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Message From Michèle: A New Chapter at MCS

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dear MCS Community,

The work and the fun have started again. We begin a new chapter in Manhattan Country School history, celebrating our 50th anniversary with a sense of hope and promise that our mission has as much relevance as ever. Nurturing a community dedicated to diversity, social justice, progressive education and sustainability is a collective undertaking and from this point forward more families will help it thrive in a new home.

In 1966, MCS opened amid vivid television images of the civil rights struggles. In 2016, the backdrop remains a constant reminder of how much work is yet to be done. Much has transpired in between. Racial justice, gender equity and environmental stewardship have been the subject of great debates. Our sliding-scale tuition system and the philanthropic support it requires to sustain economic diversity are both part of our identity and systemic challenges year after year. Our students, having learned to listen carefully to one another and to ask challenging questions, emerge with a strong sense of identity and determination to make the world better. Our alumni tell the story of the impact of an MCS education long after graduation. They are competent, confident and active in so many ways.

Racial justice, lasting resolutions to conflicts without violence and access to good education remain elusive in any comprehensive sense. Education models like MCS prepare citizens for our democracy that are thoughtful, creative and principled. Models like MCS, whose history includes five decades of developing, revising and testing curriculum and pedagogy aligned with a progressive mission, are rare. Models that can point to replication and adaptation of this work in both public and private schools in communities both local and global are even more so.

Reinventing MCS and the celebration of having reached a milestone make for an engaging year. I look forward to watching children grow, and a community come together.