Greenwich Public Schools hosts Greenwich Reads Together programs

As part of the community-wide reading program Greenwich Reads Together, the Greenwich Public Schools will host several programs and discussion groups to support the community’s reading of Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel. During the last two weeks of October, the school community will have multiple opportunities to engage in activities centered on this bestselling book and the companion books selected for younger readers: City of Ember by Jeanne DePrau and Blackout! by John Rocco.

According to Superintendent Corda, “We know with certainty that the capacity of a child to read well is a strong indicator of academic success as well as a competency necessary to be a productive adult. Appreciating the joy of reading fiction, understanding the value that comes from reading non-fiction, and recognizing the connections one is able to make as a result of being well read help us to become well-rounded individuals. The Greenwich Reads Together Program is an expression of our community’s value of recognizing reading as an important element of our vision of the graduate.”

The highlight of the schools’ participation in GRT will be a talk given by Station Eleven author Emily St. John Mandel in the Greenwich High School Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, October 26 and attended by students from Greenwich’s high school and middle schools.  GHS Headmaster Dr. Chris Winters comments, “GHS is very excited to have Emily St. John Mandel speaking with our students.  The author’s presence on campus provides a unique opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the dystopian landscape that the author describes and how she conceived of such a plot.”

Greenwich Public School events

Greenwich High School:

  • Supporting the Emily St. John Mandel author talk in the PAC, GHS will hold its annual Greenwich Reads Together Discussion Day on Wednesday, October 26. GRT Discussion Day will feature a program concerning the tradition of traveling actor companies and the role Shakespeare performances play in turbulent societies throughout the world presented by Elm Shakespeare Company from New Haven, Connecticut, and a panel discussion concerning infectious diseases and pandemics featuring GHS senior and 2015 Google Science Fair Grand Prize recipient Olivia Hallisey.  At the end of the day, Headmaster Chris Winters and English Department Head Brigid Barry will lead a book discussion on Station Eleven in the Media Center for faculty, staff, and retired faculty.
  • Focusing on some of the themes and ideas raised in Station Eleven, the GHS Media Center is hosting a graphic art exhibition featuring the artwork of seniors Nina Hirai and Danielle Longmuir,  sophomore Andres Gonzalez, and students in teacher Kim Steinhorn’s English classes.  The Media Center has also constructed a book display asking students “What would you keep?” if they survived a world catastrophe and created its own Museum of Civilization featuring items that would become obsolete in the event of a world catastrophe.
  • GHS Theater students will perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet on Greenwich Avenue from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 22 – mirroring the band of performers featured in Station Eleven  The theater troupe will start on the steps of St. Mary’s Church before making their way to the lawns in front of the Greenwich Arts Council and Greenwich Board of Education, and then end at the corner of Arch Street and Greenwich Avenue.
  • Numerous English teachers have incorporated Station Eleven into their curriculum while other teachers have encouraged their students to read Station Eleven independently and participate in the town-wide GRT essay contest.

Central Middle School:

  • All CMS students will read City of Ember and will participate in activities and lessons related to the themes raised therein during their Advisor Base classes throughout October.
  • Drawing on the theme of survival in the City of Ember series and in Station Eleven, CMS will hold a potluck supper and panel discussion about the importance of locally-sourced and farm-to-table food for parents and students the evening of October 27.
  • CMS students who also read Station Eleven will attend the Emily St. John Mandel author talk at Greenwich High School on October 26.

Eastern Middle School:

  • EMS will hold a Readers Breakfast on Thursday, October 27 and booktalks and lit groups including City of Ember and Station Eleven will be held in Language Arts classes throughout the fall.
  • The EMS Media Center constructed a “What would you keep?” display to explore what non-technological items students would keep in the event of a world disaster.

Western Middle School:

  • WMS students will discuss questions raised by Station Eleven in eighth grade English classes as they explore dystopian fiction this fall.

Cos Cob School School:

  • Cos Cob School will hold a read aloud of Blackout! With K-2 students and book talk City of Ember with grades 3 to 5.

Glenville School:

  • Glenville will hold an all school read aloud of Blackout! and grade level activities, including studying blackouts in history and interviewing parents about their experiences with blackouts.

Hamilton Ave. School:

  • Hamilton Ave. will hold a read aloud of Blackout! in classrooms and grades K-2 will discuss the book in the Library Learning Commons.

The International School at Dundee:

  • ISD will hold an all school read aloud of Blackout! while fifth graders will read City of Ember as a tie-in to their unit on sound and light.

Julian Curtiss School of World Languages:

  • JC will read Blackout! with all students, view the book trailer, and will conduct Padlet and other activities during the week of October 17.
  • Grades 1 and 2 will skype with author John Rocco on Monday, October 24.

New Lebanon School:

  • New Lebanon will conduct a Blackout! read-aloud and book talk with all K-3 students, who will also view the book trailer. Grade 3 through 5 students will explore the deeper meaning of Blackout! and engage in conversations related to themes raised in the text.

North Mianus School:

  • North Mianus K-3rd grade students will read Blackout!.
  • Kindergarten and grade three students will work together in the Innovation Space to create Emergency “Fun” Kits that include unplugged activities.
  • Grade 1 students will create shadow puppets and then write and perform Halloween stories.
  • Grade 2 students are having a blackout “party” complete with unplugged games.
  • Interested fourth and fifth graders will participate in a City of Ember book group during lunch.

North Street School:

  • North Street students will read and discuss Blackout!, view the book trailer, and examine John Rocco’s biography and artwork.

Old Greenwich School:

  • Old Greenwich K-2 students will read and discuss Blackout!

Parkway School:

  • Parkway will hold an all school read aloud of Blackout! and fourth graders will discuss Blackout! in relation to their magnets and electricity unit in Science classes.

Riverside School:

  • Riverside will conduct a Blackout! read-aloud and book talk with all K-3 students and a City of Ember book talk with fourth and fifth grade students.  Interested fifth grade students will discuss City of Ember at their Book Group meeting.

About Greenwich Reads Together

Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Several community organizations are leading this initiative including Greenwich Library, Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich Pen Women, Greenwich Public Schools and Independent Schools and Friends of Greenwich Library. In 2015, almost 20 community organizations and more than 7,200 Greenwich residents participated in events around Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Numerous adult, children and teen book discussions were held across Greenwich. Greenwich Reads Together is supported by Lead Sponsor Friends of Greenwich Library. For more information, visit

About Station Eleven and Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Her previous novel, The Singer’s Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions, an online magazine covering books, arts, and culture.  Born and raised in British Columbia, Mandel now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

About the Greenwich Public Schools

The Greenwich Public Schools serve 8,800 students from Kindergarten through Grade 12.  There are eleven elementary neighborhood schools, three middle schools, and one high school.  The Mission of the Greenwich Public School is:

  • to educate all students to the highest levels of academic achievement;
  • to enable them to reach and expand their potential; and
  • to prepare them to become productive, responsible, ethical, creative and compassionate members of society.

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