A Note from Cathy North, Lower School Head

Smiles and laughter are bountiful and contagious in the Lower School as this is where confidence, creativity, and character begins for our youngest scholars! When you step inside Severn's Lower School you will see how students are engaged in all aspects of our program as they play purposefully and creatively demonstrating great passion and purpose for their learning and social connections throughout and beyond our school community.

We develop the whole-child through robust academic and social programs founded in research, best practices, and educational standards. Our goal is to nurture students’ curiosity and talents, to engage students in risk taking in a positive and respectful manner, and to promote a passion for learning that shines within and among students.

Learning is an active process that serves as a compass, navigating each student towards his dreams. Differentiated learning opportunities through content and process are the essence of the planning, teaching, and learning cycle. Students are provided with multiple opportunities to engage in problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration to expand their ideas and build connections to concepts within and around the world they live.

Engaging students in academically rigorous initiatives, such as cross-curricula connections, robotics, engineering, global service learning projects, international math, and the arts permeate the educational experience. SMART Boards, iPads, and laptops are used as purposeful instructional technology tools to enhance the teaching and learning experience.

We take great pride in nurturing a culture that promotes a shared responsibility among faculty, parents, community members, and students. Teaching students to be contributing members of the classroom and school community are founding principles as they begin the early childhood experience. Embracing and internalizing their personal and social responsibility to the school, community and world around them are paramount to finding their voice, leading the way, and making a difference as they advance through the elementary grades.

As a student-focused leader, I believe in leading with integrity and by example. Connecting the daily operations of the schoolhouse to school and student learning goals should be fluid in forwarding our School Mission. I believe in making a difference and appreciate the extraordinary possibilities of who and what our students will become.

Cathy North
Lower School Head

List of 20 news stories.

  • What does "I Played" Really Mean in the Early Childhood Classroom?

    In the summer edition of our Education Series, Lower School Head Ms. Cathy North and Director of Instructional Programs Ms. Sherri Hoyt discuss the role and value of play in the early childhood classroom. Children often say "I played" to describe their day in the classroom, but there is a much deeper purpose behind every playful activity and lesson. Cathy and Sherri dive into the spectrum of skills development represented by that simple phrase, "I played."
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  • Severn 5th Graders Bid Farewell to Lower School, Congrats Class of 2024!

    For our group of 36 fifth graders, last Tuesday’s promotion ceremony was filled with mixed emotions. As each student took the stage to deliver heartfelt speeches to their teachers, families and peers, they expressed gratitude for their time at Severn Lower School and nervous — but confident — excitement for the big jump to middle school. Although they will soon be smaller fish in a bigger pond, the leadership skills and self-confidence they’ve gained throughout their time at the Lower School has well-prepared them for the new challenges and experiences that await them on Teel Campus.
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  • Severn Kindergarten Shows What They Know With the Cross-Curricular Panda Project

    The end of the kindergarten year is an important time for our students as they prepare to move on to the first grade. It’s a time to showcase all of the skills and knowledge they have built from those first early days in the fall, just starting their academic years at Severn Lower School. Kindergarten teachers Ms. Emily Coogan and Ms. Jackie Schubert created an inquiry-based end-of-the-year project that gives our kindergarten the chance to demonstrate what they’ve learned this year within the framework of multiple curricular perspectives.
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  • Leadership by Example: Upper School Prefects and the 3rd Grade Leadership Museum

    Each year as our 3rd grade students complete their social studies unit on leadership, newly appointed Severn Prefects visit the Lower School to talk about what it means to be a leader in the Upper School community. For our Lower School students, this is an opportunity to talk about leadership in an authentic, relatable framework. For our Prefects, it’s their first official duty going into senior year at Severn.
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  • Battle of the Books competitors Julia Youssef ‘21, Michael Hesford ‘21 and Fiona Griesser ‘22 prepare with mock questions in the Teel Campus Library.

    Literary Showdown: Severn Hosts Area Schools for Battle of the Books 2017

    Severn opened its doors to reading enthusiasts from seven local AIMS schools this Monday for a bookish knowledge showdown, Battle of the Books. After traveling the past several years to this annual event, the Severn Library Crew is pleased to announce that our first year hosting was a great success as we also welcomed our first ever 5th grade team to the competition.
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  • From Imagination to Innovation: Three Severn Teams Compete in Destination Imagination

    This year three teams of Severn 4th, 5th and 6th graders joined students from all over the world to compete in the Destination Imagination 16-17 tournament season. From the regional competition in February to the state competition in April (with one team moving on to the global tournament in May!) our 4th, 5th and 6th graders are showing the world that student-driven creative problem solving is at the heart of how we learn at Severn.
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  • Around the Park: Author's Workshops Benefit Severn School Students

    Reprinted with permission from Sharon Lee Tegler of the Capital Gazette. Read the article in its original location here

    Fourth-graders gathered in the media center at Severn's Lower School on March 29 were fascinated by children's book author Karen Lynn Williams' talk and advice. They'd been studying how to write and illustrate a book with media/arts teacher Pilar Okeson and were well-prepared. Williams, who has 14 children's books to her credit, has also penned a mystery, a book of poems and several other works. She's spent extensive time living abroad with her husband Peter, a doctor.
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  • Severn 4th Graders Welcome New US Citizens at the District Court of Maryland in Baltimore

    As part of a culminating activity for their unit on immigration and personal heritage, Severn 4th graders attended and participated in a recent naturalization ceremony for over 40 new United States citizens. The road to becoming a US citizen can be a long and emotional process and our students treated the event with reverence and respect. Many were moved to tears after our 4th graders welcomed these new citizens with words of encouragement and a chorus of "America the Beautiful."
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  • 5th Grade Leadership Takes Off with Southwest Adopt-A-Pilot

    Have you ever heard the phrase “natural born leader”? While there certainly are people who seem innately inclined to take leadership roles, at Severn we believe that any student can be a leader. For us, leadership is a set of skills that must be taught, modeled, practiced and tested just like any other discipline. Lower School teachers Ms. Lauren Kitchen and Ms. Gail Lapinski use Southwest Airline’s Adopt-A-Pilot program as a springboard to teach these essential leadership skills as part of our 5th grade character curriculum.
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  • Severn Students Learn Smart Finance

    In Tony Wagner’s recent book Most Likely to Succeed, the author stresses the importance of teaching skills like financial literacy to prepare students for the future. But it can be a challenge for students who have varying levels of experience with money management at home to see the connection between personal finance decisions and the larger financial world. In both our Lower and Upper Schools, we give our students the tools to make smart financial decisions for themselves with an understanding of how that decision making plays into the global economy.
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  • Severn Early School Gets Out and About

    Our littlest learners headed out and about to explore creativity and STEM with real world, hands-on experiences. Our Preschool classes attended a live theatrical performance in Bethesda while our Prekindergarten classes visited the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. These enrichment activities are an important part of our Early School curriculum, providing an opportunity to connect what we learn at Severn to life outside of the classroom.

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  • Severn Hosts AIMS Professional Development Roundtables

    In a one-two punch of professional development, faculty on both our Chesapeake and Teel Campuses hosted AIMS teachers for two days of professional learning and sharing. From topics like early learning maker spaces to cross-curricular teaching through the arts, these roundtable sessions allowed our teachers to both share expertise and learn new strategies from their peers, continuing our commitment to lifelong learning.
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  • Open Doors: Inclusivity Dialogue at Severn Lower School

    Asking questions is a wonderful way to open up dialogue; to test assumptions and explore why we think the way that we do. In our Lower School, Open Doors teacher Ms. Renee Spears uses questions to help our youngest students begin their journey of self-awareness and develop appreciation for the similarities and differences among us in our community and beyond. Part of our Lower School Character Education  curriculum, the Open Doors program gives our students the time and vocabulary to consider their own identities and to share openly with one another.
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  • Severn fifth graders explore circuitry with LittleBits in the Maker Lab

    The Maker Mindset and Innovation: A Way of Life at Severn Lower School

    The Maker Mindset is a way of life at Severn Lower School. It means that we are a community of learners, creators, tinkerers and explorers who are dedicated to using the design process and hands-on problem solving to navigate the world around us. It means collaboration, creativity, innovation and most of all perseverance. For us, the definition of fail is “first attempt in learning.” We try. We persevere. We make.
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  • Creative Challenge Crew Embraces the Maker Spirit

    How can you transport a drink of water from the fountain to someone in another room? How can you create a shelter with only duct tape and cardboard? These are the challenges Ms. Pilar Okeson, Lower School Librarian, presented to her lively group of 4th and 5th graders in Creative Challenges class this fall. Through each activity the class learned to work together, creating solutions to problems using a limited set of materials and unlimited imagination. Part of our Renaissance curriculum for 4th and 5th graders, Creative Challenges gave our students the chance to plan, build, improve upon and share their creations — embracing choice, imagination and the maker spirit.

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  • Fox vs. Bear Election

    Classroom Report from Ms. Shannon Martinez:
    As we head into the presidential election, many tough decisions have to be made in the forest. Who will be the president of the forest? Fox or Bear?

    The first graders were divided into two campaign teams to begin campaigning for their candidate. The class has been discussing author's purpose and the children had to create a persuasive campaign speech in order to persuade the voters to vote for their candidate. They then analyzed a variety of different campaign posters to determine the elements we would like to include in their individual posters. The first graders then worked with their 4th grade Helping Hands to create a campaign poster for their candidate. This week, the first graders will go to each of the grade level classrooms, read The Election, and give their campaign speech.

    Who will be the president of the forest? Election day is November 8th....the choice is in the hands of the voters! 
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  • Coming Together for the Vote!

    Severn third graders made a very special visit to the Teel campus to talk with seniors about the importance of voting and civic duty. After gathering in Price Auditorium to introduce the day, each senior was grouped with two third graders to find a quiet spot to discuss this important (and relevant!) topic.
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  • Lower School Math Specialist, Ms. Stacy Shaener

    Meaningful Math for Severn Families

    One of the goals of our Lower School math curriculum is to extend what we do in class and involve families in the process of learning at home. Our innovative Math Specialist, Ms. Stacy Shaener, introduced the Game of the Month program for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders four years ago and it has grown to be an integral part of our Lower School math program. Through developmentally appropriate (and fun!) games, the whole family can engage in meaningful math while the kids review, practice and extend the skills they learn at school.
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  • Severn School prekindergarten teachers present on early school maker mindsest

    Severn Presents "Embracing the Maker Movement in the Early Childhood Classroom" at NAEYC Annual Conference

    We are proud to announce that Ms. Chrisie Saunders and Ms. Crystal Erskine will present “Embracing the Maker Movement in the Early Childhood Classroom” at the upcoming annual conference for The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 

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  • First graders ready to present their campaign speeches!

    Name the Terrapin, 2016

    For the first time, Severn’s Teel Campus is home to a tiny (and terribly cute!) terrapin through the National Aquarium's Terrapins in the Classroom program. After great success with this program at the Chesapeake Campus in previous years, our 1st grade teachers passed the terrapin torch to 8th grade science teacher, Ms. Joanna Josey. This grew into a great opportunity for inspired learning mixed with a lot of fun, a cross-campus Name the Terrapin Election!
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Lower School Faculty

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146