About Alexandra Heddinger

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So far Alexandra Heddinger has created 383 blog entries.

Off to a Great Start!

What an exciting new year at Berkshire Country Day School! The 2017/2018 year is off to a terrific start, and we’re especially thrilled to welcome 41 new students. Every grade, from our new Beginner 2s through 7th Grade welcomed at least one new student, many grades with multiple additions. It’s our 2nd week of the year, and already it’s impossible to distinguish the new kids from students who have been here for years. New students have seamlessly integrated into classrooms, onto sports teams, in lunchrooms—all across campus!

What are some of the things our new students and their families are saying?

“My teacher is not just ‘Okay’—she’s awesome!”
“It’s the best first week of school ever for our family.”
“Our children have been at several other schools, and this is hands down the best we’ve experienced.”
“She loves school! She talks about all of her new friends, the kindness of the staff, her classes—and even loves soccer.”

We proudly boast that our students hail from all across Berkshire and Columbia Counties. Students come from Sheffield to Otis and from Pittsfield to Dalton (and practically every town in between). And, about 25% of our students live in 11 towns in Columbia County, including as far away as Hudson, NY.

In addition to this year’s increased enrollment, there’s more good news to share:

  • Field trips are underway, and the first—the 8th Grade trip on the sloop Clearwater—literally set sail this week from the dock in Hudson, NY. This is the 2nd annual trip funded by the James C. Kapteyn Endowment for Environmental Studies, established to honor BCD alumnus Jamie Kapteyn ’76. Next week, the 4th Grade will visit Art OMI in Ghent, NY. In October, the 5th Grade will spend 4 days at Nature’s Classroom in Rhode Island, and the 6th Grade will spend 4 days at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Vermont. Both of these experiential programs are designed to strengthen class bonds, provide relevant learning opportunities, and build leadership skills.

Last night, we welcomed Middle and Upper School families for a “Back to School Night.” Families were welcomed with an overview of our program and introductions of all the teachers these students learn from during the week, from homeroom advisors to English, History, Math, Science, Spanish, French, PE, Art, and Music. With over 80% turnout by parents, the mood was incredibly positive about what our students have already done since the start of school and what they will be doing over the course of the year. Kindergarten and the Lower School will have their “Back to School Night” later in September.

With all this great news and upcoming activities, I invite you to share this post with your friends and family.
It’s already an awesome year!

By |2017-09-14T14:59:53+00:00September 14th, 2017|

Summer Activity in the Admission Office

As I wrap up my first full year at Berkshire Country Day School, I’m as excited as ever to be part of this community. I was reflecting back on my first several weeks last summer, meeting families and getting to know the culture and spirit of the School. I was impressed with the vibrancy of it all and how engaged everyone seemed to be. There was an energy both about being part of this community and surrounding a passion for learning that continued throughout the year. In fact, as the year progressed, that energy only grew with each new class project, each concert or poetry assembly, each play, and each day of building friendships and connections. From an admission perspective, we had many successes, from overwhelming participation in our “Little Penguins” toddler playgroups, Open Houses, and “Bring a Friend to School Days,” to the development of new marketing materials and increased applications. And it was all because of the people whose support made it all possible.

While our students are away for the summer, there’s plenty of activity continuing in the Admission Office! Daily, I’m fielding inquiries from interested families, giving tours, or processing applications here, while also dedicating time to community outreach to let more families know about the amazing educational opportunities at BCD. Each week, flyers are going home with kids at the IS183 Art Camp and Eden Hill Sports Camp, promoting our school and advertising weekly tours during pick-up and drop-off on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm and Thursdays at 9:00 am. (They tell me there are limited openings in several of their camp sessions if you still want to sign up.) I will also be at the Hudson Farmers Market on Saturday, July 22. You can help our efforts, by continuing to spread the word about BCD, especially about our new 2-year-old program (filling up quickly! Read about our new teacher here) and about the new bus route serving Hudson, NY, and Columbia County families. There is no better publicity than when you share your stories and personally invite families to take a look at our school! 

I have planned two Saturday get-togethers on campus where our playground will be open for drop-in “recess.” The dates are Saturday, July 15, and Saturday, August 12, both from 8:30-10:30 am. Mark your calendars to come! These are very casual events designed for our community to stay connected over the summer and have fun together. Returning families, newly enrolled families, families considering BCD, and the general public are all invited, so feel free to bring your friends! If there is interest, I will also give tours. I hope you can join us for a playdate with old friends while you make some new ones.

Thank you to the broad BCD community—parents, students, faculty, staff, and alumni—for a terrific year!

Alex

 

 

 

By |2017-06-29T14:59:29+00:00June 29th, 2017|

Spring Fun in the Admission Office

A few weeks ago, Berkshire Country Day School hosted a “Bring a Friend to School Day” as part of our Open House series for the year. It was a tremendous success! As I circled through our classrooms to check on guests and their hosts, I saw laughter, participation, engagement, and the welcoming spirit of community that is infused throughout our school. Many thanks to students, teachers, administrators, staff, and parents for supporting this event that showcased our school to prospective students and their families.

That was our first “Bring a Friend” day this year; there is another scheduled for April 21. (It’s during the Massachusetts public school spring vacation week AND just happens to be a Pizza Friday!) We also have two more traditional open houses scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, and Thursday, May 11; will be hosting a table at the Parents League “Kindergarten Fair” at Grace Church School in New York City on April 24; and are offering the Spring session of our “Little Penguins” toddler playgroup on April 11, 18, & 25. More information and online registration forms are located under the Admission heading on our website.

You can tell the next few months are a busy time for Berkshire Country Day School—and that’s awesome! We love having visitors during these events, as well as for individual tours to showcase the depth and breadth of our academics, arts, and athletics, along with the vibrancy of our student and adult community. Now that the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons and the Kim and James Taylor Music/Performance Room are open, guests also get a sense of how our school continues to strengthen our program through new facilities and curricular enhancements.

When we’re back from break, the schedule in April, May, and early June will be full of visits. Each week, parents will be coming in to learn more about how Berkshire Country Day School can benefit their child, and prospective students will be shadowing in our classrooms, making friends with our students; participating in class projects, discussions, and activities; playing on our playgrounds and on our trails; and getting a real sense of what it would be like to be a BCD kid. I hope you’ll share the magic of BCD by “Bringing a Friend to School,” inviting a family to an Open House, passing along my name and contact information, and sharing the many exciting things happening at BCD every day. I’m looking forward to making some new friends!

Wishing everyone a wonderful break, and I’ll see you in two weeks!

Alex

A few of our visitors having fun during Bring a Friend to School Day!

 

By |2017-03-17T15:56:42+00:00March 17th, 2017|

A season of thanks… and events!

I’m grateful for…

With the Upper School after the Faculty-Student Soccer Game

That’s me on the right with the Upper School after the Faculty-Student Soccer Game

It seems that at this time of year, the theme of gratitude is everywhere, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be part of the warm, welcoming community at Berkshire Country Day School! I am lucky enough to have the perfect blend of working with an awesome faculty, getting to see our students grow and learn, meeting prospective families and helping them through the admission process, and connecting with the local community.

What’s happening in admissions?
In the fall trimester, we hosted an incredibly successful Little Penguins toddler playgroup and three Open Houses, and welcomed more than 20 families to our campus for visits and tours. When I watch our 7th Grade’s “Colonial Fair,” where they present what they’ve learned in History, hear our Middle Schooler’s Poetry Assembly, or catch our 9th graders leading break-out groups in an all-school Kindness Assembly, I am excited to consider what will be happening when our next visitors stop in.

5th Grade at the Middle School Poetry Assembly

5th Grade at the Middle School Poetry Assembly

Admissions: it’s a process…
One of the most important things I tell families who are getting to know Berkshire Country Day School is that the admission process is just that: a process. Once upon a time, applying to an independent school had fewer steps, and they were more clearly defined. Now, each of those basic steps—inquiry, parent visit, student visit, application review and acceptance, and enrolling—can have many, many smaller sub-steps. One parent told me that it was these baby steps (as she called them) that gave her, her husband, and their daughter the space they needed to ask questions as they became familiar with Berkshire Country Day and then thrilled with their choice to enroll. Sometimes the process starts with a referral from a family already connected with the school. That call can lead to a coffee date where I learn more about the student. This is followed by the first visit by a parent, then another visit, and one, two, three or even more visits by the student. Every day, I get calls and emails from families asking “just one more question!” I am so grateful for the way our whole school responds: teachers are happy to share more about the learning that happens in their classes; current parents are happy to share their perspectives and stories. We understand that finding the right educational fit for your child is a significant decision, and all of your questions are important.
What do you want to know about Berkshire Country Day School?

9th Graders at hearing a about a colonial-era artifact and authentic document at the 7th Grade Colonial Fair, that included a project, a written paper, and an oral presentation

9th Graders hearing a about a colonial-era artifact and authentic document at the 7th Grade Colonial Fair, that included research, a project, a written paper, and an oral presentation

In the coming weeks, there are several opportunities to join us at events or to come in for a visit toe discover our school. If any of these sound interesting and you’d like more information, please give me a call at 413-637-0755 x116, or send me an email at aheddinger@berkshirecountryday.org.
I hope you’ll take the opportunity to get to know BCD and how we are intentional, independent, and inspired in our approach to education.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Alex

Thursday, December 1, 3:00-5:30 pm
“Arts Night”—a showcase of work from K-9 visual and performing arts classes, as well as poetry readings. Albright Library

Wednesday, December 7, 3:00-5:00 pm, Thursday, December 8, 3:00-6:00 pm, & Friday, December 9, 3:00-5:00 pm
Book Fair—in partnership with The Bookstore in Lenox. Lots of great titles and authors! Albright Library (accepting cash or checks)

Friday, December 9, 1:30-3:00 pm
Winter Concert—A selection of choral and instrumental performances from all grade levels. Fitzpatrick Hall

Thursday, January 12, 9:00-11:00am
Open House! Come discover more about Berkshire Country Day School. Tour our 27-acre campus, observe classes, talk with teachers and current parents, and learn what BCD has to offer your child. Registration appreciated. Albright Library

Late January/Early February (to be scheduled)
Little Penguins Toddler Playgroup, 3-week session with activities based on the Reggio Emilia early childhood education approach. Registration required. Preschool room

 

By |2016-11-23T16:25:25+00:00November 23rd, 2016|

On campus and in town: Upcoming Events!

My position as Director of Admission takes many forms. As the face of Berkshire Country Day School, I am out and about in the community, meeting families and prospective students and sharing the news about the incredible education offered here. I’m also here on campus, welcoming guests, getting to know what parents are looking for in a school for their child, and showing families our program in person. (I also help with photography, some of which you can see on our Flickr page, assist with various events, and even cover recess duty occasionally. I love those days!)

This fall my schedule is packed with events both on and off campus. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit us here or stop by one of our booths at area festivals, and please spread the word to friends who are looking for intentional approach to education that you know gets students excited about and engaged in learning. 

We have scheduled three Open Houses for the fall. Information sessions for parents and caregivers will be held on Thursday, September 29 and Thursday, October 27. There will also be a special Open House for both adults and children on Tuesday, November 8, when many public schools are closed for Election Day. All sessions are from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Details and registration, which is encouraged, are available at www.berkshirecountryday.org/events.

We are also offering Toddler Playgroups, named “Little Penguins” after the School’s mascot. These are three-week sessions for children aged two to three with a caregiver, and are held on consecutive Tuesdays, October 18, October 25, and November 1, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. Learn more about this free play and discovery series at www.berkshirecountryday.org/penguins. Siblings are welcome, and registration is required.

Finally, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi to me and other members of our community at the Lenox Apple Squeeze, September 24 & 25 or at the Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival on October 8 & 9. We’ll have an activity at our booth, and there’s plenty of food, music, crafts, and other fun at both events.

Cheers!
Alex

413.637.0755 x116
aheddinger@berkshirecountryday.org

By |2016-10-25T15:02:10+00:00September 16th, 2016|

Keeping Busy in Admissions: Thanks for Your Continued Help!

It’s August, a busy time in the Admission Office here at BCD, and I am loving every minute! On Monday, I had the pleasure of showing a family of a young preschooler around. What a wonderful little boy! While his parents spoke with Paul and me, he explored my office: blocks, books, the chess set, and, of course, the penguins. He found something to say about everything he discovered and connected it with an experience in his own life. “We have frogs in our pond. Penguins swim soooo fast! I have real kitties and stuffed kitties at my house.” And when we walked through the Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms… I think he was ready to start school right then. A similar experience happened the next day with a young man who is entering 5th grade and who recently moved to the area from Brooklyn with his parents.

As we prepare for the coming year and welcoming our families back to campus, we continue to receive daily inquiries about our school. Some of these families, like the 5th grader’s, are new to the area; others are looking for the intentional and engaging educational experience that BCD offers. Quite a few families have heard about our school through contact with current families like you, who share your own story and promote BCD in your communities. To me, that is the absolute best testimony and endorsement. I encourage you to continue to let friends, new and old, know about the opportunities at Berkshire Country Day School.

The other way to help raise BCD’s profile is to connect with us on sinstag 8 1 16ocial media. “Like” our Facebook page and posts (Berkshire Country Day School). Follow us on Instagram and like our photos there, too (@berkshirecountrydayschool). And we’re building our Twitter presence (@MyBCD). Through these, you’ll keep up with exciting happenings and upcoming events, and you’ll be able to share this news with your friends and family and tag us for more exposure. We’ve been publishing news about faculty, alumni, and parent accomplishments, and have a steady stream of images on Instagram showing the construction progress on Furey Hall.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by Albright Hall or our table at the Farmer’s Markets to say hello. I look forward to getting to know you all in the coming weeks and months.

Cheers!
Alex

413.637.0755 x116
aheddinger@berkshirecountryday.org

By |2016-10-25T15:02:11+00:00August 4th, 2016|

From the Admission Office: So Happy to Join the BCD Community

Hello from the Admission Office!

I am so happy to be here in this incredible, welcoming community. Each day, I am meeting more families and students, learning more about the programs at each grade-level, and getting to know the teachers who make this school such a special place. I have to give a special shout out to Lucie Stites, who spent time with me my first week getting me up to speed and who has left the office very organized.

BCD BirdNestCraftI wanted to be sure you knew about two upcoming Admission events this summer: we will have a BCD table at the Pittsfield Farmer’s Market on Saturday, July 23, and a table at the Great Barrington Farmer’s Market on Saturday, July 30. Both run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Lucie will join me, and we will share hands-on nature crafts, inspired by the projects our preschool created when the class was investigating birds. Lucie will lead children in building their own bird nests using clay, twigs, and grass, which the children can take then home. Of course, we’ll also have information available for families who want to learn more about our school. Please help spread the word by telling your friends, and plan to stop by and say hi so I can meet you and your child.

From the IS183 art camp in our preschool and kindergarten classrooms; to Eden Hill Sports Camp in the gym, on the fields, and doing crafts in the lower school art rooms; to the inspiring musical notes from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute students, who have commandeered practically all the other classrooms, the campus continues to be full of creativity and lively sounds. Not to mention, construction has begun on Furey Hall as we begin the transformation to the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons and the Kim and James Taylor Music and Performance Room. (Did I mention I was excited to be here?)

I invite you to drop by campus anytime so I can introduce myself in person.
And please, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Cheers!
Alex

413.637.0755 x116
aheddinger@berkshirecountryday.org

 

Berkshire Country Day School at:

Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market
Pittsfield Common, First Street
Saturday, July 23
9:00 am-1:00 pm
http://farmersmarketpittsfield.org/

Great Barrington Farmer’s Market
18 Church St (Just off Main St, on the east side. Please enter from River St. or School St.)
Saturday, July 30
9:00 am-1:00 pm
http://gbfarmersmarket.org/

By |2016-10-25T15:02:11+00:00July 18th, 2016|

What a Wonderful Trip for Grade 8!

IMG_2042The 8th grade is back safe and sound from their fantastic Everglades adventure, and by all accounts it was a fantastic experience! The students visited the Everglades and Big Cypress – exploring by air boat, by kayak, by bike, and on foot. They also took some time to relax and bond at the beach. Much was learned and a great time was had by all. Check here for more photos from their adventure.

By |2016-10-25T15:02:17+00:00March 11th, 2016|

A Full Week of Activities

We have enjoyed a full week of activities that showcase the breadth of interests of BCD students. From the wonderful artwork exhibited at our Winter Open Studios, to the spectacular performance of the Upper School Theater Ensemble’s production of Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap, to the Winter Sports Assembly that celebrated a successful cross country ski season, many of our students had a chance to shine while following their passion and using their unique talents.

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Thanks to everyone who turned out for Open Studios on Tuesday evening. Students and parents had a chance to have a go at the potter’s wheel, add to the abstract wall drawing, and see works in progress by all grades. A great time was had by all!

Click here for more photos of Open Studios.

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Using themes of the iconic story, Peter Pan, as an inspiration, BCD’s Upper School Theater Ensemble explored questions of adulthood and adolescence, freedom and responsibility in their production of Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap.

Congratulations to all!  The performance was, by all accounts, a tremendous success. The hard work – writing text and songs, devising scenes and characters, and performing this original production – paid off!

Click here for more photos of Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap.

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The Cross Country Ski Team celebrated a successful season at the Winter Sports Assembly. Despite the lack of snow, the team had fun and enjoyed some ski time thanks to our resourceful coaches who brought them to Butternut once a week. When not skiing, obstacle courses and scavenger hunts kept the team active. This was the largest Cross Country Ski Team in fifteen years – and we hope to have even more winter athletes participate when the snow returns next year!

Click here for more images from the Sports Assembly.

By |2016-10-25T15:02:17+00:00March 3rd, 2016|

BCD to Present “Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap”

dontgrowupitsatrap-poster2

Berkshire Country Day’s Upper School Theater Ensemble will present an entirely original workshop production of “Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap” on Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, February 27 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Using found text, interviews, and original writing and songs, eleven actors in grades 7-9 have spent the last six weeks exploring themes of adolescence and adulthood, rebellion and responsibility, imagination and fantasy inspired by characters and themes from J. M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan.” “Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap” is a humorous, moving, and contemporary spin on this classic tale.

Each year, the Upper School Theater Ensemble presents three full-length productions including original and devised performances, interdisciplinary collaborations, and significant classical and contemporary works.

“Creating and devising an entirely original piece of theater is a powerful experience,” says director Sara Katzoff. “Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap” emerges from a collaboration that highlights the voices and creativity of our students – their words, their original music, and their ideas as an ensemble. This kind of interdisciplinary experience is all part of the thriving community of artists, citizens, and scholars that is so present in the culture of BCD.” Berkshire Country Day School’s music teacher, Amy Hilliard, provided music direction for this production.

All performances take place at the Winthrop Theater on the Boston University Campus at
45 West Street in Lenox, MA. There is a suggested donation at the door.

By |2016-10-25T15:02:18+00:00February 22nd, 2016|