Chapin School

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For the private school in Princeton, see Chapin School (New Jersey).
The Chapin School
Latin: Fortiter et Recte
Bravely and Rightly
100 East End Avenue
New York City (Manhattan), New York 10028
United States
Coordinates 40°46′26″N 73°56′45″W / 40.773901°N 73.945779°W / 40.773901; -73.945779Coordinates: 40°46′26″N 73°56′45″W / 40.773901°N 73.945779°W / 40.773901; -73.945779
Type Private, day, college-preparatory
Religious affiliation(s) Non-sectarian
Established 1901 (115 years ago) (1901)
Chair Linden Wise
Head of School Patricia T. Hayot[1]
Grades K12
Gender Girls
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus Urban
Color(s) Green and gold
Athletics conference NYSAISAA
Nickname Gators
Tuition $39,300 (2014-15)
Affiliations New York Interschool

The Chapin School is an all-girls independent day school located in Manhattan in New York City.


Founded by Maria Bowen Chapin, the Chapin School opened in 1901 as "Miss Chapin's School for Girls and Kindergarten for Boys and Girls." Located at 12 West 47th Street, Miss Chapin's School had an original enrollment of 78 students and seven teachers.[2] Following a move to East 58th Street in 1905 and a later move to East 57th Street in 1910, the school relocated, in 1928, from Midtown Manhattan to its present location on Manhattan's Upper East Side at 100 East End Avenue at East 84th Street.

The first Chapin diplomas were awarded in 1908; 1917 marked the last year that boys were included in the school. The name was changed to the Chapin School in 1934.[3]

Heads of School[edit]

1901-1932: Maria Bowen Chapin

1932-1935: Mary Cecelia Fairfax*

1932-1959: Ethel Grey Stringfellow*

1959-1993: Mildred Jeanmaire Berendsen

1993-2003: Sandra Theunick

2003- present: Patricia T. Hayot

  • joint headmistresses, 1932-1935

Academics, activities, and athletics[edit]

Chapin's 772 students are split into three divisions: Lower School (kindergarten through grade 3), Middle School (grades 4 through 7), and Upper School (grades 8 through 12).

Sixty girls start in kindergarten, where they are divided into three classes. Each K class has two teachers, with regular use of teaching specialists (e.g., reading, Spanish, art, music, science, technology, gym, etc.)

There are about 265 girls in the Upper School (8th through 12th grades), where they are taught by 53 faculty members. Traditionally, Chapin did not make an effort to replace girls who left the school (generally for boarding and coed schools), leading to graduating classes of around 40. In recent years, girls are more readily accepted into Chapin's middle and upper schools, leading to graduating classes of around 55.

While the lower school program combines progressive and traditional characteristics, the upper school curriculum is considered to be a traditionally rigorous liberal arts program. There are multiple requirements, including at least one modern language and two years of Latin. While a small school, Chapin offers 15 Advanced Placement courses and a total of 36 elective courses in grades 10-12. Elective courses may cover topics such as neuroscience, pharmacology, directing lab or Greek. Students may take up to 2 electives per trimester depending on their schedule.

Many girls do independent studies or study abroad programs, particularly through Chapin's exchange programs with the St. Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls (Perth, Australia) and the American Community Schools (Athens, Greece). Since 2011, Chapin has worked with the Kibera School for Girls in Nairobi, Kenya, developing curriculum ideas and visiting each other's campuses.[4] Chapin is also a charter affiliate member of the Online School for Girls (OSG), in which students can take courses offered to more than 30 girls’ schools across the country. New York Interschool courses are offered in advanced math, leadership, and ethics. Mentorship derives from multiple sources, including faculty advisors and peer leaders.[5]

While some Chapin girls live on the Upper East Side near the school, others hail from other parts of Manhattan, as well as Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island.

Young women of color make up 38% of the student body. The student-to-teacher ratio is 6.8 to 1. Twenty-one percent of the girls receive tuition assistance, amounting to over $5 million per year.[6]

Among the 21 Chapin activities are the student government (advisory), the student newspaper, the literary magazine, Amnesty International, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Model UN, and groups dedicated to the study and performance of Classics, dance, drama, music, math, media, robotics, the environment, and science. Their robotics team is partnered with neighboring girls' school, Brearley.[7] Girls are also welcome to start up new clubs during the school year.

There are 18 athletics teams, including 15 varsity sports in which the Gators compete against similarly-sized schools around New York City. Sports include badminton, basketball, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, indoor track, lacrosse, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, track and volleyball.[8]


The Chapin School

The school's motto is Fortiter et Recte (Bravely and Rightly).

The wheel on the school's seal was chosen by Maria Chapin because it is the symbol for Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of philosophers, thinkers, and educated women. The students leave assembly in a wheel pattern.[9] In addition, Miss Chapin was fond of plants, which has led to the tradition of lower schoolers caring for plants from the schools's greenhouse during holidays. Miss Chapin's interest in plants also led to the tradition that kindergarten applicants are given a Chapin plant during the interview process.

The specifics of the school uniform depend upon the girl's grade level, but green is a recurrent sartorial theme.

Chapin has a longstanding tradition of green/gold competitions among middle and upper schoolers. Throughout the year, but especially on the annual field day, these green and gold teams fiercely compete until a winner is announced at the end of each school year. Girls join their team in 4th grade—when applicable, joining the team of their mother or grandmother—and remain on the same team throughout their time at Chapin.[10]

Chapin has affiliations and competitions with a variety of other New York City schools, often through Interschool. Chapin is most closely aligned and rivalrous, however, with the neighboring Brearley School, with which it shares some classes, after-school programs, homecoming, and a robotics team.[11]


All Chapin programs exist under one roof.

Annenberg Library[edit]

The building features the two-story Annenberg Library with over 45,000 volumes and rooms for multimedia and video editing.[12][13] The library also contains a 3D printing and vinyl cutting room, three student study rooms, a student conference room, multiple lounge and table areas amongst the bookshelves, and a multi-media room. There is also a separate lower-school library.

Classrooms and gyms[edit]

As of 2015, Chapin featured 49 classrooms, eight science laboratories, four art studios including a photography darkroom and a ceramics studio, two music studios, a black box theater, a dance studio, two computer laboratories, four gymnasiums and a greenhouse.


Chapin girls make frequent use of Carl Schurz Park, which is located across the street from the school, as well as Asphalt Green Aquatics Center, which is six blocks away.

Chapin's 2008 construction provided new facilities for art, language, science and the greenhouse via expansion of the fifth and sixth floors and addition of the seventh and eighth floors.[14]

New construction began in May 2015.[15][16][17] When it is completed, Chapin will have grown from 8 to 11 stories and will have a top-floor regulation-size gymnasium to complement its four current gyms, a rooftop turf practice field and fitness center, expanded performing arts facilities, much larger dining facilities, and additional classrooms to provide more flexibility and experiential learning.[18][19][20]

College placement and rankings[edit]

Chapin is typically ranked among the top dozen private schools in the United States.[21][22][23] A Wall Street Journal article ranked Chapin's college placement as third best in the country.[24]

Notable alumnae[edit]

For girls who left Chapin early, the year below refers to the anticipated graduation year.


  • Noerdlinger, Charlotte Johnson. And Cheer for the Green and Gold: An Anecdotal History of the Chapin School. New York: The Chapin School, 2000.

External links[edit]