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UP CLOSE: Northwood admissions director looks forward to new year

September 8, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Brad D'Arco has worked in independent schools for the past 16 years. This will be his third year as director of admissions for Northwood School, which began classes for the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Prior to Northwood, D'Arco worked at White Mountain School, another small boarding school in northern New Hampshire. Before that, he worked and coached at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts, for nine years. And before that, he spent the early part of his educational career at a private day school in Connecticut.

The freedom and ability to reshape curriculum was one of the driving factors for his career in private institutions, D'Arco said.

Article Photos

Northwood School Director of Admissions Brad D’Arco stands next to the campus bell during the first day of the 2018-19 school year Wednesday, Sept. 5. It’s tradition for all graduating students to ring the bell.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

"My father taught in New York City for more than 30 years," he said, "and his curriculum was being set in a lot of ways by decisions that were being made in Albany. His student body was really different in the Bronx than you know public schools in midtown Manhattan, and his ability to be able to adjust his curriculum to fit the needs of his students was really limited.

"I had great experiences in independent schools and in boarding schools myself as a student."

In the past few years, Northwood has introduced a handful of new programs to its curriculum such as entrepreneurship, robotics and immersive classes.

"We also offer a program that's called LEAP," D'Arco said, "which is an acronym that stands for 'learn, engage, apply and perform.' In that, all of our students have an opportunity for one week. They choose a class and an academic course with a singular focus. We take a break from our normal curriculum, and they study and engage in that class in a non-traditional classroom setting. For example, we had a geology course where students spend 10 days in Reykjavik, Iceland, sitting on glaciers. We had an oceanography course where students went to Trinidad and Tobago. We had an architecture course where students worked with a local architect. Over the course of five days, they designed and actually built a freestanding log cabin, which is now a permanent structure on our campus.

"So there is a lot of opportunities here beyond you know that are really strong traditional core college prep curriculum that we offer."

D'Arco said Northwood offers these types of programs on top of traditional academics, so it can provide students with the broadest range of opportunities for life after high school.

"Those courses that we're offering were all added after doing you some significant research, speaking to colleges and finding ways that they really fit into our beliefs and pedagogy," he said. "Those courses are designed with that sort of ethos, you know, they are meant to provide students with the skills and knowledge that they're going to need to be successful at the next level.



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