16 Mar

Kathy’s Message


Starting today at 12:00 PM, you 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 noted at the end of my note here, on how to access this report.


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 SaL (Student as Learner) traits. (For more about the SaL traits click here or visit www.d-e.org/values.


You should find evidence of at least one SaL trait 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 at the top of this issue of MS Messages, you’ll find photos of our Grade 8 students performing spoken word and poetry in the annual CoffeeHouse, always a fun MS tradition.  Also you’ll enjoy photos from our  ‘WalkAThon’ around Leggett Field  (find details in the Health & Wellness update).


I also hope your family finds time to enjoy each other, create new memories, and try something new over Spring Break.


Hug your child, and Go Bulldogs!

Kathy Christoph
MS Principal
Instructions to Access Your Child’s Spring Interim 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.
16 Mar

Grade Level Updates

In the weeks leading up to the spring break, the sixth graders have been busy on lots of new and exciting curriculum. In Social Studies, students are working in teams of four to plan and create a poster depicting 1400 years of Greek History. First the students choose one of four topics to study – a General Timeline; the Persian Wars; Literature; and Maths, Science, and Philosophy. Then, each of those students will take turns teaching their group about their topic. Finally, the students will plan out how to show all the things they have learned on one, giant poster-sized timeline. In English, students finished reading Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry this week. After tracking the themes of power and coming of age, the students are working on their first analytical essay. Class instruction is focused on teaching the format and foundation for longer analytical pieces. Students are focusing on crafting a clear thesis statement, finding solid evidence to support their main ideas, and then developing their analysis to support their opinions. The students will be drafting, revising, and peer editing their essays before spring break.

In science, students have started the robotics unit. Students are using Lego EV3 blocks and Legos to engineer and program a robot to achieve certain objectives in teams of 2 or 3 students. Students are creating their own design to accomplish tasks, such as: getting the robots to move, robots to move a block, and navigate a road course. In Math 6, students continue to work on fractions, solving problems with mixed operations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, while following the rules for order of operations. In the Advanced Math 6 classes, students finished a fraction unit on solving problems with mixed operations while following the rules for order of operations. At the same time, the students have been continuing to work on variables, terms and expressions in algebra. Finally, the Hyper Math class has been working on three things: linear functions, data analysis and parabolas. In data analysis, students are combining their knowledge of linear functions with their spreadsheeting skills to determine how accurate their approximations are. Percent error is a very important tool for us in this endeavor.

Grade 7 is finishing up with their cross-curricular UN Sustainable Development Goals PBL unit as spring break approaches.  In Social Studies, students are working on their TED Talks which will explore the issue students researched related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students have been viewing TED Talk examples and will deliver their own similar Talk on the issue that interested them.  In English, students are writing a feature article based on their research related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Articles will be published on a class website. The ADV Math class has completed their unit on graphs, which were incorporated into their feature articles in English.  Now students are moving into the study of proportions including dimensional analysis and percent. Students are also completing an activity called “Capture/ Recapture” to experience real world examples. Lastly in Science, students have wrapped up the UN Sustainable Goals unit with a presentation on their STEM challenges in class.  They are working on a cell unit. Students just finished a lab where they explored the difference between onion and elodea plant cells under the microscope.

Our African Drummers in Grades 7 and 8 were the featured musicians at the annual Lower School West African Drumming Assembly. It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their newly acquired skills and for both the lower school youngsters and our middle school youngsters  to experience the bonding that energized listening and synchronized heartbeats create.

Have a few minutes? If so, check out the videos from the Domino Rally event on the “BLIMP” (library blog).

16 Mar

Health & Wellness Week

The students in these photos are in a Health and Wellness class learning about the “6 essential nutrients.”  We began this nutrition thread in the garden in the fall (I think I sent you pix then, but can resend if you like) with students harvesting all kinds of vegetables and discussing their nutritional value.  In this lesson, students review the nutrients they learned about and come to understand the role they play in the body’s functioning.  At the same time, we take one example — apples (not our own garden apples this year, but we just planted our trees so hope they WILL be our own when we do this next year) — and engage in a cooking activity while talking about the essential nutrients in this example plant.

Despite some snow days we were still able to enjoy a “Wellness Week Walkathon” on Leggett Field during “D-E Health and Wellness Week”  last week.  For a quick video of the Walkathon, a day in which Mother Nature smiled upon us all click here.