The Ninth Grade Year

The ninth grade year at Country School is its own gift.

In traditional PreK-12 and 9-12 school settings, ninth grade is an introductory experience that places students on steep social and academic learning curves. It’s a hard reset from middle school, often in an unfamiliar setting, and as a result it’s a tricky balancing act on all levels. In contrast, having ninth grade be a culminating experience mitigates so many of these social and emotional challenges, in turn allowing students to focus on their high school level academics and direct their energies towards personal and character growth that will help to shape and, more importantly, enhance their experience on all fronts when they do make the transition to high school.
Our ninth graders are, after all, our “seniors” – and when they take their next steps and head off to high school, they have under their proverbial belts a host of experiences that many of their same-age peers do not. Country School ninth graders sit on and chair committees; they captain Varsity sports teams; and they assemble yearbooks, school newspapers, and other publications. And in all that our ninth graders do, they lead and they mentor. They are seen as role models by the school’s younger students, and entrusted with responsibilities by faculty and administrators that – in more traditional settings – are reserved for older students.
The ninth grade year at Country School represents the best of both worlds. Academically, it is a student’s first year of high school – from the rigor of the content taught right down to the student’s performance in the course becoming part of their high school transcript. Yet, experientially it’s a student’s final year in an environment that they’ve had the benefit of knowing, often for multiple years. The experiences students are afforded fall in line with those that many don’t get until they’re fully entrenched in high school (and often not until their senior year, at that).

Leadership Opportunities

Assembly Committee
Leadership Committee
Yearbook/Ponus Papers Literary Magazine
The Column, the Upper School Newspaper
Social Committee
Blue/White Committee
Admission Ambassadors
Cultural Awareness for Everyone (CAFE) 
Discipline Committee
Community Service Committee
    • Every ninth grader delivers a "This I Believe" speech to the entire Upper School in which they reflect on their values and experiences, while also showcasing their writing and public speaking skills.

    • The ninth grade year begins with a 3-day hike of the Appalachian Trail. With its focus on class bonding and leadership, the Outdoor Action Trip is a longstanding, celebrated, and essential component of the 9th grade experience at Country School.

    • Students are given the opportunity to take on leadership roles through a variety of Committees. Here, the Community Service Committee receives an award for the school's participation in Light the Night, a fundraising walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

    • The Expanded Studies curriculum offers students an in-depth and experiential study of Ecology and Sustainability Studies, Civil Rights or Marine Biology. The study culminates with trips to the Pacific Northwest, the Deep South or the Florida Keys.

    • A group of ninth graders attend the national Student Diversity Leadership Conference to delve into issues of diversity, equity and inclusion with peers from across the country.

    • Ninth graders play a special leadership role as captains of sports teams , as well as spearheading Blue & White Day, a day of sports and friendly competition for the Middle and Upper Schools.

New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.