- General Questions
- How big is the school?
- ECF serves approximately 1,700 students and 325 faculty and staff in four divisions: Ethical Culture, Fieldston Lower, Fieldston Middle, and Fieldston Upper. Ethical Culture is located in midtown Manhattan on Central Park West, in a six-story, turn-of-the-century school building; the other divisions share an 18-acre campus in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
- How diverse is the school?
- Students of color make up about 24% of the student body; teachers of color make up about 10% of the faculty. There are numerous groups throughout the school, from the board to the student level, that focus on the multicultural life of the community.
Read more about ECF’s commitment to diversity here
- How many campuses does ECF have?
- The Ethical Culture Fieldston School has two campuses, one in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and the other in Manhattan. The Ethical Culture, located in Manhattan has students in grades PreK-5. On the Fieldston campus in Riverdale is Fieldston Lower (PreK-5), Fieldston Middle (grades 6-8), and Fieldston Upper (grades 9-12).
- Is extended care provided for students after school?
- Yes. For an additional fee, enrolled students may register for after school activities at Fieldston Lower and Ethical Culture. For more information, see the current programs at Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower.
- Is the school accredited?
- What is unique about the Ethical Culture Fieldston School?
At ECF, learning grows out of curiosity, of wanting to know and to do. Education here is focused on giving each individual the opportunities, skills, and encouragement to develop a unique self. It is learning that is always doing, making, shaping, building, growing, and thinking. Cooperative and social, it sometimes means being part of a team, but it is also introspective - learning to listen to one's conscience and to follow one's heart.
ECF offers an innovative and rigorous experience. At ECF it is learning with purpose: to be a clear and daring thinker, to be good and kind, to be competent and skillful, to be a responsible citizen, to be an agent of positive change. It is an education which prepares you not simply for college, but for life.
ECF enthusiastically embraces the ideals, the values, and the methods of progressive education. At ECF, learning to learn and understanding what it is to understand are essential skills that only come from doing.
As one of the oldest progressive schools in the nation, ECF is unique in blending a progressive approach to education with academic excellence and ethical learning.
- When was the school founded?
- The Ethical Culture Fieldston School was founded by Felix Adler in 1878. Read here about our history and mission.
- Where does the school get funding from?
- Approximately 82% of ECF income is from tuition and fees, 7% from investment income, 5% from unrestricted gifts, and 6% from other sources - primarily income from related programs and auxiliary services.
- Where does the school's name come from?
- The school was founded in 1878 by Felix Adler, founder of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, as the Workingman's School. The name was changed, in 1890, to the Ethical Culture School. In 1928, on the 50th anniversary of its founding, the school expanded to its second campus in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Fieldston graduated its first class of students in 1929. In 1932, the campus expanded further to include Fieldston Lower, our second elementary division. The school's name was officially changed to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in 1997.
- Who is on the board of trustees?
- Click here for names of the current board members.
- Where is the school located?
- The school has two campuses, one in midtown Manhattan opposite Central Park and the other in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Get directions to each campus and a map link here.
- Who is the founder of the school?
- Felix Adler, Ph.D. (1851-1933) founded the New York Society for Ethical Culture, the national and international Ethical Culture movements, and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He was a professor of social and political ethics at Columbia University from 1902 until 1933.
Dr. Adler was an ardent social critic as well as civic and religious leader. He was a pioneer in labor, housing, and educational reform, and in the movement to abolish child labor. His founding of the school was in response to the need for providing an education for the children of the working poor. Today, Adler's vision remains an integral part of the school and its mission.
- Who is the head of school?
- Are any applicants given special consideration?
- Yes. Sibling, alumni, and faculty applications are given special consideration. ECF prefers to keep families together; however, admission is not automatic. All applicants (regardless of prior family connection to the school) are evaluated according to the same criteria. All admission decisions consider the best interest of each individual child. With ever growing numbers of sibling, alumni and faculty families applying, admissions decisions have become more selective. While we value ECF’s community of sibling, alumni and faculty we are also committed to providing access to new families whose values and goals reflect the school’s mission.
- Are campus tours and open houses available?
- Yes. Group tours and open houses are offered in the Fall and the Spring. Information about the school and the admission process is presented by the faculty and administration. Please contact the office of admissions at the division you are interested in touring to make an appointment.
- Can I download applications for admission from the website?
- Yes. Applications, instructions, and deadlines are all available for downloading and printing in the admissions section of the website - click here.
- Can we apply for admission to both Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower?
- Families applying for Pre-K or Kindergarten may only apply to one division, but may request to have their application transferred to the other division prior to decision in early January.Families who wish to tour both campuses before making their final choice should contact the director of admissions at either location to make arrangements.
- Families applying for grade 1-5 must apply to one division but can request to be considered at either division should an opening become available by checking the 'yes' or 'no' box on page 1 of the application.
- Do you require letters of recommendation for students applying to ECF?
- Letters of recommendation are not required for students applying to pre-kindergarten through first grade, but we will read and consider any letters that are sent on behalf of an applicant.
We ask that applicants to grades 2-5 submit one academic recommendation form (included in the application package).
Applicants to grades 6-12 must submit two academic recommendation forms from current teachers (mathematics, English, history, science or foreign language).
Personal recommendations are not required, but will be included as part of your child's application file if received. If you choose to submit personal recommendations they are most appropriate from people who know both you and your child personally.
- Does ECF have a wait pool?
- Yes. Each year we receive applications from many more qualified candidates than we are able to admit. Children whom we would have admitted were the class size not limited are offered a place in the wait pool. Wait pool candidates are not ranked numerically. Should an opening become available, the wait pool candidates are reviewed and another round of selections is made.
- How can I get more information about admissions?
- There are several ways to receive more information about applying for admission to ECFS. You may contact the admissions office by phone, by e-mail, or by attending an information session in the fall.
- How do I apply to ECF?
- I live in a country other than the United States. What do I need to do to apply to ECF?
- In what colleges do ECF seniors traditionally enroll?
- Click here for a list of colleges chosen by our recent graduates.
- In what grades do you accept students?
- Admissions entry points at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School are at the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth and ninth grade levels. Openings in all other grades are dependent on attrition. Therefore, applications to non-entry-point grades are accepted only on an interview wait pool basis.
The interview wait pool - Applications for non-entry-point grades will be reviewed and candidates will be selected to complete the interview process if and when an opening is anticipated.
- Is there a birthday cutoff date for kindergarten applicants?
- Yes. Our age policy requires that children applying to pre-k must have passed their fourth birthday by September 1 of the year they are entering pre-k. All applicants for kindergarten must have passed their fifth birthday by September 1 of the year they are entering kindergarten. First graders must be 6 years old.
Birthdate range academic year 2013-2014:
PreK: 9/1/08 - 8/31/09
Kindergarten: 9/1/07 - 8/31/08
- What are the application requirements?
- What are the criteria for admissions?
- When selecting new students to join our community, we look at several areas. The student report, academic recommendations, ERB and ISEE test results, interview and extra-curricular activities. It is important to us that we admit students who will be able to have a successful academic career as well as participate in the life of the school.
- What can I do to increase my child’s chances of being admitted?
- The application process can be stressful for all involved. You, as parents, want to ensure you are doing all you can to provide your child with the best opportunities. We, as admissions professionals and educators, strive to make the process as informative and positive as possible. Please make sure you are aware of all the requirements and deadlines as you head into the process. Only those applications that are completed by the deadline date will be considered for admission. Missing deadlines and rescheduling appointments may delay the application process. Feel free to contact the admissions office if you have any questions or concerns.
- Academic questions
- I am an alum, and I've lost touch with one of my classmates. Can you help me find him/her?
- To protect the privacy of our alumni, our policy is not to share biographical information without consent. However, we want to keep alumni in touch with one another and so the following procedure has been established.
You may write a letter to the classmate you would like to contact, seal it in a blank envelope, and place it in another envelope, addressed to the alumni office to the attention of Toby Himmel, Director of Alumni Relations, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Fieldston Road, Bronx NY 10471-3997.
Be sure to include a note with your name and telephone number as well as the person you are trying to contact.
For further information, contact Toby Himmel at (718) 329-7329.
- Contacting the school
- How can I find a staff member currently at ECF?
- Check out the ECFS directory by clicking here.
To reach most faculty and staff via voice mail, please call (212) 712-6220 (Ethical Culture), (718) 329-7310 (Fieldston Lower) or (718) 329 7300 (Fieldston Middle and Upper) and ask for the proper extension. Calls to Fieldston Lower after regular school hours should be placed to (718) 329-7300.
- Is there a general phone number I can call anytime?
- Ethical Culture: (212) 712-6220
- Fieldston Lower: (718) 329-7310
- Fieldston Middle and Upper: (718) 329-7300
- Emergency Hotline (school closings):
- Sports Phone Line (information updated daily):
- What is the school's mailing address?
- Ethical Culture
33 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023-6001
Fieldston Lower, Middle and Upper
3901 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471-3997
- Visiting the school
- What is there to see in the neighborhood?
- Where can I get directions to the school?
- The Ethical Culture Fieldston School has two campuses: the Ethical Culture campus is located in Manhattan; Fieldston Lower, Fieldston Middle, and Fieldston Upper are on the Fieldston campus in the Riverdale area of the Bronx, NY.
Click here for directions and map links to each campus.
- Where can I park my car?
- There is limited visitor parking on the Fieldston and Fieldston Lower campuses. In Manhattan, there are several public parking garages in the Lincoln Center area, adjacent to Ethical Culture. The garage closest to the school is located between Broadway and Central Park West, with two entrances - one on 63rd Street, and one on 64th Street.
- Community Service
- Why does Fieldston have a Community Service Project Requirement?
- Service is a contribution to the social welfare of communities in need or who have a significant lack of resources and is often unpaid. Consistent with the school’s mission and history, work in service to others has been a long standing tradition and community value. Fieldston believes in building an engaged citizenry that actively participates in community life.
- What is Community Service?
- Community Service is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities . Toward this end we require that students reflect formally on their service experiences to increase learning.
- What is Fieldston’s CS requirement?
- TOTAL of sixty (60) hours of service accumulated during the academic year between freshman and senior year or 120 hours accumulated during the summer. The breakdown of the TOTAL hours occurs in two ways:
- CORE Students are required to complete the majority of their community service learning commitment (approximately 45 hours during school year/90 hours during summer) by working continuously with one distinct non-profit service agency or organization. This helps students sustain a long lasting community commitment, build relationships, nurture leadership skills, and gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular social justice issue.
- FILLER The remaining hours approximately 15 school year/30 summer can be earned via "filler" opportunities. These are one time or shorter service opportunities that allow students to explore a range of service work. "Filler" hours can be earned through opportunities at multiple agencies, events, or service areas.
- How do I get started?
- Come to the CS office in Room 115a
- Meet with a CS advisor to exchange ideas and learn about opportunities through the school or in your local community.
- Many opportunities are often listed in the daily Fieldston Bulletin.
- Complete a CS Project Proposal form.
- How do I receive credit?
- Students must complete the relevant CS forms.
Core projects require the following documents to be received and reviewed by the CS office in order to receive credit for their service work:
Filler projects require the same documents as core projects but not the Reflection Essay.
- Project Proposal Form – this needs to be approved before starting the project.
- Field Sponsor Evaluation Form and Log of Hours
- Student Evaluation of Volunteer Experience Form
- Student Evaluation of Lobby or Campaign Trip- as applicable
- Internship Reflection Essay
All forms are available in the CS office and on the ECFS website in the student section under Community Service forms.
- Who can approve CS credit?
- Only CS advisors can approve credit. This means that if another adult or student in the ECFS community offers CS credit, it still must be approved by a CS advisor. Always check with a CS advisor before beginning CS work.
- When must I submit CS work for credit?
- All CS work must be submitted/updated on a yearly basis or it runs the risk of not being approved. This means that forms should be handed into the CS office by June of the school tear/summer in which the work was completed. Due to high turnover in community organizations and non-profits it behooves the student to protect their CS work by making sure it is documented by a current site supervisor and submitted by the end of the school year.
Please note: Seniors must submit all completed work by early spring of the Senior Year in order to be eligible for graduation – see the CS office for specific dates.
- What types of service/volunteer work qualifies for CS credit?
- Service is a contribution to the social welfare of communities in need or who have a significant lack of resources and is often unpaid. Some service work meets primary needs: supporting a person, agency, or group that demonstrates a community need, usually done through a non-profit or community organization. This includes doing “behind-the-scenes” work that frees others up to do direct service, such as administrative work to aid an agency. Some service work is social justice/advocacy based: participating in a campaign, lobbying for change, mounting an advocacy project.
“Helpful” jobs such as those done on campus, i.e. managing a team or stage crew has much social and educational value but does not necessarily meet the service requirement as they do not occur in communities of great demonstrated need. This type of work may qualify for filler hours – please see a CS advisor.
- What type of service/volunteer work does not qualify for CS credit?
- Any work that does not does directly benefit a community in need (although work done for the ECFS community may qualify for filler credit).
- Transportation time to and from service sites.
- Service Club weekly meetings are not eligible for credit (although intensive time spent planning for service by key leaders may be considered).
- Is my CS work still eligible if I receive a paid stipend?
order to avoid privileging service
for students who do not need to earn money, we can accept CS paid work for
students on a case by case basis.
- What if I did CS hours in the summer before freshman year?
may be approved on a case by case basis. Please see a CS advisor for approval.
- If I have already made a commitment to CS work prior to Fieldston can I continue that work?
- Yes! Be
sure to come tell us about the work you are involved in and submit a proposal
to make sure your CS work meets with our requirements.