Harvest Assembly

On Tuesday, November 21, the entire school gathered at the Upper School to participate in IDEAL’s annual Harvest Assembly. The assembly included shared songs, expressions of gratitude for the IDEAL community, and a presentation about the fourth grade’s service learning project. The program concluded with students and faculty joining hands to sing and dance to Simple Gifts, a Shaker song that has become a school tradition.

AXIS Dance Company Visits IDEAL

On Tuesday, November 14, AXIS Dance Company visited IDEAL, thanks to the generosity of IDEAL parents Rebecca Alson-Milkman and Craig Thomas. AXIS members performed several dances highlighting the company’s mission and the skill of the dancers for students in Grades K-12. Additionally, the dancers engaged student volunteers in an improvisational dance activity and in conversation about the work of the company and experiences of its dancers.

Founded in 1987, AXIS is a highly acclaimed and nationally recognized, diverse group of performers. The founder of AXIS had the creative vision to gather a group of dancers with and without physical disabilities to explore, create, and perform contemporary dance.

AXIS has toured to over 100 cities in the USA, Europe, and Russia. They have also received seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and appeared twice on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, exposing their genre of dance to millions. Alongside its artistic performance program, the company provides unparalleled integrated dance education and outreach programs. For more information about AXIS please visit their website,

Chris Waddell, Paralympic Medal Winner, Speaks to Upper School Students

On Thursday, October 12, during Pioneer Period, IDEAL’s Upper School welcomed the founder of One Revolution Foundation Chris Waddell to the Upper School as our first guest speaker of the school year. Mr. Waddell is one of the most decorated male mono skiers in Paralympic history, winning 13 medals over four games, and spending a total of 11 years on the US Disabled Ski Team. Mr. Waddell’s presentation focused on resilience and optimism, encouraging students to see obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning, instead of roadblocks. In addition to highlighting the 4 S’s of Resilience: Self, Situation, Support, and Strategy, Mr. Waddell helped students practice the inspirational quotation, "It's not what happens to you; it's what you do with it.

Lower School Identity Museum

On Friday, November 10, we welcomed families to IDEAL’s annual Identity Museum. Students in every class brought in artifacts to represent an aspect of their identity, and visitors toured classes to take in the exhibits. Among the artifacts were trophies, national flags, stuffed animals, photographs, personal works of art, and baby clothes. Students also wrote or talked about the meaning of the item they shared.

Grade 1 Visits the Bronx Zoo

Grade 1 visited the Bronx Zoo on Thursday, November 9, in conjunction with their study of Animal Diversity. Students visited the Congo Gorilla Forest where they observed gorillas, gazelles, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, and lions basking in the thinning fall sun. As students toured other parts of the zoo, they were also excited to see a tiger walk up to the glass where they were standing, look them over, and lick his lips!

Civil Rights Trip

Students in IDEAL's eighth through eleventh grade classes returned late Friday night from our first-ever Civil Rights Journey to Alabama.

Over the course of three very busy days, students visited sites such as the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family in Montgomery and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. A highlight of the trip occurred as students crossed the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the scene of the Bloody Sunday conflict on March 7, 1965, when armed officers attacked peaceful civil rights demonstrators attempting to march to the state capital of Montgomery. Expert tour guides, many of whom had experienced the civil rights movement in Alabama first-hand, joined students at each site. Students also had time to enjoy themselves at a Montgomery Biscuits Baseball Game and Dreamland BBQ Restaurant.

IDEAL students were awed and respectful as topics they have discussed and studied since they were in Lower School came to life on this remarkable capstone journey. Visit Facebook for more photos.

US Artbeat

ARTBEAT is IDEAL's annual art show. Displays at Friday's Upper School ARTBEAT included video games illustrated and animated by students, silk screened t-shirts, monochromatic landscape paintings, intricate self portraits cut from a single piece paper, comic book illustrations, original paintings in the style of contemporary African American artists, oil paintings, and large-scale 3-D sculptures. In addition to presenting their completed work, students also showcased their methods for visitors, demonstrating techniques such as silk screening, canvas stretching, and portrait sketching. Visit Facebook for additional photos of student work from ARTBEAT.

500 Pens Article

On Thursday, May 18, 500 Pens, a website that features innovative social justice, activism, and advocacy efforts and was founded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, published this article about IDEAL and our inclusion model. The author- Gina Apostol, a novelist and English teacher at Fieldston-was working in conjunction with Teaching Tolerance Magazine to explore a variety of NYC schools that actively teach an anti-bias perspective. After visiting IDEAL's Lower and Upper Schools several times this spring, she decided to focus her article entirely on IDEAL. We hope you will recognize your children and their teachers- directly or indirectly-in the anecdotes Ms. Apostol has chosen to celebrate our unique and effective approach to inclusion.