School of the Future

John Fanning
127 East 22nd Street

CEEB # 333592
School Counselors: Felix Shen (x321) and Shantae Robinson (x117)

The School

Situated in downtown Manhattan, School of the Future is a small New York City public school serving grades 6-12. It draws students from all over the city and from all components of the NYC population. SOF is among the new wave of small option schools created in the NYC system with expectations, justified by educational experience, of higher school morale, more consistent attendance and fuller realization of potential from students and staff alike. A member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, it is considered innovative for its philosophy, its admissions procedure (dependent on student application and interest rather than zoning assignment or test scores), and for its intensive integration of technology into the curriculum (emphasizing the tool uses of computers, video, etc.). We retain a firm commitment to the benefits of small size with 600 students in the school, 90 students per grade, and 25 students per class. An active School Leadership Team sets policy with input from parents, students, administration and staff. The community opted to maintain small class size at the expense of clerical, administrative and support positions, despite major budget cuts within the NYC Department of Education.

Our Students

Our students come to us from many different situations, backgrounds and experiences. Some have turned down top NYC high schools to become a part of our community. We believe SOF students distinguish themselves as they leave high school and enter college through their Habits of Mind – the ways in which their experience here has trained them to listen, think, research, study and work. They have been serious students in our academic community, and will be valuable contributors to the worlds of achievement that lie ahead. We believe that the independent preparation and presentation of their Exhibitions (performance-based assessments) (see below) prepare them well for the demands of college and beyond. One hundred percent of each year’s graduates have been accepted to colleges, including Amherst, Antioch, Bard, Barnard, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, CUNY, DePauw, Fairfield, Fordham, Grinnell, Goucher, Lafayette, Middlebury, New York University, Oberlin, Penn State, Sarah Lawrence, Stanford, SUNY, Syracuse, Temple, Trinity, University of Chicago, USC and Wesleyan.

The Curriculum

Our school is supportive in environment and rigorous in curriculum. It encourages student independence, in part through external learning experiences. Classes are taught through a two-year curriculum, meaning students retain the same teachers for two years at a time, making continuous progress over the summer as well as during the two academic years. The school day is programmed around a block schedule and students have a full day of classes for the full four years.

The school requires four years of Humanities (interdisciplinary English and Social Studies); four years of Math and Science; and two years of language (French or Spanish). The Humanities sequence includes Global Studies I and II and a two-year sequence of American History, Government, and Economics. The Math sequence is based on the ARISE program, consisting of Integrated Math equivalent to Algebra 1, then Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, and Pre-calculus and Calculus. The Science sequence includes Earth Science in the 8th grade, then Integrated Principles of Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. A focus on the core academic areas minimizes electives; students are offered art, a fifth year of science or math, or a third year of Spanish or French elective. The current preference is to integrate elective experiences through the Humanities or the Math and Science courses of study. The school’s Advisory Program plays a key role, combining the functions of homeroom, school-based family group and guidance resource.

Graduation from SOF depends on demonstration of four performance-based tasks, known as independent Exhibitions or Portfolio Defenses, and oral defenses that model a graduate dissertation. Students must complete two in Humanities, and one each in Math and Science. Students are required to develop an original thesis that comes out of their class work. These Exhibitions comprise research, preparation of a paper, and presentation for a committee of teachers, student peers and, where appropriate, outside community members. Each student is also obliged to participate on Exhibitions, which are evaluated by a rubric.

★ SOF, as a matter of school philosophy, does not compute GPAs or class rank.
★ Grades are: 99 – 90 = A; 89 – 80 = B; 79 – 70 = C; 69 – 65 = D, below 65 is failing.

Special Curricular Opportunities

Unique independence-oriented opportunities, blending academic and off-site performance, include a required two-semester employment internship, occupying at least one day a week. Spanning a multitude of possible placements, internships are selected based on individual fit and are carefully supervised. Success is determined through responsible on-the-job performance and a written academic component, which uses the site as a research resource. Internships provide students, time and again, with opportunities to identify their abilities, interests and ways to achieve not apparent in the classroom. Students at SOF also have the opportunity to take college courses at cooperating institutions of higher education, including New York University, Hunter College, and Baruch College.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

School of the Future receives an After School Corporation grant for a fully funded after school program. Offerings include the arts (theatre, fine art, music, etc.), sports (basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer, softball, etc.), technology (computer programming, robotics, etc.) and academics (homework help). Other opportunities include Student Government, Debate club, School Leadership Team, Peer Leadership, and an International Exchange Program with schools in France and Mexico.


The student population is 25% White, 25% African-American, 25% Hispanic and 25% Asian. SAT scores for SOF students range from 900 to 1400.