18 Jun

Summer Work for Students

At D-E, we believe in keeping children’s minds engaged in intellectual work. In years past, we have had required Summer Reading as a means of keeping reading skills sharp. This year, we are adding math work. In an effort to start the next mathematics year off with a solid foundation for all of our students, we would like to make summer ALEKS work mandatory for current students entering the 7th, 8th and 9th grades. Each student will be required to complete a set of ALEKS assignments given by their current year’s Mathematics teachers, due by September 1. The current teacher will monitor their students’ progress throughout the summer and will communicate this data to next year’s Mathematics teacher.

Please note that if you received specific instructions from your Dean about summer work already, above and beyond what is stated above, the ALEKS assignments are optional.


Click here for Summer Reading 2018.

For Community of Readers List, click the grade below:

25 May

13 Reasons Why

A year ago, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why generated lot of strong responses, to the content of the series, to the dramatic nature of some of the scenes, and to the way it was seen to glamorize teen suicide. It did fuel lots of positive conversations about important issues, but it was also seen by some to be inappropriate for younger adolescents.

Well, the second season of 13 Reasons Why was released last week, and so I thought to let you all know that, in case you are not already aware. Apparently this season is also dark and intense, and includes scenes that are violent in nature as well as some that show sexual violence as well.

Not that it will necessarily be as popular as the first season, but if so then we can expect many of our students to be watching this over the weekend and during the next few days. In speaking with our psychologists, we thought to remind you that our Student Support Page on the D-E website has resources for you to read if you’d like. That page can be accessed by clicking here. I also wanted to point you towards Common Sense Media, a valuable resource that has prepared several pages that might be of help with this show. You can find them by clicking here. Of course, if you’d like some specific advice or information, feel free to call us.

25 May

HomeBase Activities

HomeBase advisors and advisees have spent the last two weeks engaged in their SAL Conversations.  These reflective, one on one, conversations are a wonderful way for students to discuss with their advisors the different facets about their year as learners in the middle school.

As the year winds down, we will take some time to connect once again with our community through sharing stories with one another. Through our Humans of D-E program this year, HomeBase groups have gotten to know different members of our community firsthand.  Faculty and students alike have shared stories during our Morning Meeting times. In a final community activity, students will get the opportunity to share with one another one last time. In concert with a Happiness Project that is part of the 8th grade Drama class, students will be provided with prompts which will allow them to strengthen the ties within our community.  It has been a highlight of our year to learn so much about the different members of our middle school and DE community as a whole.


25 May

World Languages Highlights

In the World Language classes, our 6th grade Spanish students are learning the parts of the body and how to shop in clothing stores. Our 7th graders are learning about hobbies with possessive adjectives. 8th grade Continuing students are learning the past tense with more emphasis on the irregular verbs. They are also learning the appropriate use of the direct and indirect pronouns. As a part of their Food Unit now, the 8th graders are planting their tomato plants in the D-E garden. Others in the advanced level are learning about the art and some historic sites in Latin America and Spain.

French 7 Continuing students are watching and discussing “The Hunchback of Notre -Dame” Disney animated version. They are also finishing a grammar unit on the past tense and a vocabulary unit on shopping. Our Latin 7th students are studying the future tense and the 2 tense systems (present and perfect). Also, we are discussing the institution of slavery in Rome and students will be presenting mythology stories. With our Latin 8 students, we are beginning a discussion about clauses in general – what they are, how to recognize them, etc. – and about relative clauses (clauses beginning with “who” or “which”). In Latin 8th Advanced, we are learning how to form verbs into participles and how to recognize participial phrases.

27 Apr

Save the Date: Spring Carnival Sunday, April 29

D-E’s annual all-school Spring Carnival, sponsored by our US student clubs and the Parents’ Association, is set for Sunday, April 29, on Leggett Field (or, in the Myrna B. Sherman Gymnansium in the event of inclement weather). 15+ booths and activities including free BBQ lunch, live music by our US students, tie-day Tshirt making, photo booth, ‘make your doggie treats’, and a STEM Festival with drones, “dry ice” ice cream, slime making station, and more. Free admission and open to D-E families of all ages. For more details click here or go to www.d-e.org/activities (D-E LogIn required).

27 Apr

World Languages Update

In the World Language classes, our 6th grade Spanish students are learning about food in the Hispanic world in addition to the appropriate use of possessive adjectives. Our 7th graders are learning about sports and hobbies as well as certain stem changing verbs and the verb “gustar”, to like. Our 8th grade Continuing students are learning the past tense, now using some irregular verbs. They are continuing to practice how to shop in a supermarket and in a clothing store. As a part of their food Unit, they went to plant tomato seeds in the D-E Greenhouse as a hands-on experience. Soon they will plant them in our Garden. Others in the advanced level are learning the present and past perfect tense. Here, they are using vocabulary about health and how to keep a healthy life style. Our French 7 Continuing students are learning vocabulary focused on clothing stores.  Our cultural theme is the major sites of Paris; at the same time, they are applying the past tense and the “RE” verbs conjugation. Here they are expanding sentences by including adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases. Our Latin 7 students are studying the imperfect and future tenses and will continue to review the first 3 declensions.  Our cultural theme is the institution of slavery.  Students will present their “Traveler “reports on word origins and derivatives. With our Latin 8 Students, we have just finished talking about noun-adjective agreement. The students carefully learned the charts for the adjectives and figured out how to match nouns with the correct forms from the chart. The Latin 8 Advance students have been learning about the Iliad in preparation for a parody of the Iliad that the kids are preparing for World Language Festival.

28 Feb



The recent school shooting incident in Florida has left many of us reeling from yet one more mass shooting spree involving students.  The reverberations are being felt across our country and your children may be feeling anxious, frightened, or uneasy about feeling safe, whether it is at home or at school. When I stood before your children last week, I was torn between wanting to promise safety and needing to acknowledge the very real-ness of our world. I hope I was able to find the right balance. It is quite natural that our children, and each of us, may have strong emotions and tough questions about the safety and security of D-E, their homes, and on a grander scale, their world. I did not enjoy having to address our young adolescents, just as I imagine, as parents, you do not either. Yet, we must.  So, here are a few questions, talking points, and resources that I share, with the deepest hope that, sometime in the future, these will be unnecessary.

What is D-E doing to protect our children and staff?

The Administrative Team takes seriously its charge of safety. We spend much time developing plans, evaluating protocols and updating policies. We have an armed police officer on campus during school days who walks our grounds. The police vehicle is parked in a conspicuous place for travelers to notice. We have a communication notification system that allows us to reach you using multiple modalities—text, email, website, phone.  There are several cameras placed around campus, and these are monitored by three different groups. We have fenced in our campus and have established a staffed guard house.  We train, practice, and hone our plans for various emergencies. At D-E, the adult and the student relationships are very strong. Our young adolescents often tell an adult when they are concerned about a classmate. We encourage them to live by the “see something, say something” motto.  We have a social-emotional curriculum, HomeBase advisors, small class sizes, and a Student Support Team which have all been proactive in identifying the social-emotional needs of young adolescents. Most importantly, we continue to learn and we continue to update.

How do I talk with my child about the school shooting in Florida?

According to the American Psychological Association, “Psychologists who work in the area of trauma and recovery advise parents to use the troubling news of school shootings as an opportunity to talk and listen to their children. It is important, say these psychologists, to be honest. Parents should acknowledge to children that bad things do happen, but also reassure them with the information that many people are working to keep them safe, including their parents, teachers and local police.”

A few more suggestions and resources/links:

Encourage your child to ask questions, and answer those questions directly. Your child/teen may have some difficult questions about the incident. For example, she may ask if it is possible that it could happen at your workplace; she is probably really asking whether it is “likely.” The concern about recurrence will be an issue for caregivers and children/teens alike. While it is important to discuss the likelihood of this risk, she is also asking if she is safe. This may be a time to review plans your family has for keeping safe in the event of any crisis situation. Do give any information you have on the help and support the victims and their families are receiving. Like adults, children/teens are better able to cope with a difficult situation when they have the facts about it. Having question-and-answer talks gives your child ongoing support as he or she begins to cope with the range of emotions stirred up by this tragedy.

Be a positive role model. Consider sharing your feelings about the events with your child/teen, but at a level they can understand. You may express sadness and empathy for the victims and their families. You may share some worry, but it is important to also share ideas for coping with difficult situations like this tragedy. When you speak of the quick response by law enforcement and medical personnel to help the victims (and the heroic or generous efforts of ordinary citizens), you help your child/teen see that there can be good, even in the midst of such a horrific event.

Some other tips for parents (for any time of crisis or trauma) include:

  • maintain routines
  • model a clam reaction (can still show sadness too)
  • actively listen and allow children opportunities to share how they feel
  • correct distortions and inaccuracies regarding events
  • review safety protocols, remind children that these events are rare, and observe for children the many safety features already in place
  • (for families, consider: if a parent isn’t home and you need help, who can you call? who are adults in the community, how can you contact them, where can you go)
  • limit exposure to media, especially video recordings of events
  • encourage engagement in pleasurable activities and spending time with loved ones
  • look for the helpers – actively recognize people who help on a daily basis

Resources Links: 

And a few brief reminders:

Homework Survey: Every so often, we like to check in on some practices as a division to ensure that we are achieving what we think we are.  One subject that is certainly always important to us is Homework – both in terms of quality and quantity.  It is our belief that whenever possible, homework should be meaningful and further student’s learning.  It is also our belief that there should be a clear limit to the amount of homework we assign. With this in mind, our handbook states that “for middle school students, homework should take an average of 1&1/2 to 2 hours each evening.”

So, the time has come again to check in on this to ensure that we are hitting the mark.  We will do this through brief surveys to students, parents and faculty.  Students will be asked to log how much time they spend each night on homework for a week and then two more times at the end of the two subsequent weeks.  Parents and teachers will be surveyed one time.  The teachers and administrators will look carefully at the data and make any adjustments as are necessary.  Please recognize the value of this survey.  We urge you to participate as it helps keep us all moving in the right direction.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” A Musical by Rupert Holmes,  is performing this weekend by D-E Upper School students in D-E’s Schenck Auditorium. This interactive mystery musical is a ‘play within a play whodunit’ . Showtimes are Friday, March 2 (7:00 PM) and Saturday, March 3 (2:00 PM and 7:30 PM). Tickets are on sale in the School Store or at the door, 30 minutes prior to curtain. For details visit www.d-e.org/arts.

Medical and Dental Appointments: In order to adhere to the rules and regulations set out in our Middle School Handbook, medical or dental appointments scheduled during the school day will require a note from the doctor or dentist. Notes may be emailed, faxed or brought to the attendance office by the student when he or she returns to school. Absences may remain unexcused until a note has been received. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Hug your child extra tight,


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!

27 Jan

Grade Level Updates

PEAL (Phys.Ed, Arts & Language) Classes

In the World Language classes, our 6th graders are learning how to conjugate verbs in present tense with arer, and ir endings as well as how to phrase questions with words like “cómo”, “cuándo,” and “dónde”.  Our 7th graders, besides learning the family vocabulary, are also reinforcing the present tense with various verbs. Some of our 8th graders are studying the reflexive verbs with their daily routine habits, and also the appropriate use of positive and negative words. Others are learning possessive pronouns and the correct use of “por” and “para”.   After learning how to talk about their families, their homes, their possessions and their clothing, our 7th grade French students are now learning how to express ownership using possessive adjectives.  They are also learning how to ask pointed questions and indicate specific people and things using demonstrative adjectives and question words.  As always, these students are enthusiastically – and oh so competitively – playing “Quack Quack” practicing and polishing their language skills. Both the Latin 8th Adv. and 8th regular classes are currently completing a unit on indirect objects, interrogative pronouns, and Roman baths. After that, they will learn personal pronouns and comparative degree adjectives as we continue reading Latin passages from the Cambridge Latin Course Unit 1 textbook. The class is also working on a 2nd semester project on the reception of Greek and Roman myths in modern literature, film, and television.


The groups of 8th grade students in Drama are fully engaged in creating and producing their individual CRUSH projects. Meanwhile, the 7’s who are in Drama this second semester are working on their RAP video projects. I’ll share some of each when they’re done!


We just started our Disney Celebration concert. 

Visual Arts

All groups are doing some character animation (online) classes. The final drawings (sketched on animation paper) will be used to decorate the auditorium. Then we will take the drawing, transfer it to an iron-on and make tee-shirts students will wear as their dress code for the concert. 

  • StArt 6  Students are beginning the 3D semester by talking about and seeing examples of various types of sculpture.  Also, the basic terms of relief, additive and subtractive techniques for the first project, the Clay Tile Self-Portrait will be explored and practiced.
  • StArt 7 Students have just begun the new semester of art.  They are currently practicing contour, blind contour and gesture drawing from observation in order to sharpen their skills and improve their ability to draw realistically.
  • Art Explorations Students began the new semester by viewing the works of Minimalist Artist Joel Shapiro.  After studying his figurative sculptures and watching a cool music video dance-off, students began creating gesture drawings of people dancing.  They will choose their favorite to re-create as a full 3D sculpture.

A Math Note for Parents of 7th graders

During first semester, we hosted Mr. Peter Waltman as a student teacher in Mr. Jung’s Math 7 classes. This semester, he continues to hone his skills by working with Mrs. Kaufman’s Math 7 classes.


16 Dec

Arts and Language Department Update

Here’s a snippet of what’s been happening in our Visual/Performing Arts and World Language classes:

8th grade Coffee House was held earlier this week. It is amazing to hear the level of quality in the students’ spoken word pieces. In 7th grade, the students finished their Mindfulness Unit this week. Teaching children strategies to be in the moment can help children monitor and adjust their stress levels.

All grades are winding down and brainstorming artwork and music for the next semester.

Studio Art:
6th grade is beginning to study portraiture and will be creating self-portraits as part of the broader theme of Identity in the sixth grade curriculum. The 7th grade is almost done with a semester of hard, creative work. They are studying Linear Perspective and Color Theory and will be applying the concepts and skills to their final project, a watercolor landscape painting. And meanwhile our 8th graders are eagerly working on the Skateboard Deck Design, an exciting mixed-media piece.

World Languages:
In the World Language classes, our 6th graders learned the appropriate use of the comparative and superlative when writing sentences in Spanish.  They are also finishing writing their pen pal exchange letter with students who attend a school in Spain. Our 7th graders, besides learning the comparative and superlative sentences, are also learning how to use the demonstrative adjective and pronouns. They are also very excited finishing with their pen pal letter. Some of our 8th graders finished studying and reviewing the present tense and now moved to the past tense. They are also learning how to replace the direct noun by using the direct and indirect object pronouns.

Other World Language classes culminated their project on food and healthy eating habits and the great contribution of the Aztec to our current diet. After harvesting their corn in the D-E garden late October, last week they had the opportunity to experiment with the process of making “Tortillas” and “Salsa” from scratch. This hands-on experience increases our students’ awareness of how long it takes to prepare a meal and now they appreciate this effort more.  In our Latin classes, students prepared an authentic Roman brunch, and moving from declension 1st to the 2nd and 3rd.