18 Sep

From Jonathan Davis, MS Principal

Greetings Middle School Families,

We are working on the finishing touches in preparation to host all of you this week.  Middle School Back to School Night is Thursday, September 20, from 6:30-9:15. Please come, meet your student’s teachers, and get a small sampling of what life is like in the Middle School.  This adults-only event is also a great way to connect with your fellow parents.  You need to know your student’s HomeBase advisor, but we will have all of the other needed information and directions.

Please plan to arrive a bit early: There will be light appetizers and drinks starting at 6:00 in the Schenck Auditorium Lobby.  Also at 6:00 in Umpleby, Mr. Egan will be presenting on the D-E 360° International program’s Spring Break 2019 Peru trip that is open to all interested 8th graders. Then, as part of a “soft start” at 6:15 in the Auditorium, Grade 8 Dean Mr. Aitken will also be presenting on the Discovery classes. 

For a Back to School Night parking map click here; additional details are noted below, and we’ll look forward to seeing you this Thursday evening! 

Tech Tip of the Week:

Seemingly every week there are new apps and games that seem to pop up. The kids know about them and want them, and of course ask to get them at the time when you are least prepared to answer (at least that’s how it is in my house!). Fortunately, there is a great parent resource at Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org). Common Sense Media not only rates movies and TV shows, but also apps and games. It describes the upside and downside of them and allows you to make an informed choice for your student. If you’ve never used it, consider adding it to your bookmarks.

Upcoming Calendar of Events:

  • Thursday 9/20 – Back to School Night 6:00 PM (see below for additional details.) 
  • Friday 9/21 – D-E Parents’ Association All-Volunteer Kick-Off & Volunteer Fair: 8:15 AM Clinton Inn, Tenafly (For details click here.)
  • Saturday 9/22 – Kraut’s Running of the Bulldogs (You can still register the day-of, starting at 9:30 AM on Graham Field. For event details click here. )
  • Wednesday 9/26 to Friday 9/28 – 7th and 8th grade overnight trips
  • Thursday 9/27 to Friday 9/28 – 6th grade overnight trips

I’ve spoken with the Middle Schoolers about making Fridays a D-E Bulldog spirit day.  Please encourage your students to wear their various D-E shirts, jackets, etc. to school on Fridays.

The Washington Post had a thought provoking article about parenting Middle School aged students.  I think reading Treat Middle School Like a Dress Rehearsal

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/08/31/to-raise-independent-kids-treat-middle-school-like-a-dress-rehearsal-for-life/?utm_term=.f4d5fe33b5fc&wpisrc=nl_parent&wpmm=1) is worth your time.

See you on campus soon!


Jonathan Davis

MS Principal

18 Sep

Back to School Night: Thursday, Sept. 20

Our annual MS Back to School Night is this Thursday, September 20, from 6:00 – 9:15 PM. Join us for the evening to meet your child’s teachers, learn more about the curriculum, and discover how we bring the School Mission to Life. Our schedule is as follows:

  • 6:00:  Schenck Auditorium Lobby: Light appetizers and drinks will be available.
  • 6:00: Umpleby Hall: Mr. Egan presents information about the D-E 360° International program’s Peru Spring Break 2019 Trip for Grade 8 parents/guardians who are interested in this trip for their child(ren).
  • 6: 15: Schenck Auditorium: Grade 8 Dean Mr. Aitken presents an informal, info. presentation about Discovery classes.
  • 6:30: Schenck Auditorium—Welcome remarks with MS Principal Jonathan Davis
  • 7:45: HomeBase—Please know the name of your child’s HomeBase teacher and the location of their room. You will receive your schedule for the evening at this time.
  • 8:00-9:15: Classes

We recognize this is a long evening. However, we know that meeting and hearing from a full complement of your child’s teachers is important to you. By the end of the evening, you should have a more complete picture of the full scope of our multi-faceted program.

If you would like to give us feedback on the evening, please return a feedback form (found at the Welcome Table.)

18 Sep

Returning Books

If you would like to return any books that were ordered from MBS Direct, you may bring them to the School Store (first floor of Klein Building) by Wednesday, September 26. We will ship them to MBS and a refund will be issued on your credit card. Please include the packing slip that accompanied your order. Contact Joan Millien at 201-227-3130 or millij@d-e.org if you have further questions.

07 Sep

Message from Jonathan Davis, MS Principal

Greetings Middle School Families,

It has been a whirlwind first three days in the Middle School.  I’ve enjoyed having the positive energy of the students around the building, as it was too quiet by the end of the summer.  I also appreciate the students’ patience with me as I try to learn all of their names as quickly as possible!

At the Middle School afternoon assembly on Tuesday, I talked to the students about my two school rules: be nice & do the right thing.  While these two guidelines are easy to remember, they can be hard for students in this age group to follow consistently.  I appreciate your help in re-enforcing to your student the importance of being nice to others and stepping up to do the right thing.  This is a passion of mine, and you’ll be hearing more from me about it during the year.

I also want to pass on a few calendar reminders before the week ends.

First, our New Parent Orientation is next Wednesday, September 12, from 7:00-9:00 in Hajjar Auditorium (all 6th grade families because you are new to the MS, and all new 7’s and 8’s).  For details click here or see the note below.

Secondly, Middle School Back to School Night is Thursday, September 20, from 6:30-9:15.  Please come, meet your student’s teachers, and get a small sampling of what life is like in the Middle School.

Finally, Middle School Picture Day is Wednesday, September 12.  Be aware that this is a big day for many students, as they want the yearbook photo to be just right. Unless your child is wearing a necktie, our photographer suggests they avoid wearing white shirts. To print/download the MS Picture Day 2018 Order Form (PDF) please click here and have your child(ren) bring their completed form with them. This form is also available on the Start of School website page at www.d-e.org/startMS.

See you around campus soon!


Jonathan Davis

MS Principal

07 Sep

New Parent Orientation Wed., Sept. 12

To All Parents New to the Middle School Division:

Please join the Middle School Principal, your class Dean, and the Director of Technology for an informative evening. We will be discussing setting up for success, staying in touch, using the D-E Parent Portal, and important details about student schedules and procedures.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Hajjar Auditorium

We look forward to seeing you!

Light refreshments will be served


07 Sep

Join Us! 4th Annual Kraut Run Sat., Sept. 22

4th Annual Kraut’s Running of the Bulldogs

Saturday, September 22, 2018 10:00 AM

Run the 5K or enjoy the Fun Run around the D-E campus. Bring your fellow students, alumni, friends, and family to this special annual event held in memory of former faculty member and coach Jerald Krauthamer.

Click here to register or for more information. To print/download an informational flyer (PDF) please click here$20 plus a small registration fee per participant.

Questions? Email Director of Alumni, Maria Sanchez Gardner ’78 at sanchm@d-e.org.

Must register by Thursday, September 13 to receive a shirt.

07 Sep

Parent Ed. Event with Dr. Patricia Brown Wed., Sept. 26

D-E Parents’ Association proudly presents Dr. Patricia Brown

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 7 PM in Hajjar Auditorium

In this dynamic talk by Child Psychiatrist and D-E Parent, Dr. Patricia Brown, you will gain tools to understand, talk with, and build relationships with your teenager. Dr. Brown will share secrets from several parenting books and her clinical work with tweens/teens and families that will be eye-opening yet extremely helpful. If you want to know why your tweens/teen won’t talk to you, why s/he isn’t motivated, or why you can’t get him/her to do what you want them to do, then THIS TALK IS FOR YOU. You will not want to miss it!

This presentation will provide:

  • Facts about the teen brain and behaviors including impulsivity, lying, and experimentation with alcohol and drugs
  • Positive solutions for parents which can be implemented immediately
  • Dynamic Q&A session
  • Light refreshments

Hurry, space is limited! For more information or to RSVP visit pa.d-e.org


18 Jun

Grade 8 Updates

From Mr. Aitkin: Our 8th graders are wrapping up an exciting year of growth, leadership, fun and of course learning!  I think back to our SEEK trips in September and just how far this group has come.  Whether through their tremendous commitment to committees, events, PBLs, field trips or just their everyday routines, the class of 2022 has truly excelled when it comes to setting the right tone for our Middle School.  We celebrated together at field day with the entire middle school, but I really enjoyed our day together on Wednesday where we had several fun grade activities planned.  It was the last time we were together in that grouping, before they move on to the Upper School.  This year will be an especially hard one for me as I wrestle with saying goodbye to this terrific group but I am comforted knowing they will go on to do great things and they will make our entire school community stronger. I can say with confidence that the class of 2022 is ready for the Upper School and I wish them the best of luck!

The 8th grade is finishing the year in grand style and preparing to move on to the Upper School.  Math and Science classes met in the STEM building for the annual viewing of the SciTube presentations, and in addition to showcasing their experiments, students fielded questions from peers and members of the Science department. In history class students continue to work on Holocaust and Civil Rights projects. These units are meant to define the difference between a bystander and an upstander with the hope students will one day feel emboldened to participate in our democracy. Finally, in English, students are finishing Romeo Juliet by exploring who or what is really to blame for the deaths of the two young protagonists. Overall, this year’s 8th grade has been eager to learn and willing to work. Their teachers will miss them as a group and wish them the best of luck in the years ahead.

18 Jun

Grade 7 Updates

From Ms. Traub: The start of this this year was very exciting with 21 new students joining the D-E 7th grade. From Orientation week to our overnight on Shelter Island, the students made new friends and learned the stories of each other. Participating in the Water PBL, simulating Refugees spread out across campus, acting out A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and completing many other projects, the students were challenged to use their research and collaborative skills, creativity and perseverance, to solve real world problems. With their many talents in and out of the classroom, the class of 2023 is ready to be the leaders of the Middle School next year.

The seventh grade is quickly coming to a close. Students in English spent the last weeks rehearsing scenes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and successfully performed for the seventh grade Thursday. Social studies classes completed writing and illustrating their refugee books and read them to the DE 3rd graders. Next, students will create a video of themselves reading their book and reflecting on the project, and a small group of students will read and discuss their books with a local school. The science students are putting their STEM skills to the test using recently mastered experimental design skills to create paper airplanes.  Students tested paper type this week, next week they will test shape.  Advanced math played a lively round of KAHOOT to wrap up the year.  The competition in problem solving was fierce.  Mr. Jung’s CP classes held their UNICEF festival Tuesday, it was a great success.  The Hyper classes demonstrated coding during the activity.  The festival raised a good amount of money to help refugee children.

18 Jun

Grade 6 Updates

From Ms. Urbanowski: What a tremendous year of growth it has been for the class of 2024. Beginning middle school is a significant event in our children’s lives.  When they enter 6th grade, they step over the threshold of a time and place where they will develop their identities and independence, take on the social and organizational challenges of a larger world, and experience an environment of intellectual and creative opportunities arranged on a steady incline toward the high school construct.  Your children have taken all this on with a sense of possibility and purpose — from “flipping the mat” at the overnight trip to “the beast” on the penultimate day of school, they have worked to communicate and collaborate well, building teamwork and group skills.  They have wrestled successfully with the logistical and intellectual challenges of open-ended and long-term projects from Egypt Day to the Experimental Design Fair and the earthship challenge, have mastered any nervousness with their many oral presentations, have figured out systems for managing homework, materials and complex schedules, and have built academic skills across the curriculum.  In short, they have made a success of it all!  It has been such a pleasure to work alongside them, to watch them all grow this year, and to see how they have embraced the launch of their middle school years.  I can’t wait to see what they will do in 7th grade.

As your children ramp up to return to school in the fall, finish their required summer reading and math assignments (see the summer mailing for details), please remind them to prepare their Levenger and ipads for another year by cleaning them out, removing links, apps and shortcuts not related to school, and freeing up memory by erasing non-school videos and pictures.  In the meanwhile, I wish them all, and you, a happy summer of diverse experiences to complement all the work of this past wonderful academic year.

The sixth graders have been very busy wrapping up the end of the year. An important culminating experience took place on May 23, when the 6th Graders presented their Experimental Design Projects to a public audience that included parents, students, and faculty. Students really enjoyed presenting their findings! This was one the capstone experiences for the 6th graders that encompasses what they have learned throughout the year in science.

In math 6, students been hard at work on an algebra unit about operations on integers. They have worked with prime numbers and prime factors, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing integers, and following order of operations. In advanced math 6, students have completed a geometry unit where they found unknown angles in problems which involve triangles and/or quadrilaterals. Students have also continued their algebra work focusing on polynomials. Finally, in hyper math 6, students are finishing up our work on quadratic equations and graphing quadratic functions. The class presented a project that they have “completed” at the MS STEM Extravaganza.

In English, students wrapped up the unit on Lions of Little Rock. Last Tuesday, each English class interviewed the author of the book, Kristen Levine, over Skype. Students enjoyed finding out more about her life, what inspired her to write the novel, and why she thinks historical fiction is so important. Then, students spent the last week working on a cumulative project. Projects include pretend social media accounts for the characters we’ve met this year, soundtracks for the novels we’ve read, and maps of the communities in the books. The students also conferenced with Mrs. Macone about their essay.

Finally, to culminate on our study of the ancient Greeks, students in social studies have been preparing for Greek Day! Students designed chariot armor, created krater-inspired black figure pottery, and practiced polis cheers to get ready for the Greek Day Games on June 6th! We look forward to seeing you there!