News

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Contact Director of Communications Christina Hultholm at christinah@cityandcountry.org.

List of 20 news stories.

  • Reimagining Lower School Trips in the Pandemic Era

    Jane Clarke, Director of Lower School


    Venturing out into the world has always been a foundation of City and Country School’s Social Studies curriculum—broadening children’s experience of how the world is connected and how they fit into that environment. Our teachers provoke children to ask questions and seek answers, and taking Trips outside the classroom allows children to see and hear new things—and gain new understandings about what they experience together. And so, as students began returning to C&C in September, our teachers asked: How can we take Trips while staying at school?
     
    Redefining “Outside”
    The health and safety protocols in place early this year meant there would be a number of changes from our usual ways of doing things, especially when it came to Trips. For one, Groups could no longer use public transportation to visit locations around the city; even locations within walking distance were initially off limits as a precaution, unless they were outside and very nearby. And yet, despite these restrictions, our creative teachers crafted experiences that would allow students to venture beyond the classroom and explore more of the world around them.
     
    In some ways, the measures in place made certain areas of the school different enough to merit exploration even by our returning students. Social distancing requirements meant that movement in the hallways was limited and highly choreographed—with the help of newly hired hall monitors. The organic flow of passageway and stairwell interactions with others became virtually non-existent, and therefore novel. Instead, our students had new experiences, like communicating via walkie-talkie with our hall monitors and learning how this new job is supporting our community in important ways.
     
    While changes always bring opportunities for learning, these alterations also brought challenges. How would teachers be able to maintain this important tool for helping young children find answers, spark new ideas, and make connections in a virtual setting? How could they help even our youngest students better understand other places and people in the school? The School Store, the Library, and the Shop were not open to them; the IXs who help them at the Store, the Librarians who help them find good books, and the teacher who introduces them to the power of different tools were similarly out of view. 
     
    I’m proud to say that through the tireless commitment and creativity of our teachers—and in collaboration with parents and caregivers—we achieved what we always seek: to create authentic, meaningful experiences that relate abstract knowledge to what is important and tangible in our lives. In the absence of being able to take physical research Trips, teachers have guided children to have those important experiences in other ways. Through these opportunities to dive deeper, Trips have fed each child’s excitement in beginning to understand, in new ways, what makes the world work. Our children have continued to build confidence in who they are and how they can connect with important understandings and imaginings. The world they are now a part of has changed, but the fundamentals of learning through our experiences together have not wavered. 
     
    I reached out to teachers of various Lower School age groups to see what stands out for them when they consider what they have done to achieve this goal. Their revelations are inspiring, and I have full confidence that all of our extraordinary teachers will continue to provide meaningful, thought-provoking, connection-building experiences for our students, no matter where their Trips may take them. 

    Vivian Yang, IVs Remote Learning Coordinating Teacher
    For our fully remote IVs this year, Vivian invited her small group to  venture outside the confines of the screen and into the world of jobs and responsibilities that are important to the smooth running of the Group’s day together.

    "In addition to materials and space, many of the in-person jobs for  the IVs involve maintaining their classroom environment and traveling in and out of the classroom. Since the remote IVs do not share physical space or travel, we revamped the jobs program to include: ‘attendance taker,’  ‘schedule card reader,’  ‘calendar announcer’ (tells the days of the week), ‘visitor coordinator’ (introduces IVs to visitors), ‘hello song singer,’  ‘goodbye song singer,’ etc. The jobs program not only helps teachers run the remote group, but also invites the IVs to be active participants on these Zoom calls. Every morning, IVs get to choose their jobs, and they get very excited to make a choice that they want."

    Robin Sage,
    IIIsR Teacher 
    "In these unusual times, our ability to explore the School and interact with numerous children and grown-ups has changed, yet we remain committed to finding opportunities to explore our place as part of a larger community. For example, the XIIIs still visit the IIIs (via Zoom) to conduct interviews for the Newspaper. We still write letters to members of the Buildings and Grounds crew to thank them for helping us fix a shelf on the Roof. We communicate with our delightful hall monitors over our walkie-talkies—and the IIIs are replicating this experience in their work with our indoor blocks.

    Our day contains more transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces than in a typical year, so the IIIs actually spend more time traveling through the halls than they would normally; this is a learning experience for them. They stop to look at the artwork (a leaf collage outside the IVs Room!) or read the Xs’ signage (‘Walk, don’t run!’) on the stairs. We have singalongs outside on the Roof with the other IIIs Groups and participate in a variety of movement activities. We cherish our morning arrival time with Security Guard Eddy Vargas, Receptionist Libby Clark, the Nurses, and whomever else is in the lobby that day. The grown-ups make everyone feel welcome and excited to start another day of our in-person program. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have the distinct privilege of being able to go to the Library with one or two children to borrow books. For the IIIs, the School is still a place to wander and wonder, and we look forward to our journeys."

    Tara di Gerlando, VIsT Teacher
    “Trip taking” became a different experience for the VIsT in the spring of 2020, during C&C’s time in remote instruction. Tara collaborated (virtually, this time) with NYC poet and teacher mentor Richard Lewis, who took the VIs on a virtual Trip down the river:
     
    "The VIs had worked with Richard before, in the fall of 2019, when we were contemplating the universe. This time, we transitioned from sky to river by building simple boats, creating them for ourselves and a travel companion who would take a journey down the Hudson River with us. VIs engaged in this visual and imaginary experience by taking with them all that they had learned about the sights, sounds, stories, and surroundings of the Hudson River. With their experiences and Richard’s guidance, the students could truly begin to imagine what a trip on the Hudson River might feel like and what they might discover. In this collaboration, the VIs easily drew on the knowledge about the Hudson River that they had gained as a Group, while also building in the qualities of play. The VIs were captivated by one another as they had the time and space to share their vessels and their journeys, and to imagine each others’ experiences."

    Coua Vang, VIIsC Teacher
    As they journey through their final year in the Lower School, our VIIs’ research Trips are essential. The students have become masters in the art of asking good and thoughtful questions—seeking information has become a reflex for them! The VIIs curriculum evolves from that inquiring thirst. VIIsC teacher Coua reflected
    on how they managed to retain the essence of this profound learning opportunity for children of this age in
    a virtual setting:
     
    "Despite the limitations, one element that is still accessible and important about Trips is the planning process. Trip planning encourages children to inquire, wonder, organize their Study, and build upon their research skills. Once the childrens’ interests are sparked and a Study is selected, we assist by thinking creatively about different modes of experiences that are available and possible virtually. Virtual Trip experiences rely on children’s prior knowledge and wonderings, which ignite their imaginations. As teachers, we use a variety of tools to achieve multi-sensory VIIs’ Zoom Trip experiences. 
    Two very important tools we use are drama and the imagination. We also use Google Maps, soundscapes 
    and music, photographs and items, videos and studio visits, interviews, special guest visitors, and children’s observations and journaling."
     
    Our VIIs created their Permanent City this year using blocks and other materials to form all of the components of a modern urban environment. It is a city like no other
    in the long history of our School. As city planners, they needed to investigate what precautions must be in place for essential businesses to continue to operate in the event of a pandemic. It has been great hearing the ideas our VIIs generated and which all of us can learn from.

    VIRTUAL CENTRAL PARK TRIP
    Stepping “outside” of Virtual C&C, VIIs donned coats and masks and “traveled” to Central Park online, via an imaginary 1 train. Upon arrival, the VIIs explored the park, starting at the Zoo and ending with a visit from a special guest—a member of the Mounted Auxiliary who keeps the park safe...on horseback! Along the way, they used “binoculars” to spot items from a scavenger hunt, heard “Stand by Me” sung by local musicians at Bethesda Terrace, contemplated bridge structures, and (perhaps most importantly) had snacks at the Visitor Center. 

    Click here to watch a video of the Central Park Trip.
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  • Tech, the C&C Way


    In March of 2020, the burgeoning pandemic pushed City and Country School to move its 105-year-old program entirely online. As the summer approached and faculty and staff could look beyond the immediacy of the day-to-day, they thought carefully about how the School could offer a program in the fall that would be true to C&C’s pedagogy while adapting to the realities of the continuing pandemic. 
     
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  • Class of 2021 High School Acceptances and Class of 2017 College Acceptances


    On Monday, June 14, members of the C&C class of 2021 celebrated their graduation. Our 24 graduates were accepted to the following schools, with high school choices indicated by an asterisk (*).
     
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  • Everyone's Work: Anti-racism Comes into Focus at C&C

    By: Millie Cartagena, Director of Community Life, Equity, and Inclusion

    My first vivid encounter with racism was when I was looking for an apartment at the age of 21. After spending hours on the phone negotiating and landing on a rental price with the owner, I arrived at the location and was told it was no longer available. Before that, as an Afro-Latina living in a tight-knit Latinx community, I was mostly spared.

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  • Please Come to the Beautiful, Fun Art Show



    The second edition of C&C’s Portfolio series explores how the 2018–2019 VsM Group planned The Art Show to share their painting work with the greater community.
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  • DON'T Stop the Presses!


    XIIIs Continue to Tell Stories and Advance Social Justice Causes Through the Newspaper

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  • The Great Debate!

    by City and Country School
    As many of you know, Olympian XIIs Group teacher Sarah Whittier founded the C&C debate club in 2012, making her classroom the hub of this most democratic form of discourse. Not long after that, the students asked to join the New York Debate League (NYDL), a Middle School Public Debate Program affiliate sponsored by the English Speaking Union. The open and fun nature of debate club remained, and remains. And students wishing to clash with debaters from other schools compete in four or five tournaments each school year. Three years ago, I joined the club and team as a coach, and this year became President of the NYDL. As an installment of our weekly correspondence with families who will be new to City and Country in the fall, I offered a debate season-in-review.
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  • Stories of Collaboration: Teaching With Families, and Innovation Ambassador Feature

    by Mona De Victoria, MSEd, VsM Group Teacher

    Stories of Collaboration: Teaching With Families

    At City and Country School, in the words of our founder, Caroline Pratt, we learn from children. The value of such a practice is immeasurable. As a Vs teacher at City and Country, I observe and listen to children in order to gain information and insight into their learning as well as my teaching. If children look engaged, and are animated, talking together and asking questions, I feel confident that I am providing them with a rich learning environment. If children seem disinterested in a book I am reading, or if they grow restless or distractible when I am introducing a math game, I know I need to readjust my approach, or try something new. 
     
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  • C&C's Innovation Ambassadors

    by City and Country School

    Virtual field trips. A digital newspaper. Social distancing and online math games. 

    Necessity is the mother of invention, and the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a lot of invention. Throughout the 2020-21 school year, teachers have been finding creative ways to maintain and build the progressive City and Country learning experience across screens and distance. The Innovation Ambassadors program was launched to help identify these new pedagogical inventions so they can be spread beyond a single classroom to the community at large.
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  • Sharing the Rhythms of the School Week with New Families

    By City and Country School

    Each week, our Admissions Team sends out a missive to our newly admitted families. These may be updates from the school, communications from the Principal, or glimpses of the school offered by community members.

    This week, Nick Smart, our Associate Director of Admissions, gave families insight into some of the small details and big moments that contributed to the rhythm of our school over the past few days.

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  • Physical Blocks and Virtual Connections: Expanding Educator Outreach and Reimagining a Blocks Program Through Remote Learning

    By Jane Clarke, Director of Lower School

    If someone had told our founder, Caroline Pratt, that children would be learning apart from one another in 2020, she would have expressed deep concern. Pratt believed that learning was a fundamentally social process. Her educational philosophy centered around the idea that children benefit most when they work together to learn more about each other and the world around them, and through that process, themselves. C&C educators today—106 years after the school was founded—still hold a deep belief in that core principle.
     
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  • C&C Admissions Hosting Virtual Information Sessions

    City and Country School is a co-ed institution for children ages two through eighth grade, located in the West Village of Manhattan. We would be delighted to see you at a Virtual Information Session, where you can learn about our innovative progressive model. 
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  • C&C Community Dialogue About Racism and Inequities

    Millie Cartagena


    September 1, 2020


    Dear City and Country School Alumni, Alumni Parents, and Former Faculty and Staff,

    I am writing to share an update about our ongoing anti-racism work at C&C, and in particular, insights from our recent forums and meetings. Current C&C community members gathered in August to reflect on the facilitated forums that C&C hosted earlier this month and to look ahead to the important work that still lies in front of us. These August forums were dedicated to honoring, listening to, and learning from the reflections of alumni, alumni parents, former faculty and staff, and current community members of color about their time at C&C. Thank you to all of the alumni, alumni parents, current students, staff, and faculty members who shared their experiences and participated in the forums. (More information about these meetings is available here. I am also sharing links to several documents that were discussed in our recent meeting, along with further reflections from the earlier POC forums.)
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  • C&C Community Dialogue About Racism and Inequities

    Millie Cartagena and Scott Moran


    June 29, 2020


    Dear City and Country Community,

    We are at an inflection point in our nation’s history and in the independent school community. Students and alumni across the country have bravely broken their silence about the harm enacted in their communities by schools and institutions they have attended. At C&C, we know we are not exempt from having enacted that same brand of harm—racism and anti-Blackness in particular. The stories that have come to us from students across our communities are a gift to us all and a call to action to effect change for them and for our current and future students.
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  • End-of-Year Message from the Board of Trustees



    June 12, 2020
     

    Dear C&C Community:

    As we bring our 105th school year to a close, our community and country is navigating a historic set of challenges. This new pandemic, compounded by the most recent violence against Black lives, has exposed the fragility of our social structures. Our awakening to how deeply rooted social and racial injustice is embedded in this country and in our systems has been painful to own. At the same time, these crises have given voice and visibility to the strength, healing, creativity, and power that is generated when we come together, engage in deep self-reflection, accept responsibility, and commit to each other’s humanity. 
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  • Response to Recent Racial Injustices from the C&C Administrative Team

    C&C Administrative Team





    May 31, 2020


     
    Dear C&C Community,
     
    The recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and the racism endured by Christian Cooper in our very own Central Park, are weighing heavy on our hearts. These are only the most recent crimes and injustices committed against Black and Brown people, and they come at a time when Black and Brown people are already being disproportionately devastated by the pandemic and its secondary effects.
     
    Read More
  • Looking Beyond New York: How the tragic fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris inspired the Vs to take action in their classroom



    From Works In Progress, the C&C Magazine, Issue III

    “Did you hear what happened last night?” a V in Will Sears’ Group asked last April during a Group meeting. “Notre Dame is burning!” Quickly, several more Vs chimed in, sharing what they had heard about the fire at the historic Parisian cathedral. The next day, the children raised the topic again, and an animated conversation ensued. The Group’s observations and questions ranged from the fire and firefighters, to the history of the cathedral, to stories about saving the artifacts inside. “Will?” asked one of the Vs, as the Group’s interest grew, “Can we build Notre Dame?”
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  • In Tune: The Power of Singalong at C&C



    From Works In Progress, the C&C Magazine, Issue III

    It was only the fourth day of school for the full IIs–XIIIs community. Children dreamt of a summer well-spent; parents continued to adapt to the routines of the school year. Teachers, too, eased their students (and themselves) into the curriculum. For all of its potential, the first week of school can also be one of the most stressful times of year, as the community comes together and begins to search for its rhythm.
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  • C&C Responds to Coronavirus Pandemic

    Learning Continues through Virtual C&C During Coronavirus Pandemic
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  • Scott visits with C&C IVs

    Learning with Transparency at C&C

    Scott Moran, Principal

    “What do you do? Is your job hard?” –IVs Students

    This year, as in most years, the IVs asked me some big questions when I visited their classroom. I tried to give an answer that felt satisfying for them and for me, but it was challenging to explain my role in ways that would make sense to them. Most of my job as Principal is opaque to the students, and aside from a few tangible examples I could give, I replied simply that, “My job is hard and busy, but also something I love doing.” I left hoping that they weren’t disappointed by my description.
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