Horace Mann School

From Academic Kids

Horace Mann School

Magna est veritas et prævalet
(Great is the truth and it prevails)

Established 1887
School type Private
Head Dr. Thomas M. Kelly
Location New York City
Enrollment approx, 1,750
Campus Urban and Suburban

Founded in 1887, the Horace Mann School is a prestigious college preparatory school located in New York City. It has approximately 1,750 students in attendance at the four New York divisions of the school, which spans from nursery school through the twelfth grade.



The school was originally founded by Nicholas Murray Butler as a co-educational experimental and developmental unit of Teachers College at Columbia University. The school started life at 9 University Place in Manhattan, and then moved in 1901 to 120th Street in Morningside Heights. Columbia University followed suit soon afterards, moving northwards to its present location. The name of the school can still be seen on the western-most building at Teachers College, named Horace Mann Hall. However, Horace Mann was becoming a school in its own right instead of just a teaching laboratory, and became more independent of the University and Teachers College. Thus, Teachers College created the Lincoln School to continue its experiments in teaching.

Shedding its co-educational roots, the school split into separate all-male and all-female schools. In 1912, the Boys' School moved to 246th Street in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and during the 1940's it severed formal ties with Teachers College and became Horace Mann School. The Girls' School merged with the Lincoln School in 1940, and then finally closed in 1946.

In 1972, Horace Mann merged with the nearby Barnard School to form the Horace Mann-Barnard Lower School for kindergarten through grade six, located on the former Barnard School campus. In 1975, the school returned to its roots as a co-educational learning environment and began admitting women to the Upper School. In the late 1990's, the sixth grade moved from the Horace Mann-Barnard campus to the main 246th Street campus and formed a distinct Middle School along with the seventh and eighth grades.


Thus, there are now four divisions of the school, all co-educational: a Nursery Division located on 90th Street in Manhattan, a Lower Division on the Horace Mann campus on Tibbett Avenue in Riverdale (kindergarten through fifth grade), a Middle Division on the 246th Street campus in Riverdale (sixth through eighth grades), and an Upper Division also on the 246th Street campus (ninth through twelfth grades). There is also the John Dorr Nature Laboratory, located in Washington Depot, Connecticut, used for extended field trips for classes of students starting in fourth grade.

Each division of the school has its own Division Head and the Middle and Upper Schools have separate student government organizations. The entire school is overseen by a Head of School. The current Head of School is Dr. Eileen Mullady, formerly of the University of Chicago and Lawrenceville School. On January 5, 2005, Dr. Thomas M. Kelly was appointed as Horace Mann's ninth Head of School, effective July 1, 2005. Dr. Kelly currently serves as Superintendent of Schools in Valhalla, NY. The current Horace Mann Nursery Division Head is Patricia Zuroski, the current Lower Division Head is Dr. Steven B. Tobolsky, the current Middle Division Head is Robin Ann Ingram, and the current Upper Division Head is Dr. Barbara Tischler. Glenn Sherratt is the current Director of the Dorr Laboratory.


Horace Mann is known for its rigorous academic program, and most students take challenging classloads. Students in the Upper Division are required to study English, Modern World History, United States History, Biology, Chemistry or Physics (most students take both), Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Trigonometry, and various requirements in the Arts, Computer Science, Counseling and Health, and Physical Education. They are also required to take at least three years of either French, German, Japanese, Latin, or Spanish. Additional classes in Greek, Italian, and Russian are offered. Starting in eleventh grade, students have more flexibility with their requirements and can choose from such diverse offerings as Economics, Psychology, Classical History, United States Legal History, Calculus, Statistics, Astronomy, Science and Public Policy, Sex Ed. and many other classes.

Many students take multiple Advanced Placement classes for college credit. Independent Study and Senior Projects are also common, where students create their own coursework and present their findings to teachers and their peers in weekly meetings.

The "Ivy League"

Horace Mann School is a part of the Ivy Preparatory School League. Like the Ivy League for universities, this was originally an athletic conference, not a scholastic one, but over time has evolved into a shorthand designation for some of the most prestigious private schools in New York. The athletic division includes the Dalton School in Manhattan, Poly Prep in Brooklyn, Fieldston in the Bronx, Riverdale in the Bronx, Trinity in Manhattan, The Collegiate School in Manhattan, and Hackley School in Tarrytown.

Fieldston, Riverdale, and Horace Mann together are known as the "hilltop schools," as all three are located within two miles of each other in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, on a hilly area above Van Cortlandt Park. The three also share perhaps the greatest amount of inter-school sports rivalry.

Famous Graduates

Famous graduates of Horace Mann include:

Writer Jack Kerouac also attended Horace Mann for one year of high school as part of the class of 1940 and played on the football team.

Student Government

Student Government plays an important role at Horace Mann. The main body of student government is the Governing Council, made up of students and teachers. Over the years the Governing Council has removed the dress code, instituted an honor code, allowed students to use their ID card to pay for food in the cafeteria and much more. The Governing council has its own website at

School Newspaper

The Record, established in 1903, is the weekly, student-run newspaper of the Horace Mann School. Throughout its history, The Record has won various national journalism awards and has served as the training ground for distinguished journalists and authors, including Anthony Lewis '43, Richard Kluger '52, and Robert Caro '53. Volume 101 of The Record, in the 2003-2004 academic year, was recognized by the American Scholastic Press Association as the "Best High School Weekly Newspaper" in the United States. The Record is published every Friday by the students of the Horace Mann School during the academic year. The Record can be found online at


The school's motto is "Magna est veritas et prævalet", meaning "Great is the truth, and it prevails". It comes from the King James version of the Old Testament, which is usually translated today as "Magna est veritas et prævalebit", or will prevail. The school mascot is a lion, possibly a holdover from the days when the school was associated with Columbia University, whose mascot is also a lion. The school colors are maroon and white.

In 2003, the Wall Street Journal ranked Horace Mann as one of the top three schools in the United States. A very sizeable percentage of its graduates go on to Ivy League and other highly-ranked universities such as Duke University and MIT every year. The school is also more diverse than many other New York area private schools; during the 2004-2005 school year, 26% of the Upper School were students of color.

Horace Mann has the second best Model UN team in the United States, trailing the University of Chicago Labratory School, and closely trailed by the Dalton School.

Several films have been shot on the Horace Mann campus over the years, including Splendor in the Grass and The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love.

External links


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