This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
New City School5
Posted January 28, 2015
- a parent
New City is light-years ahead of other schools. They were looking at the whole child and character education before everyone. Academic rigor is a huge focus and multiple intelligences. The idea that all children learn differently has been the core value of NCS from the start when Tom Hoerr joined the school. Top notch teachers that truly care about your child, and they want to know how your child best learns and wants your child to be the best they can be. When I ask one of my child's teachers a simple question, I get a detailed account of where they are, why/data and where they will be. Another thing I love about New City is that they emphasize public speaking and expression. I have talked to secondary school admissions folks and they comment that they can tell which kids went to NCS because they are so prepared and confident in themselves because they know their strengths and weakness. They are the organizers of doing good! I love NCS and wish I could have gone there!
Serious issues. My daughter was afraid of her kindergarten teacher for an entire year and nothing substantial was done about it. We asked several times to switch teachers and were told, "Not gonna happen." My daughter really withered, and changed into a withdrawn and unhappy child, and toward the end of the year, ran out of the school one day and down the street without anyone noticing it. Her teacher didn't contact me about this for a week, though I sent repeated requests to meet. Switching to a different school quickly revived my kid, though, and she's a strong, happy, confident learner now. Amazing what the right school can do.
I have three kids at New City and they are all thriving. The entire administrative staff, including the head of school, is always accessible, always ready and willing to listen, and genuinely interested in every child and their progress. No school is an art gallery; every school rather is a workshop. The questions to ask therefore include: are the kids happy working in this workship; do they look forward to go to school; are they challenged and pushed to go outside their comfort zones; is the school willing and able to individualize teaching; are the teachers responsive and accessible; do they care about your child's education. In the case of all my three kids, the answer to those questions has been and remains a resounding yes. There's a zero-tolerance policy on bullying; everyone is treated with respect. There's a palpable buzz as you enter the school and you understand that energy when you look closely at the smiling kids, the eager faculty, and the able administration. The school has great leadership, and the curriculum is rich and varied. Education is valued at New City, and if you do, too, then you should seriously consider this school for your child.
This is our second year at New City and so far we are very happy. Our child's experience has been great. The teachers we have had have both been amazing, engaging, personable, insightful. In pre-K she was one of 9, and in K she is one of 12. You can't beat the ratios. We truly apppreciate the commitment to diversity, of all kinds. 40% of the students receive financial need-based scholarships which I believe is the highest of any private school in the area (barring one that is 100% scholarship). Sure there are a number of kids from upper-middle class families, that's how they fund the rest. At least so far, the kids seem truly unaware of who is on scholarship and who is not. As am I, as a parent. I am constantly impressed by the quality of the students there. They are confident, well-spoken, and well-mannered.
New City has done a reasonable job educating my child, but I do think there is some merit to some of the negative reviews here. On one hand, the academics are strong, and they seem to do a pretty good job challenging kids of abilities ranging from average to above. Their efforts to support kids with learning disabilities aren't very obvious, and it may not be the best pick for a child with these issues. The workload is mostly appropriate, although the coordination between teachers of different subjects could be better. The foreign language (Spanish) is an awkward stepchild and very poorly integrated with the rest of the curriculum. The school prides itself on diversity, but it feels a little bit contrived: kids of doctors, kids of lawyers, and underrepresented minorities. Better than not reaching out to minorities, I suppose, but not really organic. And there really is a cloying self-satisfaction about the place. I generally feel like my concerns about my child's experience are managed, rather than considered. Despite these reservations, no school is ideal, and NCS has performed reasonably for the 8 years we've been there.
The school is filled with supportive students, parents and teachers. Walk in the red doors and decide for yourself if it's the right place for you and your children. We have four children who have attended at New City and we could not do it without the wonderful financial scholarships that are offered.
I have been a parent at New City School for 15 years now. I have had three kids go through NCS and it has been wonderful for all three of them. My oldest is now in college and the skills he gained at NCS have helped him along his whole journey. Not only have all three of my children learned the basic academic skills necessary to excel, but even more they have learned the intangible skills of appreciating others, reaching out to others who might be different from themselves, and being caring people. I have been so proud of them on numerous occasions when they have stood up against something that is wrong whether that is name calling or the mocking of another. If I had to do it all again, I would, without reservation, send me kids to New City School. It has exceed my high expectations and I am grateful for all that NCS has given my family.
New City School is a unique learning environment that fosters creativity, appreciation for those of different race, religion, socio-economic background and really Instills in the children a deep ability in critical thinking. My children have made close friendships with a wide variety of children - through these diverse friendships, they have experienced a very special childhood that I imagine is hard to come by outside New City. The teachers and staff have always been supportive and encouraging of my children but also push them academically. When my older son was in kindergarten, I was awestruck one day during the daily morning sing-a-long. Despite the real world out there, MLK's dream is alive and well at New City and sometimes seeing such diverse kindergartners holding hands without any judgment of color or religion gives me hope for the future. The world would be a better place if more children had the opportunity to experience a grade school education comparable to New City. I will dearly miss the school - the children, parents and teachers have become an integral part of the fabric of our family and the relationships have brought us much joy over the years.
Please believe the concerns raised in the reviews here --they are really true! My child has been scarred by rampant, but subtle bullying that the administration does not ever address! There is definitely a culture of snobbism that is communicated to the kids and that contributes to the bullying, as described nicely in a review a few entries below this one. The school also does not do a great job with kids at the extremes, failing to identify or provide resources or direction for the extremely gifted or for those with learning issues.
NCS is a wonderful place for children and their families! As a mom of color, I found the school to be an excellent fit for my family. My daughters, both alums who are now attending a selective secondary school, had a joyful experience! They were challenged to think creatively, work hard and to achieve "genuine knowledge and understanding" in all subject areas. As a result, students are performing way beyond grade-level! The "special difference" is the broad focus on diversity and values, a combination that you don't find anywhere else. Children learn to respect and appreciate the broad spectrum of diversity that they will experience in life. For example, history is taught from multiple perspectives where the voices of women and other diverse people are prominent. Teachers are some of the most engaged and knowledgeable in the U.S., and they too are encouraged to learn, grow and share! Most importantly, children are allowed to learn and grow side-by-side with children that are similar as well as dramatically different from themselves. Progressive? Yes, but we just call it that magic that happens behind the red doors!