About Spence

Mission, Philosophy, Core Values

Mission Statement

With a commitment to ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE and personal integrity, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the LIFELONG TRANSFORMATION OF SELF and the world with PURPOSE, PASSION AND PERSPECTIVE.


Offering a rigorous, liberal arts study, The Spence School develops high standards and character while creating an environment that fosters SELF-CONFIDENCE and the JOY OF LEARNING. Charging our students to meet the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship in a changing world, we teach that DIVERSE POINTS OF VIEW FUEL INQUIRY, engagement and deeper UNDERSTANDINGS OF COMPLEX TRUTHS. WE BELIEVE IN THE STRENGTH, INTELLECT AND VITALITY OF WOMEN.

About Our Motto

Not for SCHOOL but for LIFE we learn.
Non scholae sed vitae discimus

When Clara Spence adopted this quotation from Seneca as our motto, she deepened her call for young women to keep learning even if the doors of higher education were closed to them at the time. Today, our motto and mission represent the forever appetite for intellectual adventure and the capacity to chart one’s own path.

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  • Français

    Devise de l'École
    Nous apprenons non pas pour l’école mais pour la vie.

    Déclaration de Mission de l'École
    The Spence School s’engage à poursuivre excellence académique et intégrité personnelle avec détermination, passion et délibération au sein d’une communauté multiculturelle de filles qu’elle prépare pour la transformation individuelle et celle du monde auxquelles elles auront à faire face tout au long de leur vie.

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  • Español

    El Lema Escolar
    No para la escuela sino para la vida aprendemos.

    Declaración de la Misión Escolar

    La escuela Spence, comprometida con la excelencia académica y la integridad personal, prepara a una comunidad diversa de niñas pequeñas y adolescentes para una transformación personal y del mundo con propósito, pasión y perspectiva a lo largo de sus vidas.

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  • Lingua Latina

    Dictum Scholae
    Non scholae sed vitae discimus

    Propositum Scholae
    Pignere excellentiae scholasticae integretatisque propriae sponso, Schola Spenciensis conventum diversum puellarum atque feminarum adulescentium parat quae per totam aetatem suam et se ipsas et universum terrarum populorumque cum proposito consulto studioque animoso ac conspectu omnium integro permutent.

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  • Zhongguó




Core Values

At Spence, we commit to...

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  • Trustee Statement on Diversity & Equity

    We commit to making Spence an inclusive, equitable and multi-identity community in which each student will build intellectual and moral capacity, not only for school but also for life. Spence young women enter the world as excellent scholars and engaged citizens, able to bridge differences and diverse points of view to meet the complex challenges of a changing world. Spence is an environment that embraces differences, honors identity and values full membership and belonging for all.

    Guided by our Community Standards, we stand up against exclusion, bias, racism and prejudice in all forms. While deepening our understanding and appreciation of a diverse community, we recognize the ongoing opportunities and the challenges inherent in learning from one another. Together, we find power and joy in working collaboratively to ensure that Spence is a place of ethical stance and substance, a place in which students, parents, faculty and administration cultivate personal integrity in service to the collective values of respect and trust.

    Approved December 17, 2019

At Spence, we value...

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  • Civil Discourse

    At Spence, we value civil discourse, and believe in building our intellectual and moral capacity not just for school but for life. Civil discourse can be defined as conversations that are concerned with issues that are important for shared or common good. Spence commits to fostering the skills, values and habits required for mutually respectful conversations about issues that matter – conversations wherein students can bridge differences and diverse points of views to learn from one another. Understanding that civil discourse requires consistent practice, we aim to create and maintain environments where we are open to sharing. 


Created by Upper School Student Council and Upper School Equity Council

Gender Diversity

Spence remains steadfast to its mission of educating a diverse community of girls and young women. We believe in the strength, intellect and vitality of women, and we understand that confidence in oneself is grounded in caring for others. We seek to build and sustain a community that embraces safety and inclusion for all, in order to nurture each student’s lifelong development of self, foster mutual care and respect, and prepare them for the future.

Rooted in the Board of Trustees’ Gender Diversity statement in 2018, the School follows the guidelines below with the aim of bringing empathy, compassion, and attention to all Spence students, and to support their thriving in our diverse world:
  • With respect to admissions, Spence will continue to consider any student who identifies as a girl
  • With respect to students who no longer identify as girls, they will be welcome to remain at Spence
  • As always, we will work compassionately and on a case-by-case basis with each family to determine whether Spence continues to offer the best environment in which the student can thrive
  • With the rapidly changing cultural dialogue around gender, we will continue to stay up-to-date on the topic of gender diversity, supporting all our students so they can build the literacies to thrive in a gender diverse world
  • With respect to supporting transgender and gender expansive students, Spence aligns with the approach taken by the New York State Education Department and the New York City Department of Education relating thereto

These guidelines support our ongoing work to continually explore and improve upon how we can best serve our mission as a girl’s school.

The Spence School Non-Discrimination Policy

The Spence School adheres to a long-standing policy of admitting students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation and national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship or athletic and other school-administered programs. 
A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


© 2023 Spence School