29 Apr

5th Grade Energy!!

Submitted by Erik Swanson

The study of energy is a main theme covered in the fifth-grade science program.  As part of this unit, students focus on energy resources and how energy is generated and transmitted.  Students explore the many different ways people use energy, and they also study the impact of their own energy usage.  Students then identify and investigate alternative energy sources and ways to use energy more efficiently.

Once again, we had the opportunity to step outside our science classroom to learn more. In order to experience how power is generated and transmitted, our fifth-grade students took a field trip to the Newark Energy Center.

The Newark Energy Center is a state-of-the-art natural gas fired power plant that has the ability to provide energy to about 700,000 homes.  Students met with the plant manager and learned about the operations of the Newark Energy Center.  They also were given a personal tour of the plant.

Our students greatly appreciated the experience provided by the staff of the Newark Energy Center.

“I really liked seeing the power plants in person.  Usually we only see pictures of them in books or movies, but seeing them in person was amazing! We were able to see the generators and viewed a PowerPoint presentation about energy.  We even had a chance to read the monitors.  Lucas was even able to program and operate an online generator!” – Karina



29 Apr

Opera Kids is back! – The Making of a Documentary

During the 2010-2011 school year, Max Sturm, D-E class of 2005 returned to campus to interview that year’s fifth graders for a documentary that he is creating.  Max participated in the opera during the 1997-98 school year when he was in the fifth grade!  Upon its completion, the film will document the yearlong process of creating an original opera at Dwight-Englewood School during the 2010-2011 school year.


This year, five years after principle photography on the film, Max returned to D-E to take additional footage of the original opera process.  He and his crew filmed some of our current Lower School students as they watched the performance.  His full documentary will chronicle many things, but most importantly it will highlight how this 30-year tradition continues to excite and inspire our students!

29 Apr

The True Test!

This year’s opera, the 30th original opera, entitled “The True Test” is about the pressures that children feel today.

In the fall of this school year, the 5th graders shared the pressures they, as 10 and 11 year olds, feel in their young lives.  As children expressed their deep feelings about the concerns on their minds, they decided they needed to have “pressure” be their theme.

The pressures the students shared included:

Peer pressure; pressure to be popular; pressure to not only be on a sports team, but to be on the best team; parental pressure to get the best grade on tests; pressure to be in advanced classes; pressure to make their parents proud; and pressure to fit in so many after school activities that there does not seem enough time to just relax.

For the past “8 months”, as fifth grader Mikey shared, the students have been responsible for every aspect of “The True Test” ranging from carpentry and set-design to composers and costume and make-up.  Please click here for the official press release created by Anya and Brooke.

Teachers Lisa Dove, Elisa Garcia, Mary Heveran and Erik Swanson have spent the full year working with the fifth graders on each aspect of the opera production.  When speaking with Mary Heveran about the theme of the 30th original opera she wanted to be sure to share the sentiment below:

“As I shared the theme of pressure for this year’s opera with children in grades 1 through 4, there was an overwhelming response of children saying, ‘Me Too!’ about some of the pressures that the children are feeling.  I believe that the adults in their lives both at home and at school need to pay close attention to what the children are sharing.”

Many more photos of this year’s opera are available, taken by D-E Photography teacher Mr. John McCabe! To view and purchase these photos from this year’s 5th Grade Original Opera performance, please go to: https://topcatphotos.smugmug.com/Theater/5th-Grade-Opera-2016/

15 Apr

LS Message from Kim Lewis

I would like to thank Stephanie Landau, President of the Parents’ Association, the members of our Parents’ Association Executive Board, and of course, Dr. Rodney DeJarnett, Head of School, for the thoroughly engaging day with best-selling authors, Julie Lythcott-Haims  (How to Raise an Adult) and Jessica Lahey (The Gift of Failure).

Not only did their stories resonate with all audience members, ranging from their session with 5th grade students to faculty members to parents, but they also shared research-based evidence and strategies for changing the paradigm of how we can continue to raise wonderful human beings.

In the event that families were not able to join the evening presentation, the April Parent Forums will provide a venue to discuss some of the key points that both authors brought forth.  Parents, Stephanie Landau and Jill Perin, will facilitate the discussions.  Please see the listing below for the dates of the upcoming forums for grades K through 4.

  • April 18  – Grades K, 1 and 2
  • April 25 – Grades 3 and 4
15 Apr

Students Eek out a Win Over the Adults!

Submitted by Fifth-Grade Student Ben Labib with support from Susan Abramson

Once again it was the fifth-grade students’ team, the same team who defeated the parents and teachers two years ago, and the year before that, and who in fact have never lost a game. This team once again defeated the adult team in last week’s annual Fifth-Grade Students versus Teachers and Parents Basketball Game. But as always, the adults didn’t make it easy.

It was definitely going to be a close game, this much was clear from the beginning as the adults demonstrated stealth passing, precision shooting and impregnable defense! “One of the best teams I’ve coached, and I’ve been coaching this game a long time,” said Coach Erik Swanson.

But despite their talent, the adults were no match for the fifth graders who have been working and playing together since September. As classmates, teachers and parents cheered from the stands, the fifth- grade team racked up point after point, including some beauties from the three-point line! Passing and running up and down the court, they showed great teamwork and footwork, as well as the camaraderie that has been a hallmark of this group of students since the beginning.

With her team’s win against the adults, Coach Kim Franco secured her own unique place in Lower School history as the most undefeated coach the school has seen. “It’s amazing,” she said, “it just feels like I am in the right place at the right time. I am very lucky to be part of a team that performs at this level.”

As the clock ran down, the score was a tight 28 to 26 with the fifth-grade team in the lead. With ten second left, the adults had possession and the energy was tense. But a missed pass, and then an air ball meant they just couldn’t wrap it up, and the fifth graders triumphed to the delight of all.

At the sound of the buzzer, kids and adults laughed, hugged and high-fived one another. And as if the game itself wasn’t enough fun and filled with goodwill, it also raised over $700 for Frost Valley and Flat Rock Brook, two places that have been important parts of the fifth-grade experience.

Even as the players celebrated, they seemed aware that this wasn’t the end. “The fourth-graders will win again next year,” said one fifth-grade student as she walked off the court, “I know they can do it.”

15 Apr

They’re on the Run!

Submitted by Ronda Sowa and Susan Abramson

Children are natural runners.  They run at recess, they run on the lawn and yes, sometimes when they forget, they run in the halls.  Giving children time and space to run alongside their peers and a coach helps them set goals, monitor their progress and feel a sense of pride as they achieve those goals.

If you happen to have been near the Lower School on a recent Tuesday afternoon you may have seen the newest addition to our aftercare program, a running club organized and led by fourth-grade teacher Ronda Sowa. Mrs. Sowa – a lifelong runner and health enthusiast – is offering this class to fourth- and fifth-grade students, and the response has been very enthusiastic!

“I think it’s really fun, and I like how we get to play games. I used to run track, and we’d warm up, run and then do conditioning. But Mrs. Sowa builds in games and that makes it really fun.” says fourth-grader Sierra.

Gabi adds, “When we play the games there is a lot of teamwork and responsibility. Each week we build up how long we can run and that’s really fun.”

The class starts with children recording the weather conditions, the route, and a personal goal in their running journals.  They then do warm ups, games, and of course, they run.  Afterwards the class reflects on the difficulty of the run and how they are feeling.

According to fourth-grader Leah, “Mrs. Sowa doesn’t make it one level. She sees what you can do and what you can’t do, and then makes it harder or easier. And she just learned that we can go further than we thought, so she added hurdles to the route.”

We are excited to share this new offering, and in particular, we are thrilled to see our students outside in the fresh air after working hard all day in school. Please be on the lookout for the D-E 360 Aftercare brochure for the 2016-17 fall session for new offerings, and do not hesitate to contact Michele Wright if you have questions about the program.