The rain held off on Wednesday afternoon so an enthusiastic group of parents and students could plant over 700 bulbs for us all to enjoy this spring! Students from all divisions worked together all around campus. Thank you to our dedicated Campus Beautification Chairs Brennen Strine and Julie Aliapoulios who organized the students and materials and taught the children how to plant bulbs.
CommunityDay is a Lower School community building event for Grades 1-4 during which 18 groups of students representing a mixture of grades in the Lower School rotate through nine events designed to build camaraderie, foster relationships and promote teamwork. View photos.
Country School was excited to welcome Jeff Vennell, Senior National Staff Coach for the United Soccer Coaches Academy, to campus Wednesday to lead our athletic coaching staff in a professional development clinic.
What a beautiful morning we had for last Saturday’s Cougar Run! Over 150 members of the NCCS community gathered for a 5K run around campus, a Chase the Cougar Fun Run, a stretching session led by alumnus James Randon ‘09, the first runner to break the 4-minute mile in Yale’s history, an obstacle course and wonderful logo sale. School spirit abounded everywhere! Special thanks to Laura Cramer, Steve Petricone, Maija Judelson and Barbara Moody for planning such a fantastic community building event. View photos.
The Shirley and Jonathan O’Herron Faculty Award was established in November 2013 through a bequest from the estate of Jonathan O’Herron and at the direction of the children of Shirley and Jonathan O’Herron: Anne O’Herron Burleigh, Sarah O’Herron Casey ’80 and Jonathan O’Herron Jr. Shirley and Jonathan O’Herron were the proud grandparents of 11 Country School students. View a video of Carlos Mendoza receiving the award.
When school librarian Mary Ann Lansdale introduced Jerry Craft, past parent and author of “New Kid,” to an audience of Middle School students, she asked who had read his book. The majority of hands flew up.
The ninth grade was out in the wilderness testing their mettle and leadership skills against the elements and 3,500 foot Catskill peaks, and they did so with a unique combination of determination and panache.
Groundbreaking and the beginning of construction on a new Athletic Center for New Canaan Country School is a wonderful opportunity to look back at the early development and rapid growth of the school’s athletic program.
What a wonderful beginning we have shared! It has been a pleasure to welcome your children into our spaces and to have our classrooms and hallways properly buzzing with the joyful laughter and excited chatter of children.
Thank you for joining us! It was great to see old friends and welcome new families on the first days of school in our beautiful dining hall. Parents mingled over coffee and showed their school spirit by shopping the Logo Sale for amazing new spirit wear.
New Canaan Country School has named Derrick Francis as the 2019-2020 Horizons Scholar. He will attend New Canaan Country School this fall as a fourth grader and was selected from the Horizons candidates who apply to Country School.
New Canaan Country School welcomes several new faculty and staff members this year. In addition, seven new apprentice teachers have joined the community. “We have attracted a very talented group of educators with an impressive array of professional experiences who are passionate about children’s growth and development,” said Head of School Aaron Cooper.
Charlotte Gehring ’17 scored an exclusive interview with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her daughter, Alice Albright, for an article that ran in the Greenwich Academy Press in March. Charlotte has written for the school paper throughout her time at GA, becoming Junior Editor in 2018 and Editor-in-Chief for the 2019-2020 school year.
Jack Johnson ’18 has always been drawn to adventure – particularly in the great outdoors. Growing up, he spent lots of time hiking with family in Idaho, so it was only natural when he chose to partake in a three-week backpacking trip in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains with NOLS the summer before ninth grade.
Ryan Smith joined Country School as Senior Director of Advancement, on July 1. Ryan comes to NCCS with a proven track record of cultivating strong relationships, as well as achieving – and often exceeding – ambitious fundraising goals in a PreK-9 independent school environment.
A day after graduation, 19 recent ninth grade graduates boarded a plane for an unforgettable weeklong trip to Puerto Rico. In addition to exploring the island and immersing themselves in the local culture and language, the students spent several days helping a family rebuild their house, which was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Sept. 2017.
Rebecca Comizio, school psychologist at New Canaan Country School, has been selected to be the 2018-2019 “Connecticut School Psychologist of the Year” by the Connecticut Association of School Psychologists, based on nominations and recommendations from supervisors and colleagues. (Read more about her work in the Spring 2019 Bulletin, "What is Social-Emotional Learning? And Why Does it Matter?"
Allison Kessler Vear ’00 was presented with the 2019 New Canaan Country School Alumni Award on the school’s campus May 17. Allison is an attending physician at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a leading rehabilitation hospital in Chicago, where she specializes in spinal cord injury medicine. Paralyzed from the waist down since the age of 15, Allison is also an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. View video presentation.
Have you noticed all the beautiful planters around campus? Parents Brennen Strine and Julie Aliapoulios, our beautification committee chairs, have spent countless hours planning, planting and taking care of our planters to make our campus more enjoyable for us all.
Country School students in the Upper School division (grades 7-9) made a strong showing in the recent 2019 national World Languages exams. Of particular note, the following students earned the highest possible prize in their respective languages: Ninth grader Seth Yoo of Pound Ridge, NY received a perfect score on his French exam. Eighth grader Ben Herdeg of New Canaan placed in the top one percent of the country on the National Spanish Exam. Finally, eighth grader Sofie Petricone of Rowayton earned a gold medal on the National Latin Exam, and seventh grader Elsa Franks of Stamford earned the highest possible prize on the Introductory Latin Exam.
Over the past few months, Kindergarteners at New Canaan Country School have been immersed in an interdisciplinary study of identity culminating with a Body Map Exhibit last week. Through read alouds, discussions, scientific experiments, art, music, movement, theater and play, students built a vocabulary with which to discuss themselves and others.
This past week, kindness was sprinkled across the New Canaan Country School campus in the form of May Baskets delivered by students ages 4 and 5. The students, called “Beginners” at the Pre-K through Grade 9 school, decorated small, paper baskets, filled them with flowers and hung them on doorknobs throughout the school’s buildings. Recipients were delighted to receive the annual harbingers of spring.
Sideways rain couldn't stop the fun at Family Fun Night last Friday, April 25. Relocated into Grace House, the night was a whirlwind of magicians, raffle tickets, stilt walkers, glow sticks and carnival games - even a surprise visit from the one and only NCCS Cougar. (View Family Fun Night & Deal Days photos)
Country School has been celebrating Earth Day all month long with a variety of initiatives that encourage environmental sustainability on campus and in the community at-large. Some, like the Lower School Book Recycling project, are decades-old traditions, while others are brand new, including an environmental sustainability slogan contest.
School Psychologist Rebecca Comizio and School Counselor Nora Goddard spoke about “The Art and Science of Transitions: How to Stay Present while Preparing for Change” at an April 18 Parents’ Association Parent Talk. They offered practical tips to the approximately 50 parents in attendance on how to help children of all ages manage small daily transitions, for example, between school and home, as well as larger transitions such as moves or family changes.
Did you know that Saturn is called the “jewel planet” and that you can see it during the day and night? Third graders Berkley and Marin share this information and more in their lively planet commercial. This year, the third grade solar system unit became a multimedia project incorporating STEAM - science, technology, engineering, art and math. View the commercial.
Last Friday parents of students in all divisions gathered for coffee and conversation in the Carver Commons. This casual social event offered parents the opportunity to connect and catch up with friends, both old and new. The Parents’ Association hopes that you’ll join in future PA Coffees so please stay tuned!
Members of the ninth grade class led nearly 300 New Canaan Country School and Horizons at NCCS students and their families to serve the wide-ranging needs of 13 local non-profit organizations this weekend. They were participating in the fifth annual Kyle A. Markes Day of Service in honor of an NCCS classmate who passed away in 2013. The day-long event was held April 6 throughout Fairfield County and also on the school’s campus, in New Canaan. View photos.
Third Graders at New Canaan Country School experienced what it might have been like to immigrate to America at the turn of the century. The hands-on learning simulation is part of the third grade’s cultural identity study on the “Peopling of America.”
The New Canaan Country School Alumni Council will present the 2019 Alumni Award to Allison Kessler Vear ’00. Allison will return to campus on May 17 to accept the honor and to share with students, alumni and guests her work as a top physical rehabilitation physician. This event kicks off Alumni Weekend 2019.
Fifth grade science students were treated to a guest speaker today. Resident skeletal and muscular expert, NCCS Athletic Trainer Melissa Ryan-Knowlton, spoke to the students about common injuries experienced by different athletes such as sled hockey players (ice hockey for people with disabilities) and sprinters. With the assistance of an app, students were then able to identify various major muscles and bones. All part of their study of the human skeletal system.
There is no shortage of artistic talent in the Birnbaum family. As someone who spent quite some time at their house growing up, I can attest that music and performance have always been at the center of life for the Birnbaums, both in formal and informal settings. As girls, Mary ‘99 and Flora ‘04, sang in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and our playdates often consisted of elaborate performances, usually with full costume and set design!
Every winter, New Canaan Country School students in pre-kindergarten through ninth grade collect maple sap and boil it down to syrup in the school’s Sugar Shack. The students tap the maple trees all over the school’s 75-acre campus, collect the sap, boil it down, then sample it.
First graders have been studying China throughout the year, so they were brimming with excitement last Friday at a special Lunar New Year Assembly, complete with a traditional dragon parade, handmade noisemakers, and the banging of a gong, to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Pig. View photos.
by School Counselor Nora Goddard & US English & History Teacher Will McDonough
As a continuation of our community conversations on social and emotional well-being, diversity and inclusion, Middle and Upper School students watched select scenes from the film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary on Fred Rogers and his television show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
“The Power and Purpose of Play,” a New Canaan CARES parent program featuring Beth O’Brien, Head of Early Childhood of New Canaan Country School, will be held at 10 a.m. on March 12 at the New Canaan Library’s Lamb Room.
The scientific experiment of Jane Walsh, a Country School 7th grade student, has been selected as the National Challenge Grand Prize Winner of Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s K-12 annual magazine, Birdsleuth Investigator.
Scott Driscoll, President of Internet Safety Concepts, visited the Country School campus on Feb. 11 and met with a large group of parents and Middle and Upper School students. Mr. Driscoll discussed making smart and safe choices while using the internet, social media, and other technologies. He offered tools, strategies, and safety tips for parents to share with their child(ren).
Last Friday, Tatyana and Eral Gokgol-Kline visited Mrs. Balasuriya’s first grade classroom to teach students about their native countries of Ukraine and Turkey. Their son, Kai, helped teach his classmates to count in Turkish, Russian and Ukranian as well.
New Canaan Country School’s boys’ varsity ice hockey team won the 45th annual Upland Invitational Tournament held in Kennett Square, PA, Jan. 12 and 13. The seventh, eighth and ninth graders went 3-0-1, beating The Rectory School, Upland Country Day School and Greenwich Country Day School, and tying a strong Rumsey Hall School team 3-3 in the final game to capture the Championship Cup.
The one-hour STEAM challenge was on! Students spread across classrooms, common spaces and hallways to make a three-tiered, freestanding snowperson with tissue paper, straws, cotton balls, pipe cleaners and tape. Working in buddy pairs, students designed and built their creations during a vibrant hour of collaboration and connection. View video>>photos>>
Lower School students continued to explore the idea of a “giving heart” by participating in two, donation service projects this December: a toy and gift drive for ELM/Camp Amerikids and a warm, comfort food drive for the Person-to-Person Mobile Food Truck.
The Lower School Arts Assembly is a quintessential Country School event, a kind of creative rite of passage for students. In this annual tradition, first and second grade students create the set and choreograph all of the dances themselves for a one-hour performance they perform first for peers and younger students during a dress rehearsal and then for parents during the school's annual Parent Visiting Day. Art teachers Liz Ferran and Performing Arts teacher Jake Alrich guide the students, but the work is very much an expression of the students' collective creativity. View photos & video >>
I wanted to share our latest Lower School community project with you, as we will be carrying it out in these weeks before break. If you have been to LS assembly, you have likely noticed that we always open our gathering with important messaging of community. We talk overtly about what it means to be kind, how we can practice gratitude, and what it means to be our best selves.
One of our favorite events, a panel of recent graduates and parents of recent graduates returned to campus Dec. 10 to answer questions and share with current parents their perspective of the transition through and beyond Country School.
Country School kindergarten students took to the ice Dec. 3 for their first learn to skate class of the season. Guided by professional instructors, students in the school’s lower grades are learning how to glide, stop and skate backwards. VIEW PHOTOS >>
Six Country School 9th graders traveled to Nashville for the annual Student Diversity Leadership (SDLC) conference Nov. 28-Dec. 1. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this multi-racial, multicultural student gathering which focuses on self-reflection and building community.
School Psychologist Rebecca Comizio shared strategies for parents at the Fall Early Childhood and Lower School Parenting Forum, The Art and Science of Communication: How to Nurture Effective Communication with our Children. Head of Early Childhood. Beth O’Brien opened the forum with the quote: “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” by Peggy O’Mara, and then Mrs. Comizio guided a discussion based on the book, How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. View slides.
Head of School Aaron Cooper kicked off the informal gathering expressing his excitement about the opportunities that exist to bring these communities together. Attendees took a Horizons quiz and Executive Director Nancy von Euler led them through the answers which highlighted not only the K-8 Summer and School Year Programming that takes place right here at NCCS, as well as the multiple ways NCCS families can get involved in Horizons.
The results are in! The winners of the 2018 French Mousse-Off are seventh grader Tanvi Debnath of Stamford, eighth grader Maeve Baker of New Canaan and ninth grader Alex Almeida, also of New Canaan. Scoring for the annual culinary contest is based on taste and execution as well as overall presentation of the delicious dessert often associated with haute cuisine.
The Country School community, including students, faculty and staff from Early Childhood through Grade 9, collected 2,369 pounds of canned and dry food over the past two weeks in support of The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.
Fifth grade science students interviewed Atlanta-based meteorologist Carl Parker via teleconference Wednesday. The interview, led by Middle School Science Teacher Lindsay Frey, was part of a larger study on the forces that drive weather patterns.