Mission, Traditions & History

Our Mission
Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen. In the belief that there are many ways to be a boy, the School offers an ongoing commitment to each student and uses the best insights and tools available to understand him as a whole person. We inspire in each boy an appreciation of responsible citizenship and a lifelong love of learning.
How We Accomplish Our Mission
Allen-Stevenson’s vigorous, pre-secondary program of academics, athletics, and the arts teaches boys to value the gratifying process by which excellence is attained. By creating a joyful, safe environment for learning, the School seeks to ensure a productive, diverse community of learners. We challenge our students to take suitable risks, learn from their mistakes, and support each other. Ultimately, we encourage boys to move through life strongly and rightly—with confidence, knowledge, enthusiasm, resilience, and respect for all.
The Allen-Stevenson Code
At Allen-Stevenson we inspire boys to become…
An Allen-Stevenson Boy is a Scholar and a Gentleman.
Behavior becoming an Allen-Stevenson boy is expected at all times.
Allen-Stevenson is rich with traditions. Some of these are cherished experiences that take the form of events that are held every year and have become ingrained in many aspects of the school. Other traditions include the school’s symbols, songs and codes. Alumni often mention that these traditions are what they remember about the school and come back to visit to share in these special events.  Below are some of these traditions.  For a full list, please click here.

Arts and Music Festival
The Arts and Music Festival combined with the Book Fair is part of a series of cultural events held in the late spring. The celebration leads off with the Spring Concert followed by the Seventh Grade and Nightingale-Bamford performance of a classic dramatic work. A diversity of art and shop projects that each boy has made during the year is displayed for three days during the Festival. In this exciting setting, Allen-Stevenson families are invited to view the artwork, watch the Third Grade production, participate in a Ninth Grade "Facing History" critique, enjoy studio recitals, and peruse the book offerings with their son's class.

Founders Day
The School honors its founders, Francis Bellows Allen and Robert Alston Stevenson, with an all-school celebration on the Friday before the Columbus Day weekend. Different grades are paired together to work on projects and take part in the festivities that celebrate the School’s birthday. A guest speaker, an alumnus or a former member of the faculty, tells of his relationship with Allen-Stevenson years ago.

Gilbert & Sullivan
Each March, a spectacular production of one of Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas is performed by Grades Five and Six boys and Upper School boys. Auditions for the lead roles (available to boys in Grades Six through Nine) take place in the fall and rehearsals begin soon after. Boys in Grades Five through Nine are invited to participate in the choruses. Some brave members of the faculty and staff volunteer to be part of these choruses as well. The musical score is played primarily by the School's instrumental instructors. Parents take part in this celebrated tradition by helping with costumes and make-up and by being an enthusiastic audience.

The Allen-Stevenson Song

The Allen-Stevenson song becomes a part of every Allen-Stevenson boy's repertoire. The words and music are by Rolande Young Schrade, ASCAP, the former Lower School Music Director from 1968 until 1989:
We hail thee, Al-len-Stev-en-son----fort-i-ter et rec-te.
With joy un-told the blue and gold----will be with us al-ways.
The days grow short as we grow tall, our faith grows firm, our fears grow small.
We hail thee, Al-len-Stev-en-son----fort-i-ter et rec-te.
And as the lamplight shows the way, we strongly, rightly live each day.
We hail thee, Al-len-Stev-en-son----fort-i-ter et rec-te.

The Unicorn
One of the most famous of the fabulous beasts, the mascot of the School is known for being decent and pure. A fleet and mighty warrior, the unicorn exemplifies the fortitude of character and strength of conviction that the School seeks to give every Allen-Stevenson boy.
Francis Bellows Allen founds The Allen School at a home on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Its first class enrolls three boys.
The School moves to rented rooms at Madison Avenue and 44th Street after its enrollment grows to 20 boys.
Six teachers educate The Allen School's 50 students. Mr. Allen meets Robert Alston Stevenson, a tutor, who by chance has taken a room at 509 Fifth Avenue, where the School was then located.
Mr. Allen and Mr. Stevenson join forces and move to 50 East 57th Street with 100 students.
Enrollment exceeds 200. The School publishes its first newspaper, The Spotlight, and introduces an exercise program and team sports.
The School purchases two brownstones for a new schoolhouse and moves to its present location on East 78th Street.
After 56 years of service, Mr. Allen retires at age 80.
Annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions begin.
Mr. Stevenson retires after 43 years of service. His son, Mr. Robert "Huck" A. Stevenson Jr., a teacher at the School since 1924, succeeds him as Headmaster.
Mr. Joseph C. Renard becomes Headmaster of Allen-Stevenson and serves for nine years. The School introduces team sports at Randall's Island and requires boys to wear navy blazers and gray flannel pants.
The Parents Association is founded. Stanley Gauger, the new Music teacher, starts the Allen-Stevenson Orchestra.
The School buys adjoining townhouse and eventually renovates it for school use.
Mr. Henry D. Tiffany Jr., becomes Headmaster and serves until 1974. Under his leadership, a modern Science lab and a paneled library, a gift from the Bell family, are added.
The School begins to use a carriage house on East 77th Street for Art, Shop, and Music. First annual Shakespeare production begins.
The School's enrollment reaches 270 students.
Mr. Desmond Cole becomes Headmaster and serves for 16 years. During his tenure, he appoints Department heads and creates the Middle School division.
The Allen-Stevenson School expands its space into what is known as The Monroe Building.
The School's first computer lab opens.
The Allen-Stevenson School celebrates its first 100 years and publishes The Allen-Stevenson Centennial Album.
Following a Long Range Planning recommendation, the School reintroduces Kindergarten classes, housing them in newly designed classroom spaces in the Monroe townhouse.
The Board of Trustees appoints Mr. David R. Trower as Allen-Stevenson's 7th Headmaster.
The Learning Resource Center is established to bring an awareness of the various ways in which boys learn and to "support and enrich the learning of every Allen-Stevenson boy."
Operation Update, a mini-capital campaign, strengthens the book collection and card-catalog of the Bell Memorial Library and updates telephone and computer systems.
New construction adds three floors and a regulation-size Upper Gym above the 77th Street buildings. Improvements also include a larger computer room, art studio, music room, woodshop, and locker room.
Enrollment is at 376 students, a record-breaking number. The School's Capital campaign, Building for the Future, raises a record total of $5.87 million. A vision statement on the role of technology at Allen-Stevenson is adopted.
The School's Board of Trustees adopts a strategic Long Range Plan that focuses on strengthening The Allen-Stevenson School in the new century. Laptop computers are distributed to teachers to enable them to use technology for teaching and learning.
Allen-Stevenson launches its first website to improve communication about the School.
The Campaign for Allen-Stevenson: Today and Tomorrow, designed to meet the goals of the Long Range Plan, is officially announced.
Allen-Stevenson completes comprehensive renovation of its facilities, adding new space, students and program scope. Enrollment approaches 400 boys. New, more robust version of the School’s website is prepared for launch.
The Campaign for Allen-Stevenson: Today and Tomorrow concludes exceeding goal to raise at least $25 million with final tally at $27.9 million. For the first time in Allen-Stevenson’s history, the enrollment exceeds 400 students. School’s mission statement is rewritten in preparation for NYSAIS Decennial Evaluation in April 2007.
Allen-Stevenson begins year-long celebration of its 125th year. Video timeline of the School’s history is introduced in four segments on a monitor in the Main Hallway. NYSAIS Decennial Evaluation is completed with flying colors.
School completes year-long celebration of 125th Anniversary. The Board of Trustees approves Allen-Stevenson and Its Community, a policy statement about inclusion and community life.

Allen-Stevenson hosts the first meeting of New York City independent schools to form the Green Schools Alliance, which now encompasses thousands of public and private schools across the United States.
A policy on social networking is developed after extensive faculty and administrative discussions. Also, six faculty/staff task forces begin significant, cross-divisional discussion in each of the following areas:
• Families: Working with Families—Education, Communication, Expectations;
• Finance: Financial Sustainability;
• Gentlemen: Becoming a Gentleman and a Good Global Citizen;
• Learning: Excellence in Learning;
• Professional Growth: Professional Excellence and Growth; and
• Teaching: Instructional Practices.
Further, Allen-Stevenson is twice recognized for its work on energy and the environment, first with a coveted Energy Star rating by the U.S. Department of Energy and then by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for LEED Gold Certification for Existing Buildings (EB).[1] This makes Allen-Stevenson the very first elementary school in the United States to achieve LEED-EB Gold status.
[1] For explanation of LEED (which stands for “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design”) please see the website of the USGBC at the following: http://www.usgbc.org/Default.aspx

Two interactive displays are installed in the Main Hall to allow the Allen-Stevenson community to search through athletic team photos going back as far as the 1960s.