March 6, 2020

Mark Your Calendar 

    • US Boys Varsity Basketball NEPSAC Semi Finals: | March 7 | St. Thomas More School | 1 p.m.
    • March Break: March 9-22 | No school
    • Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony: March 30 | Campbell Center | 5:30 – 7 p.m.
    • Lower School PTL Meeting: Perkins Hall | 8:30 a.m.
    • Good Friday: April 10 | No school
    • Head of School Holiday: April 13 | No school

Welcome to Rocky Hill Country Day School!
To all the parents and families who assisted with admissions events and conversations with prospective families this year, we are pleased to announce that a record number of acceptances were issued on Friday, February 28! Accepted students received an email with a ‘Congratulations’ video for each division on Friday morning (see below) and a wonderfully branded acceptance package via the mail on Friday or Saturday.

But the Admissions Department is not resting yet! Two events are being held for newly accepted students; Middle School on March 4, and Upper School on March 6.

We look forward to receiving contracts over the next few weeks, and expect that several grades will be at capacity!

Trivia Night and Middle School Game Night Successes
February 21 was a busy evening at Rocky Hill Country Day! In the gym, the Boosters hosted the first annual RHCD trivia evening, while the Middle School entertained students with a game night focused on raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Rhode Island. Both enjoyed exceptional turn-outs, with the Middle School raising $200 for the cause. A massive thank you to everyone who participated.

Newsletter for Chinese Parents
Did you know…? Globally-minded Seniors Sarah C. ’21, Bessie Y. ’21 and Mia Z. ’22 distribute a digital magazine for Chinese parents to keep them up to speed with all things happening around the rock. If that wasn’t enough, the tremendous trio was also responsible for the All School Chinese New Year assembly. 谢谢!

Find the current edition here.

Read the Latest “Think Outside” blog

“They discover the power of finding one’s voice… a critical and often transformational achievement for Middle School students.”

Learn why public presentation skills are critically important in a student’s emotional and educational development, and understand how, and why, the process is a journey of discovery. This edition is written by Head of Middle School, Mike Jedrey.

RHCD Giving Day
On April 1, RHCD will join 300 RI non-profits for the statewide day of philanthropy, 401 Gives. The day is organized by The United Way of RI and is sponsored by RI businesses and foundations from across the state. Special incentives will be in place throughout the day such as FM Global’s challenge to donate $1,000 to the single non-profit with the most unique donors that give between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. We have also secured RHCD challenge donors who will look to match our community’s support. Look for more details to come as the big day draws closer.

New School App
We are testing the use of a school app designed to help keep the community informed on significant student events: home games, art shows, concerts, etc. Every Sunday or Monday morning the app will be populated with a list key events going on that week.
The app does not replace the portal and won’t be updated as frequently when changes are made, but if you like to look at the week ahead for opportunities to support students and colleagues, the app may work for you!

4th Annual Alumni March Madness Giving Challenge!

Alumni from classes 2010-2019, make your gift to the Rocky Hill Fund in March and earn additional dollars from generous alumni sponsors. Gifts of any size count in the March Madness challenge! Our goal is to raise $5,000 between March 1st and March 31st. Check back often to see how your class is doing!

First Month at RHCD: Thoughts from Ailsa Petrie, Spring 2020 Innovator in Residence

Spring 2020 IIR Ailsa Petrie has been working across campus, including with our talented Lower School students.

My first few weeks as Innovator-In-Residence have been both immersive and challenging in the very best ways. I gave the Lower School faculty a design thinking presentation followed by a workshop utilizing tools to encourage creative problem solving. A wealth of opportunities were uncovered in this short session and we even made some headway on feasible solutions to address them. I was impressed by the collaborative discussion and I am excited that design thinking has already been suggested as an approach to upcoming student projects.

Although there are many models for design thinking, the LAUNCH Cycle acronym makes it easier for students to remember the key elements. L: Look, Listen, and Learn A: Ask Tons of Questions U: Understanding the Process or Problem N: Navigate Ideas C: Create a Prototype H: Highlight and Fix

The work we are doing here is designed to take groups of Lower School students, broken down by appropriate grade level pairings, through the design thinking process, enabling them to identify a local problem, iterate solutions, and build testable prototypes. The activity will be called Community Caretakers and kicks off at the beginning of next week!

Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe brought me to a few entrepreneurship classes in the Upper School where I shifted my focus to introducing students to design thinking strategies and frameworks. The students are incredibly receptive, passionate, and open-minded, and I love the Harkness classroom structure. Thank you to everyone I met on my first few days for being so welcoming! I look forward to more time spent at RHCD.

Fair Trade and Global Thinking
Last week, Upper School Spanish students took a trip to Equal Exchange in West Bridgewater, MA, to learn the value and importance of environmentally and socially conscious trade partnerships designed to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers. Some of the takeaways included learning about cooperatives and fair trade for farmers in Central America, South America, and parts of Africa; taking a tour of the facility and learning about the production of coffee; partaking in a jigsaw activity with information related to fair trade and presenting that information using Spanish; and finally tasting different flavors of ethically sourced chocolate.

LEEP Week Returns

Breaking News: The second annual LEEP Week was held this week in Middle School. Full details (with photographs) in the next edition of eCurrents!

World Empathy Week
Mr. Laurent’s 4th grade class spent the last week of February observing World Empathy Week. Developed by a group of experts and educators based in the United Kingdom, World Empathy Week aspires to “grow empathy in 10 million young people by 2030.” On campus, students took a digital journey to India through “5 real life cinematic-stories and active-discussions that connected them to very different lives from their own.” This year’s theme is ‘Sporting Change,’ and delves into stories from Slum Soccer India to explore how empathy has the power to change lives.”

One such short film was that of Sapna Jaiswar (watch below) and her inspiring story of grief, happiness, and sheer determination. After watching her story, the class grappled with stereotypes and discovered how they can be obstacles to empathy. They also studied the themes of positive outlooks, give and take, and gender equality. As Mr. Laurent commented, “Learning and practicing empathy is a key element to ensuring a better world for generations to come.”

Studying Water Quality
On February 24, the Environmental Science class (grades 10-12), took a field trip to four locations along the Hunt River, the freshwater source for the Potowomut River that comprises part of the RHCD waterfront. The class began studying about the river and its watershed last semester, how the land along the river varied in terms of habitat and human impact, and how this effects water quality. Tying it together, the students took observations of the sites along with thinking about how what they were seeing may influence the surrounding water.

Mindfulness Campus Walk
As part of a module on the importance of mindfulness, last week the kindergarten went on a campus walk to understand and appreciate how our bodies respond to the outdoors. Students sat on the dock by the beach and practiced mindfulness activities in nature, noticing the sounds around them (the whistle of the wind, the slapping of the waves) and what their bodies were feeling (the cool breeze, the sting of the wind). The students then walked along the campus nature trails and made sure to collect any trash along the way.

Hero Engine
As part of the Middle School physics curriculum, the 6th grade learned about the great first century Greek thinker, Hero, and how he invented the first steam engine. The class discussed how the world might have been different if society had realized the importance of Hero’s discovery at the time, before building a simple “Hero Engine” from water and a soda can.  Using the principles of Newtonian Physics, the students were challenged to increase the number and/or speed of rotations in the can as well as a series of trial and error experiments including testing position, size, and number of holes in each can. The students discovered they were able to use the action-reaction thrust produced by the water rushing out of the holes in conjunction with the force of gravity to demonstrate the principle of Newton’s Third Law.

This is Our Fight Song!
A school of champions needs a fight song, and on February 21, we got one!  Utilizing the talents of the RHCD school band, Mr. Jack McNamara teamed-up with acclaimed audio producer and engineer, Steve Badessa, to create an emphatic, marching rendition of our Alma Mater. Have a listen below!

Creating Buzz!

Back row (L-R) Kian G. ’26, Katie O. ’25, Zach D. ’25, Nate L. ’24, Will H. ‘24 Front row (L-R) Sayuri L. ’26, Holly S. ’28, Abby M. ‘27 and Isabel A. ’29.

Let’s hear it for 7th grade word wizard, Katie O’Neil, ’25 who last week was crowned 2020 Independent Spelling School Bee champion! Pictured here are Katie and her teammates, each of who competed at the RHCD Spelling Bee.


Sharing Voices Continues to Impact the Community 
The Sophomore English project on the immigrant and refugee experience in Rhode Island, Sharing Voices, has embarked on a statewide tour. It is currently on display at Barrington Books in Garden City and will be open to the public until March 11.

Making a Splash
Senior, Cortlandt M. ’20 recorded an impressive doubleheader during a weekend of competitive swimming on February 29-March 1 at Brown University and Boston University, respectively.

At the Rhode Island State High School Championships at Brown University on February 29, Cortlandt came 3rd in the 50-yard freestyle (personal record of 21.66 seconds, which will move him up in the rankings for the upcoming YMCA National Championships in North Carolina), as well as 5th in the 100-yard freestyle.

What’s more, as the only swimmer from RHCD, Cortlandt’s impressive 30-point haul in the two races means that he single-handedly moved RHCD past ten competing Rhode Island high school teams into 18th place at the 2020 RI Championships!

The next day saw Cortlandt compete at the Southeast New England YMCA Swimming Championships at Boston University, where he came 1st in the 50- yard freestyle, 2nd in the 100-yard freestyle, 2nd in the 200-yard freestyle relay, and 2nd in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Reflecting on Cortlandt’s talent and lifelong tenure at RHCD, Assistant Head of School, Beth Degerlia, had this to say: “Cort has been with us since he was 6th grade and we have enjoyed cheering him on as a champion in the pool and beyond. We wish him continued success as he moves on to nationals!”

So Close!
After an incredible season, both the Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams were knocked-out in the SENE semifinals. In two well-contested, tight matches, the girls lost to Providence Country Day, and the Boys fell to MacDuffie. Both teams should be proud of their accomplishments and went down fighting, as is the Mariner Way. Let’s hear it for the Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams!

Outside SENE, the boys are continuing on in the NEPSAC League, and won their quarter-final game this week. They will be playing in the semi-final match at St. Thomas More School on Saturday, March 7 at 1 p.m.

Peanut Butter Collection

As part of the RI Interscholastic League (RIIL) we are supporting the RIIL Student Advisory Board’s 6th Annual Peanut Butter Express to benefit the RI Community Food Bank. This student-led initiative is being guided by our own Lizze H. ’22, who serves on the Board as a representative of RHCD. We will host three peanut butter collection days on campus. Bring your jars of peanut butter on Friday, March 27 or April 3; there will be a collection station in both parking lots at morning drop-off. Additionally, families can bring jars to the Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony on Monday, March 30.

Registration Open for Spring After School Programs
After School Programs at RHCD provides academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities for Pre-K-8 students in the community.

A variety of engaging ​programs​ are offered, Monday through Thursday (mornings and afternoons), led by highly qualified and talented RHCD faculty members and other professionals in the area.

​Spring Session Basics

  • Courses start the week of April 6th
  • Courses run from 3:20-4:30 p.m. (unless otherwise specified)
  • ​Register by Friday, April 3, 2020

Spring ​Programs

  • Spring Treasure Chests (K-3)
  • Percussion Club (4-8)
  • Fun and Games (K-5)
  • Full STEAM Ahead (2-5)
  • Spring Adventure Club (1-5)
  • Art with Mrs. A. (PS-5)

​For more program information and to register​: Click Here! Be sure to use the login page to register if you have already set up a Veracross account. 

Other questions contact Caity MacDonald, After School Programs Coordinator

Paws and Pages
Does your child love books but could benefit from a little confidence boost?  Then consider signing-up for Paws and Pages, a reading program organized by Seniors Elsa B. ’20 and 
Willa G. ’20!

Hosted by Providence Animal Rescue League, the program is designed to socialize animals at the shelter and help build reading confidence and excitement in young children in a non-threatening and fun environment.

Animals benefit from the exposure to families and become more adoptable, while the kids benefit from a new and nonjudgmental audience. It is a small space, so the sessions are split into bitesize times to encourage participation. Families with young children who have any struggles with reading aloud, reading comprehension, reading confidence, or general enjoyment of reading, are invited to attend.

Classes run every Saturday from noon until 1:30 p.m. at Providence Animal Rescue League on 34 Elbow Street, Providence. Email to register!

Last Call for Yearbooks!
It’s official; this is your last chance to order a yearbook! The deadline is April 1 at 11:59 p.m.  To order, go to, click “Order Yearbooks” button, and enter the school code TheCrest2020 (no spaces). Then, follow the prompts to complete the order.

Not sure if you already ordered a yearbook?  Follow the same instructions, but after you click “Order Yearbooks” button, and select the box to enter your email address to get a confirmation!  Email Dr. Katy Basu ( with any questions.

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to, please add eCurrents to the subject line. Note: there will be no eCurrents published over the break. The publication will return once School resumes.  

February 21, 2020

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Middle School Game Night: Friday, February 21 | Campbell Center | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Trivia Night: Friday, February 21 | Gym | 7 p.m.
    • Middle School Basketball Day: Saturday, February 22 | Gym | 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    • Middle School Basketball Tournament: Saturday, February 22 | Gym | 12  – 8 p.m.
    • Upper School Play: February 28-29 | Campbell Center | 7 – 9 p.m.
    • 9th Grade Parent Breakfast: March 4 | Campbell Center | 8 – 9 a.m.
    • Middle School Admitted Students Day: March 4 | MS Commons | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
    • Middle School LEEP: March 5-6 | Hale and Gibson
    • Upper School Admitted Students Day: March 6 | Campbell Center | 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
    • March Break: March 9-22 | No school
    • Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony: March 30 | Campbell Center | 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Personal Development Day

Faculty and staff participate in Diversity Directions activities during Personal Development Day.

Rocky Hill Country Day School exists to nurture the leaders of tomorrow. However, to maintain the levels of care and support our students have come to expect, from time-to-time faculty and staff need to reflect and develop from within. On February 18, teachers and administrators alike participated in two workshops, Diversity Directions and Culture Work, designed to enhance and further expand their talent and potential. Together, we discovered even more ways we can provide exemplary education for the next generation.

Thank You PTL (We LOVE You!)
On February 13, faculty and staff were surprised to see bags of sweet treats in their mailboxes! Huge thank you to the Parent Teacher League for another lovely gift. Your support means so much!

RHCD in the News (Again!)

And the press coverage keeps coming. Since the last edition of eCurrents, RHCD has been featured not once but twice in the East Greenwich Pendulum! Check out the latest here:

Who is Aunt Jemima? 
On February 2, The Upper School Diversity Club conducted an activity with the Middle School to discuss the damage caused by racial stereotypes and caricatures of African-American people. From these images students created empowering and positive art to counter tired historical clichés.

This lesson is a part of how the Diversity Club is celebrating Black History Month by challenging us to consider “Who is Aunt Jemima?” The essential questions behind the project, “are racial stereotypes of black people still found in our society today? If so, what can we do to combat them?” were devised to help students understand the history behind racial stereotypes and to discover if those stereotypes still exist today, and how they can be challenged and eradicated by the current generation.

The class first viewed the image of Betye Saar’s The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, before being asked four pertinent questions:

  • Describe the women in this image. What is wrong about how she is portrayed?
  • What is the artist trying to say by putting objects/images (like the black power symbol) together?
  • What is her message?
  • Saar called this her first protest piece. What is she protesting?

After the discussion, each student made their own version of Saar’s art. First, students selected prints of racially insensitive figures, like Aunt Jemima, and then altered the images to empower instead of oppress.

Parlez-Vous Francais? These Students Sure Can!
In June 2019, Upper School French students led by Mrs. Eléna Rich took their DELF – Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française (Diploma in French Language Studies) writing, reading, and listening exams. In late January those talented young linguists received their DELF diplomas.

Four of the DELF-accredited students. Back row L-R: Zack W., ’20, Nicholas M. ’20, Kobe P.’ 20. Front row: Christoff B.’ 20

What is DELF? DELF is an international diploma awarded by the French Ministry of Education to prove the French-language skills of non-native French speakers. The diploma is valid for life and is accepted in universities around the world as proof of proficiency. DELF has four levels: A1 and A2 (basic user), and B1 and B2 (independent user). 

The following students completed their DELF accreditation:

    • Faythe S. – B2
    • Christoff B. – B1
    • Nicholas M. – B1
    • Cortlandt M. – B1
    • Kobe P. – B1
    • Zack W. – B1
    • Troy J. – A1

Click here for more information about DELF

Sumo Wrestling Robots
That got your attention, didn’t it? Earlier in the month, a mixed group of Upper School students under the guidance of Mr. Andrew Hoffman-Patalona built and programmed vehicular robots that respond to on-board sensors. Inspired by TV shows such as Battle Bots and Robot Wars, these “sumo wrestling” robots compete for dominance within a ring and are fully self-controlled; meaning they do not require human influence to operate, relying exclusively on their sensors.

“The students are required to find and build appropriate code to make the robots respond to their sensors,” explained Hoffman-Patalona. “Not only does this make for a fun way to learn, but it also assists with their computer science skills.”

Wuhan Needs Your Help
Walking around Flynn, you might notice posters announcing the RHCDS Wuhan Donation Committee. Established by a group of Upper School students from China, the group will be raising funds to purchase n95 masks and shoe protectors for the city of Wuhan, currently crippled by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The team will be hosting bake sales and accepting donations that will be sent to contacts in China who can get the masks directly to the hospital in Wuhan. Any donations can be given to Lisa Goulden in the Upper School or Beth DeGerlia in Hopelands. Thank you!

Testing Newton
Sir Issac Newton might have worked in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but his ideas on physics continue to resonate (and remain relevant) in the present day. In Hale, Karah Chartrand’s Middle School science classes have been investigating Newton’s second law of motion by placing Hess trucks on ramps to test their impact at different levels of elevation. A cool way to experiment with science, Sir Issac would have been proud!

Empty Bowls Resonates with the Community
As part of the Middle School Art Show, students presented their Empty Bowls exhibit on the evening of February 11. Designed to highlight the plight of hunger across the world, the exhibition is part of the global Empty Bowls movement.

Some of the peanut butter, jam, and snacks gathered during Empty Bowls that was donated to Help the Homeless RI, and Breads and Threads.

The evening had two major components: an exhibition featuring a series of bowls created by each grade symbolizing world hunger and a soup dinner. Attendees enjoyed a bowl of hot soup, after which they were invited to consider the perspective that while they had just eaten, the empty bowls of the exhibition remained.

“It’s great that the School instills such strong social awareness,” commented one parent, “as small gestures like this can foster real change in the future.”

“The message behind the project is something most young people don’t get exposed to,” explained another, “and I look forward to supporting Empty Bowls at Rocky Hill Country Day every year.”

A huge thank you to everyone who attended and brought food donations to benefit two local grassroots organizations that feed the hungry: Help the Homeless RI, and Breads and Threads.

Lower School Spreads the Love

The Lower School is famous for filling the campus with positive energy, and this Valentine’s Day was no different! On the morning of February 11, our favorite little tykes went around the school handing out Valentine’s Day hearts to faculty and staff. A beautiful gesture, all the recipients were very moved by their kindness, creativity, and generosity.

Max L. and Kobe P. take it all in during Senior Recognition Night.

Basketball Senior Recognition Night
On February 12 and 14, the Athletics Department held Senior Recognition Nights for basketball players who are graduating at the end of the season. Emotional events, Senior Recognition Night is held on the senior players’ final scheduled home game. It is also symbolic as the evening marks the last time that the players suit-up in a home

Andrew Z. and Nick M. with their families at Senior Recognition Night.

regular season game for their alma mater. Players and the parents alike are recognized for their dedication to their chosen sports, their teammates, and the program as a whole by introducing the player and family to the gathered crowd and giving each a symbolic rose to mark the occasion. Please join us in thanking Andrew Z., Kobe P., Max L. and Nick M. for all the memories and successes We wish you all the very best! 

ACE Ice Cream Social
Nothing beats ice-cream in winter! Come and enjoy some tasty frozen treats on Tuesday, March 3 in the ACE Building from 3:15 – 4:00 p.m. The event is open to ACE students from all three divisions.

Summer Camp
Join us for Summer by the Bay! June 22 – August 7. We are pleased to announce that registration for Rocky Hill Country Day Summer Camps is now open. From traditional camps to specialty and Nike sports camps, experience a summer like no other.

Programs range from traditional day camps to computer coding, culinary classes to sports activities. Our traditional full or half-day programs – Critter Camp, Jr. Mariners, and Mariners, are our most popular camps, while our sports camps are run by adults who know their sport and are top-level players and experienced coaches. Imagine camps in drama, jewelry making, waterfront painting, coding, and even woodworking!

Camps are available for ages 3-17. Visit or contact Karah Chartrand at for more information.

Let’s hear it for Varsity Boys Basketball star, Parker M.! Since joining the team, Parker has established himself as a key “go-to-guy”, improving his abilities game by game and asking important personal development questions that result in better performances every time he pulls on the RHCD uniform. “Parker never complains,” explains Athletics Trainer Art Entwistle, “he puts his head down and works to the best of his ability.”

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

February 7, 2020

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Middle School Art Show: February 10 -14| Hale Commons
    • Empty Bowls Middle School Art Reception (for MS Families): Tuesday, February 11 | Hale | 5:00 p.m.
    • All School PTL Meeting: Thursday, February 13 | Flynn LH | 8:30 a.m.
    • No School for Upper School: Friday, February 14 | Parent Conferences
    • School Closed: Monday, February 17 | Presidents Day
    • School Closed: Tuesday, February 18 | Professional Development Day
    • Middle School Game Night: Friday, February 21 | Campbell Center | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Trivia Night: Friday, February 21 | Gym | 7 p.m.
    • Middle School Basketball Day: Saturday, February 22 | Gym | 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Upper School Play: February 28-29 | Campbell Center |

Head of School Presents at AISNE
Last week, Head of School, Diane Rich presented at the Head’s Retreat sponsored by the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE), one of the largest such associations in the country. Once a year, Heads of School gather to discuss topics relevant to the state of independent schools across the region, and together come to a deeper understanding of their charge as leaders.

Presenting on behalf of RHCD, Mrs. Rich led an important conversation with her peers on the changing education landscape and the essential elements needed to foster an environment where schools can thrive. These were identified as transparency, collaboration, creativity, and calmness of mind—values seen everyday at Rocky Hill Country Day School.

“My take away from attending this year’s 2020 Head’s Retreat,” wrote Mrs. Rich in a Head of School letter, “and hearing the challenges other schools face, is that RHCD is well positioned for the challenges ahead. Our vision of the future of education is serving as a powerful and successful guide.”

Rocky Hill Social: Thank You to All Who Attended!
The Rocky Hill Social at Dorrian’s Red Hand, Manhattan on January 31 was an occasion to remember! Members of the RHCD community young and old, near and far, joined for a festive evening of connecting, reconnecting, and networking. Many thanks to Amy Archambault Dorrian ’94 for hosting us!

Annual Alumni Legacy Social
On January 30, the School hosted its first Annual Alumni Legacy Social. Legacy families are defined as those where a parent of a current student or alumnus/a is also an alumnus/a. Everyone had fun sharing stories about the good old days and looking at yearbooks and Bulletins from years gone by. Graduation years spanned from 1979 – 2013.

RHCD in the News
It has been a busy start to the year, and the local press has been hot on our trail! One event in particular attracted quite a lot of attention: the Junior English project led by Mrs. Buecheler and Mrs. Snyman, “What They Still Carry: Reflections on the Experience of War.” Here are some clippings to enjoy:

Rocky Hill Fund: Half Way There!
The 2019-2020 Rocky Hill Fund is almost halfway to our goal of raising $320,000 by June 30! Want to help us hit the mark? You can make a gift or pledge online! This year, we are celebrating 85 Years and 85 Moments Supported by the Rocky Hill Fund. Here are just a few examples of how all gifts make an impact at RHCD. Thank you for helping to bring them all to life.

Read the Latest “Think Outside” blog

“Disruptive teaching and learning is not a new concept. Dedicated and passionate educators are always looking for ways to better engage their learners.”

Discover why shaking-up the status quo leads to growth in the classroom. By Fourth Grade teacher, Charlie Laurent.

2020-21 Student Activity Fee

You will notice a change this year in your child’s enrollment contract. In an effort to support our families with budgeting and managing school expenses, we are moving away from billing families for various fees and items during the school. Instead, we have instituted a student activity fee. The fee includes class experiences, field trips, a yearbook, billed classroom supplies, and other expected charges for all students in each grade.

The fee varies by grade since the costs and the trips vary by grade. Your student activity fee is also included in your payment plan, which allows fees to be paid over time. Individual charges may appear on your account occasionally, but our aim is to minimize this as much as possible.

Please reach out to the Business Office if you have any questions about this new arrangement.

Announcing Ailsa Petrie: Spring 2020 Innovator in Residence

Spring IIR, Ailsa Petrie

Each year, RHCD invites distinguished industry experts who combine knowledge and skills in novel ways to join our school community as Innovators-In-Residence (IIR). These IIRs elevate dialogue around big, bold ideas, and expose students, faculty, and families to cutting-edge work across a variety of disciplines. IIRs also offer access to networks of entrepreneurs and researchers that provide multidisciplinary real-world learning.

RHCD is pleased to announce Ailsa Petrie as the Spring 2020 IIR. Petrie brings expertise in Design Thinking, Service Design, and Ideation, coupled with a focus on the process of transformation, development, and self-improvement. She has led workshops with Home DepotPorche North America, and Project ReSound (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Petrie attended Syracuse University and SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), and is one of only 20 innovators from around the world selected to join IDEO’s exclusive CoLab Fellows Program. She will be in residence at RHCD during semester 2, through June 2020.

If you have questions or wish to connect with Ailsa, please reach out to the Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe

Nous t’aimons Québec
One of the most beautiful elements of “Thinking Outside” is that is can lead us very far afield indeed. Last week, a party of Eighth Graders under the guidance of Mike Jedrey and Karah Chartrand returned from the 16th annual RHCD trip to Québec City… and what an adventure they had!

From acting-out traditional folk tales to visiting the breathtaking splendor of Montmorency Falls, the three day expedition leaves an indelible mark on all those who embark on the journey. Highlights included tobogganing down the slide at the Château Frontenac, which has been in operation since 1884, eating a traditional Québecois dinner at a sugar shack, and spending an evening snow tubing at Valcartier.

During a walking tour of Old Québec, the party visited the Place Royal, passed near the home Samuel de Champlain who founded Quebec in 1608, and also stopped by the Parliament building. But that wasn’t all. Canada is a paradise for winter activities, and the Eighth Grade made the most of ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing, as well as dog sledding along a forest trail, before visiting a traditional Huron Village in Wendake to learn more about the people who first inhabited this corner of the Americas.

Sound like we’re missing something? No trip to Québec would be complete without eating poutine, and everyone enjoyed this delicious dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy! The Eighth Grade thanks everyone who welcomed them in Québec and showed them the sights of this remarkable Provence. We look forward to seeing you all again, next year.

See more photos on Facebook and Instagram!

The after school sewing crew made joey pouches for orphaned marsupials.

Sending aid to Australia
The Lower School students came together to offer support to Australia as it continues to be ravaged by wildfires. The after school sewing crew completed a service learning project by making joey pouches for baby marsupials who lost their mothers in the fires.

Mad Dash Author Visits RHCD
On Friday, January 31, local author, Tom Kiernan, visited the RHCD library and spoke with Fifth through Seventh Grade students about his book series, The Mad Dash. The premise centers around best friends, Lumpy and Bones, who are about to embark on their final year of Junior High… but their survival depends upon an app for time travel! With thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Hayes Family, all 5th through 7th grade students received free access to the online versions of the series.

Rocky Hill Country Day is a Safe Sports School
As announced in the most recent edition of eCurrents, Rocky Hill Country Day School has received a second Safe Sports School Award (as determined by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA)), for its Mariner Athletic Program. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports, and reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

The Athletics Department displays the NATA banner accrediting RHCD with Safe Sports School status at the Student Boosters annual Tropical Night.

“Rocky Hill Country Day School is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA,” said Arthur Entwistle, Athletic Trainer & Assistant Athletic Director. “We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices, and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.”

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, athletic programs must achieve, among much else:

• A positive athletic health care administrative system
• Safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
• Plans for selection, fit function, and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
• A permanent, appropriately equipped area to treat injured athletes
• Injury and illness prevention strategies
• Injury intervention
• Psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education

Everyone at Rocky Hill Country Day thanks the Athletics Department for the incredible work they do in promoting safe, effective, and fulfilling health and wellness activities.

Unveiling Championship Banners
As far as Fridays go, Friday January 29 was one to remember for the Athletics Department. The gymnasium was alive with a basketball double header (Varsity Girls followed by Varsity Boys), with the respective half times used to reveal the 2019 Rhode Island Interscholastic League Girls Lacrosse D3 State Championship and the 2019 NEPSAC Boys Soccer Class D New England Championship banners. In fitting recognition of 2019 being an incredible year for Athletics, the Student Boosters also hosted their annual Tropical Night. Talk about the Mariner Way!

Reach: The Middle School Art Show
Reach“, the Middle School Art Show, will be on display in the Hale Commons on February 10th-14th. Projects of note include the Sixth Grade “Helping Hands” unit inspired by American Sign Language; Seventh Grade “Superfood Paintings”, and Eighth Grade portraits of Syrian refugees.

Reach Special Event:  Empty Bowls 

Middle School families are invited to celebrate a RHCD adaptation of “Empty Bowls on Tuesday, February 11, 5:00-6:30 p.m. in Hale. Families are encouraged to bring donations of peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, and individually packed snacks to benefit Help the Homeless RI, and Breads and Threads respectively. Soup and refreshments will be served, with the Eighth Grade Tiny House project also being exhibited.

Trivia Night and Middle School Game Night!
The Boosters are hosting Trivia Night on February 21. Just like your favorite evening trivia, there will be a cash bar, BYO snacks, and an amazing host (spoiler alert – it’s Megan Williams!) Anyone can take part, they do not have to be part of RHCD, so grab a friend (or ten) and get a team entered (please note this is an 18+ event)!  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and childcare is available. Sign up here!

Complimentary child supervision will be offered in the Flynn Nautilus for RHCD families from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Need more entertainment? Middle School will also be hosting Middle School Game Night! Students will enjoy an array of games and fun from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Admission is $5 which will be collected to make a donation to the Leukemia Society in support of Aura Rizzo, a longtime teacher and coach at RHCD. Those students who have parents attending Trivia Night are welcome to join other students in the Flynn Lecture Hall until Trivia Night concludes at 9:00 p.m.

ACE Ice Cream Social
Nothing beats ice-cream in winter! Come and enjoy some tasty frozen treats on Tuesday, March 3 in the ACE Building from 3:15 – 4:00 p.m. The event is open to ACE students from all three divisions.

Summer Camp
Join us for Summer by the Bay! June 22 – August 7. We are pleased to announce that registration for Rocky Hill Country Day Summer Camps is now open. From traditional camps to specialty and Nike sports camps, experience a summer like no other.

Programs range from traditional day camps to computer coding, culinary classes to sports activities. Our traditional full or half-day programs – Critter Camp, Jr. Mariners, and Mariners, are our most popular camps, while our sports camps are run by adults who know their sport and are top-level players and experienced coaches. Imagine camps in drama, jewelry making, waterfront painting, coding, and even woodworking!

Visit or contact Karah Chartrand at for more information.

Let’s hear it for sophomore Kaeley Z. of the Upper School Band who has been selected to participate in the Providence College Festival Band! This ensemble is made up of leading wind and percussion students from around the state and selection is made by audition. Outside RHCD, Kaeley studies privately with John Curran, who is the former principal flutist for the RI Philharmonic. The entire RHCD community congratulates Kaeley on this exceptional musical accomplishment.

Flu Season
It is that time of year again when the flu is spreading. The Rhode Island Department of Health has noted an increase in the strain B version of the flu. Receiving a flu vaccine will lessen the severity of the flu, but may not completely protect you from strain B. Strain B is highly contagious and appears to initially have cold-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose/sneezing, fatigue, or muscle aches. If you child is showing these symptoms, please keep them home. We recommend that you also have them seen by a doctor. Please do not send your child back to school until they have been fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours.

Washing your hands often, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking lots of fluids are good ways to prevent the flu or colds.

UPDATE February 6

We have checked with other area schools and they too are experiencing an outbreak. However no other area schools are closing due to the flu. The CDC does not recommend school closure as a way to contain the flu, but instead recommends good hygiene such as washing hands and covering your mouth for any coughs or sneezes.

As other precautionary steps we have done the following:

  • Asked the dining staff to not leave any utensils in the dining area and add an extra washing of all utensils prior to putting them out for service.
  • Provided Clorox wipes to every classroom for cleaning surfaces such as tables, desks, door knobs, etc.

Additionally if you do not feel well, please stay home. The guidance we have received is that this has to run its course. For more information on the season’s flu outbreak, visit the CDC’s flu website.

Yearbook Tributes
Attention parents of Seniors! Want to see your child in print? Order a full, half, or quarter page yearbook tribute! Sign up on Veracross, and follow the prompts to complete your order. Send designs/photographs to Dr. Katy Basu by February 14, 2020. Images must be in .jpg or .pdf. format, with a resolution of 300 DPI or higher.

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

January 24, 2019

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Tri-M Honor Society Coffee House: Wednesday, January 29 | Nautilus | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m
    • Chinese New Year Celebration: Thursday, January 30 | Gym | 11:05 – 11:45 a.m.
    • 8th Grade Quebec Trip: Thursday, January 30 – Sunday, February 2
    • The Mad Dash Author Visit: Friday, January 31 | Library | 11:00 – 11:40 a.m.
    • RHCD in NYC: Friday, January 31 | Dorian Red Hand, New York City | 6:30 p.m.
    • Athletics Banners Unveiling: Friday, January 31 | Various Locations on Campus | from 4:30 p.m.
    • Middle School Art Show: February 10-14 | Middle School Commons (Hale)
    • Empty Bowls Middle School Art Reception: Tuesday, February 11 | Hale | 5:00 p.m.

Spring Break College Tour
We are excited to announce a three day tour of colleges in Western Massachusetts, led by the director of college counseling, Ms. Tara Dowling. Students will visit a wide range of colleges (size, type, cost, selectivity), and learn about the benefits of each. In addition, students will spend time in the company of their college counselor who will use ‘down time’ to teach them how to evaluate a college. Tips will include how students should conduct themselves on a visit, suggest questions to ask a tour guide, how to develop a sense of fit with a college, and how to distinguish one college from another.

Trips will set off from RHCD early in the morning, and return in the late afternoon or early evening. Cost is $235 per student, and includes expert guidance, transportation, lunch and snacks, and one group dinner.

Please contact Ms. Dowling if financial aid is needed.

DAY 1: Monday, March 9
UMASS Amherst Amherst, MA: large, state flagship, very selective
Amherst College Amherst, MA: small, highly selective, liberal arts

DAY 2: Tuesday, March 10
Clark University Worcester, MA: medium, selective, progressive, liberal arts
College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA: medium, liberal arts, very selective, Catholic

DAY 3: Wednesday, March 11
Trinity College Hartford, CT: small, highly selective, liberal arts
Nichols College, Dudley, MA: small, private, moderately selective, business specialty

2020-2021 Re-Enrollment Agreements
Just a note that re-enrollment agreements will be coming soon. Your agreement will be sent to the email address we have on file for you. Please take a moment and confirm that we have the correct information in the Family Portal under Household Update.

RHCD Leads the Way!
We already knew this… but it’s always nice to be recognized! Earlier in the month, Rocky Hill Country Day School was ranked in the Top Ten of Niche’s 100 best Rhode Island schools. Check out the full list on!

Head of School to Present at AISNE Head’s Retreat
Head of School, Mrs. Diane Rich, will be presenting/facilitating at AISNE’s 2020 Heads’ Retreat on Wednesday, January 29. More in the next edition of eCurrents!

Think Outside: Announcing the RHCD Blog 
As with everything at Rocky Hill Country Day School, the concept of Think Outside is a global mindset driven by innovation, transformative education, and project-based learning. Accordingly, we developed a thought leadership blog designed to convey and illustrate the depth and scope behind the RHCD family. With all that in mind, Rocky Hill Country Day School is excited to announce the RHCD thought leadership blog, Think Outside released twice a month. Read the first post, Rocky Hill Country Day: Home of Transformative Education, authored by Head of School, Diane Rich.

 Join us next week when Lower School teacher, Charles Laurent takes a “A Look Inside The Classroom: How To Encourage Disruptive Learning By Saying ”Yes”

What They Still Carry: Experiences of War
Mrs. Buecheler’s and Mrs. Bel Snyman’s Junior English class recently completed “What They Still Carry: Experiences of War,” an interview-based project that recorded the experiences of combat and non-combat veterans. The culmination of the project saw the students exhibit creative responses to their findings at the Varnum Armory in East Greenwich. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage dialogue between civil and military societies by creating an understanding of the effects that war can have on the human body, mind, and relationships.

The exhibition runs January 23-30; we encourage everyone to visit and experience this important and unique civic presentation.

Jannessa Y. ’22 and Anand B. ’22 interviewed and wrote the story of Rodrigo Pimentel, a young Dreamer and DACA recipient.

Sharing Voices Exhibition
On January 17, Sophomore English students launched the Sharing Voices exhibition; the culmination of a PBL module focusing on the immigrant and refugee experience in contemporary America. Under the guidance of Upper School English teacher, Bel Snyman, the exhibition focuses on what the students discovered about themselves and others.

Finn Y. (left) and Mia Z. (right) with interviewee Louisa C., P18, and P21.

The interactions celebrated the power of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers, but most significantly, the students learned about determination and never giving up.

Students were reminded of all the ways that we are different, yet also what we have in common. As they reflected on their identities, the students discovered what it means to negotiate one’s identity and claim one’s new sense of place. While the experiences of the interviewees varied greatly, a single thread came to the surface; one of service and a desire to give back to the society that welcomed them.

Carl no quiere ir a Mexico
As part of learning on identity, Mrs. Bernardinos 7th Grade Spanish students read the book, Carl No Quiere Ir a México. The story centers around Carl who leaves Colorado and travels to Mexico with his family. Carl feels anxious about not knowing Spanish and not belonging. In the end, all turns out well.

On January 10th, the class shared the culmination of the project during the 4th Grade World Languages and Culture class. 7th graders shared their understanding of the story, their first reading totally in Spanish, and the 4th graders had fun while learning some new words in the language. After reading the book in groups, students created a different front cover, rewrote the book in Spanish, and created an interactive game to go along with the experience. 

Stefy A, Grade 11 “The Last Ones” Oil Painting (Silver Key)

Scholastic Art Competition
Congratulations to our students who participated in the Scholastic Art Competition! The Art Show and Ceremony took place at Rhode Island College on January 19th at 2 p.m., with pieces on display throughout the event. Here are all the RHCD winners:

Jasper S., Grade 11. (Silver, Ceramics)

Jasper S. (Grade 11): 1 Silver Key, 1 Gold Key
Cole L. (Grade 12): 1 Silver Key, Ceramics
Sam W. (Grade 12): 1 Silver Key, Ceramics
George K. (Grade 12): Gold Key, Ceramics
Molly P. (Grade 10): 1 Silver Key, Drawing
Stefy A. (Grade 11):  2 Silver Keys, Drawing

Safe Sports School 

Breaking news… for the second time, Rocky Hill Country Day School has received a Safe Sports School Award, as determined by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). The recognition spans the years 2020-2023. More to come in the next edition of eCurrents!

Lady Mariners Victorious!
On Tuesday 14, the RHCD Lady Mariners basketball team traveled to Brown University to take on SENE rival, Providence Country Day. A hotly contested match throughout, the Mariners played some impressive basketball and emerged eventual winners, seeing out the game 50-38!

So Close…
After a long and successful debut season, RHCD eSports team was narrowly defeated by Tiverton High School in the league’s semifinal earlier in the month. After losing the first of three encounters, the players regrouped, re-evaluated, and took the second game 33-14. However, after some enthralling RHCD play, Tiverton won a key fight in the third to push their advantage and close the series. Fighting to the end; the very embodiment of the Mariner Way!

RHCD Alumna and North Kingston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Links-Up with Governor Raimondo for #WindWinRI Program

On January 20, RHCD alumna and Executive Director of North Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Kristin Urbach 87, introduced Governor Raimondo at the Chamber’s #windwinri program. The project commits all of Rhode Island to be powered by renewable electricity by 2030. Learn more on the project here.

Tri-M Honor Society Coffee House
Enjoy an evening showcasing the musical talents of RHCD students to raise money for the Australian wildfires. The showcase will take place in the Flynn Nautilus on Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Join us on Thursday, January 30, to ring in the Chinese New Year! 2020 is the Year of the Rat, the first of the repeating 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. The celebration starts at 11:05 a.m. in the Gym.

Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple!
Join us in NYC on January 31 for a Rocky Hill Social at Dorrian’s Red Hand in the heart of downtown Manhattan. All members of the Rocky Hill community are welcome to join for a festive evening and an opportunity to connect and network with area alumni, former faculty, parents, grandparents, and friends of the School. Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Thank you to Amy Archambault Dorrian ’94 for hosting us in the private bar! Register on Veracross.

Athletics Banners Unveiling
Thanks to the generosity of the Boosters, the Athletics department will be unveiling the championship banners for the 2019 Girls Lacrosse State Championship and the 2019 Boys Soccer New England Championship (as well as the rebranded 2011 Boys Soccer New England Championship banner) during basketball halftimes on January 31. The Boys Soccer will be unveiled during the half-time of the girls game (approximately 4:30 p.m.), with the Girls Lacrosse during the half-time of the boys basketball game (approximately 6:00 p.m.).

Flu Season
It is that time of year again when the flu is spreading. The Rhode Island Department of Health has noted an increase in the strain B version of the flu. Receiving a flu vaccine will lessen the severity of the flu, but may not completely protect you from strain B. Strain B is highly contagious and appears to initially have cold-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose/sneezing, fatigue, or muscle aches. If you child is showing these symptoms, please keep them home. We recommend that you also have them seen by a doctor. Please do not send your child back to school until they have been without a fever for 24 hours.

Washing your hands often, getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of fluids are good ways to prevent the flu or colds.

Yearbook Tributes
Attention parents of Seniors! Want to see your child in print? Order a full, half, or quarter page yearbook tribute! Sign up on Veracross, and follow the prompts to complete your order. Send designs/photographs to Dr. Katy Basu by February 14, 2020. Images must be in .jpg or .pdf. format, with a resolution of 300 DPI or higher.

Send us your news!

Email a description and photo to, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

December 20 2019

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Winter Solstice: Friday, December 20 | School Closes and Classes Dismissed at 12:00 p.m.
    • Home for the Holidays Alumni Social: Friday, December 27th | 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Apponaug Brewing Company in Warwick.
    • Winter Break: Monday, December 23 – Friday, January 3, 2020 | NO SCHOOL
    • Term Starts: Monday, January 6, 2020

(New) Wheels on the Bus
A new school bus hit the asphalt last week after longstanding driver, Bill Langlois, cut the ribbon at a special ceremony on campus. The contemporary interpretation of the classic Blue Bird Micro is built on a robust Chevrolet 4500 chassis, and will be used to safely and comfortably ferry RHCD students for many years to come! Thank you to everyone who donated funds to purchase this essential piece of school equipment.

P-P-P-P-enguin Plunge (Brrrrr!)

The Penguin Plunge crew moments before the big dive!

On the chilly afternoon of December 12, a group of brave students and staff took to the frigid water of Narragansett Bay to participate in a charity penguin plunge. The funds raised were donated to the Special Olympics RI in support of their own penguin plunge, taking place on January 1st. Congratulations (and kudos) to all those who took part and thanks to the Interact Club for organizing the event!

Registration Open for Winter After School Programs
After School Programs at RHCD, previously RHEA, provide academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities for PreK-5 students in the community. A variety of engaging ​programs​ are offered, Monday through Thursday (mornings and afternoons), led by highly qualified and talented RHCD faculty members and other professionals in the area.

​Winter Session Basics

    • Courses start the week of January 13th
    • Courses run from 3:20-4:30 p.m. (unless otherwise specified)
    • ​Register by Friday, January 10, 2020

Winter ​Programs

    • Crystal Creations (K-3)
    • Toy Hack Club (3-5)
    • Learn to Play Violin (K-2)
    • Baking and Crafts (K-5)
    • Sewing (3-8)
    • Full STEAM Ahead (2-5)
    • Pottery (1-5)
    • Winter Adventure Club (2-5)
    • Mindful Moving and Making (K-5)
    • Theatre by the Bay (3-5)

​For more program information and to register​: Click Here! Be sure to use the login page to register if you have already set up a Veracross account. Contact Mrs. Pontarelli, Head of Lower School, with questions.

Reminder: Financial Aid Applications
Financial Aid applications for the 2019 – 2020 school year are due by December 31, 2019. Parents should use their income tax information from 2018.

Solstice Sweet Swap!
The RHCD Parent Teacher League baked up a storm for a Solstice Sweets Swap! Faculty and staff members received holiday cookies courtesy of our generous parents making this winter break even sweeter.

Winter Celebration with Head of School
On the afternoon of December 19, Head of School Diane Rich invited faculty and staff into her home to celebrate the closing of an incredible and memorable year at Rocky Hill Country Day. Here are some photographs from the occasion.

Building Blocks of Success: First LEGO League Qualifying Tournament at RHCD
At Rocky Hill Country Day School, students are encouraged to solve real world problems, and last week this ethos was once again brought to life as the School participated in FIRST LEGO League Robotics State Qualifier, hosted on campus.

The Robo Mariners developed an eco-walk material using recycled and home-made bioplastic. The Team will compete in the Statewide finals in January 2020!

Competing against 12 other teams, The Robo Mariners grappled with the issues surrounding asphalt surfaces in cities and towns, and developed an alternative eco-walk material using recycled materials and homemade bioplastic.

Their innovative solution was submitted to a panel of expert judges, alongside a robot named Scorpion that posted the fourth highest overall score in the tournament with 220 points.

In preparation for the State Finals at Roger Williams University on January 11, the team will continue to refine their programming and their innovative “E-Walk” solution. More on this in the next edition of eCurrents!

Thinking Outside About RHCD Trees
Since September, freshmen English, biology, and art foundations classes have been collaborating on a cross-discipline PBL theme titled “Thinking Outside About RHCD Trees”. On Thursday, December 19, the students hosted the “RHCD Tree Fair” to review and discuss their findings. The students also hosted informative walking tours around the campus to present their research within the context of the surroundings.

Constitutional Considerations

Eight grade students with State Representatives discussing the constitutional and safety issues surrounding gun ownership.

Mrs. Cicchese’s eighth grade English class, along with Mr. Greenwood’s eighth grade american government class recently completed a compelling and powerful project-based learning opportunity to address the question: How can we reduce the amount of gun violence in America without violating the constitutional rights of citizens? As a culminating event, the students presented their findings, along with suggestions for solutions, to three Rhode Island state legislators: Justine Caldwell (East Greenwich), Carol McEntee (South Kingstown), and Deb Ruggiero (Jamestown). The eighth grade deeply appreciates the representatives taking time out of their hectic schedules to discuss this important issue.

Cell Membrane Modeling
Thinking outside means many things, including creative ways to convey complex ideas. Recently, seventh grade science applied the engineering design process to their studies by identifying the different parts of a phospholipid bilayer before defining and providing examples of osmosis, simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion, and active transport.

Each student made a model of a semi-permeable membrane, differentiating between passive and active transport, before designing and building a semi-functional model. “The cool thing about this project,” explains Middle School science teacher, Mrs Chartrand, “is that every group’s model is extremely different, yet each can accurately mimic a cell membrane.”

To assess, the students tested the models by moving various symbolic materials through them (sand, beans, pom-poms  etc.). By making a 3-D model, students became aware of the form and function (anatomy and physiology) of organelles and structures that make up a plant or animal cell. They were able to visualize the difference between major cell types by examining their peers’ models.

Future Forum
Innovation is key to our thinking at RHCD, and this was reinforced once more as a group of students took part in the Future Forum, an ideation summit at Hope High School designed to explore issues in Providence public schools and discuss student-derived solutions.

Under the leadership of Mrs. Stowe, Ms. Downling, and Ms. Wheatley, students from RHCD and a host of Providence public schools linked-up with 25 corporate ‘futurists’ from organizations such as DataRobot, Working Planet, ALEX AND ANI, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Brown University, and CVS Health to work through the various challenges raised during the summit. With the long view in mind, the Future Forum also offered participants the opportunity to work with peers of diverse backgrounds to prepare them for the complexities and social variety of the workplace.

Winter Concert Series
Tis’ the season for music! Throughout December, a series of concerts showcasing the musical talents of our students were held both on and off campus. Audiences were treated to a wide and varied spread of pieces, including a traditional South African prayer sung in Xhosa, a selection from the Nutcracker Suite, The Godfather theme tune, Latin carols, and a cover of Des’ree Weekes’ “You Gotta Be.” Talk about talented! Take a well-deserved bow, everyone!

Introducing Mariner Madness
The Athletics and Student Boosters Clubs rounded off a memorable year with a brand new event this December. Dubbed Mariner Madness, the occasion was inspired by Midnight Madness (but at a more reasonable hour!). Festivities began with an indoor tailgate in the cafeteria before switching to the gym for the main event complete with basketball (plus some basketball goofiness) cheered-on by energetic fans in full pep rally mode. This one will definitely be returning next year!

Welcome to the Family!
Dean of Student Life and Upper School French instructor, Madame Elena Rich, and her husband, Patrick, are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Jules Emerson Rich. Jules was born on December 14, right on his due date, and looks forward to becoming a Mariner of the future! Welcome to the RHCD family, Jules.

RHCD Around the World
RHCD’s national and international footprint expanded even further in 2019, as faculty and staff, including Mrs. Dowling, Mrs. Fonseca Lanham, Mrs. Gustavel and Mrs. Bernardino presented at industry conferences.

A Warm Meal for Those in Need
This Christmas Eve, Mrs. Chartland will be supporting the 3rd Annual Christmas Eve Dinner for the Homeless, to be held at Millrace in Woonsocket. The volunteers are still accepting donations of food, money, and gifts (all ages and adult), and welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer their time, too. For more information, or to get involved, please email Mrs. Chartrand.

Limited edition RHCD Mug

The Ceramics Department presents this limited edition #RHCD mug! Mugs are $25 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Fund for the China Trip. To purchase a mug, visit the Library and please bring a check for payment.

Send us your news!

Email a description and photo to, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

December 6

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Mariner Madness: Friday, December 6 | 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. | Cafeteria / Gym
    • 3rd Annual GVBB Mariner Classic: Saturday, December 7 | 10:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. | Gym
    • First LEGO League Qualifying Tournament at RHCD: Sunday, December 8 | 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Gym
    • Gun Violence PBL Presentation: Monday, December 9 | 11:40 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Middle School Commons
    • RHCD Choral Concert Featuring 3rd-12th Grade: Thursday, December 12 |6:30 – 8:00 p.m. | Gym
    • New School Bus Ribbon Cutting: Thursday, December 12  | 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
    • Middle School Dance #1: Friday, December 13  | 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
    • 15 Annual BVBB Mariner Classic: | 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Gym
    • Winter Solstice: Friday, December 20 | School Closes and Classes Dismissed at 12:00 p.m.
    • Winter Break: Monday, December 22 – January 3 2020 | NO SCHOOL

Celebrating 35th Annual Grandfriends Day

The 35th Annual Grandfriends Day was well attended by visitors from across the country.

Grandfriends Day is a hallmark of the School calendar, and 35 years into the tradition, the sense of pride and community is as palpable as ever.  Visitors from across the country gathered to enjoy a bright, fall day on the shores of Narragansett Bay, with one particular individual making the 1,347 mile trek from Sarasota, Florida. The morning began with a spread of coffee, nibbles, and pastries, before grades split off to engage in various activities.

In the art room, Mrs. Dumas held creative activities, while Miss Emily led an energetic dance routine in the music room. Over in Perkins Hall, Ms. Hudson expanded the linguistic repertoire of visitors, while Mr. Wyzga proved, yet again, that science is cool, fun, and educational.

Visitors enjoyed a variety of engaging, hands-on activities.

Joining the excitement were Mr. Laurent in the 4th Grade classroom, Mrs. Seddon in Kindergarten and Mrs. Runci in 5th Grade, while Mr. Tucker held an exciting activity in the gymnasium where the floor had turned to ‘lava’…  Mrs. Lee welcomed visitors to the 1st Grade classroom, with the library becoming a hub of word-based activities.

Grandfriends Day concluded with a series of video presentations and choral sing-a-longs!

The occasion came to an entertaining conclusion back in the Campbell Cafeteria, with a series of videos and sing-a-longs (including a rousing rendition of Dixie Chicks hit, Wide Open Spaces) sending visitors home with a spring in their step.

Introducing the Turkey Trot 

Happy faces abound during our first ever RHCD Turkey Trot!

Something old, now something brand new! The holiday season is known for big family dinners, but that does not mean we need to forget about keeping fit. This Thanksgiving, Lower School took part in the first-ever turkey trot; a mile-long fun run around campus. With the sun shining and the thermometer at a comfortable 40 degrees, participants enjoyed perfect conditions to stretch their legs, all while collecting canned goods that were donated to the North Kingstown Food Pantry.

Holiday Pies from The Parent Teacher League

And something yummy too! The Parent Teacher League celebrated our wonderful faculty and staff with a new Thanksgiving tradition, sending everyone home with a holiday pie from Highland Farm and a card handmade by RHCD students. A truly delicious gift. Thank you PTL.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Parent Teacher League!

Winter Break Bus Services

School will close for the holidays at noon on December 20th. The Rocky Hill Providence and South County bus services will leave at 12:15 p.m. All other bus services are cancelled for the day. Please note: after school care is also unavailable.

Financial Aid Applications

Financial Aid applications for the 2019 – 2020 school year are due by December 31, 2019. Parents should use their income tax information from 2018.

Guadalajara Bracelet Project Update 

In October, Lower School launched their service learning module, with students discovering more about fundamental human needs, and the distinction between community service and service learning. This was supported by the Jesse Lewis Choose Love social-emotional curriculum, designed to transform an upcoming community service project.

Recipients of the Lower School service learning module bracelet project, Guadalajara, Mexico.

Putting their lessons into practice, First Graders, Ellie E. and Joey E., shared information about children living in an impoverished neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico in preparation for their mother, Melissa Edelmann‘s service trip with Culture Care Kids First Foundation. Subsequently, students demonstrated ‘compassion in action’ as they made friendship bracelets for the Mexican children benefiting from the initiative. Melissa Edelmann, Joey & Ellie’s mom, delivered the friendship bracelets, along with crafts and learning supplies to three community centers in the city that seek to offer refuge and love to local children.

Holiday Gift Collection

Middle and Upper Schools are once again fulfilling the holiday wishes of teenagers in need through foster care charity, Communities for People. Middle School advisories will each sponsor a teenager, with the students bringing in a number of items for that specific individual. Going a different route, Upper School advisories are each responsible for a particular category of gift, ranging from Dunkin Donuts gift cards to toiletry kits and art supplies. These items will be compiled and sprinkled throughout gifts packs assigned to another group of teenagers at Communities for People.

Be on the lookout for emails from advisors and details in the weekly divisional announcements. The deadline for bringing in items is Monday, December 16th. Please email Mrs. Eaton or Mrs. Armentano if you have any questions or want to be more involved.

Dance, Dance, Transversal

Click image to see video (opens in new window)

Creative ways to learn are part and parcel of the student experience at RHCD. In the math department, Mrs. Slaybaugh’s and Mrs. Eaton’s Freshman and Sophomore classes are using the power of dance to discover the different types of angle relationships generated by a transversal through parallel lines. First, students study a PowerPoint displaying different angles, before the limber learners place their feet on the corresponding angles outlined on the floor. Once the angles are reviewed and students are comfortable with what they’re working with, they choreograph their own dance routines! But instead of calling-out dance moves, they refer to the angles, and then teach their classmates how to follow suit. Math has never been so fun!

In Case You Missed… The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

At the end of November, the student body put on a masterful version of the classic theater comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. If you were not lucky enough to catch it in person, worry not! The video below captures every beat, joke, and note from the performance (plus much more). Enjoy!

Every Dog Has Its Day
by Mrs. Dawn Temple

As a photography instructor, to be able to utilize the RHCD campus is a dream. With extensive outdoor access, Photography Class students are encouraged to explore the grounds, looking at it through a different “lens” while putting into practice the various photography fundamentals introduced during class. What were once buildings, trees, fields, and other school landmarks, suddenly become line, shape, pattern, texture, color, and all the other elements of their study.

However, the students have been mostly photographing inanimate objects, so when Head of School, Mrs. Rich, brought her dog Brinkley for a visit, I could not pass it up! But dogs can be quite unpredictable, meaning the students needed to be on their toes, ready to photograph at any moment. Not only did the experience allow students the opportunity to practice using their knowledge of shutter speed, in order to properly photograph Brinkley, but it also taught the importance of being prepared, ready to capture just the right shot, while also making sure it’s properly framed and exposed. The students did a great job, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share my love of photography with them!

Mariner Madness

If it’s still Friday and you’re reading your eCurrents early, head over to the Cafeteria for an evening of Mariner Madness! This brand new initiative kicks-off at 5:00 p.m. with an indoor ‘tailgate’, accompanied by food, music, and games. At 7:00 p.m., the party moves into the gym for a community pep rally full of fun, competitions, prizes, and more, before wrapping up at 8:30 p.m. See you there!

Fall Athletic Awards Winners

2019 has been an exceptional year for RHCD Athletics, with Boys Varsity Lacrosse, Girls Varsity Lacrosse, Varsity Golf, Varsity Tennis and Boys Varsity Soccer all winning their championships.  Given such an impressive run, this year’s Fall Athletic Awards was particularly special. Here is the list of award winners in full. 

Introducing eSports

Rocky Hill eSports is a new approach to challenging students both physically and mentally. While incorporating elements of physical exercise, students participating in eSports spend their afternoons strategizing and working collaboratively in an online game titled “League of Legends”. Competing against schools across Rhode Island, challengers from Rocky Hill Country Day School bring their own unique flair to every match. RHCD is currently engaged in their second year of the eSports program, and every season brings new players and team compositions to the table. Their coach, Mr. Shaker, believes that the teams have what it takes to place highly this season and has high hopes for the future of this up-and-coming activity.

Music and the Brain

Mr. McNamara has been sharing his passion, patience, and talents with the student body for 14 years. But what keeps this accomplished jazz musician and improvisational horn player committed after all these years in a PK-12 school setting? The answer is simple; the kids and the impact music has had on their lives.

McNamara’s ability to articulate the impacts for his students is a result of his enduring relationships with student musicians, regardless of ability. Students who do not have previous instrumental training prior to entering RHCD must select an instrument among brass, woodwinds, or percussion upon starting the 5th grade.

This mandatory experience indicates our commitment to music education and the potential impacts such an education can have for students during their time at RHCD and beyond. Mr. McNamara works to identify the specific impacts noted for each student and is able to leverage those benefits, thus supporting everything from self-esteem to time-management for our students.

Mr. McNamara conducting the school band during the 2019 Spring Instrumental Concert.

McNamara’s vision is supported by his extra-curricular activities. Alongside being a committed gig musician, McNamara was recently elected to conduct the 2020 Rhode Island Music Education Association All-State Junior Band, the result of a selection process by peer conductors across the state. It is an honor he takes very seriously, and one that has earned him the admiration and support of his fellow conductors. RIMEA pursues all aspects of music education, supporting 130,000 member music educators from preschool-aged children to graduate students of music.  

The Ceramics Department is holding its annual sale of limited edition Rocky Hill mugs! Mr. Chatterley’s demo pots are also for sale. Mugs are $25 per item, with demo pots varying in price.  All proceeds will benefit the Scholarship Fund for the China Trip. Sale begins December 9 at the library, ending right before Solstice (or whenever supplies run out).

Note: we are only accepting checks for these beautiful, unique gifts. Any questions, please email Mr. Chatterley: Checks can be left with Mrs. Gustavel in the library. 

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October 25

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Mid-Semester Progress Reports: Monday, November 4
    • 2019 Fall Athletic Awards Ceremony: Monday Nov 25th 5:30-7pm in Campbell Center
    • Veterans Day Ceremony: Friday, November 8 | 11:00 a.m. | Sharpe Gym
    • Veterans Day: Monday, November 11  NO SCHOOL
    • Hack for Global Good: Fri-Sat, November 15-16 | 3:00 p.m. |
    • Coalition for Schools Educating Mindfully New England Chapter Meeting: Monday, November 25 | 5:30 p.m. | Flynn Lecture Hall

Open House Attracts Big Crowds On October 20th we had the pleasure of meeting the Rocky Hill Country Day School community of the future. Over 225 prospective parents and students visited the campus to engage in classroom activities and explore the waterfront. Some tried their hand at a spot of seining, others embarked on tours across the grounds, with each guest gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to Think Outside in everything we do (all the while enjoying apple donuts and hot cider!)

A student panel wrapped up the day’s events, with eight Upper School volunteers answering questions from our visitors in the Flynn Lecture Hall. An enormous thank you to our students, parents, and faculty for sharing their Rocky Hill Country Day stories with the visitors, and for helping to bring new faces to RHCD.

After Pakistan Success Memory Project Heads to Syria

As reported in an earlier edition of eCurrents, back in the spring the eighth grade drew portraits of children in Pakistan as part of a program called the Memory Project; an initiative that connects art classes in the United States with orphanages around the world. Each eighth grader received a photo of a child living in an orphanage in Pakistan with their name, age, and favorite color.  The portraits were then delivered to Pakistan, along with 3,000 similar pieces from students at other schools across the country.

Rocky Hill Country Day School is pleased to announce that we will continue our involvement with the project, and the Upper School Drawing and Painting 1 classes will be creating another batch of portraits to send to Pakistan this winter. This year’s eighth graders will also continue our connection with the Memory Project by creating portraits for children in Syria.

Studies conducted by the Memory Project reveal that many people in the USA and Pakistan regard each other negatively with significant levels of mistrust. The initiate seeks to change the narrative in future generations by stressing the commonalities between people, regardless of location, race or religion.

Looking to the Future at College Night 


Rocky Hill Country Day School exists to prepare the next generation for success. On October 17th we hosted a College Preview Night for parents of juniors and sophomores thinking about the next stage of their academic career.

There was a strong showing from the junior class and families, as well as a significant contingent of sophomores and families. Audience participation made for a productive evening, with a wealth of wisdom and guidance provided by the evening’s panelists: James R. Fowler, Jr., vice president for enrollment management at Salve Regina University; Paul Brower, assistant dean for enrollment, Nichols College, MA; Dr. Drew Heilpern, chief brand ambassador, Summit Educational Group; and Michelle Cordeiro, assistant director of financial aid at Roger Williams University.

Big round of applause to Mrs. Dowling for organizing such a marvelous occasion.

Cardboard Regatta

One of the most popular events in the School calendar is the fifth grade Cardboard Regatta! Arranged by Mr. Wyzga, this creative endeavor showcases our students’ artistic and design abilities, all the while educating them on the various properties of water. Here are some highlights from the day! Want more? Check-out additional images on Facebook!

Bringing Halloween to the Troops

In partnership with Operation Gratitude, the Interact Club will be collecting leftover trick or treat candy to be sent inside care packages to deployed troops. Collection bins will be stationed across the campus. Please note: we cannot collect Pixie Sticks or any other powder-based candy.

Faculty Personal Development Day

Personal expression is encouraged at Rocky Hill Country Day School, and the ethos is not restricted to the student body. On October 15, faculty and staff took part in a personal development day that provided strategies on how to optimize understanding, cohesion, value and communication within the workplace.

Pam Herath, Leadership and Culture Consultant holds a seminar during the faculty personal development day
Pam Herath, Leadership and Culture Consultant holds a seminar during the faculty personal development day

Several different workshops ran throughout the program, each structured to inspire deeper understandings of the self and of others. However, just as a school ethos cannot exist in a vacuum, neither can the benefits of professional mentoring, and while it was faculty members sitting in those classes, it is the students who will benefit the most from the personal development day.

Speaking at the beginning of the program, Head of School, Mrs. Rich, commented that, “While professional development is important, today let’s focus on us as individuals and as a culture.”

“From time-to-time, it’s good to fill-up those tanks.”

With thanks to Marie Mechtaly, CPCC Professional Life Coach, and Pam Herath, Leadership and Culture Consultant.

Hack For Global Good: Meet the Mentors Pt. 1

Hack For Global Good is a real world, problem-solving event created by RHCD students. In 24-hours, student teams representing private and public schools across Rhode Island must brainstorm a bold solution to the U.N. Global Challenge of Pollution.

In the first of a series, we are excited to announce just a few of the mentors who will be helping guide the event.

“Top 15 Women to Watch in Tech” heavyweight Hannah Chung is co-founder & head of design at Sproutel, a patient-centered R&D workshop, and is supported by her colleague, Ellie Mowry. From RDW Group comes local brand and marketing guru, Jim Pontarelli, while Anessa Petteruti of Brown University brings a wealth of hack knowledge to the table. Also from Brown is the institution’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Arnell Millhouse, and is joined by Jodie Woodruff, who is the Director of Entrepreneurship at the Met School. Chris Sanacore is an innovation specialist at the Providence Public School Department, while robotics engineer, Chris Savoia, joins from Universal Robots. From Ximedica comes Micah Reyes, with Fab Newport sending not only their founder, Steve Heath, but also their Master of Product Innovation, Keith Ranaldi. Stay tuned for more mentors, coming soon!

Registration is Open!
All high school students and all skill-levels are needed. We invite any Rhode Island student passionate about collaboration and problem-solving to join us November 15-16, 2019 at the RHCD campus. Registration is $25 Student / $150 Team with scholarships available. Sign-up online or via Whova app.

Fall Frolics! Pumpkin Carving and Leaf Peeping

There’s nowhere better to experience the beauty of fall than New England, and both the Preschool and Middle School can prove it! First up are these amazing carved pumpkins, as created by the Middle School. Which are your favorites?

Not to be outdone, Preschool took a trip into the glorious October sunshine to play in the leaves and find out more about autumnal changes!

How Project Based Learning Thinks Outside
Fifth grade met with Head of School, Mrs. Rich last week to kick-off their next Project Based Learning experience. After meeting with Mrs. Rich, the students came together to develop their driving question: “How can we, as 5th graders at Rocky Hill Country Day, come up with ways to Think Outside to improve our school?” Keep an eye on eCurrents for updates on the initiative as it develops.

Land of Fires Middle School Soccer Tournament 
The School hosted its 8th Annual Land of Fires MS Soccer Tournament on Sunday October 20. The tournament hosts similar sized and talented smaller private schools in an end of the year tournament to cap off the season. This year, the teams who participated were: RHCD, San Miguel, Community Prep, Blackstone Valley Prep, Learning Community, and PCD.

Each team was evenly matched, and many games went through over time and into shoot outs. Community Prep came into the tournament with an undefeated record, with RHCD and Community Prep having played in the final game of the regular season (four days before the tournament, 2-1 victory to Community Prep). Everyone expected that the tournament championship would be a rematch. However, that is not how things played out, with eventual champions Community Prep defeating Learning Community in a shoot out.

Final Seeding: Champions – Community Prep 2nd Place – Learning Community 3rd Place – Rocky Hill Country Day 4th Place – Blackstone Valley Prep.  

Sinead. B was nominated in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Student Athlete of the Month

Last month, 11th grade athlete, Sinead. B was nominated in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Student Athlete of the Month competition. A three-year varsity field hockey starter, Sinead’s skills on the left wing were recently reflected in her scoring two out of the five goals in the School’s 5-1 win over Woonsocket. Off the field, Sinead holds a 3.42 cumulative GPA that includes three honors courses.

However, not everything is grand slams and hat-tricks for Sinead. As a student-athlete who lives with Type 1 diabetes, Sinead embodies the RHCD belief that strength can be obtained from adversity. Utilizing her position as a JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) New England Chapter student-ambassador, Sinead brought her passion for service to the team by organizing and hosting a JDRF fundraising game on September 12th.

Through her work with JDRF, Sinead has become an invaluable mentor at the School, including supporting and guiding other student-athletes who manage their diabetes while playing high level athletics.

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