View Full Version : Manhattan-Downtown Grace Church Opening New High School with Innovative Curriculum

08-15-2011, 09:08 AM
From WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576508522327616998.html) by Sophia Hollander:

Grace Church School has embarked on one of the most dramatic expansions of an established Manhattan private school in recent memory, starting construction on a new high school with a new, out-of-the-box curriculum.

The 117-year-old school is using the opportunity to radically reshape some educational conventions with a new high school slated to open in September 2012 off Cooper Square.

While its existing K-8 curriculum and structures have been refined over decades, every aspect of the new high school will be fair game for reinvention, school officials said.

That may include the school day, which will run until 5:30 p.m., officials said. Ninth-graders will take turns cooking lunch for other students, sourcing ingredients and crafting menus. Tenth-graders will have classes suspended for a month—dubbed "March Madness"—to pursue an independent project.

"What encumbers your ability to innovate around the needs of students is traditions and structures," said George Davison, head of school at Grace Church. "We're not bound by them."

The New York Association of Independent Schools said Grace Church's new high school was the biggest expansion of an established city private school in at least a decade.

Still, Grace Church's plans have not garnered the same attention as another new private school, Avenues, opening in Manhattan next year. Avenues, a for-profit venture, has commanded public attention, attracting more than 1,000 applicants more than a year in advance.

Grace Church is hoping to attract about 40 students to its high school in its first year, which will start with ninth grade and add a grade each year through 2015. It will begin accepting applications in September. Ultimately, it hopes for a total high-school size of 320 students.

"I think [Grace Church] may be surprised," said Avenues co-founder Chris Whittle, adding that his team was "shocked" by the number of applications they received. "I'm positive they're going to be swamped."

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