A Welcome from our Head of School, Irwin Shlachter:
I am delighted to welcome you to the Alexander Robertson School. Since becoming Head of what we refer to as this “little gem” of a school in 2014, and becoming acquainted with the many families, teachers, and Heads, who have come before me, I have witnessed the deep affection felt for this wonderful school from the Upper West Side to the world at large. I believe that this is a testament to ARS’s nurturing, caring and encouraging philosophy.
Our founders instituted ARS in 1789 with the purpose of educating the sons and daughters of common folk. ARS was designed to have an impact on its social environment by educating children from diverse backgrounds to advocate for themselves and their communities. This ambition speaks to the international historical context out of which our school emerged, and to the values our school maintains today.
In 1789, George Washington became president, the French Revolution reached a watershed with the storming of the Bastille, and Scotland, the mother country of Alexander Robertson, was in the midst of an intellectual enlightenment. This moment signaled a turn in European intellectual history toward the prioritization of critical reasoning, scientific thought and the idea of the humanities as a path to a stronger more egalitarian democracy.
ARS takes pride in teaching the same critical reasoning, scientific and language skills that have long been associated with this democratic value. Today, the progressive, humanist spirit of late 18th century Scotland emerges as a vital impetus to those who shape and will go onto shape modern American society in the future. I strongly believe a child who learns ethical values, and the ability to listen and reason well in their early education is best positioned to become one of these future leaders.
At ARS we believe in creating environments for young students that balance structure and independence – a balance that allows each child to express themselves in as many ways as possible. Our dedicated teachers foster students’ individual learning styles so they remain curious, confident learners and develop into effective, innovative thinkers. As such, our students learn that asking the right questions is just as important as knowing the answers. Together, we work towards a school in which learning and teaching are enjoyable, rewarding and affirming.
I welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person, to show you around and to tell you more about the Alexander Robertson School. Please call or email to set up a visit.
Head of the Alexander Robertson School.
Our Mission Is
Asked whether we are a traditional or a progressive school we generally answer: yes! Our students wear traditional school uniforms. Nice behavior and respect for one another’s feelings, thoughts and stuff is a strong focus. We are very comfortable with imparting a sense of order and structure. However, we are progressive when it comes to our curricular choices. Being small we are nimble enough to take advantage of an extraordinary educational opportunity when it presents itself. We are also very creative in the ways we encourage the students to express themselves. We support the children’s learning through interdisciplinary programming, music, the arts, community service, and physical education. Above all we strive to model, encourage and practice good ethical and moral principles. Responsible and sensitive interactions with others is a high priority for the whole community.
The Alexander Robertson School was one of the first schools to be established in New York City. It was founded in 1789 to educate the sons and daughters of farmers and “common folk” so that they could become effective citizens in the newly created United States of America. ARS was started by the Second Presbyterian Church, then known locally as “The Scots Church” because of the high numbers of Scots in its congregation, and the successful merchant, Alexander Robertson, for whom the school is named. Robertson donated $500 to establish the school. A princely sum in those days.
At that time Scotland had one of the highest literacy rates of any country in the world and education was (and still is) highly valued by the Scots. They were also keenly aware of the need to check the power of former British elites if the newly formed republic was to endure as a true democracy. For the Church elders the only honorable route into the power structure was through education.
To this day the Alexander Robertson School continues its commitment to give a voice to all its students regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background which is why we say that this is a school where empowerment and education go hand in hand.
Located at 3 West 95th Street just steps away from Central Park the Alexander Robertson School offers many wonderful opportunities for play, for nature walks, for visiting the Central Park Zoo, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and some of the world’s most important cultural institutions.
It is also easily accessed via the 96th Street Transverse from Manhattan’s East side.
The B and C subway trains stop right by our door and the 1, 2 and 3 trains just a couple of blocks West on Broadway and 96th Street.
Coming by bus? Take the M7, M10, M11 to 94th or 96th Street or take the M96 to Central Park West.
Meet Our Board
She is a former ARS parent and a Trustee of the Second Presbyterian Church. She was very involved in the work of the search committee which reviewed over 100 applications for the post of our new Head of School.
Nancy is the Clerk of the Session of the Second Presbyterian Church.
In addition to his work in science education, Asunama is also the advisor of the African Youth Association of USA, a board member of the Liberian Mandingo Association of New York, and a former board member of the United Nimba Citizens Council.
Asumana has been the coach of the Hunter College High School Science Bowl Team since 1993 and loves to boast of winning four straight regional championships. He is also the School’s varsity soccer coach and led the team to win the New York City High School Soccer championship in 2010-2011.
Mark graduated from Princeton University and attended Wake Forest Medical School.
His philanthropic interests have lead him to become an Ambassador and fundraiser for the Tostan organization which is based in Dakar, Senegal.
Mark is a world traveler who has spent a number of years living abroad. He attributes his daughter’s interest in anthropology to his family’s wanderlust and their passionate interest in learning about the customs and cultures of people all over the globe.
Eli started and ran innovative businesses in electronic trading and financial technology.
From 2007 until the company's sale in 2010, he was the founding chief executive of a pan-European stock market. He has been a landscaper and a lifeguard, prep cook and head cook, teacher and professor, semiconductor engineer and salesman; he has washed dishes and bused tables, painted houses, delivered flowers and tended bar, among other jobs. He is the author of two novels, HIGH FINANCE and FROM PILLAR TO POST. Since 2001, Eli has lived in England with his wife and three children.
Mr. Young serves on the West Side YMCA’s Finance Committee, the Investment Committee of the YMCA of Greater New York, and is President of the Board of Trustees of Second Presbyterian Church, located on the Upper West Side. Mr. Young received his BA with honors in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA in Management and Finance from the Wharton School.
Schools Attended by Recent ARS Graduates
Avenues: The World School
Bank Street School for Children
The Brooklyn Friends School
The Calhoun School
The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
The School at Columbia
The Dalton School
The Dwight School
The Hewitt School
Horace Mann School
Ivanhoe Grammar School
Leman Manhattan Prep School
The Mandell School
Poly Prep Country Day
Professional Children’s School
The Speyer Legacy School
St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School
The Studio School
Trevor Day School
United Nations International School
York Preparatory School