This was a busy week on the North Country School campus, filled with learning, adventure, and tradition. We ended winter term classes with presentations and special projects, finished up our preparations for next week’s Intersession Week and 9th grade trip to Utah, and celebrated our annual Skimeister competition at nearby Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center.

This coming week our 9th-grade class will be on their annual trip to Utah, where they will visit beautiful protected spaces including Zion National Park and Valley of Fire State Park. To train for their day of canyoneering, the group met in our Main Building to practice rappelling on our indoor climbing wall. After next week’s Utah adventures and on-campus Intersession programming we will begin our spring break, returning in mid-March for a season of lambing, maple sugaring, and planting on the farm, and warmer-weather recreation in our outdoor program.

*Note: In order to cover all of Intersession week and the 9th grade trip to Utah, next week’s #ThisWeekAtNCS Blog will be posted on Monday, March 2.


Top: Garth makes a model of the tether problem. Middle: Summer’s math work. Bottom: Alex draws out the problem.

Students in math lab elective got to work on fun problem-solving this week, tackling a question about horse grazing and circles. Using a variety of methods including guess and check and algebraic systems of equations, the group, which includes students Frank, Ezra, Alex, and Summer, worked together to determine the best use of a tether to maximize the area of grass that a horse could graze while attached to a post. Garth helped students visualize the problem by constructing a small model made of string, sticks, and putty, and after attempting to divide the rope into attached segments, the group found that keeping the rope in one long piece maximized the grazing space.

Top: Jack points to an avalanche site. Middle: Steven presents to class. Bottom: Steven’s avalanche slide.

Earth science students finished their avalanche unit by presenting studies to their peers this week. Using the information on snow metamorphosis and avalanche danger they’ve learned throughout the term, each student put together in-depth studies of real-life avalanche reports. This unit connects to our outdoor and ski programs, and helps students understand how to recreate safely in the winter conditions we encounter in our mountain home.


Top: Lauren looks at Jenny’s ceramics. Middle: Summer’s ceramics. Bottom: Abigail and Josie look at a weaving.

North Country School’s Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC) building is designed to serve not only as our theater and theater-tech spaces, but as a gallery space for student work. This week we rotated our display of student art pieces, and held a Wednesday morning Town Meeting to view and appreciate that creative work. Ceramic pieces and fiber-arts weavings were on display, as were student-made stands and benches created in our woodshop classes.

Top: Community Lounge Design transports their work. Middle: Setting up the Community Lounge. Bottom: Community Lounge Design class with their assembled design.

This week our students in Community Lounge Design class moved the large pieces of their original design into the Main Building and began to assemble the structure. Once completed, the treehouse design will include a slide and book-nook spaces, and will take up a full wall of the lounge.


Top: Abigail and Azalech at Skimeister. Bottom: The view at Skimeister.

This past Tuesday we held our annual and much-anticipated Skimeister competition at beautiful Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center in nearby Saranac Lake. Skimeister is an all-day event where the school community joins together for free skiing and snowboarding, as well as optional competitions and races.

Top: Amon, Kentaro, and Daven in the three-legged Nordic ski race. Bottom: Alejandro in the freestyle competition.

During Skimeister, students were able to participate in cross-country races—including a three-legged ski race—alpine ski races, a freestyle competition with boxes, rails, and jumps, and a biathlon competition using paintball guns. The results of the Skimeister events were announced during Wednesday’s lunch council, and the winners were awarded giant cookie medals to wear (and then enjoy as a special dessert) in celebration of their victories.

Top: Katie helps Hart rappel. Bottom: Jessica rappels down the wall.

Next week our 9th-grade class will be visiting southern Utah for NCS’s annual trip. The group will spend the week hiking and camping in Zion National Park, visiting the Hoover Dam, sightseeing in Valley of Fire State Park, and skiing in Brian Head Resort. In preparation for their day of canyoneering, the group strapped into harnesses and practiced their rappelling skills on the indoor climbing wall in our Main Building.


Top: Grace takes care of sheep. Middle: Brian refills the chicken feeder. Bottom: Eliza collects eggs.

Students bundled up for barn chores this week, helping care for our furry and feathered barnyard creatures. Grace spent some quality time with our sweet ewes, who will begin lambing over the next couple of months, while Brian and Eliza refilled the chickens’ water and feed, and collected eggs for our dining room.

Top: Tess shows Pingry students dried farm herbs. Middle 1: Measuring out oil for sauce. Middle 2: Chopping farm onions. Bottom: Soaking lasagna noodles.

A group from The Pingry School in New Jersey made their third annual visit to the NCS campus this week in conjunction with Rock-E House & Basecamp. The middle and high school students, along with two of their teachers, joined us for their “Winter in the North Woods” trip, which focused on experiencing wilderness life and participating with nature in the North County.

As part of their week on campus, the group participated in barn chores alongside NCS students, learned about forest sustainability and composting with NCS staff, went for hikes around campus, had a photo lesson with one of their teachers, and prepared a farm banquet in our Teaching and Learning Kitchen with guidance from Garden Manager Tess. Tess helped the group assemble a vegetable lasagna using dried herbs, onions, tomatoes, and garlic scapes the farm. The group baked up the tasty meal in the Rock-E House kitchen at the end of a productive day of activity, fun, and learning.

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

For more information about the #This Week At NCS blog, contact Becca Miller at .