New Heights Academy Charter School
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New Heights Academy Charter School (M353) is a charter school in Harlem, New York City, New York for grades 5 - 12, located at 1818 Amsterdam Avenue. It is within the New York City Department of Education.
New Heights Academy Charter School was founded in 2006 to provide a college preparatory education in a safe and nurturing environment to students in grades 5-12 living in Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. Washington Heights in particular was lacking in high school options for students entering 9th grade, so the opening of New Heights provided these students with the opportunity to attend high school in their own neighborhood. New Heights embodies the PRIDE pillars of Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, Discipline and Enthusiasm. The mission of New Heights Academy Charter School is to graduate students who are prepared to succeed in college and life.
As of 2011 it was the largest charter school in New York City.
New Heights Academy received its initial charter in 2005. Committed to locating the school in District 6 where the majority of students and their families live, the founding team delayed opening the school for one year until space was found for the school in District 6. In 2006 New Heights Academy opened its doors in a landmarked former ribbon factory, 'Fair and Square' Ribbons manufactured by Joseph Loth & Co., to 192 fifth and ninth graders. Each year New Heights Academy added an additional grade in both middle school and high school, reaching full enrollment of 750 students in 2009. In June 2010, New Heights holds its inaugural high school graduation. Every year at New Heights Academy the high school graduation rate has far exceeded the city graduation rate. Stacy Winitt is the founder of New Heights Academy Charter School.
As of 2015 the school's board of trustees includes representatives of Bingham McCutchen, Goldman Sachs, NRG Energy, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Time Warner, and other major companies. Alan J. Singer, author of Education Flashpoints: Fighting for America’s Schools, stated that the resources given by the board was one of the reasons attributed to the school's "apparent success".
Charter schools are public schools which receive public funds though operate independently from local school boards. New Heights Academy is accountable to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute and the charter is up for renewal every five years. Students at New Heights Academy are selected through a lottery system and are eligible to begin attending New Heights as fifth graders. Upon successful completion of middle school requirements, students are promoted to New Heights Academy High School.
New Heights Academy High School has many similarities to other New York City public high schools. Students at New Heights take Regents exams in all of their core subjects. New Heights also offers Advanced Placement courses, including AP Environmental Science, AP Italian, AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC. Students at New Heights, however, follow an extended day schedule and all students study a college-preparatory curriculum. Students go on trips to visit colleges and during 11th grade attend a week long, overnight out-of-state college trip. As seniors students receive extensive guidance in applying to CUNYs, SUNYs and private colleges.
Students are required to attend the Saturday Academy to get extra help in schoolwork.
Students in grades 10 and 11 are required to take Japanese language classes. Founder Stacy Winitt stated that the school wants students to be more marketable by knowing more languages, and the school selected Japanese since it is an unfamiliar language to the majority Hispanic student body.
Circa 2014 NYCDOE school assessment personnel ranked this school an "A" school for the 2010-2011 progress report.
As of circa 2014, 42% performed at grade level in mathematics and 21% performed at or above grade level in reading. The incoming class at that time had a higher reading score than the students already established at New Heights.
The NYCDOE stated that the school's graduation rate was 81% while the school stated that 90% of the original 12th grade class graduated. Singer wrote that the NYCDOE rate was "still very high given the student population." According to City University of New York college tests proctored around 2014, 1.1% of students graduating from New Heights were prepared to do university-level work without remedial classes.
It had 192 students in 2006 and 760 students by fall 2011.
Athletic offerings abound at New Heights, including the following:
- Flag Football
- "M353." New York City Department of Education. Retrieved on September 12, 2015.
- New Heights Academy Charter School
- Singer, Alan J. Education Flashpoints: Fighting for America’s Schools. Routledge, April 24, 2014. ISBN 131780144X, 9781317801443. p. 175.
- Yoshikane, Akito. "Inner-city students in N.Y. learn Japanese as their third language" (Archive). Kyodo News at The Japan Times. Retrieved on September 12, 2015.
- Singer, Alan J. Education Flashpoints: Fighting for America’s Schools. Routledge, April 24, 2014. ISBN 131780144X, 9781317801443. p. 176.
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