A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

Middle School

Exploration. Belonging. Joy.

The Middle School years (Grades 5 through 8) are full of joy and transformation grounded by a strong sense of community and belonging. Surrounded by teachers who care deeply for them, students are understood and supported, and their intellectual and emotional needs are addressed. Middle School students often say:

At Rye Country Day, I can be myself.


Our Philosophy

The Middle School offers a challenging and joyful experience that supports students along their journey from dependent to independent learners. Our multifaceted and evolving program fosters perseverance and promotes balance for healthy development. By modeling empathy and cultivating responsibility, we encourage our students to be good citizens and advocates — engaged in the world around them and ever mindful of the experiences and needs of others.

Acting as a bridge between the Lower and Upper Schools, the Middle School reinforces and applies previously learned skills and stimulates each student's emerging ability to think abstractly and reason logically. The program emphasizes the development of healthy work and study habits to ensure success with the increasing demands of academic studies, and it offers students the opportunity to explore and make choices as they mature.

Community Emphasis

The Middle School program helps students develop the following social skills, which enable students to be happy, contributing members of the school community:

A positive attitude
Kindness toward others
Working well within a group
Respect for others

Learning and Metacognitive Skills

During their time in Middle School, students become confident and capable students in all spheres of their learning. The curriculum is designed to help students strengthen the following learning skills:

Preparing efficiently for class and for tests
Managing time successfully
Using various tools, including the Internet, for research
Taking notes
Following directions
Having a good sense of organization
Having a growth mindset 


Explore Our Curriculum

Middle School students at RCDS are full members of a strong learning community that offers an age-appropriate balance of structure and freedom unique to each young adolescent’s needs. Faculty advisors, grade-level deans, and systems of student progress monitoring—both social and academic—are at the core of the support we offer to students on their journey to becoming independent learners and good citizens. As our students mature, they enjoy more freedom of academic and extracurricular choice, including options for electives in various disciplines and the opportunity to participate on interscholastic athletic teams over the course of three seasons. Students have many opportunities to explore their passions, spend time with friends, and contribute to the community in meaningful ways.  

Interim Middle school principal

Betsy Stedman


Middle School Office Phone

A Day in the Life

Sample Student Schedule:

8:20 - 8:30 a.m. - Homeroom
8:30 - 9:15 a.m. - Language Arts
9:15 - 10:00 a.m. - Computer/Music/Art Elective
10:00 - 10:10 a.m. - Snack
10:10 - 10:55 a.m.  - Math
10:55 - 11:40 a.m. - Foreign Language
11:40 - 12:05 p.m. - Lunch
12:05 - 12:45 p.m. - Flex
12:45 - 1:30 p.m. - Social Studies
1:30 - 2:15 p.m. - Science
2:15 - 3:20 p.m. - Sports/Physical Education
3:20 p.m. - Dismissal
3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Homework Center, After-School Clubs, etc. (Optional)

Living Our Mission

Teachers are supported by the directors of each of the School’s strategic initiatives in integrating our school-wide values into the program at every level. This lays the foundation for a lifelong understanding of and commitment to our motto of Not for Self, but for Service.  


Health and Wellness in Action 

Metacognition. Task Initiation. Time Management. These are a few of the topics covered during a sixth grade combined SEEK and Study Skills session on Executive Functioning Skills for academic and social/emotional success. The activity empowers students with the knowledge and skills to manage their time and projects, as well as the self awareness of how they work best and what aspects of their schedules and work styles they can adjust to create optimal conditions in school and beyond.


Diversity & Inclusion in Action

The Middle School Mosaic conference provides an opportunity for up to 200 sixth to eighth grade participants from Fairchester League schools to explore the importance of identity and diversity. The conference’s name, “The Middle School Mosaic: Identity, Diversity, and Our Multicultural School Communities,” is inspired by a desire to provide a student diversity conference for middle school students in the Fairchester area, empowering participants to create inclusive and supportive learning communities within and across schools.


Public Purpose in Action

Throughout their Middle School years, students learn about the five stages of service learning: Investigation → Preparation → Action → Reflection → Demonstration. In doing so, they understand the ethics of service, and the role of youth as change agents in the community and world. The Middle School schedule includes specific community blocks dedicated to service learning where students and advisors partner on teams that research, plan, and implement service projects. The result is student-driven direct service, advocacy, and/or activism in the community.


Global Studies in Action

Seventh grade Chinese language students visit first graders to teach them about Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. The seventh graders work with their younger schoolmates to make origami and paper lanterns adorned with Chinese characters (the 15-day Lunar New Year celebration traditionally concludes with a Lantern Festival).


STEAM in Action

After studying the physics behind sound waves and the various ways musical instruments produce sound, eighth grade physical science students get to showcase their knowledge by engineering an instrument of their own. They demonstrate their understanding of mechanical waves, particularly sound waves, through designing and building musical instruments made out of recycled materials and common hardware items in the RCDS Makerspace. 


Educational Technology in Action

After-school Middle School robotics teams strategize, design, and program both EV3 and VEX robots that compete throughout the year. The budding roboticists focus on learning the basics of competition: robot game, research project, and core values.


Sustainability in Action 

As part of the Middle School Day of Service, students and their families volunteer in support of a local partner organization, such as Our New Way Garden, a nonprofit organization in White Plains that strives to educate the public about locally and naturally grown food and increase community access to healthy organic produce. This annual day of service helps Middle Schoolers exercise active citizenship as they exemplify the RCDS motto, Not for Self, but for Service.

Life in the Middle School