Recent Alumni Events

Riverdale Hosts Conference for Experiential Educators
Posted 01/15/2019 01:07PM

In 9th grade history, students make trips to New York City neighborhoods to learn about globalization. 


More than 150 educators from around the world who specialize in experiential education will gather at Riverdale Country School from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25 for the 14th annual Winter Institute of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN).

The theme of this year's conference is “Beyond Borders: Experiential Education Through the Lens of Equity & Justice.” Dr. Elizabeth Pillsbury, director of experiential education at Riverdale, worked with ISEEN on the planning of the conference. "The challenge of taking on another's view is the heart of this conference's theme," said Pillsbury, a member of the history faculty who teaches a course on urban studies. Members of the Riverdale faculty will take participants to New York City neighborhoods that reflect the city's socioeconomic, cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity. They will lead discussions about how urban landscapes provide information about the people who live there.

Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph will give the opening keynote address, and Dwight Vidale '01, Riverdale's director of community engagement, and Emily Schorr Lesnick  '07, the former Upper School director of service learning who is now the social-emotional learning coordinator at University Prep in Seattle, will organize discussions along with Pillsbury related to the conference's theme.

One day will be devoted to group trips and activities led by Riverdale faculty and students that demonstrate some of the school's experiential learning opportunities. Examples include:   

  • Archival Research Project at the United Nations (Dr. Laura Honsberger)  
  • New York City Contemporary Art (Nicky Enright and Natalia Mercedes Rodriguez '19)
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Experience (Melissa Marturano and Jessica Shapiro-Weill '99)
  • Theater as a Means of Connection with Verbatim Performance Lab (Emily Schorr Lesnick)
  • Applications of Computer Science: Design Thinking to Mindfulness (Andrew Abate)
  • Learning With Leather and Lasers (Jason Ruff)
  • Exploring Landforms, Topography, and Erosion Through Augmented Reality and Maker Activities (Richard Brehl, John Mueser, Laurie Bartels, and Patrick Murray)
  • Criminal Arraignments and the Innocence Project (Dwight Vidale '01, Kent Kildahl, and Jane (Tally) Pucher of the Innocence Project) 
  • Adaptations to Changing Ecosystems (Marshall Nicoloff, Dr. Rachel Cox, Maddy Noah '19, and Leo Pappajohn '19)
  • Ebbs and Flows of Life: An Introduction to the Micro-Histories of the Brooklyn Waterfront (Dr. Elizabeth Pillsbury) 
  • Escape the Classroom: Escape the Room games for team-building lessons (Michael Sclafani)
  • Black Brooklyn, Slum Clearance, and Gentrification (Dr. Elizabeth Pillsbury and Phyllis Dugan) 
  • Body and Soul: Exploring Afro-Latino Music and Dance (Jannely Almonte Ortiz and Milena Almira)

ISEEN represents educators working in outdoor/adventure education, global education/travel, community engagement/service learning, sustainability, leadership development, and classroom pedagogy. 


For More Information

Robin Gottlieb
Director of Alumni Affairs and Institutional Engagement

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



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Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

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Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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