Performing the overture from “The Nutcracker” via Zoom collaboration are juniors Caterina Manfrin on flute and Florence Schaumann on violin. Enjoy!
One day during the trial week of the new Upper and Middle School schedules, two eighth grade girls made an appointment to talk with the Head of Middle School and co-architect of the schedule, Meg Reed.
This didn’t seem a bearing of glad tidings.
“My first thought,” Reed said, was “Oh no,” and her mind raced through any number of schedule-induced mini-catastrophes that might have led the girls to take such a formal step.
“We would like to ask if we can keep the new schedule for the rest of the year,” the girls said.
“That’s a pretty ringing endorsement, I think,” said Reed.
After 18 months of work by a faculty committee, the new Upper and Middle School schedules were given a trial run over the past eight days. Beginning next year, the schedule will govern the school day of both divisions from day one, so the trial week offered a valuable, even essential, opportunity to see it in action and tweak the areas that needed tweaking.
Such as snack time.
“I’ve gotten some student feedback, and there were some things that we didn’t consider when this was purely an exercise on paper. Snack time. That was one. It’s been made very clear to me that snack time cannot — cannot — be any later, because apparently that’s a life-or-death thing,” said Head of Upper School Jenny Gabriel.
Four and a half days into the experiment, Dean of Curriculum Laura Trout reflected on how it was going. “Well,” she said, and paused. “I think.”
“I think it’s really important that we did it, both just to try it out and see it in action and to address the students and parents who were especially skeptical,” Trout continued.
“I’ve had a lot of kids come up to me and say, ‘I thought I’d hate this but it’s awesome.’”
Was there anything the students were particularly apprehensive about? “Seventy-five minute periods,” came Gabriel’s instant answer. “I think for some of the students and parents there was a concern that teachers were just going to cram their 55-minute class into a longer period without really adapting the class to that period, and that has not been the case.”
The introduction of office hours in the Upper School and a daily advisory period in Middle School are a central part of the new schedule, and ones that should both allay students’ fears have about being unclear on some aspect of a homework assignment on a day when they don’t have the class, and provide a preview of consulting a professor in college.
“With this new schedule, kids will have no excuse for not finding a teacher and asking questions,” Trout said.
One feature of the new schedules that immediately stands out is that the Upper School and Middle School periods align with one another.
At the mention of this alignment, relief flooded Gabriel’s face. “We have eight blocks for every class, and eight blocks for every teacher, and it makes so much more sense and makes everything so much simpler for everyone,” she said.
“Because there are fewer transitions, the whole Middle School feels less frenetic,” Reed said. “In Middle School, transitions are hard, even just the change in mindset from ‘OK, that was math and now I have English.’ The new schedule has a had a really nice impact on the vibe.”
The Middle School schedule has several features unique to it, and of unique benefit to Middle Schoolers. “We really fought for advisory,” Reed said of the 15-minute daily periods that end each day in grades six through eight. “Fifteen minutes sounds small, but it’s an opportunity to touch base with an adult who’s an advocate, and to make sure you get all packed up, and to alleviate” some of the adolescent-ness of adolescence, she said.
Another programmatic peach for the Middle set is that each student can now take more electives than ever before. “As it is now, kids basically can choose between chorus, orchestra, and band, and that’s it. Now, they can also take dance, or animation art, or a brain science survey,” Reed said, naming just a few options.
However, the goal of the new system was larger than isolated perks like those, Reed said.
“It’s not just the content that’s important. It’s the learning how to learn, how to write, how to discuss. That’s what’s important and that’s what the new schedule emphasizes,” she said.
Trout elaborated on that idea.
“A lot of our kids are very highly capable and they would learn well regardless of the schedule we used. There are a smaller number of our students for whom the delivery of the material, and the structure of that delivery really matters. From a learning point of view, changing the schedule is to help those kids. And,” she added, “for the kids who are highly capable and will learn no matter what, this will give them an opportunity to dive deeper into subjects and succeed even more,” Trout said.
“Everyone is learning.”
Boys Photos by Mr. Lisk and Chris Knight/LancasterOnline
Girls Photos by Chris Knight/LancasterOnline and Mark Palczewski
With their 51-43 win over Halifax in the District III-1A championship game at the Giant Center Feb. 27, the varsity boys became the first Country Day team to take the District crown. The next day at the Giant Center, varsity girls edged Greenwood, 35-30, to win the District 3 Class A girls basketball championship and earn a second school record. Next up for both teams is states, which means the fiercest competition and no rest for voices ragged from cheering.
See news coverage for both teams below.
LNP, Lancaster Country Day boys capture program’s first District 3 championship with 51-43 victory More>
ABC27, Lancaster Country Day wins 1A District title More>
PennLive, Lancaster Country Day tops Halifax for District 3-1A boys basketball championship More>
LLHoops.com, Lancaster Country Day Finds Sweet Redemption As Cougars Claw Past Halifax To Win District 3-1A Title More>
The children of Lower School delighted their audience with “Children of the World,” a multicultural medley of song and dance numbers from Germany, Japan, South Africa and more.
A musical sendup of musical theater, featuring a 50-strong cast and crew, awaits Thursday’s opening night audience.
“It’s a satire on musical theater,” said Director Kristin Wolanin. “The Man In The Chair points out what we as an audience are thinking about the musical theater that we’re all seeing on stage, and what we’re thinking about musical theater in general: It’s corny. So much of it is so super corny.
“But that’s why we love it!”
The curtain will rise on the Lancaster Country Day theater troupe’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 21-23, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Feb. 23. Advance tickets are $7 and available here. They will be $10 at the door.
“There’s actually a kind of double satire going on,” Wolanin said. “On the one level, it’s making fun of the genre. On the other, it’s presenting a caricature of humanity. What makes the satire so effective is the fact that the show is funny, and it pokes fun but does so from a loving, sort of winking standpoint. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves, and that is a message that this show expresses between the lines but clearly.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” opened to instant and near-universal acclaim, winning five Tony Awards and enjoying major productions in New York, Los Angeles, London and Melbourne, Australia, to name just a few.
“The audience is going to leave singing these songs,” Wolanin said. Indeed, two of the four Tony Awards “The Drowsy Chaperone” won were for Best Book and Best Score. “The numbers have a period feel, that ’20s thing but with a modern twist,” she said.
“My hope is for the audience to come in and have a nice, diverting collective experience, because that is what musical theater is for.”
Cast, Crew & Orchestra
Janet Van de Graaff — Kendall K.
Kitty — Sadi S.
Mrs. Tottendale — Mira H.
Drowsy Chaperone — Tess M.
Trix — Maya R.
Man in Chair — David W.
Robert Martin — Christopher M.
George — Skyler W.
Aldolpho — Jack K.
Feldzieg — Thomas W.
Gangsters — Laurel M. & Frannie T.
Underling — Amelia L.
Ensemble — Mae B., Sarah B., Laura B., Carly C., Isabella G., Maria H., Sophie M., Gaby N., Julia N.
Superintendent — Mae B.
Director — Kristin Wolanin
Music Director — Heather Woodbridge
Choreographers — Christine Healy & Kristin Wolanin
Production Stage Manager — Malia C.
Assistant Stage Managers — Charley W. & Huda Z.
Scenic Artist — Diane Wilikofsky
Lighting Design — Barry Fritz
Costume Designer — Priscilla Kaufhold
Master Electrician — Hayden F.
Spotlight Operators — Maddie L. & Shawna T.
Sound Designers — Grace F. & Justin K.
Sound Technician — Justin K.
Set Crew — Tessa B., Riley E., Sophia H., Shawna T.
Box Office Manager — Ameila S.
Props Mistress — Linnea W.
Props Crew — Maddie B. & Sam L.
Costume Mistress — Katrina F.
Costume Crew — Julia B., Sarah H., Maddie L., Adrien W.
Costumes Provided By — Millersville Costume Shop
Publicity Chief — Charley W.
Publicity Crew — Riley E. & Ben K.
House Manager — Piper S.
Ushers — Grace F., Riley E., Anthony P., Piper S., Shawna T.
Piano — Heather Woodbridge
Bass — David Franklin
Drums — Paul G.
Flute — Janani I.
Clarinet — Lexi J.
Alto Sax — Andy J.
Trumpet — Benjamin K. & Abigail S.
Trombone — William M.
Percussion — Annika K.