2019 Blackboard Award Honoree: Speyer Legacy School

Jennifer Selendy

Speyer Legacy School
Co-Founding Trustee Jennifer Selendy 
Head of School, Dr. Barbara L. Tischler
Grades K-8
925 9th Avenue

Award: Outstanding School

Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.

Speyer is a K-8 independent school for accelerated learners in NYC and our educational philosophy is defined in our mission: “At The Speyer Legacy School, students are inspired to be intellectually curious and passionate. They realize their full potential as accelerated learners in a collaborative community that is committed to ethical values and action. Speyer students learn with like-minded classmates and are guided by academically fearless teachers who share and nourish their enthusiasm for knowledge and inquiry.”

Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.

We’re celebrating our tenth year, and with that, it’s been wonderful to look back and examine what we have achieved in that short amount of time! We’ve created a unique interdisciplinary curriculum for accelerated learners. We’re the only independent school to teach debate starting in Kindergarten. We’re the only independent school to partner with the National Dance Institute for our Lower School dance curriculum. We’re the only independent school with a financial literacy program where students manage a real stock portfolio worth more than $260,000, incorporating social justice and ethical decision-making while investing. The Huffington Post, Education Week, Wall Street Journal, and more media outlets have all covered what we are doing within the walls of 925 9th Avenue.

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What’s new?

Have we mentioned it’s our tenth year? As you can see, we are rather excited about all we have done – and what’s still to come. Our faculty continues to explore new ways to challenge our students. They hosted our first Blended Learning conference in June and learned innovative ways to manage a classroom or cohort that incorporates breakout groups, asynchronous communication, and digital tools. It allows for some student control over time, place, path, or pace. Working with our technology integrators, our teachers are already discovering new ideas to incorporate this methodology in their classrooms.

What do you love about your school?

Okay, we will be cliché: we love our students. They amaze, surprise, and challenge us every single day. As a truly child-centered K-8, that should be the only answer to this question. Though, if we can add a second answer, we would say we are thankful for our committed and strong faculty and a parent community that is diverse and generous. Without all of them, Speyer would not be Speyer.