Newsletter from New York

November 2023

Dr. Vladimir D. Kuskovski

Head of School, EF Academy New York

Greetings from New York,

We are right in the middle of our first semester here at the school; teaching and learning are in full swing. It can be somewhat of a stressful time for our seniors, who are busy applying for universities, as well as keeping up with the intensity of the studies. Alas, they are persevering!

October was full of events. Apart from our regular classrooms studies, we have been taking advantage of good weather and going on various field trips. Learning by doing is what we do best. Theories only start making sense when it is applied to a real life.

Speaking of real-life learning, November will bring to us to our Model United Nations (MUN) Conference, so our young diplomats are hard at work, preparing to solve the world’s problems, focusing on Africa and the Middle East. More on this in our November letter, so stay tuned.

Our campus became somewhat of a Hollywood set last month when we had a team of filmmakers arrive in Thornwood to produce a short film about our school and life on campus. Many students became actors. They engaged in discussions with the director and crew members about what it takes to produce a short film, how much work it takes, and how many hours go into the entire production. This was an amazing experience for all of us. We are looking forward to seeing the final product! 

Thank you to many families who were able to connect with us for family conferences last week. We always relish an opportunity to discuss the academic and social progress of your children. Please keep in mind you don’t have to wait for conferences to contact us with any questions; you can find any of our e-mail addresses right in PowerSchool. Also, please don’t forget to check the comment sections, where Advisors are inputting some notes.

With this, I will wrap up and as always stay open to any communication from you.

Wishing you all of the very best and thank you, as always, for the trust you put in us!

Updates & Reminders

Winter Break
  • Students may begin departing campus at 12:00 pm EST on December 13 and must depart by no later than 3:00 pm EST on December 14. Flights should be arranged to accommodate these campus departure times.

  • Students should plan to return to campus on January 11. Flights should always be booked to arrive between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm EST.

Spring Break
  • Students may begin departing campus at 12:00 pm EST on March 6 and must depart by no later than 3:00 pm EST on March 7. Flights should be arranged to accommodate these campus departure times.

  • Students should plan to return to campus on March 26. Flights should always be booked to arrive between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm EST.

End of Year Departures
  • Grade 12 students must depart after Graduation on May 18 and should plan to leave campus by no later than 10:00 pm EST

  • Underclassmen may start departing from campus on May 25 and must depart by no later than 3:00 pm EST on May 26. Flights should be arranged to accommodate these campus departure times.

2023-2024 School Year Calendar 

For your convenience, you can find next year's academic calendar: here. It can also be found on EF Academy New York's News and Info page.

Flu Shots on Campus

We will be hosting flu shots on-campus on Thursday, November 9. If you would like your child to have a flu shot, please email Nurse Stephanie by this Monday, November 6 at 11 am EST. The shot is $80 USD, only payable by card. 


Make sure you are staying up to date with the news at EF Academy by watching EFATV - a broadcast station ran by our very own students! Watch the latest episodes here:

Library Resources

Check out our new Library Site, an online extension of the physical library space. This new webpage models, on a small scale, how a college library website is structured.

On this site, students can find:

  • Reading recommendations

  • Subscription databases and recommended search engines

  • Guidance about research skills: searching, evaluating, referencing (citing), and organizing information

  • Short, helpful video tutorials about paraphrasing, searching, citing, and conducting a literature review at a beginning level

Please give our librarian, Ms. Blake, feedback on the site, so we can continue to expand and improve based on needs. Happy reading!


For November, our Activities Team has a variety of fun activities planned - something for everyone! This month, plan to see:

  • Make your own pizza nights,

  • Bonfire and s’mores,

  • Hot coco bar,

  • Fall decorating,

  • Holiday-themed karaoke,

  • Holiday movie nights,

  • Weekend baking,

  • Nets vs Wizards Basketball game in Brooklyn,

  • Various trips to New York City,

  • Black Friday shopping trip,

  • The annual Thanksgiving luncheon,

...and so much more! 

November Spotlight!

Volunteering at the National Wildlife Federation
Our biology students had a hands-on lesson in marine life!

Students embarked on a meaningful journey with the National Wildlife Federation in New York City.

They rode aboard a boat called the Riptide III and sailed through the Long Island Sound. On their journey, students took on the role of educators, empowering middle and high school students from underserved communities to become guardians of our precious marine ecosystems.

Students shared knowledge they acquired in the classroom about the impacts of microplastics on our oceans, and emphasized how every action matters.

They taught the students from various New York City boroughs how to use plankton nets, plastic trawls, and digital microscopes, unveiling the hidden truths of plastic pollution. Through this hands-on experience, everyone aboard the Riptide III forged a vital connection between plastics and the delicate marine food chains that sustain our underwater world.

A huge shoutout to our students for their hard work, and to Mr. Fleming for making these exciting real-life learning experiences possible.

Let's keep the wave of change going!

Student Life

We had our annual Blood Drive on campus, which is open to everyone! Every year, a few IB students take this on as their CAS project and partner with the American Red Cross. This blood drive, Josefine and Lydia coordinated the entire event for all our students and teachers. The Red Cross has been making humanitarian impacts around the world for more than 130 years, and has been collecting blood for over 70 of those years. We can all be part of something important when we work with the Red Cross to give back to our community.

Our community joined together in the theater to celebrate our IB Diploma Program. We welcomed our IB Year 1 students and rejoiced over the accomplishments of our IB Year 2 students. We listened to speeches from teachers and  the new IB Year 1 students were given expectations for the next two years. They students also received their "IB Buddies," an IB Year 2 student who is designated to help their Year 1 Buddy on their new journey. After the buddies were assigned, 10 of our IB Year 2 students were honored with IB Learner Profile Traits, for their excellence in the program.

Seniors reminisced on their memories and jotted them down to refer back to them at the end of the school year. Our lovely Student Council arranged Letters to Our Future Selves for the senior class. Using vintage stationary and envelopes that had a map on them, they wrote private letters to read in the future. They sealed the letters using a sticker that resembled a vintage wax seal, and placed inside the Time Capsule box. The letters will remain there safely until the Senior graduation BBQ.

We celebrated 12 years on the Hudson River this year! At the 12th annual "Day in the Life on the Hudson," students transformed into scientists, delving into the heart of the Hudson River's estuary, and collecting invaluable chemical, physical, and biological data. The data they gathered was shared with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, contributing to a better, more profound grasp of the river's health and the wider environment.

Our dorms are alive and active this fall! Lots of after school activities take place in our hall lounges to help students unwind and create strong bonds with their hall-mates.  Some activities include video game night, group study, baking delicious brownies, and in this case: playing board games with their friends. 

Ms. Frison took her class down to New York City to bring their lessons to life. 25 students visited The People's Forum in Manhattan, where they attended a workshop on Gun Violence. Our students were able to share their perspectives, and for some, any experiences they may have with gun violence. Unsurprisingly, everyone spoke in a mature, respectful, and reflective manner, and supported each other during this intense discussion.

Our community really does treat campus as their home-away-from-home. With so many people who have become family, its easy to share - especially birthdays! Abby, one of our seniors and student leaders, and Ms. Cecily, a Student Life Coordinator, had birthdays around the same time, so they decided to have a combined celebration! They had a small party with various students and cake galore.

Every October, we volunteer at the Making Strides Against Cancer fundraiser walk for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. At the 30th walk this year, 15,000 participants visited Manhattanville College, just down the road from our campus, to walk 3.6 miles and show their support for this important cause. At the end of the event, our students were interviewed by a local News 12 reporter and shared stories of their personal experiences.

Our Cross Country team had one great season! Their coach, Mrs. Kucinkas, shared the following kind words: "The most heartwarming aspect of the season was the spirit of camaraderie that our team displayed. Out of a squad of 13, each runner managed to clock their personal best by the season's end, a clear indication of their relentless drive and improvement. In reflection, while medals and accolades are rewarding, it's the journey, the progress, and the team spirit that we'll cherish the most. To all our runners - well done, and here's to many more seasons of breaking barriers together!"

The annual College Fair happened this month, and all students in grades 9-12 participated! With 50 university and college representatives on campus, students eagerly approached the gym to learn about the programs each school offers. It's never too early to start thinking about your future! Students walked up and down the isles and asked questions to discover which university would be their best fit.

We visited The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan again to bring the pages of a book to life! Dr. Huong and Ms. Kelly took their Vietnamese and Spanish Literature classes down to New York City to make connections from their current lesson plan, The Great Gatsby, in real life! This annual trip is one that students look forward to all year, and allows students to visualize where the events of the book took place. 

October ended with a wonderful Spirit Week, which lead into lots of Halloween activities. Led by Mr. Jaffe and the National Honor Society, our community had a week filled with different themes, like "Ken and Barbie" day, and excitedly celebrated the American tradition of Halloween. We celebrated the holiday with fun activities, like pumpkin carving, a Halloween dance, and a costume fashion show! Everyone put on their best costumes and strutted all around campus as their favorite characters.

Athletes of the month

Congratulations Abby from the USA 🇺🇸

Abigail, or Abby, is passionate about soccer and inspires her teammates to become passionate about the sport, as well. She is true leader on the field. During practices, she pairs up with different teammates and encourages them to become better players by giving them tips on how to dribble, pass, or shoot the ball. It is rewarding to see her teammates listen and learn from her. Abby is a versatile athlete, who understands the varying needs in a game and is always ready to switch from her striker position to play as a midfielder or defender. This season, she is the lead scorer on the team with eight goals. She always remains positive, no matter the results of game. As a captain, this positive outlook is important because her team looks up to her and it sets a tone of resilience for the rest of the team. Additionally, as a leader, she maintains a good balance with her academic responsibilities and is excelling academically.

Congratulations Nanami from Japan 🇯🇵

The Girl's Volleyball team continues to improve their skills and develop team cohesion. In particular, we have a new student, Nanami, who continues to demonstrate excellent volleyball game play and successful serving. She is one of our strongest hitters and consistent servers. Not only has her individual skillset increased but her confidence in her teammates; mixed with her animated positive attitude, motivates the whole team to play better as a group. She has attended every practice and game and leads by example. Nanami is a skilled volleyball player and caring teammate. She continues to set new goals and improve on her own and others' skills in practices and games. She displays sportsmanship and humor on and off the court with her teammates and opponents alike. Nanami is a pleasure to coach! Congratulations on your diligent efforts and successes!

Faculty Member of the Month

The October Faculty Member of the Month is Mr. Joel Padilla. Joel consistently provides the entire community with great technical support, and he always does so with a smile on his face. Joel leverages his experience as a classroom teacher as he patiently troubleshoots our tech challenges in order to find solutions that meet our needs and the students' needs. Additionally, Joel supports the school through his dedicated work with PowerSchool and leading the committee that explores the benefits and drawbacks of artificial intelligence in the classroom environment. We are lucky to have Joel as a member of our team and community.

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