Rye Country Day's participation in the National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP) Annual Conference was special this year. 2019 Community Engagement Fellows presented at the professional development event, which invites public, charter, and private school principals, executive directors, heads of school, and community engagement/service learning directors to collaborate and share best practices in community engagement and partnership programs.
While NNSP usually features workshops by practitioners and leading education experts, the RCDS fellows provided a rare student-driven experience for participants. They designed and delivered two subsequent sessions, sharing the impact impact of effective public purpose programs like Rye Country Day's Community Engagement Fellowship program, which after being funded through an E. E. Ford Foundation grant for four years, will continue for the coming year through generous donations from the RCDS community. The presenting fellows, Eliza Fogel '21, Anna Owens '21, Chris Connor '20, Wendy Corona '20, Peggy Helman '20, Chidera Olewuenyi '20, and Isabel Stronski '20, described their projects and shared their insights into the benefits of the partnering so collaboratively with local organizations to propose, develop, and launch formal programs and initiatives, effecting positive and lasting change with clear benefits for both the partner organization and the students. Each session was attended by over 20 educators, and the feedback was outstanding—during break out conversations, one participant enthusiastically told a colleague, "If you haven't seen the E.E. Ford Fellows speak yet, you should leave this table and go to theirs."The students were accompanied by Director of Public Purpose Rebecca Drago, Grade 9 Dean and Upper School Humanities Teacher Clemmie Everett, and Drama and Dance Department Chair Jay Gerlach. We are proud of our student and faculty representatives who demonstrated the School's motto, Not for Self, but For Service, and contributed to meaningful professional development for community engagement educators and school leaders.