Greenwich Village High School Inches Closer to Reality; Where 14-Year-Olds Meet Pulitzer Winners!

New York’s eighth graders have just over a week left to apply to Greenwich Village High School’s inaugural class. 

In September, when we checked up on the school—whose famous backers include Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and deputy editor Aimee Bell, actor John Leguizamo, New School president Bob Kerrey and his wife, television and film writer Sara Paley—only a few scant details were available: Tuition would be on a sliding scale from $1,000 to $34,729; the first freshman class would have only 45 students. The school didn’t even have a location yet.

But now, the school’s website is up and running. So where do we begin?

For starters, the school finally has an address: 30 Vandam Street. (Not quite what we’d call Greenwich Village; western Soho, or “Hudson Square,” would be more accurate, but doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.) There’s also a more complete board of directors and advisers (including Dalton and St. Ann’s school heads) and even a Flickr photo stream! (The photos, taken by prospective students on their school tours, include lots of graffiti, hot dog carts and street murals from around the neighborhood.)

The curriculum, which will include traditional classes like English, history, mathematics, science, arts, and a “world” language (Spanish or Mandarin), will in large part also be made up of field trips around the city. Here’s how the school’s website explains it:

For example, in a traditional ninth-grade physics course studying energy, the morning class might be spent discussing how electrons are excited around the nucleus of an atom. Then, in an afternoon field-trip period, students might visit with an MTA engineer to understand how this same principle powers the subways that millions ride every day. In an English class, students might read a recent piece from The New Yorker about a Shakespeare play studied in class and then meet the play’s director to further explore his or her ideas, work, and life.

And since the school is highly committed to the arts, rowdy ninth-graders will also be paying visits to the Lincoln Center and possibly a “Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright to gain the confidence to try writing [their] own scenes.” (Presumably, meetings with fancy directors and playwrights will be arranged by the school’s A-listy board of directors and advisers.) Furthermore, students will be able to study abroad during their junior year, and by senior year, they will be able to pursue “a self-directed program of study.” (Get those Wesleyan and Bard applications ready!)

Unlike other city high school, GVHS students may not have to report to morning classes tired and crusty-eyed, because the school is considering employing a superior sort of scheduling that will be sensitive to city teenagers’ busy lives.

“We are exploring the possibility of a later start time–a practice that some neuroscientists and educators advocate to allow for an increase in the amount of sleep young adolescents get each night,” states the website. Field trips to the Waverly Inn may go late, after all.

So what must 8th graders do to be accepted?

In addition to the usual high admission stuff (test scores, transcripts, an application) students must also come in for an interview and attend one of the admission information sessions that have been taking place throughout the fall, with the last two scheduled for January 10th and 12th. But hurry! Applications are due January 15. And those 45 seats will undoubtedly go quickly. 


Greenwich Village High School Inches Closer to Reality; Where 14-Year-Olds Meet Pulitzer Winners!