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Riverdale Country School
Riverdale Country School
5250 Fieldston Road (Hill Campus) 1 Spaulding Lane (River Campus)
Riverdale Country School is a co-educational, independent, college-preparatory day school in New York City serving pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. It is located on two campuses covering more than 27 acres (110,000 m2) in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York, United States. Started as a school for boys, Riverdale Country School became fully coeducational in 1972. It currently serves 1,140 students. According to Niche's 2018 Private School Rankings, Riverdale is ranked the 5th best private high school in New York City and the 28th best private high school in the United States.
Hackett Hall on the Hill Campus of Riverdale Country School
Founded in 1907 by Frank Sutliff Hackett (1878-1952) and his first wife, Francis Dean (Allen) Hackett, Riverdale Country School is one of the oldest country day schools in the United States. Originally known as the Riverdale School for Boys, it began with 12 students and four teachers and promised scholarly, intimate teaching amid abundant recreational space. Describing his school as "an American experiment in education," Hackett later told The New York Times: "We have tried to transform schools from mere nurseries of the brain into a means of nourishing the whole boy -- mind, body, and spirit."
An early advocate of outdoor experiences for young people, Hackett started a summer camp known as Camp Riverdale at Long Lake in the Adirondacks (1912-1964) to provide summer recreation for his students. By 1920, Hackett had acquired three acres on Fieldston Road for the school and built a classroom building and dormitory. The 100-room dormitory, designed by McKim, Mead, and White, later became known as Hackett Hall. In 1924, he started the Neighborhood School for boys and girls from grades one to three, and in 1933, the Riverdale Girls School. By World War II, the school attracted both day students and boarders; one student in six or seven came from another country.
Hackett dreamed of expanding the school into an "American World School" and acquired a new site in Riverdale. In 1948, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, spoke at a dedication ceremony at the site. Hackett died before his dream was realized, and the property was sold. In 1972, the Boys and Girls Schools were combined. In 1985, the Middle and Upper Schools were consolidated on the Hill Campus and the Lower School moved to the River Campus. Hackett was an organizer of the Guild of Independent Schools of New York City, and an organizer and president of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
President John F. Kennedy attended the school from 1927 to 1930 when his family lived in Riverdale. During the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy made an appearance in the Bronx. "I said up the street that I was a former resident of the Bronx," he said. "Nobody believes that, but it is true. No other candidate for the presidency can make that statement."
Mow Hall on the Hill Campus of Riverdale Country School
The Upper Learning Building, completed in 2016, on the River Campus of Riverdale Country School
Covering 19.5 acres (79,000 m2), the Hill Campus is located on Fieldston Road, overlooking Van Cortlandt Park. It is home to the Middle School (6th to 8th) and the Upper School (9th to 12th). Facilities include Hackett Hall, Mow Hall, Lindenbaum Center for the Arts, the 9/10 Building, Vinik Hall (the Admissions Building), the Weinstein Science Building, the Science Annex, the Day Care, and the P. Gordon B. Stillman Amphitheater. A new Aquatic Center opened in 2017. The Hill Campus has three playing fields (Frankel Field, Alumni Field, and the Frank J. Bertino Memorial field) and tennis courts. The Marc A. Zambetti '80 Athletic Center includes a gymnasium, fencing room, and workout room. It is currently being renovated to add a second gymnasium and an expanded health/fitness center.
The River Campus (Pre-K to 5th) sits on 8 acres (32,000 m2) along the Hudson River. The buildings on the River Campus are the Early Learning Building (Pre-K through second grade classrooms and the gymnasium), the Senior Building (classrooms for drawing, painting, and sculpture), the Admissions/Junior building (includes the Lower School head's office, the Learning Commons, and Admissions, and the Upper Learning Building. Completed in 2016, the Upper Learning Building includes a theater, cafeteria, classrooms for third through fifth grade, and multi-purpose spaces. Architectural Record noted: "It is a building born of exploration, deep discussions with educators about their needs and desires, and a willingness to tweak on the fly."  The River Campus also has tennis courts, a playing field, a greenhouse, gardens, and a playground. The land for the River Campus was given to Riverdale by the family of George Walbridge Perkins, an early environmentalist and associate of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan. The family also donated their adjacent property, Wave Hill, to the City of New York for a public garden and cultural center.
Becoming Riverdale's sixth head of school in 2007, Dominic A.A. Randolph refined the school's mission with a focus on "Mind, Character, and Community." He eliminated courses tied to Advanced Placement tests, and advocated a teaching philosophy centered on building character strengths. Working with Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and Dave Levin, the co-founder of the KIPP network of charter schools, he co-founded Character Lab, an organization dedicated to providing research-based approaches to character education. In 2016, Riverdale Country School launched Plussed, a non-profit designed to "create a dynamic collective of experts on learning designing ways to improve student learning and education."  To encourage innovative teaching, Randolph has advocated design thinking, a methodology used to create and test new ideas. Riverdale teachers collaborated with the design firm, IDEO, on the Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators in 2011.  That work led to the formation of The Teachers Guild, in 2015.  The Teachers Guild is a partnership between IDEO and Riverdale Country School's Plussed initiative that provides teachers with a forum for sharing innovating teaching strategies.
In addition to college-preparatory courses in math, science, and humanities, Riverdale offers "maker" programs that combine science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, as well as courses in robotics and coding. Latin, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese also are offered. Interdisciplinary courses in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools encourage students to draw connections across disciplines. Constructing America, a required course for juniors, is co-taught by the History and English faculty. Integrated Liberal Studies, a required course for seniors, explores four essential topics: Virtue, the Self, Social Justice, and the Environment. Independent study opportunities allow students to gain in-depth knowledge in subjects of their choosing. The Global Studies program organizes trips around the world. An outdoor educator organizes hiking, camping and rock-climbing trips in the Hudson Valley, trekking in Patagonia, and kayaking in Alaska.
Riverdale is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.
Riverdale's Girls' Varsity Crew Team
As of 2017, Riverdale has a total of 31 varsity interscholastic sports teams, many of which also have junior varsity counterparts except for Cross Country, Crew, Golf, Track and Field, Squash and Swimming. In the Spring of 2013, crew was introduced as a varsity sport for boys and girls, while wrestling was officially cut from the list of sports.
In 2014, Riverdale was awarded the National Athletic Trainers' Association Safe School Award and was declared a National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute "Best Practices Partner." In 2016, Riverdale was awarded the New York Athletic Training Association's Joseph Abraham Award, which is an award given annually to high schools that provide outstanding athletic injury care to their student athletes. Further titles have been given to individual school teams:
Ivy League Champions -- 1952, 1954-1957, 1959, 1961-1963, 1965-1966, 1970-1971, 1975-1976, 1998-1999, 2005-2006, 2015-2016
NYSAIS Champions -- 1999, 2006, 2014-2015
NYSAIS Champions -- 1996, 2003, 2007, 2010-2011
Ivy League Champions -- 1997, 2003, 2007-2008, 2010-2012, 2014
Boys Swimming: Ivy League Champions -- 1962-1963, 1976-1977, 2002-2003, 2007
Girls Swimming: Ivy League Champions -- 2002-2006
Ivy League Champions -- 1966-1969, 1972, 1977, 1983, 1986, 2013
NYSAIS Federation Champions -- 1994, 2013
NYSAIS Federation Champions -- 1995-1996, 1998, 2000
Ivy League Champions -- 1996-1997, 2000
Ivy League Champions -- 1968-1970, 2003
NYSAIS Champions -- 2000
Volleyball: Ivy League Champions -- 1980-1983, 1995, 2002
Ivy League Champions -- 1981, 1994, 2007, 2009-2011
AAIS Champions -- 2007, 2009-2011
Boys Tennis: Ivy League Champions -- 1987, 2000, 2001, 2010
Boys Cross Country: NYSAIS Champions -- 1999
Ivy League Champions -- 2010-2011
NYSAIS Champions -- 2011
Boys Lacrosse: Ivy League Champions -- 2017
Boys Squash: Ivy League Champions -- 2011
Ultimate Frisbee: DiscNY B-Division Champions -- 2014
Jones Lawn on the Hill Campus
Arts and activities
Upper School students produce one musical and one play each year in the Jeslo Harris theatre. Riverdale students may participate in the jazz and concert bands, orchestra, chamber music ensembles, chorus, dance team, and the a cappella singing groups, the Rivertones and Testostertones. More than 40 student-led clubs, organizations, and service-learning partnerships are offered.
The Riverdale Review is Riverdale's student-run paper.Impressions has published the visual art and creative writing of students in the Upper School for almost 30 years.Crossroads is Riverdale's Middle School Literary and Art Magazine. The Falcon Times is the newsletter of the Middle School. Riverdale's faculty and student body also maintain an online non-fiction literary magazine called The Riverdale Reader.
Suzan Johnson Cook (born 1957), presidential advisor, pastor, theologian, author, activist, and Harvard professor who served as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom from April 2011 to October 2013.
^ abFoxley, David. "Ed Hayes Takes On Riverdale Country School", New York Observer, April 23, 2007. Accessed March 6, 2017. "He was talking about Riverdale Country School, the chi-chi private school where tuition is $33,000 a year and which counts MSNBC's Dan Abrams, The New Yorker's theater critic John Lahr and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell among its alumni."
^Rich, Motoko. "Rejoice, Muffy and Biff: A Preppy Primer Revisited", The New York Times, April 3, 2010. Accessed March 6, 2017. "'I didn't think people wanted to be like us,' said Ms. Birnbach, who attended Riverdale Country School and Brown University, then went on to enjoy what some might called the Life Well-Prepped: writing college guides and co-writing books about friendship, motherhood and being Jewish, as well as working a stint as a correspondent on CBS's Early Show."
^Diamond, David. "James Gleick's Survival Lessons", Wired, August 1999. Accessed June 17, 2009. "Gleick attended Riverdale Country School, where JFK once studied, and excelled in mathematics and science."
^ abvia Associated Press. "Film inventors weren't just whistling Brahms", Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1985. Accessed March 6, 2017. "The product invented by Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky Jr. remains the best-selling color slide film in the world, Kodak says.... Kodachrome began to develop in the men's minds as early as 1916, when they were inquisitive 15-year-old students at Riverdale Country School in New York City."
^Katz, Michael. "CALVIN HILL A FAN AGAIN AT 34", The New York Times, December 12, 1981. Accessed March 6, 2017. "If there is poetic justice in the N.F.L., Hill will play against the Jets, a team representing the city where he was a prep school sensation at Riverdale Country School."
^"Claude Kelly Clinic", Berklee College of Music. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Kelly's mother was serious about his education too. He attended the noted private school Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, and he performed around New York with the New York Boys Choir."
^Schneider, Steven K. Robert F. Kennedy, p. 14. iUniverse, 2001. ISBN9780595137015. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Robert attended the public and private schools in Hyannis Port, Bronxville Public School for the third, fourth and fifth grades. and the private Riverdale Country Day School."
^Barber, Charles. Corresponding with Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber, p. 28. Scarecrow Press, 2011. ISBN0810881438. "He was enrolled at the private Riverdale Country School, graduating there in June 1948."
^McGrath, Charles. "Cramming a Lot Into a Youthful Literary Life", The New York Times, August 2, 2009. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Nick McDonell ought to be an easy person to dislike.... He heard news of its acceptance while cruising home in the carpool from Riverdale Country School, where he was president of the student body."
^Rosenthal, Dave. "Q&A with author Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore", The Baltimore Sun, April 29, 2010. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Q: The Bronx wasn't the answer for you, even when your mother sent you to Riverdale Country School in the one plush part of the borough.... [A]... The Riverdale story illustrates that. It's a beautiful school, and my mother knew all about it from the time she was a girl; she knew that JFK went there."
^"Bugle Boy to Battle on New Fronts : The firm's founder overcame personal and business woes to build a top clothing firm. : Now his company aims for new markets." by Barry Stavro, Los Angeles Times, August 8, 1989.
^"The Ticker - Bugle Boy Files For Bankruptcy," by The Associated Press, New York Daily News, February 3, 2001.
^"Speakers and Performers", Riverdale Country School. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Oct. 22: 'The Changing World of News and Media.' Moderator: David Faber, News Analyst and Anchor, CNBC. Panelists: Margery Baker-Riker '66, Former Vice President, CBS News; Sanford Cannold '86, Producer, CNBC; Robin Pogrebin '83, Culture Reporter, The New York Times; and Kay Madati '91, Chief Digital Officer, Black Entertainment Television."
^Edward RendellArchived November 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Accessed March 6, 2017. "He attended the prestigious Riverdale Country School for three out of the four years he was in high school, and in the 1961 yearbook from the school, the editors noted, 'Eddie has a good chance for success in politics, his chosen profession.'"
^Huff, Richard. "Ros is on Track in Race Against Fear", New York Daily News, September 7, 1998. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Having been on the track team when she attended the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, Tracee Ellis Ross was intrigued when a script came her way for which she'd play a track star."
^Fields, Jason. "Zagat gives local restaurants a boost", The Riverdale Press, October 15, 2009. Accessed March 6, 2017. "Tim Zagat, who founded the survey as a hobby in 1979, and is a graduate of Riverdale Country School -- class of 1957 -- says that Riverdale deserves some attention for the variety of cuisines on offer."