17 Mar

Annual Health and Wellness Week

Our Middle School enjoyed the invigorating experience as we participated in the 2017 version of the “Annual Health and Wellness Week,” with the theme of  “Building A Stronger Community.”

  • The week’s Opening Ceremonies introduced the focus and schedule of various festivities during our Monday Morning Meeting. Dwight-Englewood’s executive chef, Luke Kuchavik and Director of Dining Services, Terri Pisack, shared the importance of eating good, nutritious, and healthy food with portion control. Informative “Healthy Eating” posters were then unveiled, which demonstrated the importance of drinking water as well as “Pre-and Post-Exercise Nutrition.” The assembly commenced with a teacher vs. student push-up contest.
  • Tips for “Healthy Living” were sent to each teacher and student via email from our Middle/Upper School Nurse, Sara Schulman and Coach Muller throughout the week.
  • Each day during recess, there were “Teacher vs. Student Competitions.” The challenges included activities such as jump roping, planks, the iron cross and wall-sits. Some students enjoyed “The Quiet Zone” meditation session during Tuesday’s recess, and every HomeBase and Upper School Advisory Groups participated in a Walk-a-Thon during the home base period.
  • On Wednesday, each HomeBase took part in playing one of two games, “Health and Wellness Jeopardy” or “Gratitude Pictionary.” It was a time of fun, group bonding, and learning some fun-facts of healthy living. The day featured a healthy meal that included grilled chicken, brown rice, vegetables, and…SMOOTHIES!!
  • Finally, on the last day, the week’s focus culminated with the “Health and Wellness Assembly” in which each MS grade level went to separate locations and experienced activities such as yoga (taught by H&W teachers, Mr. McCarthy and Ms. Wood), meditation (Mrs. Segar), and Zumba (Ms. Wittner). Everyone had a great time!!

zumba-youtubeClick here to watch the Zumba class during MS Health and Wellness Assembly.

17 Mar

Message from Kathy Christoph


I came across an article the other day where the author, Cheryl Mizerny, talked about why she loves working with middle school children. I immediately felt a strong kinship to her as she described the wonderful and often-times wacky world of working with young adolescents.

Here is an excerpt that I’d like to share with you:  “I love how middle school students are caught in between wanting to blend into the crowd and wanting to be their authentic, quirky selves. Middle school time is like dog years in terms of development and the students that enter in sixth grade barely resemble the eighth grade graduates. In between, it is fascinating to watch the endless permutations that everything – from their hairstyles to their handwriting – goes through. Because I was an awkward adolescent who never quite felt comfortable in my own skin, I empathize with what they are experiencing. I bond with the underdogs and outcasts, find that special something inside of them, and try to bring it to the forefront. I was also bullied by a couple of mean girls, so I know how treacherous it can be to navigate the complexities of popularity and friendship. Middle school kids, with all of their strange and wonderful idiosyncrasies, are my tribe.”

I LOVE this age group!

And a reminder once again to our Grade 8 families:  Our Move-Up Ceremony at the end of the year, a truly memorable event for all our Grade 8’s, has been rescheduled for Thursday, June 8.  Please click here for details and additional information about this event date change, shared with you earlier this month.

Hug your child, and Go Bulldogs!   – Kathy

17 Mar

Message from Kathy Christoph


This evening, you will have access to your child’s interim comments report for the spring semester. These comments summarize months of hard work and productivity, and I hope your child feels accomplished with his/her progress. You may access the comments through the D-E website. Please see the instructions listed at the end on how to access this report.

This is the fifth of seven formal Middle School communiques to you designed to provide information about your child as a learner and a student.

  • Fall Interim Comments served as the first opportunity for the MS teachers to share their observations about your child. Those comments painted a picture of your child as a learner in the classrooms and were the basis of conversation between your child and his/her HB advisor on November 10th. These were shared with you on November 11th.
  • Fall Interim grades were shared in HomeBase with your child and released to you on November 21st. Your child, in conjunction with his/her advisor, developed a Plan of Action for the remainder of the year.
  • The December Parent-Teacher Conference provided a formal opportunity for you and your child’s teachers to share observations, data, strengths and strategies.
  • First semester grade reports were shared with your child on January 19th and with you on January 20th. It served as an objective chronicle of your child’s progress from September 2016 through January 2017.
  • Spring interim grades will be shared with your child on Thursday, April 6th in the morning, and with you in the evening.
  • In June, you will receive a grade report that will provide information about your child’s progress in the spring. It serves as a summary of your child’s progress for the 2016-2017 school year.

In addition to these formal communiques with you, your child will have a formal one-on-one conversation with his/her HomeBase advisor about the D-E SaL (Student as Learner) traits. This conversation will occur in May.

The Middle School teachers have taken great care in writing your child’s comments. The comments are written with your child as the intended audience. As you read your child’s comments, I urge you to think along several concurrent lines. First, look for overall strengths and challenges. Secondly, look for academic growth and performance. And third, look for mention of the Student as Learner traits. You should find evidence of at least one in every comment. Engage your child in a conversation about his/her perspective. Help your child set reasonable goals and develop an action plan. There is much to be gained in this process, and it will reinforce the reflection your child does here at school with his/her HomeBase advisor. Working together, we can help our children learn the skills of self-reflection, mid-point adjusting, and goal setting.

We are truly enjoying the children’s enthusiasm and their love of learning. We look forward to their continued progress this year!

In the “slider” photos above you will several photos of our students performing memorable spoken word and poetry at the Middle School Coffeehouse held earlier today.

Finally, I have been asked to pass along a reminder from the D-E Parents’ Association and Affinity Groups of their “Film, Food & Fun” event on Wednesday, April 5, at 7:00 PM in Hajjar Auditorium.  “Film, Food & Fun” will include short films that explore global diversity; delicious refreshments representative of various global cuisine, and time well spent together, “as a community of learners”.  To learn more and RSVP online click here.

I wish you and your family a wonderful Spring Break and look forward to seeing you in April.

Hug your child, and Go Bulldogs!

Kathy Christoph, MS Principal

Instructions to Access Your Child’s Comments Report 

By following the directions below, you will find your way to both the grades and comments for all classes.

  • Go to the MyD-E area of the Dwight-Englewood School website by visiting www.d-e.org and clicking on My DE at the top-right of the page.
  • Log-in to MyD-E using your assigned password or the password you established for yourself. If you need help with your password, please call Computer Services at 201-227-3177.
  • Click on your child’s name near the top of the page.
  • Click on Progress (if not already selected), then click on the current grade for your child immediately below that.
  • After selecting the grade, click on the Report Cards link in the Performance area.

You will see a link for Middle School Semester 2 Comment Form. When you click on the link, a pdf that contains your child’s progress information will open in a new window. This file can be saved to your computer or printed directly from the screen. These reports will remain viewable while your child is enrolled in the school.


17 Mar

Grade Level Updates

In the World Language classes, some of our 6th graders are learning the food vocabulary with the verbs “gustar”, “querer” and “pedir”. Our 7th graders are continuing learning some idiomatic expressions with the verb “tener que”, “venir a” and possessive pronouns. Some of our 8th graders are learning the appropriate use of direct and indirect pronouns and past tense “el pretérito.”  Others finished presenting their PBL: What do food and language have in common? Why are corn, chocolate, and potatoes so important in our diet today? It was so nice watching and hearing great information they brought about these products. Our grade Latin students are continuing to work on their PBL Unit, endangered languages, and they are working delightfully and making great progress on it. Our 8th French students are in the process of reading full-fledged short stories that combine their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The students are asked not only to be able to read and understand but also they should put their knowledge of verb tenses into practice by highlighting in various colors the verbs in the story, then transcribing them into a chart and deciding if they are regular or irregular verbs.


In 7th grade we just finished writing and performing round one of the ONE-MINUTE PLAYS and for 8th grade we are gearing up for our Spoken Word PBL Celebration with 8th grade Coffee House on Friday!


Our singers are continuing to learn and memorize music for the upcoming spring concert. They are excited to finalize our animation drawings to start the next process of transferring them to animation paper and tee shirts.

Studio Art 6

We will be kicking off our PBL unit with the film “Urbanized”; students will visit their favorite sites on campus they voted for, engage in discussions about form, function and community. Students were asked to look for a building or site that needs improvement in their own community and document it in their sketchbooks.

Studio Art 7

Students are completing their Coloring Book Pages as their PBL. We are in communication with three different hospitals and hope that one or all will decide to use the pdf’s in their Art Therapy programs with patients. Also, parents, family and friends look for printed copies at the Spring Arts Festival to color and/or take home!

17 Mar

Our Community of Learners

HomeBase advisors are diligently working this week writing comments to the students.  The comments include the SAL (Student as Learner) traits that our students are familiar with and that we focus on both in the classroom and in HomeBase.  Students will have a chance to read and reflect on their comments prior to Spring Break.  After noting their areas of strength and areas to focus on, students then have an opportunity to talk to their HomeBase advisor and touch upon their goals for the remainder of the year.  Upon returning from Spring Break, our HomeBase groups will begin their lessons on Mindset.  All three grades will have conversations, watch videos and participate in activities revolving around Growth vs. Fixed Mindset.  Students will understand when they have fixed mindsets and when they have growth mindsets.  They will be challenged to find areas where they want to grow and how they go about doing so.

17 Mar

Tech Tips: Free books (and more) from anywhere

Contributed by Bill Campbell, Academic Technology Director

Spring Break is right around the corner so some D-E Middle School students may have more unscheduled time available than usual during those two weeks. Reading for pleasure is a good way to fill some time, and you don’t have to go to a bookstore or the library to grab a book.  Any D-E student can borrow an eBook for free from the D-E Imperatore Library. (A similar service is also available at most municipal libraries in Bergen County and the New York Public Library if you have a valid library card for those libraries.)  The D-E Library uses the OverDrive service for this, and the OverDrive app is recommended (and approved) for pleasure reading on a D-E iPad. In addition, eBooks can be read on any iPhone, Android phone, or Amazon Kindle. Directions for how to borrow a book to read on a variety of devices via the OverDrive service are available at https://goo.gl/JYVajq. Look under the “Borrowing eBooks” section. D-E students can log into the D-E library services using a My DE username (with no @d-e.org) and My DE password.

For your public library, you usually use your library card number, but see your local library for more information. Here are links to the eBook information pages for a few: Bergen County Cooperative Library System (includes most Bergen County municipal libraries and a few in Essex, Hudson, and Passaic Counties, too), New York Public Library, Rockland and Orange County libraries, and Westchester County libraries.

In addition to eBooks for reading, many public libraries also have electronic copies of print magazines, downloadable audiobooks, music albums, and even streaming movies available for free with a valid library card without leaving your home. See the links above to explore what your local library system has to offer.

Happy reading!

06 Mar

Grade Level Updates

8th Grade: The 8th grade English teachers have rolled out a new unit on Ad Rhetoric. Students will examine explicit and implicit rhetoric through the visual and verbal elements in advertisements.  For the final project students will rebrand an advertisement in the hopes of making the brand/product more honest, ethical, and/or empowering. In math class 8th graders have been brushing up their arithmetic through reviewing solving equations and inequalities. In addition the technology specialist will be presenting Excel on the iPad to classes in preparation for the Sci-tube projects in the spring.  Before students begin these projects they will investigate plate tectonics in science class. This unit encompasses earthquakes, volcanoes, and the model of why our earth looks the way it does. Finally, in 8th grade History we are continuing work on understanding the causes and outcomes of the Civil War with a specific focus on Abraham Lincoln’s words. Analyzing important primary documents like Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, and The Gettysburg Address will help students gain a better understanding of the powers of the presidency.

I am Malala7th Grade: In social studies, students are researching and articles on the United Nations Global Goals and reading and discussing one of the following book: I am Malala, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, I Will Always Write Back, and Mountains Beyond Mountains. By the end of the unit students will understand the concept of sustainable development and be able to answer the unit question: Are moving towards a better world?

In math 7, the students are finishing the data unit.  We have been hard at work creating histograms, bar graphs, and circle grade both in Excel on the iPad and on paper.  Hyper 7 has been exploring quadratic functions in all of its forms and learning its connection to the parabolic curve.  Advanced 7 has been exploring how to collect, manipulate, organize, display, and analyze data in preparation for their article about UN goals.

Science has begun the study of pill bugs through experimental design.  We will be conducting experiments and writing a lab report from now until Spring break.  Last week in English, Mrs. Dana Stangel-Plowe – an upper school English teacher and poet – visited our classroom to help us kick-off our poetry unit. This week students are continuing to work on writing their own original poems, exploring the question: What can we do with poetry?

roll of thunder hear my cry6th Grade: With three weeks before March spring break, the sixth grade students are fully immersed in their current units. In math 6, students are working on order of operations problems. They are solving problems involving all four operations with fractions and parentheses. Then, they will move into the next part of the unit where they will solve word problems with fractions. Advanced 6 math continues to work on problem sets. They recently introduced absolute value problems to their current list of threads. The Hyper 6 class are Graphing Linear Equations and learning how to write equations of lines. They are also trying to recall the trigonometry that they learned first semester. Finally, they have started a new project: what factors influence the period of a pendulum? In science, students are learning about Human Anatomy and comparing and contrasting human anatomy with other living organisms. Students will be completing an assignment linking art and science called the “Human” X-ray drawing. This assignment and other work will lead up to the frog dissection before spring break. In social studies, students are presenting as the Greek God or Goddess of his or her choice and being evaluated on expectations that we developed as a class. When they are done, they will be creating a timeline of Greek history, which the students will complete in collaborative groups. In English, the students are still reading Mildred Taylor’s novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. They are tracking two themes — coming of age and power — and they will be analyzing the theme of their choice in their first analytical essay. They will be workshopping and revising this essay in class over the next two weeks. It promises to be a busy and exciting month!

06 Mar

Our Community of Learners

Well, the weather is starting to get warmer, the grass is getting just a little bit greener, and the birds are starting to begin their pilgrimage back to the North for the Spring… and do you know what that means? You’re right!  It’s time for the “2017 Health and Wellness Week!”

This year’s “Health and Wellness Week” will take place the week of March 6-9. The theme of the week is “Building A Stronger Community”

The week will be chock-full of activities and contest that are planned for students and teachers alike, to learn more about wellness, to have a good time, and to test one’s fitness levels. Take a look:

Monday, March 6

  • Morning Meeting – Opening Ceremonies
    •  Introduction and Overview of the week
    •  New Health Posters will be unveiled
    •  Teacher vs. Student Push-Up Competition
    •  H&W Week Video
    •  Schedule of the Week’s Festivities)
  • Recess: Teacher vs. Student Challenge #1: Jump Ropes

Tuesday, March 7

  • Home Base Activity: Walk-A-Thon – around campus
  • The Quiet Zone
  • Recess: Teacher vs. Student Challenge #2: Planks

Wednesday, March 8

  • Home Base Activity: Choice of “H&W Jeopardy” or “Gratitude Pictionary”
  • Dining Room will be serving “Healthy Meal of the Week” – grilled chicken, brown rice, vegetables… and… SMOOTHIES!!!)
  • Recess: Teacher vs. Student Challenge #3: Iron Cross

Thursday, March 9

  • Health and Wellness Assembly
    •  6th Grade will be doing Zumba and yoga
    •  7th Grade will be doing meditation and Zumba
    •  8th Grade will be doing yoga and meditation
  • Recess: Teacher vs. Student Challenge #4: Wall Sit

videoClick to watch a scene from Health and Wellness Week

06 Mar

Deans’ Message: Spring Break & Managing Planned Absences


Parents planning holiday travel should be aware that the last day before spring break, March 17th, and the first day back, on April 3rd, are filled with important classes and activities for students in all three middle-school grades. We ask parents to make every effort to have their children in school for the entire day on both days.

If your holiday plans have already been made and require that students miss class time before or after the holidays, please contact your child’s dean as soon as possible.  These absences will be “absences without extensions” except in rare circumstances and so require special planning with which your child’s dean can help you. We also ask parents to understand that it is not possible for teachers to recreate classroom experiences, prepare special packets of work, or re-teach lessons missed due to planned absences around the holidays.

We at school recognize that sometimes planned absences must happen — special family gatherings, important sporting competitions and so on sometimes take precedence in a student’s life — and parents need to make those decisions.   However, we ask that you let us know a week in advance of a planned absence by reaching out to your class dean. The process of planning, managing, and catching up after unavoidable absences is more smoothly accomplished when we all work together effectively. An e-mail or phone call from a parent — not the student himself in middle school — will start things off in the right direction.

aWhen you let us know of your plans, the dean will pass along to the student a “Planned Absence Form” that s/he can use to help note assignments and classwork that need to be completed and will alert the appropriate HomeBase teacher.  The HomeBase teacher will be available to coach the student on how to connect with his or her teachers and create a schedule for making up work — getting as much done before the absence as possible and making specific arrangements for work to be submitted electronically or upon the student’s return. If extensions are permitted, the HomeBase teacher can coach a student in how to ask for these. Now that the students are growing older, they are expected to take responsibility, with support from you and the HomeBase teacher, for finding out what they will be missing, asking any questions of the appropriate teachers and managing the completion and timely delivery of assignments and classwork.

Our first objective in creating attendance records and procedures is to ensure students’ safety by keeping track of your children when they are on campus. Our second objective is to try to reduce the burden that playing catch-up after planned absences places on both students and teachers. In middle school, we also want to help students learn how to take increasingly independent responsibility for effectively managing their learning and catch-up workload in the case of absence.  Planning the timing of vacations and absences with the school calendar in mind, reaching out to your class dean a week ahead of a planned absence, and supporting your child in using the “Planned Absence Form” and other strategies for time and task management are ways families can support us in that final objective — and help your youngster use any necessary absences as learning opportunities rather than obstacles to learning.