By Narbeh Minassian
It’s that time a year again when parents start thinking about school. Whether it’s a youngster entering grade school or a teenager going into high school, we’ve got the best schools in Manhattan. Admissions into the top schools have become a contact sport and we wish to only bring you the top tier. Use this guide and good luck!
With a campus as impressive as its reputation, Trinity School is arguably one of the very finest schools in the country, let alone Manhattan. Along with classrooms, labs and offices, the school is complete with a garden, a rooftop playing field (aka ‘the Turf’), two rooftop tennis courts, a dining room, two chapels, a couple of theaters, a swimming pool, three playgrounds, a weight room, fine arts pavilion, two libraries and three gymnasiums. Trinity School adheres to a strict selection procedure when it comes to the faculty, recruiting teachers for their outstanding academic achievements and their commitment to Trinity’s educational values. These values focus on permitting a significant degree of creativity on the teaching staff’s part; they are encouraged to modify and expand on their curricula in order to meet the varying demands and capabilities of the students. The school runs a weekly chapel service to reflect the religious diversity of their students, and to philosophize about questions that are deeply rooted in human life. Sports are also an important part of life at Trinity School. The athletic department aims to provide a competitive playing field and to promote self-esteem, teamwork and self-discipline. Trinity School promises excellence beyond the field of academia and into aspects and traits that are fundamental for life, and 300 years of experience indicates that they will not let you down.
139 West 91st Street
Winston Prep School’s mission: ‘to facilitate the independence of individuals with learning problems through assessment driven individualized education, research, and outreach’. Indeed, this mission statement -as reported on their website- is the clearest means of understanding the essence of Winston Prep. The first step for every student is to undergo a process that ascertains the optimum educational program for each student. The school looks to understand each student’s learning profile in the context of a neuropsychological model of learning disorders. This is a model that derives from educational research that breaks down the learning process into a three-part interactive course: language based, non-verbal and executive functions. Nowadays, a common concern is that education follows a curriculum so stubbornly and so blindly that the individual’s needs and dynamic are overlooked, which is precisely what Winston Prep aims to prevent. This is a school that will discover the expansiveness of each young person.
126 West 17th Street
The Brearly School
The Brearly School is one of the leading girl schools in the state. It offers one of the most organized and diverse athletic programs in the country. The school is one of the founding members of the AAIS (Athletic Association for Independent Schools) and its sports teams travel the nation to participate in competitions; destinations include Brown University, the Penn Relays and Florida for spring training. 73% of the school faculty hold advanced degrees and the teachers pass on their expertise and extensive capabilities to the students, who are challenged to think creatively and critically not only as students in academia, but also as a responsible citizen within a democratic society.
The Brearly School
610 East 83rd Street
I don’t necessarily believe a school or institution can be judged based on its notable alumni or lack thereof, but when a former student happens to be John F. Kennedy, it is perhaps at least worth mentioning. Put this fact in a context of an impressive student to faculty ratio of 5:1 and an Ivy League pipeline reaching just north of 40%, and the argument in favor of Collegiate School becomes convincing. Collegiate School’s approach to education is thoroughly refreshing, with their own website asserting that ‘we expect our students to take their academic responsibilities seriously but to possess sufficient humility so that they can laugh and not take themselves too seriously’. In other words, academics may be the most important thing, but they are not the only thing. The school’s culture of kindness, respect and generosity helps to cultivate an ethos centered on teamwork and collaboration. This School does not gear students solely towards examinations, but prepares them for life, rather than focusing purely on quantitative results. At Collegiate School, your child will be encouraged to be a good person, not just a good student.
260 W 78th Street
Emblazoned on the school logo are the words Fortiter et Recte (Bravely and Rightly), and, as this motto suggests, the school encourages independence and individual strength, challenging beyond the academic field and in to art and sport. The targeted approach to the classroom is to create a unique environment, one in which there is always something new and exciting is planned. Chapin is keen on creating a sense of community; they are all under one roof specifically to foster a sense of togetherness, and the family extends beyond the school years as alumni are always connected. They have an exceptionally high percentage of faculty members with advanced degrees, reaching higher than 82%, and one in three of their students go on to further their education at Ivy League schools.
100 East End Avenue
The Dalton School
The Dalton School’s principle value is to focus on the all round development of each student, in intellectual, social, emotional, aesthetic, physical and spiritual terms. It is a member of the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League. Boasting athletic coaches with collegiate experience, either as a player or as a coach, this highly competitive mentality is passed on to the athletes as ‘Big Dalton’ competes at the highest scholastic level in a range of sports. Considered to be one of the finest indoor athletic complexes in Manhattan, Dalton’s state-of-the-art Physical Education Center has a 32,000 square-foot facility, which houses two gymnasiums, one that can accommodate up to five hundred spectators, a wrestling and aerobics room, a weight and fitness center, coaches’ office, a sports medicine office, locker facilities and classrooms.
The Dalton School
108 East 89th Street