a co-ed, independent, inclusion school for grades k-12


The Head of School is a woman with long blond hair wearing a blue dress with a zippered lapel

Welcome to The IDEAL School of Manhattan, New York’s only K-12+ independent inclusion school. IDEAL is fully accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools and our High School is registered with the State of New York.

At IDEAL, we celebrate the tremendous social, emotional, and academic growth that comes from learning within a diverse and nurturing educational community.

Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, reminds us that “we must look closely at the present we are constructing: It should look like the future we are dreaming.” The power of an IDEAL education is that it models and paves the way for a future in which all individuals are honored for their full identities, equipped and challenged to achieve excellence, and inspired to contribute to a more just and equitable world.

“We must look closely at the present we are constructing: It should look like the future we are dreaming.”

–Alice Walker

Our exceptional academic program is based on the core belief that students learn best when we set a high bar and scaffold the path to achievement through differentiation. In the Lower School, general educators and learning specialists co-teach in the classroom, implementing a research-based and differentiated curriculum. In the Middle School, small, seminar-style classes ensure students cultivate the lifelong learning skills they need to be independent thinkers. Our unique High School model is based on a rotating curriculum that brings students in Grades 9-12 together in intentional groups designed to challenge and support each individual learner. Learning Centers staffed by Orton-Gillingham-trained learning specialists in both the Lower and Upper Schools ensure that all students receive the extra support or challenge they need to thrive.

At IDEAL, we recognize that true learning is only possible when students feel understood and celebrated within a warm and nurturing community. Thus, across divisions, our faculty is dedicated, highly-skilled, and committed to knowing students as both learners and individuals in and out of the classroom. Programs such as Community Time, Assemblies, and social skills in the Lower School and daily morning and afternoon advisory, the Pioneer Period, and service learning in the Upper School provide time for conversation, reflection, and leadership. The arts, STEAM, and athletics are integral to our program, fostering creativity and a healthy mind-body balance on a daily basis.

With a diverse student body of 180 students in Grades K-12 and our Next Steps Transition Program, an IDEAL student is prepared both socially and academically for the move to college or a postsecondary program. IDEAL graduates leave the school equipped not only with exceptional critical thinking and academic skills but also with voice, self-assurance, and the empathy that comes from learning to look beyond oneself and from seeking to create “the future we are dreaming.”

I encourage you to visit and to learn more about the power of IDEAL’s inclusive, independent school education.


Janet Wolfe Signature



Janet Wolfe
Head of School
The IDEAL School of Manhattan