City-As-School High School

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Coordinates: 40°43′44.79″N 74°0′22.04″W / 40.7291083°N 74.0061222°W / 40.7291083; -74.0061222

The entrance to City-As-School (2016)

City-As-School is a public high school located at 16 Clarkson Street between Hudson Street and Seventh Avenue South in the West Village of Manhattan, New York City. Since its opening in 1972, City As School has been distinguished by its curricular focus on experiential learning through internship. The school has been the nation’s leading external learning or experiential learning model for high school students.

City As School is built on the idea that all children learn differently; some learn by seeing, some by hearing, others by doing. The school's stated objective is to help strengthen, motivate and guide students through their high school experience.


One of America's oldest alternative public high schools, City As School was founded by Frederick J. Koury (who died July 7, 2010) and Rick Safran in 1972.

In an interview with student Belinda Day ('10), co-founder Fred Koury recalled the founding of the school:

Before he founded City As School, teacher Fred Koury took students on field trips whenever possible. These off-campus trips inspired Koury: connect the classroom to the real working world. Koury believed that learning could come from sources beyond the classroom. Book-learning, Koury thought, was only half of the equation. By linking experience to academics, a student's educational path was widened.

"Learning is an adventure a book alone can’t teach you," said Koury.

As conceptualized by Koury and Safran, New York City would be the schoolhouse. Their proposal was approved by the board of education; financing for a new public high school would be allocated.

In its founding years the school experienced some difficulties. Entrenched methods had to be rewritten; old habits would not go away easily. City As School had many naysayers counting on its failure.[citation needed] Regardless, CAS received its BOE money and with some additional grants, including the Ford Foundation, opened with a handful of students in 1973.

In order to reach out to potential students, CAS advertised on WABC radio, reaching out to students considering dropping out. Commercials would ask questions such as, "Is your school boring you?" City As School recruiters looked for tough cases and continued to grow.

One of the biggest challenges Koury and his colleagues faced was selling the idea to parents, one of whom called it a "phony alternative."

The class of 1973 started with ten seniors and ultimately grew to 61 students.

Along with Koury and Safran, other early employees included educators Arthur Greenberg, Camri Masterman, Iris Yigdal, Paul Forestieri, Lester Denmark, Pat Ofshe, Linda Loffredo and Dick Downey.

Koury said, "Curiosity is the key that opens the door to adventure. For those first students, coming to CAS changed their perception of education. Students who once hated school had new inspiration and motivation."

Administration and organization[edit]

City As School is led by Alan Cheng.

Past principals are:

  • Fred Koury 1972–1989
  • Rick Safran (acting interim) 1989–1990
  • Marsha Brevot 1990–1992
  • Paul Forestieri (acting interim) 1992–1993
  • Bob Lubetsky 1993–2006
  • Michael Edwards (acting interim) 2006–2007
  • Toni Scarpinato 2007–2010
  • Alan Cheng 2010—current


Students are required to register for an internship each cycle; a cycle is half the time of a regular semester. Currently, CAS has over 500 open internship relationships.

Graduation from CAS is through a portfolio presentation before a panel of adults and peers.

Some of CAS students are eligible to take classes at local colleges tuition-free.

In order to apply to City As School, a student must be at least 16 years old and have a minimum of 16 high school credits, ergo new students have usually completed about 2 years of high school elsewhere. Additionally, there is a required admissions process of open house and personal interview.


Teachers who coordinate internships are called Resource Coordinators, overseeing internship opportunities in the following fields:


Although guided by an advisor, students are responsible for registering for classes and internships four times (cycles) a year. This flexible procedure is designed to enable a student to keep a focus on the path to their diploma.

At CAS there are no letter grades; students receive either credit (C) or no credit (NC).


The main campus of City As School is at 16 Clarkson Street in Greenwich Village in New York City. It has two satellites: in the Bronx at Tremont Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard and in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue next to the Manhattan Bridge. City As School Queens opened in 1995 and closed in 2002. The original school was in a brownstone on Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn. The first class was held in September 1973.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Official website