Spotlight on NYC Private Schools: Horace Mann

October 14, 2016

In recent years, Horace Mann’s reputation has been rocky, as the widely acclaimed school has been repeatedly criticized for a dark history of silenced sexual abuse. The private pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade school in the Bronx was first exposed a few years ago for its past staff’s horrifying crimes of assault through personal accounts released to the media, and subsequently went under an investigation by the Bronx district attorney. Following this, alumni of the school formed the Horace Mann Action Coalition, and in 2015 produced a report that listed more than 60 ignored cases of sexual assault by more than 20 employees between the 1960s and 1990s.



After receiving the coalition’s report, Dr. Thomas Kelly, head of Horace Mann, told the media the school would make the proper adjustments to its child safety policies. It maintains that for decades since the occurrences of assault, it has been and is still today a secure, positive environment for children.


Despite the harrowing scandal surfacing, many alumni of the school have raved about Horace Mann’s ability to propel students into successful academic and professional careers. It remains one of the most sought-after and elite schools within New York City, and has been ranked as one of the best preparatory schools in the country. Graduates of the school have often gone on to top colleges, and the school has produced dozens of notable alumni.  According to the school, Horace Mann is an institution that values a sense of community and instills tradition, scholarship and leadership. The school aims to challenge students, and measures their success through character and contributions to society.


Horace Mann contains a lower, middle and upper division for students. Entry to the lower division, which houses the Kindergarten classes, is consistently in high demand, with countless parents trying to secure spots for their children. If you are interested in Horace Mann’s lower division for your child, the following information details the program offered and the school’s admissions process.


Horace Mann’s Lower Division:

  • Two sections of Kindergarten classes

  • 460 students total

  • Focus: building a strong academic foundation in both intellectual and creative realms, with a focus on ongoing skill development

  • Curriculum

    •  Language arts: reading, writing, grammar, spelling, penmanship, critical thinking, speaking, listening and more

    • Social studies: introduction to history, geography, culture, and current events

    • Mathematics: focus on mastering basic skills, developing curiosity, creativity, logical thinking, solving problems, and connecting math to other subject areas

    • Foreign language: French and Spanish taught for half of a year, with students then choosing which language to continue

  • Offers many hands-on activities and experiments

  • Additional programs in library, technology and arts for enhanced learning experience

    • Art enrichment program features a music focus, where students are introduced to basic music concepts and listening skills, and strive for personal music growth through practical involvement

  • Policy of expectations and consequences

  • Active parental involvement encouraged

The admissions process for Horace Mann begins one year prior to the desired entry date. You must start by submitting an online application and paying a non-refundable $60 fee. Next, you must schedule an Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners (AABL) test for your child.


After submitting the application, your child will be invited for a playgroup session, while the parents have a separate interview. The next step is requesting that a confidential school report be sent from your child’s current teacher. Lastly, it is recommended that you also submit a parent statement introducing the child to the Horace Mann community.


At Bright Kids, we want to help every step of the way as your child applies to Kindergarten at Horace Mann. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the application process. We also offer many tutoring packages and publications centered on the AABL exam. Email with any questions, or feel free to call any of our offices.

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