A History of Equity and Access

Our commitment to equitable education for all children dates to back to 1966, when the school’s founders, Gus and Marty Trowbridge, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Brown v. Board, opened a school where families from different races, income levels and cultures could give their children a quality education. The school would also serve as a training ground for educators learning to develop curriculum and teach in ways that respect, value and support children from all backgrounds.

The rich diversity of the MCS community is fostered by a sliding-scale tuition system that makes enrollment accessible to all families. There is no financial aid at MCS. Instead of dividing families into categories of have and have not, families are treated as peers regardless of their means. By spreading educational costs equitably, MCS’ sliding-scale tuition system—a proven scalable approach that has been replicated and adapted in schools across the country—creates a community that is diverse in every way. Roughly three-quarters of families pay a percentage of full tuition, based on their financial means, while all families benefit from the diversity this approach fosters.

Alicia Glen ’80, New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development

Going to MCS has been one of the most important influences in my life…. In a very demonstrable way it exposed me to the whole world of New York City. That has shaped everything that I have done in my adult life.

The Impact of MCS

Through a progressive academic program at our school in New York City and our farm in the Catskill Mountains, MCS students gain intellectual freedom, social awareness, self-confidence and first-hand knowledge of the natural world. Lessons from a dynamic curriculum steeped in social justice challenge students to employ critical thinking skills and to develop a deep understanding of democracy. Students learn to value the importance of equity, compassion and advocating for a society that protects and values the rights of all people.

MCS graduates succeed at the region’s most demanding public and private high schools and the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. But the values they learn as young children are what set them apart, and compel them to make the world a better and more just place. Each year these change makers multiply the school’s influence by touching millions of people through their work as advocates for civil rights, affordable housing, immigration reform and urban development; as teachers, professors and school administrators; as novelists, artists, filmmakers and journalists; as scientists, lawyers and doctors; and in many other ways.

Since 1966

  • more than 1,500 students have attended MCS
  • more than 900 student teachers and interns have trained at MCS
  • more than 7,900 students from schools throughout New York State have learned to live sustainably at the MCS Farm
  • more than 5,000 educators and administrators from other schools have visited to observe our educational model.
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