Our simple but powerful goal is to produce students who know how to use their minds well.
While aligned with the Common Core Curriculum, what sets our academic program apart is our integration of the 10 Common Principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. We focus on helping students learn to use their minds well, emphasize depth over breadth to instill mastery of subject matter, personalize our teaching for our students and stress high expectations while fostering an ‘unanxious’ environment in which students feel empowered to learn.
We ask ourselves: How can we encourage students, as they engage in their learning, to embrace challenge and complexity, take initiative, consider other perspectives, speculate and experiment, innovate and be bold? It is important that we help them grow academically, psychologically and emotionally to be better prepared to continue their education in the future.
We focus first and foremost on the relationship between teacher and student, and the academic disciplines that bring them together. Small classes allow students to receive personal attention from a talented, enthusiastic faculty. We place special emphasis on encouraging curiosity, critical thinking and civic virtue.
The arts are at the heart of our schools. Riverdale continues to demonstrate its commitment to both visual and performing arts by making art a core academic subject area. Students at Riverdale Grade School and Riverdale High School experience an extensive visual arts curriculum and a strong program for musical expression, along with drama program offerings.
Students are encouraged to spread their wings and expand their minds through a variety of field studies activities. What we learn outside the classroom is just as important as what we learn inside.
Riverdale Grade School fosters a love of language and develops voracious readers through an instructional focus and exciting activities that encourage students to read voluminous amounts of material across a wide variety of genres. Students use flashlights, garden beds, baseballs and even the teacher as math tools, fostering an interactive curriculum designed to make math come alive for all styles of learners.
The college-going culture at Riverdale High School begins freshman year. An Honors Curriculum is available within each core class section, challenging those who want it, yet not isolating students from each other. Our students take full course loads each year, even during senior year when they complete an intensive Senior Exhibition many compare to a college thesis. There are many college credit courses available right here in our building. And upon graduation, our seniors possess the skills, motivation and self-awareness needed to succeed in college and in life. Riverdale graduates continue their academic careers at some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities.
Read more about academics at both of our schools in the pages within this section.