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School is Back in Session at RCS!
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 Parents Association meeting, where they were welcomed by Head of School Matthew Nespole and other members of the School community. It was an exciting day for the entire RCS community! The 97th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua School has officially begun!
Congratulations to the Class of 2014!!
Congratulations to the ninth grade graduates (class of 2014) and to the departing eighth graders (class of 2015). Have a wonderful summer!!
RCS Receives Green Award
On Tuesday, June 3rd, the Town of Bedford Conservation Board presented their annual Green Awards, and Rippowam Cisqua School was honored to be among the recipients. The Green Awards were presented to those organizations that work to protect and preserve the Town of Bedford's environment, and RCS was highlighted for its commitment to environmental sustainability in all aspects of school life. The Conservation Board particularly highlighted Rippowam Cisqua School's use of the Rocket Composter, the community garden on the Upper Campus, the School's water conservation efforts, and the School's energy conservation efforts--including the installation and use of solar panels.
The award was presented to Head of School Matthew Nespole at Bedford Town Hall and, in his acceptance remarks, Matthew thanked the Town of Bedford, the Conservation Board, and all of the members of the RCS community--the faculty, staff, parents, students, and parents of alumni--who implement and support the School's sustainability efforts each and every day. Matthew also thanked and acknowledged Director of Buildings and Grounds John Della Vecchia and the entire Buildings and Grounds team for all that they do each day to advance the School's sustainability initiatives.
Congratulations to the entire RCS community on this award! Sustainability is a community-wide effort at Rippowam Cisqua School, and this award is shared by all who work each day to advance the School's mission. Special thanks to the Town of Bedford and the Conservation Board for supporting and acknowledging these efforts through this wonderful awards program! For more on Rippowam Cisqua School's commitment to sustainability, please click
Kindling the Torches of a New Generation of Activists
“To whom will you pass the torch that you have carried for years?” When this question was posed in the past, Gloria Steinem’s answer was, “We all have our own torches to carry through life. All I can do is help spark your torch so you can light the way for others.” On Thursday, May 22nd, the RCS ninth grade class, along with faculty chaperones Kate Daly and Mike Kober, had the opportunity to meet Ms. Steinem at her apartment in New York City. Arrangements for this meeting were made through RCS parent Greg Fleming.
Ms. Steinem graciously opened her home to the class and discussed her experiences; more importantly, she carefully listened to the thoughtful questions our students had about justice and freedom of expression in society. Ms. Steinem’s livingroom was alive with insightful dialogue between her and the students, and she pointed out that the ninth graders were now part of the history of the room where she and others had created Ms. Magazine, as well as the Women’s Action Alliance and the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Some of the discussion centered on women who inspired Ms. Steinem, many of whom are not recognized for their achievements. Among those women are Radia Perlman, whose work made the Internet possible, and Inez Jessie Baskin, who inspired a young Baptist minister by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. to support the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. These women contributed to American history, but they are never mentioned in our history books.
Many poignant questions were raised, including those that dealt with rules and regulations in society. Ms. Steinem’s responses were focused on respect and equality. Rules that are directed against a specific group, and not equally applied to all members of a society, are oppressive for the targeted group and are therefore unjust. Ms. Steinem’s responses to the questions about the future of people who are marginalized by society were hopeful. She pointed out the progress that has been made with respect to the Marriage Equality Act in New York and other states.
Ms. Steinem spoke about how a single gender college was very beneficial to her. At the time she was in college (in the 1950s), women in coeducational institutions were pushed to the side but, at Smith College, she felt important and had equal opportunities.
There were quite a few lessons that the ninth graders learned, including: be true to yourself and strive for equality and respect in the world. Although the struggle may be difficult, and protests seem unproductive, it is worth the effort if it brings about meaningful change for all people; understand the importance of empathizing with people who struggle and face obstacles every day.
Ms. Steinem sparked something within all of the students, and she taught them a great deal about justice and equality in a short amount of time. Truly, Gloria Steinem has kindled the torches of a new generation to take action for social equality and respect.
Fun Run 2014
The weather was perfect and the day only got better from there. The atmosphere was electric, the energy was abundant, and the sense of community was warmer than the sun. The Fourth Annual RCS Fun Run was held on the Upper Campus track on Sunday, May 4th. The run was a collaborative effort of the RCS Physical Education Departments, The Office of Institutional Advancement, and the Parent Association. It was designed to bring the RCS community from both the Upper and Lower campuses together and to help promote family fitness by providing a venue for parents and children to exercise together, cheer for each other, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments in an enjoyable atmosphere. Children and parents ran in races ranging from 100 yards for JPKers, to an open 3K race down Clinton Road and back for adults and children alike. The day was a memorable one for the approximately 100 participants. Organizers are already working to build on this year's success and make next year's 5th Annual RCS Fun Run even better.
Peg Tyre to Speak at RCS
Peg Tyre, a nationally renowned writer and thinker about education, will visit RCS on Wednesday, May 28th, as part of the School's Foundations of Education Lecture Series. Ms. Tyre is the bestselling author of
The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents & Educators Must Do
. She will speak at RCS about "The Underachievement of Boys in School: How Do We Help Them and Still Support Our Terrific Girls?"
The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will take place on the Upper Campus (439 Cantitoe Street, Bedford, NY).
Ms. Tyre spent two decades in journalism, writing cover stories for
and features and analysis for the
New York Times
. At the start of her career, as a newspaper reporter, she was part of a group of reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize. She was twice nominated for a National Magazine Award (the magazine industry equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize). She has discussed her ideas on
The Today Show
Good Morning America
Fox & Friends
. She has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Emory and the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. For more information on Ms. Tyre, please click
The lecture on May 28th is the School's first annual
Stephen Sanger '60 Memorial Lecture
Stephen Sanger ’60, alumnus and brother of fellow RCS alums Michael ’57, Alexander ’61, Morgan ’65, and Anne ’67 was killed in action during the Vietnam War at age 19. To honor his brother’s memory, Alexander Sanger ’61, together with the Sanger family, worked with Rippowam Cisqua School to establish The Stephen Sanger Memorial Lecture Program at RCS. This fund was established through the generosity of the Sanger family and close friends and classmates of Alex and Stephen. It will provide material support for Rippowam Cisqua’s existing Foundations of Education Lecture Series--and, each year, one of the School's Foundations of Education lectures will bear Stephen Sanger's name. The purpose of the lecture program is two-fold: To invite outside experts to speak with members of the School community and the larger Bedford community about parenting, child development, and lifelong learning; and to identify alumni who have followed career paths of note, and invite them to speak with the School community.
Rippowam Cisqua School honors the memory of Stephen Sanger and extends its sincerest thanks to Alexander Sanger, the Sanger family, and all those who helped to endow this lecture program. To read more about Stephen Sanger and the lecture program, we invite you to read
from the Spring 2013 Rippowam Cisqua Bulletin.
Walk to Cisqua Day
On the first Friday of May each year, the entire Upper Campus walks the three miles over dirt roads to arrive at the Lower Campus. The students at the Lower Campus eagerly await the arrival of the "big kids" who spend the rest of the morning with them on the swings, on the playground, and in the classrooms. This year's walk was graced by beautiful blue skies and cool weather. For those of you who don't already know why the Upper Campus walks to the Lower Campus, here are some of the reasons for the traditional Walk to Cisqua:
• To remind the older children that slides and swings are not so distant a memory.
• To give the younger children a glimpse of what lies ahead.
• To enjoy a walk together on a sunny morning.
• To provide an opportunity for all RCS children to enjoy each other’s company.
• To make connections so that the transition from the Lower Campus to the Upper Campus is a little less scary.
• To show, in this day and age of technological advancements, that the oldest form of transportation can easily bridge the gap that separates us.
• To allow us to see, even for a day, that we are one community.
Poet Douglas Florian Visits RCS!
In celebration of National Poetry Month, Rippowam Cisqua School welcomed poet/artist Douglas Florian to the Lower Campus on Tuesday, April 29th. Mr. Florian has written and illustrated numerous award-winning children's books, including
(2009), a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare List selection and a Junior Library Guild selection;
Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs
Blue Ribbon Book; and Gryphon Award-winner and
Magazine Best Book of the Year
Bow Wow Meow Meow
In preparation for Mr. Florian's visit to RCS, Lower Campus students read and discussed many of his books in Library classes throughout the month. During his visit, Mr. Florian spent the day with students in grades K-4, and he read poems to the students and accompanied his readings with examples of many of his beautiful and whimsical illustrations. He invited audience participation at every turn, and he taught the students about rhyme, rhythm, symmetry, internal rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, and other elements of poetry through examples in his own writing. Joyful learning at its best!
Pass It On!
Final book deposit date is April 17th!
Spring Open House on the Lower Campus
Wednesday, April 9th, from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Rippwriters Earn Writing Awards
Guided by a relevant and engaging curriculum, and a mission to educate students to become independent thinkers, confident in their abilities and themselves, Rippowam Cisqua students develop and refine their creative and expository writing skills throughout their time on the Lower and Upper Campuses--and, once again this year, several "Rippwriters" earned numerous awards at the regional level.
115 Gold Keys were awarded to the most accomplished works in the region. All Gold Key writing has been forwarded to the national level of The Scholastic Writing Awards, where works from throughout the United States are considered for national awards.
178 Silver Keys were awarded to distinguished works in the region.
277 Honorable Mentions were awarded to promising works in the region.
From RCS, of the 115 Gold keys, the following seven students were recognized:
Chloe Barshay, 8th grade, THREE gold keys, all in poetry
Blair Clayton, 7th grade, gold key in poetry
Blake Cote, 7th grade, gold key in poetry
Mairead Kilgallon, 8th grade, gold key in science fiction/fantasy
Sara Mendoza, 9th grade, gold key in poetry
Andrew Pittman, 9th grade, gold key in poetry
Of the 178 Silver Keys, the following seven RCS students were recognized:
Grant Corso, 9th grade, silver key in poetry
Sahra Denner, 9th grade, TWO silver keys, one in poetry, and one in flash fiction
Paige Gilbert, 7th grade, silver key in poetry
Daniel Hernandez, 8th grade, silver key in persuasive writing
Jack Kaitz, 8th grade, silver key in personal essay/memoir
Carrie Kinui, 9th grade, silver key in flash fiction
John Schreiber, 7th grade, silver key in personal essay/memoir
Of the 277 Honorable mentions, the following sixteen RCS students were recognized:
Thomas Falci, 8th grade, honorable mention in poetry
Blaire Fauser, 9th grade, honorable mention in journalism
Jack Fife, 8th grade, TWO honorable mentions, one in flash fiction and one in poetry
Brian Fridie, 7th grade, honorable mention in personal essay/memoir
Julia Gastone, 7th grade, honorable mention in poetry
Homer Gere, 8th grade, honorable mention in persuasive writing
Riley Goldstein, 9th grade, honorable mention in poetry
Anjali Goyal, 9th grade, honorable mention in poetry
Henry Knoblauch, 8th grade, honorable mention in science fiction/fantasy
George Lawrence, 7th grade, honorable poetry in poetry
Sara Mendoza, 9th grade, honorable mention, poetry
Koku Millett-Barrett, 7th grade, honorable mention in personal essay/memoir
Collette Offermann, 7th grade, honorable mention, poetry
Ryan Seller, 7th grade, honorable mention poetry
Sarah Speegle, 8th grade, honorable mention personal essay/memoir
Dorothy Walker, 7th grade, honorable mention personal essay/memoir
Students Shine in Geography Bee
Spanish-syle adobe homes can be found along the Rio Grande, near the largest city in New Mexico. Name this city.
The Teapot Dome oil fields are located near the city of Casper and the North Platte River in what US State?
Wisconsin's most populous city was a center for German immigration beginning in the 1840s through the 1900s. Name this city.
The Hague, home to the International Court of Justice, is a city on the west coast of which European country?
On Friday, January 24th, several students on the Upper Campus faced these questions and others during the finals of the RCS Upper Campus Geograpy Bee. Upper Campus students, teachers, and parents filled the Playhouse to watch the nine student finalists take part in this annual competition, which is conducted by the National Geographic Society, and is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. The questions, which were read by Upper Campus Head Bill Barrett, covered both US and World geography. After several rounds of questions, the field was narrowed to two finalists: 5th grade student Zack Breault, and 8th grade student Ben Hirsch, with Ben emerging as the winner. Congrats to Zack and Ben for answering some tough questions -- and congrats to Ben for winning the Bee!
Ben, as Ripp's representative, then sat for the state qualifying test and his results were sent to the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. In mid-February, letters will be sent to the teachers of the 100 top-scoring students in each state notifying them that their students qualified to compete in the State-level Bee. This competition takes place in April in Albany.
Each of the finalists did a fantastic job and put forth a great effort, and we salute them all!
RCS Teachers to Lead STEAM Webinar
On Tuesday, January 28th, several Rippowam Cisqua teachers will lead a webinar on STEAM, the cutting-edge integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math in the classroom. Lower and Upper Campus teachers across several disciplines--including science, math, visual arts, performing arts, computer education, and music--will take part in the webinar, organized by Rubicon International. Our teachers will share specific units of study that illustrate STEAM implementation. Integration of the arts is the newest development and one of the most visual of STEAM components. Teachers will explain examples of student art work that apply to math, science, technology, and engineering units. Rubicon Professional Development will be coordinating the discussion from their Portland, Oregon headquarters and will direct questions from webinar attendees from around the world.
To read more about STEAM at Rippowam Cisqua School,
please click here
, or check out the Spring 2013 issue of the RCS Bulletin in our
Publications and Media Gallery
Bestselling Author Ashley Merryman to Speak at RCS
Rippowam Cisqua School’s Foundations of Education Series continues on Wednesday, January 15
, at 10:00 a.m. with a visit from bestselling author and award-winning journalist Ashley Merryman. With Po Bronson, Merryman has written two
New York Times
bestselling books –
Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing
NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children
. Together, they've won nine national awards for reporting. Merryman has been on countless radio and television shows, while email, Facebook, and Twitter are filled with demands to read her essays, such as "Losing is Good for You," "How Not to Talk to Your Kids," and "Creativity Crisis."
On the 15
, Merryman will speak at Rippowam Cisqua about “Top Dog: The Science of Competition” and she will explore questions such as:
Why does one person thrive under pressure, while another panics?
What makes someone a good competitor?
How can we motivate our children? And how can we help our children cope with losing and setbacks?
What makes someone a winner?
A question and answer session and book signing will follow the lecture.
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 field 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about the Foundations of Education Series, please
Holiday Festivities at RCS
On Thursday, December 19th, the Rippowam Cisqua School community celebrated the holidays with several festive performances and gatherings. In the morning, students in grades 1-4 took part in the annual Holiday Assembly. The Sky Room was filled with parents, grandparents, friends, and other family members, and the students performed several beautiful holiday songs.
In the afternoon, young alumni from the classes of 2010-2014 gathered in the Music House on the Upper Campus for the annual Young Alumni Holiday Party. Several members of the faculty and the 9th grade class attended the gathering as well, and all enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect.
In the evening, students and faculty on the Upper Campus celebrated the arrival of winter with the traditional performance of Revels, which included wonderful vocal and instrumental performances, as well as beautifully choreographed dance performances.
to view some videos from the Lower Campus Holiday Assembly. And you can
to view the RCS holiday video card that was sent to the entire community!
Stay tuned for photos and video from Revels!
Happy Holidays from all of us at Rippowam Cisqua School!
Fourth Graders Visit Kensington Assisted Living in White Plains
On Tuesday, December 17th, the fourth grade captured the essence of the season and spread holiday cheer by singing festive tunes for the residents of the Kensington Assisted Living Facilities in White Plains. Students Elizabeth Jones, on the cello, and Maison McCallum, on the piano, accompanied music teacher Lainie Zades on the violin. Music teacher Amanda Goodman, computer teacher Kimberly Fox, and alum Katie LaVacca '04 also joined the chorus. Our students' wonderful voices had the aides dancing on the sidelines and brought great cheer to all in attendance. Afterwards, the Kensington staff treated the students to a pizza party. By the looks of it, it is hard to tell who had more fun -- the students or the residents. Our fourth graders made us proud - they did a great job!
Foodplay Visits the Lower Campus!
On Wednesday, students on the Lower Campus enjoyed an afternoon assembly featuring Foodplay, an Emmy Award-winning live theater group that uses fantastic feats of juggling, music, magic, and audience participation to turn kids on to healthy eating and active living. The kids had a blast! Through songs, dancing, and astonishing displays of juggling skills, the Foodplay performers taught the students about the importance of eating balanced meals, nutritious breakfasts, and getting lots of exercise, and they taught the students about the negative effects that sugary foods and drinks can have on their bodies and their energy levels. The students left feeling excited and informed about healthy eating!
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!
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.
RCS Lecture Series Kicks Off
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.
Author Carole Geithner Visits the Upper Campus
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
, 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.
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.”
The Signature Project Comes to RCS!
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
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
--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!
Lower Campus Celebrates National Food Day!
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!
Amanda North '71 Visits RCS
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
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.
A video capturing some of the fun and excitement from the All School Picnic and Homecoming 2013 is up on the RCS website!
to check it out! And
to view lots of other great RCS videos in the Publications and Media Gallery!
Homecoming 2013 - a great day for all
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
Dr. Volpitta speaks to students on the Upper Campus
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."
Homecoming is Coming!
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
Ripp Rally Day 2013!
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
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
! It was an exciting day for the entire RCS community! The 96th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua has officially begun!
Getting Ready for the New School Year!
Helpful info for the start of the 2013-2014 year.
On Thursday, June 13th, the Rippowam Cisqua community came together for the School's 96th commencement ceremony.
The arrival of a late spring thunderstorm led the School to hold the event indoors, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of the gathered guests. Hundreds of parents, grandparents, family members, friends, faculty and staff from both campuses, alumni, and Upper Campus students were on hand to acknowledge and pay tribute to the graduating ninth graders and departing eighth graders. The Lower Gym on the Upper Campus was transformed into the perfect venue for this great RCS tradition.
Remarks were provided by Head of School Matthew Nespole, and Upper Campus Head Bill Barrett, who was selected by the ninth graders to serve as their graduation speaker.
In his message, Mr. Nespole spoke about success, and how it is measured. "During your time here, I imagine that you have made your first best friend, and tasted your first success as a scholar by acing a test or research paper," Mr. Nespole said. "You've successfully created short stories and poetry. You've successfully solved math equations, conducted several successful science experiments, successfully performed beautiful musical pieces, and done wonderful things as thespians on the stage, and excelled as athletes on the playing fields -- and hopefully you laughed and smiled a great deal along the way. After all, success feels good, and I have no doubt that all of you will continue to experience countless successes in the months and years ahead. But when thinking about success, I find myself drawn to a quote by Albert Einstein who said, 'Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value'.”
After the graduating ninth graders and departing eighth graders received their certificates, Alumni Association Chairman Christopher Wirth '94 welcomed them into the Alumni Association, and he shared with them that their connection to RCS will remain strong long after they graduate.
A beautiful musical performance from the ninth graders concluded the ceremony, and then all of the graduates and their families, teachers, and friends departed the gym for a host of post-graduation celebrations.
Congratulations to all of the members of the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2014! The RCS community wishes you all the best as you continue your journey!
Walk to Cisqua Day
On the first Friday of May each year, the entire Upper Campus walks the three miles over dirt roads to arrive at the Lower Campus. The students at the Lower Campus eagerly await the arrival of the "big kids" who spend the rest of the morning with them on the swings, on the playground, and in the classrooms. This year's walk was graced by beautiful blue skies and cool weather. For those of you who don't already know why the Upper Campus walks to the Lower Campus, here are some of the reasons for the traditional Walk to Cisqua:
• To remind the older children that slides and swings are not so distant a memory
• To give the younger children a glimpse of what lies ahead
• To enjoy a walk together on a sunny morning
• To provide an opportunity for the Lower Campus and Upper Campus children to enjoy each other’s company
• To make connections so that the transition from the Lower Campus to the Upper Campus is a little less scary
• To show, in this day and age of technological advancements, that the oldest form of transportation can easily bridge the gap that separates us
• To allow us to see, even for a day, that we are one community
Third Graders Visit Curtis Instruments
On April 25, the RCS Third Grade boarded a bus for a local field trip to Curtis Instruments in Mount Kisco. Curtis Instruments designs and manufactures the electrical interface between electric vehicles and the people operating them. You will find their instruments in electric cars, most golf carts and the Moon Rover used on the Apollo missions to mention a few.
The third graders were invited to bring their Science Fair projects, electrified scenes from the movie, Wall-E, and explain the circuitry to all the employees of Curtis. Our students were very proud to be invited and eagerly interacted with Mr. Stuart Marwell, the CEO of Curtis Instruments; his wife, Mrs. Victoria Marwell; the engineers, and staff who asked them many questions. The students were treated to pizza while watching videos of robotic operations in Puerto Rico as well as a testimony of a Curtis wheelchair user. Then it was the students’ chance to ask questions of the Curtis employees. When they headed back to the bus, students explored the workings of an electric car with Curtis instrumentation on board.
Both the students and the Curtis employees were inspired by this opportunity to share a peek into the learning of a 21st century classroom and a forward look into the real world of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
Thanks to Grades 3 and 4 Science teacher Tanis Moore for coordinating this wonderful opportunity for the students, and special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Marwell and the entire Curtis Instruments team for welcoming Rippowam Cisqua!
Wellness Experts to Speak at RCS
Rippowam Cisqua School’s Foundations of Education Series continues on Wednesday, May 22nd, at 7:00 p.m. with a visit from Nancy Easton, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Wellness in the Schools, and acclaimed chef Bill Telepan, the Executive Chef of Wellness in the Schools. The topic of the presentation is, “Helping Your Children Make Good Food Choices.” Ms. Easton and Chef Telepan will offer advice and strategies to support healthy eating choices for families “on the go,” as well as provide a cooking demonstration and tasting during the event.
Wellness in the Schools
is a not for profit organization devoted to inspiring healthy eating, environmental awareness, and fitness as a way of life for kids.
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 field 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students Earn Accolades in French, Latin, and Spanish
During the 2012-2013 school year, Rippowam Cisqua School students competed in some of the most rigorous and prestigious French, Latin, and Spanish language contests in the country, and several students earned local and national recognition for their strong performances.
Each year, The American Association of French Teachers sponsors the National French Contest known as
Le Grand Concours
. Nearly 100,000 students across the United States competed in the contest in 2013 and, in Westchester alone, more than 1,100 students competed. In May, eight Rippowam Cisqua students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades placed in the top ten rankings of the Westchester, New York Chapter. Six of these students also placed in the top ten National rankings. The RCS students who placed among the top ten in Westchester and/or nationally are:
Seventh grade students
Hannah Buckley – eighth in Westchester
Isabella Giammalva – ninth in Westchester
Eighth grade students
Michael Badey – tenth in Westchester; tenth in the Nation
Maia Bernstein – tenth in Westchester; tenth in the Nation
Sahra Denner – fourth in Westchester; fourth in the Nation
Lily Fauver – tenth in Westchester; tenth in the Nation
Ninth grade students
Aaron Casella – seventh in Westchester; eighth in the Nation
Natalie Harrington – sixth in Westchester; seventh in the Nation
For nearly four decades, Latin students have devoted the second week of March to the National Latin Exam, an exam set under the sponsorship of The American Classical League and The Junior Classical League. The exam is given at seven levels, and Rippowam Cisqua students sit for three of those levels. In 2013, nearly 150,000 students from around the country, and countless more students from around the world, sat for the exam. At Rippowam Cisqua, seventh graders participate in the Introductory Level exam, eighth graders participate in the Latin IB exam, and ninth graders take the Level II exam.
In the 7
grade, on the Introductory Latin Exam, receiving certificates of achievement are:
Tommy Fornara, Harrison Roth, Sebastien Seymour, and Giovanni Wolfram
Receiving blue ribbons and certificates of outstanding achievement are:
Chloe Barshay, Caroline Carpenter, Jack Fife, Benjamin Hirsch, Ella Horn, Jack Kaitz, Mairead Kilgallon, Sean Malcolm, Audrey Palmeri, Luke Powell, Sean Rowan, and Kemp Taylor
In the 8
grade, receiving a gold medal and a
summa cum laude
certificate for the level IB exam is:
Also in the 8
grade, receiving silver medal
maxima cum laude
Jackson Corrigan and Kyla Spence
magna cum laude
certificates in the 8
Andrew Lowman and Henry Mockridge
In the spring of each year, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese sponsors the National Spanish Examination. The exams are the largest of their kind in the United States—nearly 160,000 students participated in 2013—and they feature two forty minute sections incorporating listening, reading, and grammar concepts.
Twenty two Rippowam Cisqua students earned awards for their performance:
Ryan Alpert (9th Grade), Kristen Brown (8th Grade), Georgia McLanahan (9th Grade), Teddy Vallar (9th Grade)
Medalla de Bronce
Mya Lipscomb (8th Grade), Andrew Pittman (8th Grade), and Sara Mendoza (8th Grade)
Medalla de Plata
Theo Bartlett (8th Grade), Kendall Burdick (8th Grade), Grant Corso (8th Grade), Anjali Goyal (8th Grade), William Langham (8th Grade), and Jake Lustig (8th Grade)
Medalla de Oro
Hannah Burdick (8th Grade), Christopher Glynn (8th Grade), Sophia Gutfreund (8th Grade), Amelia Riegel (8th Grade), and Cecilia Thieberger (8th Grade)
Cameryn Lacey (9th Grade) and Alexandra Needham (9th Grade)
Medalla de Bronce
Gabrielle Brooks (9th Grade)
Medalla de Oro
Cian McGillicuddy (9th Grade)
Congratulations to each of the student award winners and their teachers on a wonderfully successful year. Their accomplishments are both a reflection of the talents and hard work of the teachers and students at RCS, and an affirmation of the commitment to scholarship and excellence that is embodied by the entire School community.
Fun Run 2013!
On Sunday, May 5th more than 100 students and parents gathered on the Upper Campus track to participate in the third annual Fun Run. The sun was shining as the runners donned their numbers and ran for the gold! The morning included age appropriate races for kids of all ages culminating with the one mile and 3K races. The highlights of the day included the strong showing among JPK, SPK and Kindergarten runners and seeing a few of those youngest students running the 3K down Clinton Road. All participants received a number and a one-of-a-kind runner pin.
to check out a great slideshow from the Fun Run!
Come to the Grades 7-9 Musical!
The Spring Musical is a great tradition at RCS, and it serves as the major full-length production of the spring term. It is open to seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, with opportunities for the students to take on acting and singing roles, help with set design, and assist with the sound and lighting. This year, the students are excited to perform
The Little Mermaid, Jr.
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Walt Disney film, this is a fun performance for children of all ages. It's a great way for you to enjoy an evening out with your children and also to see, first hand, a celebration of the arts at RCS. The fourth grade students were the first to view the production this morning, when they traveled to the Upper Campus to attend the dress rehearsal.
All RCS families are invited and encouraged to attend! The performances begin at 7:00pm tomorrow, May 8th, and Thursday, May 9th, and take place in the Crosby-Fiala Playhouse on the Upper Campus. The performance runs for an hour and ten minutes, and there is no intermission. The set and costumes are beautiful, and the students are looking forward to sharing their talents with you! See you there!
Awards for "Rippwriters"
Guided by a relevant and engaging curriculum, and a mission
to educate students to become independent thinkers, confident in their abilities and themselves
, Rippowam Cisqua students develop and refine their creative and expository writing skills throughout their time on the Lower and Upper Campuses--and, once again this year, several "Rippwriters"
competed in some of the most rigorous and prestigious academic competitions in the country, and they earned numerous awards at the local and national levels.
In February, several RCS students were recognized for their submissions to the 2013
Art & Writing contest, the nation's longest running, largest, and most prestigious recognition program for creative teen artists and authors. This year,
received seven hundred submissions from students in Westchester, Fairfield, and Putnam Counties, and they gave out 290 awards. Rippowam Cisqua students won 38 of those awards, including several Gold and Silver Keys--the contest's highest form of recognition.
In April, three Upper Campus students were selected to read their poems at
a celebration of creative writing held annually during National Poetry Month.
provides students with the opportunity to read their poetry aloud in front of an audience of parents, teachers, fellow writers, and other guests
This event, which is in its 12th year, took place at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck and featured student poets from
across Westchester County.
The three poets from RCS included Natalie Bartlett, Jack Fife, and Manveer Sandhu.
The following Rippowam Cisqua students won regional recognition for their writing at the
Art & Writing Awards:
Chloe Barshay (7th grade), awarded two Gold Keys and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Kendall Burdick (8th grade), awarded a Gold Key, two Silver Keys, and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Jackson Corrigan (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Short Story category
Sahra Denner (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Kendall Downend (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Poetry category
Thomas Falci (7th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Poetry category
Charlotte Fleming (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Isabella Giammalva (7th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Flash Fiction category
Riley Goldstein (8th grade), awarded two Silver Keys and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Anjali Goyal (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Charlotte Grunebaum (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Poetry category
Sophia Gutfreund (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Poetry category
Ben Hirsch (7th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Poetry category
Jared Jones (8th grade), awarded a Gold Key in the Poetry category
Evan Kieltyka (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Adam Mann (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Ryan Manocherian (7th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Sara Mendoza (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Henry Mockridge (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Maeve O'Brien (8th grade), awarded a Silver Key in the Poetry category
Andrew Pittman (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Manveer Sandhu (7th grade), awarded a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Sebastien Seymour (7th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Humor category
Elizabeth Shelbred (7th grade), awarded a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Daniel Solomon (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Cecilia Thieberger (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Poetry category
Barron Thomas (8th grade), awarded an Honorable Mention in the Journalism category
Congratulations to each of our student award winners and their teachers on a wonderfully successful year!
RCS Field of Dreams!
Rippowam Cisqua's beautiful new baseball field is open for business--and it is truly a field of dreams, where coaches can work together with the players to help them reach their fullest potential.
The maintenance team has worked tirelessly on all of the playing fields over the last year, with the baseball field being their latest accomplishment. Last fall, the maintenance team leveled the field, installed an irrigation system, and laid new sod. Early in the spring, they installed a new backstop, new dugouts, a new outfield fence, and plantings along the nearest neighbor's fence.
The School has been consistent with its commitment to
throughout the process, investing in a state of the art computer controlled irrigation system that senses rainfall amounts and makes adjustments accordingly from a water conservation standpoint. For both environmental and student safety reasons, the School uses organic fertilizers and pest controls, including nematodes that attack grubs, deer ticks, ants, and other pests. The watering system increases the effectiveness of this effort dramatically. The School's own Rocket Composter, which composts food waste from the kitchen and student dining rooms, contributes to the rich top soil that is put on the fields in the fall.
In addition to the new baseball field, several other enhancements were made to the playing fields over the past year, including new football goal posts, new soccer goals, a new LED scoreboard, two large portable bleacher systems, and new team benches. The relocated softball field also benefited from newly installed clay at the pitcher's mound and around home plate.
Rippowam Cisqua's mission states: "We are committed to a dynamic program of academics, the arts, and athletics, and support an engaged faculty to challenge students to discover and explore their talents to the fullest." Thanks to the support from our community and the great work of the School's talented and committed maintenance team, these wonderful enhancements to the RCS playing fields will benefit the students, coaches, and broader Bedford community for years to come. Teamwork, camaraderie, and hard work are on display at Ripp games at all levels, and all families are always welcome to cheer the kids on. The spring athletic schedule can be found
Science Fair 2013
STEAM—the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math—is alive and well at Rippowam Cisqua School. The 21
annual Lower Campus Science Fair 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 21
This was hands-on, collaborative learning at its finest. 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. In addition, the third grade students worked with their art teacher to build murals and 3-D figures for electrified movie scenes that they created. On the day of the Science Exploratorium, the students had the opportunity to teach what they had learned to other students, parents, teachers, and other members of the community.
The theme for this year’s Science Fair was “A Community on Mars.” The Sky Room on the Lower Campus was filled with wonderful space-age projects where the young experts were on hand to happily share their knowledge. The first grade students learned about air molecules and space, and they then designed fully operational air compressed rockets for the Science Fair. Visitors were encouraged to test these engineering marvels, with guidance from the student designers. Second grade students experimented with different types of simple machines and built various functional models including a greenhouse, a Ferris wheel, seesaw, fishing pole, mini-golf holes, cranes, a well and rovers. The third grade students studied electricity, and during the course of their studies, they learned how different electrical circuits work. Their knowledge was on full display at the Science Fair, where they showcased fully electrified projects that they wired themselves. Over the past several months, the fourth grade students became experts on the solar system, and they designed and built interactive games to share their knowledge of the data they had researched. In Computer class, the students incorporated technology into many of their projects as well by using iPads to showcase their work.
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. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Science 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 orally 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 Celebrates Winter Athletics
On Thursday, March 7th, Rippowam Cisqua School students, teachers, and coaches filled the Upper Campus Trustees’ Gym to celebrate the winter athletics program.
Whitney Johnson '99 - Newest Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
On Thursday, February 21st, RCS alum, Whitney Johnson ’99, returned to the Upper Campus to speak at an assembly and be presented with the Rippowam Cisqua School Distinguished Alumni Award.
Whitney is the founder of Ubuntu Africa - an organization dedicated to helping HIV-positive children in South Africa (
). Whitney is an ardent activist and youth leader. Inspired by her experiences while studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and volunteering in an orphanage in the nearby township of Khayeltisha, Whitney was drawn to the cause of supporting HIV-positive children. She noticed a gap in services and sustained assistance for children living with HIV and she wanted to ensure that HIV-positive children received the support they needed to live long and healthy lives. Whitney graduated from Colorado College in 2006 with a degree in psychology and, at the age of 21, established Ubuntu Africa.
RCS math teacher Missy Swan, who was Whitney’s advisor during her time as a student here, welcomed everyone before introducing ninth grade student Alex Needham. Alex has been working with Ubuntu Africa as part of her Ninth Grade Portfolio project. After speaking a little bit about her project and the impression Whitney made on her, she had the honor of introducing Whitney.
Whitney spoke to the gathered students, teachers, family, and guests about her experiences working in Africa, and she shared the mission of Ubuntu Africa by screening a brief film on the organization. She then took several questions from the students, who were engaged and inspired by her work. Whitney’s message to the students was clear: Everyone can do something to help others. Explore your interests and your passions, and use them to improve the world around you.
Following Whitney’s remarks, the Chair of the RCS Alumni Association, Christopher Wirth ’94, presented her with the Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding achievement, leadership in her profession, and service to others. Whitney is the third alum to receive this award, which was last presented to Nicholas Platt ’50 during the 2011-2012 school year.
Following the assembly and award presentation, Whitney and her family, friends, and former teachers gathered in the Upper Campus library for a breakfast reception. Several of Whitney’s fellow alums were in attendance, including Roger Vincent ’59 (an earlier recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award), Macy Johnson ’65 (Whitney’s dad), Marilen Tilt ’57, Stephen Ohler ’66, Cynthia Mas ’71, Christopher Wirth ’94, and Niko Viglione ’02. During the reception, Head of School Matthew Nespole welcomed the crowd and congratulated Whitney on her accomplishments.
Rippowam Cisqua School salutes Whitney Johnson for her great work, and congratulates her on receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award—a well-deserved honor indeed.
Lower Campus Toy Drive
On Wednesday, February 13th, the Rippowam Cisqua School community came together for the annual Get Well Soon Winter Toy Collection to benefit children in the Pediatric Unit at Northern Westchester Hospital. The hospital gives a new toy to each child when he or she enters the Pediatric Unit. This exchange helps provide comfort to the young patients and helps to ease the transition when they visit the hospital. The hospital is in need of toys throughout the year, and the RCS community enthusiastically rallied behind the cause in an effort to help meet this need by collecting and donating hundreds of toys.
During the first two weeks of February, students, parents, faculty, and staff members collected new toys for the hospital, and after school hours on February 13th, eleven Lower Campus students and their parents met to gather the toys and deliver them in person to the hospital. When they arrived with their carloads of toys, Northern Westchester Hospital President and CEO Joel Seligman was there to greet the children and express his gratitude for their support and generosity. The students delivered more than twenty boxes of toys, and afterward, they gathered outside of the hospital for a picture with Mr. Seligman to commemorate their donation.
This is the fourth year that Rippowam Cisqua School has organized this event, and the first time that the students have formally presented the toys to the hospital leadership. The event was organized by second and fourth grade parent Pam Lawson and third grade parent and Lower Campus Community Service Coordinator Alison Kallman, and the students helped to lead the way by donating, gathering, and delivering the toys. It was a collaborative, community-wide effort, reflective of the core values of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua.
On the Friday morning following the event, the students who took part in the toy delivery were recognized for their efforts at a Lower Campus assembly and were acknowledged for their commitment to helping others by a resounding round of applause from the peers and their teachers.
Mulan, the Sixth Grade Musical
The sixth grade musical is a great tradition at RCS. All sixth graders take part in the production, from acting and singing, to set design, sound, and lighting and, this year, the students are excited to perform
. Based on the Walt Disney film, this is a fun performance for children of all ages. It's a great opportunity for you to enjoy an evening out with your children and also to see, first hand, a celebration of the arts at RCS. The fourth grade students were the first to view the production this morning, when they traveled to the Upper Campus to attend the dress rehearsal.
All RCS families are invited and encouraged to attend! The performances begin at 7:00pm tomorrow, February 13th, and Thursday, February 14th, and take place in the Crosby-Fiala Playhouse on the Upper Campus. The set and costumes are beautiful, and the students are looking forward to sharing the production with you! See you there!
Ninth Graders Participate in the Midnight Run
While most of us were warmly snuggled in our beds on the night of Friday, February 1st, 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 a number of years, RCS ninth graders have participated in the Midnight Run. This year, two of our ninth graders, Annabelle Nemeth and Alex Needham, 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, Alex and Annabelle hosted a jeans days/bake sale to raise funds to purchase the supplies needed for the Run. 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).
A few days 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 cars 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. 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.
All School Reception Brings Community Together
The annual All School Reception took place on Wednesday, January 30th, in the beautifully decorated Sky Room on the Lower Campus, and it served as a wonderful opportunity for Rippowam Cisqua School parents, faculty, and staff to come together for an evening of fellowship, food, and fun.
During the program, Head of School Matthew Nespole and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Amanda Riegel, shared insights into the three most important components of the Rippowam Cisqua community: People, Program, and Place. Their conversation was accompanied by several videos that highlighted the teachers and students. You can
to watch several of these videos--and many more--on the RCS Video Channel in our new
Thanks to all who attended the event, and thanks to the many members of the community who came together to make it such a success!
Helping Hands at RCS
Community service at Rippowam Cisqua School is a hands-on experience. In fact, many students on the School's Lower Campus recently spent a December afternoon helping the community's neediest neighbors. More than 30 Senior-PreKindergarten and Second Grade students came together on Friday, December 7th to collect, sort, and pack clothing as part of the School's annual Share the Warmth clothing drive. Members of the school-wide community had donated new pajamas, robes, slippers, and socks (91 pounds in total!), and these 30+ children then gathered the items and delivered them to the Community Center of Northern Westchester, which has a longstanding relationship with the School. These students also made beautiful, sparkling holiday ornaments that were delivered along with the clothing to the Community Center for distribution to the Center's patrons during the holiday season.
On the Upper Campus, students in grades five through nine took part in the Share the Warmth event as well, and they gathered and delivered 34 pounds of new clothing to the Community Center. The Upper Campus students held a food drive to coincide with the Share the Warmth clothing drive, and on Thursday, December 20th, the students and teachers delivered more than 1,300 pounds of food to the Community Center and to Neighbor's Link in Mt. Kisco.
The Rippowam Cisqua students serve others out of a commitment to the broader world. Their continual volunteer work raises awareness of others, has a direct impact on the surrounding community, provides many opportunities to see progress, and fosters a lifelong commitment to service. The teachers and parents work together to create meaningful opportunities for student community outreach throughout the year. The Rippowam Cisqua students have accomplished much already this year for their greater community and have more to do as the school year continues. Thanks to third grade parent Alison Kallman for coordinating the extracurricular community service activities on the Lower Campus, and thanks to RCS parents Kris Cerchiara and Chip Ziegler for taking photos at the recent Share the Warmth event! And thanks to Upper Campus teachers Michael Florio and Chris Perry for spearheading the Upper Campus clothing and food drives!
And special thanks to all of the students on both campuses who took part in these events!
Dr. Michael Thompson to Return to RCS
Rippowam Cisqua School’s Foundations of Education Series continues on
day, January 11th at 10:00 a.m.
with a return visit from bestselling author and renowned psychologist
Dr. Michael Thompson.
Dr. Thompson will speak with our community about
“Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Friendship Development, Popularity and Social Cruelty in Childhood.”
Dr. Thompson's lecture is free and open to the public and will take place in the Sky Room on our Lower Campus (325 West Patent Rd., Mount Kisco, NY 10549).
Dr. Thompson has worked as a clinical psychologist, school consultant, and international speaker on the subjects of children, schools, and parenting for nearly 35 years. He is the bestselling author of nine books, including
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow
Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children
We are excited to welcome Dr. Thompson back to Rippowam Cisqua, and we encourage all in the community to attend what promises to be a wonderful and insightful discussion.
Rippowam Cisqua’s 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 or to RSVP, please contact Ryan Smith at 914-244-1292 or email@example.com
Fourth Grade Engineers Visit Upper Campus
On November 26th and 27th, the 4th grade students traveled to the Upper Campus to meet with physics teacher Charlie Duveen in the Rippowam Applied Physics Laboratory. Given only a few materials—a helium filled gas container (balloon), a platform (Dixie cup), shroud lines (sewing thread), a tether line, ballast (a lump of clay), and adhesive (masking tape) — these young engineers worked collaboratively to construct and test the slowest rising launch vehicle.
The objective for each design team was 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 each other, even when things go wrong.
Through thick and thin, the design teams persevered, recording data over several trials and adjusting the launch vehicle on successive launches to improve its performance. Finally, the students made a labeled drawing of their launch vehicle, each design of which was in some way unique.
This project—which was coordinated by Mr. Duveen, Lower Campus math teacher Beth Smith, 4th grade teacher Nora Zahner, and 4th grade intern Hayden Morris— effectively enables RCS educators to link the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) curriculum on both the Lower and Upper Campuses, which makes for a dynamic experience for each of our students.
“I am always amazed, but not surprised, that these young people can effortlessly combine math, science, art, and engineering tasks in the short space of an hour,” Mr. Duveen said. “I am not surprised because I know they have been doing this on the Lower Campus from JPK to now. Whenever I work with the 4th graders, I find eager learners, yearning to demonstrate their varied talents and capabilities.”
Holiday Gourmet & Gift Sale
Please join us on Tuesday, November 20
, for the fun and festive Rippowam Cisqua School Holiday Gourmet & Gift Sale! Kick off the holiday season with delicious foods, festive plants, holiday books, Ripped Apparel, and many great gifts from our Holiday Boutique.
Enjoy homemade baked goods including cookies, brownies, pies, and bread donated by RCS parents. Lower Campus volunteers have been busy in the School’s kitchen cooking lasagnas, chicken pot pies, and shepherd's pies, all of which will also be available for sale.
Specialty vendors will offer one-of-a-kind merchandise including jewelry, accessories, stationery, clothing, teas, books, and more. A beautiful array of potted plants will also be available for gifts and holiday decorating. Be sure to stock up on spirit wear for the holidays as Ripped Apparel merchandise and holiday gifts will be available as well.
This event is open to friends and family of RCS. It will take place on Tuesday, November 20
, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in our Lower Campus Sky Room.
Visit the Holiday Gourmet & Gift Sale webpage
to learn more about the vendors.
Thanks to the many wonderful RCS Parent Association volunteers for putting this great event together!
Lower Campus Students Go to the Polls!
While parents were busy voting for a president last week, students on the Lower Campus were also busy voting for their favorite books!
During library class, each class nominated three of their favorite books. The students then filled out a ballot and cast a vote for their individual favorite. The votes were tallied and are posted outside the library. Stop by and check out the winners!
Thanks to Lower Campus Media Specialist Laura Jensen for orchestrating this great "Elect to Read" program with the students!
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz to Speak at RCS
Rippowam Cisqua School’s acclaimed Foundations of Education Series continues on
Wednesday, November 14th at 7:00 p.m.
with a visit from
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz
, CEO of Panthera, a non-profit organization that directs and implements effective conservation strategies for the world's largest and most endangered cats, including tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards. Dr. Rabinowitz is one of the world's leading big cat experts, and has been called "The Indiana Jones of Wildlife Conservation" by
magazine. He is the author of more than one hundred scientific and popular articles and six books. In 2008, Dr. Rabinowitz was a guest on
The Colbert Report
, where he discussed his organization's mission and his commitment to wildlife conservation.
Dr. Rabinowitz will speak about
“Saving the World’s Big Cats: From Brooklyn to Burma, and Beyond.”
He has traveled the globe to save these endangered animals, and his presentation will include a great slideshow with lots of amazing pictures of big cats from all over the world. Dr. Rabinowitz’s message is a powerful one—one that is appropriate for and will be compelling to parents and students alike.
Parents are encouraged to bring their school-age children to the lecture
, which promises to be an interesting and exciting exploration of wildlife conservation led by one of the world’s great experts.
To learn more about Dr. Rabinowitz and Panthera, you can visit
Rippowam Cisqua’s 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 or to RSVP, please contact Ryan Smith at 914-244-1292 or
Post-Storm Information: Parents -
Please click here for a helpful resource page with updates on School activities.
Halloween is Here!
Rippowam Cisqua celebrated Halloween on Friday, October 26th, 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 our traditional parade. The JPK, SPK, and Kindergarten students led the way as their parents and teachers snapped photos and followed them into the Skyroom, 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 prizes for the most original costume, the scariest costume, the funniest costume, the best impersonation, and the cutest costume. 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!
RCS Students Cast Ballots in the Scholastic Student Vote
Scholastic Magazine traveled to Rippowam Cisqua School last week as part of the 2012 Scholastic Student Vote, a nationwide mock election that was first launched in 1940. Students in Ms. Amanda Brandon's fifth grade class took part in the mock election, and Scholastic filmed the process as the students filled out their ballots and cast their votes. Check out the video
NY Times Profile of Justin Cronin '77
Congratulations to RCS alumnus and award-winning author
Justin Cronin '77,
was recently the subject of a great profile in
The New York Times Magazine
. Cronin is the celebrated author of several novels, including the forthcoming book
(Ballantine Books), which will be available on October 16th.
is the second book in a trilogy which began with Cronin's acclaimed novel
(Ballantine Books, 2010).
You can check out Cronin's
New York Times
, and you can read more about Justin and
Rippowam Cisqua is guided by a mission that celebrates academics, athletics, and the arts, and encourages students to discover and explore their talents to the fullest. We congratulate Justin on his literary success, which will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration for many of our young RCS student writers.
Collin McLoughlin '03 on "The Voice"
RCS alumnus and singer/songwriter Collin McLoughlin '03 takes center stage again this week on NBC's "The Voice," where he'll compete in the one-on-one "battle round" to try to advance to the third phase of the vocal competition. Collin visited "The Today Show" this morning to discuss the competition, which will air tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.
At last Friday's Lower Campus assembly, the students and teachers delivered an energetic and heartfelt message for Collin, wishing him good luck.
to see a video from the assembly (you will need to log in to view the video). Collin also visited our Upper Campus for an assembly and performance in November of last year.
to read about his visit to RCS.
check out Collin's interview on "The Today Show" here
-- and be sure to tune in to "The Voice" at 8 p.m. tonight on NBC to watch him perform on stage! Good Luck, Collin! All of RCS will be cheering for you!
Katie Koestner to Speak at RCS
Rippowam Cisqua School’s 2012-2013 Foundations of Education Series kicks off on
October 9th at 10:00 a.m.
with a visit from
, a national expert on student safety, technology, and wellness issues. Ms. Koestner has appeared on several national television programs, and has lectured at more than 1600 schools around the world. She will focus her discussion on
Internet Safety and Skillfully Parenting the Cyber Generation
. Topics of discussion will include encouraging responsible use of the Internet, protecting children online, and bridging the technological gap between parents and children.
All parents are invited to attend. Ms. Koestner's lecture is free and open to the public and will take place in the Sky Room on our Lower Campus (325 West Patent Rd., Mount Kisco, NY 10549).
Rippowam Cisqua School’s critically acclaimed Foundations of Education Series is a dynamic program featuring informative lectures on how to raise successful, lifelong learners. For more information, please
or contact Ryan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Griffin Anthony '99 Performs at RCS
Alumni of Rippowam Cisqua School
go home again--and on Friday, alumnus and singer, songwriter, and guitarist Griffin Anthony (Griffin Occhigrossi '99) did exactly that as he returned to RCS to perform some songs and share his story with our Upper Campus students.
Griff and percussionist Matt Moadel performed three songs for the students, including a track from “The Canyon,” Griff's latest EP--and the fourth release in five years from this prolific songwriter. Students clapped and stomped along to each song, and gave Griff a rousing ovation after each number. Griff then spent some time talking about his career path with the students, telling them, “The reason that I have a career in music is because of Rippowam Cisqua.”
Griff got his start in music in 1995 as the drummer for “The Ripptides,” a band that included RCS classmates Anna Menken and the late Gillian Roth. After college, Griff embarked on his music career full-time--and he hasn't looked back, performing on the CBS morning show and at a number of outdoor festivals. Griff has toured extensively around the country and several of his songs have been featured on television programs on ABC, MTV, and VH1. He's back home in Connecticut now, venturing out for shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville. You can
check out some of his music here
By returning to their alma mater to share their talents and interests with our students, RCS alumni give back and stay connected to the school community in many meaningful ways. Thanks to Griff for coming back to RCS--and thanks for a wonderful performance and a great afternoon!
Red-Blue Team Captains!
Student leadership on the Upper Campus takes many forms, with opportunities ranging from community service, to academic project management, to the performance stage, and the athletic fields. Today, one of two major elections was held to fill the roles of the Red and Blue team captains. The Red and Blue team elections celebrate the two teams that Upper Campus students and families are assigned to when they arrive on campus, wherein students earn points for their teams through periodic contests at campus assemblies, recognition of positive behavior and, ultimately, Field Day in the spring during which teams compete for points in a range of athletic events.
The election season features a lead up of several weeks of colorful signs and slogans around the Upper Campus and culminates in a performance in the Upper Campus Playhouse where students make their pitch to their peers in a lively series of songs, dances, and performance. The captains elected for the Red Team were Thomas Tenney, Georgia McLanahan, and Natalie Harrington; and for the Blue Team, Cian McGillicuddy and Cammy Lacey. Congratulations are in order for all the students involved, for extending themselves, for supporting each other, and for a spirited fall election season.
Wildlife on Lower Campus
Bill Robinson, known and loved by many RCS students as "The Birdman," returned to the Lower Campus on Friday for a wildlife education assembly--and, as always, he brought some friends along with him, including a hawk, a turkey vulture, an owl, an alligator, and some snakes. The Birdman captivated the students with stories about each of these remarkable creatures. Highlights included some of the defense mechanisms the birds employ (the aforementioned turkey vulture will actually throw up on a potential attacker), dietary habits (the owl enjoyed its lunch, a mouse, much to the delight of the kids), and a falconry display where the falcon swooped over the gym full of excited kids.
The feathered visitors and their artful guide infused joy in learning for students and teachers in this wonderful year opening assembly - a great way to soar into the weekend!
RCS Class of 2013 Gives Back
On Wednesday, September 12th, the ninth grade class, along with teachers Elizabeth Messinger, Ridley Sperling, Missy Swan, and Chris Perry, left Bedford and traveled to Shenorock, NY, for a two-day Habitat for Humanity project. Rippowam Cisqua School has had a longstanding relationship with Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, and this year, the students and teachers tackled two projects. At one work site, students helped organize material inside a house under construction, and also measured and installed plywood over exposed insulation to prevent animals from entering. Students at that site had the opportunity to meet the mother of the family who will be moving in once the work is complete.
The other work site was part of Habitat for Humanity's "A Brush With Kindness" program, which helps homeowners maintain the exterior of their homes and revitalize their neighborhoods. Many of the residents who benefit from “Brushes with Kindness” have lived in their homes for decades, and raised their families there, but find it difficult to keep up with necessary improvements. For this project, the students removed brush, trimmed trees, cleaned off the roof, and removed debris from the gutters. The homeowner, who was helping to care for two sick relatives, was grateful for the assistance.
On Friday, the Class of 2013 gathered at Head of School Matthew Nespole's residence for a leadership retreat following the two days of community service. During the retreat, the students reflected on their experiences. “A memorable moment for me was when [the homeowner] was telling us how grateful she was of our work," wrote one student. "It was memorable because I know that we were helping someone who needed help.”
To read more about community service at RCS,
please click here
On Friday afternoon, more than 600 members of the Rippowam Cisqua School community gathered on the Lower Campus to meet new friends, reconnect with old friends, and celebrate the start of the School year at our third annual All School Picnic.
The picnic brought together members of the entire School community, including parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends, for good food and lots of fun. In the Pole Barn, the crowd gathered for carnival games, glitter tattoos, and delicious food prepared by Food Services Director Bill Lacourciere and his team. Outside, a DJ kept the crowd dancing all afternoon and into the evening. An inflatable obstacle course occupied countless children (and a couple of brave adults) throughout the afternoon, and the children enjoyed playing together on the playground and the fields--and there was even an assortment of exotic animals on display for the children to learn about and discover!
The celebration was a huge success, and it would not have been possible without the great work of our parent volunteers, led by Anne Citrin and Angelina Lipman. Special thanks to them for their tremendous efforts—and thanks to all of the members of the community who attended the gathering! Special thanks as well to the Buildings and Grounds team for all that they did to help make the event such a success. Thanks as well to all of our ninth grade student volunteers! It was a wonderful afternoon, and we can’t wait to gather together again at Homecoming on September 29
And They're Off!
It was as if Mother Nature herself didn't quite want to let go of summer. 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 with an energy the buildings haven't enjoyed since early June. The sound of friends reconnecting, the sight of crisp new uniforms to accommodate a couple of inches of newly discovered height, and the feel of excitement about the possibility each new school year brings was palpable. The 95th year of teaching and learning at Rippowam Cisqua has officially begun!
2011-2012 Student Awards
During the 2011-2012 school year, Rippowam Cisqua students competed in some of the most rigorous and prestigious academic competitions in the country, and they earned numerous awards at the local and national levels.
In May, eight students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades placed in the top ten rankings of the Westchester New York Chapter of
Le Grand Concours
, the National French Contest sponsored by the American Association of French Teachers. Five of these students also placed in the top ten National rankings and earned medals.
In the spring, 21 Rippowam Cisqua students earned awards for their performance on the National Spanish Examination, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish.
In March, eight seventh graders and eight eighth graders received awards for their performance on the National Latin Exam, sponsored by The American Classical League and The Junior Classical League.
During the course of the 2011-2012 school year, Rippowam Cisqua students won 47 writing awards. This list of accomplished Rippwriters includes 28 students who earned awards from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program, the most prestigious and longest-running student art and writing contest in the world. Two Rippwriters earned Regional Gold Key awards, nine Rippwriters earned Regional Silver Key awards, and seventeen Rippwriters earned Honorable Mentions.
Congratulations to each of our student award winners and their teachers on a wonderfully successful year! To see a full list of award recipients, and to read more about each award, please click
RCS 4th Graders named to National Meritorious Achievement List
Nearly half of the Rippowam Cisqua fourth grade students joined close to 150,000 students worldwide to participate in this year's Math Olympiad program. Students participated in a series of five monthly contests of five problems each, from November to March, with supervised weekly practice sessions. During this time students worked on solving unusual and difficult problems, as well as learning to think critically and creatively.
The RCS 4th grade team was named to the Grade Four National Meritorious Achievement List for its score of 145 points (total team score is the sum of the top 10 student scores). This list recognizes the top 20% nationally of all fourth grade teams.
Nine of the RCS mathletes won national awards for excellence within Division E for grades 4-6.
The silver pin is awarded to those students in the top 10%, and two RCS students landed in this category: Nico Madrid with 21/25 points and Kaiheng Dai with 20/25 points. Nico was the team's high scorer.
An embroidered felt patch was awarded to those in the top 50% of all participants, including the following nine students: Nico Madrid, Kaiheng Dai, Will Greve (17 points), YingShyan Ku (16 points), Kenta Tsujimura (15 points), Annabel Lee (15 points), Alex Kowal (12 points), Jack Londono (11 points) and Zack Greif (10 points).
Congratulations to all of the RCS 4th graders who took part!
Holocaust Survivor Visits Upper Campus
Mrs. Judith Altman, a native of Czechoslovakia, shared her experiences during the Holocaust with the 8th grade classes. At the age of 17, Mrs. Altman was taken to Auschwitz, where she remained for two years. She also spent time in Bergen-Belsen, a notorious killing center attached to Auschwitz. Mrs. Altman lost 24 members of her family; her niece and her brother were the only ones, apart from her, who survived.
Mrs. Altman's message was one of hope, rather than of hatred. She urged the students to understand what had happened, so that the world never faces something like that again.
Lower Campus Reading Flash Mob and FunJam
It was a busy and exciting day on the Lower Campus when everyone joined in to sing and dance during the Reading Flash Mob (see video). The fun continued throughout the rest of the morning as students and teachers covered the back fields while playing games during FunJam. Sea Animal Toss, Heart Relay, Ring Toss, Spongebob Toss, Soccer Dribble, Build a Bear Relay, Tee-Ball Swing, Freeze Dance, Sack Races, and much more! There was even a Popsicle Spot where the kids could take a break and enjoy a cold treat. It was a great way to start the final month of school!
Art Installation on the Upper Campus
Each year, students in Evey Albert’s art class make their own ceramic tiles, and the subject matter changes each year. The current seventh grade art students chose a vegetable, fruit, or flowering plant from the RCS Garden as this year’s “model.” The installation of their tiles took place today when, with the aid of maps, they set off into the garden to find the plant that matched their personally designed tile. After stringing their tiles with picture hanging wire, some students grabbed hammers and nails and others were armed only with their imagination as they found ways to attach their plant tiles as closely as possible to the live plants they matched. There were teachers on hand to help the students find their plants and attach their tiles, as well as the volunteers who spend numerous hours tending the RCS garden. After the installation, the students were treated to refreshments provided by the garden volunteers. For more information about the RCS garden, please click
Ninth Grade Yearbook Dedication
The Ninth Grade class dedicated the 2012 yearbook to English teacher Ridley Sperling this morning. The audience of students and parents cheered vigorously when the dedication was unveiled and the honor bestowed on Ms. Sperling. Ridley has been teaching at RCS for nine years and graduated herself from the ninth grade program in 1993, making her a particularly poignant choice. The students eagerly tried to get a peek at the yearbook which won't be distributed to the student body until the last week of school. Congratulations Ms. Sperling!
Upper Campus Field Day
As the crowd gathered on Clinton Road at 8:30 last Friday morning -- in various shades of red and blue -- there was a little bit of a chill in the air but it was clear it was going to be a picture perfect day -- and it was!
The students' accomplishments were extraordinary from beginning to end! The march down Clinton Road, led by team captains Sophie Boyd and Peter Giordano for the blue team, and Liesl Hennig and Connor Bamford for the red team, was a poignant reminder for spectators and students alike of the traditions that field day is founded upon and the many generations that have walked that road before.
The team cheers were ambitious, spirited, and energizing -- preparing both teams for a morning of good sportsmanship. The sports performances were unprecedented on many levels. Four records were set in the course of the day -- two of which were actually broken by the previous record-holders. Blake Cote broke the fifth/sixth 400-meter record, the old mark of 1 minute 28 seconds disappearing to Blake's extremely impressive 1 minute 24 seconds! Evan Kieltyka shattered the Clinton Road run record of 9:00, which had been in place since 1983, clocking in at 8:41. Mike Cerutti reset the bar, breaking the high jump record
for the second year in a row
-- with a new School record of 5'6.25" inches. Isabel Seaborn, arguably one of the strongest track athletes in RCS history, broke her own record in the Clinton Road run for
the third year in a row
. To add to the excitement, Isabel came within one second of her sister Paige's 400-meter record that was set in 2005 when she was in ninth grade -- a truly remarkable outing.
Congratulations to all of our athletes and new record holders! The day was another great show for the entire community. Parents and friends came out to support both the red and blue teams. The teachers all did their part and more, running the events, keeping score, and making sure the kids were happy and safe. The maintenance crew did their usual unbelievable set up and break down of the event and the kitchen staff provided everyone with plenty of water, Gatorade, and snacks. Thanks are also in order for the team Captains with their hard work getting the kids ready to march and cheer. They have done a great job all year planning and organizing all the red/blue events.
So, as another field day is in the books, we are thankful that we are able to spend such a glorious day together as a community. Cheers to all for their help and support of the RCS Athletic program
French Students Win Awards
Eight French students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades placed in the top ten rankings of the Westchester New York Chapter of the 2012 National French Contest, or
. Five of these students also scored in the top ten National rankings and will be receiving silver and bronze medals. The rankings refer to a numerical score. The contest was sponsored by The American Association of Teachers of French. Nearly 100,000 students in all fifty states competed in the Grand Concours. Here in Westchester, 1,119 students sat for the contest.
The students who placed
among the top ten
Westchester and/or National rankings:
Seventh grade students (Level 01A)
Lily Fauver - ninth Westchester
Maia Bernstein - fifth Westchester
Sahra Denner - third Westchester; ninth National
Eighth grade students (Level 1A)
Margaret DeDomenico - tenth Westchester
Natalie Harrington - fifth Westchester; sixth National
Annabelle Nemeth – fourth Westchester; fifth National
Aaron Casella – second Westchester; third National
Ninth grade students (Level 2A)
Sophie Boyd - fifth Westchester; fifth National
"The Drowsy Chaperone" is a smash hit !
Broadway eat your heart out! This year's Tony Award will no doubt go to "The Drowsy Chaperone," performed by the Rippowam Players in Bedford, New York.
The cast is simply beyond the stars, and a six piece orchestra brings this play to new heights. Talented actors sing musical numbers that will make your heart soar and the finale will bring you to tears. They are accompanied by a chorus of singers, adding a richness that fills the stage with raucous melody. The tech crew manipulated the complex set with such precision that the set changes were seamless. Lighting and sound systems were outstanding.
The narrator invites you into his living room, where a 1920's musical unfolds, and the audience is transported down memory lane as he comments on the history of the play. The very witty script and clever plot are filled with points of laughter that keep you in anticipation of the next scene. This performance was simply brilliant, ending with a standing ovation! Tonight is closing night, so don't miss it! Curtain time is 7:00pm in the Upper Campus Playhouse
Children's Book Author Jacqueline Harvey Visits the Lower Campus
On May 2nd, children's book author, Jacquie Harvey, visited the Lower Campus. This is what Jacquie had to say about RCS on her blog:
We spent Wednesday morning at the beautiful Pre K-4 campus at Rippowam Cisqua School in Mt Kisco, about an hour and ten minutes by train from Grand Central Station. The journey out there is an easy one – the trains here seem to be very reliable and generally they’re clean too. We were greeted at the station by a new friend, Hadley, whose daughter Charlotte is a big Alice-Miranda fan. Charlotte was introduced to the stories by one of her good friends from Australia, Madeleine and it has all come together from there. I love the networking, the friends we’ve made and knowing that in the future we will be able to come back and catch up again with all of these wonderful people.
Mt Kisco is such a pretty place, with a lovely little village of shops and the most gorgeous houses. As we headed to the school we drove out along country lanes lined with stone walls and some very large homes. The school itself is pretty too – with plenty of grounds for the children to play n and well cared for buildings. We met Laura, the librarian and headed off to her new library. After setting up and a welcome cup of tea, Hadley took us for a tour of the school. In the Pre-Kindergarten class I saw a little girl with the most extraordinary bows in her hair. She was one of those rare children who starts and ends the day looking immaculate.
The overwhelming feeling while we were walking around the school was a sense of calm and purpose. RC is a very happy place and that shone through in the teachers and students from the youngest to the eldest.
I adored meeting the Grade 4 students and talking to them about writing and Alice-Miranda. We had some great actors too. A little girl called Annabelle took on the role of Jacinta and a very brave boy called Wesley volunteered to be Alice-Miranda – except that we made him Alex Michael. Jacinta was a wonderful tantrum thrower and Alex-Michael was the first child to do what I had assumed lots of them might – spy Jacinta’s hissy fit and run for the hills!
Charlotte outdid herself by baking three of Nana Jones’ apple pies from the recipe at the back of Alice-Miranda At School. They looked delicious and the children were planning to enjoy them at lunch. It was such a pleasure to meet the teachers afterwards too and I only wish I could have had a lot more time with the children. But perhaps next year I will teach some writing workshops as well.
It was all over far too quickly. I signed a huge pile of bookplates – which the very clever IT teacher whipped up for us. The school is holding a book fair in a couple of weeks’ time and they are ordering books for the students and that’s a great way they can still have it signed without me having to be there – although I would like to be.
We jumped in the car and Hadley drove us into the city. Charlotte came too as the orthodontist beckoned and afterwards we had lunch together at a great restaurant on 60th near Madison Ave called Philippe Chow. I had assumed French but it turned out to be one of the best Chinese restaurants I’ve been to. The surname should have been a dead giveaway I guess.
Rippowam Cisqua was another wonderful experience and meeting Hadley, John, Charlotte, and Jack has been fantastic – we will definitely be visiting again and sooner rather than later.
To see Jacquie's blog, click
Fun Run was fun for everyone
On Sunday, May 6th nearly 100 students and parents gathered on the Upper Campus track to participate in the second annual Fun Run. The sun was shining as each runner donned his number and ran for the gold! The morning included age appropriate races for kids of all ages culminating with the one mile and 3K races.The highlights of the day included the strong showing among JPK, SPK and Kindergarten runners and seeing a few of those youngest students running the 3K down Clinton Road. All participants received a number and a one-of-a-kind runner pin.
Walk to Cisqua Day
At 8:45am this morning, students from the Upper Campus began the 4 mile "Walk to Cisqua." There were smiles on everyone's faces as they headed off for a fun morning on the Lower Campus.
Saturday night's auction was a huge success!
Saturday night's auction was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who was involved -- whether through contributing an item, helping with set up, attending the evening, or participating in the bidding -- it was wonderful to see the whole community come together. Proceeds from the Auction directly support the exceptional teaching and learning that is the hallmark of Rippowam Cisqua, as well as faculty salaries and benefits, which help RCS attract and retain the very best teachers, technology for the classrooms, and professional development to keep our teachers on the cutting edge of the latest advancements in education and technology. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful evening!
Sixth Grader Matt Schwartz Helps Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Students on the Upper Campus were treated last Monday to a presentation by sixth grader, Matt Schwartz, on his work with the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Matt shared the story of how he first became interested in the reservation after viewing a segment of the ABC news program, 20/20, last fall featuring “The Children of the Plains” by Diane Sawyer. He told the assembled group of RCS students that after watching the show, he immediately wrote a letter to Ms. Sawyer asking how he could help. Matt received a response back from the producers just two days later. He shared that the Pine Ridge Reservation community suffers from high unemployment and staggeringly high substance abuse levels. The Reservation schools have very low graduation rates and reading performance that is far below the national standard. He was inspired to make a difference so he began a campaign to raise money for the Wounded Knee School to enable the purchase of a new reading program and computers, and he established a foundation, the Muddy Road Foundation (
) to raise awareness and support. He ended his presentation by sharing with his schoolmates that he has maintained a relationship with Diane Sawyer, her producers, and 20/20. The assembly and related footage was captured on video by ABC News that day which may be featured in a spring update on the Pine Ridge Reservation -- possibly as early as this week. For more information on Matt's project, please visit
First Graders Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
to see a slideshow/video of their trip.
Lower Campus Science Fair
The culmination of two months of study for the first through fourth grade students took the form of the annual Science Fair on March 15th. The students developed interactive projects, which demonstrate the science concepts they have learned this year. The process includes designing their project, problem solving issues as they arise and, eventually, constructing their projects using tools such as wood saws, coping saws, and screwdrivers. On the day of the Science Fair, the students had the opportunity to teach what they had learned to parents, teachers, and other members of the community. Take a look at photos from the Science Fair to the right, and then these slideshow/videos of some "behind the scenes" preparations by the students:
Upper Campus Celebrates Winter Athletics
On Friday, March 9
, the Upper Campus winter athletics program was celebrated and players were recognized for their contributions to their teams.
First Graders recreate Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night with cupcake icing
Watch the slideshow
Foundations of Education Lecture by Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath
Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath visited Rippowam Cisqua last week as part of the RCS Foundations of Education Series. She shared her theory on the “Self-Esteem Trap,” which she has developed through several years of research and her own clinical practice. In essence, the “Self-Esteem Trap” highlights the data that suggests the current generation of parents (post baby boom) has raised a generation of children on what Dr. Young-Eisendrath calls “junk praise” (e.g. saying “Great job!” for ordinary activities). This overuse of praise has made the “Me Generation” feel special, and exceedingly self-important, as if they stand out in everything they do. It sounds like the basis for some healthy self-esteem and happy children, right? In fact, however, these children have found themselves struggling to function without a constant flow of positive feedback, having a difficult time doing entry level work and, in general, being unhappy with what, by most accounts, would appear to be very fulfilling lives.
So what are parents to do to overcome this conundrum? Dr. Young-Eisendrath had some great suggestions, a few of which are listed here:
1- Don’t feed your child “junk praise.” It is as addictive, ultimately unfulfilling, and just as damaging as junk food as it takes the place of developing inner wisdom.
2- Be an example in your relationships. If parents demonstrate respect, kindness, and interest in their parents, partners, and elders, their children will develop the same type of interests.
3- Teach your children that kindness and generosity bring the greatest happiness. Set the example of looking around to see who needs help, assistance, or support and you will provide your child countless opportunities to feel happy.
4- Teach your children that resilience comes from being flexible. If you allow your child to make mistakes and encounter failure, they will learn the importance of being flexible in order to face the challenges of life.
5- Raise your consciousness that autonomy is the goal. Effective self-governance and healthy self-esteem come from knowing our strengths and weaknesses in doing things in the real world and getting authentic feedback, not excessive praise.
6- Don’t let your child think he or she is “king.” We are raising our children to be members of the human race, society, our community, and our families - not to be the center of attention.
7- Cut down on how much you talk about your children. If parents can develop a more balanced approach to talking about their children, the children won’t necessarily feel like the singular focus of their attention.
For more information on Dr. Young-Eisendrath, or to order any of her books, please see her website:
The next Foundations of Education Series lecture is scheduled for Wednesday, April 11th at 10:00am with Tara Brown discussing “Building Strong Parent Child Connections.” For more information, check the Foundations of Education section of the website or contact Susie Danziger at email@example.com.
Rippowam Cisqua’s Upper Campus Students Give Back
Members of the Upper Campus at Rippowam Cisqua School (grades 5-9) are working hard to give back to the community. The RCS Community Service program, which becomes increasingly more involved as students get older, is voluntary through eighth grade; however, students have become increasingly more engaged as they get older and are volunteering in even greater numbers. Some of the activities that have sparked the interest of these active youngsters might surprise you.
As is tradition at RCS, in September, the ninth grade class, accompanied by five teachers, left Bedford and headed to Yonkers on behalf of Habitat for Humanity for two days. The class participated in two projects, one involved hanging sheetrock in a home that would eventually be occupied by three generations of one family and the second had students building two-foot by four-foot rectangular planters that would later add splashes of color to the surrounding neighborhood.
Chris Perry, a science teacher at the Upper Campus and the Ninth Grade Dean, talked about the value of involving middle school students in these projects. “Seeing kids give of their time and energy to care for people in the county is what I love about this type of service effort. In this day and age of communication through computer, an opportunity like this allows our kids to work as a team to accomplish a goal. It also gives them a chance to connect with, and learn from, people with whom they wouldn’t normally spend time.”
Over the holidays, the Upper Campus, as a community, contributed canned foods and pajamas to the Community Center of Northern Westchester as part of their Holiday Food Drive and Share the Warmth clothing drive. The School collected more than 500 food items and a large assortment of pajamas, slippers, robes, and more to help make the holidays a little happier for the families who utilize the community center.
Beginning in January, one to two Friday afternoons per month have been dedicated to a community service project. In January, seven seventh graders spent the afternoon at the Ronald McDonald House in Valhalla, making dinner for the families who were in residence there at the time. In addition to their culinary delights, they also wrote letters to the residents to let them know that they were thinking of them during this difficult time. On that same day, the entire Upper Campus was introduced to the small town of Shihalia, Kenya by teacher Vincent Kwarula. With Vincent’s support, the students plan to raise funds to contribute to the renovation of the local school as well as the installation of a water pump in Shihalia.
The first Friday of February, the entire ninth grade participated in “Midnight Run.” Students were transported to Manhattan where they distributed sandwiches they had made, clothing, and toiletries to the homeless. This is an event that has traditionally had a real impact on the students as they are able to personally understand the challenges and needs of those who don’t have a roof over their heads. The following Friday, twenty-seven students pulled the lasagna pans back out and made dinner for sixty to be delivered to Neighbors Link in Mt. Kisco. The students painstakingly mixed, chopped, and cooked to help the newest members of the local community feel more at home. Neighbors Link families gave a hearty round of applause to show their appreciation as the piping hot food was delivered.
The balance of the year will find students planting seedlings for the RCS Garden in March, and a second group will transplant those plants in May. The food from the garden is used by the School’s cafeteria as well as local families. Excess food is donated to local organizations. In addition, there are several return trips planned to the Ronald McDonald House to make dinner again.
The Auction Committee would like to thank the members of the Board of Trustees for their generous underwriting contributions to MARIPOSA. We are looking forward to a great evening together!
Compton Spain buys the first Mariposa Auction Raffle Ticket for the pair of Vespas!
Don't miss your chance to win these two Vespas! Raffle tickets are $50 for one ticket and $200 for five tickets (buy four and get one FREE!).
Performance on the Lower Campus
On Friday, January 6th, the Lower Campus had the pleasure of viewing a wonderful performance starring RCS sixth grader Vann Strasen called "Russell the Hermit Crab," presented by
Magical Music for Life
. Vann dedicated the performance to his former music teacher, Lainie Zades. Click
for a short Animoto video/slideshow of the performance.
Ambassador Nicholas Platt '50 Visits RCS
On Friday, December 16th, RCS Upper Campus students had a unique opportunity to experience history live, as they met with Ambassador Nicholas Platt ’50, a distinguished American diplomat with a long career in the Foreign Service. With a background in Chinese language and history, Ambassador Platt became an expert on China and, in 1972, accompanied President Nixon on an historic trip to Beijing. He went on to serve as a three time ambassador to Zambia, the Philippines, and Pakistan. Mr. Platt is also the author of the book The China Boys, which describes the preparations and events that led to the resumption of relations between the United States and China, and describes his role in the making of history.
Mr. Platt’s day at Rippowam was a full one, beginning with a seminar with the ninth graders followed by a master class with the sixth graders, who had just completed a unit of study on ancient China. Throughout the day, Mr. Platt shared his passion for history and writing and he told stories about his RCS English teacher, Mrs. Paddock, who introduced him to the value of good writing skills. Above all, Mr. Platt spoke about the importance of discovering and pursuing one’s passion and talents. Entering the Foreign Service and studying Chinese in the 60s was not an easy, or common, choice five decades ago. However, Ambassador Platt remains guided by the RCS motto “Dare to be True,” and found that following a dream, and working hard toward realizing it, makes for a rewarding path, albeit not the easiest one.
His time with the students culminated in a full Upper Campus assembly, during which all students and faculty had an opportunity to meet, and learn from, Ambassador Platt. He highlighted the historical impact of the 1972 visit to China and showed students a brief movie which included his personal impressions, memories, and details on his role as part of the American delegation. He answered many of the students’ questions about the present-day nature of the US-China relationship, as well as the economic and political challenges and advantages both countries encounter today. At the end of the Assembly, Alumni Association Chair, Christopher Wirth ’94, presented Mr. Platt with the Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding achievement and leadership in his profession and service to the community. Also, ninth grader Georgia Morley, on behalf of the entire ninth grade, shared with Mr. Platt a plaque that has his name engraved as the newest recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, which will hang on the wall outside the Upper Campus library.
The day came to a close with a luncheon where Mr. Platt was joined by a group of alums and faculty. The alums included Roger Vincent ’59 (an earlier recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award), Alden Prouty ’57, Marilen Tilt ’57, Linda Denison ’50, Penny Brouder ’51, Jim Renwick ’63 (also a current member of the RCS Board of Trustees), Kirtley Cameron (current parent and member of the RCS Board of Trustees and also the wife of Seth Cameron ’88), and Niko Viglione ’02 (also currently an Intern on the Lower Campus); RCS Alumni Association Board members included Christopher Wirth ’94 (Chair), Elly Dwyer Rice ’94, Randy Hall ’94, Susannah Sard ’58, and Cynthia Mas ’71; faculty members included Matthew Nespole (Head of School), Bill Barrett (Upper Campus Division Head), Bob Whelan (Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement), Elizabeth Messinger, Michael Kober, Thomas Morrissey, and Charlie Duveen. Mr. Platt was happy to engage in conversation and sign copies of his book for all in attendance.
Ambassador Platt was a student at Rippowam in the late 1940s, attended St. Paul’s for High School, and holds degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. His last visit to Rippowam Cisqua was two years ago when he and his classmates celebrated their 60th Reunion. Mr. Platt thoroughly enjoyed his time with the RCS students and was most impressed with their curiosity, poise, and eloquence. As he got into his car to leave, he paused for a moment, turned, and said, "Boy, I was so impressed by those kids." A nice testament indeed.
Assemblies on the Lower Campus
Take a look!
First Graders Visited the Cloisters
to see a slideshow/video of their trip.
Watch the new video "Why I Teach"
Monday's Parent/Student Field Hockey game - Students beat the parents 2 - 0!
Kindergarteners Visit Bedford Library
On November 9th, all three kindergarten classes visited the Bedford Free Library in conjunction with their study of "The Community." They had a great time! To see a slide show of their trip, click
A Glimpse of Halloween on the Lower and Upper Campuses
Winners of the costume contest on the Upper Campus:
Grades 5 and 6
first place: Isabella W. as Spongebob
second place: Collette O. and Dorothy W. as Hocus Pocus Witches
Grades 7 and 8
first place: Daniel S as gum on shoe
second place: Jake M. and Jared R. as Nerf
Grades 5 and 6
first place: Nathalie B. and Chloe B. as Pixelo
second place: Rory F. and Tommy F. as Dads when they get angry
Grades 7 and 8
first place: Andrew P. as Charlie the Unicorn
second place: Carrie K. and Mya L. as Nicki Minaj
Grades 5 and 6
first place: Lucy P. and Chloe W. as Barbies
second place: Giovanni W. as an Ipad
Grades 7 and 8
first place: Sophia G. and Sara M. as a toothbrush and mouthwash
second place: Kristen B. as a Rubiks Cube
Grades 5 and 6
first place: Julia G. as a goth ragdoll
second place: Alex B. as a scary guy
Grades 7 and 8
first place: Ryder B. and Jackson L. as the RCS Nerf team
second place: Nick S. and Ryan R. as the Tea Party
Grades 5 and 6
first place: Jack K. as Miss Universe
second place: Jack B. as a Whoopie Cushion
Grades 7 and 8
first place: Jared J. as the Dreadlocks Guy
second place: States L. as Snooki
first place: Mr. Duveen as Mr. Hyde
second place: Mr. Barrett as a Chicken
Voices of our Recent Grads. Join us in sitting down with ten recent graduates from the last five years and learn more about where they are, where they’ve been, and where they are going!
To read this excerpt from the latest Alumni Bulletin, please click
RCS Homecoming 2011
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, Coach Richie Meyers' 45th Rippowam Cisqua varsity football team took the field and played with precision, toughness, and heart en route to a 28-6 win over St Luke's in front of a lively crowd who had gathered for an afternoon of football, food, and fun.
Several hundred students, parents, alumni, and friends gathered for the School's first homecoming event on the Upper Campus. As the varsity boys' football team dictated the tempo on the gridiron, kids of all ages took part in sack races, impromptu soccer games, and a spirited tug of war on the adjacent playing fields. The Food Service team provided a barbecue lunch that made certain that no one would leave hungry and the weather played its part, defying what had been a certain forecast for rain and opting instead to offer up perfect fall weather as a backdrop for the occasion.
At the conclusion of the game, the crowd assembled for a testament to Coach Richie Meyers who, at the outset of his final year of coaching, was honored by Taft Athletic Director Dave Hinman (a former RCS coach and teacher), RCS Alumni Association president Chris Wirth '94, Joe McMenemon '01, and Alex Soros '01, Upper Campus Head Bill Barrett, and Head of School Matthew Nespole. To a person, each speaker echoed a similar sentiment about the impact that Coach Meyers has had on the student athletes that he has coached, namely, that the athletic arenas have served as the classroom for this master teacher to purvey essential life lessons that extend well beyond athletics.
After being presented with the game ball, Coach Meyers appropriately closed out the event, sharing a sentiment of gratitude that he's felt at having the privilege of playing a meaningful role in the lives of so many young people, and how touched he was that so many of his former athletes returned for the occasion.
To see a short video on the highlights of the day, please click
Winners of the Red Blue Captain Competition!
The captains elected for the Red Team were Liesl and Connor, and Sophie and Peter for the Blue Team.
Watch for the full details and photographs in the newsletter!
A Visit from "The Bird Man"
An unsuspecting visitor walking by the Sky Room on the Lower Campus at 11:45 this morning might easily have confused the high pitched shrieks of joy as those in response to a surprise visit from a recording artist currently topping the charts, but no, it was simply a visit from "The Bird Man" and his four remarkable raptors. Armed with a great horned owl, a red tailed hawk, a single minded falcon, and a turkey vulture (whose winning personality makes up for what would be hard to characterize as "classic good looks"), "The Bird Man" captivated RCS elementary school students with stories about each of these remarkable birds. Highlights included some of the defense mechanisms the birds employ (the aforementioned turkey vulture will actually throw up on a potential attacker), dietary habits (the Great Horned Owl enjoyed its lunch, a mouse, much to the delight of the kids), and a falconry display where the falcon swooped over the gym full of excited kids.
The feathered visitors and their artful guide easily infused joy in learning for students and teachers in this Parent Association sponsored year opening assembly - a great way to soar into the weekend!
All School Picnic
On September 9th, more than 500 members of the Rippowam Cisqua School community came together on the Lower Campus for the second annual All School Picnic. The crowd included parents, children, faculty, staff, and friends - all anticipating an evening of good food, lots of fun, and the chance to reconnect with friends. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of current parent volunteers, led by Whitney Brown and Suzanne O’Callaghan, the evening more than delivered!
From under the Pole Barn, the alluring aroma of sizzling burgers was unmistakable as Food Services Director Bill Lacourciere and his team worked the grill. Beside them, the SOBE truck, compliments of current parents Carolyn and Tim Tenney, generously distributed a variety of refreshing soft drinks. Seventh grade parent Cathryn Long was set up with a number of exotic animals including a kangaroo, a ring tailed lemur, an alligator, and a celebrity duck (known to those who watch professional football as “the AFLAC duck,” featured in television and print commercials). The children delighted in seeing these beautiful creatures up close and personal.
Three magnificent inflatables, including a multi-faceted obstacle course, occupied countless children (and a couple of brave adults) throughout the evening. Older students kept the Pole Barn dance floor hopping as a lively DJ played the latest pop music that served as a colorful audio backdrop to happy laughter and chatter as families reconnected after a summer away from School.
A personal favorite was the team of ninth grade students, clad in “Class of 2012” t-shirts, making sure no one left the picnic without an “RCS” tattoo somewhere on their body. From the smiles on all the faces, to the multitude of happy running feet, to the ever-present sound of laughter, it was evident that this memorable evening was the perfect ending to the first week of school. We can’t wait to see what the October 1st Homecoming barbecue brings!
Catching up with Carol Gahagan, Lower Campus Division Head
In June, 2011, Carol Gahagan was appointed the Head of the Lower Campus. Carol has spent over twenty-five years working in education and has been a member of Rippowam Cisqua’s Learning Resource Team since 2003. As Head of School Matthew Nespole noted, “Carol is a leader with a keen understanding of the School’s culture, curriculum, and parent body. She is held in high regard by her peers for her wisdom, her experience, and her depth of character. Our families know her best for the compassion and commitment she demonstrates on behalf of the countless children she has worked with during her time here. We are fortunate to have such a talented, dedicated educator as the new leader of our Lower Campus.”
We had a chance to catch up with Carol during a quiet moment over the summer.
When, and in what capacity, did you join the RCS community and what experiences along the way have helped prepare you to be the leader of the Lower Campus?
In the spring of 2003, after many years of educational experience, I accepted a position as a Learning Specialist at Rippowam Cisqua. As a Special Education teacher, I had always known how to multitask as the position necessitates balancing many pieces: teaching students, working with teachers, and conferring with parents and administrators as well as teaching courses and making presentations to faculty and parents on methods of learning and overcoming learning differences.
Initially, my role consisted of teaching, supporting, and sharing strategies with teachers in Kindergarten through second grade in the areas of handwriting, reading, and written expression. In time, my responsibilities grew as I partnered with the third grade teachers, expanding their reading phonetic program; the fourth grade teachers, assisting students with their writing assignments; and meeting with the pre-school classroom teachers to discuss a child’s developmental goals. It was not long before I was touching every aspect of the elementary school and getting to know faculty, students, and parents in every grade - an incredibly fulfilling role, and an opportunity that I hadn’t anticipated when I first joined the School. In the eight years that I have been a Learning Specialist, being enriched by teacher, parent, and student interactions and experiences, I never imagined that it would grow into this opportunity to lead the Rippowam Cisqua Lower Campus, although, now, as I continue along this new path, it seems so natural.
How did you originally become interested in teaching as a profession?
This incredible journey of mine in education began when I was in the eighth grade when I joined the Teachers Club. Even back then, I loved children and wanted to help them learn. I attended the School of Education at Boston University and became involved with a faculty that was truly dedicated to teaching students as individuals, and learning to differentiate the instruction according to their needs. By the time I graduated, teaching had truly become my passion. I accepted a position as an elementary school teacher and went on to obtain my Masters Degree, and then a Special Education Certification. My teaching career has consisted of working in independent, public, and parochial schools as well as rehabilitation centers for medically and mentally impaired children, cerebral palsy, and severe learning differences.
It has been an incredible, varied teaching journey for me and I feel, as a result, that I can offer a wealth of knowledge and experiences, which will contribute to my new role. It is with excitement, determination, and compassion that I will lead this exceptional learning community.
How have you enjoyed your first eight years at the Lower Campus?
When I accepted my position at Rippowam Cisqua, I was at a point in my career, based on my previous experience, when I knew what was needed in order for children to reach their potential and feel successful. I found this opportunity to teach at the Lower Campus perfect for that stage in my development and I have enjoyed my role as a teacher every year! I remember the first day of school when I asked Marylea Franz, then Head of the
Lower Campus, what methods and programs were to be followed. She encouraged me to use my best professional judgment, drawing on my past teaching experiences and to establish my own teaching style in order for students to progress and to enjoy school within the curriculum standards. Accordingly, I have been able to tailor my knowledge and experiences to the needs of the students, differentiating the instruction in order for them to achieve and advance in reading and written expression. I believe we all want our children to be happy in an academically challenging environment where they are taught and encouraged to question, think, speak publicly, and write skillfully about what they are learning in school. That’s exactly what happens at Rippowam Cisqua.
Over the last eight years, my opinions about good teaching have been reinforced by the commitment that I have seen among the Lower Campus faculty, a group of hard working professionals, many of whom came early and left late, and were always willing to collaborate around students and their skills. The exchange of teaching ideas and dedication to the students’ academic achievement is inherent in this school environment. Each year the new and ever changing challenges I see inspire me to continue to learn. Each student is always very different, therefore you can never stop learning, no matter how many years of experience you have! Importantly, I have found over and over that parents are very willing to support their children’s needs and they are comfortable collaborating with teachers, all of which contributes to their children’s progress and their enjoyment in learning. Knowing that we are all part of a team of teachers and families working together makes for a very positive atmosphere for students to excel in their desire to learn.
Do you have any particular memories from your first years that you would like to share with our readers?
I have many memories from my years of teaching; however, the particular ones I remember most at Rippowam Cisqua are the sincere, innocent comments of young students in my classroom. There were those students who found reading to be difficult at the beginning of the year and were often discouraged, but who, by the end of the year, would proudly announce that they now “love” reading. There were those students who, although assigned to read only five pages a night, decided to read a whole chapter. There were those students who were disappointed when homework was not assigned! My fondest memories are when students suddenly realize that they can blend sounds together to form words. They realize they are reading and the look on their faces is priceless! I also relish the memories of a parent conference going well, and the children saying thank you as they leave my class.
The feeling of exhilaration as the students are singing their hearts out in a sing-along session during an assembly; the feeling that I am appreciated through simple notes that parents, teachers, and students have written; these memories are unforgettable and make my job meaningful.
What were your first thoughts when you were asked to lead the Lower Campus?
It will be a moment that I will never forget. As I stood there speechless for a few seconds, I realized with all my years of educational experiences that this was an opportunity that I knew would fulfill my final personal goal as an educator. It came at a very good time in my career. I began to hear my own words that I repeated to my children growing up: “You will never know until you try.” I was excited and felt honored to be offered such an important role as a leader. I know the culture of the School, its staff and faculty, the students and parents and, in my new role, I plan to listen and lead, but also laugh along the way.
Will there be a particular area of focus for you and the faculty in your first year?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I have already met with a number of groups of teachers this summer to discuss the priorities we formulated during the last week of school. One of the areas that we plan to focus upon this year is our involvement in community service. We plan to integrate it into our Character Counts program and School assemblies. This initiative will involve teachers, parents, and students participating in activities in an effort to teach principles such as sharing, respect, caring for one another, and appreciating what we have, compared to those less fortunate. Secondly, we intend to expand our “Reading on the Lower Campus” starting with our preschool children and extending through fourth grade. Thirdly, we will continue to forge a stronger relationship between our two campuses, both academically and socially, communicating more with all the teachers and students by sharing lessons, classroom observations, and School events. Other areas of focus will be reinstating a mentoring program for our new teachers, planning outside assemblies, and tapping into the talents of our students and faculty within our School. We are looking forward to a very exciting and productive year of growing, enjoying, and learning more about one another.
We are fortunate to have you at the helm. Are there any thoughts you’d like to share with our readers about the upcoming months at RCS?
I actually feel fortunate to be at the helm of the Lower Campus of Rippowam Cisqua. I want the entire community to know that the faculty, staff, and I have worked hard this summer and have been very productive in an effort to help the children reach their full potential in a challenging, creative thinking environment. We want the children to progress and learn, but we also want them to be happy, make new friends, and be kind to one another. It is important to bring out those hidden talents they do not know they even have. We will encourage them to think positively about themselves and we will instill self-confidence. We, as teachers, spend more time with the students during the week than their parents do. I take this fact seriously. Rippowam Cisqua is their second home and it is important for me as one of the School’s leaders to be sure that every child is feeling successful, challenged, and happy. I want our families to know that I have an “open door policy” whereby everyone is welcome to stop by my office informally or make an appointment to talk to me about a child, our school environment, or just to share a thought. Communication is a very important priority for me. Making the time to meet encourages people to connect, understand each other, and develop mutual respect. This is one of my principal goals in our professional learning community. I am looking forward to a very exciting and rewarding year for all of us.
School is in Session!
On Thursday, September 8th, the ninety fifth year at Rippowam Cisqua School began not with a bang, but certainly with a splash! By 7:30am on the Upper Campus and 8:00am on the Lower Campus, 519 eager and bright-eyed students were running through the doors with backpacks and tote bags flying behind them. The children were all delighted to see their teachers and friends, many of whom they hadn’t seen since June. By 8:45, things had settled down and teaching and learning began in many of the classrooms as students reconnected and shared stories of what they had done over the summer. It was hard to tell who was “old” and who was “new” as the 78 new students moved seamlessly around the School along with the returning students.
For nearly ninety five years, teachers at Rippowam Cisqua have been committed to educating students to become independent thinkers, confident in their abilities and themselves. A "first day" glimpse into the classrooms, the art studios, and on the playing fields last Thursday reminded that that time honored commitment to children is alive and well at Rippowam Cisqua School!
A coeducational, independent country day school for students in grades PreKindergarten through Nine
Lower Campus: 325 West Patent Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549 phone: (914) 244-1200 Upper Campus: 439 Cantitoe Street, Bedford, NY 10506 phone: (914) 244-1250