The YCDS Greyhound Club Aims to Build School Spirit and Community

By: Ella Kelly ’20, Greyhound Club President

The Greyhound Club began second semester with the goal of giving our student community a greater hand in the development of positive culture and school spirit at YCDS.  The Greyhound Club began with 7 founding members and has quickly grown to 14.

The Greyhound Club has loved seeing everyone’s pep as the year draws to a close. The Greyhound Club also hopes that with student’s help, the final moments of school will bring even more smiles and friendly interactions.

So far this year, The Greyhound Club has made several school-wide events happen. When our varsity boy’s basketball team went to Districts, we wanted to raise school spirit and support the team. We gathered everyone for a pep rally and we watched the boys shoot some hoops, we watched them challenge of some younger students to do basketball tricks, and we even got to watch Flash do some funky dance moves along the way.


Additionally, The Greyhound Club organized an event in which all students, K-12, brought in a favorite childhood toy. Each upper school student got to share with his/her middle and lower school buddy about the toy and to learn about their buddy’s, too.  Then we all headed outside for a frozen treat in the beautiful weather.



We were also very excited to be able to celebrate the FLL Cyber Hounds, for making it into the FLL Open World Championship in Bath, England. In order to raise awareness for them, we set up a bulletin board in the Upper School hallway with pictures and quotes from the team members. Also, to support them, the club helped with an assembly for The Cyber Hounds as we are very excited for their opportunity to travel and represent the school.


In our halls you will see our “Caught Being Kind” display. Here, students can give shout-outs to classmates that they “catch” being kind. These colorful notes adorn the windows along the upstairs hall.


The Greyhound Club is excited to serve its community throughout the school year’s final days. They hope that their continued efforts will carry through into following years, creating traditions and memories of a diverse community brought together into shared moments.


Un Voyage au Québec

By Mme. Kristi Spies, Middle and Upper School French Teacher

Visiting the Carnaval de Québec has been on the minds of Juniors, Abe Miller and Emory Burton since they discovered it in their 6th grade French class. After viewing videos of the ice canoe races, the night parade and other activities that make up the world’s largest winter carnival, they decided that it was something they wanted to experience in person. Who wouldn’t want to visit the only walled city in North America during one of the world’s greatest Mardi Gras celebrations? Over the past few years, more students expressed an interest, and the trip was proposed last spring. Students in grades 8-12 were eligible to participate in this year’s trip to Québec. Participating students met on Friday afternoons for four weeks to prepare for their adventure. These meeting consisted of language lessons, trip preparation, and discussions about behavior expectations for the trip.  


In order to get the most out of the trip we considered several factors while planning. The first goal was to provide an authentic cultural and language immersion. In order to achieve this, students were placed in host families in pairs or groups of three. This experience allowed students a glimpse of Quebecois family life. Mira Hurtt (9) wrote a summary about her positive experience.

Laura, Abbey, and I all stayed with the same family, and it was easily my favorite part of the trip. Our host dad spoke english, which was really reassuring since we were all a little worried about communication. There were three kids in the household, two girls and one boy. They were all extremely kind and amazing. Our host dad drove us to the meeting spot and picked us up every day, and as we drove home, he would tell us about the landmarks we were driving past. I learned a lot from just talking in the car, and it eased our nerves the first night. The food was amazing, and our family always made sure we had enough to eat and had water and snacks for the day. Our host parents made us feel comfortable enough to step outside of our comfort zone when it came speaking, and it was helpful that the kids were learning english in school. Our host mom, who wasn’t as fluent in English, was very sweet and helped us with French in the mornings, as long as we helped her with English in return.

One of my favorite memories with our family was when one night I watched La Voix (the french version of The Voice) in the evening. Everyone was laughing, and our host dad translated some of the jokes the kids told so that I could laugh along. Another favorite memory was the last night. We stayed at the dinner table for an hour talking. We had one of the school’s iPads with us, and we asked each member of the family to describe themselves in English. The videos were absolutely hilarious. The same night our host dad set up his tripod and we took photos. We felt included, even in the four days we spent with them. Not only did staying with our host family show us what it is like to live in Quebec, but it made our trip so much more memorable.

The second goal for the trip was to experience the unique cultural aspects of the Québec region. We had a fully charged itinerary, and we were kept busy each day. Despite delays due to the weather, we were able to begin our trip with a walking tour of Québec City about 18 hours behind schedule. Our guide was thorough and helped students and chaperones acclimate to the area. We visited the snow sculpture gardens that afternoon before heading to the Citadel to learn about the famed battle between the French and British on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The students were “recruited” into the forces of the French General, Montcalm, and enjoyed an interactive training session. They learned how to load both a musket and cannon. One student even had to have her leg amputated after a hard fought battle. Later that afternoon, students were able to enjoy more Carnaval activities. They included: sledding, rolling in a giant hamster ball, visiting Bonhomme’s ice palace, and enjoying a warm bonfire. That evening, students met their host families and spent their first night in their homes.

Day two began with a visit to Montmorency Falls. They measure higher than Niagara Falls, and the gushing water and ice were a sight to behold from both above and below. Next, students visited Saint Anne’s Basilica. We were lucky enough to arrive during the precessional of a mass and heard the opening prayers in French. We had a “lumberjack” lunch at a Cabane à Sucre where students danced to folk songs. For dessert, students enjoyed “un tire d’érabel”. To make this treat, hot maple syrup was poured onto a trough of snow. Then students quickly rolled the cooling syrup into a sweet lollipop. They learned about maple syrup production from Monsieur Tardif, a 12th generation maple farmer whose family came to Canada from France in 1618. The Tardif family still farms the same forests today, tapping 4,000 trees by hand, on snowshoes, each spring. The highlight of the afternoon was dog sledding. Students went out in pairs with teams of huskies and other dogs for a jog through the snowy woodlands. Everyone wanted to bring home a puppy! After a short snowshoe hike we headed back to the city for dinner and the famous night parade filled with floats, marching bands, and dancers. The impressive parade ended with Bonhomme Carnaval waving from his float as the crowd looked on.


On day three, students enjoyed more Carnaval activities. They visited a petting zoo, rode an ice luge, played hockey, roasted marshmallows, and enjoyed a scavenger hunt through the old city of Québec. Lunch was devoured at a Crêperie after some souvenir shopping on Rue Saint-Jean. That afternoon, we headed to Basse-Ville, Lower-Town, where students enjoyed the charming 17th century streets and warmed up at a bonfire. Students then took a ferry ride across the St. Lawrence river to Levis and back as a snowstorm blew in. As the ferry crushed through the icy waters, they were able to see the Château Frontenac illuminated on the cliffs in the city above. Later we rode the Funicular (incline) back to the Upper-Town. Students capped off the evening with toboggan rides and hot cocoa in the courtyard of the Château Frontenac as the wind blew snow around them. Finally, they headed home for their last evening with their host families.

Day four began with students bidding farewell to their hosts and heading to Montréal to visit the underground city and have lunch. Later they navigated to the airport to begin the journey home. Many students had their first customs and immigration experience when we landed in Toronto. We also realized that we had visited five capitals on our short journey. Due to flight changes and connections, we passed through Harrisburg, Washington DC, Ottawa, Québec, and Toronto on our adventure. We arrived in Harrisburg near midnight, and everyone headed home for a short night’s sleep before school the next day.


Mr. Trump and I were very proud of all of the students on the trip. They modeled exemplary manners and behavior and never complained despite numerous delays and unexpected changes in our plans due to the weather. Our guide, Etienne, was thoroughly impressed with their genuine curiosity and enthusiasm. Students enjoyed the trip, and many are anxious to return to Québec with their families to enjoy the Carnaval d’Hiver once again.

YCDS ninth grade student, Abbey Miller created this video about the trip.

<p><a href=”″>Quuebec</a&gt; from <a href=”″>YCDS Art</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Tips for Final Exam Prep

By Mrs. Molly Wertz, Dean of Students

It may be hard to believe, but the end of the school year is right around the corner. Beginning next week, grades 8-11 will be preparing for final exams. As students begin to prepare for exams, please look over the following study tips. It is important to think about the type of learner you are and adjust your study techniques to support this.

  • Begin the job with organization: gather all necessary class materials, notes, and old tests.
  • Are you visual? Try color coding your notes or drawing pictures to represent concepts.
  • Do you like to move when you learn? Get up out of your seat and off of your bed. Walk around your room and put your whole body into your studying.
  • Are you an auditory learner? Talk out loud to yourself about your notes; tape yourself and play it back.
  • Are you musical? Perhaps some Mozart or other instrumental music will help you concentrate.
  • Do you learn better in study groups? Alone? Meet with a study buddy or find a place to be by yourself.
  • Be aware of time: prioritize your subjects based on day of exam and your confidence in the course. Assign specific days and times that you will focus on each subject. Effective studying is more likely to happen if you dedicate time to study.
  • For those tasks that require memorization, use tricks: chunk the ideas, make up rhymes or songs, find personal connections.
  • Try to anticipate your teacher’s questions. On what areas have you spent the most concentrated focus?
  • Fight the temptation to check social media/your phone when studying. Put it out of sight and allow yourself to check it only once when you take hourly breaks.
  • Take active breaks. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air then return to studying.

Here are some additional studying tips.

Lower School’s Show What You Know Expo

By Mrs. Chris Ausherman, Lower School Teacher

If it’s May at YCDS, it must be Show What You Know Expo time for the Lower School students!

For the last 18 years, the students in Lower School have had the opportunity to share their science knowledge with parents and friends. The FOSS science curriculum used in our Lower School science classes is largely experiential. It focuses on creating and testing a hypothesis rather than only reading concepts. When the Show What You Know Expo began, the Lower School faculty wanted to give students the opportunity to become the “teachers” for an evening. Little did we know what a tradition it would become at YCDS.

At the Expo, each class from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, teaches about the science lessons learned in their classrooms during the year. In first grade, visitors learn about air, plants, sound and light. They may experiment by dropping a parachute to see how it falls to the earth. In second grade, visitors can learn about building bridges, insects, and the life cycle of mealworms. The third graders have traditionally had live crayfish to share with the crowd. Not only could people learn about these interesting creatures, they could also pick one up, if they wished. In fourth grade, visitors learn about energy, the environment, and landforms.  All stations are manned by student scientists who are very eager to “show what they know” to the guests.

Fifth-grader Eli Steele is testing his science fair project. Visit him at the Show What You Know Expo to learn more about his experiment!

Our fifth-graders share their science fair projects with the guests. With help from fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Chrissa May, and other faculty members, the children work through the steps of deciding on a project, formulating a hypothesis, performing and documenting the experiment, constructing the science board, and giving a presentation of the results.

Topics include physical science, rockets, chemical reactions, and weather.  The fifth-grade scientists not only share their projects at the Show What You Know Expo, but they present during the day to the third– and fourth-graders, giving them a sneak peek into what they will experience in fifth grade.

We hope to see you at the Show What You Know Expo on Thursday, May 25 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Our excited, knowledgeable young teachers ready to teach you about all types of science!

York Country Day School: Where education and empathy meet, a community grows.

Imagine it’s morning and you’re strolling across campus, sunlight streaming through a wall of windows as students arrive back at school and come inside.

Here, you’ll see eager elementary students rushing off to robotics class, after high-fives from their older student mentors. Here, freshmen await with excitement today’s group college visit with their classmates and advisor.

Someone’s story is going on the bulletin board now — she was just “caught being kind.”

This is York Country Day School, an independent, college preparatory school in Spring Garden Township.

It’s a place where caring faculty implement a rigorous curriculum aimed always at advancing each child’s intellectual and personal truth; where cutting-edge teaching and technology ignite and kindle passions for learning; where a tight-knit community means knowing not only each child’s academic strengths and struggles but also their favorite lunch foods.

“Our faculty invest time and heart into each student-teacher relationship,” says YCDS Head of School Dr. Christine Heine. “YCDS is committed to students feeling that they belong, that they are known, and that they add tremendous value to our community.”

‘Every child has a voice’

The story starts with words on a page. Lower School students first learn the writing process in English class, and each creates a fictional story.

But from there at YCDS, the lesson grows. Students then take their stories to Digital Media class, creating unique illustrations for their new book and then typing the text into digital form with iMovie. Garage Band software is then used to add music, creating a finished piece that stretches across traditional disciplines and turns into a vibrant, real-world product.

“The end result in this curriculum is that students gain experience in an array of areas,” said Jamie McKim, teacher and Assistant Head of the Lower School. “Not only are the finished projects well-rounded, the student preparation and process is thorough and solid.”

Lower School students are exposed to robotics as early as Pre-K and begin learning how to type in kindergarten. They’re immersed in technology and encouraged to connect different activities.

Next-generation science kits help young students explore their world as they investigate air, weather, erosion, and more, testing hypotheses in a nurturing environment where they quickly learn that “fail” now means something entirely new —the first attempt in learning.

In small classes, children are known to each of their teachers and their peers. Their ideas are valued.

“York Country Day School takes the time to get to know our students, embrace their talents and support their struggles,” McKim said. “Every child has a voice, and every learner gets an individualized plan for academic, social, and emotional success.”


One community

Where education and empathy meet, a community grows. At YCDS, the focus on inclusion and a cross-graded community permeates both the curriculum and life outside the classroom.

The Greyhound Club works to promote positivity and pride school-wide, pairing older students with Lower School buddies who they meet with throughout the year. The pairs hold joint show-and-tells, create greeting cards together for residents of local nursing homes, and often meet for lunch or outside to play during free time.

Seniors share fist bumps with second-graders, walking down the hall.

“I have the opportunity here to focus on the whole child: academic, social, and emotional,” said English teacher and Dean of Students Molly Wertz. “One of my main focuses always is community-building.”

That opportunity will expand with the implementation of a peer mediation program in the Middle and Upper Schools. Trained student mediators will handle conflict resolution on key teen issues such as gossip or hurt feelings. With faculty support, they’ll work toward creative, personalized solutions.

Because at YCDS, school is more than grades and the grind of day to day — it’s family.

‘The place where they belong’

College looms, and a family searches for the best way to tell one young person’s story, to leverage twelve-plus years of personal growth into just the right, bright future.

It’s why the college visits start in ninth grade at YCDS. Students travel together to Millersville University and Franklin and Marshall College to get the lay of the land and to study the differences between larger and smaller institutions.

Sophomore year brings a day at York College of Pennsylvania. Students eat in the cafeteria and seek out the services available: campus safety; counseling; the registrar. As juniors, they visit Shippensburg University and Gettysburg College to hone their knowledge.

Along the way, students and their families meet regularly with a YCDS faculty member who can point them toward valuable resources and help guide the process.

“It’s about finding the right fit each time for the student and the family,” said Jake Doll, director of college counseling and Assistant Head of the Upper School. “It’s about ending up at the place where they belong.”

From mock interviews to test prep to college application coaching, students stay ahead of the demands of what can typically be a stressful time. They prepare with confidence for the next chapter.

“Every family, every story is different,” Doll said. “I just enjoy helping and seeing it play out each time and thinking about what great things lie ahead for these students.”


At our best together

On the wood-plank floor of a school gym, a teacher sits beside a large vinyl parachute. Quiet giggles echo off the walls, the faces of 3-year-olds reflected in the basketball court shine. Soon, they rise together, lifting the edges of the parachute and laughing out loud as it billows above them.

The lesson at that age is a simple one, YCDS physical education teacher Ken Klenk said, but one that endures. When we work together, big things happen.

That sense of purpose – that promise – is at the heart of a YCDS education.

It’s what drives a dedicated faculty to constantly innovate and improve. It’s what elevates York Country Day School students above expectations, just as high as their dreams will carry them.

“Our community works together to help our students recognize their strengths, enhance their confidence, and realize their intellectual promise,” Heine says. “Our work isn’t easy, but it is a joy. We are so fortunate to take part in helping our students along their journey and watching their confidence grow as they evolve as young academicians and civic-minded leaders.”

The Importance of Numerical Literacy

By Mr. David Tuten, Upper School Mathematics Teacher

A few years ago I attended a conference sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. One of the popular topics was Numerical Literacy, or Numeracy, as it is more commonly referred to by mathematics educators. We discussed the importance of ensuring that students, and therefore future adults, possess this vaguely defined ability. I use the word vaguely, because in order to help individuals develop Numeracy it needs a definition, and the definition is not easily obtained.

A practical definition that I liked from the numerous ones presented by a researcher, D. Cohen, in a 2000 publication on Numeracy development stated:

“To be numerate means to be competent, confident, and comfortable with one’s judgments on whether to use mathematics in a particular situation and if so, what mathematics to use, how to do it, what degree of accuracy is appropriate, and what the answer means in relation to the context.”

This is an appealingly practical definition, and one that is somewhat easily measurable within educational research. However, it does not fully capture the importance of the more cultural and philosophical benefits of mathematics.


A broader definition was put forth by researchers Maguire and O’Donoghue in 2002.  Their definition/model is that Numeracy is a continuum from the Formative, through the Mathematical, and culminating in the Integrative.  The Formative is the area of basic mathematics skills, one of computation and manipulative abilities. Numeracy then progresses to the Mathematical, where mathematics is used in the context of everyday life. It is at this point people develop an appreciation and understanding of information presented in mathematical terms, such as graphs, charts, tables, or percentages. Good conceptualization of these topics can help with many areas encountered in the typical adult life. The continuum then evolves to the Integrative, where mathematics is seen as integrated with the cultural, social, personal, and emotional aspects of life. Many professions that use mathematics extensively fall into this area. Additionally, it is this level that many recreational or self-improvement areas of life fall, such as games, puzzles, sports, etc. Finally, there is recognition and appreciation of the benefits mathematics to the overall human experience, such as philosophy and cognition.

Mathematics is an analogy at its most fundamental and philosophical levels. It is the model by which our conscious brain is best explained. Therefore, Numerical Literacy, or better yet, the practicing and understanding of this amazing branch of human thought makes us better, clearer thinkers. When a student asks that infamous question, “When will I ever need this?”, I answer them honestly. They may not need what we are doing specifically since one never knows what the future holds, however learning the discipline and structure of mathematics makes us better citizens and humans in general.

YCDS Students and Faculty Return from Robotics World Championship

YCDS students Jagr Krtanjek and Jessica Babcock are two members of the local FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, TechFire. TechFire is comprised of students from across York County. Amy Harmon Krtanjek, a YCDS faculty member and parent, serves as one of the team’s mentors.


TechFire competed in the FRC World Championship Competition in St. Louis on April 26-29, 2017, as part of the Archimedes Division. More than 400 teams competed. The team made it further in the competition than they have in past years, placing as the runner-up in their 66-team division. This ranks the team in the top 24 teams in the world!

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The team brought home the prestigious Industrial Design Award, which is earned by only six of the 3,400 FRC robots in the world.  TechFire won this award over all of the teams in the Archimedes and Daly Divisions and was adjudicated by engineers from organizations such as Tesla and NASA.

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We are so proud of Jagr, Jessica and Mrs. Harmon Krtanjek for all of their work and dedication to TechFire (and the GearHounds) this year. Congrats to all members of the TechFire community!