Upper School

The Upper School is a vital and exciting educational environment that balances excellent academics with a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Classes, sports, arts, student-directed clubs, and more all co-exist on our campus. Each passion or interest brings something different to this dynamic balance.

Our Philosophy

The Upper School community exists to create an atmosphere in which the best teaching and learning take place. We are committed to the following:

  • Respect for each other and our differences
  • Courtesy towards one another
  • Responsibility for the institution
  • Academic integrity
  • Personal honesty
  • Pursuit of personal best

As students, faculty, and parents, we must cooperate to achieve these goals; therefore, support and acceptance of the School's ground rules, in both letter and spirit, are essential.

At the core sits an accomplished student body that strives to challenge itself academically. Students come to Rye Country Day School knowing that we take our coursework seriously and strive for success. In this process, teachers and advisors are eager to help along the way, offering excellent classroom teaching, important individual attention, and ongoing academic counseling as students excel in their courses and look ahead to the future.

Student Support

As the faculty and administration encourage all Upper School students to excel inside the classroom and beyond, each student has access to many layers of support and advice. Teachers are available for extra help, students have academic advisors, each grade has a Dean, and we have three college counselors for a graduating class of approximately 90 students. Upper School students refer often to the supportive, comfortable, and caring environment of RCDS, commenting that it is there when needed but not oppressive in nature.

The Upper School is a place where students develop and refine their interests in remarkable ways...

Upper School students can carve both academic and co-curricular paths that meet their individual goals. Extensive faculty support ensures no one falls through the cracks, while creating an environment that affords more space and more freedom than the Middle School. The Upper School faculty works hard to ensure that the students not only meet the demands of a challenging academic program, but that they also have time to appreciate the joys of adolescence. This balance is constantly evolving under the guidance of thoughtful leadership from both students and adults.

 

Student ideas play out in real ways, where new clubs, activities, and projects change every year based on the passions of 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.

Extra-Curricular

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.

Morning Meetings

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.

Athletics

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.

Arts

We offer three dramatic productions on stage each year, including 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.

Student Organizations

We feature over 40 clubs, most of them founded and led by students with a faculty advisor on hand. Several times a week, there is a 25-30 minute break in the middle of the morning allowing for club time within the schedule. For those clubs that need more time on a regular basis, students are able to meet after school or when individual schedules allow. Some of the larger organizations, such as Model United Nations, compete with other schools in tournaments hosted at universities on the East Coast.


Arts & Expression

Art Students Association

The 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 Five

The 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.

Photo Club

Students, who want to take photographs, even if they are not taking a photography class, are welcome to join the Club. Activities include discussion of current trends in photography, new equipment, best photo apps, and field trips for shooting and looking at photographs.

WildScats

The WildScats is a small, auditioned ensemble committed to singing popular music without accompaniment. The group performs at school functions and in the community. Like all musical ensembles, membership in the WildScats requires a commitment to attend every rehearsal.

Diversity & Inclusion

Asian-American Club

The Asian-American Club brings awareness about Asian culture to the student body. The Club sponsors an Asian Art Day, participates in the International Breakfast, and presents information regarding different aspects of Asian culture at Morning Meeting.

Gender-Sexuality Alliance

This Club serves as a forum for education and (a safe space for) discussion of issues related to gender and sexuality, including straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender concerns.

HURD (Hispanos Unidos for Rye’s Diversity)

All students interested in learning about Latin American cultures are welcome and invited to join the stimulating Latin American Culture Club. The Club serves as a forum to discuss issues of diversity and to promote tolerance of all cultures by increasing awareness of Latin American cultures and language in particular. The Club strives to achieve these goals by coordinating activities that expose students to art, drama, dance, language, and foods with Latin American flavor!

Intersectional Feminist Club

Intersectional Feminist Club is a safe space to discuss feminism and gender related topics. We examine gender roles, relations, and identities, and how these intersect with other aspects of human identity.

Major Leagues

Major Leagues is a Club that prepares musical performances for nearby nursing homes. Its mission is to encourage students' passion for music as well as to carry out the school's motto, "Not for self, but for service" by brightening the days of elderly with cheerful tunes. Major Leagues has visited The Osborn in Rye, Port Chester Rehabilitation Center in Port Chester, and Schnurmacher Nursing Home in White Plains several times and looks forward to reaching more nursing homes in the future.

Mandarin Chinese Club

The purpose of the Club is to supplement students' study of Chinese, spread knowledge of Chinese language, and encourage greater familiarity with Chinese culture and heritage.

Public Purpose

A-Chord with Kids

A-Chord brings the lifelong benefits of music education and appreciation to children ages 6-12, most of whom do not have access to instruments, lessons, or performance opportunities. A-Chord with Kids provides free weekly music lessons to children at the Carver Center.

Alzheimer's Awareness Club

This Club is committed to raising awareness and educating the RCDS community about Alzheimer's disease. We also raise funds to benefit the care, support, and research efforts of Alzheimer's organizations working to discover a cause and cure for the disease.

Autism Speak Club

Autism Speaks is a Club oriented to educate the community on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Additionally, we seek to fundraise for the cause in order to support research and aid to those affected by the disorder and their families.

Backyard Sports

Backyard Sports Club provides high quality sports programming in a safe and friendly sports environment for underserved children of Port Chester and Rye.

Carver Center Volunteers

RCDS Carver Center Volunteers visit the Carver Center of Port Chester twice a week and volunteer as teachers' aides in their after school program for elementary school students.

CHEW

The mission of CHEW is to increase awareness of the issues related to childhood hunger and to raise money to help alleviate hunger locally for families in need. We strive also to educate our community about nutrition and other key issues related to food and hunger.

China Care

China Care raises awareness about children born with various deformities. In addition to raising awareness, China Care raises money to fund surgeries for Chinese orphans who are born with a Cleft Pallet.

Community Service

In keeping with the mission of the School, “Not for self, but for service,” RCDS actively encourages Upper School students to participate in community service both on and off campus. Community service is not required at RCDS, aside from Senior Term, but most students participate in some form of service. The Public Purpose Office offers a variety of community service opportunities throughout the year. A listing of local organizations where students have volunteered in the past can be found on the Public Purpose page of the RCDS website and on the Public Purpose Haiku page, and students can discuss their individual service interests and goals with Ms. Doernberg and Ms. Mangan in the Public Purpose Office.

Dance with a Purpose

DWaP shares the joy and freedom of dance with kids and adults in the local community who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

Give2Learn

Give2Learn is a Rye Country Day School Club that was founded in 2014 that focuses on donating school supplies and maintaining friendships between students from RCDS and the students at Belarminio de Calvo School in the Samana region of the Dominican Republic. Give2Learn is the only organization that is helping the schools of this region by providing the children and teachers with school supplies to aid their curriculum and also act as pen pals to benefit their student's English class. Give2Learn acquires its supplies through fundraising and recycling gently used office supplies by cultivating partnerships with corporations like KPMG LLP and BRG Capstone. In addition to the Dominican Republic, Give2Learn has also donated school supplies to Syrian refugees in refugee camps in the Middle East and Greece.

GOPiNK

RCDS' GOPiNK Club works with the GOPiNK nonprofit organization that educates teenagers about breast cancer and helps create an avenue to contribute in the fight against the disease. 100% of the proceeds raised by GOPiNK go directly to New York Presbyterian to help fund their research, education, and support programs.

Helping Hand

Helping Hand is a Club where we make 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms for children who do not have upper limbs. The children may have lost their hands or arms at birth, due to war, disease, or natural disaster. These inexpensive hands give the user the ability to grab things.

Midnight Run

Midnight Run Club works with the local organization Midnight Run to provide comfort for the homeless in New York City by distributing food, clothing, and toiletries to the less fortunate.

Nutrition Club

This Club is a place for people with food allergies to talk about their diagnoses and teach others about them. We also raise money to help organizations working to cure diseases such as celiac and nut allergies.

SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions)

SADD recognizes that the pressures on young people to drink, use illicit drugs, and engage in other unhealthy behaviors are strong. SADD seeks not to punish or alienate those students who make unfortunate choices, but rather aims to inform, educate, support, and empower young people to make positive decisions in their lives. SADD’s mission is to provide students with the best prevention and intervention tools to deal with issues such as underage drinking, drug use, impaired driving, violence, depression, and suicide.

Salute

Salute is a service Club that visits the James J. Peters VA Medical Center throughout the year. During these visits, volunteers spend time with the veterans from the Spinal Cord Injury Unit playing games and sharing stories.

Saturday Enrichment and Tutorial (SET)

SET is a literacy-based academic enrichment program for 1st - 4th grade students from local school districts. The program is held at RCDS on twelve Saturday mornings throughout the Fall and Winter. RCDS students serve as the lead teachers in the classrooms, working in teams of 3 - 4 to teach a curriculum developed by RCDS faculty. In addition to the student portion of the program, SET also offers a concurrent ESL program for parents of SET participants, and RCDS students have the opportunity to volunteer with these classes as well.

Student-Centered Outreach, Partnership & Enrichment (SCOPE)

SCOPE (Student-Centered Outreach, Partnership & Enrichment) is an after-school academic enrichment program for 4th - 5th grade students from local public schools. The program, led by trained RCDS student volunteers, offers a supplemental academic program, fosters a sense of a community, and encourages social interactions between children in order to build confidence. SCOPE is held at RCDS on Monday and Wednesday afternoons in the Winter and Spring.

Wildcats MD

Wildcats MD, (Wildcats Making a Difference), assists children and their families who are facing medical challenges. The Club offers a variety of volunteer opportunities with patients in our local community. Additionally, Wildcats MD will "adopt" one child at a time and raise funds to help pay for the treatments and surgeries that they need but cannot afford.

Publications

Crop

The Rye Crop is the School newspaper. It includes articles covering school news, opinions, features, and sports. It is a source of information covering topics that affect the School community. Crop is open to students interested in writing, photography, layout, and editing.

Focal Point

Focal Point is a yearlong online publication of school-wide student photography as well as a yearly print publication of the best classroom student photography. Online photography submissions include work from anyone in the Upper School community, and also feature a Humans of Rye Country Day segment. During the second semester, staff members select the work for the print issue, and editors go on to design and assemble the book for publication. Members also collaborate with Furniture Sharehouse by assembling and donating framed student work for the organization's clients. Interested students should submit work to the Focal Point editorial staff.

Forum

Forum publishes two issues a year of its journal that deals with the important issues facing our nation and the world. Each issue focuses on a specific theme, such as health, crime and punishment, or education. The theme serves to give the writers of the issue’s articles direction, but, at the same time, give the writers freedom to write about countless subjects.

Modern Language Magazine

The Modern Language Magazine compiles works across the Chinese, French, and Spanish divisions to create an annual publication. It seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding, acting as a bridge between langauges as well as a bridge between the Middle and Upper School.

Omega

Omega is the Upper School literary magazine. The annual publication features all genres of creative writing and the visual arts with the exception of photography, which is the domain of Focal Point. In addition to soliciting and reviewing submissions for publication, the staff engages in a full range of activities to encourage creative expression and to support literacy in our larger community.

RCDS Community & Peer Support

Oral Proficiency Interns

OPIs (Oral Proficiency Interns) are skilled language students trained in an adapted version of the Rassias Method to lead high-intensity drills and dialogs in beginning language classes. Students with a high level of maturity and language proficiency in advanced language classes are nominated by their teachers and are trained and auditioned during a number of sessions in the late spring and at the beginning of the school year. In general, OPIs lead Rassias style drills for one twenty-minute session per six day cycle.

Peer Leadership

Peer Leaders are juniors and seniors who assist their peers by providing resources and information. They assist with the facilitation of the ninth grade Life Skills classes and promote active participation in school events, such as the Buddy Program and Awareness Days. The requirement to join is a serious and positive commitment to the above goals and to the life and spirit of the RCDS community. All sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply to the program; the application process begins each spring. An extensive training program starts before classes in late August.

Girls' & Boys' Mentoring Programs

The Girls' and Boys' Mentoring Programs serve as cross-divisional support groups in which Upper School students act as mentors and peer support for Middle School students. The primary aims of the programs are to build meaningful relationships between mentors and mentees, to create both personal and community-wide cross-divisional ties, and to further the School’s diversity initiative by highlighting discussions of gender’s role in the RCDS experience.

Peer Mentoring

The Peer Mentoring program connects eleventh and twelfth-grade students with Middle School students in the context of non-academic classes and extracurricular activities. The goals of the program are three-fold: 1.) to provide Middle School students with positive student role models; 2.) to teach leadership and mentoring skills to Upper School students; and 3.) to help unify the Middle and Upper School experiences.

Peer Tutoring

The Peer Tutoring Program is made up of sophomores, juniors and seniors who have excelled in certain academic areas or specific classes. The Peer Tutors aid other students who may be struggling in certain content areas. They work either individually with specific students once per cycle on a regular basis or in groups on a drop-in basis. The requirement to join is a serious commitment to learn how to become a tutor and to help their peers who are struggling. All sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to apply to the program. The application process takes place at the beginning of the school year. Peer Tutors will be required to get a recommendation from a teacher for each class that they are wanting to be a Tutor for, as well as departmental approval. They will also have to go through an interview. Each month, Peer Tutors will be required to attend a meeting for training purposes.

Student Government

Student Government is composed of elected student leaders. The goal of Student Government is to foster student leadership, involvement in activities, and organization of all Clubs and student events. It is the primary liaison between the Student Body and the Faculty and Administration. The Student Government oversees the progress and concerns of the four Upper School classes. All Student Government meetings are open to the public and minutes are posted regularly.

Tour Guide Program

The RCDS Tour Guide program allows current students, in conjunction with the Admissions Office, to educate prospective families regarding the programs and culture at Rye Country Day. It is open to all students who wish to volunteer at least one free period a week to give tours and inform prospective families about life at RCDS. Students play a crucial role in the admissions process by presenting a positive first impression of the School. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to give back to the Rye Country Day community by serving as ambassadors for the School.

Special Interest

Backpacking Club

The Backpacking Club provides students with the forum to discuss their shared passion for the outdoors and hiking trips. In addition, members of the Club share their knowledge of backpacking in order to broaden the expertise of others.

Blend Club

Blend's members are passionate about everything food related. Blend is a student run magazine that displays recipes, photographs, restaurant reviews, and more from students and faculty throughout the RCDS community.

Chess Club

The Chess Club welcomes any student interested in playing chess, regardless of talent. We hold regular in-school tournaments and chess matches, and occasionally participate in out-of-school chess tournaments.

Classics Club

The Classics Club provides a forum where interested students can gather to discuss their shared interest in Ancient Rome and Greece, and to have meaningful conversations and debates about topics relating to the Classics. The goals of this Club are to help students demonstrate their passion for and skill in the Classics, to heighten awareness for the endangered study of the Classics, and to raise money and support for local organizations that do important work through the Classics.

Debate Club

The Debate Club allows students to showcase their debate skills and learn how to improve them. In the Debate Club, there are debates held monthly and the members of the Club have the opportunity to practice their debate methods and work on mastering them.

Drama Club

The Drama Club is open to all students who are interested in the theater. Members get involved in at least one production each year and help with sets, costumes and props, as well as learn about lighting and other technical aspects of play production. The weekly meetings will also be used to organize any presentations for the Upper School Morning Meeting. Through Drama Club, students can also become members of the International Thespian Society, which recognizes their achievements in the theatrical arts. The Club also links members with other Thespian Troupes for workshops and festivals. In addition, this group attends various theater performances during the school year.

Investment Club

The aim of this Club is to allow students to explore this field. Club meetings consist of investment lessons on topics such as stocks, stock performance discussions, and phantom portfolio management. Also the Investment Club as a team competes in the CNBC stock tournament against 2,400 other schools across North America.

Math Contest Club

The Math Club is open to students at all levels. We participate in the New York State Math League Contest six times a year. The contest questions are interesting and challenging, but don’t necessarily require high-level mathematics.

Model Congress/U.N. Club

Model Congress/U.N. is an organization devoted to government and politics. During Club session, we simulate parliamentary procedure and engage in debate. The Club hosts in-house conferences and attends college conferences, including an annual trip in February to a Model Congress sponsored by a university.

Movie Club

The Movie Club is a movie appreciation Club where the participants analyze and discuss current films. The group studies film techniques and even makes some films. Last year, the Movie Club started a movie review segment which we showed during morning meetings and ,in the past, this group has worked in collaboration with the Environmental Club to film and submit Green-Cup Challenge entries. Inviting guest speakers and having an outing to a local cinema are also planned.

The Poetic Literature of the Urban Generation Club P.L.U.G.

Can't tell the difference between Future and Desiigner? Don't know what the 'Yams' are? The P.L.U.G. Club welcomes you to a comfortable environment to discuss and listen to Hip Hop songs and artists. “Nothing more influential than Rap music/ I merge Jazz fusion with the trap music/ I mix black soul with some rock and roll” (Kendrick Lamar, Black Friday, 2016).

Political Forum Club

Political Forum is a Club whose aim is to instill in its members a better sense of the workings of our government at all levels and the issues governments face. At our meetings, we also discuss and debate current events. There will be periodic guest speakers and trips in order to create a better understanding of, and appreciation for, our political system.

The Robotics Club

The Robotics Club explores intelligent devices and their interaction with the world. The Club designs robots for fun and for competition.

Rock & Roll Appreciation Club

This Club discusses all forms and styles of rock and roll from all over the world to see why it is such a special kind of music.

Spirit Club

The Spirit Club is a sub-committee of the Student Senate. The Spirit Club's primary goal is to foster and encourage school spirit. To this end, the Spirit Club encourages students to go to athletic, musical and theatrical events and sponsors and runs a variety of activities, including dances and talent shows. We encourage students to attend meetings and activities and present new ideas.

Sustainability

Environmental Club

The Environmental Awareness Club educates the community on environmental issues. We bring in guest speakers and take trips in order to create a better understanding and appreciation for our environment and the grave problems that currently exist.
The Student Senate is responsible for coordinating all Upper School activities. Any RCDS activity must be open to all members of the student body and is subject to all Club requirements decided upon by the Student Senate.

Upper School Faculty

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Baptiste Bataille

Baptiste Bataille

Titles: French Teacher, Upper School
Jeffrey Bates

Jeffrey Bates

Titles: Director of College Counseling; Dean, Grade 12
Tatum Bell

Tatum Bell

Titles: English Teacher, Upper School
Elizabeth Bennett

Elizabeth Bennett

Titles: Athletics Office Administrator; Coach
Emily Bennett

Emily Bennett

Titles: Mathematics Teacher, Upper School; Engineering & Robotics
Marcie Berger

Marcie Berger

Titles: Mathematics Teacher, Upper School
Catherine Bischoff

Catherine Bischoff

Titles: STEAM Coordinator; Science Teacher, Upper School
Craig Burt

Craig Burt

Titles: Science Teacher, Upper School
Jaclyn Butera

Jaclyn Butera

Titles: Dean of Student Life / Counselor, Upper School; Upper School Advisor Program Coordinator
Liam Cahill

Liam Cahill

Titles: Administrative Assistant, College Counseling
Matthew Cavanaugh

Matthew Cavanaugh

Titles: Dean, Grade 9; Spanish Teacher, Upper School
Douglas Cerrone

Douglas Cerrone

Titles: Mathematics Teacher, Upper School
John Charpie

John Charpie

Titles: Mathematics Teacher, Upper School
Judith Conant

Judith Conant

Titles: Mathematics Teacher, Upper School
Peter Coulianos

Peter Coulianos

Titles: Music Teacher, Middle School & Upper School
Sarah Danziger

Sarah Danziger

Titles: Department Chair, Classics; Latin Teacher, Upper School
Jennifer DeVito

Jennifer DeVito

Titles: Librarian, Upper School
Erin Dolan

Erin Dolan

Titles: Art Teacher, Upper School
Jennifer Doran

Jennifer Doran

Titles: Science Teacher, Upper School & Middle School
Courtney Doucette

Courtney Doucette

Titles: Assistant Director of Admissions, Upper School; Financial Aid Officer; Humanities Teacher, Upper School
Eric Drotch

Eric Drotch

Titles: Department Chair, Art; Art Teacher, Upper School
Vicki Druehl

Vicki Druehl

Titles: Administrative Assistant, Upper School
Clematis Everett

Clematis Everett

Titles: Dean, Grade 9; Humanities Teacher, Upper School
Katy Everett

Katy Everett

Titles: English Teacher, Upper School