Cities Journal

15 Best High Schools In New York

The Dalton School
Photo credit: othermore (other) / Flickr

6. The Dalton School

A private, co-ed college prep school in Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side, a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League, the Dalton School, once known as the Children’s University School, was founded in 1919 by Helen Parkhurst.

The roots of the Dalton School were in Dalton, Massachusetts where Parkhurst initiated her first experimental classrooms, finally bringing her ideas to New York’s Upper East Side where the school continues to operate. The K through 12 school provides education for over 1,300 students, and the Dalton Plan, as Parkhurst’s vision came to be known, has been copied throughout the world.

There are over 200 Dalton schools throughout the world at the present time, as described by the Dalton School history website.

The Dalton Plan, as described by the present school’s mission statement, was laid on the structural foundation of House, Assignment, and Lab, which continues to form the basis for the educational structure at Dalton Schools throughout the world.

The educational model that Parkhurst initiated had the objective of providing individual programs of education based on the student’s needs, interests, and ability, while helping to instill a sense of social responsibility and enhancing the student’s social skills.

The Washington Post describes The Dalton School as “one of the most prestigious schools in the nation”. The Best Schools website ranks Dalton School number 10 on its list of the 50 Best Private Day Schools in the United States, and states that Dalton School keeps students “busy”, stating, “on top of the senior initiative and project, the school mandates an internship program…to give students hands-on experience for post-grad life.”

The Best Schools further refers to Forbes Best Prep Schools list, where Dalton School is ranked number 13 in the U.S. Forbes notes recognizable alumni, Anderson Cooper, Claire Danes, and Chevy Chase, citing a 31% rate of matriculation to Ivy League Universities.

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