Riverdale Country School (RCS) has always been a school that straddles the worlds of traditional education and progressivism. Frank Hackett, the school’s founder, believed in daily doses of Chapel leavened with lively speeches. He believed that young people needed “abundant play” in the outdoors in order to make them good students and good citizens. He stressed the importance of a true and profound moral compass.

The school has perennially balanced high challenge with high support, anticipating much of what contemporary social scientists would argue for to increase school efficacy. In fact, in an effort to create a more diverse and empowering environment for the students of Riverdale, Hackett, with the support of President Eisenhower, came up with a plan that would attract a global student body and emphasize the importance of globalization.

In recent years, the school has become a leader in character education and in applying the principles of design to improve learning environments. This work has resulted in the founding of new organizations and movements – such as The Character Lab and The Teachers Guild – seeking to improve education in all sectors. At the same time, we have sought to make the education of children more experiential by linking work in the classroom with authentic experiences outside of the classroom, whether it is off campus in New York City or as a part of our co-curriculum, using the spaces on our campuses.As we create curriculum and programs to support our mission and stay on the cutting edge, we seek to make these experiences more genuine and offer more potential for impact in our local and global communities.

Recently, we began to question ourselves: How can we make a real difference broadly in education? We answered that question by founding the non-profit,

PLUSSED+, under Riverdale Country School. Founded in 2016, the vision behind PLUSSED+ was to create a dynamic collective of experts on learning designing ways to improve student learning and education. While it would be strongly connected with Riverdale,