14 Oct

MS Parent Blog. Oct 14, 2015

Folks,

What a fantastic start to the school year we’ve had! From Orientation activities, classes, field trips, assemblies and all things in-between, your children are engaged and engrossed in Life at D-E.  By this time, most everyone can read their schedules, open their lockers, traverse the campus and find their friends at lunch. And the teachers are having a blast, working with your children, learning their particular strengths and planning for some wonderful opportunities in the upcoming weeks.

A few highlights:

We begin each week valuing the sense of community with a gathering in Schenck Auditorium for our Morning Meetings.  I usually begin with a brainteaser or short video. (Parents, this is a good conversation starter for Monday evenings!) We celebrate the birthdays of our students and faculty and then move on to various subjects.  In the short time we’ve had together, we’ve talked about emergency/safety procedures, our dress code, and the Middle School Honor Code. This past Monday, we even held our traditional pumpkin patch whereby each HomeBase chooses a pumpkin that they’ll decorate.

On Thursday mornings, we meet as an entire Middle School again, with our Assembly Program, which, like the Morning Meeting, aims to create, nurture and sustain a sense of community and cohesiveness.  Through the various presentations and speakers, we affirm our School’s identity and aspirations. Along the way, we have shared experiences, delve into deep topics, and enjoy a good laugh.  In the three assemblies this year, we’ve hosted two local politicians (who are also alums), engaged in our traditional Community of Readers, and explored the meaning of our School Mission, Portrait of a Graduate and Portrait of a Student. This week, we learn about Hispanic Heritage, thanks to the good work of Clinton Carbon, our Director of Multi Cultural Affairs.

Our 6th grade Overnight trip and our 7th grade Overnight trips were wonderfully successful! These trips provide experiences that just can’t be replicated in classrooms. We get to see kids take risks, move out of their comfort zones, and try new things. It’s so very rewarding to see students being drawn in, finding their interests resonating with others, reveling in asking deep questions, or seeing that there are interesting paths to the future. What wonderful gifts to give to children!

The team of 6th grade Teachers took on a massive re-working of the 6th grade Overnight this year. The results were fabulous! We left on Thursday morning and traveled to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, where we spent the night among the sea animals. On the way up, we stopped at Sono Field House and engaged in some wonderful team building and problem-solving activities which included the popular rock-climbing wall.  On the way home, we explored the ecosystem of Sherwood Island State Park and visited the nature sanctuary.

Here are photos from the 6th grade trip:

The 7th grade students and teachers headed off to Shelter Island for three days where the inclement weather made for some chilly days! Our intrepid explorers didn’t let the weather stop them, though, and the days and nights were filled with various experiences that expanded their understanding, knowledge, and relationships with one another. The rain held off on day one, so team-building and problem-solving activities were conducted. Over the next two days, the students visited—and worked at—the Cornell Research Center. They also helped the local oyster fishermen with their research by measuring and recording data about oysters. On the way home, they stopped at a local pumpkin patch and picked out 30 perfect pumpkins for our HomeBase decorating contest!

Here are photos from the 7th grade trip.

The 8th graders started out the year by working with the theme of Exploration.  Their first field trip of the year was to the Buehler Challenger and Science Center where creative problem-solving and space station simulations filled the day. Back on campus, the theme has played out in all their classes, as they’re exploring mathematical expressions in math, our country’s drive for independence in social studies, the laws of gravity and effects on the planets in science, and exploration of social and cultural norms in English.

Photos of 8th grade trip

Students have each received a copy of our Middle School Student Handbook this week.  Mrs. Garcia did quite a humorous job of introducing the basic values at Morning Meeting, and over the next week or two, each HomeBase advisor will review relevant sections with the children. Please take a few moments to review the handbook with your child; it contains much good information.  The handbook is always available on our web site; click here.

Wow; what a fantastic turnout for our Back to School Event! Thank you for valuing your child’s education by spending the evening with us and learning more about our Middle School curriculum. I hope you left with a better understanding of how our program meets the needs of young adolescents in a variety of ways. And when you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us; strong home-school partnerships help our children succeed.

Hug your child, and Go Bulldogs!

Kathy Christoph