2023.3.3 – Saxe Weekly

March 3, 2023

Dear Saxe Family, 

Happy March! It is hard to believe that we were on February break just last week and I hope everyone had a great first week back (I am sure the snow day helped everyone a little bit)! As we head into March, we recognize and celebrate the importance of these crucial middle school years through Middle Level Education Month (MLEM). This is a special time in the development of our students and we put great effort into making Saxe Middle School the best, most well-rounded experience possible for each child (more below).  

This week in the Saxe Weekly, we take a look at our upcoming TriState visit, MLEM, celebrating a retirement after 36.5 years(!), Science, our snow day, celebrations, NCHS orientation, a PSA from our Director of Nursing Supervisor, grade 7 class meeting, student leadership, Health, “trout care”, and much more. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend! 

Be Well, 

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

3/8-10: Tri-State Consortium visit

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

 “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” – Vesta M. Kelly

“We will all profit from a more diverse, inclusive society, understanding, accommodating, even celebrating our differences, while pulling together for the common good.” –Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“I believe it’s our responsibility to show our communities the value of all people, to celebrate different, and to take a stand for acceptance and inclusion.” -Julie Foudy

“Diversity happens, Inclusion is a choice.” – Harjeet Khanduja

Middle Level Education Month

“We know that young adolescents are special. And that’s why the month of March is devoted to celebrating the wonderful things that happen each and every day in middle level education” (amle.org).

Did you know that 10-15 year-olds are experiencing the most rapid, significant changes of their lives other than from birth to age 3? They are developing physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively as they discover new vistas, form relationships with peers and adults, and explore their developing identity. As educators and parents, we have the tremendous opportunity to help support them as they form the attitudes, values, and dispositions that will form who they become as adults. The research tells us that young adolescents thrive when they are provided with learning environments that are:

As we enter the month of March, we continue to focus on our most important asset, our students. The Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE) has teamed up with several other organizations to declare March the official month to celebrate middle level education. The key messages to celebrate “Middle Level Education Month” are:

  • The importance of parents being knowledgeable about young adolescents and being actively involved in their lives;
  • The understanding that healthy bodies plus healthy minds equal healthy young adolescents;
  • The realization that the education young adolescents experience during this formative period of life will, in large measure, determine the future for all citizens; and
  • The knowledge that every young adolescent should have the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and aspirations, and post-secondary education should be a possibility for all.

New Canaan exemplifies what it means to provide the best education possible and Saxe Middle School is proud to be able to play a critical role in the overall educational journey that our students make. Thank you for your continued support! Feel free to check out #MLEM and more information/resources at:  http://www.amle.org/

Tri-State Visit

New Canaan Public Schools has been a member of the Tri-State Consortium for many years. The “Tri-State Consortium,” simply called “Tri-State,” is a learning community of high-performing school districts across the tri-state region (CT/NY/NJ) that are committed to continuous improvement and learning through study groups, tri-annual visits, consultancies, and other learning opportunities. The visits, which happen every few years, are guided peer review opportunities that provide districts with feedback and insight centered around an area of focus the district chooses. 

On March 8th, 9th, and 10th, NCPS will be hosting a visit where administrators and staff from other districts will join us and gather input on our essential question: To what extent is our intentional commitment to wellbeing embedded in our school communities and practices? We chose this question because of all the work we have done on Social Academic, and Personal Learning, Emotional Intelligence, and the overall wellbeing of our students and staff. In order to give us feedback on our question, the team will be visiting classrooms K-12, interviewing teachers, talking with students, interviewing parents, and reviewing evidence. Our commitment to wellbeing has been a school community effort, and we are proud of all that we have done for our students. The team will provide us feedback on our progress, and suggest ideas for future growth. We wanted to keep you informed in case your child talks about people visiting their classrooms or asking them questions. After we receive the report, we will share the findings at a Board of Education Meeting.

Happy Trails to Carl Boccadoro!

Our Saxe custodian, Carl Boccadoro, officially retired on February 28, 2023 after 36.5 years of service to New Canaan Public Schools. He also participated in Colonial Day with the 5th Grade for the past 16 years.  Carl is looking forward to pursuing his historical hobbies with Revolutionary War reenactments and enjoying his time with family. We wish him luck on his future endeavors! (Check out more pictures and an awesome musical tribute/performance


6th-grade students on both the Blue and Red teams are currently trying to solve the Mystery of the Cape Cod Car. Using stream tables, students are attempting to recreate and identify which type of erosion caused the overnight event.

Check out the video of erosion in action. “It’s pulling the sand out, like at a real beach…”. Real life experiential learning in Saxe Science today! 

First Full Snow Day of 2022-23!

Check out the recent story in The New Canaanite:

Families, Kids Flock to Waveny for Sledding on Snow Day

L-R: Mary Ellen Dolan, Cailin Prostor and Natalie Kenin enjoy an afternoon of sledding at Waveny, on Feb. 28, 2023. Credit: Michael Dinan

And, here are bunches of our Saxe students (and, some Dogs of Saxe) making the most of the day and being their best snow day selves!

In the News

Claire Jan, Yume Duncan, and Julia Owsiany from 6th grade and Niina Duncan from 5th grade took home Gold at Boston Nike Volleyball Festival last weekend in 12USA division from twenty four teams. The team won 8 matches without a dropped set. Congrats, girls!

Congratulations to 8th-grader, Yeva Pankova on her recent success in the International New York Dance Festival. There were over 11,000 entries and Yeva earned the title of “Champion” in her division. Congratulations, Yeva!

High School Orientation

On Thursday March 3rd, New Canaan High School faculty and staff welcomed all 8th grade students and their families into the building. During the orientation evening, they had the opportunity to learn more about the variety of programs at New Canaan High School. The high school scheduled four 20-minute sessions so everyone had the opportunity to learn about different instructional disciplines and the particular academic subjects within that program, as well as the content, expectations, and commitments involved with each of the freshman year options. 

Public Service Announcement

Are Smelling Salts Safe?

We want to alert parents to a growing trend that is concerning.  The controversial use of smelling salts in professional sports has trickled down to our youth.   Smelling salts are a chemical compound of ammonia carbonate and perfume.  The ammonia directly irritates the nasal and lung membranes when sniffed and elicits a noxious reflex causing the heart to beat faster after a deep inhalation.  Smelling salts should be used in limited situations under the guidance of a health professional.

Athletes use them believing they will keep them more alert.  Fifty years ago smelling salts were popular in boxing to counteract the effects of head trauma.  Their use was banned because of the danger of a jerking response in someone with a head or neck injury. 

 Dr. Mike T. Nelson of the American College of Sports Medicine shares the following.

“Smelling salts have been around since the 13th century. They are available at nearly every major online retailer and some brick-and-mortar drug stores. They’re affordable, and they are not banned by the major pro sports leagues, the NCAA or high school athletic associations. All of that could lead you to think that smelling salts are perfectly safe, but that’s not necessarily the case. Although no studies have proved they are dangerous, no studies have proved they’re extremely safe either. Pro athletes might be able to get away with using them, but they are probably not a good idea for younger athletes.” 

Mike Reinold, physical therapist and former Head Athletic Trainer for the Boston Red Sox, echoes that sentiment. He says, “It’s essentially ammonia. I wouldn’t suggest kids sniff gas just to get amped up.”

Janet Reed, District Nursing Supervisor

Supporting NCHS/NCSF

Don’t miss out on the 2023 NCSF Color Drop (for a tremendous cause)!

Tweet Street

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

Welcome back, Saxe! Hope everyone had a great snow day and is enjoying the beautiful snow-covered views that we have not had a chance to see yet this winter! Have a great day, all! 

A little sunshine after a snow day! 

We said farewell to Carl today, after 36.5 years, as a custodian at Saxe. What a wonderful surprise to see Saxe Music students honor Carl with an amazing rendition of  “Happy Trails” (click to check out the video)! Thanks to Ms. Rosen & Ms Sagerstrand for creating this special moment & bravo to our students!

This video/Tweet even got picked up as a “favorite Tweet of the week” by the New Canaanite!

Photo credit: Ms. Beltran

We will miss seeing him each morning and know he’ll be back for colonial day!

Congratulations to retiring Saxe Custodian Carl, on his retirement this week! Thank you for your 36.5 years of service to the Saxe community – you are appreciated and you will be missed!

PS – That didn’t take long to switch over to a “visitor” badge 

7th-Grade met in the auditorium today to revisit norms,  expectations, & being our best selves for each other and our entire Saxe Community!

Students using self assessment and partner work to support their math thinking and understanding! 

Mrs. Beltran leading the 7th grade leadership meeting. Excited to be working with such an amazing group of students.

This group of Saxe Lower Division students starts their day (just about every day!) with some fresh air & activity with friends. What a great combo!

What a terrific group of students! The 7th-grade Leadership Team is destined to do great things here at Saxe. Thanks to Ms. Beltran & Mr. Bedard for leading the way. We appreciate the team’s collaboration & commitment to our school community!

Trialing catapults in this Saxe Science lab. A lot of variables to consider for optimal range! Trial A and Trial B. Did that one make a basket?! (click to check out the videos)

Good discussion on the Dimensions of Health in Health Ed class today!

Taking care of the Saxe Trout by checking the chemical balance in the water system. Great learning experience for our students (&, the trout appreciate it)!

March is Middle Level Education Month. We look forward to celebrating all that makes this phase of our student’s lives special! Thanks and kudos go out to all who work with this amazing age-group – you are making a difference!

Have a great week, see you next Friday!

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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