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A co-ed boarding and day school for children in grades 4-9

Mission North Country School strives to create a community that gives children the self-confidence, knowledge, skills, and values to lead satisfying and productive lives while contributing to their world.

Values • We believe that children become confident and resourceful individuals when they try new experiences and cultivate their skills toward mastery, with the guidance of caring adults. • We believe that teaching and learning are most successful when intellectual activity is linked with practical experience. • We are committed to simple and sustainable living, making responsible choices about our use of resources. • We are committed to sustaining a diverse and nurturing community that supports individual growth and creativity, develops resilience, and promotes social responsibility.

4382 Cascade Road • Lake Placid, NY • 12946 | Telephone: (518) 523-9329 ext. 6000 email: |

Welcome “One of the most important educational decisions that you or your child will ever make is where to attend middle school.” ~ David Hochschartner, Head of North Country School

Middle school is where the action is. The scrambled-up years of early adolescence are a unique time in a child’s academic and personal development. For more than 70 years, North Country School has met the needs of middle schoolers. We offer a rare combination of traditional academics, extensive studio and performing arts, daily work jobs, close-knit house life, and wideranging opportunities for outdoor work and play. In our diverse, nurturing community, students come from many backgrounds, cultures and countries—and they are known well by the dedicated, multi-talented adults who teach, live with, and care for them. Innovative teaching inside the classroom and out provides active and creative outlets through which every student can succeed. Children do that here. They reach their potential. I hope you enjoy this look at our school. If you’re intrigued by what you see, please contact us to arrange a visit. We look forward to meeting you.

David “Hock” Hochschartner, Head

Academics “Lettuce” Learn Math • Ecology • Earth Science • World Cultures • Agriculture • Language Arts • Biology • Botany • Environmental

A balance between knowledge and experience... Our academic program helps students develop a solid base of skills and coursework that will be transferable to their next school. Small classes allow for instruction that challenges each child. Students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades meet in homerooms and are taught by a team of two teachers. Students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades have classes with various teachers of core subjects that meet five times weekly. We also offer an ESL program for international students, robust library and computer resources, and a Learning Lab for academic support.

Science • Spanish • Algebra • Geometry • Poetry • Shakespeare • Ancient Civilizations • Avalanche Studies

Guided by national standards, our curriculum features hands-on, place-based lessons that foster practical skills and meaningful knowledge in core subjects. The arts are an area of exceptional strength, reflecting our longstanding belief in the importance of creativity and personal expression.

Faculty Our faculty is an unusually talented and dedicated group. While many of our teachers have advanced degrees, they all divide their time among teaching, coaching, mentoring, houseparenting, and participating in the outdoor program—the commitment that makes the school such a tight and vibrant community. “I work with other adults who are just as committed as Our teachers know our I am to children, not just to teaching, but to children.” students on many levels. ~ Libby Doan, Assistant Head They help children draw parallels between the successes and challenges found on a hike, on the ski hill, or in the riding ring with those of an academic project. Close relationships with caring, accomplished adults spark children’s interests, facilitate learning, form values, and shape lives.

Reflection is an important part of assessment at North Country School. Ours is a learning environment that asks: What do I know how to do? What do I need to know? What do I need to do better? The focus is on acquiring content knowledge, skills, self-awareness, and strategies for improvement. In addition, standardized tests of the Educational Records Bureau (ERBs) provide objective measures of academic achievement. Formal teacher reports about each student’s progress are sent to parents at mid-year and in June, and informal communication with parents by email or telephone is routine. “A child who reads poorly, spells badly, writes slowly and awkwardly, has little freedom. He is without tools—or his tools are so dull that production and creation are discouraged. Freedom is gained as we acquire ability and skill.” ~ Walter Clark, NCS Founder

Daily Schedule


7:15 Barn & Garden Chores 7:30 Building & House Chores 8:00 Breakfast, Council and Morning Meeting 9:00 AM Classes 12:15 Lunch 12:45 Council Announcements 1:00 PM Classes and Arts Electives 3:00 Out-time (athletics and outdoor activities) 4:30* Free time in houses, Barn Chores 6:00 Dinner 6:45 Reading Period or Study Hall for 8th and 9th Graders 7:15 Homework 8:30-9:30 Bedtimes (according to age)

We strive to instill habits of reading, writing, and public speaking that are independent of language arts classes. Adults and children read together regularly, and every weekday evening begins with a 30-minute free reading period. Sunday night letters home and Title Trek journaling provide regular and contrasting opportunities to extend writing skills. During weekly afterdinner performances, students hone public speaking skills in poetry readings, improvisational skits, and other dramatic presentations.

*Homenight is every Wednesday. Students spend the evening with their house group for dinner and activities. House chores, laundry and birthday celebrations take place on homenights.

Mathematical Competency Students build mathematical competency by calculating figures and using numbers in meaningful ways. For instance, students conduct a statistical analysis of on-campus maple syrup production or a science class might collect and analyze raw data to assess and reduce our energy use. In the “Lettuce Learn Math� project, students grow and sell their own lettuce, then choose how to spend any profits. Upper level students typically take algebra and geometry so they are well prepared for advanced math.

Reading and Writing Rock! Visiting Author Program Each year internationally recognized children’s and young adult authors share their profession with NCS students. Visiting authors talk about the writing process, hold writers’ workshops, and spark inspiration. They transform the invisible mystique of literature into a doable art form.

Visiting Authors Linda Sue Park • David Lubar • Rick Riordan • Jack Gantos • Chris Crutcher • Jim Bruchac • Tim Wynne-Jones • Janet MacDonald • J. Alison James • Daniel Hayes

Title Trekking Reading Incentive Program With no television access, children at NCS have time to read. Our Title Trekking program promotes the joy of reading. A list of recommended titles parallels the rising elevations of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. Achieving the status of “Literary 46er” by reading 46 books and completing written journal responses is one of the School’s most prestigious awards.

• Judith Gorog • Carol Plum-Ucci • Michael Sullivan • Kathleen Baxter

“People feel that you get into the arts by being anointed. It’s not like that. It’s about having good habits. Sitting down, writing, doing the drafts, and really pursuing it.” ~ Jack Gantos, Visiting Author

Learning Lab

English as a Second Language

The Learning Lab at NCS provides support to students with learning

Our ESL program complements the regular NCS curriculum. In all grades

differences. Our Learning Lab staff work with classroom teachers to assess

these classes focus on cultural transition, speaking, listening, reading, and

students’ needs through a process of referrals, classroom observations, and

writing. ESL support is determined on an individual basis. It is hands-on,

additional informal testing. We offer small group and one-on-one skills

socially interactive and intellectually rewarding. Students learn English by

instruction and remedial interventions.

doing: helping with chores, playing with friends, sharing in house life with an English speaking roommate, and participating in outdoor and arts activities.

“NCS offers so many opportunities for her to excel in different areas without the competitive pressure that so many other schools encourage. The school reinforces the positive in students in whatever learning process serves them individually.”

~ NCS parent

In recent years our international students have come from: Mexico • China • Germany • Senegal • Korea • Russia • Antigua • Switzerland Japan • Columbia • Ghana • Bermuda • Indonesia


Secondary School Placement

Our computer lab has 15 workstations and a mobile cart with 20 laptops for classroom or study hall use. All computers are networked, so students may store their class work on the server. While we stay current with cyber and electronic advances, we also pride ourselves on a judicious use of technology that limits students’ unproductive “screen time.”

The challenging ninth-grade curriculum includes a program for transition to the

Upper level classes learn proficiency in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint presentations, and other multi-media applications. Art electives include digital photography and video editing. Videoconferencing software allows us to broadcast occasional classes or special events over the internet to parents and families or to invite experts into our classrooms for virtual lectures and discussions with students. In all our efforts, we teach responsible use of the internet.

Secondary School Placement Director.

student’s next school and support with the secondary school admissions process. Students write application essays in their English classes, take SSATs, tour schools with their families, and attend sessions given by secondary school admission directors who visit our campus. Parents are part of this transition and work closely with our

North Country School graduates attend a wide variety of secondary schools: Putney • Buxton • Westtown • Northfield Mount Hermon • St. Mark’s • Masters Millbrook • Grier • Brewster • Cushing • Darrow • Northwood • Proctor • Stony Brook Emma Willard • Williston Northampton • Dublin • Gould • Gunnery • Concord

Studio Arts Jewelry making • glass fusion • digital and film photography • anatomical drawing • knitting &

A balance between skills and creativity... With more than 20 offerings, the arts at North Country School are an integral part of the day. Students typically have at least one art class daily, offering ample opportunity for students to explore and develop their creative talents. The average class size is six students. The art studios are frequently open on the weekends.

crocheting • weaving • felting • sewing • painting & drawing

“Visually we use our campus all the time. We have a wealth of resources—from the beautiful setting

• sculpture • ceramics

that inspires imagination, to the more practical. We have the garden, where we process dyes from

• woodworking

plants; we shear our sheep and spin the wool; and of course, we use the wood on our property—it’s all part of the art process.” ~ Martha Murphy, Art Teacher

Performing Arts Playwriting • Directing • Individual Instrumental Lessons • Swing, Tap & Improvisational Dance • Acting • Digital Theater • Roots of American

A balance between expression and participation... Theater, dance and music classes are part of the daily program. You are never too young to dance or too old to sing. The spring play is an annual, year-end celebration. The production includes both seasoned theater students and those experiencing their first performance, as well as musicians, dancers, costume designers, and stage crew.

Music • Experimental Theater • African Drumming • Shakespeare • Stage Crew • Songwriting • Lighting • Set Design • Jug Band

“Every single person contribues to the success of the production. The beauty is that there is a part for everyone—that’s not a cliché—you don’t have to be a performer and you don’t have to be center-stage to make the performance a success. We’re not looking for perfection—we’re looking for professionalism and commitment.” ~ Ryan Joyce, Theater Director

Outdoor Program Alpine , Nordic & Telemark Skiing • Pond Hockey • Fort Building, Horseback Riding • Hiking • Frisbee • Soccer • Capture the Flag • Snowboarding • Dry Land Training • Rock & Ice Climbing • Biking • Trail Maintenance & work jobs

We are an active place with lots of different choices on how to spend our afternoons and weekends. We encourage participation over competition; developing pride and proficiency in individual and team sports is the goal. The outdoor program encompasses after school out-times, weekend trips and off-campus overnights. Rock and ice climbing are highly popular with our students, with the inside climbing wall preparing children for more challenging climbs outdoors. With our own herd of horses, two riding rings, and miles of mountain trails, horseback riding attracts its share of enthusiasts; overnight riding trips are much-anticipated annual events, and the year-end equestrian drill team performance is a traditional highlight of our graduation festivities. Afternoons and weekends on our campus ski hill, plus allschool weekly trips to nearby Whiteface Mountain during winter term, boost students’ skiing and snowboarding skills. In season, students also enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, skating, and snowshoeing. All gear is provided by the School.

Student Life Board Games • Relaxing In Our Rooms • Homenight Dinner • Movies In Town • A Pickup Game of Basketball • Skiing On Our Ski Hill • Reading • Holiday Celebrations • Skating at the Olympic Oval

A balance between structure and independence... North Country School does not have dormitories. Instead, groups of up to 12 children live in houses under the supervision of caring faculty houseparents, some of whom have families of their own. Each student has a roommate of the same gender and approximate age, but each house group typically includes boys and girls in different grades from various backgrounds, cultures, and religions. The mix of children resembles different-aged siblings and helps each house become a safe home away from home—where every child belongs. Day students are assigned to houses, so they, too, can share in the intimacy of the house group. “While nobody can replace Mom and Dad, NCS is a very nurturing environment. It emphasizes the importance of family and community and the responsibilities that go with that.” ~ Parent of two NCS students

NCS Breakfast Buttermilk Pancake Recipe serves 125 13 ½ pounds locally milled whole-wheat flour 12 ounces baking powder 3 tablespoons baking soda 6 tablespoons salt 2 pounds and 4 ounces sugar 36 eggs 10 ½ quarts buttermilk 2 pounds 4 ounces of oil Mix ingredients together, ladle onto hot griddle, cook until bubbly and turn. Continue cooking until golden brown.

Health & Well-Being We hope that your child will not need medical attention, but if so, health care is available 24 hours a day. Our school nurse lives with her family on campus, and the infirmary is in the main building. The Adirondack Health Medical Center & regional hospital are about six miles away. The school counselor provides individual and group counseling sessions, helps students stay connected to home-based therapists, and teaches a series of “Live & Learn” life-skills workshops for all students. Referrals for individual services are made by students themselves or come from families and/or faculty.

Farm & Garden Horses • Sheep • Compost • Barn Chores • Greenhouses • Lettuce • Kale • Flowers • Carrots • Maple Syrup • Wool • Eggs • Turkeys • Potatoes • Herbs • Chickens • Pigs • Pickles • Squash • Beets • Pumpkins • Rhubarb

A balance between chores and care... We are an educational farm that provides authentic, hands-on learning through academic classes and place-based lessons. Production is a real part of the program and provides students with firsthand experience in growing and harvesting their own food. By taking an active role on the farm, students understand where their food comes from and learn the responsibility of feeding, watering and caring for other beings. Whether it is processing basil into pesto, learning to pick a horse’s hoof, or turning the compost heap, students’ participation is essential to sustaining our farm. As it has been for decades, this is part of the daily routine at our school. “ My daughter will not do any chores at home, but at NCS she excels at barn chores. It’s that she has to care for something other than herself; the animals depend on her.” ~ Mother of 5th grade student

Admissions and Financial Aid Applications are invited for grades 4 through 8, and when space is available, for grade 9. Admissions visits to campus are highly encouraged and will be arranged individually for each family upon contacting the admissions office. These visits allow your family time to meet with faculty, visit classes and tour the barn. We invite you to join us for a home-style lunch. You will have time for a parent interview to discuss your child’s academic and social history. Our admissions process considers student enrollment for the ensuing academic year or immediate placement. North Country School takes pride in the diversity of our student population: racially, ethnically, geographically, economically, and academically in terms of learning style. The admissions process requests school

Telephone: (518) 523-9329 ext. 6000 FAX: (518) 523-4858 E-mail:

records, testing and professional education

Financial Aid Financial aid considerations are made in spring and summer preceding an academic year, and it is advisable to initiate the

evaluations. As a learning and living

“I have seen the benefits of an education at North Country

process early in the new year. Grants are

community, North Country School seeks to

School through the lives of my two youngest children. They have

awarded through a standardized process

enroll students who are curious, spontaneous,

come home older and wiser in ways that will serve them well the

used by all independent schools. Full school

and capable of being engaged in learning in

rest of their lives. Actually, it seems hard to believe such a school

packets, including application forms and

the classroom, the outdoors, the arts, and the

exists in these times. But luckily for all of us, it does.”

yearly tuition information, are available

School’s social environment.

~ NCS parent

by contacting the admissions office by telephone, fax, or email.

North Country School

Travel Children come to us from all areas of the United States and beyond. To travel here from distant points, most families come via the Albany Airport in Albany, NY, and occasionally from Burlington, VT, or Montreal, Quebec. On scheduled travel days, a charter bus or school van travels between North Country School and New York City, and children requiring air travel assistance will be met at or accompanied to flights at the Albany Airport.

From the South Follow Interstate 87 North (the Northway) to Exit 30 (Lake Placid and Olympic Region). Make a left at the end of the ramp onto Route 9N and follow it to Route 73 and all signs to Lake Placid. You will pass through the towns of Keene Valley and Keene, and then drive about seven miles uphill, past the Cascade Lakes. Approximately one-half mile after the last lake, you will see the North Country School/Camp Treetops sign on your right. Follow the school drive past the barn to the main building with the red doors. The school’s location is seven miles before you reach the town of Lake Placid.

Driving times to North Country School: New York City

5 1/2 hours

Burlington, VT

2 hours

Albany, NY

2 1/2 hours

Syracuse, NY

4 hours

Montreal, Canada

2 1/2 hours

“NCS provides children with the opportunity to be kids again — t h e w a y i t w a s y e a r s a g o — b u t w i t h t h e a d v a n t a g e s w e e n j o y t o d a y.” ~ N C S P a r e n t North Country School does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin.

North Country School is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools and holds membership in the National Association of Independent Schools’, Secondary School Admissions Test Board, the Educational Records Bureau, Junior Boarding Schools’, New York Boarding Schools’, and the Small Boarding Schools’ Association.

Digital image of the NCS barn by 8th grade photography student Josey Stuart and photography teacher Tom Clark.

4382 Cascade Road • Lake Placid, NY • 12946 | Telephone: (518) 523-9329 ext. 6000 |

NCS Admissions Brochure  

North Country School Admissions Brochure and Viewbook