Using New York City as classroom and laboratory,”CITYterm brings together seven residential faculty and 30 intellectually adventuresome juniors and seniors in high school for a semester of intensive, experience-based learning. Our goal is for students to leave CITYterm with the intellectual tools they need to understand and express the complexity of New York City and the emotional and social tools to participate constructively in their community.” Based on the campus of The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY, CITYterm has both a fall and spring semester.
Independent School Exchange
For more than three decades, PDS has been involved in an exchange program with independent schools of similar academic standing and curricula, affording (primarily, but not exclusively) juniors the chance to spend a trimester on another campus. This program is particularly geared for students who have been at PDS for a number of years and feel the need to expand their horizons. Member schools in the exchange have varied over the years, but the present participants include
Albuquerque Academy (NM)
Cincinnati CDS (OH)
St. John’s School (TX)
Saint Paul’s School (MD)
Sewickley Academy (PA)
Maine Coast Semester
PDS is a participating member school of the MCS since 1989, and has sent dozens to juniors to a scenic Maine peninsula (near Wiscasset) for either the fall or spring semesters. MCS offers “a challenging academic program emphasizing the natural sciences, environmental issues and hands-on work.” While students are responsible for numerous chores and live rustically, the facilities are far from primitive, and students have been unanimously enthusiastic about the MCS experience.
Rocky Mountain Semester (RMS)
RMS “fosters a direct link between experience and education, exposing students to a wide range of environments and, through a process of mentorship and facilitation, conveys the value of learning outside the traditional classroom.” The campus, near Leadville at the foot of Colorado’s highest mountains, provides a stunning setting in which to live, study and form a strong community. The structured program utilizes its natural surroundings for both academic and physical challenge and growth.
American Secondary Schools for International Students & Teachers (ASSIST)
ASSIST’s purpose is to “identify, select, place and support outstanding young people between 15 and 18 years of age from all parts of the world who wish to spend one school year as student ambassadors in American independent schools.” PDS has been affiliated with ASSIST for fifteen years, and has hosted students from China, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Sweden and Germany. ASSIST also offers PDS students the chance to participate in a month-long leadership program in Olomouc, The Czech Republic.
Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET)
As there are far too many international exchange and travel programs for us to evaluate and endorse, PDS maintains membership in CSIET, an umbrella organization which regularly and strictly evaluates and approves such programs and yearly publishes an extensive booklet detailing their offerings. While PDS may approve a student’s petition to participate in any program, preference is given to programs endorsed by CSIET.
PDS Departmental Trips
The PDS French, Latin, Spanish, Religion and Art History departments offer international exchanges and academic travel opportunities, though not necessarily on a yearly basis. Inquiries should be directed to teachers within those departments.
School Year Abroad (SYA)
SYA attempts to help juniors and seniors “become fluent in a second language, familiar with the beliefs and values of other cultures and well equipped to meet the challenges of the global community through a carefully structured high school study abroad program that combines rigorous academics with a meaningful homestay experience.” SYA maintains programs in China (Beijing), France (Rennes), Italy (Viterbo) and Spain (Zaragoza). www.sya.org
The Swiss Semester offers PDS sophomores the chance to spend the fall semester in the picturesque town of Zermatt, high in the Swiss Alps in the shadow of the Matterhorn. The structured program offers academic and physical challenge, utilizing the local area for hiking, mountain climbing and skiing under appropriate supervision. Students also travel to France and/or Italy to supplement their classroom work.
The English-Speaking Union (E-SU)
The E-SU is “committed to promoting scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community by offering selected American secondary students who attend participating independent schools the chance to spend a year at a school in Great Britain.” The program also sends British students to schools such as PDS for a “gap” year or semester. PDS has worked with the E-SU for more than three decades, sending graduating seniors for a year-long experience before college, and hosting British “gap” students for the second semester at PDS.