Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community

<<  Summer Study at Riverdale

Summer Study at Riverdale

Summer Study at Riverdale is an academic program for students entering grades 6 to 9. In full-day classes over a three-week period (June 17–July 5), Summer Study gives students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of academic disciplines through active learning that helps bridge the gap between academic years in order to develop and maintain important skill sets with extended classroom time. Small classes taught by Riverdale faculty provide all students a unique opportunity to explore new interests and prepare for the challenges of the next school year. 

Students may opt for one, two, or three-week enrollment. Tuition for one and two-week enrollment is prorated. 

Riverdale faculty and staff will work with students on both academic and personal goals, aiming to prepare them for new challenges in the next chapter of their education. An important teaching thread in all courses will be “learning how to learn.” The strategies and experiences of this program will provide a useful reservoir of knowledge and skills that students will draw upon in their future academic endeavors.

If you have more questions about this program, please email Georgia Tucker, Summer School Program Director at gtucker@riverdale.edu.

General Information

Who: Middle and Upper School students entering grades 6 to 9. Riverdale and non-Riverdale students may enroll in courses. We will consider applications from rising 5th graders for JavaScript, and rising 6th graders for pre-alegbra. Please email Georgia Tucker for additional information.
Where: Riverdale Country School River Campus
When: One three-week semester, June 17–July 5, 2019. Students focus on one discipline per semester (mathematics or writing or computer science).

Daily Schedule
8:00: Campus Opens
8:30-12:30: Morning Classes
12:30-1:00: Lunch
1:00-2:00: Afternoon classes
2:00-3:30 Activity period: sports, games and, experiential learning in the performing and visual arts, and interactive technology

Food and Transportation: Healthy snacks will be available during the day but no meal service will be provided. Students should bring their lunch. Transportation will be available for an additional charge.

Cost: $3,200 per student per course. Deposit due at time of registration ($200). Balance due by April 30, 2019.

What is “Learning how to Learn”?

"Learning how to learn" is a set of skills and understandings that are essential not only for academic success but also for personal and professional growth and well-being beyond schooling.

Leading your own learning involves understanding how to stay focused and on task, knowing how your brain works in terms of making and retrieving memories, and how to study and be involved in the classroom in productive and effective ways. We all have room to improve in these skills.

Instruction at Summer Study at Riverdale will embed lessons on metacognition and learning strategies so students improve on transferable skills that will benefit them far beyond one academic discipline.


Pre-Algebra (for students entering grades 7 and 8): This course uses hands-on activities to practice pre-algebra skills in new and interesting ways. The primary focus of the course will stress building numeracy, problem-solving skills, pattern recognition, and mathematical communication. Students will also practice computational skills, with a focus on fractions, decimals, order of operations, and integers. Work will be tailored to the individual needs of students from each participating grade level. Note: We will consider applications from rising 6th graders for this course. Please email Georgia Tucker for more information.

About the instructor: Melissa Decker-Alifanz—known to her students as "Mrs. D.A."—has been a member of the Riverdale mathematics faculty for 16 years, having taught everything from 7th grade pre-algebra to 12th grade introductory calculus. For the past five years she has also served as Middle and Upper School mathematics chair, overseeing curriculum development and working with colleagues to develop new pedagogical ideas. Mrs Decker-Alifanz is looking forward to working with students in math this summer to help them develop their number sense and love of math.

English: Analytical Reading and Writing

Analytical Reading and Writing (for students entering grades 6 to 9): This course builds close reading skills using both fiction and nonfiction texts, and builds key analytical writing skills such as thesis statement creation, evidence selection, and incorporating opposing viewpoints into interpretation. Curriculum will focus on shorter, engaging texts and poems with high frequencies of feedback and practice. Students will break down the elements of a strong argument and learn how those skills can be transferred to many different academic disciplines.

About the instructor: Marvin Shelton is a Riverdale Middle School English teacher for 6th and 7th grades, and is looking forward to teaching the analytical writing course again this summer. Before working at Riverdale, Mx Shelton taught English and History on a fellowship at both William Penn Charter School and St. James Episcopal School in Philadelphia.

English: Creative Writing

Creative Writing (for students entering grades 8 and 9): This course uses a varied series of creative writing prompts to build writing stamina and skills such as imagery, perspective, and tone. Course will include high frequencies of feedback and practice, and students will workshop their writing and select pieces to revise for weekly showcases to celebrate students’ work and progress. Inspirations for our writing will include the Wave Hill Garden next door to campus.

About the instructor: Kathleen Arpin is a learning specialist on Riverdale's Learning Research Team. Before joining Riverdale Ms Arpin worked at Avenues: The World School and Connecticut public schools as an English teacher. As a literacy teacher, Ms Arpin is passionate about involving students in the writing process, and about helping students learn that writing is indeed a process—never completed after the first draft.

Computer Science

Programming with JavaScript (for students entering grades 6 to 9): Students will examine the fundamentals of computer science while learning how to code using JavaScript and the Processing programming language. In the three week sessions, students will apply their computer science and apply design thinking to build engaging and interactive projects. We will also examine how illustrators, designers, artists, and developers apply computer science principles to their work. No previous programming knowledge is required. A chromebook will be provided for use during the session. Note: We will consider applications from rising 5th graders for this course. Please email Georgia Tucker for more information.

About the instructor: Andrew Abate has taught computer science and mathematics at Riverdale for six years. As teacher and computer science chair Mr Abate has ensured that the computer science department continually expands its offerings at Riverdale to keep pace with new advancements in technology and computational thinking.

Summer Study at Riverdale

  • June 17–July 5, 2019
  • Students entering
    grades 6 to 9
  • Full days
  • Computer science, mathematics, writing

We are accepting applications on a space-available basis. Apply now.

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



Lower School
1 Spaulding Lane
Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

Middle/Upper School
5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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Riverdale teaches students to become lifelong learners by fostering "growth" mindsets. Go There ><

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The River Campus offers a spacious, natural setting for our youngest students, inspiring learning and play. Go There >

Riverdale offers "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teaching to Lower School students. Go There >

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Middle School students explore hands-on learning through the Riverdale Maker program. Go There >

Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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