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Rippowaum Cisqua

Q&A: An Inside Look at Rippowam Cisqua School

(Sponsored) Rippowam Cisqua School is a PreK through Grade 9 school that teaches an immersive and experimental curriculum designed to deepen learning and build a growth mindset in students during these critical wonder years. RippKids are challenged daily through an integrated academic, arts, sports, and innovation program that creates independent thinkers, confident communicators, engaged leaders. We asked Head of School Colm MacMahon to tell us about why RCS is so unique. Here’s what he said.

How does RCS get students excited and engaged in learning?
We start by making each day personal. The best way to spark engagement in children is to figure out the various ways the coursework will genuinely interest them. To do this, we get to know each child as an individual so we can determine what makes them tick, what turns them off, and where they need to be challenged. By individualizing our program, we give students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and to grow at their own pace.

Tell us about the experiential learning opportunities.
Experiential learning is built on the idea that kids will remember experiences more deeply than the words that they hear. We go beyond traditional classroom instruction to activate additional senses that develop emotional connections to the material. A ninth-grade trip to Lower Manhattan to study early-American immigration, a preschool recreation of underwater adventures to study the oceans, or a collaborative Kindergarten and seventh-grade engineering project on the mechanical design of mini-golf courses combines rigorous academics with tactile discovery for a more joyful and memorable experience.

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How important is creativity in an RCS education?
Creativity activates the part of your child’s brain that inspires them to imagine and think differently about the information they are receiving. Rather than asking a student to regurgitate facts from a textbook, we ask students to apply the information they are learning in various ways. Students focus on problem-solving techniques that encourage them to push through challenges while providing teachers with important opportunities for assessment beyond tests. If you’re not teaching students how to think creatively, then you’re just asking students to be Google and missing the chance to tap into their true abilities.

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Tell us about the RCS approach to middle school.
As a PreK-Grade 9 school, we’re the experts. Our middle school educators have a tremendous understanding of the social-emotional changes that can impact learning and how to navigate them. This is a time when students can explode academically or become incredibly stagnant in their social growth. It’s also a time when students are hyper-focused on their exterior sense of self and define themselves based on the perceptions they believe others have of them. Now more than ever, they need experienced and caring adults around them who understand these dynamics and show support through the highs and lows. Fortunately, we don’t have the social pressures of a high school to distract from our middle school focus. Our students can stay kids longer while growing into themselves as healthy young adults.

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How does RCS prepare its students for secondary school, college, and beyond?
We prepare students for a successful life. We believe that people who have the most successful lives are the ones who have the most successful relationships. Therefore, we spend a lot of time helping students understand the importance of developing meaningful relationships with their peers, adults, and themselves. Of course, the academic preparation students receive translates into success in high school and college. They are well-prepared to attend any public or private school of their choosing.

Rippowam Cisqua School

Lower Campus (PreK-Grade 4)
325 West Patent Road
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
phone: (914) 244-1200

Upper Campus (Grades 5-9)
439 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY 10506
phone: (914) 244-1250

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