Rippowam Cisqua School

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  • Secondary School Placement at RCS
    The week before Spring Break is when our 8th and 9th grade students, who are applying to secondary schools, receive their letters of notification from where they applied over the winter.

    Rippowam Cisqua students continue to find themselves in an increasingly competitive placement process. Their profiles are being evaluated against an incredibly talented pool of local applicants from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for day schools, and against a global pool for boarding schools.
    While admissions officers stress that the academic preparation, confidence, intellectual curiosity, and willingness to engage in all areas of school life make RCS students stand out in the admissions process, they are also quick to point out that our children’s ability to demonstrate their capacity for leadership is a real point of difference.
    Page Vincent, our Director of Placement, and Ridley Sperling, our Associate Director of Placement, the faculty, and other members of the administration work closely with families to help our students find the secondary school that will be the right fit for each child. RCS is pleased to share that the following schools have accepted members of the Classes of 2015 & 2016. An asterisk denotes that more than one student was accepted at that school.

    Boarding Schools
    Avon Old Farms School
    Berkshire School*
    Blair Academy
    Choate Rosemary Hall *
    Deerfield Academy*
    Groton School*
    The Gunnery
    The Hotchkiss School*
    The Lawrenceville School*
    Loomis Chaffee*
    Masters School
    Middlesex School
    Millbrook School*
    Miss Porter’s School*
    Northfield Mount Hermon School
    Peddie School
    Pomfret School*
    Salisbury School*
    St. Andrew’s School* (DE)
    St. George’s School*
    St. Paul’s School
    Suffield Academy*
    Tabor Academy
    The Taft School*
    The Thacher School (CA)
    The Westminster School*
    Day Schools
    Brunswick School
    The Birch Wathen Lenox School
    The Calhoun School
    Convent of the Sacred Heart* (CT)
    The Dwight School
    Fordham Preparatory School
    Greens Farms Academy*
    Greenwich Academy*
    Hackley School*
    The Harvey School*
    Iona Preparatory School
    The Key School*
    King School*
    Masters School*
    Rye Country Day School
    School of the Holy Child*
    St. Luke’s School*
    Wooster School

    Congratulations are in order for the students, their teachers, and parents. It is that triangle working together which builds a child’s confidence, and prepares him or her to be a successful member of his or her new school community.

    For more on secondary school placement at RCS, please click HERE
  • STEAM Fair 2015!
    STEAM—the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math—is alive and well at Rippowam Cisqua School, and the School's annual Lower Campus Science Fair--the STEAM FAIR--on March 12th provided the students in grades 1-4 with a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the concepts that they have learned this year and showcase this key tenet of 21st century learning.
    Over the course of several months, the students worked together in small groups to build and test their interactive and innovative projects, engaging in problem solving along the way. Creativity was also a critical component of their work in the labs, and the Lower Campus art and science teachers worked together to help the students collaborate on their projects. 
    When the day of the STEAM Fair arrived, the Sky Room was filled with eager students who served as hosts and experts for their projects. As parents, faculty, staff, and other students visited each table, the student hosts happily shared their knowledge. 
    Project based learning is marvelously messy and complicated. It lies at the heart of RCS because it builds the habits of mind that are essential to learning. This is abundantly evident in the STEAM Fair projects. The students are given the gift of time to struggle a bit to figure things out and make them work. As they do so, they express their ideas artistically, as well as verbally and in writing; they apply scientific concepts as they build models that represent their ideas; and they negotiate leadership roles around a common goal through collaborative teamwork. Each lesson learned builds the foundation that will sustain a passion for exploration and problem solving throughout their lives.
  • RCS 6th Grader Zachary Breault Named New York State National Geographic Bee Semifinalist by National Geographic Society

    Rippowam Cisqua School 6th Grader Zachary Breault has been named a New York State National Geographic Bee Semifinalist by the National Geographic Society. Zachary will compete in the state level competition of the National Geographic Bee which will be held on Friday, March 27 in Albany, NY. This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 27th year. Each January, Rippowam Cisqua School is one of thousands of schools in the United States that participates in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society.

    Every Rippowam Cisqua School student in grades 5 through 8 participated in this year’s Geography Bee. After several rounds of competition, including a “live” finals round held in the Crosby-Fiala Playhouse on the Upper Campus on February 5th, Zachary emerged as the 2015 Rippowam Cisqua School Geography Bee champion. As a school champion, Zachary was invited to take the qualifying test to determine whether he would be invited to compete at the state level. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and U.S. territories to compete in the state Bees. One winner from each state and territory will advance to the national competition, which will be held May 11-13 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    Good Luck Zack!!!
  • RCS Girls Win Their 100th Basketball Game

    Over the past seven years, the RCS Girls Varsity Basketball team has a record of 100-6! They reached their 100th win today with a victory over Resurrection, and the team closed out the regular season with only one loss! Congratulations to all of the players on a great season, and also to Coach Morrissey on a great season and a tremendous milestone!
  • RCS Boys Varsity Basketball Caps Undefeated Season with Victory over New Canaan Country School

    The RCS Boys Varsity Basketball team ended their impressive 11-0 season with a victory over New Canaan Country School on Thursday, February 19. Season highlights included victories over tough teams from Buckley, Rye Country Day, Brunswick, and Greens Farms Academy. Congratulations to Coach Steve Willson, Assistant Coach Ed Clarke, and all the players for their hard work and dedication.
  • RCS 6th Graders Present Willy Wonka Jr.

    The 6th grade musical is an important and beloved tradition at RCS. Every 6th grade student takes part in this annual production, from acting and singing to set design, sound, and lighting. On February 11th and 12th, RCS families and friends, along with students, faculty, and staff from both campuses gathered in the Crosby-Fiala Playhouse for this year’s 6th grade musical production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr.

    Incredible sets, colorful and creative costumes, and hilarious song and dance numbers helped transport the audience to Willy Wonka’s magical Chocolate Factory where Mr. Wonka and his Oompa Loompas took Charlie Bucket and the other Golden Ticket winners -- gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum smacking Violet Beauregarde, pampered princess Veruca Salt, and electronics addict Mike Teavee -- on the adventure of a lifetime through a fantasyland of pure imagination.
  • Ninth Graders Participate in the Midnight Run

    While most of us were warmly snuggled in our beds on the night of Friday, February 6th, the RCS ninth graders and their chaperones were traveling to Manhattan to participate in the annual Midnight Run. There was much work to be done before they even hit the road - making sandwiches and putting together sack suppers including hot soup and coffee, packaging up personal care items, sizing and grouping clothing, and packing up blankets.

    For over ten years, RCS ninth graders have participated in the Midnight Run. This year, two of our ninth graders, Ben Hirsch and Matt Schwartz, took on the challenge of organizing the Midnight Run as part of their ninth grade Portfolio. The Portfolio program is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore areas of interest. As leaders, Ben and Matt hosted a jeans day/bake sale to raise funds to purchase the supplies needed for the Run. During assembly that day, Ben and Matt did a PowerPoint presentation for the entire community, focusing on homelessness in the USA, homelessness in New York City, and then specifically the Midnight Run organization. In addition to helping with baked goods, parents of the ninth graders volunteered to cook soup, make hard-boiled eggs, and bake meatloaf (a sandwich staple favored by many of the homeless). Toiletries and clothing were also donated by members of the RCS Community.

    Two weeks prior to the Run, Dale Williams shared his unique perspective on homelessness in New York City with our ninth graders. Now Executive Director of Midnight Run, Mr. Williams spent nearly three years on the streets in the late 1980s. A product of a middle class family with a college education, Mr. Williams spoke about not knowing the meaning of being cold, dirty, hungry, and lonely until he faced that stark reality of homelessness. Members of the ninth grade asked a myriad of questions as they listened to his story.

    After an introduction to logistics by the Run leader, Vic Fried, the students piled into two vans and a car and headed out to the first stop. Over the course of the next three hours, they encountered a host of interesting characters, all appreciative of the donations, and most willing to chat with the kids. Conversations between the ninth graders and the men and women they met ran the gamut from sporting events to politics, music, and more. As the night progressed, the ninth graders came to appreciate the “homeless” as people with names and faces, people with more similarities to us than differences, and people who were experiencing rocky points in their lives.
  • Twenty Nine RCS Students Earn Writing Awards from Scholastic

    Each year, RCS students in grades 7 through 9 are invited to submit their work to the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards, the country’s longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative students. Students in grades 7 through 12 from both private and public schools across the country submit work that is blindly judged by leaders in the visual and literary arts who look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Selections from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are published in the National Catalog and The Best Teen Writing, which are distributed free of charge to schools and libraries nationwide. Works have also appeared in Scholastic publications including The Best Young Writers & Artists in America (PUSH), Scope magazine, Junior Scholastic magazine, Scholastic Art magazine, and New York Times Upfront magazine. Writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Maya Goldberg, and Joyce Carol Oates are all national Scholastic Writing Awards alumni.

    All submissions are judged and awarded regionally and all regional Gold Key winners are automatically entered into the national contest where their work is judged against other Gold Key winners from across the country. Each year, numerous RCS students are recognized at the regional level for their achievement in writing. In 2014, after being awarded a Gold Key at the regional level, RCS student Mairead Kilgallon was awarded a national Gold Medal in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category for her story, “The Ghost Singer.”

    The 2015 regional Scholastic Awards were announced on February 2. In the Hudson to Housatonic writing region, which serves teens from nine suburban-NYC counties (Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, and Dutchess in New York; and Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven in Connecticut), 142 Gold Keys, 208 Silver Keys, and 313 Honorable Mentions were selected from over 1500 submitted works. Twenty nine students from Rippowam Cisqua School earned awards in this region including three Gold Keys, nine Silver Keys, and seventeen Honorable Mentions. The 2015 Scholastic National Medalists will be announced on March 16.

    Gold Key
    Sarah Bonnem, 8th Grade, Gold Key in Poetry
    Charlotte Maerov, 8th Grade, Gold Key in Poetry
    Cameron Hackett, 7th Grade, Gold Key in Personal Essay/Memoir

    Silver Key
    Mairead Kilgallon, 9th Grade, Silver Key in Poetry
    Jack Kovensky, 8th Grade, Silver Key in Journalism
    Jinjee Denner, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Isabella Giordano, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Ethan Karas, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Daisy Lawrence, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Morgan LeBrun, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Annabel Lee, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Sami Rifai-Loewenberg, 7th Grade, Silver Key in Personal Essay/Memoir

    Honorable Mention
    Caroline Carpenter, 9th Grade, Honorable Mention in Flash Fiction
    Jake Stahl, 9th Grade, TWO Honorable Mentions in Poetry
    Karina Badey, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Poetry
    Nicholas Beaumont, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Short Story
    Blake Cote, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Brian Fridie, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Julia Gastone, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Short Story
    George Lawrence, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Science Fiction/Fantasy
    Ned Mattison, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Prince Millett-Barrett, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Personal Essay/Memoir
    Paige Nespole, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Poetry
    Eric Oschner, 8th Grade, Honorable Mention in Short Story
    John Schrei
  • Foundations of Education - Thursday, January 29th

    Rippowam Cisqua School’s Foundations of Education Series kicks off its eighth year on Thursday, January 29 at 9:30am with a visit from educator, author, and NY Times columnist Jessica Lahey who will discuss The Gift of Failure: Fostering Intrinsic Motivation and Resilience in Kids. In her lecture, Jessica will explore the best ways to motivate students to own their education and develop grit and resilience, as well as share current research on autonomy-supportive parenting and teaching.

    Jessica Lahey ( is an educator, writer, and speaker. She has been a middle- and high school teacher of English, Latin, and writing for over a decade. She writes the bi-weekly "Parent-Teacher Conference" advice column for the New York Times and her work appears regularly in the Atlantic and on Vermont Public Radio. Her article, "Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail," went viral in early 2013 and became the genesis of her forthcoming book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, which will be published in August by HarperCollins.

    Rippowam Cisqua School’s critically acclaimed Foundations of Education Series is a dynamic program featuring informative lectures on how to raise successful, lifelong learners. The lectures are free and open to the public. All lectures take place on the Lower Campus, which is located at 325 West Patent Road, Mount Kisco, New York. For more information, please contact Ryan Smith at 914-244-1292 or
  • RCS Builds Community this Holiday Season

    Service-learning activities at Rippowam Cisqua School offer our students the opportunity to consider social justice issues, to think critically about these social justice issues and, as a result, to take informed action within the School, local, and global community. This holiday season, Rippowam Cisqua’s Upper Campus students and staff collected over 1,000 nonperishable food items for Neighbors Link and the Community Center of Northern Westchester.

    In addition, students and teachers brought in sets of new pajamas and raised money to purchase sleepwear. The Upper Campus community donated over 150 new pajamas to the Community Center of Northern Westchester’s Share the Warmth drive. Through these activities, students become aware of their own gifts and welcome the opportunity to share with their neighbors. Students, faculty, and staff look forward to continuing to partner with Neighbors Link and the Community Center of Northern Westchester in the future. Many thanks to all who participated in this very successful holiday drive.
  • Fourth Grade Engineers Visit the Upper Campus

    On November 12th and December 9th, fourth grade students traveled to the Upper Campus to meet with physics teacher, Charlie Duveen, at the Rippowam Applied Physics Laboratory. Given only a few materials — a helium filled gas container (balloon), a platform (Dixie cup), shroud and tether lines (sewing thread), ballast (a lump of clay), and adhesive (masking tape) — these young engineers worked in teams to construct and test the slowest-rising launch vehicle.

    As part of their math lessons on velocity, the objective for each design team was to create its own unique launch vehicle and to collect the necessary data (distance traveled and time) so that the team could calculate the vehicle's upward velocity. In his briefing to the students, Mr. Duveen told them that the key to success in meeting this challenge was to work as a team. "Good teammates," he said, "help each other to solve problems, supporting one another, even when things go wrong."

    There are four reasons why this task is especially challenging. First, the vehicle must continuously rise until it reaches the ceiling; secondly, the only variable to change velocity is the amount of ballast; thirdly, in any engineering venture, stuff goes wrong. All the teams had only ten minutes to complete the build and test phases of this project while recording the time-of-flight for several test trials. Finally, it is easy to make a fast launch vehicle, but creating the slowest, continuously-rising vehicle is a real trick. This is pretty much how engineers bring applied physics and mathematics together.

    This particular challenge took some real teamwork. Through thick and thin, the design teams persevered, recording data over several trials, and adjusting the ballast on successive launches to improve its performance.

    As we all know too well, not every engineering project goes smoothly. Some teams lost the gas container and had penalty points to pay for getting another one to replace it. One team's launch vehicle was complete, and in testing, when the gas container exploded (popped). The team had to start all over with new materials and less time, but prevail they did, as any good team will do, in spite of the setbacks.

    Since fourth graders already understood how to use area and perimeter formulas, fourth grade math teacher, Babs Johnson, created activities using the velocity formula. Children ran different distances and used a stop watch to record their times to hundredths of a second. They actually calculated their personal velocity, accurate to two decimal places. Even the concept of acceleration, a change in velocity, came up during their discussions. By the time the fourth grade engineering teams arrived at the Upper Campus to work on launch vehicles, they were experts at the mathematics involved.

    Mr. Duveen ended each session with a discussion about helium and balloon safety. The dangers of balloons as a choking hazard to infants is well documented. The helium in industrial cylinders brought into the home must be supervised by adults.  The helium itself is not purified for human consumption (inhalation) and the reducer valve on a tank has too much pressure if used to inhale the helium and could damage the lungs.

    Babs Johnson coordinated the field trip with 4th grade teachers, Harriet Doniger, Gail Laird, Stephanie Kaplan, and assistant teachers Adrienne Adorno and Eliza Tighe. Penny Jennings, Head of the Lower Campus, came to watch her students working effectively in teams and having fun doing it.
  • RCS World Languages Department Launches iPad Pilot Program for Grades 7-9

    After attending a four day summer conference in Boston on “Technology in the World Language Classroom,” RCS World Language Facilitator, Kathy Perry, returned to school with a mission: to bring iPads into our French, Spanish, and Latin classrooms. “There are so many exciting ways that iPads are being used in language classrooms across the country,” Mrs. Perry explained. “The nimbleness and flexibility of the iPad makes it a great tool for the modern world language classroom. Bringing iPads into my 7th, 8th, and 9th grade Spanish classes has allowed me to engage with students in a new and dynamic way.”

    Currently, iPads are being used to enhance classroom learning at RCS in both French and Spanish. Mrs. Perry's fellow language teachers - Mrs. Pleitez, Mrs. Englis, and Mrs. Lespes - also report that integrating iPads into their classrooms has increased students’ engagement in lessons and given them a new way to interact with, and immerse themselves in, the language and culture they are studying.

    A sample of the applications currently being tested as part of this pilot program include:

    Kahoot! -- Kahoot! is a student response system for creating and administering unique, game-like quizzes. Questions, along with answer choices, are projected onto the classroom SmartBoard while students submit responses from an iPad. It is a compelling and easy way to engage students in pre-assessment activities that give students immediate feedback and allows the teacher to see which material requires extra review before a formal assessment. It is so motivating that students can't wait to play.

    ThingLink -- ThingLink for iPad lets you create interactive images instantly. It is a great alternative method of presenting information on a topic. Students can link text, audio clips, video clips, photos, maps, and other information to a single picture, organizing their references. These “ThingLinks” can be created by the teacher ahead of time and uploaded to the homework portal as well. They can also be displayed and shown on the classroom SmartBoard.

    Sphere -- Sphere allows students to look at photographs taken in a 360 degree fashion. As they turn right with the iPad, they look to the right in the photo. As they tilt it up, they see the sky. Sphere allows students to feel transported to just about anywhere in the world. Through Sphere, students can visit a street in Paris, a castle in Madrid, a sunny beach in Mexico, or a snow covered bridge in Belgium. This allows for a fantastic new way to teach the prepositions of location, and the language of weather, time of day, and descriptions. The iPad can be linked to the classroom’s SmartBoard so that, as a single student tilts and rotates the iPad, the whole class "sees" the changing view displayed.

    Tagul -- Tagul is a word cloud app that allows students to choose a silhouette of a picture and then input related words to create the image. This can be created by the teacher and used by the students to categorize the words or created by the students and used as a visual in a display where they talk about their interests.

    In addition, our French and Spanish textbooks have many digital listening, reading comprehension, mapping, and grammar review activities. Bringing iPads into the classroom means that these activities can be done in class, allowing the teacher to circulate and give individual attention and address the areas that each student is struggling to learn, or to individualize review time and activities in class. iPads are also being used as an alternative method of assessing listening skills, and to enhance students’ research and presentation skills.

    Mr. Lillis is currently researching a dictionary app that he believes wil
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