Ross School (East Hampton, New York)
|18 Goodfriend Drive
East Hampton, New York
East Hampton, New York, Suffolk, 11937
|Motto||Know Thyself in Order to Serve|
|Established||Upper School, 1991
Lower School, 2006
|Founder||Courtney Sale Ross|
|Principal||Head of Upper School
|Principal||Head of Lower School
|Faculty||Upper School: 55 full-time, 10 part-time
Lower School: 20 full-time, 9 part-time
|Grades||Upper School: Grades 7–12
Lower School: Pre-Nursery–Grade 6
|Pupils||Upper School: 372
Lower School: 155
Basketball (Boys and Girls)
Cross Country (Boys and Girls)
Soccer (Boys and Girls)
Tennis (Boys and Girls)
Track and Field (Boys and Girls)
Basketball (Boys and Girls)
Soccer (Boys and Girls)
|Accreditation(s)||Middle States Association, Middle States Association International Credential, Absolute Charter from New York State, Green Schools Alliance|
|Average SAT scores||Average score: 1850; 85th %ile nationally. 12% of scores for the Class of 2013 are in the 99th %ile nationally.|
|Affiliation||Independent Day (Grades Pre-Nursery–12, Post-Graduate) and Boarding School (Grades 7–12, Post-Graduate)|
Ross School was founded by Courtney and Steven J. Ross in 1991. The unique evolution of consciousness "Spiral Curriculum" was designed for the school by the noted cultural historian William Irwin Thompson. The school quickly grew from the initial three students and by 1996 was a full middle school serving girls in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8. The following year a co-ed high school was added, and the first class graduated in 2001. By that time the School was working closely with the Ross Institute to share the Ross Model with other schools and municipalities around the world. In 2002, the Middle School became co-ed and the School began working with its first international partner, Tensta Gymnasium, in Stockholm. In 2005, Ross School received accreditation from the Middle States Association (MSA) and was also chosen to receive the first International Credential ever awarded by MSA.
In the 2005–2006 school year, Ross School proposed a merger deal with the competition. The Morriss Center School, formerly the Hampton Day School, was the only other private K–12 school in the Hamptons. This deal came through, and now Ross's lower school resides on the former elementary-middle school campus of the Morriss Center, former Hampton Day School Campus. The 2013–2014 full boarding tuition is $54,200.
In the 2012–2013 school year, fifth grade was moved from the Upper School campus to the Lower School; in the next year, sixth grade was moved to the Lower School campus as well. The Lower School campus now hosts grades pre-nursery to 6, and the Upper School campus hosts grades 7 to 12 and post-graduates.
Ross School’s curriculum is based on world cultural history and the evolution of consciousness and reflects the collaborative work of its Founding Mentors the mathematician Ralph Abraham and the cultural historian William Irwin Thompson. The curriculum incorporates skills and content from all disciplines. Because history is studied in a continuous and consecutive thread, students are equipped with a narrative that accounts for significant historical shifts leading up to the major transformation of the present time. Ross School’s teaching methods are informed by the Theory of multiple intelligences developed by Howard Gardner and the latest developments in curriculum design, pedagogy, and communications technologies. As part of its integral and holistic approach to teaching, the school offers vegetarian options in its cafeteria for lunch each day, as well as breakfast in the mornings for all students, and dinner for its boarding population. Students are graded unsatisfactory, satisfactory (which was added in the 2006-2007 school year), proficient, or distinguished.
Ross School students are required to participate in at least one team sport while at Ross, though many choose to participate and develop their athletic skills beyond that requirement. Ross partners with other local schools for some sports such as baseball and sailing to field more competitive teams. Ross teams have enjoyed several recent successes. The Ross boys varsity tennis team is the 2010 Suffolk County League Champion. The tennis program has several world-class coaches, led by Vinicius Carmo.
There are seven buildings on the Upper School campus, with functions ranging from academics and administration to wellness. The High School building houses several classrooms, a large library, two science labs, a large art studio, and a film viewing area called the Duomo. The Media and Humanities Pavilion contains classrooms, performance practice rooms and sound recording studios, a video production and editing studio, and the sculpture and ceramics studio. A reference library, art studio, darkroom and digital photography editing studio, two science labs, and a lecture hall equipped for multimedia presentations are found in the Senior Thesis Building. Building 4 (formerly the Middle School) houses classrooms, the Innovation Lab @Ross, and administrative offices. The Center for Well-Being is home to the Ross Café, the multipurpose Great Hall, the Court Theater and spaces for movement and meditation. The Upper School Art Gallery, in Building 3, has rotating exhibitions of work by students and local artists.
Ross School’s athletic facilities on the Upper School campus include the Center for Well-Being, home to indoor volleyball and basketball courts, changing rooms, a weight room, and spaces for movement and meditation. There are also three athletic fields, a baseball diamond, a full-size outdoor basketball court and a new Upper School Fieldhouse, with locker rooms, a lounge and snack bar, and a large recreation room with ping-pong tables and large-screen projection. Opened in 2008, the Fieldhouse sits adjacent to six year-round Har-tru courts. From October to May, the courts are converted to indoor courts with a bubble.
In 2000 the school proposed a 50-building, 600,000-square-foot (56,000 m2) expansion to its 140-acre (0.57 km2) campus which would have made it one of the biggest complexes in the Hamptons. Enraged environmentalists charged that Courtney Ross was polluting the debate by paying to protest proposed expansion of the Pine Barrens protections into East Hampton. The school eventually backed down on the expansion and in 2006 the same critics of this expansion were to applaud its "green" initiatives.
The September 2003 Education Update described the campus as follows:
"The school sits on 140 wooded acres in East Hampton founded by Courtney Ross Holst, whose first husband, Steve Ross, was head of Time Warner. Seeing Ross is to appreciate the truth of the cliché about the best that money can buy. The school is stunningly handsome, a new and renovated architectural wonder with interiors likely to stagger even a designer’s imagination. It also boasts—justifiably—superb high-end technology, including sophisticated projection systems, state-of-the-art pavilions, seminar rooms, smart boards, laptops for all, and knockout multimedia enhancements everywhere. Libraries abound, nothing is single or merely decorative. Classrooms recreate environments under study—the art and artifacts of a period, its textures, colors, materials, though the pervasive influence, warm and subtle earth tones, is Swedish and Asian. And would you believe a hall showing the history of art by way of vinyl reproductions done to scale?"
The Lower School campus in Bridgehampton includes gardens, play areas, trails and a farm with animals. Separate building spaces for grade levels are customized with age-appropriate furnishings. The Barn Building houses an art studio called the Atelier, the library, administrative offices, and some early childhood classes. The Farm Building, built as the original house for the potato farm that was on the property, is used for specials classes and kindergarten. The Leonard Building is shared by grades 1–2 and world languages classes. Grades 4–6 are situated in the Green Building. All the buildings on the campus are connected by walkways and surrounded by grass and trees.
In 2006 the school was picketed by residents of New York City when city residents protested its plans to locate the Ross Global Academy, a charter school that adopted the Ross model on the Lower East Side (with residents particularly fearing that the new school would take away space for the New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math school). The protesters declined an invitation to debate the subject when asked by an Upper School ethics class. The debate was ultimately decided when the school moved to the Tweed Courthouse. Ross Global Academy was closed in 2011 owing to poor performance.
The core elements of the Ross Model include:
- Instruction in skills and content of each discipline in order to provide the foundation necessary for interdisciplinary understanding, the development of 21st century skills and the incorporation of multiple intelligence approaches.
- A school program that serves all students from a diversity of backgrounds and from a wide range of traditional academic abilities, including students who have special learning challenges and those students who are English language learners.
- An interdisciplinary curriculum for intercultural understanding taught through an integrated approach that connects multiple subjects through a cultural history core.
- Programs that promote self-directed learning, collaborative problem solving, responsibility as well as the exploration of individual interests.
- A holistic approach to providing and raising awareness about nutrition, health and well-being as part of the educational program.
- High-quality instruction and innovative experiences with communication and media technologies, so that students become sophisticated in both the use of technology as well as in understanding its role in society.
- Intentionally designed learning spaces that intentionally foster optimal learning, collaboration, positive relationships and a sense of mutual respect and responsibility. These spaces will be adaptable and multi-functional.
- Professional development programs for teachers and administrators that foster innovative pedagogy through an emphasis on team teaching, collaborative learning, globalization and learning, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, strategies for English Language Learners (ELLs) and other strategies necessary to best educate.
Every summer the school hosts its largest annual benefit, the Starlight Ball, which has featured Aretha Franklin, the Jonas Brothers, Martha Stewart and “Saturday Night Live’s” Seth Meyers. In the summer of 2007 it held its largest event: a series of five musical concerts entitled "Social @ Ross" with Prince; Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds; Billy Joel; James Taylor and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The price of a ticket to the series was $15,000.
Notable alumni and faculty
- Hal McKusick, jazz musician