A Welcome from our Head of School, Irwin Shlachter:
I am delighted to welcome you to the Alexander Robertson School. I became Head of this “little gem” of a school in 2014 and am proud to carry on a long tradition of commitment to academic excellence.
Our founders created ARS in 1789 with the purpose of educating the sons and daughters of farmers and common folk. This was indeed an ambitious goal at the dawn of our nation! We are very proud to be one of the first coeducational elementary schools in New York City, and to have never wavered from our founders’ mission of academic equality for all students.
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 intellectual enlightenment. This moment signaled a turn in European intellectual history toward the prioritization of critical reasoning, scientific thought and the humanities as a path to a stronger, more egalitarian democracy.
Located in the heart of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, ARS takes pride in teaching the same critical reasoning, scientific and language skills that have long been associated with democracy. I strongly believe that children who learn ethical values, along with the ability to listen and reason well in their early years, are best positioned to become future leaders.
At ARS we create environments for young students that balance structure and independence so that they can 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. Our students learn that asking the right question is just as important as knowing the answer. The result is a school where both learning and teaching are enjoyable, rewarding and affirming.
I welcome the opportunity to show you our lovely school so that you can see what makes us a special place. Please call or email to arrange a visit.
Head of the Alexander Robertson School.
Founded in 1789 to educate the sons and daughters of farmers and common folk, the Alexander Robertson School seeks to have an impact on its social environment by educating children from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds to advocate for themselves and for their communities. Our belief that empowerment and education go hand in hand stems from the 18th century egalitarian movement from which our school emerged, and to the social justice values our school maintains today.
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 thoughts and feelings 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 is a co-educational Junior-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade community of creative learners. We welcome families of every configuration, ethnicity and religious tradition. Our current families hail from 20 different countries!
We are very proud of our long history, dating to 1789. We were one of New York’s first co-educational schools and have been in continuous operation for 230 years, but our heritage begins even earlier. In 1696 the Scottish Parliament passed its “Act of Setting Schools” with the purpose of establishing a school in every parish. By 1750 literacy in Scotland was estimated at 75% compared to England’s 53%. This inspired the Scots Presbyterians of New York to replicate Scotland’s success.
Well before New York had public schools Alexander Robertson, a wealthy member of The Scotch Presbyterian Church, donated a house and lots on Pine Street as an endowment for a free school for children of the congregation who would not otherwise have been educated. Now called the Second Presbyterian Church, https://secondpresbyteriannyc.org/ it continues to provide support to the school in a myriad of ways.
ARS was remarkable from the beginning for accepting both boys and girls, specifically the sons and daughters of farmers and common folk. We continue to embrace the mission of educating children from diverse backgrounds to advocate for themselves and for their communities.
Our longevity, traditions, and diversity define our school. Today we are a non-sectarian school and have dwelt in several locations throughout our many years. Our core values have not changed, however. We are committed to mold students into curious and confident learners who develop into innovative thinkers and leaders, prepared for the challenges of adolescence and beyond.
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
Schools Attended by Recent ARS Graduates
- 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
- Dwight-Englewood School
- The Dwight School
- Friends Seminary
- Hackley School
- The Hewitt School
- Horace Mann School
- Ivanhoe Grammar School
- Leman Manhattan Prep School
- Marymount School of New York
- Poly Prep Country Day
- Professional Children’s School
- The Speyer Legacy School
- St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School
- The Town School
- Trevor Day School
- Trinity School
- United Nations International School
- York Preparatory School