Menuscript November 8, 2016

Message from the

Head of School

Why an Independent School Like TPS Makes a Positive Difference for Your Child

School can make (or break) a child. It can inspire exploration and ignite potential. My colleagues and I have chosen to work at TPS, an independent school, because this type of school allows us the freedom to give each student what she needs to be – and become – her best.

Without state mandates on testing, curriculum, and textbooks, our teachers can go beyond the minimum requirements provided by other schools to help your children develop a lifetime love of learning. Our pedagogy sets the foundation for students to succeed as young scholars who become well prepared for their secondary school and college. Here, high academic standards, a small school, safety, small classes, excellent teachers, inclusiveness and community converge to make school a positive force in your child’s life.

"The secondary schools that TPS graduates attend are all gaining extraordinary people. Each of us has traits that make us unique, but we all have three things in common. We are kind. We are fair. We are responsible." - Kate F., TPS Class of '13

When parents tell us why they have chosen to join the TPS community for their children, they focus on individual attention in the classrooms, our outstanding faculty, and the excellent and diverse academic programs we provide. Our students thrive in small class sizes with a student to teacher ratio of 7.5:1. Each day, it is evident that our dedicated professionals put their students first. Our faculty members are all subject matter experts who help students master complex information through activities, projects, and classroom discussions.

“I love TPS because the teachers know how to teach, and they know how to make learning fun.” - Grade 4 student

In addition to immersion in a rigorous, well-rounded academic program, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) initiatives, each child studies visual and performing arts, athletics, and outdoor education. All this wonderful learning occurs in a historic building, Blairhame, surrounded by 17 acres of natural beauty.

At TPS, the heart of our school is its culture and community. Our core values: be kind, be fair, be responsible, teach students to own their words and deeds. These values help to make TPS a safe place to explore new ideas and discover new passions. The Board of Trustees, Parent Association, faculty, class parents, and volunteers are essential members of our caring community, all working together for our children.

“Every time I drive up the Tuxedo Park School driveway I would think, this is a gift I’m giving my children, and I feel so fortunate to be able to give it them.” - Pamela van der Lee, Parent of three TPS graduates

I agree with Pam. The greatest gifts we can give our children are a strong education, a love of learning, and a happy, safe childhood. Here at TPS, we give all three – and more.

“TPS is an amazing environment in which to work. The atmosphere is positive and energetic, and each person truly seems happy to be here. I feel supported by the administration, other teachers in my division, and faculty members. We work together to help each child succeed. It is sincerely a team effort. Our small classroom size makes it easy for me to differentiate lessons and activities according to each child’s needs. I am fortunate to work in a place that is not only a school but is also a community.” - Tiffany Kelly, TPS Kindergarten Teacher


Todd P. Stansbery
Head of School

Grandparents' Day is Only 2 Weeks Away!
 Grandparents' Day is Tuesday, November 22. Please email Chris Watts ASAP with the names and addresses of invitees. Since this information may change from year to year, we need all families to confirm this information.
This is a very important day for students, and the school encourages grandparents to attend. If a child does not have a grandparent who can attend, they may invite a relative or friend to come as their "grand friend." Grandparents gather for breakfast and learn more about TPS by visiting classrooms, enjoying a music concert, and watching students in action. Classroom activities are planned so that grandparents can work together with the children.  Due to space restrictions, parents may only attend the day as event volunteers so please visit this SignUp Genius link to volunteer.

From the Primary School

Election 2016. Primary School Style.
Quenby Frimet, Primary School Division Head

How do you explain presidential elections to young children, especially in a year when many adults are having a hard time navigating the process in a constructive way? With children’s books, of course!

Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Kelly used two books, Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio and Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, as the basis for a unit on elections. Students watched child-friendly election videos and spent time discussing what it means to be president. They identified who the current president is and learned about term limits. When they realized that President Obama’s term in office was ending, they understood that it was time for the United States to elect a new president.

The Kindergarten class read the two anchor texts (Duck... and Grace...) to learn about the characters of Grace and Duck and then re-read the books a few more times to identify what about each character would make them a good president.

Students quickly started to favor one character or the other, and Mrs. Kelly used this opportunity to introduce the concept of campaigning. The class looked at historical campaign posters and identified symbols that many of them had in common, such as stars or flags. The children were assigned a campaign team, Duck or Grace, and made posters supporting their candidate.

In early November, Kindergarteners stood up in front of the entire Primary School at our weekly divisional morning meeting and presented their campaign posters, sharing why their candidate would make a good president. Walter Van P. thought Duck should be president because, “He wants a kinder, gentler farm,” and Sam B. told us to “Vote for Duck! He was governor!” Kaelyn believed Grace should be president because “She could be the first girl president,” and Morgan R-H. thought Grace was the best candidate because “She wants no more littering.”

The Kindergarten class gave voter registration cards to everyone in the Primary School; on Election Day, our entire division is voting for Grace or Duck. Make sure to ask your child who won the election! Thank you to Mrs. Kelly and the Kindergarten Class for sharing the democratic process with the Primary School in such a fun and relatable way. 

From the Middle School

Community Counts at TPS
Diana Coyne, Middle School Division Head

Rigorous academics, small class size, and dedicated faculty are some of the advantages that independent schools offer. At TPS, add strong community to that list. Our students live in towns and villages throughout Orange, Rockland, and Bergen counties, and we take extra measures, such as evening and weekend activities, to build a TPS community that feels like home. For our Middle School students, this community is essential; after all this is the age when friendships are as important as breathing.

On Friday November 18, our Middle School students will attend the “MS Social,” one of many activities that give your children the chance to have fun together outside of the classroom. Chaperoned by MS faculty, we recognize the importance of pre-adolescents having time to socialize without parental supervision at school. Our students will be able to let loose - dancing to DJ Mario, doing the limbo, face painting, and enjoying treats.

Faculty members both lead by example and teach our students about the importance of treating one-another with respect and care. Events like the dance provide opportunities to put that learning to work.

Tuxedo Park School is a special community because everyone here is included and celebrated.

From the Upper School
Electing for Electives at TPS
Jeff Feinberg, Upper School Division Head
In addition to their course work in English, math, science, history, and world languages, Upper School students at TPS are exposed to a broad range of fine and performing arts and unique areas of study through our electives program. All students participate in a performing music ensemble, with the options of chorus, band, or percussion. They also enroll in two other electives each trimester, providing more opportunities to further explore their interests and passions.

This fall, we have students designing the 2016–2017 TPS yearbook, creating sculptures in glass, and composing and recording their own digital music. Students in mindfulness and yoga have been exercising strategies to raise self-awareness through movement, breath, and reflection. The Upper School robotics team is preparing to compete in a Lego League challenge. If you pass by the KMAC Lab, you will often find students from the video production elective filming and editing material for school productions or short films that they wrote and directed.

Our students are also excited about this year’s new electives, including history of music and ancient Greek. In history of film, students have been learning about some of the iconic films of all time. From the Chariot scene in "Ben-Hur" to Gene Kelly in “Singing in the Rain” to John Wayne in "The Searchers," they have been studying the greatest actors, directors, and scenes from different genres of the big screen.

Later this year, you will hear Upper School musicians perform at the Holiday Concert and you’ll see students’ designs and creations at the annual art show. Be sure to mark your calendars for the drama elective’s performance of The Internet is Distract … Oh Look a Kitten on November 10. In addition, the Rock & Jazz Ensemble will open the show with a performance of the songs they have been working on this fall. I look forward to seeing you there!
What just a few of our students say about our electives: 
History of Film:
“History of Film lets me watch films from years ago that I wouldn’t have known about and learn about how movies have changed over the year.” – Sarab A.
“I’m glad I chose Garageband because it allows me to channel my creativity and create music digitally.” – Mason D.
Printmaking (Art):
“I love printmaking because you get to express what you feel and develop unique ideas.” – Sam E.
Percussion Ensemble:
“Percussion is really fun because we each get to play many parts, and I really enjoy learning new songs.” – Jordan K.
In One Act:
“I love the play because we are basically making fun of the internet.” – Anna N.

Announcements &


Mount Peter Bound for TPS Ski Days!
When winter draws near, the school seems to fill with the excitement of spending Thursday afternoons skiing. We are excited to be heading back to Mt. Peter where the snow is awesome and the instructors are even better. The TPS Ski Program has been in existence since 1963 when headmaster John Shepard started it. Great sportsmanship and meaningful connections are made on the mountain, lasting far beyond the students’ years at TPS. All students in Grades 3 through 9 participate in our program, with Grades 3-6 taking an hour-long ski lesson each week. Upper School students help the beginners and the renters, and eighth grade students are ski buddies to our youngest skiers in third grade.
There are two forms that need to be completed by November 11, 2016 to prepare for ski days. One is a TPS release form and the other is Mt. Peter’s informational packet. Please read both carefully and return to your child’s homeroom teacher/advisor. More detailed information will be coming as we get closer to the the ski season!
Bookaneer Book Fair - November 14-22 - Where Books are the Treasure.
The TPS Scholastic Book Fair sets sail on November 14 – Pirate Day at TPS! Students are invited to get into the spirit and come to school wearing a pirate-themed item. Primary School will preview books on Monday, 11/14; with the help of volunteers and teachers, students will fill out wish lists and bring them home for your approval and funding. Middle and Upper School will visit the Book Fair during the week of November 14-18 and can purchase a book at any time - no preview required. 

Thanks to our parent volunteers, we are keeping the Book Fair open for grandparents to visit on November 22. Also, just as we did last year, we are inviting teachers to pick some books for their classroom; students and families will have the opportunity to buy a book from the teacher wish list and sign the bookplate. We think this is a pretty neat way to show some thankfulness for all our teachers do to make a difference! 

Please join us as a volunteer during the Book Fair. To sign up, please use this SignUp Genius link or contact Lisa Turner, Book Fair Chair.
Pie Baking Community Service - November 20
Help TPS provide Thanksgiving apple pies to families in need. Our annual pie baking community service will take place on Sunday, November 20 from 1:00 to 3:00pm. We ask families to bring: medium to large bag of tart apples, apple peeler, 1/4 stick of butter, large mixing bowl, small sharp knife; TPS will provide the rest of the supplies. All are welcome! Pies will go to the Oasis GAP (Grandparents Acting as Parents) Program and the Suffern Soup Kitchen. Contact Kristen Heard to sign up or for more information.
KMac Lab Saturdays
About once a month, the KMac Lab has a workshop for parents with their children to explore STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.) Ms. Smith would like feedback on the topics you are most interested in exploring so that the KMac Saturdays can be interesting and useful for you and your family. Please fill out this very short survey: 
Support Maru-a-Pula School!
Last spring, TPS was lucky enough to have the Maru-a-Pula School Marimba Band visit us from Botswana and perform for our community - and with our students! This summer, Darren Donaldson will teach at Maru-a-Pula for a six-week term. In anticipation of his visit, Mr. Donaldson is raising funds for the Maru-a-Pula School Orphan and Vulnerable Children's (OVC) Scholarship program. You can learn more about this program and/or make a donation at

From the Parents'


Michele Biamonte, PA President

It was great to see so many parents at the 10/31 Parents' Association Meeting and Halloween Parade/Parties! Attached are highlights from the meeting, if you were unable to attend. You can see pictures of Halloween at TPS here, and if you took pictures of your own, please upload them to the TPS SmugMug account to share with the community.
Our last meeting of this calendar year will be Friday, November 18 at 8:45am. We welcome your feedback in terms of topics to be covered. 

In October, the Primary School had a wonderful evening at the Harvest Festival. Thanks to Kaity Murtagh, Jeannie Schindler, a host of parent volunteers, and our tireless Primary School teachers for their work on this event. All the Primary School children and their families had a wonderful time celebrating the Harvest Season! You can see more pictures of the evening here
The TPS Scholastic Book Fair kicks off on Monday, November 14 and runs through Grandparents' Day. We hope you will support this event by shopping with and for your children and other family members (the holidays are coming!), fulfilling items on teacher wish lists, and/or volunteering your time. Thanks to Lisa Turner for captaining the ship and chairing this year's Bookaneer (pirate-themed) Book Fair. 

Celebrating Our Successes

TPS Sisters Glide, Spin, and Jump to Success!

Sisters Lana U. (Grade 9) and Maliah U. (Grade 7) finished their competitive figure skating season as Regional Finalists last month. The girls traveled to Buffalo, NY in the beginning of October to represent the North Jersey Figure Skating Club at the North Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championships.
Lana and Maliah each competed against about 90 other girls in the qualifying rounds. They both placed in the top 4 of their flights to move on to final rounds and both placed in the top 20 overall. Regional Championships are the first event in U.S. Figure Skating's qualifying pipeline.
U.S. Figure Skating is the National Governing Body for figure skating in the United States, as recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and International Skating Union. The sisters are currently training for the next competitive season and spend about 18 hours at the rink each week.

Thankfulness: Showing gratitude and appreciation for all you have been given.

Thursday, November 10
* US Parent Roundtable with Mr. Stansbery and Mr. Feinberg, 8:45am
* In One Act Performance, 7:00pm
Friday, November 11
* Upper School SSAT, 8:30am
* In One Act Assembly, 2:15pm
Saturday, November 12
* KMacLab Saturday, 10:00am
Monday, November 14 - Tuesday, November 22
* TPS Scholastic Book Fair
Friday, November 18
* PA Meeting, 8:45am
* Fall Sports Assembly, 2:30pm
Sunday, November 20
* Pie Baking Community Service, 1:00pm
Tuesday, November 22
* Grandparents' Day
RSVP to Chris Watts
Noon Dismissal; No Extended Day
Wednesday, November 23 - Sunday, November 27
Thanksgiving Vacation 
Monday, November 28
* Trimester 2 Begins
Friday, December 2
* Winter Giving Tree Kick-Off (through 12/16)
* International Week Flamenco Assembly, 2:30pm
Thursday, December 15
* MS/US Winter Concert, 6:30pm
3PM Dismissal; Extended Day ends at 5pm
Friday, December 16
* PS Culture Study, 10:00am
Noon Dismissal; No Extended Day
Saturday December 17 - Monday, January 2
Winter Recess
Tuesday, January 3
* Classes Resume
Follow Us on Instagram:
@tuxedoparkschoolps (Primary School)

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