Photo: Grace L. rock climbs at the crag. Photo credit Gabe Dickens.

At North Country School, we know that achieving goals isn’t only about personal success—it is about supporting and celebrating one another along the way. Whether it be at the climbing crag, ski hill, or barn; in the studio art room or theater; or out exploring the beautiful surrounding mountains and trails of the Adirondack Park, we are always working to lift each other up. For many in the NCS community, the passions and interests discovered on campus will be carried with us throughout our lives, and so much of that is because of the friends and teachers who were right there alongside us as we found our way. Over the course of the fall term, we have loved watching our students celebrate not only their own successes, but the successes of their peers and classmates as they overcame challenges and reached new heights.

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Top: Rob explains circuits to 7th-grade science class. Middle: Justin, Mia, and Brian make circuits. Bottom: Light bulbs lit in 7th-grade science lab.

In 7th-grade science class, students have been learning about different types of circuits as part of their unit on electricity. This week, the class learned how to assemble circuits and light up lightbulbs using batteries and wire. In the upcoming weeks, each student will apply their knowledge to design and create a model house with functional electrical wiring.

Top: Lauren talks to 5th- and 6th-grade social studies class. Middle 1: Lauren explains the identity activity. Middle 2: Duncan explains his identity diagrams to River. Bottom: “Emotional Weather Patterns” signs in the 5th- and 6th-grade classroom.

Our 5th- and 6th-grade social studies students have been learning about identity, membership, and belonging through the lens of history, and asking critical questions about how perspective and experience shape who we become. In this unit, students have completed their own identity charts, and have played games focused on getting to know one another beyond observable characteristics. This past week, the class participated in a lesson adapted from Facing History and Ourselves—a non-profit organization with the mission of “using lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate.“ Each student created an identity chart for the author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston based on excerpts from her memoir Farewell to Manzanar, which chronicles her and her family’s forced relocation to an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. Students used keywords, phrases, characteristics, labels, and titles to make two identity charts—one describing how Jeanne saw herself, and the other describing how others saw her. The class then explained their charts to their fellow students during a tour around the classroom.


Top: Sierra looks at photo negatives with Grace D. Middle: Eden looks at her photo negatives. Bottom: Eden’s photo test strip. 

Darkroom photography students have been working on their individual photo projects this week, spending time developing prints and choosing images from their negatives under the guidance of photography teacher Sierra. Once students select their favorites, they develop several test strips in the darkroom, analyzing how differences in exposure and contrast affect their final image. Finished photographs from the class will be displayed around the Main Building and Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC) as part of our ongoing rotation of exhibited student art.

Top: Katie helps Leo weave a basket. Middle 1: Different basket designs. Middle 2: Landon weaves a basket. Middle 3: Jess and Olivia make paper mâché Halloween decorations. Bottom: Lucy with her homemade Halloween ghost.

Our 4th-grade art students finished up their fiber arts projects this past week and began their new unit—weaving Adirondack pack baskets. Making pack baskets is one of the oldest traditions in the Adirondack region, with a rich history going back hundreds of years. This past week, our student-artists learned some of that history as they looked at sample baskets before working alongside art teacher Katie to create their own using thin strips of wood made from native ash trees.

Next Wednesday our campus community will hold our annual Halloween celebration, and though we have had to restructure some of our holiday traditions this year, there will be no shortage of scary and fun events to enjoy. In preparation for the festivities, our students and teachers have been hard at work over the past few weeks making decorations like ghosts and spiderwebs, as well as working on their own creative homemade costumes.


Top: Isha and Grace L. belay at the crag. Photo credit Gabe Dickens. Middle 1: Climbing at the crag. Photo credit Gabe Dickens. Middle 2: Arden climbs at the crag. Photo credit Gabe Dickens. Middle 3: Paddling on Round Lake. Bottom: Langlang, Mia, and Ani paddle on Round Lake.

Out-times this past week provided our students the opportunity to practice some of their outdoor skills in different locations around campus. Over at the crag, students worked together and cheered one another on as they belayed and climbed many new and challenging routes, celebrating each of their successes as they reached the top of the wall. Students also spent time on Round Lake, having a fun paddle together under blue skies despite windy conditions.

Top: Colton moves dirt at the ski hill. Middle: Eliza and Brian move dirt at the ski hill. Bottom: Grace D. at the ski hill work out-time.

At North Country School, we know that not only do many hands make light work, but that the hard work put in today will benefit everyone later on. This past week saw many of our students and teachers giving their time over at the campus ski hill, leveling out ground, moving logs, and repairing jumps. Though the hill is still covered in brilliant autumn leaves, we can’t wait to get out there on skis and snowboards to enjoy the fresh powder once winter arrives.


Top: Hay delivery at the barn. Middle1: James moves a hay bale. Middle 2: Langlang rides a horse in the ring. Middle 3: Bing wraps a horse’s ankle. Bottom: Zachary wraps a horse’s ankle.

Several times a term, our students and teachers head down to the barn to help Barn Manager Erica and our farm interns with hay deliveries. The hay delivered to our campus comes from a local farm and is used as feed and bedding for many of our barnyard creatures including our horses, sheep, goats, and chickens. This past week our students lent some time (and muscle) moving over 300 heavy bales of hay into the loft above the sheep and goat pen.

Students also spent some quality time with our horses this week, both in the riding ring and at the barn. One group of students worked on their equestrian skills during a Saturday trip, steering our horses through an obstacle course and playing fun games while on horseback, while another group spent a rainy out-time in the horse barn practicing their bandage wrapping and learning about horse anatomy. The horses waited patiently as students wrapped their legs in standing bandages, which provide support to a horse’s stronger leg when the opposite leg has sustained an injury.