Academics » How We’re Different

How We’re Different

What Sets Us Apart

Our philosophy

To promote empathy, critical thinking, and intellectual curiosity through meaningful inquiry and academics. All of this takes place in a caring environment built on support, anti-racist policies, and the pursuit of social justice.

Our vision

To help students determine and reach their potential through deep engagement with content and their community across grade levels so that they can navigate the systems they encounter, and ultimately be active participants and changemakers in their world.

Our goal 

For our students to graduate with definitions of success that challenge traditional assumptions for what leads to a meaningful life.

6 Reasons We’re Unique

1. Diversity reflecting our city and the world

Diversity and inclusion are central to SOF’s foundations. By embracing diversity across cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities, we hope to broaden our students’ capacity for empathy and their understanding of the world.

2. Faculty who inspire students to reach higher

SOF’s faculty teach students to become independent thinkers and spirited learners—free of the constraints of NY State’s Regents Curriculum, which erects obstacles to these goals. Our faculty are passionate, creative, and tenacious.

3. Commitment to empathy and restorative justice

By emphasizing restorative justice, conflict resolution, and reflection in place of decontextualized punishment and rule following, we foster an environment in which our students can become agents of change in their community and in their own lives. We value risk-taking, resilience, and perseverance, and communicate these as attainable goals.

4. Recognized as one of the best schools in NYC

Ranked as a top NYC school, nearly 100% of our graduating seniors are accepted into college, and 98% of them complete higher education. We also help students who seek alternatives to college find career pathways that make sense for them. 

5. Building expertise by digging deeper

The Exhibition Experience allows SOF students to explore topics in depth and to demonstrate competency in preparation for college and their careers.

6. Focus on community and connection

Through authentic classroom projects and weekly community circles, our students connect with each other and the SOF community, which helps them see their impact on and place in the world.