Mission & Vision

At Manhattan Country School, students in pre-K through eighth grade are members of a collaborative learning community that has been a model for both progressive education and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic diversity since our founding in 1966. Whether in our New York City classrooms or at our farm in the Catskill Mountains, students participate in a robust academic program that fosters critical thinking, curiosity, individuality and a sense of purpose; provides a deep understanding of our multicultural world; instills a life-long love of learning; and prepares students to succeed in high school and beyond.

List of 2 items.

  • Mission

    Reflecting the vision of the Civil Rights Movement, Manhattan Country School teaches students in a community with no racial majority and broad economic diversity. Our goals for students are academic excellence, intellectual freedom, social awareness, self-confidence and first-hand knowledge of the natural world. MCS is unique among New York City independent schools in having a nearly 200-acre working farm integral to the curriculum and a sliding scale for tuition.
  • Vision

    Manhattan Country School envisions its students as future leaders whose shared experiences in learning and activism inspire them to champion excellence and justice, compassion and peace, and the rights of all people to racial, economic, environmental and educational equity.

Pillars of MCS

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Student and staff diversity has been an imperative at Manhattan Country School since its founding in 1966. Research shows that children in racially and economically mixed classes perform better academically and develop stronger critical thinking and problem solving skills on average than children in homogeneous classrooms.

For five decades, Manhattan Country School has maintained a student community that reflects the authentic diversity of New York City. The rich diversity of our student population is fostered by a sliding-scale tuition policy that makes it possible for families to pay tuition based on their means. Nationally, approximately 22.5 percent of independent school families receive financial aid. At Manhattan Country School, 75 percent of families pay tuition on a sliding scale, while 100 percent benefit from an economically and culturally diverse learning community.

Social Justice & Activism

Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideals of equality, nonviolence and justice, MCS has held activism as a core component of its curriculum since its founding. Students from pre-K to eighth grade learn to value human rights and environmental justice and understand multiple viewpoints while defending their own opinions. Annual activism projects raise awareness about issues that impact not only MCS students, but students and communities across the city and the nation.

Progressive Education & Teacher Training

Since developmental psychologist Erik Erikson began observing MCS classrooms in 1968, we have attracted the interest of educators, administrators and student teachers from public, charter and independent schools. MCS has trained nearly 1,000 teachers, a large majority of whom have gone on to teach in public schools. In addition, we have hosted more than 5,000 educational observers from across the country and the world who are applying our progressive approach to education in their own schools in various ways.

Farm-Based Education & Sustainability

In the city and in the Catskills, Manhattan Country School students learn about their connection to the natural world and the importance of caring for the environment. During multiple trips to the MCS Farm each year, students learn valuable lessons about community and interdependence, nature and the sustainable production of food, energy and fiber. Our sustainability education program integrates lessons in classrooms at 150 West 85th Street, green spaces in New York City and the MCS Farm.

Public Mission

MCS opened in 1966 as a “private school with a public mission.” We continue to honor that commitment to the public mission through programs and partnerships with public schools and other organizations, like the “MLK Living the Dream” Book Award and ongoing teacher training which has impacted more than a 1,000 teachers since 1966.
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