2023.2.16 – Saxe Weekly

February 16, 2023

Dear Saxe Family, 

While students and families head into a well-deserved break, our staff will be taking advantage of some terrific Professional Learning opportunities on Friday. We look forward to collaborating, learning, and growing together. Everyone also looks forward to having some personal time over the February break! It is a great time to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for and it is my hope that you get to spend some time doing activities you most enjoy, with those you care most about. Enjoy each moment!

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at the latest 1-Second Everyday, Social Studies, spring clubs, French, a PTC/Saxe presentation, a “faculty spotlight”, a Saxe/Super Bowl connection, Valentine’s Day, Saxe Trout, Design Lab, some outdoor time, a ton of positive messages, string art, math, STEM, celebrating our SRO, and much more. Enjoy and have a wonderful February break! 

Be Well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

2/20 – 2/24 – February Break! Enjoy!

2/27 – Welcome Back!

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” – Susan L. Taylor

“When we love we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” – Paulo Coelho

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

“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

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 2022-23 school year. Enjoy! (pro tip: to enjoy the video at a slower pace, change your viewing option to .75 speed).

Grade 5 Social Studies

This week we welcomed Mr. Mike Murphy, Librarian and Archivist for the New Canaan Museum and Historical Society. He shared about his job and the connections that our town has with the Revolutionary period. He also showed a few more recent artifacts that help tell the story of New Canaan. Thank you to Mr. Fiorillo and Mrs. Campbell for opening their doors. 

Grade 8 Social Studies

In their War, Diplomacy and Imperialism Unit, the students in Mrs. Baltz’s class learned about the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. Students analyzed primary sources using military, economic, and moral lenses, deciding whether the United States should annex the Philippines. Each group then created a concept map with claim, evidence, reasoning and connections to explain their group’s decision.

Saxe PTC General Meeting

If you were not able to make the meeting today, but are interested in seeing the slides that give a glimpse of all the work that goes into creating and maintaining a positive school culture at Saxe, you are welcome to check them out, here. Thanks to our terrific Saxe PTC and Dr. Susan Bliss for planning this great opportunity to share what makes Saxe Middle School the special place that it is! 

Before/After School Club Offerings

We are planning on opening up registration for Before/After School Club sometime during the week of March 6th. Clubs should begin on March 13th. Please keep an eye out for an email with sign up links and club information in a couple of weeks!


In Madame Mallié’s French class, Grade 6 students drew the dictations they heard about a fictional character’s likes and dislikes. They compared their illustrations by recalling what they understood and speaking in the target language with their classmates.

Faculty Spotlight

“Right in your own Backyard”… Did you know, our own Lisa Jarosik, administrative assistant right here at Saxe, is also a passionate photographer? Specifically, Lisa photographs birds that are native to our area here in Connecticut. Right now, at UCBC in town, you can see her amazing work on display. She has featured many owls and a few other gorgeous feathered specimens! Head to UCBC next time you’re in town & check out her show!

Our 7th grade art students interviewed Lisa to find out more about her photography and more about her!

1.      How long have you been into photography?
Only a couple of years. It all started during COVID when I was sitting on a beach and saw a cool bird I had never seen before. I found out it was an Oyster Catcher and wanted to be able to get a beautiful photo of it. So I just kept buying camera gear to get better photos!

 2.     Besides working at Saxe and photographing birds, what are your other interests?
I am also a SCUBA diver who loves to dive with sharks. I have been a volunteer diver at the Maritime Aquarium for over 10 years and my job is to educate patrons about sharks from inside the shark tank.

3.     What is the hardest thing about taking photos of birds?
Most birds are pretty skittish! It is hard to get close enough to get the kind of photo I like to get which is super clear and sharp.

4.    What is your favorite bird to photograph?
I love owls! I had no idea that we had so many owls in Connecticut! I was so intrigued when I saw my first one that I wanted to find more. Thank goodness there are a lot of bird books that can help me find them!   

5.     Is there a bird you have yet to capture in a photo and really want to? If so, which one?
The bird I would like to photograph is the Great Grey Owl. They are not native to Connecticut or the surrounding area so I am traveling to Calgary, Canada at the beginning of May to see if I can get a photo of one. Wish me luck!

6.      What is the biggest struggle when trying to photograph birds?
Moving and flying! They move a lot and getting a photo of one flying is very hard to do. I am always asking them to sit still for their portraits, but they never seem to listen! LOL.

7.     10% of the sales from your photos at UCBC in town go to the CT Audubon Society to help owls thrive in CT. How many species of owls are in CT?
We have seven species of owls in Connecticut – Great Horned, Saw Whet, Screech, Barred, Snowy, Long Eared and Short Eared. I currently have photographs of every kind except the Short-Eared. But I am determined to find one someday in Connecticut!

Tweet Street

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

From Saxe Middle School to Super Bowl Champion!

Thanks to Ms. Dobransky for sharing a memory from her first year at Saxe. Teaching & making a difference in the life of a future SuperBowl LVII Champion! Congrats to Lucas Niang & all of Chiefs Kingdom!

The roses are beautiful, but the jokes were the highlight of my day from our Saxe students!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Saxe! This amazing crew delivered flowers (&,smiles) all over our building today – thank you! Favorite moment was the accompanying  joke – “what did one bird say to the other bird on Valentine’s Day? You’re my ‘tweet-heart’!”… Love it!

Thanks to Ms. Orlando for coordinating our Saxe “Secret Buddy” Program! Another surprise delivery that put a huge smile on my face… Thanks for helping spread joy all throughout our school community!

Students in Ms. Poidomani’s class took a moment to spread some joy around Saxe today… Thank you to everyone who took a moment to write a thoughtful message!

The Saxe Trout are growing and getting ready to explore their larger tanks! 

Another amazing “winter” day to get some quality outdoor time at Saxe this week! 

The Saxe Design Lab was bustling today! Caught some neat VR, Robotics, & collaborative brainstorming all going on at once… 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day at Saxe by sharing positive messages that will go to local senior citizens! Thank you to Ms. Dobransky & Ms. Harrington for sharing & spreading the joy! 

Capturing a recent Saxe Math project to plan & design a “String Art Design.”  Measuring, planning nail spacing, creating patterns, &  SMILES all make the projects come together in the end. Nice work!

A personalized Valentine from a very special 5th grader!

Got a chance to stop by the 8Red bulletin board and read some of the positive messages… Very thoughtful and caring! 

60+ degrees today (in February!) at Saxe = some quality outdoor time! 

This Saxe STEM project is coming along nicely! Can’t wait to see the finished product… stay tuned!

Happy School Resource Officer Day to our current (&, former) Saxe SROs! Your contributions to our school community are greatly appreciated!

Have a great week, see you after the February break!

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