Hudson Valley Education; Hudson Valley Schools & Camps In Upstate New York

Education

From traditional schools to progressive programs, Chronogram’s coverage of educational opportunities in the Hudson Valley is wide reaching. Feature articles address controversial issues, like technology and meditation in the classroom, as well as interviews with educators and students. Nontraditional educational opportunities in the Hudson Valley, like Waldorf and Montessori schools, are profiled so that parents can make a more informed decision about where their child goes to school.

 

Why This Capital Region School Opted Out of Advanced Placement

The College Board’s influence on students’ education in the form of standardized tests like the SAT and Advanced Placement exams has increasingly been questioned by high school counselors and colleges, including the Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer.

Tags: Schools

A Day at Summer Camp

A whimsical illustrated account of just another glorious day at summer camp from a former YMCA camp counselor.

Tags: Summer Camps

9 Tips for Navigating the College Admissions Process

Applying to college is more anxiety-inducing than ever—for both parents and students. The process seems like it’s defined by an ever-morphing list of deadlines and requirements—made all the more serious by its far-reaching impacts post-college, too. To help us figure out what really matters in the college admissions process, we turned to Kathleen Bracken, an admissions pro with over 15 years of experience and the Director of College Counseling at the Doane Stuart School, an independent preparatory school in Rensselaer serving grades preK through 12. How do you help students find a college that's right for them? When I first meet with juniors, many are surprised at how few questions I ask about college specifically. Much of what I try to gather is about the student’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and hopes. Students should consider who they are, their goals, and how they learn best. They should also do their own practical research by taking campus tours and meeting with admission representatives. When do you recommend students start applying to college? At Doane Stuart, no applications are done before senior year. Yet, in some ways, the process begins when students enter high school. The grades and activities from that point forward will be part of students’ applications. As students progress through high school, it begins more in earnest. How many colleges should a student apply to? I recommend students enter senior year with a list of about 6 to 10 schools they want to focus on. Does the mix of in-state vs out-of-state schools matter? A common myth I hear is that staying in-state is always cheaper than going out of state. The reality is much more nuanced and depends greatly on the schools themselves, the student’s academic profile, and the family’s financial situation. I’m lucky to work closely with families to navigate their specific circumstances. Students in New York State are very fortunate to have a wonderful group of public schools to consider. How important is selecting a major? Balance is everything! There can be way too much pressure on high school students to select a major or career they’ll pursue for the rest of their life. Studies show that it’s very common to change one’s mind during the college years. I strive to strike a balance by helping students explore careers, while not putting pressure on 16-year-olds to choose their life path. Should students consider applying early decision? Early decision continues to be an important recruiting tool for many selective colleges. There are some colleges that fill more than half of their incoming class through early decision. This is a big commitment, not to be undertaken lightly, but it’s important for students to understand the role it can play. Here’s an example: Hamilton College filled 50.7 percent of the class of 2022 through early decision. The early decision acceptance rate was 42 percent versus a regular decision acceptance rate of 19.2 percent. How important is a student’s GPA? A GPA means nothing without the context of a high school transcript. The transcript can show trends in performance over time, as well as how a student has challenged him or herself. The GPA is just a number, which varies among different high schools using different grading scales. At Doane Stuart, we use a very standard 4.0 scale and don’t weight any of our courses, which makes it easier for colleges to understand. Are standardized tests like the SAT still valued by colleges? The weight given to these tests varies greatly by school. At some schools, standardized tests aren’t even required, a trend I applaud. I’m a strong supporter of Fair Test, a nonprofit that works to prevent the misuse of test scores. They maintain a list of test-optional and test-flexible schools, which grows longer every year. The surge of test-optional admissions shows no signs of stopping. It’s encouraging to see the waning influence of the College Board, and see colleges recognizing that many wonderful, bright, motivated students don’t show their strengths from a grueling four-hour exam on one Saturday of their life. The college admissions process seems like it gets more competitive every year. How do you keep students grounded despite all that pressure? I tell students at the onset of the admissions process that this is not fatalistic. College admissions is not an evolution toward one perfect school. Students should have the mindset that there are many places they can be happy and get a great education. In this process, there are factors both inside and outside of a student’s control. They should focus on the things they can do to bolster their applications, rather than factors completely outside their influence, like legacy connections. Your grades, however, are in your control! I often repeat something a great yoga teacher told me: Stay on your own yoga mat! This process is very personal. It’s not helpful to spend time comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own journey, and define success for yourself. Don’t invest your time and energy worrying about what other people are doing. ...

Tags: Colleges

This Kingston School Introduces Kids to Tech Through Blended Learning

Kingston Catholic School's blended learning program combines online and traditional classroom learning and can adapt to students’ individual needs and learning paces.

Tags: In the Classroom

A River Runs through the Classroom: K-12 Programs at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries

Through partnerships with local school districts, the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries offers several hands-on learning experiences that provide students with early exposure to environmental issues and STEM subjects

Tags: Schools

The Devil’s Advocate: A Local Outlet for Student-Created Content

The daughter of Alex Shiffer and Sharon Richman, creators of the Shawangunk Journal, brings student-created content to the classroom through a new app.

Tags: In the Classroom

Leading By Example

The New Head of Doane Stuart School Aims for Accessibility
Meet Cecil Stodghill, the newly appointed head of the Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer.

Tags: Schools

Stoneleigh-Burnham School Undertakes Inclusive Tuition Initiative

Stoneleigh-Burnham School, a private girls’ boarding and day school serving grades 7-12 in Greenfield, Massachusetts, is starting to implement a tuition reset for their day school program to benefit a broader spectrum of income levels.

Tags: Schools

The Winter of Our Contentment: The School of Practical Philosophy Offers Their January Intro Courses for Free

In January, the School of Practical Philosophy will offer free introductory courses at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon and its Upstate location at the former Borden dairy farm in Wallkill.

Tags: Schools

Green Meadow Waldorf School Prioritizes Inclusion and Accessibility

Alongside the core values of holistic education, nature immersion, and creative cultivation, Green Meadow Waldorf School in Westchester is putting a greater focus on accessibility with programs like their open-to-the-public after school programs, sliding tuition, and Forest Preschool.

Tags: Schools

Minds in Bloom: Collaborative Learning at The Manitou School

Curious and creative minds flourish in an academic setting where compassion and joy are an integral part of the learning culture.

Tags: Schools

Woodland Pond is Seeking Team Players to Join Their Family

You may have thought briefly about elder care, then recalled what you’ve heard about typical care facilities and decided it wasn’t for you. You want to be around happy people. Well, have you considered Woodland Pond?

Tags: Adult Ed-Continuing

Extending Opportunity at Westchester Community College's Peekskill Extension Center

The Peekskill Extension Center of Westchester Community College is the place to start your first year at college. The center is in Northern Westchester close to Putnam County and provides an intimate experience for credit and non-credit students seeking associates/transfer opportunities or workforce development.

Tags: Colleges

Set For Life: At Poughkeepsie Day, Social Intelligence Part of Healthy Education

Poughkeepsie Day works with students and families to help establish fundamental patterns of sleep, nutrition, fitness, and emotional wellness. Each PDS student is offered a range of options everyday at lunch time and taught about the relationship between getting enough sleep and safety, alertness, mood, behavior and ability to learn.

Tags: Schools

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