The Class of 2025


Ramaz Class of 2024 befriending one another in October.

Ramaz has been through some dramatic changes in light of Covid-19, such as modified schedules, increased virtual learning, and many school trips being canceled. One quintessential element that was lacking this year was the presence of prospective Ramaz students and current eighth graders. These students are usually seen from September through January coming into classes and exploring the school’s clubs, activities, and model lessons. “ I was really looking forward to being a half-day buddy,” Ashley Behm ’24 said. 

So how were these students able to learn about Ramaz and determine whether they should apply? For starters, “everything was done completely virtually this year,” said Ms. Shara Lipson, Director of Ramaz Upper School Admissions. “Some of the new students have never even stepped foot in the building” said Ms. Lipson. The administration stepped up to the challenge and utilized various strategies and activities to help these students learn about the Ramaz Experience.               

Ms. Aviva Lieber, Assistant Director of Admisions said “This year we didn’t have half-day visits or mock classes at the open house. We chose to do a week of optional lessons, naming it PanoRAMa week. We had classes from every department. It was a huge success and we received great feedback.” Ms. Lipson said “Even after the pandemic, this is one of the components and activities we have done that will likely stick. It was truly a great opportunity for prospective students to gauge and understand our incredible community. It highlighted what Ramaz is known best for, its stellar academics.” Ramaz’s academic reputation is widely known and respected. Many applicants and prospective parents say that the school’s top rating and ability to get students into top-tier schools is a major reason to choose Ramaz.

Education is great, and a child’s academic future is crucial, but something can be said for fun and the opportunities that surround the ‘high school experience.’  Ms Lipson said,”When people usually think of Ramaz, they think about students who care solely about academics. We like to show people, that we provide great education and so much more!” 

However, many prospective applicants felt that the student experience was not presented, or if so, solely addressed the academic factor. “When they talked about high school and our schedules they only mentioned what we would be learning. I would have liked to have heard more about Ramaz programming and the many events they pride themselves on,” said Lindsay Chuback, a current 8th grader at the Ramaz Middle School.

In general, there was a lack of face-to-face get to know yous and introductions. Some teachers also felt this way. Designing a curriculum for a group of students who are all at different educational levels is a challenge in itself. Add that to the struggles of Zoom and no in-person interaction and it becomes astonishingly difficult. “It was my first time volunteering at the open house, and I enjoyed seeing the new faces of students who may come to school next year.” said Ms. Grossman. However, she expressed how our current situation affected her teaching style and the ways it may have impacted students’ admission decisions, “especially in an English class, where participation and class discussion is key, a lot is lost in a virtual class” said Ms. Grossman. 

With all the challenges and pressures that the administration and prospective students had to deal with, one has to wonder what the class of 2025 will actually look like. “It won’t be that different than a normal year,” says Ms. Lieber, “On average our incoming grade is usually composed of 50 percent Ramaz Middle School students and 50 percent coming from other schools. This year, however, it will likely be about 60-65 percent  middle school students.” What’s the reason behind this? Many prospective parents were wary of sending their children to a new school that they had never physically been to. Additionally, and reasonably so, public transportation is no longer a safe and reliable option in the eyes of many parents. The pandemic and subsequent lawlessness resulting from it have turned many New Yorkers off the subway system for good. 

It would be difficult for new students, who largely don’t live within walking distance from school, to take the subway for the first time. Especially since many have never even been in the building before. The long-term effects this will have on Ramaz and its community are only guesses and time will tell. However, despite all the challenges, the admissions process goes on and the team is already revving up to review next year’s applicants. The Ramaz Upper School is getting ready and prepared to welcome these students to our school. And who knows, they may even bring back chocolate chip cookies for their arrival.