The New School is a small, independent and not-for-profit K-8 located in Dewitt, NY, established to guide children’s development toward a lifelong enthusiasm for learning, active citizenship, skillful decision-making and strong relationships.Click here to read about the school's history and structure...
The New School was founded by educators and families in 1988, starting with 12 children.
Its predecessor was the Syracuse Institute for Enabling Education, an alternative elementary school in Syracuse from 1970-1986, started by Robert Newman, professor in the School of Education at Syracuse University. Both schools were influenced by the theories of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Rogers.
Teachers and parents (and the children too!) are viewed as a collaborative community, which forms and manages the school.
While teachers develop and implement the academic aspects of the school, a primary value of The New School is active participation by families, who enhance the sense of community by working together, contributing time and talent in the classroom, on committees, and at school events. Family members are welcome to visit or to work with students in collaboration with teachers. Afternoon Investigations are a favorite time for parents to share in creative and challenging projects of exploration with the children.
Parents get the individual attention they need. Teachers are available to take parents’ suggestions and to discuss any concerns relating to their child.
Curriculum design starts with observation of the individual child. Children’s learning from and collaborating with peers is highly valued; the program is structured to engender mentoring, negotiating, exploring ideas and materials together and communicating constructively.
An Executive Board is elected among the parents.
Students learn best in a community where they know they are valued. Our students feel welcome and safe in the family of our school, an ideal environment for learning and growth. They are taught, supported, and cared for by nurturing adults and, in the multi-age setting, are able to find true peers regardless of age. Our student body is 30-35, with three full time and one 2/3 time teachers.
Teachers and Staff
Each member of The New School’s staff brings a different perspective and passion while sharing a common philosophy about how children learn.
Other adults join us in the classroom, including teacher assistants, parent volunteers, retired teachers, work study students from Syracuse University and student-teachers from LeMoyne and Syracuse University.
Mary Cunningham is the school’s Educational Consultant. One of the school’s founders, Mary has been instrumental in maintaining the school’s philosophy and purpose since 1988. Prior to The New School’s founding, Mary taught for 10 years at Syracuse Institute for Enabling Education, a model on which The New School was created.
Miranda Hine began with The New School in 1999. Previously Miranda was a Reading/Learning Disabilities Specialist for SU’s Stars Program and taught as an adjunct in SU’s Department of Visual Communication. Miranda holds an MS in Reading Education, and a BS in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education.
Rebecca Dwyer started teaching at The New School in the fall of 1998. She has a BA dual-degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education. Her MA in Elementary Education is from LeMoyne. After a hiatus from 2007-2010, Rebecca returned to The New School.
Kathy Downing joined the teaching staff in 2012, after many years at Dr King. She has continued to teach Suzuki violin and viola through her career.
Tamara Breed, as administrator, takes care of the ten thousand things, is a permanent member of the Board, and serves as a liaison between families and teachers.