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Exploring the details behind a school’s success can be helpful in planning your next educational step.


An evolving experience

In the words of a Berkshire Country Day School parent: “The essence of BCD is that it’s a great and unique learning environment — there’s nothing else like it that I’ve ever seen. BCD is full of happy, engaged kids who are self-confident and inquisitive…BCD does more to develop kids as creative thinkers, and most importantly the teachers are incredible.” The school adds, “When you combine BCD’s unique blend of challenge and creativity and our gorgeous 27-acre campus, with a new library/learning commons, science and lab rooms, and inspiring art and music studios, the result is an incredible learning experience that you simply can’t get elsewhere. Each child who attends benefits. We now also offer bus service from Hudson, NY.”



Beyond the classroom

For some schools, preparing students for success outside of the classroom includes focusing on their spiritual growth. “Kennedy Catholic High School is Northern Westchester’s premiere college-preparatory high school, serving young people from the surrounding region,” Fred Compton, director of advancement, explains. “Kennedy Catholic follows a rigorous Regents curriculum, while also training students in the sound doctrine of Catholic faith — a combination that makes students well-prepared not only for college, but also for a successful life. Kennedy Catholic offers academics, fine arts, and athletics that equip students with the exceptional strengths colleges value.”


As Darrow School states, “Private school is expensive, but the cost of a negative school experience is significantly higher. At The Darrow School, we inspire students to engage because when students participate directly in their own education, success is inevitable. Once they experience the value this engagement has for others, they become motivated to participate even more. This is how we develop young people into collaborative problem solvers. This is daring. This is Darrow. Visit www.darrowschool.org to learn more.”  


Bringing the world to students and students to the world

Expanding a student’s world is an important focus for schools. Dutchess Day School believes that participating in Model United Nations (MUN) can help students appreciate how governments collaborate on the global stage and better understand the subtleties of diplomacy. For example, in January, Dutchess Day School sent 14 delegates from the 7th and 8th grades to Boston. Students were assigned roles, countries, and situations to research ahead of time. At the conference, they worked to negotiate and reach consensus on global issues with students from other schools representing their own positions and governments. Model UN provides practice with public speaking, research, parliamentary procedure, and writing a position paper. The students develop global awareness and understand the nuances of their assigned country’s positions. Collaborating with students from all over to accomplish a goal proved to be a huge learning experience.


At Oakwood Friends School, experiential global education includes service learning in the local community, cultural exchanges, and a course of study that stresses collaborative work and depth over breadth. “It allows an opportunity for ethics to be experienced, which is an emotionally powerful thing,” says Anna Bertucci, associate head for academics and student life and head of the upper school. “It is more likely to transform the learner. Students gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world when they are challenged to study and understand certain world views that are sometimes vastly different than their own.”


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.”



Thinking long term

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.” Students who are interested in this and other St. Thomas Aquinas programs can learn more at the school’s Spring Information Session on Saturday, April 27, at 1 pm. Click here to register.


Achieving success creatively

Tariq Gordon didn’t have an easy childhood: born on the island of Jamaica, he moved at age 9 to Poughkeepsie and struggled to find his place. In 10th grade, Tariq discovered his passion for making films at The Art Effect, where he gained important filmmaking and workforce skills, and found a home among his peers and teachers. With this support, Tariq felt confident applying for college and was accepted to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts last year. The first person in his family to go to college, Tariq plans to be a film producer. At The Art Effect, young people learn to solve challenges through creative thinking and grow into leaders of their communities. Visit feelthearteffect.org/sai to learn more about experiencing The Art Effect and nurturing artistic talent this July at The Art Institute Summer Intensive.





The Art Effect
45 Pershing Ave


Berkshire Country Day School
55 Interlaken Rd
Stockbridge, MA


Darrow School
110 Darrow Rd
New Lebanon


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.