Wheeling Country Day School

8 Park Road Wheeling, WV 26003

PHONE: 304.232.2430

FAX: 304.232.2434


Let’s Change WCDS Parents Night – Be Part of the Conversation

September 8th, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad I want to invite you to the school’s open house that we call Parent’s Night.  This tradition gives  parents a chance to walk in the footsteps of their child or better yet to sit in the undersized desk. I know you are dreading it. You have been here and done this already – maybe so many times you could offer the talk you expect me to give. Maybe you have already found frustrations in the first few weeks of school and you are coming with a closed mind to voice your list of questions about

My Flower Child

June 29th, 2017

A few years ago I wrote a piece as Ella started school for the first time.  I spoke directly to her future teachers and envisioned a path forward through school and life addressing the adults who would most profoundly influence her. I wrote the words expecting hers to be a typical journey. She was three at the time. Last week she turned nine. In just six short years so much has changed… so much I couldn’t have possibly expected. By the middle of her second year of preschool, her father and I were sitting across from her teacher being

New Summer Camps at Wheeling Country Day School!

May 15th, 2017

We hear it all the time: ‘When I grew up, we lived in the stream! We ran around until the streetlights came on or until mom yelled it was time to come in.’ That feeling of childhood freedom is what helped form the basis for a camp philosophy as we prepared a summer of activities at Wheeling Country Day School seven years ago. We would provide structured and fun learning opportunities while devoting large portions of the day to supervised unstructured play. And just like that, WCDS Summer Camps were born! Participants from around the community, not just WCDS students, would

WCDS WPG Week 4 – May the Fourth Be With You

May 4th, 2017

Partly due to last week’s bonus crisis of complete global collapse and partly due to Miss Stella’s overwhelming knowledge of Star Wars canon, this week we decided to break from tradition and spring a completely stand alone bonus Jedi crisis! We needed a win and there is little that will get these kids motivated like battling the dark force. If I’m honest, I spent quite a bit of time on various Star Wars wikis, as well as culling my mind for as much Jedi vocabulary as I could possibly remember in order to come up with this thing. Luckily,

WCDS WPG Week 3 – The Dip

May 4th, 2017

*Full Disclosure Alert! This post was held for clarity and the post script near the end. It will accompany May the Fourth special Star Wars edition of the WPG, as well as our newest podcast.* ‘Instead of getting fed up with everything, go find something to do and do it!’ After finishing my latest tear drying session and breaking my own rule of giving advice, I walked outside to see another battle raging. As is my role at this point in the game, I pull out my phone and hit record. I will later explain to the kids that

The Center for Multisensory Learning Continues to Grow – Amazing Raise

April 30th, 2017

The Center For Multisensory Learning at Wheeling Country Day school is a resource unlike any other in the Ohio Valley. The center serves students with language based learning differences, and students who visit the center receive intensive systematic multi-sensory instruction in the Orton Gillingham methodology.  The CML is equipped to service diagnoses for dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention deficit disorder, and audio and visual processing disorder. Additionally students who are undiagnosed, but face learning difficulties might also work with our tutors. In just a few short years, the center has expanded its educational impact throughout the valley. In addition to serving

WCDS WPG 2017 Week 2 – The Fine Print

April 28th, 2017

‘And now we can’t rip it up because we already made the contract!’ Truer World Peace Game words were never spoken, Gianna, and after a few years of overseeing this whole experiment, it’s a pretty familiar sentiment among inexperienced players. It goes like this. Someone has a great idea, but one that definitely needs some tweeking in order to be mutually beneficial. Before they realize the need for tweeks, however, things have gained so much momentum that, even with the ominous pit growing in the player’s stomach, a signature is placed on multiple contracts and a prideful group of

Recycling Hits a Metric Ton! – Amazing Raise

April 28th, 2017

Wheeling Country Day School’s mission guides students to “Think, Create, and Communicate” readily in their everyday worlds. Our students are encouraged to ask questions, brainstorm collaboratively, and ultimately take action, in order to improve our campus and surrounding community. The mission drives WCDS to push past solving even the most worthy hypothetical problems and challenges students to be aware enough of their surroundings to discover the problem for themselves. This significantly increases context within our curriculum, allows for a variety of perspectives surrounding an issue, and creates an atmosphere of empathy among our student body. On Earth Day, 2015,

WCDS Expands Our Educational Footprint – Amazing Raise

April 27th, 2017

Thanks to the generosity of EVERY WCDS donor, our school has continued to expand our educational footprint and share our story on both the local and national stage. In March, Luke Hladek and Elizabeth Hofreuter-Landini each presented at the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Luke was invited to develop a Pecha Kucha presentation on his successful weather balloon project and what it meant to a particular fifth grade trying to cope with the loss of a classmate. Pecha Kucha is an exercise in which the presenter uses a 20 slide Powerpoint presentation set to

WCDS WPG 2017 Week 1 – Riding High

April 11th, 2017

It’s only been about 11 months since our last iteration of the World Peace Game, and here we are again taking on problems that would make President Bartlett sweat. We have some new crises this year, including a potentially catastrophic space disaster and even a controversial violation of international law, but the kids are undeterred. They have peppered me with questions in preparation for opening day, and I rarely feel so important as when I’ve reached the end of a class period having answered every question with minimal sleeping students, hoarse throated and walking out of the room while flashbulbs pop

Do Your Eyes Light Up?

April 8th, 2017

I have an amazing opportunity to observe parents and children everyday. I love people watching. I always have. Let me introduce you to some of the regulars I see at every ball field, dance class and school dismissal. The meanderer, a very rare breed, holds hands and winds his way through campus at the child’s pace. The talker is using every second “wisely” and is on the cell phone in the pick up lane. The scheduler is running down the list of what comes next and who does what when. The connector is talking to other parents and teachers

Disrupting the Sidewalks

March 3rd, 2017

They fixed the sidewalks. It was a great deal of work to make curbs in our town more accessible. It caused a great deal of traffic and turmoil. The change and inconvenience caused many to question the timing, resist the project and curse the need. Each intersection now has an accessible curb. Those in wheelchairs no longer face the same barriers, but parents pushing strollers, kids on skateboards and young people on bikes are all much happier and better served as well. Universal design is just plain good design. It is a standard in architecture. It is not good unless it is universally

Make your personal mission matter.

March 3rd, 2017

The #NAISAC theme “make your mission matter” leads me to ask if I am making my personal mission matter. Why am I a Head of School? For whatever personal reason I accepted the position at Wheeling Country Day School in 2009, I have come to the inspiring conclusion that I am a Head of School to nurture leadership skills in others – my team, my faculty, my students and even their parents. Yes I see them all as leaders, and no I am not concerned about having too many chiefs. I need each of those constituents to have a voice,

Learning to “Lead Change” as early as Kindergarten

March 2nd, 2017

I sit here in the Klingenstein Center #NAISAC workshop on “Leading Change” and I am struck that other industries need to take a lesson from ours. I am sitting in a room filled largely by other Heads of School, all who regularly seek opportunities to gather together in person and learn something new …not to keep up with our medical licenses or to be appraised of a new product, but because we want to lead the change that we seek in education and in our future. In the end we come to consensus that the solutions we seek to

Practicing Courage

February 27th, 2017

*This article by Mrs. H-L was originally published in the newest issue of Mothers Always Write magazine I see you struggling. You won’t tell me what weighs heavily on your heart. Maybe you don’t know, but I see it. You wear the weariness of your burden across your shoulders. There is a slight curve in your back when you walk like you are using your body to protect your heart. How did you learn that at your young age? You worry. It is in your nature. When anxiety overwhelms, you talk…incessantly. Not about what matters – you just talk. I

What a Mom Wishes for Her 13th Birthday

February 17th, 2017

On this, the occasion of Grace’s 13th birthday, I write to her. Grace, I love you unconditionally. There is nothing else I can tell you more important than that. I have been telling you since you were eight weeks too early –I love you to the moon and back. Today you are 13. There are so many things I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self. You will create your own list in your own time. Still, you are of my flesh, so indulge me. You are enough. You do not need to bring anything more to the table

Self Love

February 10th, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about my girls and the lessons, intended and unintended,  that they are learning from me.   I have always said my goals for my daughters were kindness and curiosity.  Within those two qualities were empathy, vulnerability, purpose, and learning – all I deem valuable in life.  I need to specify another layer – kindness to self. This doesn’t mean happiness or selfishness, mind you.  Quite the opposite.   It means accepting, appreciating and loving the person each daughter is becoming.  We have learned to talk about our highs and our lows – learning


February 10th, 2017

Mornings are tricky for me as a mom. While we have a solid morning routine, the smallest thing can derail our entire family. Today’s catastrophe was a hair cowlick compounded by a missing hair tie. While I was impressed that we located the brush, Ella dissolved into a puddle of tears in the back seat of our wagon. I had just put the car in reverse and was turning to check behind me when I saw her entire body convulsing with tears streaming down her face. If I pulled out right then, we would be on time. Today, I

The First Lady

February 10th, 2017

My daughter and I met The First Lady. We were one of 112 invited guests to the East Dining Room for a state dinner. It happened, didn’t it? It did. I have the pictures to prove it, so it must have. The event organizer cautioned the children to savor every moment – warning them that it would all be over too quickly – “like your wedding day.” 56 bewildered 8- 12 year olds didn’t understand the reference. I did. Grace is 12. In another dozen years middle school, high school and college will all be behind her. I need

Bully-Proofing Youth

January 16th, 2017

Below is our newest article for Weelunk, and one our school family gets first dibs to check out. We hope you’ll consider coming next Tuesday, January 24th at 6:30. Let’s Talk About Bullying. You may have noticed billboards around town recently suggesting just that. Next week, Wheeling Country Day School will again take on bullying, a subject carrying with it quite a variety of reactions, to say the least. The mere mentioning of this problem can elicit every response from a silent eye roll to passionate personal accounts to the belief it is the scourge of society and just

Recycling at WCDS

December 8th, 2016

At WCDS, we try to continually facilitate an environment in which students can think about ways to personally affect their community and world. Now obviously a fourth grader is not going to run for president or open a school in the ‘real world’. But here, when you’re a student preparing for a leadership role in fifth grade, you have an opportunity to step up and make a change. A couple years ago, a student came up to me after emptying the classroom garbage can during our executive function period and asked why we threw out so much paper. I told

Smiling Through the Raindrops – WCDS Grandparents Day 2016

November 1st, 2016

As I woke last Friday for Grandparents Day to the realization that yes, the temperature drop will, in fact, directly coincide with the buckets of rain heading into the area, I found an odd smile creep across my face. Maybe I was just delirious and my body picked laughter as it’s chosen defense mechanism. I was pretty tired. Or maybe I was just excited. I genuinely enjoy days like this, funny as that may sound. Maybe put those hands together, am I right? There is something surreal about rain during big events here at Wheeling Country Day School. We’ve

Robotics is Alive at WCDS!

October 24th, 2016

*This post is part of a series on Annual Report updates. More in the series include A Reggio Emilia Classroom… and Mapping the World By Heart* Way back in the day (in 2012), the fifth graders here at WCDS began implementing a new and exciting program. This was something that would challenge them to actively determine their level of learning, develop innovative solutions to unique, conceptual problems, and demonstrate those solutions to a public group of challengers. This was the first time LEGO Robotics had been implemented at Wheeling Country Day School, and over the next five years it would grow

A Reggio Emilia Classroom and The Hundred Languages of Children

October 14th, 2016

*This post is part of a series on Annual Report updates. More in the series include Robotics is Alive at WCDS and Mapping the World By Heart* “…a hundred ways of listening, of marveling, of loving a hundred joys for singing and understanding a hundred worlds to discover a hundred worlds to invent a hundred worlds to dream.”         -from The Hundred Languages by Loris Malaguzzi At the heart of Loris Malaguzzi’s vision, the guiding genius behind the Reggio Emilia approach to education, is an establishment that centers around the intellectual, emotional, social and moral potentials of children. Children are born with

Finding Purpose in a Lost Balloon

October 6th, 2016

*This blog post was originally written June, 2016. A new post about this year’s launch is tentatively slated for December, 2016. Fingers crossed! 3…2…1…WOOO!!! An idea that really began as a side project with the simple goal of aerial photography of our school has quickly become a signature moment annually at WCDS. Launching a weather balloon seems like a sweet, timeless activity fitting of an elementary school. We’ve all released balloons before. There is something beautiful and engaging about watching the gentle twirl of those bubbles turning into tiny specks in the sky and ultimately disappearing amongst the clouds.

Double Blog! World Peace Game Weeks 2 and 3 Pinky Promises and Tipped Off

April 18th, 2016

Many apologies for the delay! But this week you’re in for a treat with a double episode and blog. Enjoy! So our first week, Joe and I (Luke again) saw a bunch of ‘handshake deals’ that made the kids feel well ahead of the game in terms of crises solved. ‘We solved seven in one day!’ we’d hear. Or ‘If this game ended today, we’d win.’ (It’s a bit more ‘all or nothing’ than that, guys). Unfortunately many of those deals fell flat once it came time to sign an official document. Last week, on the other hand, we

Refocusing Our Parent Mindset

November 11th, 2015

Wcds parent education nov2015 from Mrs. HL This slide is supported by Safari.  Recommended Reading: Mindset:The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

The Influence of the Moon

February 20th, 2015

I was challenged recently to “name the one person who influenced [my] passion as a professional and led to your resilience.” There were so many people who influenced my passion as a professional. It starts in fourth grade at Wheeling Country Day, when Lisa Owen shared with me that she too was nervous to be the “new kid” even though she was the teacher. At Mt. de Chantal Irene Smith pulled me out of study hall and told me to meet her everyday at that same time. She explained that I didn’t need to study as much as I

Resolve to Make the Most of Opportunities

March 10th, 2014

As we turn the calendar to 2011, we find ourselves thinking about resolutions for the New Year. While there are many topics we could consider, we have dwindled our list down to three items. Allow us if you will to share our resolutions for 2011. First of all, we want to more fully use the Wheeling Country Day School campus. We are fortunate enough to work at school that has six acres of natural landscape at its disposal. Although the school resides in the heart of Woodsdale, a wonderfully full residential neighborhood, a bird’s eye view of the area

Two Heads are Better than One

February 21st, 2014

Traditionally, elementary school teachers have been isolated from other teachers spending the majority of their day alone with students. This egg crate model of teaching has been the way it’s done in elementary education since we were in school. Teachers who work in the same building and share a wall between classrooms might not ever step foot into each other’s classrooms except to borrow a piece of chalk. Finally, we are seeing this industrial model change. In public schools teachers have professional learning communities within districts and networked communities online. Research made clear that the efforts of individual teachers

Takes Patient Optimism to Believe in the Power of ‘Yet’

February 21st, 2014

My wise friend Bill Hogan recently shared a line from “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”: “Everything will be all right in the end … if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.” I am grateful to him for sharing that with me. There is something calming, reassuring and hopeful about its message. While the sentiment is similar to the ephemeral “This too shall pass” or the desperate “Tie a knot at the end of your rope and hang on,” this is more about patience and acceptance. This reminds me that no one has ever asked me

Why Snowplow Parents Clear the Way for Kids

February 21st, 2014

You have heard the term “helicopter mom,” I am sure. It certainly has worked its way into our vernacular. Sneaking in right behind it is another term, “the snowplow mom.” The former hovers nearby to make sure all is well. The latter clears the road ahead of obstacles that lurk. Personally, I am not a fan of either term. Their negative connotation puts people off and categorizes parents, so that we educators might forget to consider each student and family individually. Nonetheless, I am seeing more and more written in the field of education about the anxiety parents feel.

Extended Families Teach Children Life Lessons

February 21st, 2014

Aunt Betty died. I know you do not know my Aunt Betty, but I am confident that each of you had (or have) an Aunt Betty in your life. In recent years, our visits consisted of my sitting at her feet and sharing stories. In earlier years, I was her audience and she wove the tales of what was happening to each member of the family. She was the thread that made miles melt away and held cousins close to one another. During our most recent visits, I would be the storyteller and entertain her with the trials and

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