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Third Grade FAQ
Third Grade FAQs

Why does Saint Thomas Choir School accept boys to Third Grade?

We have found that the transition to the rigors of the chorister’s life–style is made easier by beginning academic and musical training in the Third Grade. From our experience, Third Grade has proven to be a favorable time in a boy’s life to join the Choir School community. A transition takes place when boys leave the primary grades and enter the upper elementary level. Boys who have been admitted at this age flourish musically, academically and socially.

Also, boys’ voices are changing at a younger point in their lives, and entering the Choir School at an early age provides the opportunity to train and support a full compliment of voices for the choir.

Does the School accept day students?

The Choir School does not accept day students and is committed to remaining one of the few academic institutions in the world that exists exclusively to "educate, house and nurture the boy choristers”.

Will the School still accept boys at Fourth Grade?

Yes, in particular those boys who live at a greater distance from the school. If there is room in the class, the school continues to accept boys until Christmas of Fifth Grade.

Are Third Grade students required to be full-time boarders during school terms, as the older boys?

No. Third Grade students depart on Friday afternoon and return Sunday evenings. Their families need to live at a distance from school that makes this weekly commute easily possible, generally within 75 miles.

What sort of schedule do the boys have?

On weekdays, they attend class, take an instrumental lesson or practice, participate in sports and learn how to be a boarding student. Between Christmas break and the end of the year, there are three or four weekends, carefully scheduled, on which the Third Grade boys remain at the school. There will be special activities; one is graduation weekend.

What are the academic benefits to a boy who begins in Third Grade?

Educational research has shown that in the primary grades small class size is crucial to a student’s success. The Choir School’s Third Grade class size has been no larger than six students. This allows for one-on-one attention where academic strengths can be nourished while any weaknesses can be quickly identified and addressed. Assessment of a student’s progress is quickly and easily made due to the individual focus. Also, the demands of the chorister schedule are not fully upon a Third Grade student, this gives him the time to focus on academics while acclimating himself to the school.

What about the curriculum and class instruction at this grade?

The Third Grade is combined with the Fourth Grade for English, Science, French, and Physical Education. Mathematics and history are taught separately to the Third and Fourth Grades. The mathematics curriculum uses the Everyday Mathematics series. The science curriculum utilizes a research-based, inquiry science curriculum called FOSS (Full Option Science System). English, which is combined with Grade Four, uses Writers Workshop and covers several genres: fiction, poetry, mystery, fantasy, and expository. Reading is taught using full length novels as opposed to Basal readers. Grammar is taught through mini-lessons created in and out of context of student writing. History class begins with a study of Saint Thomas Choir School and then progresses to a survey of New York State history.

What are the musical benefits to Third Grade enrollment?

Boys reap benefits from the high standard of music education in an environment where it is a natural part of their life.

Do Third Grade students sing with the choir?

They receive preparation that allows them to become full members earlier and to sing longer with the choir. During the course of the year, they are gradually introduced to evensong, first as a member of the congregation and later in the choir stalls. On selected weekends when the boys remain at school, they sing the 9:00 AM Sunday service with the other probationers.

What is the tuition and are scholarships available?

Tuition, room and board for the 2013-2014 academic year is $14,875. Scholarship is determined by financial need which is calculated through the parent application with the School and Student Service for Financial Aid. Tuition is the same for all grades at the Choir School.

What should we do if our family would like to explore this opportunity?

The next step is to phone the Admissions Office and schedule a School Visit. The common experience of visiting together gives a family the opportunity to consider the appropriateness of the school for their son. Contact Lily Scott at 212-247-3311, Ext. 504, or  

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202 West 58th Street | New York, NY 10019-1406 | (212) 247-3311