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Best schools in New York City USA                                                                                  (Photo credit: The British International School of New York)

A snapshot: schools in New York City considered (but not necessarily chosen) by English-speaking expats.

Schools with a full GSGI review are noted with  next to their names. 

 (pending) means that the school is on our list to review.

By full GSGI review, we mean school write-ups that are completely selected, researched, visited and written by our own editors. Our final reviews take the good with the bad, warts and all, but we look for a preponderance of good before we drill down for in-depth details and descend on the school for an exhaustive visit. We are aware of the other schools on this page and we continually add or remove schools, as deemed appropriate.

The subject of schools (and the difficulty of getting in) is, arguably, more often discussed, reported, written about and blogged here than anywhere else in the world (barring London). This list attempts to narrow down schools especially considered by English-speaking expatriates, who are looking for schools that will ease transitions into and out of other systems and countries and have an international, outward looking approach.


Schools 

Avenues: The World School, New York  (pending)

Adapted curriculum; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,750 students

Opened in 2012, in a state of the art corner building, overlooking the High Line, in Chelsea in west downtown Manhattan,. Owned and run by a newcomer (second decade of the 21st century)  to the global educational market , Avenues World School (part of Avenues World Holdings Inc), which is already operating four schools in different continents and keen to expand. The first few  cohorts of graduates have been accepted by leading universities, including Ivies.

British International School (The)

National Curriculum for England/ PYP/ MYP/ IGCSE; ages 3-16; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 320 students

Established in 2006 at Waterside Plaza, an  upscale development on the East River in Manhattan. The school has grown upwards and now serves pre-K to Grade 10. Expanding rapidly, with pupils mainly British or US passport holders but also from some 40 different nationalities. Inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) for British Schools Overseas (BSO) and an Accredited Member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).

Click here to read our full review of The British International School

Columbia Grammar and Prep School  (pending)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,300 students

Oldest non-sectarian private school in the US, founded in 1764, by Columbia University, to prepare their freshmen properly and still very well-regarded. In its current location on the Upper West Side, hugely expanding since 1907 and now one of the largest private schools in New York City. Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).

Dwight School (The), New York 

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 950 students

One of the oldest schools in New York, originally established as the Franklin School in 1872.  A family owned school, operating as a not-for-profit charity and located in well lived-in buildings on the Upper West Side. Majority of students move on to highly regarded universities, including Ivies in the US and Russell Group in the UK. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA).

Click here to read our full review of The Dwight School.

Horace Mann  (pending)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,700 students

Founded in 1887 in the Bronx and still located in Riverdale, with a nursery division in Upper Manhattan. Interestingly, for a school which features regularly amongst the best high schools in New York, they are transitioning away from offering AP courses.

Nord Anglia International School of New York (formerly World Class Learning Academy)

International Primary Curriculum/ International Middle Years Curriculum; ages 2-14; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 240 students

Part of the global Nord Anglia Education group, a chain of  international schools now extending to over 65 worldwide. The only private school in New York City to offer the International Primary Curriculum. As with most Nord Anglia schools, they offer a performing arts programme designed in collaboration with the Julliard School.

Click here to read our full review of the Nord Anglia International School of New York.

United Nations International School 

Adapted curriculum/ IB Diploma; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,470 students

Large international school, established in 1947 by a group of United Nations parents and now housed in a purpose-built structure overlooking the East River. In keeping with the spirit of the United Nations, the students now come from over 100 different nationalities. One of the founding schools offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS).

Click here to read our full review of the United Nations International School.

Wetherby Pembridge School 

National Curriculum for England; ages 2-11; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 80 students

Opened in 2017 as the first international venture for the Alpha Plus Group, who own and run 20 nurseries, schools and colleges in the UK. Closely allied to Wetherby Prep in London, following an adapted version of  the English national curriculum and intending to expand upwards to grade 8.

Click here to read our full review of Wetherby-Pembridge School.

These schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.

Allen Stevenson (The)

Adapted curriculum; ages 5-14; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 410 students

Founded in 1883 and located in the middle of the traditional, upmarket Upper East Side. Graduates move on to leading private and public high schools, including some of the best-known day and boarding institutions.

Bank Street School for Children

American curriculum; ages 3-14; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 435 students

Part of the Bank Street College of Education, which includes a graduate school for aspiring teachers. Founded in 1918 as a nursery school and expanding upwards to include grade 8. One of the more progressive schools in New York City and now based on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

BASIS Independent Brooklyn

BASIS curriculum/ AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 930 students

The older and larger of the two private schools in New York owned and run by BASIS Independent education group. Opened in 2014 and divided into a lower and upper school, both with a high percentage of international parents.

BASIS Independent Manhattan

BASIS curriculum; ages 3-14; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 340 students

Part of the network of BASIS education group which contains charter, independent and international schools. Opened in 2017 as one of eight independent BASIS schools in the USA. Intending to grow upwards to provide a full pre-K to grade 12 education.

Beekman School (The)

American High School Diploma/ AP/ individual programmes; ages 14-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 75 students

Essentially a small tutorial college as its original name “The Tutoring School of New York” would suggest. The school tailors individual programmes for each student and also works with schools across the country completing specific curricula for students who are unable to complete coursework at school.

Birch Wathen Lenox School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 590 students

Result of a merger between two traditional schools, both founded a century ago. Now located in a smart brownstone in the heart of the exclusive Upper East Side. The school tends to sit in the middle of the rankings for private schools in New York.

Brearley School (The)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 720 students

Famous, elite, all-girls school founded in 1884. A regular entry at the top of the charts for results including all the prep schools in America. Considered a sister school of all-girls’ schools, Spence and Chapin and the all-boys Collegiate School. No Ivy names missing from the matriculation list, with large numbers moving on to the starriest destinations.

Bronx High School of Science

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 14-18; co-ed; day; state; 3,000 students

One of the nine Specialised High Schools in the city, open to NYC 8th grade or first-time 9th grade residents. Phenomenal accomplishments by alumni, including eight (the most from any school in the world) Nobel prize winners and eight Pulitzer prize journalists.

Brooklyn Friends School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 830 students

A Quaker school founded in 1867, making it one of the oldest surviving schools in the city. One of the fairly small number of schools to offer the alternative of the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Unsurprisingly, around a quarter of students receive some form of financial aid.

Browning School (The)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 400 students

Highly selective all-boys school founded in 1888. From a small annual cohort, graduates head to leading Ivies and other prestigious universities with a percentage achieving places at UK universities.

Buckley School (The)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-14; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 370 students

Only on its fifth headmaster since its foundation in 1913. A traditional all-boys school in the heart of the sought after centre of the Upper East Side. Features an impressive list of alumni.

Chapin School (The)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 770 students

Renowned, all-girls’ school with a formidable list of alumnae, including Queen Noor of Jordan and Ivanka Trump. Shares some classes and also spots at the top of the US private schools league with neighbouring Brearley.

Churchill School (The)

Adapted curriculum/ SEN; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; state/ independent; 400 students

Established in 1972 to help children with language-based learning difficulties. Announced in August 2019 that it would be transitioning into a fully independent school model.

Collegiate School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 660 students

Probably the oldest school in the US, founded in 1628 when New York was still the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Now located in a state of the art campus in the Riverside South neighbourhood of the city. Regularly cited as one of the best boys’ schools in the country and amongst the top high schools in New York.

Convent of the Sacred Heart

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 3-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 725 students

All-girls, private, Catholic school housed in two historic, adjacent houses on Fifth Avenue and East 91st Street. Founded in 1881 and part of the global network of 150 Sacred Heart Schools. Alumnae lists feature household society names such as Kennedy, Vanderbilt and Rothschild.

Dalton School (The)

Adapted curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,320 students

Founded by Helen Parkhurst, one of America’s progressive early 20th century educators. The Dalton Plan that she created is still in use here as well as at other schools across the world. A large school by Manhattan standards consistently ranked as one of the leading schools for gaining entrance into the top Ivies.

Episcopal School

School developed early childhood programme; ages 2-5; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 230 students

Founded in 1961 and offering the first early childhood programme to be accredited by the New York Association of Independent Schools (NYAIS). Located on East 69th Street.

Ethical Culture Fieldston School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,600 students

A specifically progressive school, known simply as Fieldston. Strong emphasis on ethics, ever since its opening in 1878, when it was called the Workingman’s School. Located in the exclusive Fieldston section of Riverdale.

Fiorello La Guardia High School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 14-18; co-ed; day; state; 2,800 students

The only one of the nine Specialised High Schools, in New York City, to offer majoring in one of the arts plus an academic programme. Founded in 1936 by the New York Mayor Fiorella La Guardia and located next to the Lincoln Centre.

French-American School of New York

French curriculum/ American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ French Bac/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 780 students

Founded in 1980 and based in Westchester County, New York on three campuses in Larchmont and Mamaroneck. Offering the option in high school of a Franco-American programme or the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Students of French origin are heavily in the majority.

Friends Seminary

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-19; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 750 students

Established by Quakers in 1786, as the Friends’ Institute, moving in 1826 to its current location in Lower Manhattan. Still with a Meetinghouse that plays an integral part in school life. Graduates move on to leading UK universities as well as top-rated universities in the US, including Ivies.

Grace Church School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 770 students

Founded in 1894 by the Grace Church as the first choir boarding school in New York. Located on two campuses in the East Village but hugely popular across the city and students come from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and New Jersey as well as Manhattan.

Hewitt School (The)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 500 students

One of the sought-after single-sex schools on the Upper East Side. Emphasis on STEM education and the only NYC girls’ school to have crew. Expanded considerably since 2000 with new and totally renovated buildings.

International School of Brooklyn

PYP/ MYP; ages 3-14; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 370 students

A multi-lingual school offering French and Spanish immersion and the International Baccalaureate programmes. Founded in 2005, originallty piloting language immersion playgroups and now teaching up to 8th grade.

La Scuola d'Italia Guglielmo Marconi

Bilingual Italian/English programme/ Esame di Stato/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 200 students

Offering a unique (for the US) bilingual Italian/English programme with the option, since 2018, of taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Located on the Upper East Side.

Léman Manhattan

Adapted curriculum/ IB Diploma; ages 1-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 750 students

On two campuses in the middle of the Financial District and the only school in the city offering boarding. Opened in New York in 2005 as a sister school to the College de Léman in Switzerland.

Loyola High School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 14-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 225 students

Founded in 1900 as a Catholic boys’ school but becoming in 1973 a rare (for the Jesuit community) co-educational school. Located on elite Park Avenue and 83rd Street in a listed classical-style building. Usual for 100 per cent of graduates to move on to four year college courses including Ivies and leading global universities.

Lycée Francais de New York

French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac/ Franco-American Bac; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,300 students

Sometimes called the French High School of New York and part of the French Agency for Education Abroad (AEFE) worldwide network and accredited by the French Ministry of Education. Established in 1935 and now offering a special Franco/American qualification (BFA).

Lyceum Kennedy French American School

French curriculum/ French Bac/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 250 students

The Manhattan campus of the international school, founded in 1964. The school offers a bilingual French/English programme and the choice of taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma since 2014. There is also a campus at Ardsley, opened in 1996.

Lyceum Kennedy Japanese School

Lyceum Kennedy School was acquired by a Japanese-born professor in 1986 and has offered a Japanese programme since 1997. In 2010 a Japanese high school programme was initiated, (only available at the Manhattan campus) at Lyceum Kennedy French American School.

Marymount School of New York

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 3-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 700 students

Founded in 1926 and part of the network of global girls’ private schools directed by the Catholic foundation of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Opened in an iconic Beaux-Arts  buildings on Fifth Avenue and now expanded to include locations on East 82nd and 97th Streets. Emphasis placed on STEAM.

Nightingale-Bamford School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 5-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 560 students

Founded as an all-girls school on the Upper East Side by two teachers called, unsurprisingly, Miss Nightingale and Miss Bamford. Elite, relatively small school by New York City standards. Known for its debating teams and celebrated its centennial in 2019.

Notre Dame School

American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 14-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 355 students

A Catholic, girls, college preparatory school, now located in the East Village. Founded over a century ago by the Sisters of St Ursula, when they landed in New York from France, which led to its acquiring the affectionate nickname of ‘Chez Nous’.

Regis High School

American High School Diploma; ages 14-18; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 530 students

Possibly, la crème de la crème, in terms of Catholic boys’ high schools in the USA. Established in 1914 on the Upper East Side and notoriously hard to get into. Regularly turns out leading academics, journalists, lawyers and diplomats.

Riverdale Country School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,125 students

High school based on two large campuses in the Riverdale area of The Bronx. Founded in 1907, making it one of the oldest country day schools in America.

Rudolph Steiner School

Adapted curriculum; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 320 students

Following the Waldorf educational route based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. Despite the unconventional approach, graduates move on to leading universities including Ivies. Founded in 1928 and still in the heart of the Upper East Side.

Rye Country Day

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 900 students

Founded 150 years ago, by the aptly named Rev. Life and expanded over this period to its current size. The latest addition being a centre for the creative arts, opened in 2018. Academically rigorous and, consistently, sends significant numbers of graduates to top Ivies and other leading universities.

Spence School (The)

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; girls; day; independent; private non-profit; 740 students

One of the best-known girls’ schools in America, regularly counted as being amongst the most successful of all schools at sending graduates to the top Ivies. Founded in 1892 on the Upper East Side and currently extending its campus to include an athletics, performing arts and ecology centre.

St Bernard's School

American curriculum; ages 5-14; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 380 students

Traditional, uniform-wearing, all-boys school founded in 1904 in its current location in Carnegie Hill, on the Upper East Side. Boys continue their education at leading schools, mainly in New York but also in the UK.

St David's School

American curriculum; ages 3-14; boys; day; independent; private non-profit; 400 students

Lay-run but with a strong Catholic ethos. Opened in 1951, it is slightly younger than some of the educational alternatives on the Upper East Side but is still, very much, a traditional school.

Stuyvesant High School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 14-18; co-ed; day; state; 3,300 students

One of the oldest public high schools in New York, founded in 1904 on the western edge of Tribeca. The crown jewel amongst the city's high schools, often ranking as the best college preparatory school as well as best public school and has been ranked at #6 in the USA.

The École

French curriculum; ages 3-14; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 215 students

A bilingual (American/French) pre-K to 8th grade school offering a French education, accredited by the French Ministry of Education. Part of the Mission Laique Francaise (MLF) network, which promotes French language and culture abroad.

Trevor Day School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 750 students

Founded on the Upper East Side in 1930 as an Episcopalian day school, becoming independent of the church in 1970. Campuses on both sides of the park with grades nursery to 5 on W. 88th St. and 6-12 on E. 95th St. Students are consistently accepted at colleges across America including major Ivies.

Trinity School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,000 students

Top of the tree, highly selective co-educational (the latter rarer in NYC, than in some parts of the country) preparatory school. Founded in 1709 (making it one of the oldest schools in America), as a charity school for Trinity church. Now based on the Upper West Side and known for its formidable academics, including Latin and Greek.

Village Community School

American curriculum; ages 5-14; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 350 students

Opened in 1970 in Greenwich Village, in the premises, previously occupied by the Bank Street School. A plan is in progress to create a three story addition and a rooftop play yard.

York Prep School

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 350 students

Family-based, liberal arts school, opened in 1969. On a new site at West 68th St) and also offers a Jump Start programme, at supplemental cost, for students with different learning styles and learning disabilities.

For more information on the schools above, please go to  each school’s individual entry on The Good Schools Guide International search.

 

 

 

 

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