Category Archives: In the Classroom

Reason #99: Arts

Cheshire Academy <3’s the Arts! From our annual Arts Day to our student run Literary & Arts magazine, Juxtaposition, CA loves nothing more than to put on a great theatrical performance in our Black Box Theater, slap on a chicken costume and flap around
campus, break out the guitar on a sunny afternoon, and get their hands muddied on the throwing wheel. Some of our students pursue art as a major here at CA, and go on to study the fine and performing arts in college–others simply take advantage of an array of courses just to explore their creative side! We welcome all types–and levels–of talent!

CA <3’s Art!

What’s the deal with IB?

IB students making use of text (a LOT of text!) and technology for their Theory of Knowledge course

What sets us apart from the rest? We provide you with the tools to shape your experience at CA! In addition to an extensive AP curriculum, Honors courses, and the Roxbury Program, as of June 2011 Cheshire Academy now proudly offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme! It’s a mouthful, because there is a lot to it. Some background: The educators who founded the IB (nearly half a century ago) were visionaries who understood the importance of international-mindedness. They believed that the world is becoming increasingly smaller and that our young people must become members of a global community. They affirmed the importance of giving back, and emphasized that students must become involved in community service. They advocated students should become fluent in a second language. And they emphasized the importance of teaching writing across the curriculum. The IB Programme truly offers a universal approach to learning; when you learn about the world (and how you relate to it) you are simply more prepared when you leave High School and venture into the world.  At Cheshire Academy, we certainly agree with these fundamental principles of living and learning in a diverse community, and we want our students to have every opportunity to challenge themselves and explore new academic–and cultural–territory.

The IB Diploma Programme encourages students to communicate critically, to understand the relationships between subject areas, and to embrace being a global citizen. Emphasizing a balance between breadth and depth, IB courses foster critical-thinking and writing skills through a pedagogical approach designed to help students become thoughtful and international-minded. It’s a lot of work–just ask Bronte–but it’s interesting and rewarding work. Our IB students consistently report that their IB courses engage them in a way like never before– they ask the questions, they lead the discussions pertinent to current affairs, philosophy, anthropology and how they can contribute to shaping the world around them. As rising Senior, Karl, commented, “I love the IB program because it makes you stretch yourself so much. All of the classes are really challenging, because we deal with sophisticated subjects and political issues, so we debate in class. We discuss the media, people, language…” 

Our very own IB Student, Karl!

Students can pursue the full IB Diploma during their time at the Academy, or they can dabble in a class or two of interest during the academic year. For more information on what the program offers and requirements for successful completion of the Diploma, you can visit our website–or reach out to us in the admissions office–we can connect you with a current student enrolled in our IB Programme to give you a new perspective. After all, new perspective is what it’s all about.

Summer Reading!


Every June, our official ‘Summer Reading Committee’ selects a book that the whole school–students and faculty–will read in preparation for their return to campus in the fall, ready to discuss as a community. This is a great way to start off the school year on the same page (ideally, the last page!) so we can all engage in thoughtful discussion across academic departments and dining hall tables as we settle into the fall semester. This year’s selection is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer. In addition to the all-school reading selection, each grade is assigned additional reading to prepare for their English classwork. A complete list can be found here. Have you read any of these novels already? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. If not, get a head start on the academic year with us, and enjoy!

Imagine your homework…launched into Space


That’s exactly what Cheshire Academy’s AP Physics class did this spring when they decided to design a platform that could attach to a weather balloon in order to collect images of the curvature of the Earth, as well as data on the effects of high altitude and radiation on specific biological samples—and in the words of Instructor Ray Cirmo, the project was “a screaming success!” NBC Connecticut also caught up with Mr. Cirmo and his class, and you catch the interview here.

After collecting the necessary government permissions, such as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearance, the class launched the balloon from Winchester, Connecticut, on the morning of May, 3rd, 2012. The platform, attached to the balloon, traveled to an altitude of 120,000 feet. Initially 6 feet in diameter, the sounding balloon expanded to nearly 30 feet in diameter at maximum altitude, collected atmospheric particles near space, and took photographs from two different cameras attached to the platform, as can be seen in the documentary. After a rapid 25 minute descent to earth via parachute, the weather balloon platform was retrieved from Killingworth, CT– about 55 miles away from the launch site.

According to Mr. Cirmo, “This was small potatoes–a trial run–compared to what I have in store for next year’s class.”

We can’t wait to see even more extraordinary images of space next spring! But for now, we’re still enjoying the views that AP Physics 2012 caught in this short documentary. You can, too:

Evidence that Cheshire Academy is out of this world…literally.