The Independent Day School
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IDS Woodwind Trio Selected as Honors Performance Ensemble

The Independent Day School Woodwind Trio has been selected as an honors performance ensemble for the 2017 Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) In-Service Conference. Eighth graders Emmett Parkerson of Cheshire and Ethan Ciak of Middletown, and seventh grader Katie Gendrich, also of Middletown, will be showcased during the Conference which will take place at the Convention Center in Hartford this spring.

This honor was granted to these accomplished young musicians as a result of their ability to perform at a high level for their age and strand, both technically and in regard to repertoire selection. The Independent Day School Music Program has been passionately and expertly led by Jane Mills for more than 20 years.

Shown left to right:

Emmett Parkerson, Katie Gendrich, Ethan Ciak

IDS Presents Faculty Recognition Awards

Middle School teachers at The Independent Day School conferred the Faculty Recognition Award to four Middle School students: Timmy Conroy of Higganum, Julia Cunningham of Middletown, Lauren Farrell of Middletown and Katie Gendrich of Middletown.
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Second Graders Perform The Mitten

The Second Graders studied the work of author, Jan Brett and thought that The Mitten would make an excellent play. In the story, Nikki, a Ukranian boy, loses his white mitten in the snow. Watch what happens when a group of animals discover this cozy home. The lesson learned here? There's always room for one more friend.

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Boys Varsity Basketball Sweeps Pine Point Tournament

The Independent Day School Boys Varsity Basketball team, the Coyotes, cruised to the Pine Point Tournament championship on Saturday in convincing fashion with a 5 – 0 win over The Country School (Madison), St.John’s (Old Saybrook) and Pine Point School (Stonington).

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IDS Fourth Graders Perform: Bubble, Bubble, MacBeth In Trouble!

In January Fourth Grade students added a healthy dose of comic relief to Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy, MacBeth. From the moment the three weird sisters prophesize that Mr. MacBeth will replace King Duncan – Scotland’s King of Rock-n-Roll – the jokes start flying. Mrs. MacBeth and her husband bring the Elvis impersonator to an untimely end; Banquo’s ghost can’t seem to terrify anyone; and MacDuff’s hamster was slain by the new King of Scotland.

While students learned many life-long skills as they performed this Shakespeare-inspired adaptation, the theatrical process made this experience so memorable.

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Fifth Graders Perform Olympian Idol

As a capstone to their study of ancient Greece, the students performed Olympian Idol, a take on the popular television show, with the gods and goddesses vying for the top slot. Reinforcing their lesson in a fun, play-based manner, ensures that the students have a firm understanding of the foundations of Western civilization.

Middle School Students Negotiate the Treaty of Versailles

After their study of the Great War, eighth graders were grouped in teams representing the various nations negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. The students were informed and engaged and debated the merits and failures of the famous treaty.

Middle School Performance: You Can't Take It with You

The middle school drama club showed off their acting chops in the fall production of You Can't Take It with You. The performance featured some familiar faces and quite a number of new students to the MS stage. And in IDS fashion, the students decided to be extra fearless and performed parts of the play for their peers at X block without their director present. They pulled it off - cues and all. Bravo!


Third Graders present Cinderella: A Modern Makeover

The third grade will perform the play is Cinderella: A Modern Makeover on Thursday, October 22 at 6:00 p.m. and Friday, October 23 at 10:55 a.m.The year is 2015 and Cinderella wants to apply for a new position in the kingdom. The prince is advertising for the head of his Environmental Agency. This job is perfect for a girl who is obsessed with cleaning. Every year, students starting in Kindergarten perform in a grade level production, which cultivates poise, confidence and the ability to speak articulately.

IDS Hosts Cross Country Invitational

Runners take your mark. On October 15 over 140 runners from local independent, parochial and public schools participated in our cross country invitational on our magnificent nature trails. Foote School, Country School, St. Timothy's, Chase, Hamden Hall, Portland and St. John Paul II were represented. The course was 1.6 miles. Overhead after the race was a student from another school exclaiming, "This was the best course to race on!" How's that for an endorsement.

IDS's Giant Spirograph at The Makers Faire

Imagine that favorite childhood drawing toy – the spirograph – brought to life in giant form.

Students, faculty and parents at The Independent Day School have built just that. Using an old mountain bike chain and gear, and a handful of parts from the hardware store, they built a spirograph that is five feet in diameter and is powered by a person riding a scooter, drawing circles and spheres on the concrete in chalk.

They have been chosen to exhibit the giant spirograph at the first ever Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, October 3 from 10 am to 5 pm at Tunxis Community College in Farmington.

Kids and adults worked together to build the spirograph in the school’s maker lab. They started by analyzing photos of a similar contraption, did schematic drawings, and experimented with different ways to attach the pieces.  Projects like this – that draw upon understanding math, science, and design principles that are highly valued by colleges and employers – are integral to the IDS experience.

This Maker Faire is a free, family-friendly celebration of invention and creativity that is open to people of all ages who are interested in creating, making, building, innovating, tinkering, hacking, engineering, designing or connecting.  The Faire is sponsored by the College of Technology’s Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing and produced by CBIA.  Corporate sponsors include Legrand, Lego, Inc., Trumpf, Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker.

Founders' Day Celebration

Every fall we gather as a community to celebrate our special school. Sunday, September 13 was a glorious day with over 80 runners in the morning for the Family Fun Run and 5K. After the race there was a lot of cheering, connecting, designing, building and eating. We loved seeing our enthusiastic runners, dancers and designers enjoying each other's company.

Two Fifth Graders Win Awards at the Connecticut Invention Convention

Two Independent Day School’s fifth graders Laura Colonna de Lega from Middlefield and Kathryn Gendrich from Middletown were awarded prizes in the annual Connecticut Invention Convention. The CIC brings thousands of child inventors from around the state to the University of Hartford, Storrs each year.  Kathryn won a Recognized Inventor Awardfor her “Plant-o-Matic” watering device and Laura won a CT Environmental Forum Award for her environmentally friendly invention, “The Green Wash Mat”.  Laura was also recognized with a certificate from the CT Safety Society for "including Safety, Health and Environmental principles and ideologies in her project.”
Laura’s invention involved creating a mat with inflatable sides placed under a car that collects dirty water from washing your car. The suds are collected through a pump system that filtrates the dirty water and produces clean water.  By filtrating the water, harmful suds and detergents do not penetrate the soil.
Katie’s invention utilized a water pump from a fish tank that can water six plants automatically set on a timer. Additionally, an individual can set the proper amount of water for the plants so that they are not over saturated.
Science classes at The Independent Day School are intentionally hands-on  and experiential starting from Kindergarten. Students are challenged to identify and find a solution to a problem which gives them the opportunity to problem solve and use critical thinking skills in their work. This type of thinking is essential as we form the next generation of scientists and inventors in our country.

Middle School Students Place Second in Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation Trivia Bee

A small group of fearless sixth graders (plus a last-minute stand-in third grader) atThe Independent Day School finished second overall in the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation's Trivia Bee on Friday, March 6. They also won the Judge's Choice award and held their own against a field of mostly adult teams.

Calling themselves th "Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?" team, they won their first round, beating seven other teams, all made up of high school students. They received a standing ovation from the audience for their depth of knowledge, competitive spirit and teamwork. The team impressed the crowd with their correct response to the world capital with the highest elevation (La Paz, Bolivia). Francesca Antonopoulos (Durham), Andrew Foster (Durham), William Foster (Durham) Ethan Bardoe (Wallingford) and Jackson Meisner (Deep River) comprised the team

Five IDS Students Advance in History Bee Semi Finals


IDS Wins Innovation Prize Gold Award

The Independent Day School is the winner of a coveted CQIA (Connecticut Quality Improvement Award, Inc.) Innovation Prize Gold Award honoring the school’s unique Design Thinking Program, a structured methodology for authentic, collaborative problem solving.

IDS’s Design Thinking program is based on strategies and protocols used frequently by Silicon Valley companies to help people learn to innovate routinely. Since its inception in 2010, the Design Thinking program has helped IDS to offer stand-alone and integrated programs and to embed its principles of discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution throughout the school curriculum. It is the first school in the region to devote such resources to this kind of  work and is modeled in part on a well-established program at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA. Andrew Watt who spearheads the Design Thinking program at IDS says he can already see the impact on his students. Not only are the students thinking visually, but they are becoming more patient and deliberate in their thinking. He says, “If you want to know how something works, you need to understand the  process of how to create that object.”

Much of what happens in the IDS Design Thinking lab would look familiar to anyone who has been to a Maker Fair. Students and other community members are engaged in a creative process that helps them design a meaningful solution to a problem them are invested in. The children may think they are working on a specific project, but they are really internalizing a process that will serve them in all future creative endeavors. One of the key elements of Design Thinking is working in collaborative partnerships, which is a cornerstone of 21st century education. Recent projects have included game making, castle building, and brainstorming solutions to campus challenges.

Since 1995, the CQIA Innovation Prize had honored businesses and organization for innovative improvements that enhance their competitive position. Past honorees have included manufacturers, corporate headquarters, service companies, health and education organizations, as well as state and federal agencies and other not for profits. Jessi Christiansen, Head of School, said of the prize, “The Independent Day School is thrilled to be recognized with this prestigious award for our Design Thinking program. We believe we are developing the curious and innovative and big idea thinkers of the next generation.”

IDS Mock Trial Team Advances to Semi Finals

Long hours of practice, cross examination and lawerly skills have paid off for The Independent Day School’s Mock Trial Team who advance to the semi-finals on Monday, March 3rd at 3:00 p.m. at New Britain Superior Court – one of four teams in the state remaining in the competition.

The Independent Day School’s Debate Team consists of 18 students, 13 of whom participated in mock trial.  Spearheaded by two coaches: a lawyer-parent with experience in courtroom practice, and a faculty member who coaches on public speaking, the weekly practices run on Fridays from 3:30 to 5:00. The group advancing to the semifinals includes one sixth grader, five seventh graders, and seven eighth graders. Coach Andrew Watt said of the team, “Everyone delivered a solid performance; we had no weak link.”

The program is run by CivicsFirst, and each year they supply a new case. The case is supposed to be balanced between plaintiffs and defense, with a roughly-equal number of challenges to the structure of the litigation.  Lawyers volunteer from around the state to act as judges at the lower levels of competition; the higher levels are heard by sitting judges in actual courtrooms.  Students must learn to argue both sides of the same case, in teams consisting of three lawyers and three witnesses; last night, the IDS plaintiff team had the stage.

The current case involves the last will and testament of a woman who left most of her money to a trust fund for the dedicated care of her pets.  Resembling the similar Leona Helmsley case from the mid-1990s, the woman's children have brought suit against the executors of the will and the trust.  As always, the case includes a number of legal irregularities and improprieties, which the students must find — and then either exploit or defend against. Last year's case was about cyber-bullying in schools; the year before, the subject was an armed robbery of a convenience store.

The IDS debate team won both halves of its first round Mock Trial competition on February 6 at Kingswood-Oxford. The case, "in the matter of the Estate of Mrs. Estelle Heeny-Potter," explores whether or not a wealthy old lady was pressured into changing her will to benefit a trust for the care and protection of her animals, and that the executors of that estate are defrauding the deceased's actual heirs. IDS middle schoolers successfully argued both sides of the case in two rounds, first defending the will as proper and reasonable, and then attacking the will as improper and unreasonable. They advanced to the quarter-finals on February 25, at Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison, where again they argued both sides successfully in order to advance to the semi-finals round.

IDS Wins First Round of Mock Trial Competition

The IDS debate team won both halves of its first round Mock Trial competition on February 6 at Kingswood-Oxford. The case, "in the matter of the Estate of Mrs. Estelle Heeny-Potter," explores whether or not a wealthy old lady was pressured into changing her will to benefit a trust for the care and protection of her animals, and that the executors of that estate are defrauding the deceased's actual heirs. IDS middle schoolers successfully argued both sides of the case in two rounds, first defending the will as proper and reasonable, and then attacking the will as improper and unreasonable. They advance to the quarter-finals on February 25, at Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison, where again they will have to argue both sides successfully in order to advance to the semi-finals round.
IDS hosts flag folding ceremony to honor veterans
At The Independent Day School in Middlefield, veterans from Middletown led an assembly on November 6 about flag etiquette. Phil Cacciola, Commander of American Legion Post 75 in Middletown, led the assembly and introduced the seven other veterans, who all served in country during the Vietnam War.
The veterans attached two purposes to the visit: to teach the students to respect veterans and the flag. "We're going to explain how to fold the flag and what the symbols mean," said Edward Salvatore of Middletown, who served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1967.
Tom Goglia, Bronze Star recipient and Air Force veteran said he hoped the students would take from the assembly "respect for the flag and what we serve our country for."
Cacciola noted that the students were different grade levels and would take different lessons from the assembly. Sometimes at school assemblies, Cacciola said, the teachers learn as much as the students. "I'm delighted IDS asked us to be here," said Cacciola, who has been to the school in the past.
   "We've given them flags. We sat with the kids and did a project on Vietnam."
The veterans presented a POW-MIA flag to IDS, accepted by Head of School Jessi Christiansen. The veterans also observed the daily flag raising at the school. 
Amazing Collection

Middlefield, CT.

Students  at The Independent Day School collected over 1,010 lbs of food and donated it to the

Amazing Grace Food Pantry of Middletown.


Service learning is a part of IDS’s  curriculum to  empower students and enrich lives. The students

initiated the service project as one aspect of  their Autumn Games team competition. Each can

counted as five points towards either the Blue or Green team, the school colors.

Robin Nichols, Director ofAdmission, said “Civic responsibility is  part  of our  mission.  It’s  who we

are day to day.” Who says  community  service and healthy competition are mutually exclusive?


The Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletownis a program of St. Vincent de Paul. Approximately 950 households "shopped" Amazing Grace Food Pantry once a month last year. Approximately 399,840 food items were distributed through out the year or 33,320 food items per month. This translates to 260,860 meals for the year.

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