With all the new New York City private schools opening, it is not surprising that shortly after, some new New York City private schools are already closing. Manhattan is a tough market, and not every private school can make it.
The Rocket Group, an education group that purchased the Mandell School in 2013, closed it only three years later, announcing that 2016-2017 would be the school's last year in operation for K-8.
Now another casualty. The New York International School, chartered by the British Schools Foundation, lasted just two years after moving into Trevor Day School's old elementary school building, part of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, on East 90th Street.
The British Schools Foundation runs about 10 schools around the world, as well as the New York International School. The NYIS offers a US curriculum from a global perspective, and a dual language program in Spanish or Mandarin. According to Wikipedia, the New York International School will be closed "due to the failure of the Board of Directors", after only two school years.
I feel sorry for all these families needing new private schools ASAP! That is the problem with enrolling in new schools. Some percentage of them will fail. As an educational consultant, I make it my business to advise my clients on which new schools seem most stable and likely to succeed.
A record number of new NYC private schools are flooding the New York market, while existing schools are expanding at a rapid pace. The boom comes in response to skyrocketing demand from a growing number of families—and larger families at that—who are choosing to raise their kids in the five boroughs.
“I’ve been in practice since 1999 and I’ve never seen so many new schools opening at once,” said Emily Glickman, head of Abacus Guide Education Consulting, a firm that helps parents with the application process. “The for-profit education market is looking to open schools in affluent places, so it makes sense that New York families are being courted.”
Souccar profiles Wetherby Pembridge, Nord Anglia, AltSchool, Portfolio School and BASIS, all new NYC private for-profit schools with diverse missions. Wetherby Pembridge and Nord Anglia offer the British curriculum, AltSchool and Portfolio offer customized curricula, and BASIS is focused on STEM.
In my own practice, I have worked with clients interested in applying to both Wetherby and BASIS.
Wetherby School NYC? Wetherby School, the elite London private school that Prince George will attend, will open a New York City branch, to be called Wetherby-Pembridge, in 2017. Will British posh translate?
Both schools are owned by the education company Alpha Plus Group. New York's Wetherby School will be housed on the Upper East Side on East 96th Street, in the building last occupied by Manhattan Country School, which will move to the West Side.
London's Wetherby School previously educated Princes Charles, William, and Harry. British mothers desperately phone the school as soon as their children are born to try to win them places. From the Daily Beast's Inside Wetherby, London's School for Princes:
Kate Middleton has bowed to the inevitable and is to allow her son, Prince George, to be educated at Wetherby, the same private school Prince William and Prince Charles attended, and long famed among aristocratic Londoners for being the city’s most exclusive and intensively academic private “pre-prep” school.
Opening a new New York City private school is a challenging business. For New York families, the question will be if the British school's elite reputation and well-respected offerings translate. It will be fascinating to observe if New Yorkers are willing to view Wetherby-Pembridge as a peer to top Manhattan and Brooklyn private schools. Having a royal connection may give this new Manhattan international school a leg up in attracting discerning families.
October 3, 2016 Update
Sophia Hollander of The Wall Street Journal profiled Wetherby School New York in the Wall Street Journal: British School That Taught Princes is Coming to Manhattan. Thank you, Sophia, for quoting me in your article.
Lincoln Center will host a free screening of the movie "Tested".
The documentary closely follows about 20 NYC middle schoolers from varied backgrounds as they attempt to obtain a seat at a specialized high school. Experts discuss admissions policy and its implications for underrepresented minorities. From the website:
As part of the Roundtable’s focus on equity and access in our 15-16 program series, we are thrilled to partner with The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Lincoln Center Education in hosting an exclusive screening of the film Tested, including a Q&A with the director, Curtis Chin.
Currently available by private screening only, Tested addresses the fact that the make-up of NYC’s elite public high schools do not reflect the diversity of our city, and has been sparking conversations around the country about equal access to educational opportunities. During our post-screening discussion, we will look at what the NYC DOE is currently doing to close this gap, including the Middle School Arts Audition Boot Camp, explore connections to inequities in arts education and brainstorm how we as a Roundtable community can be part of the solution.
More and more new New York City private schools are opening. New for-profit private schools are popping up all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, broadening seat supply in affluent areas with high demand.
My clients have been most excited by Avenues, a runaway success, and by Brooklyn's BASIS Independent, a STEM-focused school that opened in 2015.
In 2017, BASIS plans to expand into Manhattan with BASIS Independent Manhattan. Located on the Upper West Side, the school will serve kindergarten through 8th graders.
AltSchool, a Brooklyn Heights-based K-6th grade school for students who want a technology-focused, team-centered, individualized educational program, will open an East Village location in 2016. The school's approach has been widely covered in the media, including this New Yorker article.
Portfolio School, opening this fall, is "about creative problem solving, a skill that will be ever more important for our future generations." The school will stress self-paced, project-based learning. Portfolio School plans to eventually enroll K-12, but will start by accepting middle schoolers.
The international space continues to attract new for-profit players who see a niche enrolling affluent children from New York's large international population. New schools include The New York International School, which opened in 2015, which provides dual language immersion in either Spanish or Mandarin and The German School Brooklyn, for bilingual German students in K-3rd grade.
Wetherby-Pembridge will open in 2017 for families who want their children to follow the English National Curriculum. The school writes: "The boys' form will be called Wetherby and the girls' form will be called Pembridge Hall."
Another new entrant, the Nord Anglia International School, also provides the English National Curriculum, along with an exclusive Juilliard-branded performing arts curriculum.
STEM, portfolios, Mandarin, German, technology, English curriculum --Brooklyn and Manhattan now offer so many choices.
New York is a tough market. Most families prefer established schools. With so many new schools opening, only the ones that know best how to appeal to picky New Yorkers will survive.
NYC private school notification and reply dates are set by ISAAGNY, the Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York, a group of private school administrators. I have always been troubled by the kindergarten notification and reply date.
A multitude of NYC families apply to kindergarten, a process that begins as early as mid-August and stretches into early February. Families attend parent interviews, child interviews, open houses, and tours and often additional events such as diversity nights, chapel services, and theater performances. For six months, families must be on call and ready to show great enthusiasm for whatever event NYC private schools decide to organize. Often, parents' work and family schedules are severely compromised as moms and dads work hard to do their best by their children in hopes of succeeding in the admissions game.
And then, on the first Friday in February, notification arrives. Decisions. Acceptances, rejections and wait lists.
My concern? Families get ONLY ONE WEEK to decide.
And note, this is ONLY kindergarten families. Accepted high school applicants have a month to make a decision, and middle school applicants, three weeks. Why should kindergarten families, after this extensive and arduous admissions process, be pressured into making such a quick decision about where their children will likely spend the next thirteen years?