The Brick Church School

Welcome to the Spring 2023 issue of Brick by Brick, The Brick Church School’s newsletter for parents and grandparents of alumni, adult graduates, friends of the school, and our current families. It is our pleasure to share a window into the current life of the school, with highlights from our classrooms and special school events, as well as updates about alums, and ways to stay involved in our vibrant community.

Greetings from Marie

As we wrap up a wonderful year at Brick, we say goodbye to 199 students who are heading off to their summer adventures.  Many of those children will return in the fall, and others will attend their new schools, while many new faces will join us in September.  Such is the cycle in the life of a school.  How fortunate are we at Brick that when our students leave our care, they stay a part of the Brick family and keep in touch with their teachers and friends!  

We would love to hear from you and hope you will reach out to keep us up to date about your current endeavors.  We are always on the lookout for alums to feature in this newsletter!


Marie Fabian, Director

Community News & Events

This spring has been filled with exciting happenings and meaningful ways for our community to gather, learn and make a difference. Here are some recent highlights:

  • The Brick community participated in the Project Cicero Book Drive, collecting new and used books for distribution to under-resourced New York City public schools.
  • Our annual Grandparents and Special Friends Visiting Day took place in April. Families, friends, children, and teachers enjoyed this special opportunity to visit and connect at Chapel and in the classrooms.
  • The Come Together Auction in April was a joyous, celebratory, and impactful event for the School. The gorgeous decor completely transformed Watson Hall and each part of the evening was a total delight; the delicious food and drink, the excitement of the live auction, the incredible band, the heartwarming video of the children, and most of all, the outstanding company. We are grateful to every member of the Brick community who helped make the Auction such a success. The generosity of our families, friends and faculty, and the gifts of time, talent, and financial support is truly inspiring and what keeps our school thriving.
  • We were thrilled to celebrate the school year together with our annual Children's Fair on 92nd Street! Children enjoyed bounce houses, crafts, treats, and more!

Classrooms in Action

Ready for Takeoff, A Study of Airplanes and Airports in the Fours

From an interest in paper plane making, to discussing real airplanes, the class decided to transform the classroom into an airport! The children learned about the parts of an airplane and how airplanes work, they built model planes, met with an air traffic controller, designed an airport, decided upon airport jobs, and constructed numerous life-size aspects of their airport including a ticketing counter and baggage drop, a security scanner, a control tower, gate area, and an airplane! The study concluded with the opening of The 4 North Airport for their families and all those in the school community to visit. Passengers arrived at the ticket counter, received their tickets and passports, and then made their way through security where they and their bags got scanned! They boarded their flights all over the world and got their passports stamped in customs upon arrival. Later that week, the class took a field trip to the Intrepid Museum for a self-guided tour that involved seeing and exploring a variety of aircraft, as well as the opportunity to see how Intrepid served as an airport on the sea.

Wooden Block Construction Site in the Threes

Upon a discussion of construction workers as important community helpers, the students in 2 West, using all of their classroom’s wooden blocks, set out to work on their own construction projects! The carpet was rolled up, and the tables and chairs moved to make space for the whole class to build with wooden blocks at the same time. The morning class left their construction site up for the afternoon class to admire and feel inspired by, and then the children in the afternoon left their construction site up for the children in the morning to do the same! Each class had the chance to do a “museum walk” of the other class’s work! Blocks are an ideal material for young children. Often children engaged in block building show an increased attention span as they work out various play themes, experiment with an array of block structures, and see their plans through. There are many benefits to block building in preschool, as well as, in primary school. These benefits include providing a space for problem-solving, expressive and receptive language, mathematics, science concepts, social-emotional growth, motor skills, imagination and self-expression, and building resilience.

The Story of Movement Class

Adventures jumping across Snake River, rocketing up to outer space, diving under the sea, rolling down Rainbow River, and saving hula hoops that stray into Candy Land are regular happenings in Movement class. As children grow into their bodies, Movement class helps build a healthy relationship with the physicality that can benefit them for the rest of their lives. Elements of gymnastics, dance, martial arts, and yoga build gross and fine motor skills and engage students in various ways. Hitting balloons and shooting them through hoops, throwing and catching bean bags, completing obstacle courses, showing off leaps and bounds, and silly walking across the room also engage balance, bilateral coordination, backward movement, and crossing the midline in a super fun way. You may even find classes balancing on one leg like a flock of pink or green flamingos! Movement class benefits other aspects of education as well. Games and activities promote imagination, working together, and spontaneity. Children learn how to follow directions, sequences, and multi-step instructions. Listening ears are being fine-tuned in games like “1, 2, 3, Go!” Eager to expel some energy by class time, movement is a safe and fun release that improves focus for the rest of the school day!

Where Are They Now: Catching Up with Brick Alumni


Brick Alum George Porteous Named 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

When our young students take the stage as a class to perform a beloved Chapel song, we can envision all sorts of future paths they might take once they move on from Brick. In one student’s case, that path led to a Broadway stage, and sooner than anyone might have imagined!

Not long after George Porteous graduated from Brick in 2010, his passion for theater led him to pursue acting professionally. George originated the role of "Sonny" in the 2012-2013 Broadway production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Scarlett Johansson. His early career also included television and film. Once George began high school, he set aside his professional goals to focus on his studies and took every opportunity to act and direct in school productions, both of which brought him joy. George shares that while stage direction is a new experience for him and allows for more creative control, nothing is like the thrill of performing!

In May, George was named one of this year's 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, following his recognition as a National YoungArts finalist in Theater. Presented on behalf of President Biden, the U.S. Presidential Scholars award is one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic excellence, leadership qualities, and community service. In his announcement of the honorees, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, "U.S. Presidential Scholars have always represented the future of our country and the bright promise it holds. I want each of these remarkable students to know; your passions and intellect, pursuit of excellence, and spirit of service are exactly what our country needs."


We congratulate George on this incredible honor and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. George will graduate from The Dalton School this spring and will be starting at Stanford University in the fall. He will continue to study theater there within the school’s vibrant performing arts community and will pursue other areas of interest including politics, law, history, journalism, and creative writing. We are certain George will achieve whatever he puts his mind to, including publishing his first novel, which he has already begun writing!

You can watch a video of George performing a monologue from A Great Wilderness by Samuel D. Hunter, and read more about YoungArts and the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars.

Going, Gaining & Growing: 2023 Professional Development

Brick’s teachers and administrators have participated in a broad range of meaningful professional development opportunities all year, including these recent highlights.

  • NAIS Annual Conference: This premier event for administrators, trustees and teachers was held in Las Vegas this year. Almost 3,000 members of the independent school community from across the country gathered to engage with the theme of Cultivating Community.
  • NYSAIS Experienced Teachers Institute: This three-day event provided an opportunity for teachers with over 10 years in the field to spend time with seasoned colleagues reflecting on their schools and their teaching.
  • Teaching Kindergarten Conference: Where Did the Garden Go? Thinking, Exploring and Rebuilding Together. Hosted by the Bank Street Graduate School of Education, this conference invited participants to collaborate with a community of educators focused on kindergarten to think together about how children learn, explore how to create a rich curriculum that reflects the interests of the children, and how to rebuild teaching practices with tools and resources that inspire.
  • Art of Play and Wonderment Conference: Centered on the theme The Power of Play: Seeking Joy, this conference was designed to provide a space for early childhood educators, leaders/directors, professors, and poets to gather and reflect upon, celebrate, and share what they bring - and wish to bring - to early childhood classrooms, professional practice, and research.

In addition, Brick's Associate Directors served on the planning committees for two important NYSAIS Conferences this spring.

  • Farley Bills, Associate Director for Enrollment and Family Engagement attended and served on the planning committee for the NYSAIS Admissions and Placement Directors Conference in April.
  • Tara Mastin, Associate Director for Teaching and Learning is currently on the planning committee for the upcoming NYSAIS Early Childhood and Lower School Leaders Conference, which takes place at the end of June.

Lastly, Brick is so fortunate to work with skilled consultants who share their expertise in our classrooms as well as in workshops for our teachers and parents. This spring teachers attended a workshop on the progression of speech and language development in young children given by Miriam Glick, M.S., CCC. Additionally, teachers, parents and caregivers attended workshops on fine motor development in young children with Polina Starr, M.S., OTR/L.

Summer Steps at the Brick Church School

Since 2012, Summer Steps has provided a 5-week summer program for children who will be entering or applying to independent school kindergarten in the fall. Summer Steps prepares children for optimal participation and success in kindergarten by facilitating their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Family income is the sole factor in determining whether a child is eligible to apply to Summer Steps. Children from all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds and family configurations are encouraged to apply if they meet the income requirements (family taxable income is no more

than $80,000 annually, or family is paying less than 10% of the ongoing school tuition or less than 20% of the early childhood school tuition).

Summer Steps partners with 28 ongoing schools who support its mission and see the positive impact participation has for their incoming students. High school students at the partner schools have the opportunity to intern at the program, which benefits the intern as well as the children attending Summer Steps. Many Brick alums have gone on to serve as high school interns before heading off to college.

We are pleased to share this video, created in honor of the program’s 10th anniversary last year. 


To sign up to receive the Summer Steps Newsletter, please email To get involved as a volunteer or supporter, please email

Giving to Brick

The School’s Annual Appeal is the cornerstone of our fundraising, allowing us to provide an exemplary education for young children for over 80 years. Each donation to the Annual Appeal touches every aspect of school life, and your gift creates a powerful and lasting impact on our community. As you reflect on how the Brick Church School has impacted you, we hope that you will feel inspired to be a part of our giving community. Please note that our giving year ends on June 30. Please reach out to Susan Johnson with any questions.

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