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Encyclopedia > Ethical Culture Fieldston School
Ethical Culture Fieldston School
Established 1878
Type Private Day School
Founder Felix Adler
Interim Head of School Beth Beckmann
Students approx. 1,600
Grades Pre-k through 12
Location New York City, New York, United States
Colors Orange and blue
Mascot Eagle
Yearbook the Fieldglass
Newspaper Fieldston News
Other publications The Gouda, The Fieldston LP
School Song "Iam Canamus"
Website http://www.ecfs.org

The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, known as Fieldston, is a private "independent" school in New York City and a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League. It currently (as of 2004) has about 1600 students and a staff of 400 people directed by Interim Head of School, Beth Beckmann. Image File history File links ECFS.gif Summary Taken from www. ... Educational institutions are often categorised along several dimensions. ... Private schools, or independent schools, are schools not administered by local, state, or national government, which retain the right to select their student body and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition rather than with public (state) funds. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... “NY” redirects here. ... School colors are the colors chosen by a school to represent it on uniforms and other items of identification. ... Millie, once mascot of the City of Brampton, is now the Brampton Arts Councils representative. ... Genera Several, see below. ... A yearbook, also known as an annual, is a book to record, highlight, and commemorate the past year of a school or a book published annually. ... A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos and other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML... An independent school is a school which is not dependent upon national or local government for financing its operation and is instead operated by tuition charges, gifts, and perhaps the investment yield of an endowment. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... The Ivy Preparatory School League, like the Ivy League for universities, was originally an athletic conference, not a scholastic one, for preparatory schools. ...

In the words of its founder, Felix Adler: "The ideal of the school is to develop individuals who will be competent to change their environment to greater conformity with moral ideals." Felix Adler (1851–1933) was a Jewish rationalist intellectual who founded the Society for Ethical Culture in New York, New York. ...

The school consists of two lower schools (Pre-k thru 6th grade): Ethical Culture (known as "Ethical" or "Midtown") located on the West Side of Manhattan, and Fieldston Lower (known as "Lower"), located on the Riverdale campus in the Bronx, both of which feed into an upper school (Forms I thru VI, grades 7-12) - The Fieldston School - also located on the Bronx campus. In the 2007-2008 school year, the school will reorganize with the opening of the Fieldston Middle School, which will house the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Ethical Culture is headed by Ann Vershbow, Fieldston Lower is headed by George Burns, and the Fieldston School is headed by Dr. John M. Love. The Middle School will be headed by Dr. Luis A. Ottley. Fieldston is the name of a subsection of the Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York City. ...



Ethical Culture School facade.
Ethical Culture School facade.

The school first opened in 1878, as a free kindergarten. In 1880, elementary grades were added, and the school was then called the Workingman's School. At that time, the idea that the children of the poor should be educated was innovative. By 1890 the school's academic reputation encouraged many more wealthy clients to seek it out, and the school was expanded to accommodate the upper-class as well, and began charging tuition; in 1895 the name changed to "The Ethical Culture School", and in 1903 the New York Society for Ethical Culture became its sponsor. The economic diversity which was important then continues today: although the school's tuition is now close to $30,000 per student per year, Fieldston is said to have one of the largest financial aid funds[1] of any independent school in the country. The school moved into its landmark building at 33 Central Park West in 1904. The entire school was located in that building until 1928 when the high school division (Fieldston) moved to its 18 acre (73,000 m²) campus on Fieldston Road, in the exclusive Fieldston section of Riverdale in the Bronx; the Manhattan branch of the Lower School remained there, and in 1932 a second Lower School was opened on the Bronx campus. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (3264 × 2448 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (3264 × 2448 pixel, file size: 1. ... The Society for Ethical Culture is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious movement. ...

Ethical was said to pursue social justice, racial equality, and intellectual freedom.[2] The school (and the affiliated Ethical Culture Society) were "havens for secular Jews who rejected the mysticism and rituals of Judaism, but accepted many of its ethical teachings. Additionally, because the institutionalized anti-Semitism of the times established rigid quota systems against Jews in private schools, the Ethical Culture School had a disproportionately large number of Jewish students. Ethical was the only one that did not discriminate because of race, color, or creed."[2] The school ended its formal ties with the Society in the 1990s, although retaining its name and striving to maintain the ethical tradition of its roots.

One of the early faculty members was the famous documentary photographer Lewis Hine. Power house mechanic working on steam pump, 1920 Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940), was an American photographer. ...

Philosophy and Academics

The school is a prominent part of the Progressive Movement. Part of the school's curriculum, per the philosophy of its founder, Felix Adler, includes courses in ethics and moral philosophy, along with required community service. Drawing heavily on the educational philosophy of John Dewey, hands-on "learning by doing" is emphasized from pre-kindergarten through the senior year of high school. The school is known for its predominantly liberal student body and its commitment to diversity and a well-funded scholarship program. The "senior gift" given by graduating seniors and their families is frequently designated for financial aid funds. This article is about Progressivism. ... Felix Adler (1851–1933) was a Jewish rationalist intellectual who founded the Society for Ethical Culture in New York, New York. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, whose thoughts and ideas have been greatly influential in the United States and around the world. ...

The academic standards are high and virtually 100% of its graduates go on to college. Students in the upper school have to gather credits in a wide range of academic subjects and there are well-developed arts and performing arts programs, as well as many sports teams. There are many elective courses for the upper grades, providing flexibility for students to set their own curricula. The community service program is a cornerstone of the school, with students volunteering within the school, the surrounding community and the city at large. A hallmark of the school's ethics program has been the interaction by older students as peer advisors for younger ones, with 5th graders working with kindergarteners, and 11th and 12th grade students leading 7th and 8th graders in ethics courses (through a program called Student to Student), for example.

Fieldston is well known for being among the first schools to drop its participation in the Advanced Placement Program in 2002 to give its faculty the freedom to offer more challenging and thought-provoking material, rather than to "teach to the test." Students can take AP exams, but the school no longer officially sponsors such courses. While there was some concern that college admissions could be negatively affected, Fieldston's college office worked closely with admissions officers of schools across the country to explain the change, and assure that their students would be evaluated based on the quality of the courses, even without the AP designation. The Advanced Placement Program is a program that offers college level courses at high schools across the United States and Canada. ...

The upper school's student newspaper is called the Fieldston News and the yearbook is the FieldGlass. The ECF Reporter and Field Notes provide news of the schools to alumni and parents. There are several student-run literary and art magazines, as well, such as Litmag, Dope Ink Prints, the popular satirical publication, The Gouda, the music magazine, The Fieldston LP, and the sports magazine Season Pass.


Each year the number of students enrolled in the school system grows. In 2002, talk of expansion began; plans were laid out the following year. A new middle school as well as new gym facilities have been planned, and construction began in June of 2004 with an estimated date of completion of September of 2007. Currently, the lower schools start with Pre-K and go up to 6th grade, and the upper school goes from 7th to 12th grade, with Forms 1 and 2 (7th and 8th grade) somewhat distinct from the high school, but sharing the same space, and with some overlap of faculty and much interaction among students. With the new middle school, to be located on the Fieldston campus, students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade will be in their own building, with their own curriculum and faculty, and less interaction with the high school. This will have the positive result of additional classrooms for the lower and upper schools which are overcrowded. There has been much controversy among the alumni, parent and student body concerning the issue, as some felt that Fieldston was losing its unique identity with this change, but economic and space pressures prevailed. The community remains divided on whether a separate middle school was pedagogically warranted, with strong feelings on both sides. More information on the construction of new facilities available here: [3]


Fieldston's athletic program includes 44 teams covering 14 sports. The teams, known as the "Fieldston Eagles", play in the Ivy Prep League against other private schools in the region. (The school's hockey team, however, does not play in the league and schedules its own games.)

Special Programs

  • Fieldston Outdoors - a six-week environmental day camp
  • Weeks of Discovery/Computer Camps - one-week sports, computer, and other activity camps during school breaks
  • BeforeSchool and AfterSchool - at the two Lower schools
  • Fieldston Enrichment Program (FEP) - tutoring program for selected public school students in preparation of public and private high school entrance exams and requirements
  • Young Dancemakers Company - acclaimed summer dance program

Notable Alumni and Former Students

Among its many notable alumni and former students are the following:

Because of its prominence as one of New York City's top independent schools, many famous "movers and shakers" in entertainment, politics, news, business and the arts have sent their children to ECS-Fieldston over the past 100 years; many families have multi-generational alumni. Jill Abramson is the current managing editor of The New York Times. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ... Clifford Leopold Alexander, Jr. ... Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967, on the cover of Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society. ... Alan Bergman (born 11 September 1925) is a prolific lyricist and songwriter, particularly of music for stage and film. ... The Songwriters Hall of Fame is an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music. ... Jordan Bratman, born into a Jewish family June 4, 1977, is an American music marketer and the husband of singer Christina Aguilera. ... Nancy Cantor is the 11th chancellor and president of Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. ... Syracuse University (SU) is a private nonsectarian research university located in Syracuse, New York. ... Matt Cohler (born in 1977) is an American entrepreneur. ... Sofia Carmina Coppola (born May 14, 1971) is an American film director, actress, producer and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. ... David Denby is an American film critic who writes for The New Yorker. ... Ralph de Toledano (August 14, 1916 - February 3, 2007) was a major figure in the conservative movement in the United States throughout the second half of the 20th century. ... Windows on the World. ... Darcy Frey is an American writer from New York. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... Promotional photo taken in 1952 Rita Gam (born April 2, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American film and television actress and documentary film maker. ... Rob Glaser (born ca. ... Jeffrey Katzenberg (born December 21, 1950 in New York City) is an American film producer and Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG. He is perhaps most famous for his period as studio chairman at The Walt Disney Company, and for producing the movie Shrek (2001). ... Blue Man Group Blue Man Group is a creative organization centered around a trio of mute performers that present themselves in blue paint (or latex masks) and black clothing. ... Blue Man Group Blue Man Group is a creative organization centered around a trio of mute performers that present themselves in blue paint (or latex masks) and black clothing. ... Blue Man Group (Blue Man, BMG) is a creative organization founded by Phil Stanton, Chris Wink, and Matt Goldman; it is centered on a trio of mute performers, called Blue Men, who present themselves in blue grease paint, latex bald caps, and black clothing. ... Charlie King is is an attorney, politician, and civic leader in New York. ... Walter Marvin Koenig (born September 14, 1936) is an American actor, writer, teacher and director, known for his roles as Chekov in Star Trek, and as Bester on the series Babylon 5. ... Pavel Andreievich Chekov, Cyrillic: Павел Андрейевич Чеков), played by Walter Koenig, is a Russian Starfleet officer in the fictional Star Trek universe. ... The current Star Trek franchise logo Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series and media franchise. ... Joseph Kraft (4 September 1924—10 January 1986) was an American journalist. ... Christopher Lehmann-Haupt was, for many years, the senior daily book reviewer for the New York Times. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... Sean Taro Ono Lennon (aka Sean Ono Lennon, born October 9, 1975) is the son of musician and peace activist John Lennon by his second wife, artist Yoko Ono. ... Carl Philipp Leubsdorf (born March 17, 1938) is a long-time Washington, D.C. political journalist. ... ... Doug Liman Doug Liman (born 1965) is an American film director and producer. ... Swingers is a film released in 1996 about the lives of single, unemployed actors living in Los Angeles, California. ... Andrew Litton (born 1959) is an American orchestral conductor. ... Jane Mayer is an American investigative journalist who is a staff writer for The New Yorker. ... The New Yorker is an American magazine that publishes reportage, criticism, essays, cartoons, poetry and fiction. ... Nicholas Meyer at the Paramount Pictures lot in 2002. ... Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Paramount Pictures, 1982; see also 1982 in film) is the second feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ... Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Paramount Pictures, 1991; see also 1991 in film) is the sixth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ... Jo Mielziner (1901-1976) is an American theatrical designer born in Paris, France. ... Marvin Lee Minsky (born August 9, 1927), sometimes affectionately known as Old Man Minsky, is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of MITs AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy. ... Robert Morris Morgenthau (born July 31, 1919) is currently the District Attorney for New York County, which is coterminous with Manhattan. ... Robert Moses with a model of his proposed Battery Bridge Robert Moses (December 18, 1888 - July 29, 1981) was the master builder of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. ... Robert Allan Caro (born October 30, 1935) is a biographer most noted for his studies of United States political figures Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson. ... Howard Nemerov (February 29, 1920 – July 5, 1991) was United States Poet Laureate on two separate occasions: from 1963 to 1964, and from 1988 to 1990. ... A Poet Laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and often expected to compose poems for State occasions and other government events. ... J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, served as the first director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, beginning in 1943. ... Emanuel (Mannie) Ruben Piore (19 July 1908 Vilnius – 9 May 2000) was a scientist and a manager of industrial research. ... Belva Plain (born 1919 in New York, New York) is a best-selling American author of mainstream womens fiction. ... Letty Cottin Pogrebin is an American writer and journalist. ... Richard Ravitch is a business and civic leader from New York City. ... Muriel Rukeyser Muriel Rukeyser (December 15, 1913–February 12, 1980) was an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. ... James Haas Scheuer, Sr. ... Photo of Gil Scott-Heron. ... Stephen Slesinger (December 25, 1901 – December 17, 1953), was an American radio/television/film producer, creator of comic-book characters, and a pioneer in the licensing of characters for children. ... Tess Slesinger (July 16, 1905 - February 21, 1945) was a Jewish-American writer and screenwriter and is credited as being a charter member of the New York intellectual scene. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Stewart Stern (born March 22, 1922) is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter. ... Natalie Wood and James Dean in a screenshot from Rebel Without a Cause. ... Wall Street, 1915 Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 – March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. ... James Toback (b. ... Richard Tofel is the president and chief operating officer of the International Freedom Center. ... Doris Ulmann (1884-1934) was an American photographer. ... Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) is a U.S. independent romantic comedy starring and written by Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen, and directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. ...

Peer Schools

Ethical Culture Fieldston is a part of the Ivy Preparatory School League, with many of the city's elite private schools. The high schools of Fieldston, Riverdale, and Horace Mann together are known as the "Hill schools", as all three are located within a short walking distance of each other in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, on a hilly area above Van Cortlandt Park. The three also share perhaps the greatest amount of inter-school sports rivalry. The Ivy Preparatory School League, like the Ivy League for universities, was originally an athletic conference, not a scholastic one, for preparatory schools. ... The Lower Campus of Riverdale Country School Riverdale Country School is a co-educational college preparatory day school in New York City. ... Horace Mann School Magna est veritas et prævalet (Great is the truth and it prevails)   Founded in 1887, the Horace Mann School is a college preparatory school located in New York City. ... Riverdale (population approximately 46,000, according to the 2000 Census) is a middle- and upper-middle class residential neighborhood in the northwest Bronx in New York City. ... Van Cortlandt Park is a large urban park in the Bronx, NY. It has an area of 1,146 acres (4. ...

See also

Education in New York City is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. ...


  1. ^ as of 2004
  2. ^ a b Rosalind Singer. "The Ethical Culture School", New York Review of Books, 2002-04-25. Retrieved on 2007-07-02. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Ivy Preparatory School League
Collegiate SchoolDalton SchoolFieldston SchoolHackley School
Horace Mann SchoolPoly PrepRiverdale Country SchoolTrinity School



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