History

This year marks the 184th year of the Transfiguration School. Since 1832, the Transfiguration School has provided educational excellence to successive waves of immigrants and their children – first to the Irish and Germans, then the Italians and now, the Chinese. Established by Fr. Felix Varela of the Church of the Transfiguration as a parish school that served the newly arriving immigrants who were often poor and underprivileged, the school created a melting pot of languages and cultures unique to Lower Manhattan. Through the decades, Transfiguration School has not only survived but grown to be a leader in education and a staple of community development and cohesion.

At the heart of its mission and rooted in the Catholic tradition, Transfiguration School nurtures the mind, body and spirit to develop thoughtful and responsible learners. For generations, the school has cultivated a family-centered environment that has produced alumni that includes entrepreneurs, community leaders and an Archbishop (Patrick Cardinal Hayes).

Over the last 50 years, Transfiguration School has cultivated a strong reputation for academic excellence in a close-knit yet growing community. The school continues to serve a multicultural and multilingual community. However, today we serve mostly the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of immigrants from the metropolitan area that make the school a reflection of the multifaceted image of contemporary America.

This Lower Manhattan neighborhood of old Five Points is also home to many historical parishes and schools such as old St. James. In 2010, Transfiguration School moved its upper grades into the old St. James School building where four-time New York State Governor Alfred E. Smith received his only formal education. Since then, Transfiguration School has doubled in size, meeting community demands.

In 2011, Transfiguration School was recognized by the Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School. This distinction for academic excellence, leadership in teaching and commitment to building school culture within the larger community has become a symbol of educational excellence recognized nationally for both public and private schools.

In 2012, the Transfiguration School officially merged with the Transfiguration Kindergarten School making it the largest Catholic education institution in the area, from PreK through 8th grade. Established in 1954 by Maryknoll Sisters, the Kindergarten School historically provided quality full day early childhood education for working mothers.

Today, the school remains a shining example of a dynamic community vested in the education of its youth. With an enrollment of approximately 600 students (AY ’17) across three campuses, Transfiguration School is one of the few expanding Catholic schools in NYC. It is currently the only Catholic parish-based school in Lower Manhattan South of Houston.