“Where We Are And Where We Are Going”: The Outcomes Emerging From the State of the School


By Ruth Kramer ’18, Editor-In-Chief

Mr. Jaccaci gave his annual State of the School address to students, faculty, and parents last night, January 24th, 2018. In his address to members of the CCDS community, the Head of School was articulate, meaningful, and entertaining. From a fun game of trivial kahoot to kick off the event to the final message of sharing CCDS with our others and inviting them into the community, the State of the School gave parents, faculty, and students alike a glance into the future and a quick look back to where we’ve come from.

Mr. Jaccaci is very passionate about Cincinnati Country Day School and is proud of the school he represents. “It really is Cincinnati Country Day,” he said, “we draw from over 70 zip codes.” During his address to the CCDS community, Mr. Jaccaci spoke to how CCDS is comparing against public and private schools. And to no one’s surprise, CCDS is doing great. Compared to public and private schools, our AP scores are up in the high school, our middle schoolers are “very satisfied/satisfied” with their lives, and nine out of ten parents would recommend CCDS to others. But Mr. Jaccaci wants to the school to go even farther, specifically citing “Country Day Forward”, the Five Year Plan set forth to change CCDS in an even more innovative, global, environmental community. “It’s about connecting CCDS with the rest of the world,” Mr. Jaccaci said.

In his presentation, Mr. Jaccaci made a series of announcements about the 2018-2019 school year, the biggest perhaps being that Mandarin Chinese will be offered as a foreign language course in the Middle and Upper Schools, as well as an enrichment opportunity in the Lower School. This change is one of Mr. Jaccaci’s many initiatives to globally expand and empower CCDS. Other global announcements included the possibilities of setting up a Spanish exchange program in upcoming years, much like the Colmar, France and Cincinnati, Ohio exchange that began in late October of 2017. Mr. Jaccaci believes this will create more global-awareness for students while also encouraging them to make the world their classroom. However, the other two pillars, innovative teaching and learning as well as environmental commitment, were also backed by large and important ideas and plans to better Cincinnati Country Day. Starting next year, Country Day will have Ms. Katharine Scheer as a full time outdoor educator and the school’s administration will work on setting up a relationship with the Cincinnati Nature Center, thus creating a “Conversation in Conservation”, as Mr. Jaccaci calls it. Mr. Jaccaci also made it very clear that behind these initiatives are the students and faculty, saying that “[Mr. Jaccaci] is just one person. It’s up to the students and faculty to become curious”. And that’s what innovative teaching and learning looks like for Mr. Jaccaci: curiosity. Next year, Middle and Upper school students will also be introducing a five day intensive course called CCDX, in which students will take a microcourse that teachers will offer based on their interests. This, Mr. Jaccaci believes, will encourage students to pursue learning that may not always be taught in a classroom. Many students in the Upper School will compare this to Discovery Day in which faculty immersed students in an area of exploration for the day, whether it be geo-catching, writing and reading, or cupcake decorating. CCDX hopes to expand on this principle. Another important announcement by Mr. Jaccaci was the expansion of the job shadowing and internship opportunities outside of CCDS. Country Day began the internship and job shadowing program with a variety of STEM field options. However, Mr. Jaccaci says that with this program’s expansion, the Upper School is hoping to see more opportunities for students interested in the humanities, art, law, and business.

While Mr. Jaccaci also went on to discuss CCDS’s enrollment rate as well as our financial stability, there was a slight pause in his presentation for a preview of the North Campus Project, the most highly anticipated and awaited addition to Country Day’s campus. The video gave parents, students, and faculty members a glimpse into the North Gym’s renovations and Mr. Jaccaci concluded the video, saying that “by Spring, the little ones will be doing laps in the pool.” And by no means are the little ones the only students looking forward to the renovation’s finale.

However, the most powerful part of Mr. Jaccaci’s presentation was his conviction in these ideas and plans for the school’s future. Mr. Jaccaci believes that holding an event, such as the State of the School, where the CCDS community can look at their success is very important: “It’s just like with scientists. They use evidence to enhance and further their ideas. This is the evidence that CCDS is providing wonderful education for its students”. Without his leadership, guidance, and clarity over the last three years, CCDS would not be the school it is today. From Discovery Day to this year’s new “Diversity Conference”, which will be student-led, to every day student life, CCDS has become even more of an enjoyable community while also living up to its reputation of incredible academia. In these next few years, the Five Year Plan will come to a close and Country Day Forward will propel the school further into the future and possibility and success. Mr. Jaccaci agrees, yes, the school is doing well, but Cincinnati Country Day is a community and our strength lies in “how fully we believe in its success.” After listening to the current ideas, the past triumphs, and the future goals of Cincinnati Country Day, there is no reason for doubt.