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Doane Stuart Launches Innovative Exploratory Expeditions Program to Ignite and Inspire Students

April 29 - May 9

Rensselaer — Doane Stuart, one of the Capital Region’s leading independent schools, is thrilled to announce the launch of its Ignite, Innovate, Inspire: Exploratory Expeditions Program. This groundbreaking initiative aims to provide students with immersive, project-based learning experiences that foster critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

The Ignite, Innovate, Inspire program represents a bold step forward in education, offering students in grades 9 through 12 the opportunity to engage in hands-on exploration and discovery across a variety of disciplines. From delving into the captivating realms of food science and health to harnessing the power of artistic expression for social change, each course is designed to inspire curiosity, spark creativity, and instill a lifelong love of learning.  Doane Stuart’s I(3) program is unique to the Capital District and will be a signature program for the Upper School.

Highlights of the program include:

  • 9th & 10th Grade:  Students choose from options –

    • Food for Thought: This project-based week is tailored to engage students in hands-on activities exploring the captivating realms of food science and health. Highlights include a half-day trip to the Honest Weight co-op, where students will be focusing on healthy shopping habits, and discussions on food deserts. Students will also embark on a full-day excursion to The Hancock Shaker Village to explore farming and medicinal herbs.  Noteworthy are special lectures by Food Scientist, Dr. Ryan Elias, and Yannev Benno, Doane Stuart Trustee and Manager of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C.. By week’s end, students will emerge with a deeper understanding of food science, enhanced culinary skills, and a heightened awareness of their culinary heritage.

    • Art of Social Change: Harnessing the power of artistic expression, this
      immersive, project-based week is designed to engage students in activities exploring the interplay between music, art, literature, and history. Students will engage in creative activities, historical research on the impact of art on society, and group discussions guided by our faculty. Visits to Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum and the Bethel Woods Museum site of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival will foster an appreciation for the interconnectedness of these disciplines as students explore how various forms of art can advocate for social change.  Collaborative teams will create pieces in the medium of their choice that reflect the social change they wish to see in the world today.

  • 11th Grade:  New York City Gentrification Expedition – Students will have the unique opportunity to travel to New York City to do a deep dive into the phenomenon of Gentrification and its far-reaching effects.  New York City, with its rich history of immigration, provides an ideal backdrop for students to trace the footsteps of those who arrived in the U.S., be it a century ago or just yesterday.  They will explore the neighborhoods shaped by the U.S. Immigration Policy and meet with NYC Councilman Yusef Salaam in his Harlam District 9 regarding civics and governance as tools for addressing urban gentrification. They will also meet with developers in Coney Island to assess both sides of the argument. Through direct engagement with the community, student inquiry, classroom sessions, and collaborative design, we aim to address the challenges associated with gentrification and urban development in NYC effectively. This hands-on experience will provide valuable insights into the historical and contemporary issues facing these communities.

  • 12th Grade:  Senior Work Experience – A unique opportunity for seniors to explore their passions and gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields.  It prepares them for a successful transition into their chosen career paths, instills a sense of responsibility and work ethic, and fosters an enduring appreciation for community engagement through placements with local organizations including veterinarians, engineers, police departments, computer programmers, schools, physical therapists, radio stations, and aviators, among others.

“We are incredibly excited to launch the Ignite, Innovate, Inspire program,” said Marcy Cathey, Head of School at Doane Stuart. “This program represents the culmination of months of planning and collaboration, and we are confident that it will provide our students with transformative learning experiences that will prepare them for success in college and beyond.”

The Ignite, Innovate, Inspire program is made possible thanks to the dedication and leadership of Ms. Joelle Russo, Director of Curriculum Development & Exploratory Learning, and Dr. David Wells, Dean of the Upper School, along with the support of the entire Doane Stuart community. “Their vision and commitment to innovation have brought this program to life, and we are grateful for their tireless efforts,” Cathey continued.


April 29
May 9
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