Photo: Colton makes a wooden bowl on the lathe.

This week marked the end of our regular Winter Term programming, and was filled with our talented students putting the finishing touches on art and academic projects, as well as with a few long-held NCS traditions. The creativity of our student body was on full display, with beautiful work coming out of not just our studio spaces, but our classrooms. This week we also participated in the annual winter traditions of Skimeister—a schoolwide skiing and snowboarding event featuring different alpine and Nordic competitions—and our community Valentine’s Day celebration. Though the events looked different this year, both were filled with the same joy and community spirit that are an integral part of North Country School life. 

Monday marks the start of our annual Intersession week, where students participate in different art, outdoor, or farm sessions each day based on their interests. Intersession is one of our favorite times of year, and we are looking forward to seeing all of the creative work and new skills that come out of the week’s special programming. 

Note: In order to include all of next week’s Intersession programming, the next edition of the #ThisWeekAtNCS blog will be posted on Monday, March 1. 


Top: Anika interviews Isaac for her ELA profile. Middle 1: Mia edits her short story in the Community Lounge treehouse. Middle 2: 4th-graders create a timeline of ancient Egypt. Bottom: Signs for the timeline of ancient Egypt.

In 6th-grade English Language Arts (ELA) class, students are finishing up their final projects of the Winter Term by writing profiles of various members of our faculty and staff. The project is one of several used by the class this term that blends personal perspective with objective fact reporting. Each student interviewed a campus adult of their choice, asking questions and using their subject’s answers, as well as their own experiences with that person, to write their profile. Our 7th-grade English class also finished up their final winter writing projects this week by working through edits on their original short stories. The different creative pieces incorporate creative elements of science-fiction, fantasy, and realism, and are wonderful expressions of each student’s unique voice.

Our 4th-grade students have been learning about building historical timelines in both their ELA and Social Studies classes this term. The class finished up the unit by venturing outside and spreading out “to scale”—with each 4th-grade wingspan representing approximately 100 years—to plot out major events through the history of ancient Egypt, which they have been studying the past several weeks. 

Top: Ella holds up her timeline illustration. Middle 1: Timeline illustrations. Middle 2: Steven with completed timeline illustrations. Middle 3: Spanish students identify monster illustrations. Bottom: Monster illustrations for Spanish class.

In 9th-grade biology class, students ended the term with a collaborative project combining science, art, and history. Much like our youngest students, our senior class has also been working on historical timelines, exploring the history of life over the past 4.6 billion years. To end this unit, the class worked together to create a history-of-life timeline for history teacher Selden’s classroom, illustrating events with colorful hand-drawn works of art. The finished product will hang in Selden’s 7th- and 8th-grade classroom alongside other timelines in our global history.  

Our Spanish students also showed off their art skills this week as they participated in a fun activity involving illustrations and descriptions of originally designed monsters. Students wrote Spanish paragraphs describing their monster’s appearance, favorite activities, and personality, and their peers had to match that description with the corresponding monster drawing. The activity highlighted verbs including ser, tener, and gustar, and allowed the group to practice subject/adjective agreement.


Top: Sophie makes Valentine’s Day glasses. Middle: Art supplies for Valentine’s Day cards. Bottom: Liz’s homemade Valentine’s Day cards

Creating homemade Valentine’s cards is a beloved North Country School tradition, and earlier this week our students spent time down in our studio spaces working on these beautiful and thoughtful pieces of art. The cards were then collected and put in decorated boxes that were distributed to different residential houses, day students, faculty, and staff on Wednesday homenight. While our Valentine’s Day homenight usually features a dance party and other in-person activities for the whole community, this year our boarding students and houseparents kept the holiday spirit alive with colorful dinner attire and festive decorations. 

Top: River plays guitar. Middle 1: Jack works on a song for music production class. Middle 2: Alice makes a bowl on the lathe. Bottom: Alice sands her bowl as it spins on the lathe.

While there was plenty of painting and drawing all around campus this week, our students got in plenty of time in our other art spaces. We were treated to the sounds of our musicians practicing both popular and original pieces in our music studios and around the Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC), and students in Music Production class continued to work on their original songs under the guidance of music teacher Joey. In our woodshop, our older students have been finishing up the bowls they’ve been turning on the lathe. The bowls, which are constructed using layers of hardwood harvested locally, both on and off campus, will be sanded to a smooth finish and stained before our students bring them home for use and display. 


Top: Anika plays “What time is it, Mr. Fox?” with other skaters on the skating rink. Middle 1: Lucy, Landon, and Leo skate. Middle 2: Skating toward Cascade Mountain. Middle 3: Steven goes extreme tubing at the Lake Hill. Bottom: Koga gets some air on a sled at the Lake Hill.

Cold temperatures have made this winter a perfect one for ice skating, and, though the past week required some serious snow shoveling, our students and faculty had a great time out on our new rink. Groups headed over to this fun new addition to campus during weekend afternoons and out-times, holding races, playing hockey, and engaging in games like “What Time is it, Mr. Fox?” against the picturesque backdrop of a snow-covered Cascade Mountain. For students who weren’t looking to shovel inches of new snow, extreme sledding provided the perfect outdoor option. Students got plenty of air on jumps, landing in the fluffy cushion of new snow covering our mountain campus. 

Top: Watching skiers compete in Skimeister. Middle: Will finishes an alpine skiing run in Skimeister. Bottom: Arden finishes a run in Skimeister.

This week we celebrated our annual Skimeister event, in which students participate in winter ski and ride competitions. While Skimeister usually takes place as an all-day, all-community event, this year our Outdoor Leadership students took the helm to organize and run the restructured event, which took place in smaller out-time groups throughout the week in order to prioritize the health and safety of our community. Events included alpine and Nordic ski races, as well as freestyle ski and snowboarding competitions, and the winners—who will receive cookie-medals and outdoor gear—will be announced during next week’s Intersession programming.  


Top: Calendula and lettuce seedlings growing in the windowsill of the Teaching and Learning Kitchen. Middle: Amon draws his seedlings. Bottom: Seedling drawings. 

Our older Edible Schoolyard students are learning about aeroponic growing this term, and how we use aeroponic towers in order to extend the growing season in our cold climate. In order to grow herbs, flowers, and greens in our aeroponics space before it is warm enough to work in the greenhouses, students have started several trays of seedlings in our Teaching and Learning Kitchen. This week the class spent some time observing and drawing their seedlings, noting their different plant parts and stages of growth. The seedlings planted by our ESY students will be transplanted into aquaponics towers next week, and will hopefully provide us with harvestable crops in the early spring. 

Top: Teagan at Lamb Watch. Middle 1: Eden at Lamb Watch. Middle 2: Cocona and a sheep. Bottom: Our two new lambs. 

We had our first two lambs of the season this week, and we are likely only days away from many more. This past week our 9th-grade Lamb Watch program began, which brought some of our oldest students down to the barn (bundled up against the single-digit temperatures) to sleep on hay bales and radio our farmers if any of our sheep looked ready to give birth. To prepare our students for Lamb Watch, Barn Manager Erica and our farm interns explained the signs of labor to keep an eye out for, including restlessness, pawing the ground, nesting, and a change in a ewe’s belly shape as her lamb drops into a birthing position. Sheep 115 gave birth to two lambs—one male and one female—on Thursday evening, and 9th-graders Cocona and Arden were able to help during the process.

Check back next week to see what we’re up to on our mountain campus.