Why Riverdale

Our mission: Riverdale is a Pre-K through grade 12 independent school in New York City committed to empowering lifelong learners by developing minds, building character, and creating community in order to change our world for the good.

A great moment during an Ultimate Frisbee game shows the focus and determination that Riverdale encourages in its students.
A great moment during an Ultimate Frisbee game shows the focus and determination that Riverdale encourages in its students.

A place of
possibility

On any given day, you might find Upper School students building a solar-powered drone or Middle School students playing pickup soccer on the lawn. Lower School students might be taking a “brain break,” engaging in imaginary play or climbing a tree. “Scholarly, intimate teaching” and “healthful outdoor activities” were the promise of Riverdale’s founder, Frank S. Hackett, in 1907. Today, the world-at-large continues to beckon as our students take their energy, curiosity, and creativity beyond the classroom walls.


In kindergarten, students build a model of the George Washington Bridge as part of their study of the Hudson River.
In kindergarten, students build a model of the George Washington Bridge as part of their study of the Hudson River.
In sixth-grade history, students research every aspect of a New York City neighborhood and then work together on a giant 3D map of all five boroughs.
In sixth-grade history, students research every aspect of a New York City neighborhood and then work together on a giant 3-D map of all five boroughs.

At the forefront
of educational
innovation

Riverdale continues to evolve as scientists find out more about how students learn to think and develop into thriving adults. We work with dozens of partners around the world to identify best teaching practices and support our students as they grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.


There is a strong focus on students advocating for themselves. It is a skill that will help them in every area in their life.

A Current parent
Middle School band is about more than the music. It's about collaborating with a group.
Middle School band is about more than the music. It’s about collaborating with a group.

A supportive
community

Riverdale is sometimes described as high-challenge, high-support. A balanced diet improves cognition; nutritious (and delicious) food is served on both campuses. Sleep is important; the faculty manages homework so that students can participate in an array of activities without undue stress. Regular exercise and time outdoors are important for learning and emotional wellbeing; all students have time in their day to take advantage of the campuses. Mentors abound. Deans, counselors, faculty, coaches, and administrators all get to know students as people on trips, service-learning events, and co-curricular activities.


Diverse and
inclusive

There is no one Riverdale archetype. There is no one Riverdale experience. Our students travel to campus each day from 104 zip codes. Nearly 40 percent identify as students of color. Riverdale students have multiple interests — Mandarin and dance, science research and crew, entrepreneurship and feminism. They learn how to be a part of diverse teams and how to engage with local and global communities.


Stories

Riverdale is changing. The R+ Campaign has created new opportunities for research, travel, and connections with local and global communities.
Inspired by a suggestion from Elias Gabriel ’18, Riverdale partnered with MetaBronx, an innovation and entrepreneurship accelerator in the South Bronx, to provide students with startup experience.
Middle School Project Week gives students insight into how creativity and collaboration happen in the real world.
Amanda Chiles ’17 talks about her transformation from a new Riverdale sixth-grader to Riverdale graduate.
In his closing remarks to the graduating classes in 2018, Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph speaks about the nature of change.