the technology behind cryptocurrency and NFT, but also addresses issues concerning supply chains, data entry, and gaming. On the last day, students presented their own Blockchain product to their peers.

Saxe Math Team

The Saxe Math Team is looking for members this year! We participate in the AMC8 and Mathcounts competitions. This team is open to all students in Grades 5-8. If you are interested in joining, please complete the Saxe Math Team Registration Google Form by the end of  September. You will be added to the Saxe Math Team’s Google Classroom .

The first meeting will be held in-person on Tuesday, September 28th from 3 – 3:45pm in Room 148 (Chorus Room). If you have any questions, please contact the Saxe Math Team Coach, Mrs. Andrews (gina.andrews@ncps-k12.org) or the K-8 Math Coordinator, Nicole Graham (nicole.graham@ncps-k12.org). 

School Counseling

School Counselors are continuing to welcome and get to know their students through classroom visits, group and individual check ins.  Please reach out to your child’s counselor with any concerns!  

Emotional Intelligence In Action 

 A reminder to students to be their “best selves”- a central step of our Meta-Moment!  

5th grade EI lesson with Emily Anderson’s class 

Tech Services

“District Technology Services will now be providing live support in the Saxe Media Center daily from 7am to 1pm.  If a student device is broken or if a student or staff member require help with their district assigned device, they may visit the DTS “Genius Bar – Tech Support Table” located in the media center between 7am and 1pm.  After 1pm, students or staff are encouraged to visit the DTS Kiosk (also located in the Saxe Media Center where they can fill out a helpdesk request form, or call the emergency tech hotline for immediate assistance.  Students that forgot their device at home should still visit the library circulation desk to get a 1 day loaner computer which they would sign out (similar to a library book) and be expected to return before the end of the school day.”  

Tweet Street

Mr. Pearson playing hoops with a group of 7th grade students during recess. Always great to see staff members finding ways to connect with students.

Proof that rivals can be friends at Saxe Middle School! This is a big deal getting a Bears jersey and a Packers jersey in the same photo… Should be interesting when they play each other in a few weeks! 🏈

Mr. Bedard kicked off our first official parent tour for families who have never had a chance to see the inside of Saxe Middle School. More tours will be held in the coming weeks. We are grateful that we are able to offer this & happy our parents will get to see what their children experience each day! Thanks to Ms. Sarah Obuchowski-Granite & Ms. Vanessa Visners for their planning and “touring” as well!

It was great walking by and hearing 5th grade chorus today at Saxe…incorporating kinesthetic elements while understanding notes and pitch. Very cool! (Check out the Video)

Seen around Saxe! Bringing our charter to life in the 5th grade!

Whatever it takes to keep our Saxe campus safe, our SRO, Officer Deak is on board! Even if it is patrolling on an electric scooter… 

We have many birthday celebrations every week at Saxe. Here is one festive get up I saw this week – Happy Birthday! 🎂 🥳

There are so many great t-shirts at Saxe. School spirit, positivity, celebrations, funny, and more…

Here is one of my favs from this week. Educational and hilarious! 

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

A couple of “crews” heading into Saxe this week! Morning arrival is a great way to start each day…

View image on Twitter

Got to check out some fun, talented Saxe Art projects today! Love seeing the skill of our students on display each day…

Mantis of Saxe?! Our state insect visited 6th-grade recess this week. Students were happy to see this little fella was safely returned to the woods…

Love seeing our bike racks fill up each morning at Saxe! One of the best ways to get to school… 

Physical Education 

Students in PE class learned about strategies to support students with visual impairments like using Sighted Guide. They learned from their peers through a student-led presentation and participated in an activity where students experienced being blindfolded and one was sighted through a maze. Amazing collaboration, communication, and inclusion! 

And, Saxe PE classes were active and demonstrated good teamwork and sportsmanship during some gorgeous weather we had this week.

The new and improved Saxe Phys Ed board – nice job Saxe PE team!

View image on Twitter

Health Education 

7th-graders in Health presented their advertisements promoting Emotionally healthy habits during the pandemic. Some really impressive and creative strategies and ideas. #HealthEd #SkillsBuildHealth

Saxe Theatre

Rehearsals have begun! Congratulations to the Cast of Moana Jr.  Can’t wait to start working with the Crew next week!

Dogs of Saxe

So many excited dogs seeing their humans off for a great day of school this week!

So great seeing classes using our outdoor spaces for classes or to travel from class to class…

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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