Cos Cob School is a public, K-5 elementary school located in Cos Cob, Greenwich, CT. As of 2020, there are 434 students, which has remained quite consistent in the past five years, and 38 classroom teachers, a recently increased amount. This makes the student to teacher ratio roughly 11:1. Cos Cob is in the top 30% of schools in Connecticut and both the reading and math proficiency levels are above the state average. Niche Rankings considers it a grade-A school.
In the past 3 years, two of Cos Cob’s teachers have received Distinguished Teachers Awards from the Greenwich Public Schools district committee. They’re Chris Anne Powers, a music teacher, who was awarded in 2019, and Stephen Babyak, a 5th-grade teacher, who was awarded in 2017.
Mr. Babyak, who attended the school himself when he was a child, shares the importance of creating a warm atmosphere for his students: “I love telling stories, joking around with kids and making the kids laugh. Boosting self-confidence in my students is very important for me.” His passion for teaching and love for kids are evidently some of the major factors in his nomination as a Distinguished Teacher.
The teachers at Cos Cob have continuously demonstrated excellence in what they do. Andrew, who attended grades one through four, expresses that his teachers were always “supportive and kind and inspired [him] to work harder.” An anonymous parent from Great Schools shares that, at Cos Cob, “the teachers take extra time to know each child's needs are met and they focus on developing them into erudite young KIND children.”
Mr. Babyak, mentioned above, has come to believe from his 18 years of teaching there that “the teachers at CCS love their jobs, are dedicated, and truly want to make learning fun.” All the faculty at the school are so supportive and aim to make their students’ experience there as memorable as possible. The same parent as above recognizes that her kids never felt the need to “identify themselves by their belongings as opposed to their own personality. Both of [her] children, who are very different from each other, had exceptional experiences [t]here.” The teachers really work hard to make learning personal and adjust according to every students’ needs and personalities in order to teach effectively. This is a huge part of why every single student at Cos Cob graduates feeling as if they not only learnt a ton, they were also deeply respected by everyone around them.
There is a large variety of programs at Cos Cob School that build the students’ academic and life skills while strengthening their sense of community. Being part of the Greenwich Public School system, Cos Cob students are given the opportunity to take part in the Advanced Learning Program (ALP). This academic program is designed to allow exceptional students to learn at a higher level and faster pace than their peers. The ALP subjects Cos Cob offers are science, language arts, and math. Class sizes are around five to fifteen students. Andrew, previously mentioned, noted that the small class size was incredibly beneficial for him and other students in his ALP classes since he was able to receive more attention from his teachers and therefore achieve a fuller learning experience. However, with that said, the class size at Cos Cob is already on the small side, meaning students not in ALP classes also receive a large amount of attention, which contributes to the outstanding overall learning experience there.
Other unique events at Cos Cob School include the May Fair, a carnival with rides and games, the annual art show, and guest speaker presentations. The school has also run holiday events in previous years in October and December. There is a Halloween parade and there are Christmastime raffles, arts & crafts, a breakfast feast, and Santa pictures! Aside from the larger events, Cos Cob also hosts after-school programs.
The students and faculty at Cos Cob do their absolute best to foster a warm sense of positivity around the school. The sense of community and pride is very strong. The same parent as mentioned earlier says, “Children are expected to view each other as a community. What I found superior to other schools nearby in town is that Cos Cob focuses on volunteering, giving back to society, building a whole student.” Mr. Babyak feels very similarly, stating that “Cos Cob School is the definition of a neighborhood school. The community is very supportive, caring, and giving.” Everyone at Cos Cob from students to staff is so welcoming and accepting and deeply caring. Even the donut shape of the school reflects how close and connected everyone is.
Gene Schmidt, the school’s principal since 2013, strongly values how close the Cos Cob School community is. He shares, “at Cos Cob School we know that it takes a village that includes the parents, the students and the staff and community to ensure that our children have a successful and productive experience. We are fortunate to have a supportive parent body and PTA that support the school and staff.” Everyone that’s part of the community at the school really pitches in to do their part to make Cos Cob a really warm and welcoming but also successful and effectively-run place. Schmidt is “proud of [the school’s] rigorous and engaging blended learning environment that supports personalized earning for all students.” Cos Cob is truly an exceptional school.
Author: Alicia Qin