21 Sep

Writing Workshop

Contributed by Susan Abramson, Assistant Principal

The third week back at the Lower School means we are hard at work, and there is so much to be excited about.  We are particularly excited to see our faculty launching the writing workshop, and our students putting pencil to paper to write with clear intentions, a sense of purpose and joy.

Our writing curriculum is based on the Teachers College writing units of study, and as part of this curriculum students write in three primary genres: narrative, information and opinion, and they do so with increasing complexity as they move through the curriculum.

Students from kindergarten through fifth grade learning the habits and routines of good writers, from generating ideas to drafting to editing, revising and publishing. As part of this curriculum students learn to communicate clearly and effectively, and we hope they begin to identify the ideas that are personally meaningful that they want to share with the world.

Since we began teaching the Teachers College Writing Units of Study, our faculty have been impressed and delighted to see the growth of children’s writing. We encourage families to be on the lookout for your child’s written work. We are glad that you will join us as we nurture our young writers and celebrate their growth.

12 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 for more information. Online (advance) registration is now over, but you can still arrive early tomorrow and register on-site. To print/download an informational flyer (PDF) please click here$20 plus a small registration fee per participant. For a better idea of what Kraut’s Running of the Bulldogs is like, please click here for our 2017 video vignette!

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

01 Jun

Ms. Kanter

Ms. Kanter has taught third grade at the Lower School for seven years and has become known for her tireless work ethic and commitment to her students. She is often the first to arrive in the morning and can be found preparing lessons and activities that keep her students focused, engaged, motivated and always learning. She expects a lot from students, but she helps them get there, and she celebrates each and every one of them along the way. Along with her partner, she has helped make third grade a year that students look forward to with excitement and look back upon with happiness. She helped create the signature third-grade program “Third Graders Making A Difference” which has become an important way in which the Lower School contributes to the local and global community.

Ms. Kanter started her professional career as a lawyer but found her calling as a third-grade teacher. We are lucky she honed her craft here at the Lower School. Those who have observed her impressive energy may be surprised to learn she commutes from Westchester each morning and has decided to take a position closer to home to minimize her commuting time – and most importantly use that extra time to spend with her three growing children.

01 Jun

Ms. DeJesus

Although Ms. DeJesus joined us very recently, her work and impact is evident in our hallways and the smiles on the faces of the children as they go to and from Swartley Art Center for her classes.

Since she arrived in January the hallway displays showcase nightscapes, cherry blossoms and elephants perched on locker tops. Flexible and creative, she has worked with the kindergarten students and teachers to re-imagine the signature zoo project, and together they transformed the kindergarten classrooms into an art studio where students learned and practiced art technique and then brought the animals they studied to life. Kindergarten families will see their creations when they visit the kindergarten zoo next week!

A native New Yorker, Ms. DeJesus’s professional career launched in 2001 when she and a group of friends animated the cartoon segment for the live action movie Super Troopers.  She went on to publish a series of graphic novels including a short comic featured in the young adult novel, Fan Art, and has shared this love with our students in her art classes, as well as in a popular ACE class she offered. Her teaching career is just launching, and we anticipate great things in her future. Her future art students will be very lucky to have her, and we are delighted she chose to spend time here with us at the Lower School.

01 Jun

Mr. Coyne

It may surprise you to learn that originally Mr. Coyne’s professional goal was to teach high school English. However, an assistant teaching position in our kindergarten inspired and showed him how impactful and rewarding working with young children can be. Here at the Lower School he has grown from a kindergarten assistant teacher to a head kindergarten teacher to a first grade teacher and finally librarian, along the way nurturing and celebrating the reading and writing lives of many Lower School students. He coached Middle School basketball and has contributed immensely to the Dwight-Englewood community – not to mention that in his time here he has become a father to Olivia and Jackson. Mr. Coyne is ready for the next step in his professional life, which for him means going back to his original dream of teaching great literature to adolescent minds. His love of the written word and his love of learning will serve him well in this position.

01 Jun

Mrs. Nicolau

When Mrs. Nicolau began teaching at the Lower School we had a cart of PC computers, floppy disks and we were just learning about a new technology called Smartboards. Now, all of our classrooms have Smartboards, and even our youngest students have access to and the skills to use not only PCs but also ipads, robotics materials, coding programs and any number of applications and tools which help them interact meaningfully with technology.

In her time at the Lower School, Mrs. Nicolau has provided an approachable learning environment and training to everyone – not only the students but also the adults – from those just learning to others seeking to improve their instructional practices and gain deeper understanding of the use and purpose of technology. Her resourceful nature, as well as her creative and innovative ideas, promoted teaching for understanding in students and adult learners. Students have learned to visualize and use the computer as a tool and as an instructional aid. She has opened up new worlds to students, perhaps most noticeably with her most recent work around coding and programming, two areas of great enthusiasm that she shares with her students.

She has led many charges around the integration of technology and has been a forward thinker, constantly rethinking how we do things and bringing new ideas and approaches to our school. We are in a very different place since Mrs. Nicolau arrived. She has helped children face the challenges of a changing world.

We hope you join us in thanking these teachers for their service to the Dwight-Englewood community. It is with gratitude and fondness that we  say goodbye and wish them all the best.

11 May

Summer 2018: The Clock is Ticking!

Enrich your summer with D-E 360° Summer Connections! An exceptional day camp for Preschool – Grade 12, June 25 – August 3, 2018.

Discoveries & Adventures for our youngest campers in Preschool – Grade 4 includes “Passports around the World”! Campers will learn about continents around the globe, from Africa and Europe to Central, North, and South America, exploring what affects everyday life on Earth.

For campers in Grades 5 and up, select from amazing ‘a la carte’ Enrichment courses in arts, athletics, business entrepreneurship, cooking, STEM, and more further enhance your experience. Courses available from 1 – 6 weeks in duration!

Hurry, space is limited! Register online today: de360.d-e.org

11 May

Unity is Strength

Submitted by Sophia Dorner, Ericka Collado, Ed. D, and Jennifer Koteles on behalf of the Lower School Diversity Professional Learning Group (Madison Farrar, Ashley Gray, Sandra Harrison, and Mary Heveran)

“In union there is strength.”


Our Diversity Values statement reads “The worth and dignity of every person at all levels of work, study, and play are paramount at Dwight-Englewood across any artificial lines of exclusion.”

In aligning with this mission, the Lower School sought to become one with the Middle and Upper School during two special days of reflection in April-Holocaust Remembrance Day and A Day of Silence. The Diversity Professional Learning Committee under the guidance of our new Director of Equity & Diversity Engagement, Dr. Mirangela Buggs, took hold of the vision with a slightly different focus. The days leading up to Wednesday, April 11th, A Day of Unity, and Friday, April 27th, A Day of Acceptance were used to prepare students for a school-wide emphasis on love, kindness, individuality and acceptance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018-A Day of Unity:

To connect our students to the continued celebration of our commonalities and differences as they experience the concepts of unity and peace, we used the transformative art pieces created with Maureen Bennett last year. Bennett, a visual artist, who works in oils, acrylics, pastels, graphite, mixed media and collage helped us to create Giant Eames cards with photographs of each child’s hands holding a decorated egg they created on top of a color-coded backdrop.  A group photo with all of the eggs for each grade was taken showing the children the unification of their class, and grade level, bringing the focus back to unity and peace for us all. For the Diversity Professional Learning Committee this was important because this final concept solidifies the idea of how we need to unify despite our differences to stamp out hate that leads to disharmony in the form of hate crimes and atrocities like genocide. Last year’s Eames cards were distributed to the grades that the children are currently in so that they could revisit their work, with our youngest children, preschool 3 and 4, receiving the cards of our 5th grade graduates.

The classroom teachers led all children in reading and/or viewing the story The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf. They guided the children into reconfiguring the Eames cards to create a “Unity Tower”, as well as led the children in completion of a new art and literacy activity. In this activity, all children decorated their own crayon with their photo or self-portrait at the center. Students then used the other side to respond to the sentence starter “I am unique because…”. Crayons and towers were displayed in the halls for all to see.

Friday, April 27, 2018-A Day of Acceptance

Our support of the Day of Silence, is presented as A Day of Acceptance, and actually began the Friday before the national day of recognition with the creation of a Peace & Unity chain by the students of the Lower School. This chain was created using a specific color to represent each grade level. Each student was provided with a single strip of colored construction paper on which to write a word or draw a simple picture of encouragement. Classroom teachers linked the strips for their classes and then strips were linked by grade. The end product was delivered to the Upper School GSA as a gift of support to be used at their assembly program on Monday, April 23rd.

On April 27th teachers shared with their students that at D-E we believe in treating everyone fairly and equally. National Day of Silence is a day when some gay and lesbian people and their families and friends choose to be silent. The silence on this day is meant to show support for gay and lesbian people who are afraid to talk about who they are. The silence is meant to show others that it is wrong to treat gay and lesbian people and their families differently. Students had the option of wearing an anti-bullying sticker of support. The entire school read the story Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer. Each grade had a discussion about different types of families. This day and the activities align with the Dwight-Englewood diversity values statement and encourages our children to treat everyone fairly and equally because in union there is strength.

06 Apr

Dr. “G” visits the Lower School

Submitted by Jessica Pomeroy and Michael Rodenbush

On Thursday, April 5th, fourth and fifth grade students had the opportunity to attend a presentation with Dr. Deborah Gilboa.  Dr. “G.” is a well-known parenting and youth development expert, family physician, media personality, author, speaker and social influencer.  Her primary focus is character development in children ages 2-22 and helping children develop crucial life skills. Her work with 4th and 5th graders emphasized responsibility, respect and resilience.  Dr. G was received extremely well by our fourth and fifth grade students. Noelle said, “I like how she was funny, but she was also very informative at the same time.  She helped keep us engaged.” Jake, another fifth-grade student, shared that he learned skills to interact with parents and earn privileges by being responsible. Fourth grade Adina’s take away applies not only to parents but anyone you are trying to negotiate with: “When you get in an argument, make eye contact, use a quiet voice and don’t tell someone to calm down. Don’t tell them how to feel.”

Communicating styles with peers and with adults have similarities but also differences, and Dr. G helped students see the differences so they understand some of the skills involved in communicating needs and wants.  A fun, informative and very relevant presentation for our students, we are most grateful the Parents Association for sponsoring this event.

06 Apr

Lower School Students Lend A Hand To Project Cicero

Submitted by Kristin Geller

Saturday, March 17 was the first day of D-E’s Spring Break, yet the campus was full of teachers! Over 350 teachers from under-resourced school districts in New Jersey came to campus to participate in Project Cicero. Under the leadership of D-E alumni Teddi Hunter ‘87 and Jen Backer ‘87, Project Cicero Northern New Jersey organized book drives that collected and offered FREE new/gently used books to build and supplement classroom libraries in schools across northern New Jersey.

This year a group of Lower School 4th and 5th graders volunteered with Project Cicero by helping to sort and organize the thousands of books that were collected. Additionally, students from D-E’s Middle and Upper school volunteered to make this project a huge success.

Project Cicero is fueled by the prolific words of Cicero himself, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.