Brighter days are ahead and Roland Park Country School is excited to once again offer its “Play Like the REDS” unique summer experience. Now in its third year, through several sport-specific camps, RPCS coaches create fun, competitive and supportive athletic environments for girls ages 8-18 to learn more about lacrosse, basketball, running, field hockey, volleyball and rowing. Flexible scheduling options are also offered for busy families. We caught up with RPCS Athletics Director Carol Hatton to learn more!
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Long before this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, the students at Roland Park Country School could be found outside for class. In the early 20th century, RPCS had open air classrooms, requiring students to come to school equipped with blankets, sweaters and felt boots. In fact, during the 1932-1933 school year, RPCS had the best health record of all schools in Baltimore, with no confirmed cases of infectious disease, which was attributed to the 60 degree classrooms.
As different as things are today, the emphasis on learning outside, particularly in the Lower School, is stronger than ever. For years, the school’s curriculum has focused on interdisciplinary lessons beyond the classroom walls that encourage problem solving and risk taking. Learning outdoors also empowers students to make healthy choices in their daily lives, helps them understand how humans interact with their environment and lets them discover how to become stewards of – and eventually leaders in – their communities.
When Maryland schools closed in mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Roland Park Country School community quickly rose to the challenge of adapting to distance learning and has embraced the new virtual environment. Throughout the spring, teachers, students and their families in grades K-12 have been flexible, resilient and creative, while continuing to engage in rigorous learning from home.
Embracing the New Normal
“Overall, the distance learning program has been great, and our spirited community here at RPCS never fails to make the best out of any situation, “ said ninth grader Sofia Mollica. Instead of feeling confined to the digital realm, students are embracing this learning model and finding new ways to take intellectual risks and grow. “It’s been a profoundly exciting way to see the power of technology and its ability to connect,” said Lindsay Fitzpatrick, Upper School English teacher. This spring, her seniors used their distance learning to experiment and create unique final assessment projects that apply literary devices and critical lenses they studied all year, including a podcast exploring motherhood in literature, an interview series about modern feminism and family constellations, and a video project examining white privilege through poetry. “Distance learning has been going well because, ultimately, I teach such wonderful students,” said Lindsay. “They are deeply dedicated to their work, and while the formatting has changed, that dedication has never wavered.”
Alumna gift will establish three separate endowments at the all-girls school
Roland Park Country School (RPCS) has received a $1,750,000 pledge from alumna Holliday “Holly” Cross Heine, 1962 and her husband John “Jack” C. Heine of Santa Barbara, California. The pledge will be split to create three separate endowments that will fund in perpetuity a new K-8 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Director role, the existing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Director role and the School’s signature STEM Institute.
“I am profoundly grateful to Holly and Jack for their generosity and enthusiastic support of our comprehensive STEM and STEAM curricula, which span every grade level and department,” said Caroline Blatti, Head of School. “I am also so honored that as an alumna who has built such a successful career in this field, Holly shares our purpose of intentionally harnessing our students’ boundless imaginations and curiosity to give them the confidence, knowledge and tools they need to build a solid foundation and deep understanding of these concepts.”
New RPCS Curriculum Offers Students Toolkit to Effect Change
How is leadership learned? At Roland Park Country School, our teachers and administrators strive to show our students what leadership looks like and the paths they can take to get there through integrity, courage and character. But we also recognize the worth of real world experiences.
To help empower students in grades 9-11 to find their voices, lead for the greater good and put their learnings into practice, Roland Park Country School recently rolled out a new program called R.E.D. (Reflect. Explore. Do.) Block. R.E.D. Block is the central strand of the RPCS Leadership and Entrepreneurship Institute, which equips our Upper School students with robust offerings designed to embolden them to create positive change in the world and help them consider, with their numerous strengths, what kind of difference they intend to make, and how they might begin to make their ideas into realities.
In R.E.D. Block, every student is involved in activities that require deep-thinking, exploration and creative problem solving to foster resilience, promote healthy risk-taking, nourish passions and curiosity, and promote purposefulness.
“We are always looking for intentional and meaningful ways to encourage our next generation of women leaders,” said Caroline Blatti, Head of School. “R.E.D. Block shows our students what is possible and how their actions can truly change the world.”
At Roland Park Country School, we want our students to live healthy and balanced lives; in fact, it’s one of our core values. This starts with an academic program that challenges and engages our girls, while allowing them to be children and teenagers. But wellness goes beyond the student workload and through intentional programming at every grade level, student-led initiatives, and resources for parents and guardians, we make sure that every student has a strong social-emotional support system to help them be healthy and well.
To support this effort, a new wellness suite was recently constructed on the RPCS campus, with offices for several members of the Student Services team, including the Director of Counseling, counselors at each division level, and the counseling intern, as well as the Director of Leadership and Entrepreneurship. The inviting offices are spacious enough for the counselors to hold classes, but are also comfortable for private meetings with students. Student artwork decorates the suite and a mindfulness wall in the cheery hallway displays several take-one cards for students, offering tips on wellness topics including desk stretches and breathing techniques. Slips are also available in the wellness suite for students to confidentially request one-on-one meetings with a counselor. “This is a space that students can access at all times,” said Makeda King-Smith, Upper School Counselor. “It’s so important to help students with stress and anxiety as early as we can.”
Earlier this fall, Roland Park Country School unveiled several exciting new spaces on campus, including a recently constructed cheery and light-filled Lower School STEAM Hub. This redesigned space is adjacent to the Killebrew Library and connects the Junior Innovation Space with the new Lower School art room to fulfill Roland Park Country School’s vision of purposefully integrating each of the components of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) into the school curriculum for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“We are focusing on every content area to pair with design challenges and projects that have a real purpose to help students extend their learning beyond the classroom in a creative and meaningful way,” said Joe LePain, the Director of Information and Innovation at Roland Park Country School.
Just over a week after their high school alma maters were caught up in an ugly controversy involving racism-tinged Halloween photos, alumni from North Baltimore private schools are planning an anti-racism rally tomorrow morning on Roland Avenue.
You’re Invited to the 2017 Educational Forum Hosted by Gilman, Roland Park Country School and Bryn Mawr School
Please join Gilman, Roland Park Country School and Bryn Mawr School for the 2017 Educational Forum. The event is taking place on Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 9AM-4PM at Gilman.
Baltimore Fishbowl Second Annual Guide to Baltimore Independent Schools has arrived.