At New Canaan Country School’s Closing Exercises Wednesday, June 17, Head of School Aaron Cooper encouraged the 37 ninth grade graduates of the Class of 2020 to be courageous – especially in uncertain circumstances such as those we face today. They gathered on the school’s football field for a tailgate-style socially-distanced graduation ceremony. View photos.
The Grade 1 Community Helpers video is the culmination of the students’ social studies unit. This year, the scripts particularly focused on essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic. These community helpers include delivery workers, grocery and food service workers, healthcare workers, firefighters, facilities staff, educators and police officers. We are proud of our students for recognizing the good and vital work of these important community helpers.
New Canaan Country School ninth graders offered words of gratitude and touching reminiscences in their 2020 yearbook dedication to two teachers: Grade 4 Teacher John Hastings and Upper School Math Department Chair, Math Teacher, Coach and Advisor Matthew McDonald.
New Canaan Country School fourth graders kept a long-standing tradition alive, performing the annual Greek play, The Odyssey, June 4, using a variety of creative solutions. A much beloved rite of passage, the play culminates their grade-wide study of ancient Greece, Greek mythology and The Odyssey.
William Shakespeare, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Leif Erickson and Amelia Earhart were among the famous people brought back to life by Country School third graders for a “wax museum” research and writing project, part of a biography unit that culminated June 4.
Each student chose a famous figure, researched him/her and then wrote a speech summarizing the figure’s life and accomplishments.
New Canaan Country School sixth grade students delivered their speeches through the winter and spring. An annual rite of passage at Country School, the speeches are part of an emphasis on developing the skills to be confident and competent public speakers and advocates.
Upper School Science Teacher Sanj Maliakal took his seventh grade life sciences classes on a virtual field trip with the assistance of Zoom and an underwater GoPro camera to the vernal pond located in the school’s 35-acres of campus woodlands. Throughout the year, they had studied ecology and environmental science; this field trip allowed students to explore the unique habitat of a vernal pond and how it compares to other ecosystems and food webs they have already studied. Mr. Maliakal collected tadpole specimens, sharing his finds in real-time with his students, answering questions and even naming the birds they could hear calling in the woods around him. View video.
In the Upper School, teachers continue to deliver on their content and skill-building while at the same time looking for ways to leverage online learning and reimagine both everyday lessons and signature course or grade-level events. Mr. Fredo's 8th grade English class had the opportunity to Zoom with Greenwich Academy alumna, Morgan Hearne, to discuss a book they had recently finished reading.
Distance learning is not stopping the sense of Lower School community, or the joy they share together. Check out the first virtual assembly, complete with special guest Announcers, student shares, tips from Scout, an announcement from Mrs. Stevens, and more!
Eighth graders designed and built small vehicles as a culminating activity of their force and motion unit. Using a variety of tech tools and overcoming the obstacles of social distancing, the students shared ideas, documented their work, recorded videos, and had a final group Zoom call to determine whose car went the farthest.
New Canaan Country School faculty, students and their families joined together in song, jokes, poetry, speeches, drawing, planting, recycling and cooking as part of the 50th Annual Earth Day celebrations, held April 22. The pre-K through Grade 9 school utilized its distance learning resources to engage community members in a wide variety of individual, family and virtual activities.
When Distance Learning began in Lower School, I gave my students an assignment: Have you ever heard the expression every cloud has a silver lining? It means that even during challenging situations, good things can come. The fact that we cannot be at school together is certainly a cloud! Your job is to think about what the silver linings are of our school buildings being closed.
“This pandemic makes me think of a huge plot twist in a novel,” said Ben Herdeg, a ninth grade student at New Canaan Country School. “It’s like a psychological page-turner, I have no idea what’s going to happen next.”
Members of the New Canaan Country School and Horizons at NCCS communities served the wide-ranging needs of more than 10 local non-profit organizations April 3 and 4. Students and their families were participating in the sixth annual Kyle A. Markes Day of Service in honor of an NCCS classmate who passed away in 2013. In a unique twist, this year volunteers performed their service virtually, online or in their own homes. View photos.
Thank you to everyone who showered our amazing faculty and staff with gratitude on Wednesday. The posters, personal emails and your entries on our new digital gratitude wall made all the faculty and staff feel special. The gratitude wall will remain open throughout the distance learning experience, so there’s still time to post!
“I have learned that even if you try your hardest and still fail at something, to not give up. Keep trying,” said New Canaan Country School ninth grader Payton Koch of New Canaan during remarks she made at the end-of-term Upper School sports assembly, held on campus Feb. 24.
“New Canaan Country School athletics has taught me a tremendous amount as a person, teammate, and athlete,” said ninth grader Charlie Gaynor of Bedford, NY, during remarks he made at the end-of-term Upper School sports assembly, held on campus, Feb. 24. Charlie, who served as a captain of the school’s boys’ varsity soccer and hockey teams, was one of two student-athletes selected to offer reflections.
There were no scripted lines or stage directions as Middle School drama students began preparing production for their Winter Musical. Over the course of 10 weeks, 25 students worked intensely to write and stage their very own play, “Café Catastrophe.” View photos.
Chris Lawler and Aron Back led a hands-on maple sugaring experience for parents. They learned about the history of maple sugaring and the tools and techniques used. They roamed campus collecting sap and boiling it down at the Sugar Shack.
An exhibit of photographs from the Fall trimester 8th & 9th grade Digital Photography Class is now hanging at the Bartlett Arboretum, a 93-acre nature preserve located in North Stamford. Please join us for an opening reception of the exhibit on Sunday, March 8 from 2-4 p.m.
New Canaan Country School Beginners students (ages 4 and 5) enjoyed their annual Lantern Walk celebration with shadow puppet plays, songs and handmade lanterns, which illuminated the night as they strolled across campus by the light of the moon.
New Canaan Country School first graders have been studying China throughout the year, so they were brimming with excitement Feb. 7 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 Rat. View photos.
Fourth graders spent the first half of their year immersed in the rich culture of the many local American Indian* tribes and shared a small sample of their learning experience through a land acknowledgment, dance, and storytelling at an assembly earlier this week. View photos. View video.
New Canaan Country School squash players competed in the 2020 U.S. Middle School Squash Championships at Yale University in New Haven Jan. 31 - Feb. 2. Team A Won the Classic Plate Division following a hard-fought loss in the quarterfinals, while Team B showed grit and determination against strong opponents.
Thank you to everyone who helped organize and participate in two great community service events this last week. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, Upper School students provided and served a warm dinner at Inspirica’s homeless shelter in Stamford.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 25 Early Childhood and Lower School students made handmade valentines to attach to Blankets of Hope, which will be given to Inspirica’s clients in need.
Thank you to the students and parent volunteers who had fun while working diligently to create over 80 valentines. The blankets are sure to bring warmth and smiles to their many clients in need. Thank you to the Ghoussias family for introducing the NCCS community to the “Blankets of Hope” organization.
Upper School student-athletes Courtney Edwards, Sloane Griffiths and Maisy Ricciardelli were named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2020 Upland Country Day Invitational Girls’ Ice Hockey Tournament, held Jan. 24-26 in Kennett Square, PA.
Students in Mr. Randolph’s sixth grade class delivered their speeches Friday, Jan 24. The speeches, an annual rite of passage at Country School, are part of an emphasis on developing the skills to be confident and competent public speakers and advocates.
New Canaan Country School celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with age-appropriate curricular activities, reflections and gatherings, culminating in divisional assemblies held Jan. 16 and 17.
Welles Commons was buzzing before school Wednesday morning as Lower School students challenged family members in a fun math competition. View photos.
Every day, students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 practice math skills and strategies in interactive, hands-on ways, often through Workplace Station games, as a key component of our Bridges in Mathematics curriculum.
Horizons at New Canaan Country School (NCCS) will hold a comedy night event on Friday, January 24 in the Carver Dining Hall at NCCS to raise funds to support the organization. This event is open to the public and will include a live comedy act starring Bob DiBuono, stand-up comedian and cast member of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central and Adam Muller, a New York based stand-up comedian, and second place winner at the Manhattan Comedy Festival.
Country School ninth graders delivered “Dove Bags” of food for 46 local families in need, Dec. 19. Working in teams led by Upper School teachers Elizabeth Carroll and Will McDonough, and captained by students Annika Mannix of Wilton, Darla Moody of Pound Ridge, Ryland Strine of New Canaan and Jamie Staniar of Darien, the 36 students gathered, packed, recorded and transported the collected items to the Food Bank.
“Rebuilding a team is challenging and takes a lot of effort, but ultimately it’s very rewarding,” said Annika Mannix, a tri-captain of New Canaan Country School’s varsity field hockey team. A ninth grader, Mannix was one of two student-athletes selected to offer reflections at the end-of-term Upper School sports assembly held in November.
“I have loved football since I was three years old,” explained Rett Zeigler, a co-captain of New Canaan Country School’s varsity team. A ninth grader, Rett was one of two student-athletes selected to offer reflections at the end-of-term Upper School sports assembly, held Nov. 11.
New Canaan Country School is pleased to congratulate its Director of Dining Services Carlos A. Caban for receiving the 2019 National Account of the Year Award from FLIK Independent School Dining. Carlos travelled to Orlando Oct. 15 to accept the award on behalf of the New Canaan Country School dining services team, which includes Executive Chef William Barrera, Neville Brevitt, Marcos Delgado, Leslie Dingee, Jamila Malines, Yahaira Mendez, Santa Diaz, Sonia Santiago and Terry Wash.
The results are in! The winners of New Canaan Country School’s 2019 French Mousse-Off are seventh graders Daniel Marin of Easton and Chandeny Vasquez Rhamen of Stamford, eighth grader Maria Flores of Stamford and ninth grader Annika Mannix of Wilton. Scoring for the annual culinary contest was based on taste and execution as well as overall presentation of the delicious dessert, often associated with haute cuisine.
Faculty, staff and students gathered on Nov. 26 as the last beam was laid into place during a “topping off” ceremony for the Athletics & Wellness Center. During the previous few days, students, faculty and staff had signed their names and written some inspirational messages on the beam. As is tradition in this ceremony, a school flag, an American flag and a small evergreen tree – symbolizing new growth – were attached to the final beam before it was raised. View photos. View a Drone Video of the Construction.
New Canaan Country School is pleased to announce that Eric Woolworth ’80 will be presented with the 2020 Alumni Award. Eric is scheduled to return to campus Friday, May 15, to accept the honor and share with students, alumni and guests highlights of his career in professional basketball and as a leader in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Our first ever Pie Day was a huge success thanks to your generosity! Over 200 pies were handed out to our dedicated faculty and staff! Not only did our wonderful teachers, administrators and staff members come to Grace House with a smile to pick up their pies, but pies were also delivered to bus drivers and left out for the overnight cleaning crew! Thank you to our parents for baking and purchasing such beautiful pies and special thanks to the many volunteers who helped sort and distribute pies.
Dr. Reshan Richards has joined New Canaan Country School this fall in the newly created role of Director of Studies. Dr. Richards, a long-time educator, is also a successful educational technology entrepreneur, having co-founded Explain Everything, Inc., as one of the fastest-growing whiteboard platforms on the market. In addition, he is the co-author of Make Yourself Clear, How to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything and Be Understood andBlending Leadership.
New Canaan Country School hosted “A Positive Approach to Navigating Social Media and Technology” a presentation by The Social Institute on Thursday, Nov. 21. The event was co-sponsored was New Canaan CARES.
The Campus Beautification Committee wants to thank the amazing group of volunteers who demonstrated tremendous teamwork, enthusiasm, and creativity while giving the planters around campus a festive winter makeover last Saturday!
Since we broke ground on our Athletics & Wellness Center last spring, we have made significant progress. Construction crews have cleared the site, laid the concrete foundation, installed underground plumbing, and currently, they are erecting the steel structure.
New Canaan Country School graduate, entrepreneur and post-9/11 U.S Marine Corps Veteran Zach Iscol ’94 will be one of five Grand Marshals leading the 2019 New York City Veterans Day Parade Tuesday, Nov. 11, the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) has announced.
New Canaan Country School welcomed Young People’s Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab for two days of writer’s workshops, assemblies, poetry readings and activities for student writers and poetry enthusiasts of all ages, Nov. 4 and 5. Organized by the school’s Parents’ Association and Upper School English and History Teacher Will McDonough, Ms. Nye’s visit kicked off the pre-K through grade 9 school’s annual Festival of Books, a week-long event which celebrates literacy.
This year’s Festival of Books was a three-day celebration of literacy at Country School. One of the Parents' Association's biggest fundraisers of the year, the Festival of Books also provided many opportunities to build community as well as classroom libraries. VIEW PHOTOS.
“Today’s goal is to make a mini bot which can draw on its own,” explained New Canaan Country School Technology Teacher Bruce Lemoine to his sixth grade Maker Class. “The materials at your disposal include a red plastic cup, magic markers, hot glue guns, the electrical circuitry from the propeller cars you made last week, an on-off switch and all of the materials you can find around this room. I definitely encourage you to visit the drawer of googly eyes.”
Members of the Country School community raised red, yellow and white lanterns at the annual Light the Night Walk on Nov. 2 at Calf Pasture Beach. Dozens of students, parents, faculty and staff attended the event and raised $6,452 (far surpassing their goal of $5,000!) for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The rain held off for our beloved Halloween Parade! Our Lower Schoolers were delighted when Parade Grand Marshals Head of Lower School Mrs. Mallin and Head of School Mr. Cooper appeared as Gerald and Piggie, the lead characters from the popular Mo Willems children’s book series, to lead the parade around campus. VIEW PHOTOS.
Thank you to all the students who participated in two terrific Community Service events this past Wednesday. Twenty-five Middle and Upper School students helped to deliver, sort and stacked food donated to the NCCS Person-to-Person Food Drive at the organization's Stamford food pantry.
Towering sunflowers, now drooping due to their height, weight and the arrival of colder weather, stand outside the Thacher Building. The sunflowers have been the objects of fascination and curiosity of Early Childhood students as they walk by them, multiple times a day.
New Canaan Country School is pleased to welcome award-winning Palestinian-American poet, writer, anthologist and educator Naomi Shihab Nye to campus Monday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m., for an evening of poetry and discussion. PLEASE REGISTER TO ATTEND.
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.
Over in the woodshop, Visual Arts Teacher Chris Lawler offers a popular Upper School elective course that he calls “Barkitecture.” Part woodworking, part art, the class imagines, designs and builds actual houses for actual clients — dogs.
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.
New Canaan Country School gathered for the annual Cougar Run, Sat., Sept. 21. The event, sponsored by the Parents’ Association and attended by hundreds, included a 5K race, a Chase the Cougar Fun Run and a children’s obstacle course on the NCCS campus.
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.
The Bulletin: Published twice a year for the larger school community, including alumni and parents of alumni and grandparents. To submit class notes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. View past issues of the Bulletin.
The Ridge: The Literary Magazine of the Upper School