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Ready. Committed. Transformative.

Vincit Qui Se Vincit

One conquers by conquering oneself.

For more than a century, this motto has inspired students at Kingswood Oxford because it represents the essence of education. Education works from the inside out. It starts when you embrace your intellectual curiosity and take responsibility for achieving your hopes and dreams. It grows when you cultivate a passion for excellence that builds toward success. It grows even more when you set your sights on a goal, strive to achieve it, stumble along the way—but then get up, dust off, and forge on. This motto inspires KO students to engage with the world beyond themselves as they prepare for a future that stretches far beyond school.


Be It All

At KO you can be it all—studious and athletic, artistic and a leader. And, you’ll be encouraged to try it all, secure in the knowledge that your school family accepts and celebrates every kind of student.

From the beginning, KO has provided an unsurpassed education. In 1909, Oxford School was founded by a woman who understood the importance of education for girls and encouraged young women to grow through pursuit of demanding academics, arts, and athletics. The Kingswood School began in 1916 to serve boys with the same goals. For generations, these schools graduated future leaders in business, entertainment, medicine, government, and every sector of society. In 1969, Kingswood and Oxford combined to create a student body that reflects the diversity of the modern world. Today, KO draws students from 62 towns throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Of the 508 students in grades 6–12, 26% are students of color and 43% receive need-based financial aid. An additional 19% receive merit aid.


Built On Relationships A day school offers the best of both worlds. Students forge close relationships with teachers, advisors, and coaches during the academic day as well as through sports and extracurriculars during the all-important hours after school. In the evening, students return home to families, old friends, and communities, supported by the people who know and love them best. Parents are encouraged to be a significant presence on campus: clapping at football games, tennis matches, and concerts; volunteering with students in community service; or meeting with advisors to discuss their children’s progress. Parents also support each other through the active Parent Association and their own networks.

Clear and consistent home-and-school communication is a hallmark of KO. This connection is forged through the outstanding advisory program, which pairs each student with a faculty member who knows every aspect of that student’s school life. Students meet in small groups with advisors at least three times each week, and advisors often communicate informally with parents as well. In fall and spring, the advisor meets with each student and his or her parents to discuss the whole of that student’s school experience— academic, athletic, social, and emotional.

Critical Thinkers and Confident Communicators challenges students to hone effective “ KO thinking, speaking, and writing skills across

the curriculum through repeated practice, developing not only their own set of skills but also their own particular voices.

— RON MONROE Upper School English Teacher

KO | STUDENTS At KO, you will be surrounded by peers who are curious, engaged, and committed to a life of learning. You will be known by faculty who will challenge you to ask important questions and then teach you how to support your answers. You will collaborate with others to seek innovative solutions and engage in the hands-on, in-depth exploration made possible by extended class periods. Through it all, you will discover as much about yourself as you do about the core content. Presentation of ideas is infused throughout KO’s curriculum.

■ With an average of 12 students per

class, every student is expected to contribute. Through Harkness roundtable discussions, students guide conversations via active listening and thoughtful questioning.

■ From Middle School through Upper

School, students develop critical presentation skills: in class, at weekly schoolwide assemblies, in competitions like the 7th-grade Geography Bee and the 10th-grade Speakers’ Forum, and through myriad extracurricular activities, such as mock trial, debate, Model UN, and performing arts.

■ All students write constantly, in every

course across the curriculum, and learn to edit (and re-edit) their own work. By Senior year, every student confidently researches and writes a sophisticated literary thesis that reflects college-level thinking and writing skills.

as a young Middle School student, “ Even I felt like I could speak up in class. My teachers have always taken the time to get to know me, and I appreciate that they want me to succeed.


Real-World Connection and Diversity The unique Baird English Symposium put KO on the map in 1983, when E.L. Doctorow was the first of an amazing parade of distinguished writers-in-residence who visit the school each year. Since then, the list has included novelists Jane Smiley and John Updike and playwrights Arthur Miller and Tony Kushner, to name just a few.

Some examples of other speakers: former NBA star Chris Herren, MacArthur Genius composer Francisco Nuñez, essayist Richard Rodriguez, and disability rights advocate Norman Kunc, who lives with cerebral palsy. These inspiring guests engage oneto-one with students informally, through master classes, and in group presentations.

students explore “ KO their own identities

while also fostering an inclusive community.

— JOAN EDWARDS Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Competency

#Words Matter Each year at KO, students engage in courageous conversations about who they are—and who they will become—in the context of larger society. Students plan and help to run diversity-related programs and also collaborate with peers through the SPHERE consortium of Hartford-area independent schools.


Global Opportunities The prestigious Global Online Academy enables KO students to study topics like global health, gender studies, and the significance of 9/11 with independent school students from across the U.S. and around the world. This consortium of 50+ schools expands Upper School course offerings, engages students with the world beyond Hartford, and introduces them to virtual classrooms and the tools of digital communication that are now critical for college and beyond. Students may also take advantage of an array of other opportunities:

■ Girls’ exchange program with St. Catherine’s School in Australia ■ June Term—two-week, travel-study experiences led by KO faculty to places like China, Peru, and the Island School in the Bahamas

■ Model UN and debate competitions in locations ranging from France to Hong Kong to Australia to South Africa

■ Team Tobatí, KO’s signature service-learning opportunity in Paraguay

with a wide variety of “ Interacting people enhances my knowledge and

understanding on a daily basis. I am a more accepting and cultured member of society because of KO.


KO | CHARACTER AND LEADERSHIP At KO, you will belong to a family that cares. Although KO students are required to complete 30 hours of community service, a remarkable number each year are inducted into the Community Service Hall of Fame for performing 100 or more hours. Whatever your passion, you can build character and leadership skills as you work with KO students and faculty to make the world a better place.

Community that Cares

When Sydney Legagneur ’15 stopped by the Whole Foods at Blue Back Square after school one day, she was puzzled to see a trash bin full of flowers. In response, she created a new school club called Petal Power. Students pick up the “expired” flowers that Whole Foods can’t sell and deliver the bouquets to shelters and nursing homes where the blossoms brighten someone’s day.


Developing the Whole Student Your KO experience will extend far beyond the classroom. Our culture of involvement makes KO the ideal place to nurture established interests and explore hidden talents. On the field, on the stage, and through club activities, you will earn life lessons by taking risks, collaborating with others, and staying focused on goals.

At KO, Creativity Is Not Just Nice; It’s Necessary Arts begin in the studio, where all students explore traditional avenues for creative expression, as well as new forms created by the digital age. Through the endowed Goodman Banks and Composer Colloquy Series, artists of national and international stature conduct residencies that illuminate the creative process and demonstrate how it fits into daily life. For example, KO students have learned about interpretive performance from Vermont’s Bread and Puppet Theater company, sculpture from Hilary Scott of Boston, and choral technique from Deke Sharon, the “father of contemporary a cappella.” A partnership with the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra brings sold-out concerts to KO’s Roberts Theater and provides unique opportunities for

outstanding student musicians to perform with a professional orchestra. Beyond the classroom, students may choose to sing with single-sex or co-ed choruses, act in plays or musicals, contribute photos or art to community exhibits, and produce masterpieces on 3D printers. KO is also widely known for the signature Wyvern Invitational A Cappella Festival, the largest competition of its kind in the country.

Athletics Build Skill, Stamina, and Confidence

Each season, students choose from a rich array of intramural and noncompetitive sports, in addition to 33 different interscholastic teams. Since many KO teachers are also coaches, the learning experience is seamless from the classroom to the field. Coaches inspire students to give their all as they build the skills and habits of a healthy, active lifestyle. Recent athletic honors include:

■ Football 2016 New England Champions ■ Boys’ Swimming & Diving 2016 New England Champions

■ Boys’ Tennis 2016 New England Champions ■ Girls’ Tennis 2016 New England Champions ■ Girls’ Track & Field 2016 New England Champions


are an extension of “ Athletics the classroom. Through sports,

students learn about healthy competition and the importance of physical activity; they also learn empathy, commitment, leadership, teamwork, and how to sacrifice for common goals.

— DEBBIE FISKE Director of Athletics


KO, our clubs and activities “ Atallow students to pursue

Activities Encompass Dozens of Passions KO is well known as a leader in Model UN, mock trial, debate, and public speaking, as well as robotics. KO also offers scores of other clubs—ranging from a literary magazine to the Aeronautics Club, from the Frisbee Club to the Gay Student Alliance, from the Green Team to the Investment Club—to explore almost any interest. And if a particular club doesn’t exist, students are encouraged to create one.

interests outside of the normal academic arena. There are a number of leadership skills that our students learn by engaging in the student life of the school. By joining a club, KO students enrich the school community as they present at assemblies, lead discussions or create memorable social opportunities for their fellow Wyverns.

— WILL GILYARD Dean of Students


The Seven-Year Journey

Being a teenager is challenging. With growing brains, fast-changing bodies, and complex emotions, you might wonder how anyone can develop a strong sense of self during this phase of life. As a school for grades 6–12, KO offers a safe, supportive haven, with a reassuring community and consistent educational philosophy for seven critical years— even as everything else in a teenager’s life seems to be changing. At KO, you won’t slip through the cracks. Teachers get to know students in the classroom, through advising, on the field, through contact with parents, and in every arena of school life. This creates a safe environment for you to take healthy risks, challenge yourself to grow, and to know that caring adults will catch you if you stumble.

academic adventure “ Our nurtures students’ intellectual

curiosity and confident communication and equips them with the tools and passion for lifelong learning.

— NATALIE DEMERS Associate Head of School

school matters! During “ Middle these years, the curiosity

students have retained from childhood is complemented by their emerging abstract reasoning skills. This creates an excitement for learning that thrives in KO’s student-centered classrooms, where we help students open the doors to big ideas.

— JANE REPP Director of the Middle School

Partnering with Students and Parents The college advising process begins indirectly as soon as you enroll at KO. Working with faculty advisors, you build a unique academic and cocurricular program and develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your goals. By junior year, you will be ready to think actively about your future after KO. Although the college application process may seem intimidating, KO alumni affirm that seeking the right-fit school works, reporting that they are well-prepared for college and quickly feel at home at their chosen schools. KO’s College Advising office has three full-time professionals serving graduating classes of about 90 students each year, so advisors truly get to know each student. The overriding goal of this individualized advising is to ensure that the college search remains student-centered and student-driven. During Sophomore year, students and families are encouraged to attend informational presentations about college planning. In addition, students meet with representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities who visit campus annually because they know KO students have the academic readiness, self-awareness, and leadership skills needed for success. As always at KO, parents are welcome in this process. The landscape of higher education has changed dramatically since the last generation went to college, and KO parents say they appreciate talking with trusted experts who know this field today. The results of KO’s advising speak for themselves: From 2012–16, 67% of KO’s 454 graduates attended colleges in the “highly selective” or “mostly selective” categories.

goal is to demystify the “ My college search process for

families and help students find the ‘right fit’ school that will allow them to achieve their goals.

— ZAIRA SANTIAGO Director of College Advising


KO graduates have enrolled in a diverse and eclectic array of schools during the past five years: American University Amherst College Appalachian State University Arizona State University Assumption College Babson College Bard College Barnard College Bates College Bentley University Berklee College of Music Boston College Boston University Bowdoin College Brandeis University Brown University Bucknell University Carleton College Centenary College Central Connecticut State University Champlain College Chapman University The Citadel Clark University Clarkson University Clemson University Coastal Carolina University Colby College Colgate University College of Charleston College of the Holy Cross College of William and Mary The College of Wooster Colorado College

Connecticut College Cornell University Dartmouth College DePauw University Dickinson College Drexel University Duke University Eckerd College Elmira College Elon University Endicott College Emerson College Fairfield University Fordham University Franklin and Marshall College Furman University The George Washington University Gettysburg College Hamilton College - NY Hampshire College Harvard University High Point University Hobart and William Smith Colleges Hofstra University Howard University Indiana University at Bloomington Ithaca College James Madison University Johns Hopkins University Juniata College Kean University Lasell College Lehigh University

Lewis & Clark College Loyola Marymount University Loyola University Maryland Lynchburg College Macalester College Manhattan College Manhattanville College Marist College Massachusetts Institute of Technology Miami University, Oxford Michigan State University Middlebury College Mount Holyoke College Muhlenberg College Nazareth College New York University Nichols College Northeastern University Northwestern University Nova Southeastern University The Ohio State University Pennsylvania State University Providence College Purdue University Quinnipiac University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rhode Island School of Design Roger Williams University Sacred Heart University Salve Regina University Sarah Lawrence College Seton Hall University Skidmore College Southern Connecticut State University Springfield College

St. John’s University Queens Campus St. Lawrence University St. Michael’s College Stanford University Stonehill College Southern Methodist University Suffolk University Susquehanna University Syracuse University Temple University Texas A&M University Texas Christian University Towson University Trinity College Tufts University Tulane University Union College United States Military Academy University of California, San Diego University of Connecticut University of Delaware University of Denver University of Edinburgh University of Hartford The University of Iowa University of Louisville University of Maryland University of Miami University of Michigan University of New England University of New Haven University of North Carolina at Wilmington University of Notre Dame University of Pennsylvania

University of Rhode Island University of Richmond University of Rochester University of Southern California University of St. Andrews University of San Diego The University of Tampa University of Vermont University of Virginia University of Wisconsin Ursinus College Vanderbilt University Vassar College Villanova University Virginia Tech Wake Forest University Washington and Lee University Washington University in St. Louis Wellesley College Wentworth Institute of Technology Wesleyan University West Virginia University Western New England University Wheaton College MA Whittier College Williams College Worcester Polytechnic Institute Yale University

Dennis Bisgaard Our Head of School Head of School Dennis Bisgaard believes the real magic of independent education is in cultivating intellectual curiosity and nurturing lifelong learners. “Today’s greatest challenge,” he says, “is to educate students for a future we cannot predict. At KO, we emphasize the skills, values, and experiences that prepare students for the complexity, problems, and change they will encounter in college and in life.” Before coming to KO, Dennis worked in several independent schools as a teacher, coach, and administrator, affording him deep familiarity with every corner of school life. In addition, he has served on many local, regional, and national boards, including that of the National Association of Independent Schools. In 2012, he founded the national Leadership Institute for Educators of Color, held at KO, which provides professional development to educators of color who aspire to leadership positions in independent schools. In 2014, he was honored at Greater Hartford’s “100 Men of Color Gala” for “powerfully and thoughtfully changing communities for the better.” And in 2015, Dennis was one of 20 Heads from around the world to attend a two-week fellowship in the Teachers College Columbia University Klingenstein Center’s Heads of School Leadership Program. KO benefits directly from Dennis’s worldwide personal networks and professional development experiences. “Being exposed to cutting-edge research, innovative practices, and inspiring discourse,” he says, “provides a thorough understanding of the strengths, challenges, issues, and opportunities facing independent schools—and allows me to apply best practices here at KO.” On a personal level, Dennis personifies the notion of a global citizen. Born in Germany—the son of an East German woman and a Trinidadian man—Dennis was adopted at the age of 9 and grew up in Denmark with siblings from several parts of the globe. He holds the equivalent of a Ph.D. in British and American Literature, plus a Bachelor’s in physical education from Odense Universitet in Denmark as well as a Masters degree from Columbia University. Fluent in three languages, he came to the United States on a fellowship to study literature at Temple University and built a career as an educator in American independent schools. He and his wife, Monica, who holds a Masters degree in counseling psychology from Harvard University, have two children. “My wife Monica and I have experienced first-hand the excellence and transformational power of a Kingswood Oxford education. Our son, now off to college in New York City and beyond well prepared, journeyed through the school for seven years, growing in leaps and bounds along the way. Our daughter began her educational journey last year, and we already see her upward trajectory of self-confidence, uncovering strengths and passions and growth towards mastery.”


Are You a KO Student? Come Visit Us and Find Out. We look forward to having you join us for an athletic event or musical performance, to visit a class, or to speak with our faculty, students, and alumni. While our campus is beautiful and easy to get to, it is the people at KO—who commit to knowing and understanding your talents and capabilities—who make this community truly special. Contact us at 860-727-5000 or to schedule an interview or campus tour. Sharon Gaskin Director of Enrollment Management Location, Location, Location KO’s centrally located campus—just off I-84—is easy to reach, and many families coordinate carpools or private buses from surrounding communities. Being adjacent to Blue Back Square, embedded in West Hartford Center, and a few miles from downtown Hartford allows KO to partner with organizations and businesses to provide students with internship, shadowing, and community service opportunities.

Design: Good Design, LLC Copywriting: Cheryl Bardoe Photography: Seshu Badrinath, Cheyney Barrieau, Michelle Murphy, David Newman ’80

KO has been named “Best Private School” in Hartford Magazine’s Best of Hartford Readers’ Poll for the eighth year in a row—more than any other school.

#Wyverns Forever! The Wyvern has been the school mascot since 1916. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Wyverns have been symbols of strength and leadership. “KO-KO” the Wyvern also represents community, camaraderie, and family. In 2013, KO’s mascot placed third in a nationwide “Best Mascot” contest sponsored by USA Today, and even had a cameo appearance on “The Today Show”!

170 Kingswood Road West Hartford, CT 06119-1430 T 860.233.9631

Admissions Viewbook Fall 2016  
Admissions Viewbook Fall 2016