11 Jan

Monday, Jan. 15 MLK D-E Day of Service: – EXCITING NEW FORMAT!

In the past, our community has commemorated the contributions of the Rev.  Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. by opening our doors to our school community, as well as local community groups, in order to pack food for communities of need.

This year, the MLK D-E Day of Service on Monday, January 15, will take on a new format under the leadership of Dr. Mirangela Buggs, Director of Equity & Diversity Engagement and Debbie Murphy, Upper School Director of Student Activities and Community Service.

Our time together will begin at 9 AM in Schenck Auditorium, where we will gather as a community to hear a guest speaker.  Following that time together, there will be service projects held on and off campus that families can select.  Transportation will be provided to off-campus sites.  After working together in the morning, we will then gather together in the Wharton Lessin Dining Hall for a community luncheon sponsored by the D-E Parents’ Association.  Please click here to register online for the MLK D-E Day of Service.  

This is a wonderful opportunity for Lower School students and families to connect with the broader D-E community and our surrounding neighbors.

11 Jan

Coming Soon: LS Author Visit featuring Sarah Weeks!

We are delighted to welcome prolific children’s author, Sarah Weeks, to the Lower School on Friday, February 2, 2018!

Sarah has written over 50 picture books and novels for children and young adults, including the best-selling novels, Pie, Save Me a Seat and So B. It, which is now a feature-length film. In addition to writing, Sarah is an adjunct faculty member in the Writing Program at the New School University, in New York City, and teaches a master class at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Sarah’s broad range of books and dynamic presentation style are sure to captivate and inspire our students across all grades.  She will spend time with grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-5, tailoring her program to each age group.

In anticipation of Sarah’s visit, we will share some of Sarah’s books with your children in the library and in their classrooms during the month of January.  We encourage families to visit her website at Sarahweeks.com to find out more about her and her wonderful collection of stories and books.

A book order form, featuring Sarah’s collection of books, will be sent home prior to her visit so families can place an order.  Children will receive the books after they meet with her.  We ask that all book orders be submitted by January 19, 2018 so that we can better ensure that the books are on campus by February 2, 2018.  A portion of the sales will benefit the D-E Parents’ Association. Click here to view and/or download/print the Sarah Weeks Visiting Author Book Order Form.

11 Dec

“Industry” in Kindergarten

Contributed by Lorraine Yamin, Kindergarten Teacher

When five year olds cross the thresholds of their kindergarten classrooms, they bring with them all that they learned during the preschool years. They socialize, communicate, and manage climbers and gym classes with fewer collisions. They also dramatize roles as complex as a baby-Ninja-princess.

The renowned psychologist Erik Erikson identified five and six year olds by their sense of industry and their drive to feel competent.  While one can see industriousness and competency in younger children, Erikson states that kindergarteners are developmentally more eager to try out the conventional mechanics of reading, writing and mathematical thinking.  Additionally, they love constructing creative works the world will admire.

Teachers at D-E wholeheartedly agree with Erikson!  We believe that five year olds are ready to take on more independence and are increasingly invested in the world of school.  They eagerly discuss ideas, learn to listen to each other and answer questions relating to a specific topic. They want to emotionally connect to their teachers and peers and often show pride in their work.

Please enjoy these photos of our industrious, creative, and competent kindergarten children!


11 Dec

Bulldog Math Team Update

Contributed by Cecily Gottling, LS Math Specialist

D-E’s Bulldog Math Team is off to a great start again this year!  17 third graders, 17 fourth graders, and all the fifth graders are once again participating in the Continental Math League math contests.

Our 3rd and 4th grade teams meet once a week to learn problem-solving strategies and practice solving really challenging problems. Then once a month, the children try to solve 6 challenging problems in 30 minutes. Coaching sessions are designed to help students develop skills in collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.  Participating in the actual contests builds perseverance and a willingness to take a risk.  Math Team is all about working together and developing grit!

The third graders are currently practicing two important strategies—guess and check and logic—in order to solve challenging problems about sums and differences. Fourth graders are working on algebraic reasoning and understanding the nuances of divisibility.  Our fourth graders just finished their second contest and were cheered to see that everyone improved after a really tough first contest. Problem-solving strategies are a routine component of the fifth graders’ math experiences.  The fifth graders will participate in their second contest next week.

Below is a sample problem the children are working on:

Go Lower School Bulldogs!


“Math team is a bit hard because you have to think a lot. That’s a good thing because it gets your mind going.” – Adesola


“Something surprising happened to me! I was doing my contest, and it was really challenging.
I expected to get a 3 or under except
I surprisingly got a 4. I felt really good
about that.” – Ellie


“I feel good about the answers I got. I don’t feel too badly about the ones I didn’t get because there’s always room for improvement.” – Kiran

17 Nov

All For Books!

Many thanks to our dedicated team of Lower School volunteers, and a particular thank you to Nancy Serpico and her team for putting together another hugely successful Lower School Book Fair.  We are so lucky our students are given the opportunity to choose books alongside their classmates, teachers and caregivers during this two-day event.

In the generous spirit that is typical of the Lower School, we raised more than $700 for All for Books so that other children may have the same opportunity.  Sponsored by Scholastic, All for Books matches the funds raised to help put great books in the hands of children in need.  Monday afternoon Lower School students volunteered to shop for books for local children during their recess time.  Assisted by parent volunteers, they carefully select books they think will appeal to many different ages and interests, calculate the total cost to make sure they are within budget and later on will help package books for delivery.  To see our Lower School students carefully considering the best books for children they have never even met is truly heartwarming, and we are delighted that next week we are delivering three boxes of brand new books to The Center for Food Action right here in Englewood.

Thank you to all families who helped us make this act of generosity possible!

17 Nov

D-E’s Got Talent! Lower School Talent Show

Each year Lower School parents have hosted an annual Lower School Talent Show, “D-E’s Got Talent!” Emceed by Lower School teacher Jennifer Koteles and her able assistants Lily and CJ Trentacosta, this event welcomes more than 25 children of all ages and many talents to the stage where they have the opportunity to perform for their families and friends.

On this beautiful evening, the children’s talent, emotion and passion are showcased in one special place.  From those who have just started taking piano lesson and are performing for the very first time to those who have been honing a craft for years, we celebrate them all.  This year the talent show will be a place for traditional Indian dances, classical piano compositions, dance routines and a carefully rehearsed monologue.

A special note of thanks is extended to parents Seth Unger and Fernanda Pimenta, for the hours of hard work that goes into putting this event together, and an enthusiastic “Break a Leg” to all the performers we look forward to seeing Friday night!

17 Nov

Thanksgiving Food Drive 2017 

The Upper School CODES* club Thanksgiving Food Drive is underway!  This annual drive has been extended to the morning ofMonday, November 20. Please bring contributions of non-perishable food and toiletries to the Lower School Lobby by Monday morning, November 20. All contributions benefit the local area Center for Food Action. For details click here.

*Community Outreach at Dwight-Englewood School 

13 Oct

Spirit Week Fundraising Drive

Dear Lower School Families,

Starting next week and in coordination with the school-wide “Spirit Week” the Lower School will collect items and make a donation to those affected by recent weather-related events in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas.

A committed group of fifth-graders researched the needs of people living in these areas and learned that Puerto Rico welcomes particular items, while financial donations are most helpful for residents of Florida and Texas.  The Lower School is prepared to make a donation from a fund we maintain for just this reason and is prepared to contribute $500 to an organization called Save The Children.

To help residents of Puerto Rico, each grade level has been matched with a particular item of need. Fifth grade students will help collect from each class. Contributions are entirely voluntarily.

To launch spirit week, on Monday, October 16th, we will have boxes out and fifth-graders ready to help collect and organize. We will then work with local organizations to make sure items are distributed to those in need. The drive will end on Friday, October 20th.

As always, our hearts go out to those who have lost so much, but we are grateful that the Dwight-Englewood Lower School is so willing and able to help!


Ms. Lewis and Ms. Abramson


Lower School Spirit Week Drive
Suggested Donation Items

  • Preschool 3: Diapers and Baby Wipes
  • Preschool 4: Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
  • Kindergarten: Work Gloves
  • First Grade: Bar and Liquid Soap
  • Second Grade: Canned and Dry Pet Food
  • Third Grade: Insect Repellant
  • Fourth Grade: Flashlights and Batteries
  • Fifth Grade: Pedialyte and Baby Formula
13 Oct

Introducing the Planeeters!

The Planeteers is a Lower School environmental group for fourth and fifth grade students.  This group learns more about environmental issues, how to make positive change and how to teach others about issues of our food, our health and our world.  It is a strong social group where children are engaged in projects on campus. Children create artwork, teach younger children about healthy choices and speak about issues of the environment to other classes; sometimes in Middle or Upper School!

Over the years, students who have participated in Planeteers have been instrumental in the composting and garden programs at the Lower School.  As they have moved on to the other divisions at D-E, their ideas and energy helped to begin the garden in the Middle and Upper School.

This year the Planeteers are already talking about projects they would like to pursue such as using non-toxic disinfectants in the lunchroom and reinstating the composting program.  They have watched short videos of other children who have spoken at the United Nations about the environment and who have given TedTalks for inspiration.  Some of our new Planeteers are thinking of ways they could give a talk to other classes on aspects of the environment.

From one year to the next each Planeteer group is different.  This creates new and interesting opportunities for the group to pursue.  We look forward to seeing where this young group of young people decide to put their energy!

13 Oct



Students new to 4th and 5th grade have been participating in an afterschool workshop run by Ms. Gottling, the Lower School math specialist.  The children have been solving open-ended and challenging math problems as they learn more about what it means to be a Dwight-Englewood Bulldog.  The activities are designed to help students understand what it means to engage, take a risk, persevere, and collaborate.  To solve the problems, students must think critically and creatively.  Of course, being ready and staying organized always help.

Thus far the children have snapped together squares and folded them to find the nets of a cube. They have built block constructions together using clues. Most recently they have used the process of elimination to identify categories of numbers by analyzing the placement in a Venn diagram of only 5 numbers! All in all, this season brings us a bumper crop of new Bulldogs!