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    History and Mission

    We’re proud of our long and rich history as a premier independent school and landmark New York City educational institution. Our legacy of innovation and unwavering commitment to personalized learning dates back over 140 years.

    Eighteen hundred seventy-two was a leap year. Perhaps it was providential that Dwight's forefather school was founded that year, as Dwight has often been ahead of the curve with educational innovations that, no doubt, required a "leap of faith" at those moments in time. History has proven that such decisions helped to pave the way for others to follow suit. To read more, click here.

    Alma mater to countless thousands of graduates, including such early luminaries as Joseph Cullman, Jr., Herbert Henry Lehman, Dr. Hans Zissner, Louis Gimbel, Walter Lippmann, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Truman Capote, Roy Lichtenstein, and Hal Prince, to name just a few from bygone eras. Dwight is one of the most enduring independent schools in New York City.

    Dwight Firsts
    For more than 140 years, Dwight has been recognized as a pioneer in international education:
    • Dwight was the first school in the U.S. to offer all three IB Programs (Primary Years, Middle Years, and Diploma Programs) for students from preschool through grade 12; with the addition of the new IBCC (IB Career-related Certificate) in 2014, Dwight became the first school in the Americas to offer all four IB Programs
    • Dwight was the first school in New York City to offer the IB Primary Years Program
    • Dwight School is the Founder of the Guild of IB Schools of the Northeast
    • Dwight was the first school in the U.S. to establish an international affiliate in 1972 in London: Dwight School London, just one of five IB World Schools in the UK to offer the comprehensive IB Curriculum for students from kindergarten though year 13
    • Based on its reputation as an IB leader, Dwight School Canada was selected by the Seoul Municipal Government from among 120 candidates to launch a model IB School: Dwight School Seoul, the first IB World School in Seoul to offer the comprehensive IB curriculum
    • Dwight School in New York and Dwight School London are two of only six IB Open World Schools originally selected from nearly 3,700 candidates across the globe to pilot ground-breaking IB education online
    • Dwight School partners with Shanghai Qibao High School to create the first independent, collaborative Sino-foreign high school approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education: the Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School
    Dwight School, an internationally recognized IB Open World School, is committed to finding and igniting the “spark of genius” in every child. Kindling their interests, we develop inquisitive, informed, self-aware, and ethical citizens who will build a better world.
    From the Archives
    About Our Crest
    Dwight adopted the same crest as Yale University's residential Timothy Dwight College, founded in 1935 in honor of two Yale presidents: Timothy Dwight, the elder, the eighth president of Yale from 1795-1817; and his grandson, Timothy Dwight, the younger, the twelfth president of Yale from 1886-1899. The crest's coat of arms were likely invented by Jacob Hurd, a Boston silversmith, who engraved them on a tankard he made in 1725 for the grandparents of the elder Timothy Dwight. Dwight was named in honor of Timothy Dwight the younger in 1888.
    Historical Timeline

    Dr. Julius Sachs, noted educator and brother of Samuel Sachs, co-founder of Goldman, Sachs & Co.) opens The Sachs School on 34th Street and Broadway. The name changes to The Franklin School some time between 1908-1914 and the school relocates several times over the next forty years.

    Franklin moves for the final time to 18-20 West 89th Street.

    Franklin adopts the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and changes its name to the Anglo-American School.


    New York School of Langauges is founded at 15 West 43rd Street as an academy of classical studies.

    The name changes to Dwight School in honor of Timothy Dwight, Yale University's president, who partnered with the school and pioneered math and science (replacing the traditional Greek and Latin) as entrance requirements.

    Dwight becomes part of the New York Preparatory School, the largest preparatory school in the U.S.


    Dwight becomes co-educational.

    Dwight is the first independent school in the United States to establish a permanent international campus: the Woodside Park School in London, a precursor to Dwight School London.


    Dwight merges with the Bentley School, founded in 1914, to add elementary and middle school programs.

    Dwight relocates to 18 West 89th Street and moves into additional space in 291 Central Park West.

    With the opening of its preschool on Riverside Boulevard, Dwight becomes the first school in North America to offer the IB PYP Program in preschool through grade twelve.

    Dwight establishes Dwight School Canada on Vancouver Island and the Dwight American-Capital Normal High School Program in Beijing.

    Dwight opens Dwight School Seoul after being selected over 120 schools by the Seoul government to open a model IB school in Seoul's Digital Media City for students in grades K-12.