Upper School

Mary McDowell Friends Upper School offers an intellectually engaging college preparatory program for students with learning disabilities. We encourage students to be independent learners, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. They are supported in their academic journey with structured, multisensory curricula, differentiated instruction, small class sizes and experiential learning.

Visit the newly renovated state-of-the-art upper school building at 23 Sidney Place in Brooklyn Heights, and you will find: high school students dissecting a specimen in biology, reading Fahrenheit 451 in English, creating a poster for the latest theater production in graphic design class, solving linear equations in calculus, and practicing layups for the next basketball game. We are a close knit community of students and teachers passionately engaged in discovery, creativity, and debate. We also take every opportunity to have fun and laugh together.

Our experienced and dedicated teachers and staff work closely with students to make sure that everyone has the tools that he or she needs to be successful. Every student has a strong support network: an advisor who fosters self-advocacy and study skills, and full-time upper school language therapist and psychologist.

In addition to fulfilling core academic requirements, students pursue their artistic passions in music, theater, dance, and visual arts and develop their athletic skills as members of our sports teams. They become leaders in many clubs and activities including, student government, The LightPost (an on-line publication), yearbook, and the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Technology is central to the program, offering interactive and virtual opportunities that unlock learning for our students. They learn to be safe and responsible citizens of the ever evolving digital world.

Experiential learning is powerful for all students, but especially for students with learning disabilities. We take students out of the classroom throughout the school year to enhance learning and foster independence during regular Field Studies Days (partnering with NYC cultural and educational institutions), overnight trips upstate, and the annual ninth grade trip to Europe.

As a school grounded in Quaker tradition, we value our diversity, celebrate every voice, and respect different opinions. We strive to be responsible and caring members of the larger community of our city through service projects. When we join together to make a difference in someone else’s life, we all grow individually and as a community.