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Students at The Clariden School in Southlake recently qualified as national finalists in the 13th Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) which is the world's largest rocketry contest. The middle and high school student rocketry teams will travel in May to face off against 99 other top qualifying teams from across the U.S. to vie for the title of national champion. Approximately 700 teams competed to make it to nationals.

This is the second year that Clariden students have entered the contest. They are competing for more than $60,000 in prizes and scholarships along with the prestigious honor of representing the U.S. at the International Rocketry Challenge taking place at the International Air Show in June.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry and 27 industry partners, TARC is the U.S. aerospace and defense industry's flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Since its inception, the competition has challenged over 60,000 middle and high school students to design, build, and fly rockets to meet specific altitude and flight duration patterns.

This year's rules require a rocket to carry a raw egg 800 feet in the air and return it to earth intact within 46 to 48 seconds. The TARC national finals will take place on May 9 at Great Meadow in Plains, VA outside of Washington D.C.

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The Clariden School of Southlake is advancing to regionals at this year’s BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) Robotics Competition sponsored by Lockheed Martin.  Clariden won 1st place in the BEST Award, the most coveted award, at last weekend’s Cowtown competition held at Haltom High School. 

Competing against nineteen other private and public schools, Clariden placed 1st in overall performance. This is the third year the school has competed in BEST. Each year a new BEST challenge is revealed to teams of students who have only 45 days to build a robot using specific materials given to them.  Teams can choose whether or not to compete in every aspect of the competition or just the robotic portion. While some schools concentrated on one category, Clariden chose to compete in all aspects of the competition.  

 “Being that we are a school that specializes in Project Based Learning, the BEST competition aligns well with our curriculum. We find that our students benefit greatly from all elements of the competition as it emulates real-life project work,” states, Sallie Wells, Head of School. 

Clariden faced some challenges during last weekend’s competition. During one round, a piece of the robot broke and students had to scramble to put things back together. Despite the fact that their robot did not make it all the way to the final game round, they were still able to pull out a solid 1st place win due to their work in all categories.  Criteria for judging includes oral presentation, educational display, project engineering notebook, spirit and sportsmanship, student interviews and robot performance. 

“I like that we were still able to excel in other areas like the marketing booth. It wasn’t all about the robot.  There were other things that were just as important,” says Aidan Hinton, an 11th grade student at Clariden.  His teammates agreed.

 “I never thought I would say this,” says Skyler Wicke, a 9th grade student at Clariden, “but I love robotics.”  Wicke was part of the documentation team and a driver for the Clariden robot. She and six other students wrote the engineering handbook for the competition. 

Wells smiles when she hears students say things like that. “That is exactly why we do these kinds of projects. We expose students to things they might not do otherwise,” she states.

The BEST competition is the brain-child of a non-profit organization dedicated to inspire and expose middle and high school students to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering.  What started in Dallas in 1993, has grown in numbers steadily into 32 Hubs and 3 regions of competition. Over fifteen hubs from the Southwest will compete at the regional competition held at UT Dallas on November 14th and 15th.      

There is no charge for students or schools to participate. All funds are donated by universities and corporations, including Lockheed Martin, a major sponsor.

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The Clariden School of Southlake is offering a new program for three year old students called Cougar Prep. Parents have the option of a three or five day schedule.

Using Project Based Learning and Montessori, the educators at Clariden provide students with a warm, inviting and engaging learning environment. Steeped in a tradition of offering “something different”, The Clariden School plans and designs participatory lessons that are exciting and interesting to students.

Families who are interested in learning more about the benefits of the Cougar Prep Program are encouraged to call for a tour or visit their upcoming open house on August 5, 2014.

The Clariden School of Southlake


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The Clariden School of Southlake One of the teachers instructing a student at The Clariden School of Southlake

The Clariden School of Southlake recently announced a new preschool program named Cougar Prep for 3 and 4 year olds. 

"We wanted to offer educational options to parents in the surrounding area.  What I love about Cougar Prep is that the curriculum encompasses both Project Based Learning and Montessori principles. Students are involved in their learning as the curriculum both engages and challenges them. The students acquire the necessary skills and knowledge needed for success while maintaining their innate love of learning. Our environment is the perfect blend of being academically strong and incredibly nurturing - two essential ingredients for success in school." says Sallie Wells, Head of School.

There are two separate Cougar Prep classes. Three year old students attend school three days a week from 9:00-2:00. The class size is capped to 10 students per classroom.  Four year old students attend five days a week from 9:00-2:00. The class size is capped to 12 students per classroom.  The traditional Montessori program with mixed ages of students in one classroom is still available.

Located directly across from Bob Jones Park in Southlake, The Clariden School is a small private school offering classes through high school.  Using project-based learning, Clariden educators offer a hands-on and innovative learning environment. 

"We foster creativity and collaboration in our students using STEM/STEAM projects. Students learn how to work in a group and what is required to succeed.  Our high school students were recently awarded one of only a thousand spots to compete in TARC, a national rocketry contest.  The students were busy perfecting their rocket to climb exactly 825 feet in the air and return two eggs safely to the ground without cracking them. We submitted to Washington, D.C. data from three qualifying rounds and are waiting to hear if we've made it into the top 100. As we prepared for launching and data submission, we met several of our neighbors as smaller test rockets landed in their yards and bushes. Everyone has been great sports about it," says Wells with a laugh.

Students preschool through fifth grade can take advantage of rolling admissions throughout the school year. Older students from sixth grade and up may only apply for fall admission in August or spring admission in January. You can learn more about this gem of a school at

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The Clariden School of Southlake is offering a summer program for students from four years of age through high school.  The Cougar International Summer Program will allow students to explore and learn about the cultures of Russia, China, and Europe. Each week students will study various aspects of culture including language, art, music, history, and culinary favorites. Students may register for as many weeks as they want. Each week will offer something new.   

Classes meet Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. at The Clariden School campus located at 100 Clariden Ranch Road across from Bob Jones Park in Southlake. The cost is $300 per week.  (If you register before April 1st, you can take advantage of a discounted rate of $250 per week.)

Week 1: June 16-20- Russia 1

Week 2: June 23-27- Russia 2

Week 3: July 7-11- China 1

Week 4: July 14-18- China 2

Week 5: July 21-25- Europe 1

Week 6: July 28-Aug. 1- Europe 2


Registration forms can be found online at If your child is not a current Clariden student, they must submit a Summer Session Application and a $25 application fee.

Space is limited and all classes are subject to sufficient enrollment.