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Teacher running with students in PE.
Christopher Kasker

Academic rigor and achievement are important, but it is not sustainable without students of strong mind and body. Current research conveys the importance of physical and emotional wellbeing on brain development, self-control, and cognitive function.

Teacher running with students in PE.

Tuxedo Park School takes pride in developing the whole child, paying attention not just to academic success, but the components necessary to achieve that success with a healthy body and mindset. Various studies have proven different positive effects on brain function when children engage in high-volume exercise. Findings include improved long-term retention and improved executive functioning, which impacts student learning and success. Physical activity has been proven to result in better attention, increased on-task behaviors and improved academic performance. 

Physical Education
In an effort to ensure we design a well-rounded curriculum, we purposefully schedule physical activity throughout each student's school day. Preschool through fifth-grade students partake in physical education class 3-4 times a week. During these sessions they learn how their muscles function by way of isolating exercises, then how multiple muscles work together to form big movements such as jumping, running and pushups. Our teachers discuss health and the importance of a balanced lifestyle. They learn to cooperate with one another through a variety of games and are introduced to different sports in order to support students in discovering their interests. They spend this time developing self-control, self-awareness, and self-confidence.

All students attend recess for 30 minutes each day. During this time, we give students the freedom to creatively engage in physical activity and exploration with their peers through unstructured play, which researcher Sergio Pellis claims "plays a critical role in regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems."

Starting in sixth grade, and through ninth, students are required to participate in team athletics. Offerings include a wide variety of sports, such as, but not limited to: tennis, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, yoga, basketball, squash, and lacrosse. Students not only get an hour of intense physical activity, but our coaches also embed the importance of sportsmanship, team building, compromise, support and working towards a common goal.


More than just physical activity, this year we are redesigning our wellness program. While we will maintain aspects of the traditional health course that has been in place for decades, it is important to adjust to changing times and our new generation of youth.  Studies are showing children are feeling more stress and anxiety, and don't have the strategies to cope with those emotions.  Our wellness program will teach students how to self-assess their emotional state and they will learn skills such as goal-setting, organization, prioritization and meditation, to manage those sentiments.  The curriculum will also coach students on how to engage in healthy relationships, building communication habits that sustain those relationships.

Academic rigor and achievement are important, but it is not sustainable without students of strong mind and body. Current research conveys the importance of physical and emotional wellbeing on brain development, self-control, and cognitive function. It is our job to provide an environment and wholistic education that incorporates all imperative qualities to develop confident and successful citizens.

student sorting food items
Christopher Kasker

Tuxedo students came together on a service project that ensures students in need have healthy food options over the weekend and on holidays.


Students from the greater Tuxedo community came together on Tuesday for a service project to help provide healthy food options to local children.  

Tuxedo Park School eighth and ninth-graders met-up with George F. Baker High School eighth-grade students at the George Grant Mason School to unload, sort and store donated food items.  The food items were donated by Tuxedo Park School families during September.  In the joint effort, Baker and TPS students unloaded and neatly stocked the shelves of the elementary school pantry.

“Our students jumped at the opportunity to join forces with Baker High School students,” said Kate Vignola, service program coordinator, and TPS French teacher. “The whole school gets behind this food drive because they know how important it is that children to come to school on Monday focused on learning, not hunger.”

The Tuxedo Union Free School District provides the food items to local families who qualify for the reduced/free lunch program.  These food donations provide students with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to get enough to eat on the weekend.  

Student sorts food items

“It’s community-based outreach between two schools that we hope to see continue to grow year after year,” said Diane Petrosky, former school board member, and longtime backpack program volunteer. “It’s amazing to see children helping children.”

Petrosky expects the donation made by Tuxedo Park School to last into December.  She will restock the supply as required by using fundraiser money conducted by other local organizations.

Ninth-grade student Piper Jenkins said, “I feel so fortunate to have the privilege of helping others while at TPS at the same time working with students from Tuxedo and getting to know them.”

During the school day on Fridays, eligible students are provided a backpack of food items to last them the weekend.  Hence the name, Backpack Program.

More about the Feeding America BackPack Program:
Twenty-two million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat. What happens when they go home over the weekend?

For more than 15 years, the Feeding America BackPack Program has been helping children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to get enough to eat on the weekends. Today, bags of food are assembled at more than 160 local food banks and then distributed to more than 450,000 children at the end of the week.

Middle school students at desk
Serena Mueller, Associate Head of School for Academics

TPS takes pride in developing the whole student by employing the latest research-based teaching techniques to provide a value-based, differentiated learning experience for all students. 

teacher with students middle school

The world beyond Tuxedo Park School is demanding and evolving.  For that reason, we are continuously reflecting on and advancing our curriculum to meet these demands.  As we analyze research trends on upcoming generations, and reflect on the traditions that have long been established at Tuxedo Park School, we recognize the importance of implementing instructional methods that develop independent, driven and resourceful students.  We want our students to enter high school, and college, feeling prepared with strong work habits, empowered to use their voice and confident when facing challenges.

Much of this work is inherently embedded in literacy. Reading is a skill that takes years to perfect, naturally teaching students that persistence and focus leads to success. This summer, English teachers attended week-long training sessions to study the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project Curriculum.  The sessions focused on workshop teaching models, giving students more time to actively read and write in class with the teachers coaching students on specific skills both individually and in small groups. This program is designed to provide as much enrichment, or support, that each individual student needs.

In order to persevere, students need the proficiency to do so; they need a toolbox they can access in many different situations. Students' skills and strategies build from primary school all the way through graduation from TPS. Starting in kindergarten we are teaching students active reading skills by having them stop to jot a smiley face, or sad face, in their books where they feel something and then share that part of the book with their partner. In eighth and ninth grade this translates into students stopping often to annotate their text for symbolism, theme and text evidence and then write long about those ideas in their reader's notebook.

Through each unit of study in reading, students are studying different genres: informational, narrative, historical fiction, poetry, mysteries, and biography.  Working across genres builds their ability to navigate literary terms, analyze themes and symbolism, identify voice, infer based on text evidence and synthesize their understanding utilizing prior knowledge.  In writing they are studying techniques to write informational, narrative, expository, poetry, literary and persuasive pieces by constructing sophisticated structure, illuminating the setting, utilizing their own voice, elaborating with multiple methods, and crafting strong opinions using research-based evidence to support those ideas.  They learn to apply their knowledge of grammar and conventions into each piece. But most importantly, students understand that writing is a place where they have a voice, and is a process that requires stamina and patience to persevere through the many revisions along the way.

Over the last two decades educational research has found that it isn't just outcomes we must focus on, but it is the process of attaining those outcomes. We are using that knowledge to enhance our methods for integrating strong work habits, self-reflection and goal-setting into our learning process across all grades, creating coherence as students move from primary school through to upper school. We take pride in developing the whole student by employing the latest research-based teaching techniques to provide a value-based, differentiated learning experience for all students. 

Head of School Todd Stansbery rings the bell signaling the start of the new school year.
Christopher Kasker

A host of Tuxedo Park School time-honored traditions were on display today, the first day of school.  New students "now and forever..." became members of the Green or Gold Team and the Head of School initiated the school year with the ringing of the bell.

Head of School Todd Stansbery rings the bell signaling the start of the new school year.

Tuxedo Park School officially opened for the 2018-2019 school year and rang in the new school year, literally.  We eased into the year with a half-day full of activities for both students and parents.
Opening day at TPS has some long-standing traditions and today the head of school was front and center for most of these traditions.
Head of School Todd Stansbery waits all summer for the start of the new school year and the chance to greet each student as they enter the primary school doors.  Rain or shine Mr. Stansbery is there with a smile and a sturdy handshake, every day.
The TPS buddy program is another beloved tradition. Buddy families use the summer months to get to know each other and to help prepare new students and parents for life at TPS. This morning our buddies arrived early to welcome their new friends and after some excited welcomes and a photo together, buddies showed their new students the way to their new classroom.  
Once students were in class, the parents enjoyed coffee and treats prepared by the outstanding kitchen staff while they waited for the opening day assembly to begin.
With parent and students seated in the primary school gym, the head of school provided a warm welcome and introduced the Green and Gold Team Captains to lead the school in another special tradition, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the reciting of the school’s mission statement.
The head of school asked all of our newest students to stand and introduced each one of them to their new school community.

New Students and Faculty were inducted onto the Gold Team on the first day of school 2018.

The head's next introductions followed the Green and Gold competition tradition that requires each third grader and above to be inducted onto a team.  As each new student was called up the head of school uttered the time-honored words, “Now and forever, you are a member of the [Green] or [Gold] Team.”  Each inductee was cheered on by both teams, and hailed as the newest team members, by the enthusiastic applause of their parents!

On the first day of school, 2018, new students and faculty were inducted onto the green team.

To follow on from last year’s newest tradition at TPS, faculty members were also inducted onto a Green or Gold team. It’s a fun and exciting way for the new students and faculty to be formally introduced to the school.
At the conclusion of the assembly Mr. Stansbery held high the bell, that has resounded in the halls of TPS for decades, and rang in the start of the new school year with purpose and enthusiasm.

Best of luck to all this school year!  Go Green!  Go Gold!

New Faculty 2018.  5 teachers
Christopher Kasker

Tuxedo Park School welcomes the newest editions to the faculty at new teacher orientation.  

New Faculty 2018.  5 teachers

There are eight days until the first day of school for our students, but today marked the first official day for Tuxedo Park School’s newest faculty.

We welcomed five new teachers who joined us for orientation today.  The schedule of events provides the opportunity to bond with each other over some work and fun activities. 

The “work” part of the day allows the teachers to meet all of the administrators, learn about the history of the school, become acquainted with some of the technical processes, and learn how they fit into the overall curriculum and strategic plan. 

The fun part of the day includes a lunch with their mentors and a boat ride on beautiful Tuxedo Lake. 

Welcome to the newest members of the team.

Ms. Meghan Clary

Ms. Clary is the new Latin teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages from Hamilton College where she received many awards, including Phi Beta Honor Society, and academic prizes in Greek, Latin, and in writing. Ms. Clary has recently earned her Master of Arts in Teaching Latin and Classical Humanities from the University of Massachusetts. Welcome, Ms. Clary.

Ms. Anna Cassidy

Ms. Cassidy is the new fifth and sixth-grade English teacher. Ms. Cassidy has been teaching seventh-grade English in Brooklyn since 2015. Last year she served as the English language arts content leader. Ms. Cassidy graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and was awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Medallion for Academic Excellence.

Ms. Zoe Steinberg-DiStefano

Ms. Steinberg-DiStefano is the new part-time PreK-3 assistant.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with an education minor, from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She began her work in pre-kindergarten classroom in 2008 and is experienced working in a variety of early-childhood academic settings.

Mr. Derek Bennett

Mr. Bennett is the new physical education and wellness teacher.  He earned his bachelor's degree from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Sport Management and is working towards his Ed.M in applied human development: Physical Education. Derek taught physical education at Newman Elementary school in Needham, MA and for the last three years he has coached soccer, basketball and lacrosse and is a certified official in all three sports.

Mrs. Melissa Mazzella

Mrs. Mazzellaas is the head teacher in PreK-3.  She has been an educator for almost twenty years, spending the majority of her time as a PreK teacher at Woodland Hollow Learning Center in Warwick, NY.  Most recently she was the children’s librarian at Warwick Library, organizing and leading a wide variety of literature programming. She has a bachelor’s in psychology from Hofstra University and a master’s in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College.