Frequently Asked Questions
How do you prepare your students to transition from a small, supportive school community to the independence of a college campus?
The Smith School is college preparatory in tradition. Students are first exposed to the expectations of a rigorous college environment in their middle school years through our comprehensive Advisory program’s conversations and workshops aligned with College Readiness and Career Exploration. During these meetings, our students research various college environments and all details from their unique campus cultures to the entrance requirements for admission.
All High School students are required to attend yearly college tours (in past years, we have taken students to NYU, Hunter, Columbia etc.,) and starting in their Junior year, students attend weekly grade-level groups that focuses on social-emotional growth, career exploration, and an introduction to the college application/common application. Juniors are given college preparation checklists and essay prompts to outline during the summer between their Junior and Senior years to ensure all academic and extracurricular requirements have been met.
During a student’s Senior year, students attend 1:1 meetings with our college counselor each week until applications have been sent out. While the college application process is heavily supported by our guidance team, significant autonomy is given to the students to ensure they play an active role in this important future planning.
Opportunities such as Teaching Assistantships, Club/Student Council Leadership and Internships are offered to students to ensure they are ready to take on the independent style of learning and achievement expected of them in college. Scaffolding in the classrooms will be slowly removed (when appropriate) to ensure classwork, homework and projects are in line with that of a freshman college seminar.
What is the typical profile of a Smith School student?
A typical Smith School applicant is seeking a small, structured learning environment that provides supports both academically and emotionally. Many of our students have sought out The Smith School as their previous learning environments were too large or too distracting, did not provide differentiation in the classroom, did not provide a multi-sensory approach to learning or did not provide enough support emotionally/socially. A typical Smith School student requires classroom supports such as scaffolding, graphic organizers, preferential seating, body breaks and extended time to remain focused and engaged in the classroom. It is important that a Smith School student applicant is motivated to utilize the supports available to them (Speech & Language, Literacy Support, Counseling, Executive Functioning Coaching, Learning Specialists) and are willing to take a level of accountability, should behavioral struggles or social struggles intervene with their academic success. The Smith School specializes in working with students who may be struggling with disorders such as depression, anxiety, school refusal, ADHD and related disorders, Pragmatic Communication Disorder and may have histories of low self-esteem, poor academic success, bullying, psychiatric hospitalizations etc. For more information on our student population, and to learn if The Smith School is right for your unique learning,
Do your students reside in all boroughs? If so, how do students engage socially outside of school? Do you provide bussing?
Our students reside in all boroughs of Manhattan and the tri-state area. The large majority of our students commute via subway or bus from Queens, Brooklyn, Riverdale and the neighborhoods of Manhattan. Each year a small number of students will commute from NJ or CT. Students and parents will often collaborate to ensure students are able to visit one another and return home safely. The Smith School will not arrange social visits outside of school, but will surely support the students with the social pragmatic skills necessary to initiate safe and fun hangouts and maintain healthy friendships (link this out to social skills)!
Regarding bussing-transportation/accommodations may be scheduled or arranged via OPT (Office of Pupil Transportation)
What type of funding do you accept?
The Smith School accepts families who work with lawyers or advocates in order to get funded by The Board of Education. When possible, we welcome families who may qualify for Carter or Connors funding. Please consult an experienced attorney who specializes in Education for more information about Carter and Connors funding and eligibility.
What related clinical services do you offer onsite?
The Smith School has a unique model where social cognition and executive functioning skill development are fully integrated into all curricula and activities. Additionally, we offer onsite individual and group Speech and Language Therapy, Literacy, and individual and group Counseling. Our clinicians dedicate specific blocks of time to conduct parent and outside provider conferences (once monthly, at minimum) and they coach all teachers to carry out clinical goals.