Carrie Ilisie, January 16, 2014
At the Alexander Robertson School we believe in educating students by carefully combining training and instruction with the support and nurture of the abilities that young children already have. We see children as they are vivid storytellers, creative inventors, patient collaborators -- and strive to give them the tools to become the thought leaders, architects and effective citizens of tomorrow. Our small size gives children the time and space to develop real self-confidence in their abilities and creativity. It also gives them an understanding of what it means to be an important member of a community. Success for every learner is ensured by our ability to tailor instruction to each child s needs. Our teachers and administrators work collaboratively to develop a wide-ranging curriculum that both inspires and challenges our students and reflects their diversity in backgrounds, needs, and aspirations. We truly believe that all students can excel if taught effectively and we confidently hold high expectations for student achievement in every aspect of their learning.
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Alexander Robertson School! Class size is small & nurturing, admin is highly qualified & responsive to students'/parents' needs & curriculum is rigorous. Students are taught classics like French & music while also taking ethics where they learn to be responsible, well-mannered & caring individuals. The student body is the most diverse I have seen in an independent school. ARS is the oldest co-educational school in NYC & is now celebrating its 225th year! The 2014-15 school year will be the most exciting one yet ARS will have a new Headmaster, Irwin Shlachter, a veteran educator whose impressive credentials include Head of School for both Rodeph Shalom School & Claremont Prep. Mr. Shlachter has announced that the school will be expanding to include a pre-K 4 in the fall; wonderful news for many NYC parents who find that current pre-K options are limited. ARS parents are quite involved; PTA sponsors numerous functions throughout the year. There are talent shows, art auctions, wine tastings, class trips, picnics, luncheons, holiday parties & author visits, all organized & subsidized by the PTA. Check it out, you will love it!
Good points-The school is small and it feels like a community. Everyone is nice and its like being part of a family. Not so good points-Curriculum is weak. My son was a little advance before entering this school, after one year, my son fell behind a grade level. They really don't have a lot of money. Their report cards were out of date so you could not gauge how well your child was doing. They gave a curriculum at the beginning of the school year and it was not adhered to. Overall, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to this school. Unfortunately, they do not have the funds to do it. I think, as a parent, its easy to get caught up in the small, community like feel of the school. However, academics are more important and this school fails at that. Also, the parental involvement is very poor. A strong parent body is critically important.
At the Alexander Robertson School we believe in preparing students by carefully combining training and instruction with the support and nurture of abilities that young children already have. We see children as they are vivid storytellers, creative inventors, patient collaborators -- and strive to give them the tools to become the thought leaders, architects and effective citizens of tomorrow. Our small size gives children the time and space to develop real self-confidence in their abilities and creativity. Success for every learner is ensured by our ability to tailor instruction to each individual child s needs. Our teachers and administrators work collaboratively to develop and maintain a wide-ranging curriculum that both inspires and challenges our students and reflects their diversity in backgrounds, needs, and aspirations. We truly believe that all students can excel if taught effectively and we confidently hold high expectations for student achievement in every aspect of their learning.
This school is wonderful. The class sizes are small, which means students have lots of individual attention. The teachers are very devoted and the whole staff is very attentive and caring to the children and their families. This is a one of a kind school, one block away from Central Park, where students not only learn rigorous academics, but they they also grow in their leadership qualities. Students initialives are nurtured. For example, this year students wanted to make a talent show, and the Principal and the teachers made that happen, which was quite magical. Students performed numbers according to their choice, fromdance to music to magic tricks! Students work on lots of hands on projects from plays to poetry, to art projects, science, social studies, etc. The school has a very strong math component. They use the Singapure method, and the students really learn advanced concepts. This school helps children thrive and reach their potential as well as developing their human qualities. The Principal amazing: very close to the children, caring, knowlegable and oepn-hearted. I really can't say say enough good things about this school. The best kept secret on the Upper West Side!
Alexander Robertson is a wonderful school. Teachers are knowledgeable & able to work in depth on various topics bc class size is small (avg 10 kids/grade). The sense of family & community are strong- upper class students nurture & support the little ones. There is no culture of competition; there is no view that 1 student is better than another. Students are well mannered, kind & respectful to others. ARS, founded by the Presb. church, doesnt teach religion. But the support of the church is a major reason for students' success. Many students rcv some form of financial scholarship. Funds are generously donated by congregation who have made it a mission to support & grow a multiculturallly & economically diverse school body. ARS allows students to be "kids" in a city where they tend to grow up too fast. Students feel safe. They grow & learn then leave to some of the best private & public schools. It is a great school which prepares students to be good learners, critical thinkers & productive society members. Your child will learn & thrive at ARS in a warm comfortable place where she is accepted for who she is & become a confident, intelligent, prepared, and above all, happy student.
ARS is a gem of a school, and my child is thriving there. I worried that the small class size would be smothering, but the opposite is the case. He has really come out of his shell. The teachers have been top notch, and it has been clear from discussions with them that they really know my child. There is a thoughtful curriculum, and the school recently adopted the Singapore Math program in an effort to beef up the mathematics curriculum. My one hesitation is that I don't think the school does enough to attract new families. They need to do a better job of marketing to keep their enrollment strong. But, overall, it has been a wonderful place for my child. I would recommend it for anyone, but especially for a child who may need a smaller, more nurturing class size.
The small class sizes (max 14 in a class) allows the teachers to give individual attention both to the students who need extra challenges and to those who need extra support in particular area. No student gets to hide or be overlooked. Although we have always been very pleased with the teachers, the bar has been raised in 2011/12 with the best group of teachers, several of whom are also pursuing masters degrees in education while teaching. The school has a new principal this year who goes out of her way to welcome parents. Truly a home away from home.
Our two children started at ARS. One is on a fellowship at CUNY journalism and the other starts veterinary school next fall. ARS clearly did many things right!
ARS is a truly great school. The teachers and staff are all smart, caring and know how to bring out the best in each child. The small classes enable them to cater to the needs of each student and it is a loving place.
My husband and I cannot say enough about this wonderful little school. We feel so fortunate to be able to send our child there. She loves this adorable school, the outstanding teachers and school staff there, and all the terrific children she shares her days with. When the time comes to move on one day, our family will truly miss ARS. Thanks to the wonderful foundation ARS is providing, we kow that our child will be able to accomplish whatever she wishes in the years ahead.
When we were deciding on the size and type of school for our child, it was just overwhelming. This ended the day we looked at ARS. It was a 'this is the place' moment. The school is small, calm and has everything we remembered loving about school as children but with a more modern spin as well. Our child couldn't be happier and is so comfortable at ARS. He runs into the school every morning and hardly wants to leave at the end of the day. We are amazed at the depth of material being covered and learned. We are also thrilled to see that things like ethics, the arts and maintaining good health are focused on every bit as much as academics.
I am a Mother of a K student at ARS and am thoroughly happy with ARS faculty. We sought a traditional education for our child. We wanted a safe and nurturing environment without the influence on an upper school. We looked at other private schools and had other choices but ARS was my first choice for the small class size (10), interfaith and international mix of students. Our child could not be happier and adores her primary teacher Mrs. Metzl - the faculty and leadership is wonderful. This was a perfect transition from home to school. Our child can already spell short words and count to 80. Students learn manners, ethics, French, creative art among other things. There is a good combination of structure and free time. You wont find a happier, nicer group of K kids!! Parents are helpful and can volunteer at the school as they like.
This is a wonderful school and is truly a 'small school with a big world inside'!
When we decided to send our child to ARS, we knew it was a good elementary school. Admittedly, we worried it was wise to go in knowing that we'd have to deal with the admissions process again. We now see that it's actually a luxury to select MS/HS based on who our child is now as opposed to 5 years ago. ARS provides a well-rounded and solid education. It also imbues students with good values and a respect for others. It's a great school.
The tuition has gone up slightly but in exchange, the wonderful old school has been renovated and is a bright and lovely facility for elementary school-aged children. This is a school where your child can be a big fish in a small pond and stay a child, free from the issues that kick in at the adolescent years. It is academically solid and small size enables a great deal of personalized attention to each child's classroom needs. The faculty and administration really care. There extra activities such as language, art and music are tops. The library is charming and very user friendly. ARS has been, to use the name of the afterschool program that operates there, our 'oasis' in a city where kids tend to grow up fast and where many schools are often overcrowded
ARS is a great find. The teachers are absolutely wonderful, and we feel like our child is getting a strong academic foundation. ARS has small classes, and her teachers have kept her school work interesting and challenging. She is excited about learning and going to school every day. The environment is relaxed and has really helped build her confidence.
Our son absolutely thrives at ARS. It is a sweet, caring school, where children truly can feel like a 'big fish in a small pond.' There's also a nice emphasis on values like peace and caring for others. It's old-fashioned, peaceful (i.e., not as chaotic and loud as the public school where we were previously), warm and friendly. And the teachers/staff quite obviously cherish the children in their care.
We've been very happy at ARS. The community is friendly and the classes are small, so our daughter has received plenty of attention. Parents are involved. Parents staff the school's library and put on several events throughout the year. However, the school is very small, and so the total number of parents is not large to begin with. The building could use some aesthetic improvements, but the school has great proximity to Central Park.
Though academics don't seem particularly challenging here, ARS has an incredible art teacher and a fun gym teacher. Music has steadily improved. The principal has his vocal supporters; however, we found him unapproachable and patronizing--not a 'plus' for a tiny school.
I thought some of the reviews were way too harsh, then I saw they were from last year. Last year was tough for ARS. Several parents (thankfully they are gone!) set out to make everyone miserable. They almost succeeded. That's the disadvantage of a small school. A few bad apples can really cause some problems. Thankfully, the school has rebounded nicely. Pastor Merlin - simply the best. It is hard to imagine that anyone could care about the children more. Mr. Ary, the new principal, did a fine job replacing two beloved teachers that left at the end of the last year. Being new himself, he really deserves a lot of praise for finding two such qualified replacements. It's never easy to replace an adored teacher, let alone two, but Mr. Ary was able to find two excellent teachers who's personalities suit ARS.
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