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Dalton School

Dalton School
Middle & High School:
108 East 89th Street
First Program:
53 East 91st Street
Physical Education Center:
200 East 87th Street

New York, NY, United States
Type Private, day, college-preparatory
Motto Go Forth Unafraid
Established 1919
Founder Helen Parkhurst
CEEB Code 333580
Head of school Ellen C. Stein '65
Faculty approx. 250
Grades K–12
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment approx. 1300
Campus Urban
Color(s) Navy and white
Mascot Ivan the Tiger
Accreditation NAIS, NYSAIS
Newspaper The Daltonian
Affiliations NAIS
New York Interschool
Global Online Academy
Literary magazine Blue Flag
Political journal RealPolitik
The school's main building for grades 4-12, nicknamed "Big Dalton"

The Dalton School, originally the Children's University School,[1] is a private, coeducational college preparatory school on New York City's Upper East Side and a member of both the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League. The school is located in three buildings within Manhattan.


  • History 1
    • The Dalton Plan 1.1
  • Recognition 2
    • College placement 2.1
  • Co-curricular activities and athletics 3
  • Admission 4
  • Notable people 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Dalton School, originally called the Children's University School, was founded by Helen Parkhurst in 1919. It was a time marked by educational reform. Philosophers, teachers, and child psychologists identified as "progressives" began to question the conventional wisdom of the day which held that education was a process of drill and memorization and that the only way to teach was to regiment children in classrooms. Their natural instincts to play, to move, to talk, and to inquire freely were suppressed.

The name "Dalton" originally comes from the name of the town of Dalton in Massachusetts, where Parkhurst frequently visited. Progressive educators believed that the development of the whole child is of primary importance; that children are social beings and that schools should be communities where they can learn to live with others; that these communities should devote themselves to the total enrichment of mind, body, and spirit.

After experimentation in her own one-room school with Maria Montessori, Helen Parkhurst visited other progressive schools in Europe including Bedales School and its founder and headmaster John Haden Badley in England. She developed what she termed the Dalton Plan which called for teachers and students to work together toward individualized goals. The Laboratory Plan was first put into effect as an experiment in the high school of Dalton, Massachusetts, in 1916. The estate of her benefactor Josephine Porter Boardman, was also near the town of Dalton and from this beginning the Laboratory Plan and school eventually took their names.[2]

In 1919, Helen Parkhurst relocated to New York City, where she opened her first school on West 74th Street. Larger facilities soon became necessary; the Lower School was moved to West 72nd Street, and the High School opened in the autumn of 1929 in the current building at 108 East 89th Street. Eleanor Roosevelt admired the work of Helen Parkhurst and played an important role in expanding the population and resources of the school by promoting a merger between the Todhunter School for girls (founded by Winifred Todhunter) and Dalton in 1939.

Enlarged and modified through the years, Dalton still celebrates many of the school-wide traditions begun by Helen Parkhurst, including the Candlelighting Ceremony (the last day before winter break), Greek Festival (performed by sixth graders), and Arch Day (the last day of school).

The Dalton Plan

Inspired by the intellectual fervor around the start of the 20th century, educational thinkers such as John Dewey, began to envision a new, progressive, American approach to education. Helen Parkhurst caught the spirit of change and created the Dalton Plan. Aiming to achieve a balance between each child's talents and the needs of the growing American community, Parkhurst created an educational model that captured the progressive spirit of the age. Specifically, she had these objectives: to tailor each student's program to his or her needs, interests, and abilities; to promote both independence and dependability; and to enhance the student's social skills and sense of responsibility toward others. Parkhurst developed a three-part plan that continues to be the structural foundation of a Dalton education: House, Assignment, and Lab.


Over the years, the Dalton Plan has been adopted by schools around the world, including schools in Australia,[3] Austria,[4] Belgium,[5] Chile, the Czech Republic,[6] England, Korea, and the Netherlands.[7] There are also three schools founded on the Dalton Plan in Japan.[8]

College placement

Dalton ranked 5th on the 2003 Worth ranking of graduates matriculating to attend Harvard, Princeton, or Yale.

Also in 2003, The Wall Street Journal conducted a ranking of secondary schools in the United States that sent students to 10 selective colleges, including seven Ivy League schools. Dalton placed eighth.[9] In 2010's "American Best Prep Schools" ranked by Forbes magazine, Dalton placed 13th out of 20 top schools in the U.S.[10]

Co-curricular activities and athletics

The Daltonian is Dalton's official student newspaper and is published every 2–3 weeks by the High School students. Middle and High School students also produce other publications, including the political journal Realpolitik, Blue Flag, Fine Arts, Shutterbug, the Dalton Paw, and The Tiger Wire.

The Dalton School is a part of the Ivy Preparatory School League in athletics. Some teams, such as varsity football (Dalton has the only varsity private high school football team in Manhattan), participate in different athletic conferences. Dalton offers 23 varsity teams (including a cheerleading squad) and nine junior varsity teams in the high school athletics program. The school colors were historically gold and blue, although they have been changed to white and blue (based on common misunderstanding). The school's mascot is a tiger whose name is Ivan.

Dalton also offers many programs in the arts, particularly the visual arts and music, dance, and theater, and students are encouraged to pursue their interests in addition to their academic curriculum. Carmino Ravosa has been Dalton's composer in residence for 21 years. At least two full-year arts credits are required for graduation, but many students take art for all four years.

Author and illustrator David Macaulay was Original Mind Scholar and Artist-In-Residence in the 2009-2010 school year, which has since been dubbed "The Year of the Sketchbook."[11]


Admission to the Dalton School for kindergarten to third grade is based on school records, ERB testing, and interview. For grades 4–12 admission is based on school records, writing samples, an interview, and standardized testing (Dalton accepts the ISEE test as well as the SSAT test). Candidates receive notification of acceptance, rejection, or wait list in February. Dalton is well known for its diversity (see below).

In recent years, the parental anxiety created by the highly competitive admission process has been the subject of repeated press coverage.[12][13][14] According to Peterson's, the school year acceptance rate into Dalton for grades K-12 is 14%.[15]

Students of color in the First Program currently make up 38% of the Dalton First Program. In the 2008–2009 school year, the kindergarten was composed of 44% children of color. A financial aid budget of $6.5 million supports an outreach program for socio-economic diversity at the school.[16]

Notable people


See also


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  5. ^ "Faisons vivre l'info". La Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  6. ^ "DALTON INTERNATIONAL". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  7. ^ "Nederlandse Dalton Vereniging". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  8. ^ "ドルトンスクール(Children's University)". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Laneri, Raquel. "In Pictures: America's Best Prep Schools". Forbes. 
  11. ^ Hakanoglu, Orli. "Living in a Sketchbook". The Dalton School. Retrieved Nov 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Gardner, Ralph (1999-11-15). "Failing at Four". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  13. ^ Kay S. Hymowitz. "Survivor:The Manhattan Kindergarten by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal Spring 2001". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  14. ^ "New York Post | Pre-K Admissions Counseling | Private School Admissions". 2001-03-01. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  15. ^ "Private Colleges - Learn all about private colleges and universities at". 2013-01-22. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
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  21. ^ "Claire Danes - Biography".  
  22. ^ "Edgar de Evia". Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ Alger Drew, Bernard (2007). 100 Most Popular African American Authors. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.  
  24. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (1985-09-30). "Junior Chess Champion Takes His Title in Stride".  
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  26. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (2008-02-07). "Theater: Mark Feuerstein is the "Some Girls" guy | Arts". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
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  28. ^ "Barrett Foa". Barrett Foa. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  29. ^ "Helen Frankenthaler (American painter) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  30. ^ "Laura Geller | Jewish Women's Archive". Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
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  32. ^ Eric Homberger (2003-08-11). "Obituary: Carol Matthau | Film". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  33. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (1987-08-28). "New Face; Moving Up To 'Pretty' Roles: Jennifer Grey". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  34. ^ "This is the future of computing!". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  35. ^ "hannah higgins". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  36. ^ Joe Queenan (2004-10-03). The Know-It-All': A Little Learning Is a Dangerous Thing"'".  
  37. ^ Finn, Robin (2001-11-30). "PUBLIC LIVES - Confections of an Enterprising Candy Lover". New York City: Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
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  39. ^ "Mary Stuart Masterson - Biography - Movies & TV -". 1966-06-28. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
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  41. ^ "Tracy Pollan: Actress - Most Beautiful, Tracy Pollan". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  42. ^ Zuckerman, Esther. "Simon Rich’s Scary New York | The New York Observer". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  43. ^ "By Robert S. Boynton". The New New Journalism. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  44. ^ Show and Tell: New Yorker Profiles - John Lahr - Google Books. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  45. ^ Smith, Dinitia (1995-08-08). "Finally, the Role Marian Seldes Was Born For". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  46. ^ "Christian Slater - Biography - Movies & TV -". 1969-08-18. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  47. ^ "About Jason Strauss, About Jason Strauss, Co-Founder and Partner, Strategic Group". Jason Strauss. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  48. ^ Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. "Stuart, Jill". Fashion Encyclopedia. Fashion Encyclopedia. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
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  50. ^ Liz Phair (2008-04-06). "Frontman".  
  51. ^ [10]
  52. ^ "Biography for Bokeem Woodbine". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  53. ^ "The Washington Monthly". The Washington Monthly. 2004-06-12. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  54. ^ "Meet Andrew Zimmern". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  55. ^ "The Dalton School Alumni Blast". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

External links

  • Official website

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