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theschoolboards
01-13-2015, 05:16 PM
From DNAinfo.com (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150111/upper-west-side/york-prep-principal-strives-for-inclusive-family-atmosphere) by Emily Frost:

When he turned 25, Ronald Stewart made what he describes as a "bizarre decision." He left his home and career as a lawyer in England to found York Prep, a new private school in New York City, with his wife, Jayme.

The massive pivot in his life is still something at which he marvels, never regretting the choice to give up defending "ruthless clients" for educating young people.

Forty-five years later, Stewart, 70, still heads the school and doesn't have plans to step down anytime soon. Though he looks back on the mistakes of his early years as headmaster with mild chagrin — like taking a class to the Guggenheim only to realize it's closed on Mondays — he's proud of the school's longevity and consistency.

"We are blessed that we’ve stayed the same," Stewart said.

Today, the school has 350 students and costs between $42,000 and $43,000 a year and $12,000 extra for special education. When the Stewarts started the 6-12 school, they decided to track students according to their performance in each subject. A student might be in a high-level math class and a lower-level English class, or vice versa, for example.

The system worked because though it wasn't "chic" at the time, it "was popular among the students," Stewart said. Students were motivated by knowing they could succeed within their level, he added.

As a result, a mix of students with different abilities were attracted to York Prep, Stewart said.

DNAinfo New York sat down with Stewart to find out more about why he believes a small, inclusive school is the best education model.

York Prep describes itself as "intimate" in its marketing materials. What does that mean?

We try to say good morning to every student. There is a sort of family atmosphere, I hope. Teachers are like big uncles. I strive to be down to earth.

We have a school psychologist and a school social worker. The therapist meets with every class every week. She meets them as a class of 15 to talk about peer relations. Part of the goal is to prevent bullying. But it also is to [teach them] empathy and that they should cover each other’s backs.

The reality is that at large schools students are looked at more as a resume than as who they are. At a small school, you can get to know each student individually. Each has qualities and challenges.

read more>> (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150111/upper-west-side/york-prep-principal-strives-for-inclusive-family-atmosphere)