Character Education

What does it take to be a changemaker in our society? How do self-made men and women move forward in life and create opportunities for themselves?

Social scientists think the answer may lie in "character" — attributes such as optimism, honesty, grit, and social intelligence that help people overcome difficulty, adapt to change, and participate meaningfully in groups.

Led by Head of School Dominic A. A. Randolph, Riverdale has been at the forefront of a movement that is examining the importance of character strengths to academic and personal success. Randolph and more than a dozen leaders in psychology, education, economics, and public policy contributed essays to the Character and Opportunity project published by the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institute. Along with Angela Duckworth, a psychologist and 2013 MacArthur Fellow known for her research on grit, and Dave Levin, a Riverdale alumnus and co-founder of the KIPP public schools, Randolph co-founded Character Lab to promote research-based approaches to character development and support innovative work in schools.

Riverdale's curricular and co-curricular programs are designed to strengthen character skills through challenging and engaging academic work, mentoring relationships that build self-awareness and respect for the ideas and needs of others, and opportunities for exploration and community service to help students find how they can make a difference in the world.

Transform lives through the science of teaching character skills.

Join the movement with Character Lab co-founders David Levin '88, co-founder of KIPP, Riverdale Head of School Dominic Randolph, and U. Penn professor Angela Duckworth.

Skills To Be Learned

At Riverdale, we consider character to be comprised of skills that develop through relationships, challenges, and learning opportunities. Some of the character strengths that we promote in our students are:

  • Curiosity
  • Gratitude
  • Grit
  • Optimism
  • Self-Control
  • Social Intelligence
  • Zest

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

Contact Us

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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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Riverdale teaches students to make connections through our interdisciplinary programs. Go There >

The club and activity program encourages students to explore their passions and try new things. Go There >

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About 80 percent of Upper School students participate in athletics. Go There >

Riverdale's Hill Campus has an indoor pool, football stadium, weight room, and 3 playing fields. Go There >

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Riverdale has entry points in Pre-K, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th Grades. Visit our campus today. Go There >

Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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Last year's Annual Fund totaled nearly $5 million in gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the school. Go There >

Have you included Riverdale in your estate plans? Please let us know and join our expanding group of Hackett Planned Giving Society members today. Go There >

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