Graduation 2016

There is a different rhythm these days on Old Church Road. While decidedly quieter, we are already starting the process of getting ready for the 2016-2017 school year. We hope your summer is off to a great start, and we thought you would appreciate this, our very last Headlines video of the year, a celebration of Commencement 2016.

Even if you are a parent of a Lower School child, I think you will be able to feel the emotions on that special day last Friday. And if you are part of that very special class of 2016—get out the tissues one more time!

Happy summer, Tigers! I can't wait to see everyone back on campus in September!

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Ninth Grade Remembers

It is so incredibly hard to say goodbye.

The school is quiet, our 9th graders just experienced such a special graduation, and our teachers are already starting to head off for their summer getaways. I find myself left with a bit of an empty feeling. Watching this video did NOT help my feeling of longing. Rather, it once again made me reach for the tissues.

Our “9th grade remembers” video is longer than our normal Headlines videos, but there was no other way to capture what made this group of 61 special young men and women so unique. We will share their graduation video in the coming days, but whether your child just finished nursery or is a member of this year’s graduating class, we hope you enjoy this reflection on what truly is “the Country Day Experience.”

Best,
Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Field Day Fun

You can tell the end of the year is near. It is not just that we have annual events like the Middle School Field Day, but rather it is the way the children are interacting with each other and their teachers. You can see it in their eyes, you can see it in their desire to walk with an arm draped around a friend, and you can see it in that special high five with the teacher who has worked with them all year long. Sure, they are excited about the summer, but there is a little sadness as well. We are truly a family at Country Day, and when it becomes clear that the family will head in different directions for a few months, we quickly become nostalgic thinking of all the fun times we've had together this year.

If you take a couple minutes to watch this video, I am sure you will agree that “end of year sentiment” is real and on full display. Enjoy the colors, the enthusiasm, and of course that special feeling that is the Country Day Experience!

"Orange out."

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Poetry in America

"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."
- John F. Kennedy

I have always loved this quote from JFK, and I find it so perfect when thinking about the power of poetry. GCDS has always understood the power of poetry, whether it is a Middle School "Poem in the Pocket Day" or the Upper School art poetry project or a third grade poetry recitation on Grandparents Day or just a regular language arts class, we know the importance of wrestling with great poetry.

This video is a window into an exciting project that GCDS is piloting with Harvard University and Harlem Success Academy called "Poetry in America." It will be fun to watch this project gain a national audience.

I hope you enjoy watching how we at GCDS continue to innovate, continue to explore new ideas, and continue to be leaders in the education world.
Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Learning Spanish

The great Roman philosopher Cicero once said, “The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter."

When I first saw this week’s Headlines video, I was immediately drawn to the eyes of the children. If you can smile with your eyes, these kindergarten and first grade students had a grin that went ear-to-ear. This video is a short window into our FLES program (Foreign Language in Elementary Schools), and in it you will see children learning vocabulary, gaining understanding of cultures different from their own, and, most importantly, firing those synapses in the brain that allow all different kinds of learning to occur. Tie into that art, technology, and song, and you have the foundation of our amazing world language program.

I hope that after watching this video you too realize both how much these young students are learning, and, of course, how much fun they are having. And as you watch: ¡Miren los ojos de ellos! (Look at their eyes!)

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

 

Dance Showcase 2016

"When Mrs. Moye sees you, she immediately sees you as the best version of yourself. Even if you don't see it, she sees it – and she pushes you to be that as soon as you walk through the studio doors. She doesn't give up on any of us, and that teaches us not to give up on ourselves." —member of Pride X

One of our ninth grade dancers could not have more aptly caught the essence of the GCDS dance program. Sure, we teach children fifth position, tap, and how to do an arabesque, but at the heart of what we do, we teach children to discover the finest in themselves. When you watch these boys and girls, you cannot help but get caught up in the joy they exude as they take the stage. While they make it look effortless, one needs only to spend a few minutes in a rehearsal to know these are some of the hardest working student-athletes anywhere! Enjoy their immense talents and how their hard work has paid off.

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Red, White, Blue, and Nursery Too!

When spring rolls around, schools often begin to experience "May Mayhem"—kids, parents, and even the teachers can get a little frazzled. Fortunately, what happened today at Country Day makes me appreciate once again how lucky we all are.

The All-School Art Show, featuring over 800 pieces is on display. The Upper School just experienced their Poetry Art Assembly. The Middle School (and some Lower Schoolers) got the chance to watch this spring's JUT performance (Juggling and Unicycling Tigers), and, of course, the day started with the sweetest nursery play ever.

I hope you take a minute in these fast-paced final weeks of school to experience a few moments of the magic in Red, White, Blue, and Nursery, Too! — brought to you by the absolutely charming class of 2027.

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

DNA Lab

I have read about the Human Genome Project. I have watched television specials aboutDNA and forensics. I vaguely remember studying Crick and Watson and their breakthrough discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Yet, despite it all, I am still woefully ignorant compared to what the ninth graders at GCDS know and, more importantly, have experienced in the field of genetics.

Country Day was so lucky last week to have geneticists from Cold Spring Harbor Labscome spend two days helping our biology classes run a mitochondrial DNA sequencinglab. After collecting cell samples from their own cheeks with a saline mouth rinse, the ninth graders carefully followed steps to extract the mtDNA and test their samples using instruments and processes that most students don’t have the opportunity to work with until college.

In the coming days, classes will have a chance to analyze and compare the short segments of sequenced DNA—it should be fun for our set of ninth grade twins to look at their results side by side and find out how truly similar they are!

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

GCDS Kids

Auction 2016 Cirque du Country Day was beyond expectations! If you were one of the over 800 to be in attendance, I know you will agree that it was an amazing party that once again reminded all of us of the special community that is GCDS. Huge thanks go out to Nisha Hurst, Tia Mahaffy, and Giovanna Miller for the year and a half of planning and dedication that went into making this such a success.

If you were unable to join us, you missed a special video, which celebrates all the “firsts” that happen here on Old Church Road—first school, first teachers, first friends, first plays, first graduation. If you were at the event, we thought you might enjoy a second look at theGCDS FIRST moments and how they come full circle.

Self-Portraits

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." - John F. Kennedy

At a time in our nation's history when schools around the country are cutting arts programs, GCDS continues to "set the artist free." As a result, our students explore and interact with their world in unique and different ways.

Through the self-portrait project, students in kindergarten through grade 3 have the opportunity to explore what makes them special through how they use shapes, colors, and design. They learn about how artists show who they are realistically, through symbolism, and in more abstract ways. Creating self-portraits encourages them to look at their world more attentively ("Does this color match my hair?") and think more imaginatively ("What background would help show who I am?"). The project is a wonderful way to engage students in the big idea of identity and self. In the end, they are richer for the experience.

Enjoy this window into art in the Lower School!
Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Inspired by NASA

In one of the defining scenes of the film Apollo 13, a team of NASA scientists are charged with fashioning a device that would be able to scrub the carbon dioxide from the crippled lunar module, providing the astronauts enough oxygen to survive. Using only the materials that were already on the ship and racing against the clock, this incredible team framed a filter that ultimately saved three lives.

Taking this inspirational story as motivation, our teams of sixth graders were challenged with saving an ordinary egg from the outcome of becoming “scrambled.” Working against a time limit with only toothpicks, cotton balls, yarn, tape, Dixie Cups, and two balloons, our scientists set off on a truly exciting mission. You can feel the emotion as you watch this video, and, as teachers, we can see once again the development and refinement of the powerhouse skills (creativity, time management, teamwork, and, of course, resiliency).

Enjoy!

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

tap those trees!

The Stamford Nature Center provided the backdrop for another example of 21st century learning. Most interestingly, this 21st century learning experience was one that dates back to before the founding of America.

In early March, our second graders had the chance to learn firsthand how sap from maple trees is turned into maple syrup and how American Indians developed the basics of the process we still use today. Connecting with both their study of Eastern Woodland Indians in social studies and their reading about trees in language arts, the field trip offered more than any lecture or YouTube video could teach—our students got to touch the trees, harvest the sap, and taste the results.

As you enjoy this short video, it becomes very clear how truly “sweet” learning can be (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Guys and Dolls

Take the memory of this night, fold it up like a piece of paper, stick in your pocket, and whenever you might be having a bad day, take it out and your smile cannot help but return. The cast and crew of Guys and Dolls took us on a magical journey from the streets of New York to the cafes in Havana and taught us that love always wins. What a perfect message, what a truly wonderful production, and what a spectacular effort given by all involved.

Enjoy our attempt to capture this memory and this powerful feeling.
 

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Hoops Night

Electric is a term we often throw around. "The stadium was electric last night." "When we met, there was a real spark." Too often this term becomes hyperbole. That said, last Friday night in the Alumni Gym the hair was literally standing up on the back of my neck. As I watched our varsity boys basketball team hit the floor with "fire in their bellies" and our dance team "crush it" at halftime, I was once again reminded of how sports can energize not only the athletes but also a standing room only crowd in the stands. Friday's Hoops Night was a perfect example of teamwork, hustle, resiliency, and, of course, Tiger Pride. I am so proud of all our winter teams, and I can't wait to start cheering again in the spring!

Enjoy this short video, and hopefully you too will feel the energy!

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

What is STEAM?

What is STEAM?

"STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century."

Enjoy the video!
 

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Half-Day Fridays

Occasionally I field questions about the purpose of half-day Fridays. The legend that persists is that we have the half days so that families can get a jump on their weekend plans.

While I cannot say if that was true in 1926, I can say without hesitation that in 2016 the time teachers spend every Friday afternoon and professional development days, such as the one highlighted in this video, are a defining element of who we are as a school and one of the most powerful tools to ensure that we continue to provide the very best educational experience for your children. As you view this video, you will be pleased to know that GCDS teachers are already incorporating ideas they gained at our professional development day last Thursday—real, tangible, and powerful new tools and ideas put directly into action to benefit all our students.

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

"A Goodly Comedy"

"That was so much fun!" is a refrain we hear often at GCDS. That said, it is not often heard when coupled with the learning of Shakespeare. I don't know about you, but I do not look back at my introduction to Shakespeare with much fondness.

Our seventh graders, prior to embarking on their reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, had the chance to engage with the story and explore the language all while laughing and having a great time. It was one of those assemblies that students do not want to end.

As you watch this short video, I think you can get a sense of how much they enjoyed it.

Enjoy!
Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Learning to Skate

Country Day is in such a lucky position to have the relationship we do with the Greenwich Skating Club. While we do not own the skating club (something I am often asked), we do work together hand in glove. In return, our hockey teams get ice time during the winter, and our younger students get to enjoy part of their winter physical education outside on the ice.

This short video captures the magic of learning to skate. Most importantly, it once again shows another venue where we work hard with our students to instill in them the values our school holds dear. Teamwork, cooperation, resilience, and, of course, TIGER PRIDE are all evident in this short clip. Enjoy this window into one of the great time-honored GCDS traditions!

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

eXplore

Every day you should ask yourself, “What is the point of my education?” When that question comes from Shabana Basij-Rasikh, an Afghani woman who had to dress as a boy to gain an education in Kabul during the Taliban regime, you tend to sit up in your chair and listen.

Our 6th grade just completed a transformative experience called eXplore GCDS. This conference allowed our students to hear from a politician, an entrepreneur, a vlogger, and, lastly, an educator who is creating opportunities for girls in a country where previously no such opportunity existed.

The day was moving and served as the perfect kick-off to the sixth grade Capstone experience. Our sixth graders are now using this platform as inspiration as they personally dive into real world issues and then try (in small groups) to innovate real solutions. Though this program is only five years old, it has become a highlight of the sixth grade year. More to come about the Capstone Projects in the spring. Enjoy this video!

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School

Fiesta Mexicana

I think a lot of people might dread the idea of taking out the sombrero and poncho for the twelfth time; but every year I find myself so excited to see our Dining Hall transformed into a Mexican plaza. I start singing along to "Café, Café" or clapping to the beat of "La Danza de los Viejitos." Besides looking great in a sombrero, I may have more fun than the children!

The Fourth Grade Fiesta is another time-honored GCDS tradition that integrates so many aspects of our curriculum. From social studies and geography to music, art, and language, our students combine all of these studies into a culminating activity that is intellectual, exciting, and super fun. I hope you get a sense of the enthusiasm that was present a few days ago in the GCDS plaza! Enjoy the video.

Adam

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster, The Greenwich Country Day School