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Pre-mium K: International private school to open in Downtown Brooklyn

Chris Whittle, the founder of Avenues in Manhattan, announced the opening of The Whittle School’s Brooklyn campus on Nov. 6.
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A glitzy new school is opening in Downtown Brooklyn — charging youngsters more than $45,000 to attend the “first modern school” in the world, according to its founder.

“If you really look for a world class K-through-12 education — they’re yet to be seen,” said Chris Whittle. “Our mission is to actually create the first modern school, and because it’s very hard to be modern without being global, to also create the first global one.”

The Whittle School and Studios will operate out of 10 floors above the Macy’s in the Fulton Mall, where 2,000 students — include 400 borders — will study a curriculum that includes Chinese language classes for preschoolers and features weekly field trips every Wednesday, according to Whittle.

The school — which opened two campuses in Washington D.C, and another in China last September — will focus on written assessments rather than letter grades, and will encourage students to work in open-plan “studios,” according to school honchos.

The spiffy school isn’t cheap, as preschool tuition will top $48,000 — excluding $1,500 lunch fee — and older grades may cost thousands more, according to the schools Communications Director Li Jing.

The Brooklyn’s campus is opening its preschool in fall of 2020 — and its elementary, middle, and upper schools will open their doors the following year, Ling said.

Executives plan to have 30 Whittle Schools up and running worldwide within the next 20 years, and will encourage students to travel to the different locations for their studies, school reps said.

But the new Whittle Schools aren’t the namesake founder’s first foray into education.

In 1991, Chirs Whittle founded the Edison Schools, a network of for-profit charter program that he predicted would open 1,000 campuses nationwide, but which only operated 133 schools at its peak with mixed success, according to the Washington Post.

Twenty years later, Whittle founded Avenues: The World School — which charges $56,400 a year — and touted a similar, international focus at its founding, but has only managed to open three locations.

Whittle did not comment on the differences between the Whittle School and Avenues, but the Brooklyn school’s incoming principal said that the new facility’s language immersion program sets it apart.

“To be able to start a language in preschool and lower school, and have it really be part of your education process — you’re really going to graduate with a level of linguistic fluency and cultural fluency is really exciting,” said Larry Weiss, who formerly worked as the principal at Brooklyn Friends School and Saint Ann’s.

Still, some may question the school’s steep price tag, but the founder said the cost was necessary to foster the school’s growth internationally within a short time frame.

“It’s really a necessity,” he said. “We’re trying to develop a worldwide school.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 5:37 pm, November 7, 2019
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