This week we began one of the most anticipated times of the academic year at North Country School—Tuesdays at Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. For a series of afternoons during winter term, our entire school community leaves campus for skiing and snowboarding lessons, as well as some free ski time, at the Adirondacks’ most popular ski mountain.
Snow also played a role in our academic classes this week as our Earth science class began learning about snowpack, and students bundled up in winter gear to spend quality time with the farm animals in our snowy barnyard during out-times and barn chores.
In 8th grade Earth science class, students are learning about different snow layers and how those layers metamorphose together. This past week the class pulled on their gloves, coats, and hats, and ventured outside to analyze the accumulated snowpack. Teacher Larry showed the class how to measure the different snow layers and analyze which layers are more or less stable. The group then drew to-scale lab reports with identifying details about each snow layer, and used a snow crystal card to measure the size of snow crystals. To end the class, Larry dusted the snow surface with blue chalk that will be covered as more snow accumulates in the upcoming weeks. The class will be able to return to this site and see how the snow they measured metamorphoses down and is compressed. By connecting our science program to the outdoor activities the student body participates in throughout the colder months, our students are offered a broader understanding of how different snow conditions affect their winter recreation.
For this week’s Town Meeting, which honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students and adults participated in an activity using a framework from Teaching Tolerance. Volunteer student leaders including Steven, Ella, and Inyene, along with adult facilitators, completed a training on tolerance earlier in the week. During a Wednesday morning activity, those trained led their table groups through scenarios where everyone used “Speak Up at School” strategies to respond to a biased or prejudiced statement. Students practiced language focused around asking someone to stop making hurtful comments, questioning a speaker about their statement, explaining how a statement can be felt by others, and supporting those who spoke up.
This past week, music teacher Joey led a special Town Meeting in our Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC) on career exploration and music production. Joey played a few songs from his band, Arch Echo, for which he is the keyboardist, before spending some time explaining how the band produces their music and what it means to go on tour. Joey then fielded some questions about life on the road, the path that led him to touring professionally, and what it means to be in a band with members who live in different locations around the country.
At North Country School, our youngest students rotate through the arts elective program throughout the academic year, giving them an opportunity to find their areas of interest before they make their own elective selections as older students. This week in 4th-6th grade 2D art class, students are learning about reduction-cut printmaking. The class, which includes students Piers, Mia, and Duncan, has been carving designs into plates of soft cut rubber and using those plates to make colorful prints. After making their carvings, the class coated their plates—which feature chickens, ballerinas, and mountainscapes—in different colorful inks and pressed those sheets into paper that will be folded into stationery. The finished stationery will be displayed throughout the Main Building later in the term.
This week marked the first Tuesday Whiteface afternoon of winter term—a day much of our community has been anticipating since the first snowfall. After lunch on Tuesday everyone geared-up, grabbing their skis and snowboards, helmets and boots, and headed off to nearby Wilmington and the Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. For several hours each student was able to ski and snowboard alongside instructors, teachers, and their peers, taking part in lessons and free-ski time as they honed their skills on different runs. The group enjoyed perfect bluebird skies and still conditions, surrounded by a snow-covered mountain vista, making it a great first outing of what will surely be more to come.
In addition to having access to nearby Whiteface ski mountain for alpine skiing and snowboarding, North Country School is also located close to a world class cross-country ski facility—the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Cross Country and Biathlon Center. This past Saturday our cross-country ski team, which includes students Koga, Brian, and Emily, met across the street at Mt. Van Ho for a community cross-country race. The racers spent the morning prepping skis and warming up, and in the afternoon students participated in 3K and 5K races. The event was a huge success and everyone had a great time racing and cheering on one another.
FARM AND GARDEN
Students at NCS have different types of opportunities to engage with the farm and barn animals, and this past week groups cared for our creatures during out-time and at chores. In an out-time led by farm intern Nick, students including Samantha, Abigail, and Josie spent some quality time with our sheep, goats, and horses. At afternoon barn chores, Barn Manager Erica circled everyone up to go over responsibilities before splitting the group into their various jobs. Tristan and Tianyu brought water around to refill animal troughs, while Inyene mucked out the duck pen and refilled their feed bin with grain.
Check back next week to see what we’re up to on our mountain campus.
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