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The United Nations International School in Kips Bay Offers Education with an Eclectic Flair

The United Nations International School in Kips Bay Offers Education with an Eclectic Flair

With its diverse student body and ties to the United Nations, this school offers an inclusive learning environment.

Name of School: UNIS: United Nations International School

Grades: Pre-K through 12th grade

Size of student body: 1,600

Educational approach or philosophy: The school operates in accordance with its mission, which “is to, in essence, embrace inclusive and diverse learning environments in rigorous international programs that foster academic success, innovation, creativity, and cross-cultural communications. And to inspire students to be an active force in shaping a better world,” explains executive director Dan Brenner, Ph.D. The high school, or Tutorial House, as its known, follows the International Baccalaureate plan of education. There is also an elementary school called the Junior School (pre-K through fourth grade) and a Middle School (fifth-eighth grades).

Nearly half of the students at UNIS have a direct affiliation with the United Nations through their families; the other half are residents of New York City. (A secondary campus, located in Queens, serves approximately 150 of the students in kindergarten-eighth grade). “For the students here, part of the incredible experience is the richness that they get from seeing how diverse our world is, and in the context of that, how to embrace the differences and the similarities,” Dr. Brenner says.

What makes the school unique: “We have approximately 123 countries represented in the student body and approximately 90 home languages that are spoken,” Dr. Brenner shares. UNIS itself offers instruction in French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, and Russian. “This gives kind of a flavor of what distinguishes us,” Dr. Brenner says. Students also enjoy top-notch amenities, including an athletic facility and open-space playground on the rooftop.

In addition, the school enjoys a close relationship with the U.N. The U.N. Secretary General formally appoints UNIS’ board of trustees, and graduation is held in the general assembly hall of the U.N. Parents, too, are intimately involved in the school. Better than half of all trustee positions are held by mothers and fathers of students, and parent coordinators—which are a function of the parent association—coordinate with the division heads (aka principals) of each of UNIS’ schools. “Parents are the fabric of the school,” Dr. Brenner says.


Photo caption: United Nations International School students celebrate Global Day of Play

Photo credit: Island Photography

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Deborah Skolnik

Author: Deborah Skolnik, a graduate of Cornell University, lives in Westchester with her husband and two daughters, and enjoys writing, cooking, and gardening. See More

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