The Nysmith Difference

The Nysmith School for the Gifted is a unique school.

There are five main differences between our school and others. As you will see, each is noteworthy, but combined, they create a very unusual school specifically designed for children who love to learn.

Minimal repetition. We minimize the repetition in class as well as the volume of homework. Bright children do not need to repeat the same bits of information dozens and dozens of times over several weeks to learn it. Think about when you work with your child. When your child demonstrates to you that they understand something, do you keep repeating it for the next hour? Another day? Another week? A bored child is not a happy child. Think of all the things that they could be learning instead. It is the same thing with homework. The Nysmith philosophy is 10 minutes per grade, 4-5 times a week. So a second grader should have a maximum of 20 minutes of homework 4-5 times a week. That little bit of homework teaches responsibility and organization while still letting them be a child. We want our children to enjoy life and try things they enjoy like music, art, and sports.

Small classes, talented teachers. We have small classes with two talented teachers in each one.  And yes, they are both teachers.  So when your child needs a little additional assistance understanding a concept, the teachers are able to provide it.  We feel it is critical to make genuine connections with students. A school is only as good as the teachers.  The Nysmith School has amazing teachers.  At Nysmith, we believe that education is 80% motivation. Nysmith teachers work hard to encourage, motivate, and inspire children. Lecturing is not teaching. We have a very hands-on approach to learning. Small classes facilitate learning. The maximum class size is 18 children with two teachers.  Preschool classes are still smaller. Another unusual aspect to the school is that beginning at kindergarten, the children change classes with every subject. We specifically have teachers who love math, teaching math. The teachers who love reading, teach reading.  It is the same with the science, foreign language, technology, and social studies classes. They are taught by professionals who love their subjects and want the children to share their passion.

Diversified reading and math.  We diversify reading and math classes up to four grade levels.  For some children, math comes easily to them; for others, it may be spelling.  Every child has different abilities in different subjects.  Each child is graded for effort and progress.  The children are not in competition with one another.  We want each child to succeed at the next level that is right for them.  We take the time to help them succeed.

Engaging program.  The goal of Nysmith is that children enjoy learning.  We believe that this will happen if they are challenged at a level that is right for them. We have an amazing teaching staff that work very hard to connect to their students. Their programs are innovative and clever. They engage children’s interest and promote deeper thinking. Each teacher’s objective is for their class to be each student’s favorite. When you come to visit, you will notice that every classroom has windows into the hallway.  Yet as you look in and see the classes in action, the children are not distracted by what is happening in the hallway or out on the playground.  The children are engaged in the learning that is taking place in their classroom.

We prepare the children for the future.  While many educators in the U.S. lament the loss of the days when American students competed well on the world stage, Nysmith is leading the way back.  Nysmith students have  hands-on science classes every day.  Science can and should be fun.  Computers and technology are important.  Every child has computers 2 ½ hours a week.  Studies have shown that if children are not engaged in stimulating science programs by the age of 10, very few of them proceed into the STEM-based occupations that truly are the key to both their future and America’s.  Many area high schools do not introduce their high school students to the advanced programming and graphic design that Nysmith provides to its middle school students.  The reality is children love to learn.  If you make it fun, you can teach them almost anything.

Nysmith is different.  You will sense the difference when you walk through the doors.  When you visit you will see over 40 classes, all ages, all subjects.  You will witness the enthusiasm with which our teachers teach and our students learn.  You will see the difference.