2022.2.18 – Saxe Weekly

February 18, 2022

Dear Saxe Family, 

Hopefully, you are enjoying your first official day of the February break with family, friends, or even spending some time alone. These breaks are so important to disconnect, switch gears, and enjoy the change of pace to rest, recreate, rejuvenate, or just plain relax. I wish you the best in doing whatever it is that makes you happy, with those that you care about the most!

Recognizing that our students went on break yesterday, a conscious decision was made to wait until today to send out the latest Saxe Weekly. After experiencing the professional learning sessions today, I am happy that we waited so some of the great learning that went on can be shared with you! These important staff development days help our teachers evolve and grow, and our students are the ultimate beneficiaries of this work. It was a rewarding day, professionally, and the lunch that was provided by our PTC and parent volunteers was one for the ages (thank you!). You can see much more below…

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at the latest one second everyday, grade-level meetings, Health Education, signs of gratitude, the latest Hawks Talk podcast, some important figures of Black History Month, Science, Language Arts, Caring gestures, “Right at School” programming for ‘22-’23, Saxe Trout, a full moon over Saxe, Vex Robotics, Social Studies, professional learning, and much more… Enjoy and have a wonderful February break! 

Be Well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

2/21 – 2/25 – February break – enjoy!

2/28 – Welcome back!

3/2 – “Right at School” extracurricular information session (more info below)

3/3 – Grade 8 to grade 9 Orientation at NCHS

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” – Lily Tomlin

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

“Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!”-Ruby Bridges

“Each of you, as an individual, must pick your own goals. Listen to others, but do not become a blind follower.”  – Thurgood Marshall

One Second Everyday

Back again for this week – the latest Saxe Middle School 1-Second Everyday! “Life is made of seconds.” Showcasing so much of what makes Saxe Middle School great! This will be a recurring, bi-weekly feature. At the end of the year, we will have a full version that includes every single day of the 2021-22 school year. Enjoy! (pro tip: to enjoy the video at a slower pace, change your viewing option to .75 speed).

A Look Ahead…

Upon our return from break, we will hold grade-level meetings to discuss updates to the mask mandate that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. Recognizing that we will have students with ranging levels of comfort as we navigate this transition, our focus will be on respecting everyone’s right of choice. This aligns with our consistent messages/themes on caring and our Saxe charter where we strive to create an environment where everyone has the right to feel comfortable, happy, included, respected, and safe. We look forward to discussing this with each grade-level and supporting the decisions that are made by our students, their families, and our teachers/staff.

Please note: Dr. Luizzi has prepared a communication that will go out to the entire NCPS community, with the latest updates/specifics as they relate to any recent changes, prior to our return.    

Planning for 2022-23

In response to the needs expressed by the community, the NCPS has been seeking to expand before and after-school programming offerings for elementary and middle school students.  We are excited to share that, starting in 2022-2023, Right at School, a national provider of quality experiences for students, will be offering programming for all NCPS students K-6.

As a complement to our excellent existing programs, Right at School offers flexible scheduling (1-5 days/week), and programs typically begin immediately after school and run until approximately 6:00 based upon parent need. Before school programming/details tbd. More information is available at their website, www.rightatschool.com.

If you’d like to learn more, Right at School will be hosting virtual sessions on Wednesday, March 2, at 10:00 AM and 6:30 PM.  More information, including Zoom Conference details, is available below:

Health Tip of the Week

8th graders evaluating influences and doing it through their Web of Influences design {some creative work turned the web to a tree!}. Being able to evaluate the external and internal influences in our lives allows us to make decisions that positively impact our overall Health and wellness. 6th graders in Health designed their “Wanted A Good Friend” poster. Students labeled what they would want in a good friend and did a fantastic job incorporating classroom charters and EI lessons into their designs. Understanding what a good friend entails and how they can positively impact our social wellness and build upon Healthy relationships is a crucial part to our Health. Great work!

Saxe in the News

Q&A: Signs of Love and Gratitude Greet New Canaan Teachers Monday

A very special thank you to the parent volunteers of the “Project Gratitude” group who surprised our teachers and staff around town on Monday morning with these amazing signs! Our staff felt valued, loved, and were grateful for the efforts that went into this amazingly kind gesture. 

Check out the full article in the New Canaanite, written by Michael Dinan

Below are just a few responses that we received from staff members who were touched by this thoughtful gesture. There were dozens more comments around the building and posts on Twitter 🙂

I was so touched by the “Thank You Teachers” signs today near the parking lot.  It was difficult for me to hear some of the recent comments made at the recent school board meetings, and the lovely Valentine’s greeting this AM made my morning (and brought a tear to my eye!)  I am guessing it was the PTC?  Please extend my thanks to them.

Dear Caring Community Member, I wanted to thank you for not only having the thought but taking the time to create, print, and put up signs around school thanking teachers.  Turning into school today I was surprised to see the signs and it made my day!  I am so fortunate to work in a district with a community that is so vocally supportive. 

Thank you for reminding us all that small acts of kindness can have a large impact on creating a positive world!  Your signs go beyond our community here at Saxe because I took pictures and share them with all my teacher friends! 

I hope your week is as special as you made us teachers feel today.

I just wanted to reach out to say how much I appreciate the signs that were laid out for teachers today.  The signs are so simple and pretty.  They simply greeted me on a Monday and made me smile.  It was so thoughtful!

Thank you

Hawks Talk Podcast

On this episode we had the pleasure of interviewing Saxe Middle School’s Principal David Gusitsch.  Tune in to learn more about Dave’s leadership journey, some key takeaways from the past 2 years, and a look ahead at some exciting upcoming school projects that include the Outdoor Learning Spaces (Hawks Valley) and the change in our school start times for the upcoming school year. Concluding with a culminating message of BeKind. 

Click the link below to listen:

Hawks Talk Episode 1.2 with Principal David Gusitsch

Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month we have been celebrating and remembering the many contributions that fellow citizens have made, and continue to make, in our country. Please feel free to check out some of the important figures that played a role in shaping our history, their present, and all of our futures…  

Grade 5 Social Studies

This Wednesday our fifth-grade students honored Black History Month by learning about Ruby Bridges, author, and civil rights leader. The presentation included some video clips of a Ruby Bridges interview shared with us by Grace Farms in New Canaan, thanks to support and funding from the East, South, and West PTCs. The presentation was inspired by a young student in New Canaan who wrote a letter to Ruby Bridges in hopes of teaching others to be inclusive and accepting of our differences. Her visit made us all consider how we each try to make the world a better place.

Science

Students on 8 Red were investigating forces and motion using cars and ramps. Students designed and carried out experiments in order to determine how different variables (height of the ramp, weight of the car, surface material, etc.) impact the acceleration of a car down a ramp. Students used motion sensors and graphical analysis software to collect and analyze their data.

Grade 6 Science

Miss Collins’ STEM workshop designed their own catapults. Their designs were based on data they collected from a recent lab on the relationship between height and distance as it relates to energy.

NASA Team Update

Mr. D’Alton’s NASA Team students listen intently during their first meeting with the Raven Aerospace/NASA Technicians who will help them get their winning project off the ground.

Mariana Zepeda, Oskar Guldager, Sophia Sibilia, Maggie Nurzia, and Meghan Ratner hold their congratulatory certificates from NASA and Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Language Arts

To help students learn about nonfiction text structure in Ms. Taylor’s class, the kids collaborated in groups with a sorting, identification, and application activity. If a group was accurate, a representative activated the “30 Second Dance Party” button, thus inspiring 30 seconds of freestyle dance. This is a photo of her period 9 class; they broke out into an impromptu conga line. Learning and movement = a winning combination!

Saxe Cares

Saxe students are caring for others! Here are some of the Valentines Day cards made for seniors at Waveny by Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Dobransky’s Class.

On the Horizon

As we approach spring, we are planning on holding a “Saxe Spring Meet & Greet” where we will welcome parents into our building to see our facilities, see your child’s classrooms, and get a little taste of what makes Saxe such a special place! We will be working with our terrific PTC in the coming weeks to finalize all of the details. Please stay tuned for specific dates, times, and schedules. We look forward to seeing you in our building again, soon!

Roadtrip?

If you are planning on hitting the road during February break (or, anytime in the near future), check out this neat video on the logic behind the US interstate numbering system. It’s fascinating! 

Source: David Pogue on Twitter

Tweet Street

Below are photos and phrases that were included on our Saxe middle school Twitter page (@SaxeMS) this week. Enjoy!

Happy Monday, @SaxeMS! Thank you to our amazing community of parents who got out early to “show the love” for our teachers & staff! Beyond grateful…Feeling the love and appreciation 💗Thank you SaxePTC!

Yes, we do!! Thank you ⁦SaxePTC⁩ for acknowledging our amazing ⁦Saxe and New Canaan Public Schools teachers and staff!

Lots of spirit and gratitude around Saxe today! Thank you to everyone who made this Valentine’s Day special!

The Saxe trout are steadily growing. I’m pretty sure it is from all the TLC they get each morning!

I was choked up when I pulled into school yesterday morning… This was so special. Thank you New Canaan ❤️ 

Every moment matters! During this week, lets spread kindness and love to our students and our colleagues ❤️

These pics from Saxe this morning don’t really do it justice, but it was a beautiful morning!

Cool story about an experience these middle school students will remember for the rest of their lives!

Middle schoolers launched a boat from New Hampshire in 2020. It was found in Norway 462 days later…

Saxe students building, coding, and preparing to test their @VEXRobotics creations! Such an amazing process to see our students engage in…

Someone left a random gesture of kindness to bring a smile to whoever uses this copier at @SaxeMS… This is yet another example of what makes this place special!

Love seeing this crew outside playing hoops before school each day at Saxe… The weather was great this morning and there is no better way to start the day!

Wow! Saw some amazing projects coming into Saxe this morning! Can’t wait to check them out in Social Studies classes today…

A special thanks to our Be Well NCPS folks who coordinated a nice treat, and some positive messaging, for our entire Saxe faculty and Staff community today! Oftentimes, it’s the little things that make a huge difference… Thank you!

Professional Learning Day

Wow! What an amazing lunch offering at our Saxe professional learning day today! Thanks to our wonderful Saxe PTC, parent volunteers, & our entire parent community for the love & support! There were a lot of excited staff members today…

A special thanks to Krystie Inman, Jayne Benton, & Nancy Burges!

It was a productive start to the NCPS professional learning day at Saxe! Our ELA teachers are focusing on strategies to teach writing with mini-lessons & small groups… Our students are sure to benefit from this work!

An amazing mix of tech integration and curriculum specific planning for 5th-grade Science teachers during the professional learning session this morning!

Saxe Math teachers focusing on “work time in the workshop model” during the professional learning day today. Great discussions!

Grateful for the rich planning discussion on the upcoming change in school start times at Saxe. The focus remained on core values, guiding principles, & ideals as they relate to the “whole child” while providing the best, most well-rounded experience possible for our students!

Smartboard training during the professional learning session today… There were so many terrific offerings for staff to choose to participate in!

A look at the popular VR professional learning session at Saxe today… It was great to see the interest across grade levels & disciplines. I look forward to seeing this being used more broadly to create meaningful learning experiences beyond what we can imagine!

This is pretty amazing – you create your art in the VR “world” and it can be printed in the 3D printer… The possibilities are endless!

Have a great week, see you after the break!

Thank you to all of our Saxe Weekly contributors! Each weekly edition is an example of collaboration in action. 

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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