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MCS 2020: A Strategic Plan for Manhattan Country School

From the time Manhattan Country School opened its doors in 1966, we have been committed to providing students from pre-K through eighth grade with a progressive education grounded in diversity, equity, social justice and sustainability. We’ve been equally committed to educating students in a community of broad economic diversity and with no racial majority. Over the years, our work and the graduates we’ve nurtured have served as inspiration for what can be achieved in a diverse educational community.

In 2011, our Board of Trustees approved MCS 2020, a strategic plan that supports our founding mission and values. The goals of MCS 2020 include sustaining our sliding-scale tuition model, improving our facilities, increasing teacher compensation and expanding our impact.

Sustaining Sliding-Scale Tuition

Our commitment to diversity rests firmly upon a tuition system that is based on the belief that a family’s financial responsibility for their children’s education should be in equitable proportion to its financial resources. MCS 2020 assures the long-term sustainability of MCS’ sliding-scale tuition system—the core of our commitment to a student body that is as diverse economically as it is in other important ways. By gradually expanding enrollment, we will increase tuition revenue as well as the base for philanthropy, which is, and always has been, an essential component of the model.

Improving Educational Facilities

Our first home at 7 East 96th Street served us well for nearly half-a-century, as has nearby Central Park. Over the years, as we grew, we made the space work while also renting a gym, an auditorium and office space nearby. Space limitations also impacted our science and physical education programs.

MCS 2020 includes the sale of our first home and relocation in summer 2016 to a larger facility at 150 West 85th Street that will allows us to accommodate a growing student body. (Read “A New Home for Manhattan Country School” for details.) Our collaboration with ABA Studio allowed us to design a facility that maintains our small-community feel and better suits our future program needs.

Increasing Teacher Compensation

Teachers are one of MCS’ biggest assets. Generations of students have benefited from their dedication and innovative approaches to a unique progressive education experience. MCS 2020 allows us to increase compensation for our much-valued faculty.

Expanding Our Impact

MCS 2020 includes a plan to gradually expand our enrollment from 200 to 400 students by adding a second class at each grade level between 2016 and 2020. (We began by adding a second 4-5s, 5-6s and 6-7s class for the 2016-2017 school year.) Doing so helps solidify our financial model and gives more students access to the life-changing educational experience at MCS and the MCS Farm.

MCS 2020 represents a transformative moment for Manhattan Country School. Framing our future requires the creative ideas of our faculty, staff and parents; the enthusiasm and energy of our students; the insights of our alumni; and the careful scrutiny and strong support of our Board of Trustees. We look forward to taking this journey with the MCS community.