The questions on this page address issues specific to the Muscota New School. If you have questions about New York City public education in general, visit the Department of Education website at http://www.nyc.gov/schools.
The Jill Chaifetz Education Helpline, maintained by Advocates for Children, is 1-866-427-6033. Students, parents, and education and advocacy professionals can dial the helpline Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, for free access to information on a wide range of public-school-related issues, including special education evaluations, educational options available for English Language Learners, and accommodations for students with medical disabilities.
Where is The Muscota New School?
How do I get an application form?
What grades can students apply for?
What is Muscota's policy on accepting siblings of students already enrolled?
Is there a waiting list for applicants?
Is there bussing?
What are regular school hours?
Do Kindergartners get a nap?
What is Muscota's attitude toward parental involvement?
What makes Muscota special?
What is progressive education?
The Muscota New School is located in the W. Haywood Burns building on Broadway between Academy and 204th Street in the Inwood neighborhood of northern Manhattan.
4862 Broadway, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10034,
Applications are given out at school tours. To apply to Muscota, parents must take a school tour, held on Fridays during January and February. For information about admissions and tours, go to the Admissions section.
Applications are accepted for kindergarten through 4th grade. Most applicants are for kindergarten, to fill two classes of up to 24 students each. Openings are available in 1st through 4th grade based on attrition. No applications are accepted for 5th grade. Students can leave the school at any time, as necessary.
Siblings of Muscota students are automatically accepted. Parents should notify the school office by March to save a space for the child.
A waiting list is generated every year, and it is not uncommon for a student to be accepted from the waiting list.
Free bussing is provided, and there are regular routes. Children in grades k-2 who live 1/2 mile away are eligible for bussing. Children in grades 3-5 must live at least 1 mile away to be eligible for bussing.
School begins at 8:30am and ends at 2:50pm. Lunch is at 12:30. Younger grades are given a snack in the middle of the morning.
There is a half an hour of rest/nap time after recess everyday for kindergartners. Muscota feels that 4 and 5 year olds need a time in the middle of the day to have a moment of unstimulating rest. Sometimes a little nap helps the child reorganize his or her brain. The lights are dimmed, some teachers play classical music, mats are set out and the children have a blanket and a stuffed animal (if they want) from home. If the child does not sleep, a peaceful quiet time is just as beneficial.
Muscota welcomes and encourages parents to become involved in school life. Involvement can mean many things and can happen at all times of the day or week, not just during school hours.
- Teachers appreciate volunteers in the classroom or chaperones on fieldtrips.
- Several events and fundraisers each year need parents to help with organization, set up, clean up, or chaperoning.
- Every classroom has a class parent, who organizes parental help in the classroom, and a class representative, who acts as a liaison between the parents and the staff.
- There is an active Parents' Association that can help find ways for parents to become involved.
- Many Muscota parents attend Department of Education and Community Board meetings to represent the needs of the school and families.
- Washing rest-time blankets, purchasing extra supplies, burning copies of photo CDs for slide show projects, translating fliers into Spanish, sewing a hem onto a classroom tablecloth, buying a muffin at the bakesales....
During school hours or only at night or on weekends, Muscota will be delighted and grateful to put your skills to work.
Muscota is a "school of choice" that emphasizes a strong school community made up of children, teachers and staff, and parents. Community building happens within the classroom, school-wide between classrooms and grades, and within the larger neighborhood. The weekly Town Meeting brings the entire school together to celebrate the children's work, sing songs, hear announcements, and share information, such as about recycling. All members of the Muscota community can attend, including parents and siblings. Strong parental involvement and organized events like the Mad Hatter's Day parade through the Inwood neighborhood and Candlelight Night Pot Luck Supper help solidify the sense of community and develop children's pride in their school.
Also, Muscota uses a progressive, or child-centered, model of education. This means that the school's curriculum is designed to allow students to be actively engaged in the learning process. Rather than use lots of rote memorization, textbooks, and xeroxed handouts, Muscota classroom work involves experiments, creative writing, building projects, fieldtrips, maps, math-based games, and all kinds of hands-on activities. Subjects include reading, writing, and math, and extend to science, the arts, social interaction, problem solving, and other skills that will help students function within society.
The Progressive Movement in education began in the late 1800s. Parents and educators were looking for a way to teach students about the world in which they live on a student-centered basis. John Dewey, one of the forerunners of the Progressive Movement, felt that in order for children to learn effectively, students needed to be actively engaged in the learning process.
The content of the students' learning has to have personal meaning. For example, content areas such as social studies or science need to be addressed from the students' prior knowledge or questions about the subject at hand. From the student's information or desire to know, the teacher is able to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. So, if a class is studying the history of New York City, the teacher would gather lists of what the students already know and what their questions were. Then the teacher adapts the curriculum from that starting point. Instruction would not be confined to history textbooks, but also expanded to maps and trips around the city to explore and observe different important places such as parks, museums, and buildings as examples.
It is important that all students learn the skills necessary to function within society, such as reading, writing, and math. The teacher combines the students' questions with his/her understanding and needs in order to work within grade level expectations so that the subject is completely covered. This method allows the students to have ownership over their learning, making them actively engaged and interested. This approach works in every area taught in the school.
We feel that Muscota New School is a special place where our students will learn all of the lessons necessary to perform at grade level, AND they will learn to make connections to the world around them in meaningful ways. They will explore so many wonderful places, things, concepts, and theories with the nurturing guidance of our entire staff. We believe that it is the school's obligation to teach curriculum AND to educate the whole child.
For more information about progressive education, here are some websites you may want to visit:
Class Size Matters: www.Classsizematters.org
National Coalition of Essential Schools: www.CES.org
North Dakota Study Group: www.northdakotastudygroup.org
Prospect Archives and Center for Child Study & Research: www.ProspectCenter.org