The community life of The New School is largely created by the students.
Our student government meets weekly to discuss topics of student and community interest and plan events, from the prom to guest speakers to field day. Most tellingly we have an all-school meeting every day, which is led by a member of the student government, and which is an open forum where any member of the community may make an announcement. We care about connectedness and student initiative; we all know, respect, and listen to one another, and everyone has an equal voice and matters within the school community.
Most of our students play on one of our sports teams or participate in student-led clubs. For us extracurriculars are about inclusion, options, and having fun. And because clubs are student-created, the possibilities are limitless, from debate, to baking, to rocketry, to anime, to current events, to chorus.
The Arts and Creativity in Work
People often describe The New School as creative. It’s true, we greatly value the arts, and we offer classes and extracurriculars in drama, dance, music, film, and fine arts. Every student here practices the arts in some form, and when the arts inform students’ lives, they are not only more introspective and skilled in craft, and more balanced in their lives, but more dynamic and innovative in their academic work as well.
So much of what we do at The New School involves creativity, and so much of our culture revolves around the arts. Our program focuses on critical thinking—using one’s mind well—which may be thought of as creating meaning from information. When there’s no right answer to a question or single solution to a problem, assembling resources and developing ideas to come up with an answer or solution is a creative act. Critical thinking is creative thinking.
We believe firmly in the importance of the arts, and we don’t see a left-right brain distinction in, say, color choice in painting or considering the impact of the Bubonic plague on medieval society. You have to consider and take leaps in both cases, and you are working towards a kind of publication—one a painting, the other an argument, each, in its essence, creative.