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Mary McDowell Friends School

Private | 6-10 | 290 students


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Living in Brooklyn

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $590,200. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,870.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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10 reviews of this school

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Posted March 3, 2014

My daughter attended Mary McDowell Friends School for five years from 4th Grade though 8th Grade. A leading Park Slope Public School she attended was unable to teach her how to read, write and spell and her self-esteem hit rock bottom. She has dyslexia and processing issues. It was a blessing and the best decision we could ever have made for her education to place her in MMFS. MMFS and its teachers/staff excel in providing the most DEDICATED, WARM, NURTURING, PATIENT, CARING, TRAINED PROFESSIONALS and a SUPPORTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. They have a unique way of teaching the students about their learning differences and provide them with tools to succeed despite their learning differences. For high school, my daughter was able to move on to a more traditional program and is excelling thanks to the strategies and tools provided by MMFS.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 29, 2013

Could there be a more compassionate school? Not in my experience! We switched our son to MMFS in 5th grade (he is now at their HS) & wished we had done it sooner. While he was managing at a wonderful private main stream school with the support of tutors, his self-esteem had plummeted due to his frustrations from the gap between what he knew and the challenge of adequately expressing his knowledge. MMFS helps kids to understand & cope with their challenges, but always emphasizes the multiple ways of being successful (either in terms of improving in weak areas, or demonstrating strengths, or the uncountable ways that one can contribute to society that has nothing to do with academic performance). This school has helped my son to re-gain a sense of pride in himself and helped our family to re-center ourselves in a more holistic way (which has transferred over to the way we parent our non-LD child). We feel very lucky to have found this amazing place!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 9, 2012

I concur with the other parents who have written reviews. This school is life-changing. The teachers are dedicated in an only-in-movies kind of way. My son has grown as a learner, citizen, and person in just a few short years. The Friends philosophy emphasizing community, service, peace, etc. enriches the curriculum to support an education that produces thoughtful, kind individuals who feel a sense of belonging and responsibility.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 19, 2012

This is a life-changing institution, where your child will be truly seen, empowered, educated. It is a place of possibility and joy and kindness. Thanks to MMFS, my son understands what he needs in order to learn, finally realizes he is smart, and is actually is looking forward to high school and college.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 27, 2011

Thank you Mary McDowell School. My son, who just graduated a week ago from a private high school in Manhattan, was previously a Mary McDowell School student for 5 years. The teachers at Mary McDowell were very attentive and nurturing and helped my son immensely. He was diagnosed with a language based learning disability and struggled in his previous school before attending Mary McDowell. The faculty here taught him how to work with his disability, how to work independently and most of all boosted his overall self confidence. He was eventually able to move on to a regular prep school in the city (where he graduated with honors) and in the fall he will be attending an excellent four year college in the northeast. I have nothing but praise for the faculty at Mary McDowell who helped lay the groundwork for my sons success.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 25, 2011

My daughter has been going to the Mary Mcdowell Friend School for the past two years. The staff here is excellent! My daughter has a language based learning disability and has improved in all her subjects since starting at Mary McDowell, especially her reading. Her self esteem has also been given a boost as she previously felt "out of place" in her mainstream elementary school. This school has many students that eventually go on to be successful in mainstream schools and even end up at excellent colleges! Thanks to the teachers and staff at Mary McDowell I am confident that my daughter is on the same path. Thank you!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 14, 2010

My son attended the Mary McDowell School for 6 years. He is now attending a Private High School in Manhattan and is a very good student. I must tell you his success in his present school is largely due to the incredibly supportive environment that Mary McDowell's staff provided him. He was taught how to be a diligent, effective student, and above all, to work with his learning disabilities. Their primary goal is to teach every student that they can be successful inspite of any learning disability. There is no other school like MMCL. I highly recommend it to any parent looking for a warm, nuturing, caring environment for their child to learn.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 1, 2007

I have ben going to MMCL for 5 years! i have learned so much in math, reading, spanish, scince, curent events and alot more.
—Submitted by a student

Posted June 21, 2007

Our son just finished his first year at MMDL. Words are not enough to praise this school. He has a Performance IQ of Superior Intelligence, but has a strong Language Disability. At his previous school he was a solitary, tense child, who complained about being teased, for his disability. Now he is more confident, happy and sociable. The teachers at MMDL make sure that everyone is participating and respected. His academics have blossomed because he is being taught in a multi sensory classroom with FM system, and the teacher to student ratio is 1:5. The strong sense of community in this school does not exist anywhere else. Everyone knows each other and the staff is so committed. Gym, Music, Movement and Art are part of the curriculum, also OT and Speech. The Parent Assoc. is very strong and there are many ways to get involved.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 13, 2006

I work at the Mary McDowell Center and find the atmosphere very supportive, professional and warm. I have grown immensly as a teacher. Each student recieves attention in their small math and reading groups and individualized instruction in other areas, such as writing and social studies. Teachers communicate with parents on a weekly basis. The faculty is well-educated. The teachers are caring and we try to help each student feel special.
—Submitted by a teacher

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About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 71% 52%
Two or more races 12% N/A
Asian 8% N/A
Hispanic 6% 21%
Black 4% 21%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander N/A 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% N/A
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

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Special education / special needs

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Special education
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Debbie Zlotowitz
  • Coed
  • Friends
  • FCE
  • NAIS


Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Special ed
  • Special education
  • Special eduction
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.



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20 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Website: Click here
Phone: (718) 625-3939


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