Leana Endowment Grant Recipients Announced

August 4, 2020

Head of School Brendan Largay is delighted to announce the 2020-21 recipients of the Lenesa Leana Endowment for Innovative and Collaborative Education. Established in 2011, the endowment supports the multidimensional ways that our community comes together to explore, develop, and implement innovation, all the while upholding the values at our heart.

Alice Henry, Kathy Jo Solomon, Liza Ziering
Turning Classrooms Inside Out: The “What” and “Why” for Outdoor Pre-k

These teachers will use the grant funds to design and pilot an outdoor program for our youngest learners, who quite literally, need to move in order to learn. A nature-based emergent curriculum will focus on exploration, collaboration, and relationship building. This will set a strong foundation for future academic, social-emotional, and physical success. Inspired by similar nature-based programs around the world, Belmont Day will join a global phenomenon spreading through Scandinavia, Germany, the UK, and across the US.

Yui Kitamura and Kurt Robinson

Soundscapes – Digital Art and Music, Social Identity Prism Installation

Seventh and eighth graders who enroll in the fall trimester Soundscapes art elective will design and create a digital art and music smart surface installation based on the school’s Honoring Differences Social Identity Prism. To deepen their understanding of the prism, students’ will create interactive animations showing the effects biases play in each of the categories. The project will be installed in a location aimed to engage the entire school community with an immersive opportunity to interact with the prism.

Heather Woodcock
Associate Program Professional Development Fund

The grant will establish a fund that provides access to off-campus professional development experiences and resources for associate teachers. These experiences will lead to increased innovation in the classroom, additional opportunities for collaboration with mentor teachers, and curricular initiatives that directly impact their current students.

Leal Carter, Carlos Hoyt, Elisabeth Klock, Leesa Mercedes, Liz LaRocque
Honoring Differences – Cross-Curricular Integration of Anti-Bias and Identity Work

This collaboration will focus on creating cohesion across grades and curricular areas in the realm of anti-bias and social identity awareness. Goals include enabling students to develop their understanding of and confidence in their own identities and to provide older students with opportunities for the development of facilitation and leadership skills in a cross-graded partner settings, and aligning the Honoring Differences Social Identity Prism threads with the health and wellness curriculum.

Ellen Brandt and John O’Neill
Sports Nutrition

This project will incorporate structured activities with sport-specific information regarding healthy food and nutrition choices for our middle school athletes. The goal is to develop and lead four modules around healthy training for body and mind, proper eating strategies, and creative implementation of these strategies for overall wellness and health.

Jen Friborg and Nathalie Pellenq
Technology in the Language Classroom

Informed by the successes and challenges of offsite and hybrid learning, these French teachers will adopt technology tools to enhance students’ language learning. Pear Deck, a tool that integrates with Google Slides, is rooted in active learning and formative assessment to meet the needs of an array of learners. By using Pear Deck, students can engage with the material in a variety of ways—through writing, drawing, and multiple choice questions. Teachers can show class responses in real time, thereby facilitating authentic in-class discussion. In addition, new lessons will be built with Pear Deck designed to spark awareness of and engagement in DEI-related questions.

By Kassie Bettinelli, music teacher |

November 17, 2023

In March of last year, a few students approached the music teaching team about the possibility of organizing a talent show. Knowing one hadn’t been scheduled for the spring, and that planning one for the future could be an awesome…


November 17, 2023

Second Grade’s New Mural Is a Feast For the Eyes For our summer reading book this year, second graders read Tomatoes for Neela, written by Padmi Lakshmi and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. It is a story about a young girl…

By John O'Neill, director of athletics |

November 3, 2023

This fall, BDS piloted an intramural volleyball team that spent the season learning the game, practicing skills, and holding weekly scrimmages. Over the course of the season, players improved tremendously and are prepared to step into a more competitive environment…


November 3, 2023

Spanish Students Learn, Share About El Días de los Muertos Spanish students learned about and celebrated the traditional Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Through different audio activities, students engaged in hands-on projects. Sixth grade…
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