STEAMing Ahead at RCS!
At Rippowam Cisqua School, the year-long 8th grade physics project is an important focus of the 8th grade curriculum, and it serves as a wonderful example of STEAM—the cutting-edge integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math—in the classroom. This year, Mr. Charlie Duveen’s 8th grade physics students are working in teams to design a nuclear powered submarine. On Tuesday, November 19th, Mr. Duveen, along with several RCS teachers and parents, took the students on a field trip to visit the EMPIRE STATE VI, a cargo ship with a real steam propulsion plant. Visiting this ship enabled the students to become familiar with equipment used to shift from one form of energy to another. These energy systems are the main focus of the RCS physics course for the year, and the examples on this ship will help the students as they move forward with their submarine design work. Below is an article from Charlie Duveen with some highlights from this fantastic trip--and thanks to RCS parent Rhonda Spevak for the great photos!
RCS Lecture Series Kicks Off
On Tuesday we loaded up on the bus and pulled out of the Upper Campus driveway at 8:30am on the dot - our scheduled departure time. Everyone had their bag lunch and we headed to the SUNY Maritime College to board the steam cargo training ship, EMPIRE STATE VI, arriving at 9:30am.
We walked the gangplank to the quarterdeck, where we met Capt. Rick Smith, Commanding Officer of the vessel and Commandant of Cadets at the College. Our tour of the vessel took us from the depths of the engine room to the heights of the bridge; from the anchor chains on the fo'c'sle to the stern lines on the fantail. The cadets who led four groups on the tours are taking naval architecture, marine engineering, electrical engineering, and other maritime courses. They took time out of their day to show us the details of the major ship systems. Prior to this trip, we spent a good two weeks drawing the schematic diagram of the ship's steam plant. Getting aboard this vessel to experience the reality of size and space helped to crystallize the technical material we covered.
Next day's debrief
In our debriefing on Wednesday, we listed what stood out on the various tours. Here is a short list of items that our young engineers picked up: Huge galley spaces; color coded valves; firefighting equipment and lifeboats; really steep ladders to the engine room; the size of the main engines and the main condenser; the thrust block and shaft alley; bridge navigation and remotely-operated, water-tight doors; three level bunks in the berthing compartments; anchor chain links almost the size of your waist; the engine order telegraph - just to name a few.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this experience was worth a billion.
Designing a nuclear powered research submarine is a daunting task. Now that they have seen the equipment that powers a ship, our engineers can feel more confident in their planning. In the next few weeks, we will tie up some loose ends (Archimedes' principle and Newton's law of gravitation) and then kick off the engineering project before we break for the December holiday.
Author Carole Geithner Visits the Upper Campus
Rippowam Cisqua School’s 2013-2014 Foundations of Education Lecture Series kicks off on Wednesday, November 20th, at 10:00 a.m. with a visit from Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, school consultant, and author. Dr. Steiner-Adair will speak about “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” She will share her insights into the battle with device dependence, and offer advice that can help parents “achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence as they come up against the tech revolution unfolding in their living rooms.”
This event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Sky Room on the Rippowam Cisqua School Lower Campus (325 West Patent Rd., Mount Kisco, NY 10549). The presentation is part of Rippowam Cisqua School’s Foundations of Education Series, a series of informative discussions with experts in the fields of education and parenting. These discussions are designed to offer parents insights and strategies for raising successful, lifelong learners. The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Ryan Smith at 914-244-1292 or email@example.com.
On Wednesday, November 6th, Young Adult author Carole Geithner, wife of Tim Geithner, visited with all three of Rippowam Cisqua's 6th grade Language Arts classes. Ms. Geithner's goal was to talk to students about the writing process, and get them excited about writing. Ms. Geithner is the author of If Only, a young adult novel about a young girl who copes with grief and loss after losing her mother to cancer. The RCS community is grateful to parent Jimin Han, who teaches at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, for serving as the liaison to arrange this exciting visit. An important part of the 6th grade writing curriculum includes nurturing young authors who recognize that writing is a process. Additionally, teachers encourage students to consider writing as a possible profession in the future. To facilitate this goal, several guest authors typically visit with individual writing classes periodically throughout the year.
The Signature Project Comes to RCS!
Ms. Geithner's visit included a “show and tell” in which she talked with the students about the inspiration for her book which was partly rooted in personal experience since her own mother passed away when Ms. Geithner was 25 years old. Her ideas were also a result of her own personal experiences with the challenges faced by young adults who she encounters every day through her work as a counselor and social worker.
Ms. Geithner read an excerpt from her novel and she shared with the students that, “When you're going through a hard time, it's important to find someone to talk to. Another way to feel less alone is to read about others who have gone through similar experiences.” She also showed students a portion of her manuscript with many edits from her editor so students could see that even "real writers" struggle with many rounds of editing and revision. Writing is about the process, not just the final product. Ms. Geithner talked with the students about the editing process, and she talked about the experience of sharing her work at a writer's workshop when she was still knitting her story together.
The students then worked with Ms. Geithner on a writing exercise and were eager to share their work with the class by reading their writing out loud and responding to each other's work. Throughout the sessions, they had the chance to ask questions, which Ms. Geithner answered candidly. Her words of encouragement and insight provided them with great inspiration for their own future development as writers. “Writing takes patience and commitment,” Ms. Geithner told the students, “but it is very fun to create or invent something, and I encourage you all to follow your passion to write.”
On Friday, November 8th, Lower Campus students and faculty experienced a unique and exhilarating art display and performance. Faculty members joined a million other people as they left their mark on The Signature Project.
Lower Campus Celebrates National Food Day!
The display and performance took place during the Lower Campus assembly on Friday, and students were able to take part in a little bit of history in the making. Irish artist Patrick Dunning shared with RCS his Signature Project--a unique, multi-faceted, "more than meets the eye" digital tapestry. At its core is a huge 76-foot by 36-foot mural layered with hidden secrets revealed with Morse code, ultra violet light, x-ray and phosphorescent paint. One layer of the finished painting will be composed entirely of individual signatures, including those of Rippowam Cisqua's Lower Campus faculty. This monumental project involved a poweful live performance, and is a combination of theater, performance art, visual arts, music, mathematics, science, technology, and cultural diversity--and it evokes a range of emotions among those who experience it.
Mr. Dunning conceived of The Signature Project in 1992. His goal is “to create a new art form, a digital tapestry that could be completed only by collaborating with over one million people.” The students and teachers were thrilled and moved by their experiences with The Signature Project, and the live performance had a powerful impact on all in attendance.
Parents: Ask your child about his or her experience with this new art form. Learn what impressed your child the most! What moved them? What inspired them? What did they find most interesting about the project and performance? For additional information on this project, please visit www.signatureproject.com.
Special thanks to William LaConte, 1st Grade Intern, for bringing this innovative project to the School's attention!
Amanda North '71 Visits RCS
On October 24th, the Lower Campus took part in National Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. In addition to great read-alouds in the classrooms, here are some of the fun and educational events that took place throughout the day:
• Students in JPK made pumpkin muffins from scratch. They particularly enjoyed tasting the results!
• During lunch, students sampled three different types of local apples from Salinger's Orchard in Brewster, New York - McIntosh, Gala, and Macoun.
• Second graders were introduced to Spanish vocabulary for familiar foods using the Eno Board to provide visuals, and they learned proper pronunciation as well as key Spanish terms such as "me gusta/no me gusta" (I like/I don't like) using the new food vocabulary.
• In PE, students discussed healthy choices in food selection and why it is important to make them. The discussion culminated in a "fill my plate with healthy choices" relay race. Students raced to one end of the Sky Room and picked up a card with a picture of a food on it and ran with it back to their team. When all the cards were collected, each team discussed and then divided them into healthy and not so healthy choices. Thanks to Mr. Gagner for making the food cards used in the relay race!
• Fourth graders tested four beverages to determine the amount of Vitamin C content. They used a blue indicator test solution made from cornstarch, water and iodine (prepared by the teachers.) When Vitamin C is added to this test solution, it will turn colorless. The fewest number of drops needed to turn the blue indicator colorless, means the highest amount of Vitamin C content in the beverage. This titration experiment yielded the following results: Orange juice had the highest amount of Vitamin C with only 20 drops needed to turn the blue test solution to colorless. After adding 100 drops or more, Fanta, Sprite and Gatorade did not turn the test solution colorless. Lesson learned: the pictures of oranges, lemons and limes on beverages do not always mean that they contain Vitamin C!
• Kindergarten, First and Second grade Science: Kindergarteners were introduced to the five food groups by learning about the "MyPlate" image. The students learned what foods make up the building blocks for a healthy diet. They then "shopped" for foods to make their own "healthy plate." First graders used previous knowledge about the "MyPlate" image to brainstorm foods from each food group and draw and write them in their own healthy plate. They also read nutrition fact labels to compare calories, fat, and sugar in different foods. Second graders were able to cut and trace templates for each food group to compare the serving size of each. They also "shopped" for healthy foods from each group to fill their plate.
Check out the photo gallery to see some highlights from the day!
On Tuesday, October 8th, RCS alum Amanda North '71 returned to the Upper Campus to share her remarkable story with the students at an assembly. During the assembly, the School honored her by presenting her with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Amanda's story began on April 15, 2013, when she was at the Boston Marathon to support her daughter, who was running the race. That day, Amanda also helped to save a life. She was standing near the finish line, waiting for her daughter, when the bombs went off. Fellow spectator Erika Brannock was standing near Amanda, and Erika suffered a devastating injury as a result of the explosions. Amanda was also injured but, in the aftermath of the explosions, she focused her energy on helping Erika, whose injuries were more severe.
Erika was the final Boston Marathon patient to be released from the hospital. Following her release, Erika was determined to find Amanda. With the help of CNN, the two women were able to meet, and CNN captured their emotional reunion. Click HERE
to read an article and watch a video from CNN.
With this newfound appreciation for life, and desire to make a positive difference, Amanda has launched a new social venture called Artisan Connect. The purpose of Artisan Connect is to help sustain artisans in developing countries by giving them better market access through an online marketplace and by celebrating their work through storytelling and social media.
On Tuesday, Amanda shared her story and her message with the RCS community at a student assembly on the Upper Campus. During the assembly, RCS Alumni Association Board Chair Christopher Wirth '94 honored Amanda and presented her with the Distinguished Alumni Award for her outstanding courage and devotion to others.
Amanda spoke with the students and answered several questions, and the message that she delivered to them was powerful and inspiring.
"The words that you say have the power to hurt people or the power to help people," she told the students. "Things happen very quickly in life. We know that change happens... and you all have the power and the ability to be a hero. Do something good for someone today. It can make a big difference."
Amanda is Rippowam Cisqua School's most recent recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Amanda’s story speaks of courage and strength. She communicates an inspiring message of ordinary people doing extraordinary things through kindness and bravery.
Homecoming 2013 - a great day for all
A video capturing some of the fun and excitement from the All School Picnic and Homecoming 2013 is up on the RCS website! CLICK HERE
to check it out! And CLICK HERE
to view lots of other great RCS videos in the Publications and Media Gallery!
Dr. Volpitta speaks to students on the Upper Campus
It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a community-wide celebration on Saturday, September 28th. The sun was shining and the excitement in the air was contagious as hundreds of parents, students, alumni, parents of alumni, and faculty and staff joined together on Meyers Fields for the All School Picnic and Homecoming 2013. Meyers Fields, which were beautifully enhanced and refurbished over the past several months, are named for Richie Meyers, a much loved coach who spent 45 years at RCS inspiring students to always give their all.
Adding to the excitement of the day was the Red/Blue team designations for all the Lower Campus families. It was a day of “firsts” because, for the first time in RCS history, every student now has a team color, from the littlest ones in JPK all the way up to our ninth grade leaders.
The children enjoyed lots of activities including sack races, water balloon toss, bouncy castles, face painting, and tug of war as many of the adults, older students, and alums watched the football and soccer games. The competition was tough but the Girls' Varsity Soccer team and the Boys' Varsity Football team emerged triumphant against St. Luke’s, winning 2-1 and 25-19, respectively.
The perfect ending to a perfect day came in the form of a great barbecue lunch as the RCS community came together for another successful Homecoming Day.
To view many of the photos displayed here (and more), be sure to check out the photo gallery on RCS Facebook page
Homecoming is Coming!
Rippowam Cisqua School kicked off the Ripp Rally Day celebration on the Upper Campus by inviting Dr. Donna Volpitta to speak to the students and teachers. Dr. Volpitta is an educator and author who uses elements of neurology, psychology, and education to provide practical strategies to build resilience in children. She spoke to the students about mindful leadership and resilience, and she talked with them about ways that they can confront and work through the various challenges that they will face in their lives. "It's not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you," she said, echoing the words of her colleague and friend Chris Waddell, a decorated paralympian, motivational speaker, and founder of the One Revolution Foundation (Mr. Waddell spoke to RCS students on the Upper Campus two years ago).
Dr. Volpitta encouraged the students to hone their sense of self-awareness--"It is important for you to understand over time who you are and who you are as a learner," she said--and she stressed the importance of understanding how the brain functions and operates, which is a critical component of mindful leadership. "You are a leader, whether you're a leader of yourself, or a leader of other people," Dr. Volpitta told the students. She helped the students gain some understanding of the various components of the brain, and how those components help them overcome challenges. Dr. Volpitta also used Aesop's Fable of the grasshopper and the ant to help students understand two key characteristics of their brains. The ant--the conscientious, forward-thinking character in Aesop's Fable--represents the portion of the brain that focuses on long-term goals. The slightly more improvident grasshopper represents the portion of the brain that is focused on short-term survival. Both, she stressed, are important. The key is to find a balance between the two.
One of the purposes of Ripp Rally Day is to reinforce and celebrate the strong sense of community among the students at Rippowam Cisqua, and Dr. Volpitta encouraged the students to seek the support of others and work with each other to overcome any challenges that they may face. After all, she told the students, "Nobody climbs a mountain alone."
Ripp Rally Day 2013!
Parents, students, alumni, parents of alumni, and all faculty and staff are invited to the All School Picnic and Homecoming 2013 on Saturday, September 28th!
Meyers Fields - Upper Campus
439 Cantitoe Street, Bedford
10:30am - childrens' activities begin
11:00am - kick off
Lunch to follow
The RCS Varsity Football and Girls' Varsity Soccer teams
are ready to take on St. Luke's!
School Spirit was in full effect on the Lower Campus today as students kicked off the Homecoming festivities with a great Pep Rally! The students and teachers were decked out in red and blue, and the Sky Room resounded with their songs and cheers! It was a great way to build excitement for tomorrow's celebration. Special thanks to Ms. Seedorf, Mr. Gagner, Mr. Michelson, Mr. Sannicandro, Ms. Goodman, Ms. Zades, Ms. Gahagan, and Mr. Nespole for leading the Pep Rally! Check out some videos from the Pep Rally on the Lower Campus Video Channel
The whole Upper Campus came together today, Friday, September 13th, to kick off the school year by engaging in fun games and activities. This was a follow up to the fifth graders’ camping trip, the outdoor education trips that the sixth through eighth graders participated in, and the ninth graders’ community service/ leadership experiences. To see a great video of today's fun, go to the Upper Campus page HERE
On a beautiful, sunny September morning, students, families, and teachers across both campuses celebrated the start of a new school year. With the "shorts clause" in full effect (that welcome wrinkle in the school uniform policy that kicks in when the weather forecast calls for temperatures of 75 degrees or more), both campuses came to life this morning as friends reconnected with each other and teachers welcomed their eager and excited new students. Parents gathered on the Lower Campus for a Welcome Back Coffee and Parent Association meeting, where they were welcomed by Head of School Matthew Nespole. There was even a "market table" at the gathering featuring wonderful fresh produce harvested from the RCS Garden
! It was an exciting day for the entire RCS community! The 96th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua has officially begun!