School News

dsc08934_0The 2014 St. Michael’s Geography Bee ended in a closely contested sibling showdown during which the audience saw Madeline Colbert-Muetterties (grade 7) top her brother Patrick (grade 4) in the championship round.

All nine contestants from grades 4 – 8 impressed onlookers with correct answers to some challenging questions. Can you answer these three questions from the final round? (Answers located at the bottom of the article.)

  1. The city of Portland is the eastern terminus for an oil pipeline that connects with Montreal, Canada. Portland is located on Casco Bay in which New England state?
  2. The Potomac River rises in the Allegheny Plateau and empties into what large bay?
  3. The Taklimakan Desert, home to the Uyghur people, is located north of the Kunlun Mountains in which Asian country?

The Geography Bee is an annual event at St. Michael’s and is sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The finalists placed into the competition after successfully completing preliminary rounds in their classrooms.  As winner of the school-wide contest, Madeline will take a 100 question multiple choice test at the end of the month to qualify for a place on the stage at the Rhode Island finals.

Congratulations to all of our competitors and best of luck to Madeline!

(Answers: 1. Maine     2. Chesapeake Bay    3. China)

dsc09045The Bryant University Bulldogs Div. I Men’s Basketball team, with Head Coach Tim O’Shea, lead a skills clinic and exhibition at St. Michael’s Country Day School this past Tuesday. Sixty boys and girls from the surrounding community participated and worked directly with players and coaches on games and drills designed to build their confidence and strengthen their basic skills. As the evening came to an end, the players treated the children to a dunking and free throw contest. Admission was a donation of a canned food item to benefit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center food pantry. Three boxes of donations were delivered this week.

heifetzIn partnership with the Jamestown Arts Center, three talented musicians from the Heifetz International Music Institute will spend a day at St. Michael’s on Tuesday, February 4th.

Heifetz is a non-profit organization dedicated to the artistic growth and career development of some of the most talented and promising young musicians in the world. The Institute holds an intensive six-week program on the campus of Mary Baldwin College located in Staunton, Virginia each summer. Hundreds of the most brilliant and deserving young artists from throughout the United States and internationally apply to the Institute annually. Last summer the sixty-six students represented twenty-two states and thirteen countries, and came from the world’s top conservatories.

The Institute’s faculty members come from conservatories such as The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Peabody Conservatory of Music.

During their visit a trio of young musicians specializing in the cello, violin, and viola will visit some of our classes and perform during an all school assembly. We hope their passion and immense talent will prove inspirational to our students.

More information regarding their visit will be coming soon. Please join us in thanking the Jamestown Arts Center for making this opportunity possible!

StMikeSt. Michael’s Country Day School will be holding an Admission Open House on Wednesday, January 22nd. Visitors can stop in any time between the hours of 8:30 am and 2:00 pm. No appointment is necessary. They will have the opportunity to meet Head of School Whitney Slade and Director of Admission Sally Casey, as well as talk to faculty, staff, and parents as they tour campus, visit classrooms, and receive information about financial aid. Interested parents can contact Sally at 401-849-5970 ext. 302, or e-mail her at, for more information.

dsc07395Emily Levy, sister of Tess and John Lanza (Grades 2 & 4), visited the fourth grade today to share some of her experiences from her trip to Rwanda this past summer. Levy, a student in the Babson College Women’s Leadership Program, visited the African nation to promote entrepreneurship and teach life business skills to school children – specifically young girls.

The students in Mrs. Joubert and Mrs. Weiner’s classes took a keen interest in her presentation. They will do extensive research on the continent of Africa, eventually selecting a country to study indepth. Their efforts culminate in April when they perform African plays and represent their chosen nation at an African travel agency they will create in the Lunch Room.

bulldogs_mens_bball_team_photoThe Bryant University Bulldogs Div. I Men’s Basketball team, with Head Coach Tim O’Shea, will lead a skills clinic and exhibition at St. Michael’s on Tuesday, January 14. This event for boys and girls in grades five through eight will run from 3:30pm – 5:00pm, is open to the public, and free with the donation of a canned food item to benefit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center food pantry.

Coach Tim O’Shea is in his sixth season as Head Coach of the Bryant University men’s basketball team. He was previously Head Coach at Ohio University, and an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island and Boston College. Since his arrival at Bryant, he has worked diligently to successfully transition the Bulldogs into Div. I competition. Last year Coach O’Shea led the team to a 19-11 record (12-6 League).  As a result, the Bulldogs tied for 2nd place in the NEC Conference standings – a vast improvement on the previous season’s record of 2-28 (2011-12). This is considered one of the best single-season turnarounds in NCAA history, earning 17 more victories in 2012-13 than the prior year. Currently the team is enjoying a winning season despite a very challenging schedule, including match-ups against basketball powerhouses such as Gonzaga, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.

For more information about this event please contact Leslie Grosvenor, St. Michael’s Director of Institutional Advancement, at 401-849-5970 ext. 365 or

johnl_andrew_jacksonThe front office is sporting a new look these days, with the recent installation of an independent study project by third grader John Lanza. On his free time, John researched and then drew portraits of each of the forty-four U.S. presidents. Upon closer inspection, each portrait contains a clue about something that was unique to each gentleman’s term in office. Wondering why President Taft is depicted in a bath tub? You’ll have to ask John!

Q: What inspired your study and drawings of the presidents? John: My dad brought me a puzzle of all of the U.S. presidents, and that got me interested in learning more.

Q: What sources did you use to do your research? John: I read some books, biographies mostly. I also watched a TV show on all of the presidents.

Q: When did you find the time to do your research and work on the portraits? How long did they take? John: I worked on them over Christmas break. I think it took me a week.

photo-24_0Q: Now that you have learned something about all forty-four presidents, do you have a favorite? John: I would say that John F. Kennedy is my favorite.

Q: Is that because you share the same first name? John: No, because there are a lot of presidents named John. John F. Kennedy started the Peace Corps. (John is interested in joining the Peace Corps someday.)

Q: Would you like to be President one day? John: Maybe someday. But I have some other things I’d like to do first.

Q: You learned a lot of cool facts about the presidents. What was the most interesting? John: Grover Cleveland had secret surgery on his jaw while he was president.

Q: Wow, I never knew that! Tell me more! John: He had cancer, and the surgery was done on a friend’s boat so that no one would find out at the time.

In addition to lending his work for the installation in the front office, John has also been presented his presidential research to his peers in both the Lower and Middle Schools. We are happy to showcase this great example of a student’s passion and dedication to learning, and hope it will inspire others!

students_on_ipadsLast week, St. Michael’s students wrote more than 15,000 lines of computer code. And they want more!

December 9 -15 was Computer Science Education Week in the United States. To raise awareness of the importance of computer science curriculum in schools, the Hour of Code initiative was launched. Coding helps to develop logic, structured thinking, and problem solving skills. SMS students in grades 2- 8 spent one class period learning how to write computer code using activities and games on their iPads and computers in the technology lab.

Mr. Foehr, technology facilitator, underlined the importance of incorporating  computer coding into our technology program here at SMS.  “Computer programs support everything we do.” He noted, “Computers on their own can’t do anything. It’s the applications people write for them that make them work ”.  According to recent studies, by the year 2020 there will be 1,000,000 more computer programming jobs than programmers. That’s a $500 billion dollar opportunity!

The response from the students was enthusiastic and has faculty members exploring ways to include code in projects outside the confines of the technology lab. The seventh grade is currently learning how to write html code and will be working on building webpages for projects.

A great resource with more information is Not only can you learn more about the Hour of Code, you can also watch videos and try out some of the activities the students used to write their first lines of code.

grinchStudents in the Acting Workshop will present “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” on Friday, December 13 at 7pm and Saturday, December 14 at 2pm. Based on the book by Dr. Seuss, this holiday classic will be brought to life by a cast of seventh and eighth grade students.

A great activity for the family, we invite you to come out and support our talented young actors! Performances will take place in the Hill House and admission is free and open to the public. Donations to benefit the St. Michael’s theatre program are welcome! For more information please call 401-849-5970 ext. 330.

dsc08859_copyThe St. Michael’s Thanksgiving Assembly is an annual tradition here at 180 Rhode Island Avenue. It is the last time the whole school gets together before we head our separate ways for the holiday. This year the third grade performed a “Readers Theater Play” about the harvest feast. The second grade shared the many ways they would help disguise Tom the Turkey, so he wouldn’t end up on the table. And the kindergarten sang a song about a yummy Thanksgiving dinner.

Mr. Slade shared his list of things he is thankful for this year, for the fourteenth and final time. His speech, which received a standing ovation, can be found below.

After the assembly the Early Childhood Program held their Pilgrim and Wampanoag feast. They enjoyed many traditional holiday foods, but the overwhelming favorites were cornbread and apple crisp!

Mr. Slade’s list:

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is simple, filled with tradition, and you don’t have to bring something to the party. Here is my 14th annual list of what I am thankful and hopeful for. Each year I write a new list. There are certain themes that reappear. I hope these are the things that tie us all together. These are my personal thoughts of hope and thanks. I want each of you to listen, think of what each means to you, and think of your own thoughts of hope and thanks. Over the past 14 years I have focused on consistent themes – not necessarily in this order – my obvious obsession with the Boston sports teams, especially the Red Sox; my love and passion for all things St. Michael’s; our family pets; certain favorite foods; some recent trends and old favorites; all things Newport, RI and New England especially the weather, current events and lastly – but most importantly – my undying belief that how we treat one another in our school community is the most important thing we do, and what we do here makes a difference in
the world.

This year, I once again want to reinforce a plea for peace; our world could certainly use more of it. We spend a lot of time at school working on how to treat one another with respect. So I have mixed in some ways we can make our school, and the world, a more peaceful place.

I am thankful the 2013 Red Sox prove that working together still means something. I am hopeful they will be world champs again in 2014.
I am thankful my dog Millie has been around to hear everyone one of my “What I am thankful and hopeful for.”
I am hopeful she can hear some more.
I am thankful for the book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”
I am hopeful the pigeon shares his hot dog with the duckling.
Peace starts right here in our school. It means being respectful of all. It means not being a bystander and standing up for what is right. Peace begins right here, right now.
I am thankful Tom Brady has a golden arm.
I am hopeful he can be as great when he turns 40.
I am thankful we raised a fantastic amount of money to help the people of the Philippines.
I am hopeful that they can rebuild their country.
I am thankful that the Thanksgiving Holiday is still all about family, friends, and giving thanks.
I am hopeful the simplicity of this day will be what we focus on.
We carry peace wherever we go. Peace is in our families and peace can spread to all our friends. Imagine if everyone did the same.
I am thankful for working with children each and everyday.
I am hopeful I can always hold onto my inner child.
I am thankful for M & M’s and the never ending supply that exists in Mr. T’s office.
I am hopeful my new school has someone that loves M & M’s as much as I do.
I am thankful for my love of technology and new gadgets.
I am hopeful we will always use technology wisely and only for good.
Peace is simple. It is saying a kind word. It is seeing differences and trying to understand them. Peace is being patient and wise.
I am thankful for Novembers gray skies, Decembers holiday lights, January’s cold, and February’s brightening light.
I am hopeful that each season brings unique joys-that is why we live in New England.
I am thankful I have lived in Newport for the past 16 years mainly because my children have grown up here.
I am hopeful we all can have great childhood memories.
I am thankful our school is place we can call home because home is a place we can be ourselves.
I am hopeful all of you can be yourselves at home.
Peace is contagious. It spreads like the wind. It does not take great effort to spread peace it just takes all of us to get behind it. If that happens we will have a world at peace.
I am thankful for this years 8th grade. I am so pleased with how they have come together as a group of young people who we can all admire.
I am hopeful they will continue to believe in their goodness.
I am thankful Ben and Jerry’s continues to invent new ice cream flavors.
I am hopeful they will name one after St. Michael’s called Hurricane Seafood.
I am thankful for our community garden and all the vegetables we grew this summer.
I am hopeful folks will continue to weed it.
Peace connects us all. Lack of peace can separate and divide us. Don’t ever be afraid to stand up for peace, now, tomorrow, and the rest of your life.
I am thankful I have had the chance to work with a first class group of teachers.
I am hopeful you all feel that way about yourselves.
I am thankful for the words I say about SMS graduates because it makes me optimistic about the future.
I am hopeful we continue to make the job of educating our children our highest priority.
I am thankful for the privilege of working here for the past 16 years.
I am hopeful I will feel the same at my new school.
Lastly I want to thank everyone who has listened all these years to these bits of wisdom.
I am hopeful they made a difference to someone, somewhere.
Now we are all about to get a well deserved rest, a few days to recharge those batteries, a chance to play, a chance to see old friends and family, and most importantly a chance to give thanks.