The Ten Common Principles


The New School is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, an organization founded by Theodore Sizer in 1984. The Coalition's Ten Common Principles offer clear and thoughtful guidelines for The New School and other like-minded schools across the country.

1. The school should help students use their minds well.
Memorization and repetition are not enough. Essential questions, complex research projects and exhibitions help New School students learn to think broadly, critically and creatively.

2. Less is more.
The aim of student mastery and true understanding, not mere coverage of content, guides curricular decisions.

3. Universal goals, individual means.
Every student learns differently; there is no one-size-fits-all learning. Our teachers set high standards that students can meet by making choices.

4. A manageable student load for teachers.
With a student:teacher ratio of 6:1, our teachers know when your child is struggling, bored or challenged appropriately.

5. Student as worker, teacher as coach.
Teachers guide, focus, and evaluate, but the students, like players on a team, are ultimately responsible for doing the work.

6. Authentic assessment.
We supplement tests with projects and exhibitions, which demonstrate deep learning and allow students to become confident public speakers and good collaborators.

7. Unanxious high expectations, trust and decency.
The tone of the school allows students to take risks, make mistakes and work honestly.

8. The faculty should be generalists first, specialists second.
Most of our teachers teach across the disciplines, asking questions and assigning projects that cut across traditional academic boundaries.

9. Planning time, competitive salaries, reasonable costs.
We are committed to attracting the best teachers to our classrooms, and, with the help of the NSPA, to supporting their professional development once they are here.

10. The school should be a place of diversity and democracy.
We actively seek to bring students and teachers from a variety of backgrounds and cultures into our school, and to promote an environment where all members of the community can be heard.