Mission HA R LE M AC A DE MY IS AN I NDEPENDENT SCHOOL (G R A DE S O N E TO E IGHT) THAT PREPARES B R I GHT, MOTIVATE D STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS AT TO P SE CO N DA RY SCHOOLS AND LI FELONG L EA R N IN G . THE SC HOOL OFFERS MERI T-BASED A D M ISSIO N S, C ULTIVATES STRONG FAMI LY PA R TN E R SHIP S, A N D ENSURES I TS ECONOMI C D I VE R SITY BY M E E TING ALL DEMONSTRATED N E ED F O R TUITIO N S UPPORT.
The Bargmann Family and Rafael Vi単oly Architects
Table of Contents F RO M THE HE A D O F SCHOOL
TRANS FORMATIONA L
PR O G R A M:
OR G A N IZATIO N :
Built for Growth
Tobias Everke and Benchmark Education Company, LLC DESIGN
FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL
Why Harlem Academy? WE OPENED THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY WITH A MISSION TO OVERTURN THE STATUS QUO FOR HIGHPOTENTIAL CHILDREN IN HARLEM. NO LONGER WOULD ZIP CODE, LOTTERY, OR WEALTH DEFINE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY. ABILITY AND DRIVE ALONE WOULD DETERMINE SUCCESS. A HARLEM ACADEMY EDUCATION IS RIGOROUS, PRINCIPLED, AND JOYFUL. IT IS A LOVE FOR LEARNING IN THE FACE OF CHALLENGE. IT IS POSITIONING STUDENTS TO PURSUE PASSIONS, BECOME LEADERS, AND ONE DAY MAKE A MARK ON THE WORLD. HARLEM ACADEMY IS STUDENTS, PARENTS, TEACHERS, VOLUNTEERS, AND PHILANTHROPISTS BUILDING A TRANSFORMATIONAL EXPERIENCE. JOIN US AS WE CONTINUE TO GROW. - V I N N Y DOTO L I
I N D E P E N D E N T / T R A N S F O R M AT I O N A L
I N D EP E NDE N T
Independent schools avoid the bureaucracy and entangled alliances that plague our public education system. At Harlem Academy, we hire teachers, admit students, and develop curriculum based singularly on how each decision will allow bright, motivated children to succeed. Background.
Children growing up in Harlem face formidable barriers to academic success, and students with great potential are often lost amid a community marked by poverty, failing schools, and crime. Harlem Academy intentionally planted its roots in an area with the lowest performing public schools and set a mark for success alongside the highest performing private schools in the country.
Harlem Academy was founded as an independent school in 2004. The school added a grade for eight consecutive years and provides more than $2,000,000 in annual scholarships to children from central Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Bronx. Our students come from all economic backgrounds and represent cultures from around the world. What they share is great academic promise, commitment to character development, and the support of families dedicated to their success.
C O M PA R AT I V E F E AT U R E S
Math Harlem Academy Local Charter Schools Local Public Schools
C O M PA R AT I V E P E R F O R M A N C E
In local public and charter schools, only a small percentage of students score above proficient on the New York State Assessment. In contrast, more than 60% of Harlem Academy students score in the top quartile nationwide on annual ERB testing. (Source: NYC DOE)
Public & Charter Schools
Selective admissions Affordable for all families Merit-based staff retention Curriculum flexibility
Traditional Independent Schools
Distinctive Features. • Rigorous academic curriculum. Harlem
Academy models elements of the most selective and traditional private schools while incorporating innovative programming as needed.
Extended school day. Harlem Academy is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., providing ample time for a challenging program, an advisory period, athletics, arts, and after-school tutoring.
Family partnership. Each family signs an enrollment contract pledging to make tuition payments, support their child’s education, and participate actively in the life of the school.
E D U C AT O R S A N D M E N T O R S .
Teachers know each student’s strengths and provide individualized instruction to ensure every child is challenged.
Talented, dedicated staff. Every teacher serves as an educator and mentor to students, and small classes ensure opportunities for close collaboration and individual support.
Selective admissions. Harlem Academy accepts only about 20% of applicants. The decision to accept is based on their potential for growth in an advanced curriculum, their willingness to contribute to the community, and families’ commitment to partnership.
Respected professional endorsements. Harlem Academy is a member of Schools That Can, New York State Association of Independent Schools, and National Association of Independent Schools.
T RA N SF O R MAT I O NAL
Harlem Academy prepares its students to overturn the status quo by ensuring they remain in the upper echelons of academic performance through the later elementary and middle school years, when disadvantaged students traditionally experience a drop in performance. Students emerge from Harlem Academy prepared to succeed at top secondary schools and excel in any path they choose. Overcoming the Odds.
High-achieving students from low-income families drop out of high school or do not graduate on time at twice the rate of wealthier peers, and they are 23% less likely to graduate from college (Jack Kent Cooke Foundation). Meanwhile, a mere 9% of freshmen in Tier 1 colleges are from the lower half of the income distribution (McKinsey & Company).
Harlem Academy students excel, with 94% scoring above the national median in English and 90% scoring above the national median in math on the ERB CTP4. In both subjects, Harlem Academy had 2.5 times more students in the top quartile than schools nationwide.
Entrance Score (national percentile) Year One Score (national percentile)
During their first year at the school, Harlem Academy students average an 18-percentile point gain on nationally standardized tests.
Harlem Academyâ€™s students are primed with a love and discipline that teaches them both humility and that the world just might be their world, if they will choose to be brave. - RABBI HARRY LEVIN
Breaking Economic Barriers.
We are guided by the fundamental belief that every qualified student should be able to access an exceptional education regardless of his or her economic background. Harlem Academy joins the ranks of Harvard, Princeton, and MIT as one of the few educational institutions that admits students based on merit and then promises to meet each familyâ€™s full financial need. All attending families must make a tuition contribution, but that contribution is set on a sliding scale based on income. Broadening Horizons.
Harlem Academy students quickly learn that the environment in which you are born need not limit your achievements. After a middle school unit on the separation of powers in the U.S. government, a grade-five student said,
â€œI want to become a Supreme Court justice so I can be a special part of history.â€? He was not alone in his bold plans; among his peers sit several aspiring legislators alongside doctors, entrepreneurs, and yes, even a baseball player. When students travel each year to worldrenowned Rensselaer University, they design innovative solutions to significant problems drawing from lessons in architecture, engineering, chemistry, and physics. After three days of collaboration, they present their concepts to professors, parents, peers, and Rensselaer President Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson. Students also visit boarding and day schools throughout the year and are exposed to mentors ranging from high school students to Academy Award-winning artists.
Students visit Central Park for a daily recess and often return for athletics, science, or journal writing.
Inspiring Excellence HARLEM AC AD EM Y C HA LLE N G E S BR I G H T, MOTIVATED C H I L D R EN TO R E A LI Z E T H E I R FULL P OTENTI AL . AT T H I S S C H O O L, ST R I V I N G FOR AC AD EM I C EXC E LLE N C E I S N OT A ME ANS F OR STAND I N G O U T BU T A WAY TO FI T I N . OU R TEAC H ER S CO M E FR O M M A N Y OF THE NATI ON’ S TOP U N I V E R S I T I E S A N D C ULTI VATE I NQUI RY, IN N OVAT I O N , D I S C I PLI N E , A ND A LOV E OF L EAR N I N G . O U R S C H O O L C ULTUR E EM P H AS I ZES H A R D WO R K A N D E AC H I ND I V I D UAL’ S R E S PO N S I BI LI T Y TO CO NTR I B UTE TO SC H O O L, FA M I LY, A ND COM M UNI TY.
R I G O R O U S / P R I N C I P L E D / J OY F U L
RI G OROU S
Harlem Academy admits high-potential children and supports them in cultivating their talents. Our students emerge as avid readers, strong writers, and critical thinkers. We measure our success and our studentsâ€™ success with the same metric: the extent to which each child is meeting his or her personal potential within an advanced academic environment. GRADE EIGHT READING LIST
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang Selections from Naming the World by Nancy Atwell Macbeth by William Shakespeare 64% 63% Top 25%
33% Top 10% English
24% 27% Top 5%
Harlem Academyâ€™s curriculum builds logically from fundamental skills to higher-order conceptual thinking and problem solving. We value time on task and ensure that students receive five hours of daily instruction in core academic areas. Trimesters culminate with final projects, including an English anthology, science fair, and research symposium.
Harlem Academy students achieve high national rankings on annual standardized testing in English and math.
The school provides an essential opportunity for children from underserved backgrounds. It is important to see excellence valued at Harlem Academy the way we value it throughout our company. - E R I C E C K H O L D T, E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R , C R E D I T S U I S S E A M E R I C A S F O U N D AT I O N
A TYPICAL SCENE.
Harlem Academy classes often begin with just a pencil, paper, and a great question.
Humanities and Social Sciences.
Math and Science.
The school is a community of readers and writers. In English classes, students explore contemporary and classic novels, hone their writing across genres, and develop expansive vocabularies. The history program progresses in tandem with the English curriculum and prepares students to use evidence to construct arguments, select primary and secondary sources, and analyze divergent opinions. Harlem Academyâ€™s reason and rhetoric course challenges students to grapple with complex issues, while providing instruction in logic and debate. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses 10,000 hours of practice as a benchmark for expertise. Harlem Academy students advance toward that mark in core skills of reading, writing, and critical thinking.
Our math and science classes aim to ensure our students are competitive in the global economy. Harlem Academy was one of the first schools in New York to introduce the math curriculum from Singapore, which leads the world in math achievement. The program covers fewer topics each year to allow time for content mastery and problem solving. Our science program sparks studentsâ€™ intellectual curiosity by demonstrating that science is not an abstract set of concepts to memorize, but an active process of observation, inquiry, and research.
P RI N C I P L E D
The school is driven by the Aristotelian ethic, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Every Harlem Academy student learns and commits to the school creed. Starting with “I am bold and creative” and ending with “I don’t give up,” the creed defines our community pillars: integrity, initiative, compassion, and determination. School Culture.
A Bach concerto is playing. Sixty students in grades one through four silently enter the common room. Each class sits together on the floor, with teachers, students, and staff members forming a circle. A teacher offers a greeting and recites the School Thanksgiving, each line echoed by the group. A community meeting has begun. Held weekly, it is among Harlem Academy’s most cherished traditions.
Students participate in team-building activities to develop communication and decisionmaking skills during an advisory period. They consider challenging scenarios from their lives in or out of school and evaluate the merits and drawbacks of various solutions. Students write weekly reflections and conclude each trimester with self-assessment and goal setting. Shared Responsibility.
Harlem Academy expects a contribution from each student. Everyone cleans classrooms for daily inspection, greets visitors, and organizes common areas. Middle school students also lead weekly activities as mentors for younger students. The ideals of service extend beyond our school walls with each class completing at least one annual service project in support of a community in need.
The meeting continues with commendations. Teachers recount moments in which students exhibited exemplary behavior. Then a weekly message examines an aspect of the school creed, emphasizing the habits most critical to students’ success. To close the meeting, community members shake hands, recite the creed, and share a quiet moment before a silent recessional.
I’ve noticed a real change in my daughter over the past year; she’s more self-aware, more responsible, and more involved. - G R A D E - S I X PA R E N T
J OYF UL
Harlem Academy inspires excellence with a rigorous curriculum wrapped in a joyful and ethical school culture. We foster confidence by setting up real challenges for all our students, nurturing their talents, and supporting them to meet their goals. We work with focus and determination but take time to celebrate each other’s achievements and share in life’s special moments.
Exploring the World.
HARLEM ACADEMY CLUBS
Students develop creative skills in an informal, exploratory setting alongside faculty mentors.
From the day students enter Harlem Academy, they are conducting experiments, writing memoirs, tending community gardens, and debating current events. Grade-six students use the Rutherford Observatory at Columbia University during an astronomy unit; gradeseven students study microscopy and electrophoresis with scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Professors, entrepreneurs, doctors, and other inspiring role models regularly visit Harlem Academy classrooms to complement our faculty’s expertise and enliven course material. Students visit New York City’s rich cultural and academic resources, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, New York Hall of Science, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
There is a joyful atmosphere at Harlem Academy, and the students are actively engaged in the process of learning. There are signs of creativity all over the small but wonderfully organized space. - J A N E O ’ C O N N E L L , P R E S I D E N T , A LT M A N F O U N D A T I O N
Living in Balance.
When you walk through the halls of Harlem Academy, you may hear students reciting poetry, feel the rhythm of African drums, happen upon an improvisational theater performance, or see our latest Lego robot as it rolls past. If you peek into a classroom, a team of middle school students may be leading an arts activity for their ‘buddies’ in lower grades. Our clubs program and flex block offer dedicated time for these activities, but teachers weave creative programming into every class. Students in grade one write and present their own fables, grade-two students exhibit their math skills by opening and operating a store, and middle school students perform their own interpretations of Shakespeare to demonstrate their growth as learners.
We strike a balance between intellectual and physical activity, structured and unstructured time, and hard work and play. Students go outside to nearby Central Park for both a recess and an athletics period and receive nutritious meals and snacks each day. All students are welcome to participate in the school’s Saturday Club, which offers a chance to build friendships outside of the academic setting. On a four-day trip each year, middle school students travel from the city to a wilderness setting where they work together to overcome individual and group challenges.
In an extended day, students have time to develop strong bonds and team up for both work and play.
O R G A N I Z AT I O N
Built for Growth HAR L EM AC AD EM Y ’ S A M BI T I O U S PLA N S FOR I TS STU D ENTS A R E M I R R O R E D I N I TS P L ANS AS AN O R G A N I Z AT I O N . T H E S C HOOL I S P OS I TI O N I N G I TS E LF FO R T H E ACQUI S I TI ON OF A PE R M A N E N T C A M PU S A ND TH E C R EATI ON O F A N E N D OW M E N T TO GUAR ANTEE F U LL FI N A N C I A L S U PPO R T FOR I TS STU D ENTS I N PE R PE T U I T Y. W E CONTI NUE TO DE V E LO P R E PLI C A BLE MO D EL P R OGR AM S S O ST U D E N TS E VE RYWH ER E C AN BE N E FI T FR O M O U R ON GOI NG L EAR NI NG A N D I N N OVAT I O N .
A N A LY T I C A L / E F F I C I E N T / C O L L A B O R A T I V E
A N A LYT I CAL
Evolution is a core value at Harlem Academy. As a team, we are mission focused, reflective, evidence-driven, and agile. These strategies help the school amplify its strengths, while eliminating ineffective practices. Mission Focused.
grade-one students and extends to the head of school. Each student writes regular reflections describing the degree to which his or her actions live up to the creed. Every administrator creates a list of measurable goals in a productivity guide that is shared monthly across departments to provide opportunities for collaboration and feedback. The head of school writes an annual assessment of accomplishments and areas for improvement for the board of trustees, administration, and teaching team.
The mission serves as a compass, a constant guide for making decisions and measuring success. It is posted in every office and classroom throughout the school and unites our families, volunteers, and supporters around a common goal. Reflective.
Harlem Academy acknowledges that every community member is working toward – but never fully achieving – the ideals put forth in the school creed. Self-reflection starts with
HOW DO WE IMPROVE ON OUR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WORK?
• Gather feedback from
• Recognize need for
• Explore best practices
families & staff
• Conduct staff focus groups • Integrate revised
• Introduce school creed
• Record daily merits
& language for character
• Design & test alternative
• Initiate journaling and self-evaluation
The data from Harlem Academy is a testament to the high academic standard the school imposes and the ability of its students to attain that standard; this is a high-achieving school with a well-developed educational curriculum, a curriculum that the school is continually trying to improve. - J AY G O T T L I E B , P R O F E S S O R O F E D U C A T I O N , N E W Y O R K U N I V E R S I T Y
Evaluation and analysis guide every strategic decision. On the academic side, individual and class-wide performance in each subject is measured against targets. More than 60% of Harlem Academy students score in the top national quartile in English and math, a clear demonstration of the schoolâ€™s commitment to effective instruction, rigorous evaluation, and continued program development. From an organizational perspective, the school tracks quantifiable metrics in every department, measuring performance in fundraising, admissions, finance, and communications.
Amid its rigid focus on mission, Harlem Academy takes a flexible approach to programming. The school is not tied to any given activity; it is set only on preparing underserved, high-potential children for success at top secondary schools. Therefore, when the team determines that a modification should be made, no bureaucratic or institutional barriers stand in the way. To the contrary, resources and support are offered to facilitate innovation and change.
S C I E N T I F I C I N Q U I R Y.
Weekly labs spark studentsâ€™ curiosity and understanding of a rigorous research process.
EF F I C I E NT
Efficient is defined as “Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.” Harlem Academy offers a school day that is 36% longer than average public and charter schools, an outstanding academic program, small classes, and an exceptional team – all at 60% of the cost of the average New York City independent school.
Program Management Fundraising
NYC Independent Schools Harlem Academy NYC Public Schools
HARLEM ACADEMY EXPENSES
C O M PA R AT I V E S P E N D I N G P E R S T U D E N T
Harlem Academy prioritizes the efficient use of contributions to best deliver its mission, with 83% of spending going directly to the program. The school meets all 20 of the charity accountability standards put forward by the Better Business Bureau.
The cost per student at Harlem Academy is only 60% of the per-student spending at the average New York City independent school and on par with New York City public schools. (Source: NYC DOE, NAIS)
I can make a gift to my alma mater, but that would only be a drop in a large endowment bucket. At Harlem Academy, I know my gift is going to make a difference in the life of a child. - MARK H. JOHNSTON, TRUSTEE, HARLEM ACADEMY
Early mornings are the first of many quiet reading times throughout the day.
So how do we do it? A Committed Team.
Engaged Volunteers and Philanthropists.
Each member of the Harlem Academy team is empowered to act as an entrepreneur within the school and is personally invested in realizing the mission to the highest standard. The school maintains a rigorous recruitment process and selects individuals with demonstrated talent and motivation. Harlem Academy has an intentionally flat structure and streamlined administration, and staff members collaborate to effectively deliver programming. All administrators have some role in the studentsâ€™ day, and teachers take broad responsibility for academic and supplemental programming.
Harlem Academy leverages the talents of more than 280 volunteers, who work a remarkable 9,000 hours every year and play a vital role in making each dollar count. A group of students from top schools, including The Brearley School, Collegiate School, Fieldston School, Regis High School, and The Spence School, volunteer as after-school tutors. Attending families organize the school library, help with mailings, participate in the admissions process, and support fundraising events. Donors amplify their impact by volunteering as tutors, organizing special events, and serving as ambassadors.
COL L A BO R AT I V E
A day rarely passes without a newspaper story describing the staggering obstacles to improving the state of education in America. While some people feel disempowered in the face of such a daunting challenge, Harlem Academy gives individuals from vastly different backgrounds an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and make a difference. The school harnesses the knowledge and energy of families, volunteers, donors, local organizations, and kindred schools to continuously improve its programming.
Working Together. 1%
Private Donations Tuition Government Support SOURCES OF FUNDING
Harlem Academy would not be where it is without enduring partnerships with its supporters.
Harlem Academy’s team does not have a monopoly on wisdom; the school emphasizes collaboration because diverse perspectives result in better outcomes. At Harlem Academy, examples of getting smarter by working together are everywhere. Our teachers visit each other’s classrooms to model effective instructional techniques, educational partners from other schools share their most successful programs, students embark on collaborative projects with increasing independence, and volunteers make substantive contributions alongside full-time staff members. The people, parks, and cultural landmarks of our neighborhood keep the next generation connected to the rich traditions of Harlem.
As a volunteer with the second grade writing project, I get to spend time with
some of the brightest and most imaginative students I’ve ever met.
MICHAEL GLENNON, FORMER SENIOR EDITOR, NEWSWEEK AND BLOOMBERG NEWS
Partnering with Families.
Harlem Academy views families as critical partners, and parents take an active leadership role through participation in four essential steering committees: admissions, hiring, family outreach, and fundraising. Though participation is optional, a majority of families take a role. Thanks to this strong collaboration, the school’s attendance rate is 95%, which represents 50% fewer absences than Manhattan public and charter schools. Ultimately, when a child sees a grandparent help with a mailing, an aunt chaperone a field trip, or dad speak at a community meeting, it reinforces the importance of education with a power that words may never accomplish.
Harlem Academy collaborates with universities to transform big ideas into practical solutions. The school’s founding team worked in close partnership with Columbia University’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education to develop the initial enrollment criteria and curriculum. Columbia graduate students from the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership join our team every year to conduct strategic research. Harlem Academy also harnesses the passion and talents of interns from Dartmouth University, who work on trimester-long projects at the school. Through a partnership with Rensselaer University, Harlem Academy students are introduced to great challenges facing humanity and explore the cutting-edge science that may help to overcome them.
F A M I LY P A R T N E R S H I P .
Parents are a child’s first teacher; our team works closely with each student’s family to ensure success.
Come Visit IC H S T. N
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I was impressed by what I had read and heard, but visiting took my commitment to a new level. I challenge anyone who is willing to take an hour to visit the school not to be moved by the experience. - MIKE LEVINE, CO-HEAD, CAA SPORTS
W W W. H A R L E M AC A D E M Y.O R G
Harlem Academy 1330 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10026
P 212.348.2600 F 212.348.3500 firstname.lastname@example.org