Rippowam Cisqua School

News Events
Slide Up Slide Down
  • RCS Welcomes Award-Winning Author/Illustrator, Grace Lin, to Campus

    On Friday, November 20, the RCS Upper Campus was privileged to meet, and learn about, the writer’s craft from Grace Lin, an award-winning author and illustrator. In the morning, Ms. Lin met with the sixth graders for workshops focused on her book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. The sixth graders were especially engaged as they had just finished their study of ancient China in humanities and read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in language arts class. They learned about Ms. Lin’s research and the many Asian myths and folktales that inspired her books. In addition, they learned about her journey to become a children’s book author and how her life experiences shaped her path to becoming a writer.

    After completing the workshops with the sixth graders, Ms. Lin spoke to the entire campus, presenting her program “Behind the Art,” where she discussed the inspiration behind the art in her books as well as her journey to becoming an author. In the afternoon, she met with the faculty for a presentation entitled “The Path of a Multicultural Author.” Ms. Lin shared what it was like to grow up as the only Asian-American in her upstate town and what it was like for her to rarely see herself in the stories she loved to read. These experiences, as well as her art school and travel experiences, helped her learn more about the value of multicultural literature. All people benefit from, and enjoy reading, different types of stories. In addition, reading enables us to see through “windows” and learn about people with different stories from our own, while we must also promote reading books that allow us to look into “mirrors” and see ourselves in the stories we read.

    Ms. Lin’s visit to RCS provided an opportunity for students to learn about the writing process from a published author. Ms. Lin confirmed that it takes time and hard work to revise writing that meets editorial standards for publication! This authentic experience is one of many ways we are building our community of readers and writers at school.

    Ms. Lin currently resides in Massachusetts, but she grew up in upstate New York. She is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and is the author and illustrator of over twenty picture books, early reader books, and middle grade novels. She published her first book, The Ugly Vegetables, in 1999, which was soon named an American Booksellers Association “Pick of the List” and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. Other awards followed. Her first middle grade novel, The Year of the Dog, drew on her family’s cultural heritage and was followed by The Year of the Rat and Dumpling Days. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was published in 2009 and was awarded a 2010 Newbery Honor and was chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club and was a New York Times Bestseller. This book was followed by Starry River of the Sky. The first in Ms. Lin’s series of early readers, Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same won the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011. Ms. Lin has been recognized at the Boston Public Library, receiving the Literary Lights for Children Award, and was an Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee for the United States. On her website, Ms. Lin is quoted as saying: "Books erase bias; they make the uncommon every day, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal."

    The Upper Campus will long remember its special day with Grace Lin. Many thanks to all who supported this wonderful visit.
  • Eighth Graders Walk the Highline and Visit the Whitney

    On Tuesday, November 17, the eighth graders, along with chaperones Charlie Duveen, Mike Kober, Andy Kuhn, and Marnie McLaughlin, spent a spectacular fall day in New York City. We visited the Highline and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where we saw the Frank Stella Retrospective. Leading up to the trip, the class learned about Stella's ever changing styles and processes from Minimalism to sculptural Abstract Expressionism.

    We started the day with a walk along the entire length of the Highline, beginning on the newest section at 34th Street with views of the Hudson River and overlooking the Hudson Rail Yards, an area that just opened to the public this past September. The path threads through quickly developing high rises and on through the buildings and neighborhoods of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. We walked along the visible rails and lounged in the sun on reclaimed wooden benches while taking in the great views of public art, buildings, street, and sky. After picnicking in the Highline's amphitheater overlooking 8th Avenue, we descended upon the Gansevoort Market for gelato and other treats.

    At the Whitney, we were in for a great surprise. The museum is closed to the public on Tuesdays but open to school groups. While sitting before Stella's larger than life abstractions, our docents discreetly pointed out that the artist himself was present in the gallery with a small group of associates. Excited whispers passed between our students as they caught a glimpse of the unassuming, older man in a baseball cap amidst his bold and monumental work in the Whitney's light-flooded space.

    We boarded the bus at the end of the day, inspired by Stella's grand color and form, and the unique cross section of the West Side we experienced on the Highline.
  • Hands On Science at RCS!

    They’re outside and it’s hands on for Joe Karr’s fourth grade science class. It’s all about asking scientific questions and making observations -- and the students are definitely doing that as they learn about habitats in Mr. Karr’s outdoor science classroom.

    Mr. Karr and his students built the classroom themselves. They dragged logs and stumps into a circle, and they’ve been meeting in this spot in the woods ever since. On a beautiful fall afternoon, it’s the perfect place to study the natural world. On this particular day, third graders were manned with clipboards, colored pencils, thermometers, and a soil core sampler.

    How is it different for the students to be studying and gathering data outside?

    Mr. Karr explains: “By comparing the forests and fields right outside our door, we position ourselves to better understand our local habitats, put skills to work, and feel the joy of discovering creatures that were always so close, yet unknown.”

    Meanwhile ... inside the eighth grade physics lab on the Upper Campus, the eighth graders were gathering their own data and making observations in order to determine how a candle works. It is probably one of the simplest tools of man, discovered, perhaps in prehistoric times, when a woman inadvertently tossed the beeswax into a fire and the blaze got bigger. Her discovery led to lighting up the cave, even in her tribe’s darkest hours.
    The eighth grade scientists have been struggling to unlock the process that keeps a candle burning. How does it do that with such consistency? What exactly is the role of the wax, the wick, and the flame? Using only the tools and equipment in the lab, the teams went to work, given no specific apparatus or parameters to measure, just a set of safety rules and precautions. They learned how to operate a Bunsen burner and how to burn materials in a controlled environment.
    What looked like a simple lab investigation wasn’t easy at all. With four lab teams in each section, it took over five weeks to complete, with the first breakthroughs occurring after a week and a half of discovery, dead ends, and misleading conclusions. This wasn’t an internet research project. It was a nuts and bolts challenge, “What can you prove with your collective creativity, in this lab, and with this equipment?”
    “Wax is not flammable; it helps to slow down the burning, so the wick doesn’t burn right up and go out.” This conclusion, proven many times in different ways was finally overturned when one team heated wax in an evaporating dish over a Bunsen burner. The hot smoky liquid caught on fire with no wick. The team concluded that wax is indeed flammable when it reaches a high enough temperature and turns to a gas.
    Another team identified the black substance on the wick as the element “carbon.” One lone member of that team postulated that the carbon came not only from the burned wick but also from the wax. It turned out that she was right.
    Using small bits of carbon as indicators, another team identified currents moving in the pool of wax at the base of the wick and proved that the liquid wax was moving toward the wick. This later helped to explain the capillary action occurring in the wick to draw up the liquid wax to deliver it to the base of the flame, where it heated to a gas and kept the flame going.
    Some teams created an apparatus and carried out a procedure that resulted in no discoveries, breakthroughs, or conclusions. Their observations, however, supporte
  • Ninth Graders Volunteer at A-Home

    Volunteers who saw a need for permanent affordable housing for seniors and individuals with disabilities in Northern Westchester founded A-HOME in 1985. On Friday, November 13, members of the ninth grade class raked leaves and planted over 100 bulbs at A-HOME’s Pound Ridge residence. While we were working, Lonna Kelly, Director of Development for A-HOME, took photos of our team (ones she called “UNselfies”). Gerry Granelli, A-HOME’s property manager, commented that we have great kids and that it’s always a pleasure to work with them. The ninth graders should be proud of their willingness to lend a hand in this worthy effort. Thanks to Mike Kober and Chris Perry for helping the event run smoothly!
  • Ninth Grade Surprise!!
    Ninth graders awoke yesterday morning to an email from Ninth Grade Dean Chris Perry with the subject line, “SURPRISE!” Thus began a day that our seniors have been eagerly anticipating since the beginning of the school year - the first ninth grade surprise.

    With no idea what the day held in store for them, students arrived at school buzzing with excitement. They immediately boarded a bus and were only told that their destination would be New York City. In past years, ninth grade surprise days have included trips to the Culinary Institute, Broadway plays, a speedboat ride around NYC, a visit to the 911 Memorial, and more.

    Yesterday’s surprise trip took the nines to a secret location where they took part in a unique experience that kept them on their toes, thinking, plotting, guessing, searching, and wondering until the full reveal! The trip is so secret that we cannot share it with anyone because part of the fun for next year’s ninth graders will be experiencing the same level of excitement and surprise.

    Ninth grade surprise days are a wonderful RCS tradition, and an important part of the Capstone Year of the Rippowam Cisqua School experience.
  • Halloween Celebration at Rippowam Cisqua School

    Rippowam Cisqua celebrated Halloween today and the Lower and Upper Campuses were filled with ghosts, ghouls, strange creatures, magical beings, princesses, superheroes--even the teachers arrived in costume!

    On the Lower Campus, the Halloween celebration began with a parade. The JPK, SPK, and Kindergarten students led the way as their parents and teachers snapped photos and followed them into the Sky Room, where the community gathered for a concert of Halloween songs. Later in the morning, students in grades 1-4 paraded through the School and held a Halloween concert of their own, with festive music ranging from classical to rock and hip-hop.
    On the Upper Campus, the ninth grade students organized an assembly in the Playhouse, which they had decorated in ghoulish fashion. The students held a Halloween costume contest with all kinds of prizes! Some students dressed up in groups, and others arrived in individual costumes--and faculty and staff joined the festivities as well.

    Thanks to the ninth grade for organizing a fantastic assembly! We congratulate everyone who took part in the contest, and we wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween!
  • Anne Hall ’60 Rippowam Cisqua School Distinguished Alumni 2015

    On October 13, the Rippowam Cisqua School Alumni Association awarded Dr. Anne Hall ’60 with the Distinguished Alumni Award for her excellence in education. The award was presented by Roger Vincent '59. Anne attended Wellesley College, received her Master of Arts in Teaching at Harvard University, and earned her Ph.D. at Stanford University. Currently, Anne is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, but spent close to 25 years in the English department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    After receiving the award, Anne spoke at the Rippowam Cisqua Upper Campus morning assembly and shared several humorous stories about her time growing up in Bedford and attending Rippowam Cisqua School. From bike rides down Broad Brook Road, to her hilarious antics in sixth grade, she not only had the students laughing and applauding, but she topped off her talk by singing a rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World,” which she and her classmates were fond of singing in the bus line.

    Anne rejoined us on October 14 in the school library to share the importance of rereading classic English Renaissance texts later in life, to gain even more insight into their meaning and increase their relevance. Her fellow alums, current parents, and faculty joined Anne as she again painted a vivid picture of her youth in Bedford and shared her abundant knowledge and expertise in the field of English literature. She made the “Wife of Bath’s Tale” from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales relevant for three different age groups and convinced many of us that we could all benefit from taking another glance at the texts we read when we were younger.

    It’s no wonder New York Times op-ed writer Frank Bruni profiled Anne Hall, in February 2015, when he wrote:

    "She demonstrated the rewards of close attention. And the way she did this — her eyes wild with fervor, her body aquiver with delight — was an encouragement of passion and a validation of the pleasure to be wrung from art. It informed all my reading from then on. It colored the way I listened to people and even watched TV. It transformed me."  Click HERE to read the full article. To read more about Anne Hall, please click HERE.

    Rippowam Cisqua School salutes Dr. Anne Hall and congratulates her on the Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Philanthropy in Action: Northern Westchester Hospital Visits RCS

    This fall, third graders spearheaded a gently used children's book collection to benefit the children at the Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH). They bundled the donated books and made beautiful bookmarks for a special presentation to the hospital. On Thursday, October 8, these students presented their collection of 225 books to NWH President Joel Seligman and Director of Volunteer Services Ellen Muentener, who visited the students in the Lower Campus library. Mr. Seligman personally thanked the students for their kind and generous gifts and then engaged the students in an animated discussion on hospital facts and goings-on. What was most important, though, was that Mr. Seligman was able to explain to the children how their philanthropic act would make a difference to the many children and families who visit the hospital and how sometimes a good book is the best medicine!

    The Lower Campus Service Learning Program, led by Alison Kallman, teaches our youngest students about the "three T's of philanthropy" - the giving of time, talent, and treasure - and community partnership. As Ms. Kallman explained to the third grade students before they presented their gifts to Mr. Seligman, when philanthropic work is done together, and when it is done in partnership, even more good work is done. On that day, it meant more books for more children.
  • Homecoming 2015

    Rainy, windy weather didn’t stop the Homecoming celebration on Saturday, October 3rd! The soccer games were canceled, but the picnic and other fun activities were moved indoors to the gyms. The Bouncy House, face painting, balloons, tug of war, and other games kept students laughing and having fun – but perhaps the best part of the afternoon was simply having students, families, alumni, and faculty all together. That, as one parent put it, is what makes Rippowam Cisqua School “so great.”
  • Ripp Rally Day

    The sun was shining and smiles were abundant on Friday, September 18, when the Upper Campus welcomed students from Kindergarten through fourth grade to Meyers Fields for the third annual Ripp Rally Day. Decked out in their red and blue team colors, everyone got into the action with old-fashioned Sack Races, Dodgeball, and Capture the Flag. And there was also Base Running – a slightly crazy combination of bowling pins and a baseball diamond, dreamt up especially for RCS by Director of Athletics Tom Morrissey. Best of all was the care given to our younger students by their Upper Campus partners. It was a fun morning for all and a wonderful celebration of community!
  • Ninth Grade Community Service Day

    On Wednesday, September 16, our ninth graders kicked off their Community Service Day with a visit to the Lower Campus. Beginning with a "philanthropy" assembly in the Sky Room, Mrs. Alison Kallman, the Lower Campus Community Service Coordinator, talked about the meaning of philanthropy. Then some of the ninth graders talked about ways they had served their community. The ninth graders then moved on to help students in Grades 1 through 4 write letters to members of the U.S. military serving our country overseas.

    Working through an organization called Operation Gratitude, it was a meaningful way for our students to show appreciation and support to the men and women who protect our country. The ninth graders worked with the younger students to craft “thank you” letters that often began with “Dear Hero” and were colorfully decorated with hearts, flags, and flowers.

    The ninth graders lent a hand with spelling and encouraged artwork. It was a wonderful opportunity for the upperclassmen to share a little bit about themselves and to answer questions – and the curious Lower Campus students had plenty of questions for the ninth graders:

    “How did you get here?”
    “Who was your teacher for JPK?”
    “How do you spell ‘stitches’?”

    After the ninth graders finished at the Lower Campus, they traveled to the A-Home in Chappaqua and helped with the following jobs: weeding (lots of it!), spreading of mulch, loading wood from a downed tree into a truck, and removing ivy growing up the side of the house. Following the work at A-Home, they traveled to the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester. Barbara Cutri, Director of Operations at the Club, gave the ninth graders a tour of the various places: classrooms, pool, gyms, and outdoor facilities. Following the tour, the ninth graders were divided into four groups and helped out in various areas. One group played soccer outside with a group of younger children. Another group played games with even younger kids in the gym. The final two groups offered homework help to kids in the classrooms.

    It was a great day for everyone!
  • The New School Year is Here -- Welcome Back!!

    A few raindrops could not dampen the first day of school excitement as students, families, and teachers across both campuses celebrated the start of a new school year.  RCS Head of School, Colm MacMahon, and Lower Campus Division Head, Penny Jennings, were on hand to greet each Lower Campus student at the newly renovated front entrance while, on the Upper Campus, RCS ninth graders lined the arcade to provide a warm and enthusiastic welcome to arriving fifth through eighth graders.  As the students settled into their classrooms, parents gathered in the Sky Room for a Welcome Back Coffee and All Parent meeting hosted by the RCS Parents Association.  It was an exciting day for the entire RCS community!

    The 98th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua School has officially begun!

view the news page
Slide Up Slide Down view the calendar page