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As a new year launches, new education trends, programs, and experiences are arming Hudson Valley students with new tools, enriched perspectives, and better preparation for life after school. And, current students aren’t the only ones to benefit. The innovative approaches also help schools distinguish themselves while competing for future students.



Head of School Matt Heard explains Dutchess Day School’s approach: “These learning adventures are exciting and highly anticipated traditions at Dutchess Day School. From the Adirondacks to Cape Cod, and Washington DC, DDS offers culminating experiential learning opportunities that augment the academic vigor found in our classrooms. This balance is one of the many factors that defines ‘the Dutchess Day difference.’”


According to Ben Chant, Poughkeepsie Day School‘s head of school, “At Poughkeepsie Day School, we know that becoming agile and self-directed takes practice. So, we provide opportunities for our students to present their ideas, answer challenging questions, and go out into the world, whether it is a local field trip or international study. This year, our students will lead sessions at the Harvard Model UN, feed goats at local farms, study in the Netherlands, sing to elderly neighbors, and much more. Poughkeepsie Day School is the leading progressive school in the Hudson Valley, serving over 200 students, from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.”


Not surprisingly, technology is an area that’s constantly evolving. “The iPad program at Kennedy Catholic High School gives each student the opportunity to use cutting-edge technology in class and at home,” explains Fred Compton of Kennedy Catholic. “The iPad program works in conjunction with the school’s Blackboard learning management system, which allows teachers to create an interactive learning environment for the student. The program prides itself on being safe and secure through the use of restrictions controlled by the school to give students the best learning experience possible.”


From the perspective of a former student, the personal benefits are lasting. “After seven years of being at Oakwood Friends School, I feel like I have witnessed so much change, development and growth,” notes Oakwood Friends alum Mimi T., ’17 Cornell University. “I graduated knowing that I will be forever tied to this small, but powerful community. One thing that stands out is how involved Oakwood is in the students’ lives. Each student is viewed as a unique individual with valued interests and identity. Each student is celebrated without discrimination.”


Part of ensuring future success includes helping make college more accessible. St. Thomas Aquinas College partners with RaiseMe, a College Access Program to Motivate students and provide a clearer pathway to higher education. The offering enables students in high school with the ability to earn micro-scholarships, or incremental, achievement-based merit scholarships directly from STAC as they progress through high school. Signing up is free at www.raise.me/join/stac. Michael DiBartolomeo, vice president for enrollment management, adds, “St. Thomas Aquinas College is proud to partner with RaiseMe in an effort to make access to higher education more affordable. By identifying qualified students early in the recruitment process through RaiseMe, we can help them achieve their goal of a high-quality education.”




Dutchess Day School
415 Rte 343


Kennedy Catholic High School
54 Rte 138


Oakwood Friends School
22 Spackenkill Rd


Poughkeepsie Day School
260 Boardman Rd


St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Rte 340


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Hudson Valley Magazine editorial staff.