At RCDS, students are motivated to work hard and discover their passions. They belong to a community with strong values including a dedication to the pursuit of excellence and a commitment to making a difference. In a small school environment, students are known as individuals and are able to pursue many opportunities.
When a young child is socially happy and eager to come to school, great academic advancements can follow. Although children are held to high standards in the Lower School, the faculty has a keen sense of the learning continuum for lower-school children, and the teachers do not force students beyond what is developmentally appropriate for them. RCDS students emerge from our Lower School healthy, happy, and solidly grounded with a foundation for higher-level learning.
The Rye Country Day after-school program allows children and teachers to interact in new ways while having fun together. During the fall, winter, and spring, after-school clubs are offered to students in the Lower and Middle Schools and reflect interests as varied as chess, drama, hip-hop dancing, and yoga. The clubs may change periodically throughout the year, depending on the teacher offerings and students' interests. The children are dismissed from class at 3:00 p.m. and are supervised in the Lower School Dining Room, where they can choose a snack before attending the activities of their choice on Tuesdays through Fridays from 3:20-4:40 p.m. The after-school program is extremely popular with all grades and builds community within the School, as students of various grade levels come together with common interests.
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.
- Assemblies and Morning Meetings
- Clubs and Activities
- Community Time and Flex Time
- Service Learning
- Good Morning RCDS
The entire Middle School gathers regularly in the Performing Arts Center for assemblies and morning meetings. These gatherings feature student performances, guest speakers and performers, film screenings, special programs that celebrate academic and extracurricular community life, announcements from students and faculty, as well as other fun and interactive community building programming. As much as possible, students are featured prominently in these programs.
Middle School students may participate in the after school clubs program in the fall, winter, and spring. The clubs reflect interests as varied as chess, drama, strategic games, hip-hop dancing, coding, and yoga. The clubs may change periodically throughout the year, depending on the teacher offerings and students’ interests.
In addition, a number of after school programs are offered to Middle School students by Upper School students, including Students Working to Advance Technology, Club Etre, Women in Science Education, and several affinity-based student mentoring programs.
During the day, Middle School students may choose to participate in an existing student-run club or to start one themselves! Clubs have included the Debate Club, GSA, Diversity Club, Green Team, Digital Diversity, and Drawing Club. Students also may participate in extracurricular music groups during the day such as Jazz Band, Cubscats, and private music lessons.
Built into the six-day rotating schedule are times that offer students the chance to connect with their advisories, participate in service learning, and practice effective time management with their workloads. Assemblies, morning meetings, and advisory periods happen during Community Time. During Flex Time, students can meet with teachers, work with a study group, participate in a club or activity, or simply have time to socialize with friends.
Throughout their Middle School years, students learn about the five stages of service learning, the ethics of service, and the role of youth as change agents in the community and world. Students complete reflective personal inventories that enable them to more effectively put their own skills and interests to use in working in partnership with community organizations.
Specific community blocks are dedicated to service learning. Students and advisors may elect to work on teams that research, plan, and implement a different project. The teamwork culminates in student-driven direct service, advocacy, or activism projects in the community.
In eighth grade, students spend a series of service days in either the fall or the spring doing service projects with RCDS community partners.
In the Middle School, students have many opportunities that extend the curriculum beyond the classroom. Trips include travel to New York City landmarks, theaters, concert halls, museums, and restaurants; the Adam Krieger Adventure Center; music competitions; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Camp Jewell and Camp Hazen; and Heifer Farm.
Good Morning RCDS is a weekly video broadcast that brings together the Middle School community. Mr. Rubel and Mr. Silverman partner with dozens of students in the Middle School to put together stories of interest to students, faculty, and parents. Episodes come out on Friday mornings and are watched by students in homeroom and e-mailed to parents through E-notes. Visit the Good Morning RCDS page to see recent episodes.
Student ideas play out in real ways, where new clubs, activities, and projects change every year based on the passions of the students.
Students are encouraged to join current organizations or form their own, and the administration supports students who are interested in creating an assembly or presenting an idea to the entire student body.
The extra-curricular life in the Upper School is a great source of energy. A healthy balance exists between student initiative and adult supervision, and the extra-curricular components of the Upper School allow students to explore interests, develop passions, learn leadership, and have fun in the process.
The entire Upper School meets once a week in a Morning Meeting led by the Student Council. This is a time for announcements, community building, student skits, and more. In addition, there is an active assembly program, ranging from an endowed speaker series to student-run talent shows. Each year, the Upper School hosts a Health and Wellness Day, featuring a keynote speaker and over 40 seminars from which students may choose. Area professionals participate, and students explore health topics of particular interest to them.
Over 50 percent of the student body participates in a team sport throughout the year, and there is a physical education program for those students not involved in a sport.
We offer three dramatic productions on stage each year, featuring a Student-Faculty Musical in the winter.
Approximately one-third of the students sing in the Upper School Concert Choir or play in the Upper School Band or Wind Ensemble. RCDS musicians find many other opportunities to perform, both on campus and in the surrounding community. In addition, the choir tours internationally every three years, and the band plays in regional competitions.
- Arts & Expression
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Public Purpose
- RCDS Community & Peer Support
- Special Interest
Art Students AssociationThe Art Students Association is set up to provide any student interested in looking at, discussing, or creating art with an opportunity to become involved in art projects, trips to museums and galleries, involvement with publicity for events sponsored by the School, and increasing the amount of art work on display throughout the School.
The Chamber FiveThe Chamber Five is a student-run chamber music group. We choose and rehearse different classical-style pieces in order to improve our musical skills. Our goal is to perform one or two of our chosen pieces for the School. Students are welcome to join. The Chamber Five does ask students to practice pieces outside of the Club so that we can move through the music at a reasonable pace.
Open Mic Club
Open Mic provides an outlet for original student poetry and prose. The Club holds Open Mics twice a year so students can share their work with a supportive group of listeners.