29 Sep

Message from Kim Lewis, LS Principal

Hello Everyone,

The Inaugural “Special Evening with the Special Area Teachers”, held on Thursday, Sept. 28, was a success.  Our Health and Wellness, Music, Science, Spanish and Technology faculty had the opportunity to share their program content with families from grades K-5. We were so pleased that our special area teachers had an opportunity to share the work they do with families, and for those who attended, we hope you found the event informative and valuable.

As a supplement to the evening parents/guardians in attendance received a new Lower School flyer with a scannable QR code which takes you directly to the D-E Lower School website page (www.d-e.org/lower), where even more information is available regarding our “Specials” curriculum. This flyer is still available for those unable to attend the event, or simply click here to view this “Specials” curriculum page.



Kim Lewis

LS Principal

29 Sep

Fifth Grade Fun at Frost Valley!

Last Tuesday afternoon a busload of happy fifth-grade students and their teachers returned to the Lower School from their overnight adventure to The Frost Valley Environmental Center in Claryville, NY.  A Lower School tradition, the trip is a wonderful opportunity to learn outside of the classroom, get to know one another and form bond with classmates and teacher that sustain the group throughout the year.

This year the hike was a particular favorite.  Crossing the cable bridges and making face paint by rubbing rocks took us back to a time of simple pleasures. Teambuilding activities led by the Frost Valley help children learn to communicate and collaborate with each other. No internet access means the group can focus on the beautiful setting and one another.Reflecting back on the trip Samay shared, “My favorite activity was teambuilding because we could work as a team and make new friends.”  Some children learned to boat for the first time on Lake Cole, and quickly learned that without teamwork the boat won’t go very far!  The low ropes course was also a lot of fun.  Radha’s favorite activity was the low ropes course because “we got to cross a lot of cables, and we had to trust each other to make it across.”

After sunset the flashlights came out and students made their way to a special presentation from a herpetologist (snake and reptile specialist) where they oohed and ahhed over pythons, turtles and other animals we don’t get to see everyday here at Dwight-Englewood.

It’s tiring to be away from home and school for two full days, but so very worth it. For many students the trip to Frost Valley is a highlight of the year, and something they remember fondly for years to come.

29 Sep

Third Graders Making a Difference!

Third Graders Making a Difference is a year-long program created by third grade teachers, Ms. Kanter and Miss Sussmann. It is grounded in the spirit of kindness and how good it feels to help others. Now in its fourth year, third graders have demonstrated the tremendous power they wield in their small hands and big hearts, and how their actions can affect positive change around the world.

Toward the end of last year, the third grade decided to further boost the growing enthusiasm for this program and for helping others.  In May, at the annual Third Graders Making a Difference assembly, in which they celebrate all they have accomplished throughout the year, the third graders challenged the faculty and students of the entire Lower School to make a really big difference in a very special way.

Third grader Brandon, enthusiastically led the call to action for those in attendance with, “If you want to make a difference and change the world this summer, say ‘Yes, I do!’”  Over 200 voices could be heard shouting, “Yes, I do!”  With the challenge accepted, Brandon announced the plan: During the summer, all members of the Lower School community would search their closets for shoes they no longer needed and bring them back to school in the fall. These shoes would then be donated to Soles4Souls, an organization that redistributes new and used shoes directly to people in need as well as to those who can use them to start a business and get back on their feet.

The plan then came to fruition this past September.  As students returned to school, so too did shoes of all sizes and types.  Each day it seemed the shoes were multiplying. To add to the growing excitement and influx of shoes, the family of third grader Sammy Cook supported the cause in a BIG way, by donating an SUV full of brand new shoes!  As the shoes came in, third graders sorted, counted, and bagged the shoes to prepare them to be donated to Soles4Souls. The hallways were soon lined with bags full of shoes.

As each pair of shoes was counted, a set of footprints was placed on the wall. These footprints will remain in the hallway for the remainder of the year to remind Lower School students of the tremendous “feat” they accomplished and the difference they made.  Third graders and the Lower School collected 1,133 pairs of shoes. The shoes will be distributed both within the United States and throughout the world.  They will even be helping victims of the recent hurricanes.

Third grader Lilli was particularly moved by this experience, “I feel it in my heart because I was thinking about all of those people that lost their homes and I hope this can make up for it a little bit.” Now if that is not kicking the year off on the right foot, we don’t know what is!

08 Sep

Welcome Back from Kim Lewis

Dear Lower School Families,

Welcome to the first edition of Lower School Notes for this 2017-18 academic year.  Bi-monthly, the Lower School community can expect to receive this electronic newsletter that chronicles the children’s learning experiences.

Below is a list of upcoming events that are geared toward bringing families together to learn more about the upcoming school year and to get to know one another better.  Please click on the various tabs to find out the latest information from Just the Facts and to read updates from D-E 360º as well.

I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday, Sept. 10 between 1:00 – 3:00 PM for the Welcome Back Gathering.  If you have not sent in an RSVP, please still feel free to join us.

Welcome Back!


Upcoming Highlights!

Welcome Back Gathering:

Please join us on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 1-3pm on Leggett Field.  What a great way to make connections!

K-5 Back to School Night:

We look forward to seeing families in Grades K-5 on Thursday, September 14th for Back to School Night.  This year, families will gather in the Lower School Gym, located in Drapkin Hall to launch our evening together.  We will begin promptly at 7pm and for remarks and introductions of the special area teachers and specially invited guests.  We will then move to the classrooms for overviews by the faculty.

A Special Evening with the Special Area Teachers: NEW

The Special Area teachers would like to welcome families from Preschool through Grade 5 back to campus for an evening to hear more about their programs and approaches to the various content areas.  Please join us in the Lower School Gym, located in Drapkin Hall, on Thursday, September 28th.  We will begin promptly at 7pm.

08 Sep

Our New Lower School Faculty and Staff Members

The Lower School is delighted to introduce new faculty joining us this year.

Joining us in the front office is Dorothy Bryan. Dorothy Bryan, our new Lower School Administrative Assistant, has been here since August and is excited to be part of the Dwight-Englewood community.  Prior to beginning her work in August, Dorothy took Lower School yearbooks home to learn the names and faces of our students, and is so happy to finally meet them in person this week!  Before joining D-E, Dorothy worked in the healthcare field as an administrative assistant for many years.  She is excited to be part of the Dwight-Englewood community and looks forward to experiencing the energy and excitement of the children as well as working with the staff and parents of the Lower School.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, yoga, tennis, and participating in any outdoor activities.

Rachel Brainin joins us this year as the Lower School Librarian.  She is very familiar with Dwight-Englewood as she has been a highly regarded guest teacher in the Lower School and has a daughter in the Middle School. Prior to joining us at D-E, Rachel was a teacher for preschool through 5th grade and worked for the early literacy nonprofit, HIPPY USA.  Rachel loves children’s literature, writing, and art.  She is excited to work with our students, sharing with them her love of books and teaching them literacy and library skills. She is also excited to work with faculty sharing the latest releases as well as old favorites. Outside of school, Rachel enjoys reading, painting, sewing and spending time with her family.

Nick Harrison returns to the Lower School as a first through fifth grade recess coach.  Nick is very familiar with Dwight-Englewood.  He has been a long term sub in a variety of positions here at the Lower School and graduated from Dwight-Englewood Upper School before heading off to college at Lake Forest College.  We are excited to welcome back Nick back to Dwight-Englewood!  He brings a great deal of enthusiasm and is excited to support students during this important time of day.  Nick is a huge football and baseball fan and enjoys discussing last night’s game with his friends, colleagues, and students!   He enjoys attending sporting events, concerts, and traveling.

Working alongside Nick Harrison as a recess coach will be Jackie Marshall.  Jackie is a former  Division 1 student athlete who has had successful internships working for The View and the New York Giants. She has worked with young children at summer programs in Westchester, New York.  Jackie has a Masters Degree in sports administration and was one of 40 athletes named to the 2013 MAAC Women’s Basketball All-Academic Team. Jackie is a scholar and an athlete, and we are delighted she will be working at the Lower School as a recess coach for students in first through fifth grades.

Orestes Medina joins us this year as a second-grade teaching assistant. Orestes is very familiar with Dwight-Englewood as he has been coaching varsity football and track for the past four years. As a dual sport NCAA athlete, Orestes learned how to deal with the triumphs, disappointment, sportsmanship, and teamwork of collegiate athletics.  Since college Orestes has been working in the Teaneck School District while coaching Upper School Football and Track at D-E.  He is passionate about wanting to inspire and gain his students’ interest in education while instilling a strong sense of self-worth. Outside of school, Orestes enjoys drawing, and he has also had experience teaching art to elementary aged students through the Teaneck summer recreation program.