The NY Sun has published its review of New York City’s private schools. Overall St. Ann’s is given a B, while Packer goes home with a “gentleman’s” C. Packer also earns kudos for Best Urban Campus, while St. Ann’s receives big ups for its “Hipsters in Training”. In the all important Harvard race, it’s St. Ann’s 5 Packer 0 (based upon students attending in the last three years).
Hipsters in Training: Saint Ann’s.
Runner-up: Berkeley Carroll
“I conscientiously object,” the headmaster at Saint Ann’s, Lawrence Weiss, said when told about The New York Sun’s letter grades of private schools. His students at the Brooklyn Heights school, where teachers do not give grades — not even on tests— and the endowment is still a relatively new concept, are also masters at protest. A 2005 graduate, Sam Broadwin, said he was appalled when a few teachers started disciplining students who came late to class. At Saint Ann’s, students are more often trusted to make good decisions on their own. “It’s always less cool to be just like everybody else,” another 2005 graduate, Rachel Achs, said. “What’s cool at Saint Ann’s is creating things and being interested and passionate about things.”
Best Urban Campus: Packer.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce heralded a renovation, expanding the size of the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights by one-third, as one of the borough’s best. Renovation is a modest term. Students treading to Joralemon Street suddenly seemed to be going off instead to the magical mansion school in the Harry Potter books, Hogwarts. A new middle school was built where a deconsecrated Episcopal church had been, and students got a new dining facility, student center, and expanded libraries. Flying buttresses and half a dozen chandeliers tower over one, and a dark-wood stairway spirals behind to an upper-level floor. Wireless access is universal, extending even to the Tiffany windows in the school’s chapel and the organ built in 1912. Uptown Manhattan Brooklyn Heights is not (yet), but the producers of the television show about East Side private schools, “Gossip Girl,” didn’t seem to mind; Packer’s campus is the background for several episodes of the show.