School & Society

The interrelationship between school and society is essential to Calhoun’s educational identity and philosophy. School & Society is viewed as the philosophical “umbrella” for the myriad activities that Calhoun has always pursued in the areas of community service learning, multiculturalism, social activism, and progressive education theory and practice. The goal — to create a seamless interconnection between the school and our global community — finds expression in every aspect of Calhoun.

The Origins of School & Society

In 2003-04, Calhoun established the School & Society program to strengthen and expand this connection. Named for a series of lectures written in 1900 by philosopher and educator John Dewey, Calhoun’s School & Society program is designed to challenge the school community to reflect on our practice of progressive education and to create an even more porous relationship between Calhoun and the wider world. School & Society addresses this mission by organizing school-wide projects and programs that directly link to organizations outside school, by involving all constituencies in its projects, and by fostering a continuing dialogue about the progressive teaching practices of the school.

Programming and Outreach

The Progressive Education Tradition (PET)

This 6-part evening class, co-facilitated by Head of School Steve Nelson, is open to parents, faculty/staff, alumnae/i and Upper School students. The goal is to deepen our community's understanding of the progressive education tradition.

School-to-School Learning Collaborations

Calhoun actively seeks to establish on-going relationships with other schools, through curricular connections and/or teacher practice. Current projects connect Calhoun with Freebrook Academy, Family Life Academy Charter School (FLAC), and the educational programs at the West End Residences. Many school-to-school collaborations are co-organized with Calhoun's Community Service  and Sustainability program. One ongoing collaboration with FLACS revolves around our Aeroponic Tower Gardens.

Guest Speakers, Workshops, Films

The School & Society Initiative sponsors  educational workshops, films, guest speakers and town hall meetings for the Calhoun community as well as for the larger New York community. These events are co-sponsored by our Performing Arts Series and, frequently, our Diversity & Equity Initiatives.

School Visits and Visitors

We welcome educators from the USA and international educational community to visit Calhoun to see progressive education in action. Similarly, Calhoun representatives will frequently tour schools and other educational settings (schools, community centers). These visits help us reflect on our progressive practice and philosophy. Interested educators can contact Tanya Espy-Disparti212-497-6542. 

For More Information

General Information:
Andrew Hume

Educator tours
Tanya Espy-Disparti

Main Building 3rd - 12th Grades 433 West End Avenue New York, NY 10024 212.497.6500

Robert L. Beir Lower School Building 2.8 Years - 2nd Grade 160 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 212.497.6550

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