Community Health Academy of the Heights

504 WEST 158TH STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10032 Map
Phone: (212) 342-6600
Website: Click here
Admissions: Unzoned/interview
Principal: Mark House
Neighborhood: Washington Heights
District: 6
Grade range: 6-12
Parent Coordinator: Aida Crespo
Humanities & Interdisciplinary

Buses: Bx6, Bx7, M10, M100, M101, M2, M3, M4, M5

What's special:

Strong community partnerships; whole-child supports, enrichment and family engagement

The downside:

Scarcity of upper level courses; many graduates need remedial help at college

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH) is a welcoming, supportive school that serves grades 6 through 12. It was founded in 2006 to provide local students and families with the support they need to be prepared for college or careers. The school's creation was spearheaded by the local non-profit Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) in partnership with New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. CLOTH and a community health center have offices in the basement of CHAH's new six-story building in south Washington Heights.

CHAH prides itself on its reflective and open-minded student body. "If you've ever been excluded, beat up, marginalized, this is the place where you can be welcome," says Principal Mark House, a former social studies teacher and assistant principal at West Bronx Academy of the Future. He feels that "school should be fun," but first, he believes, students need to feel safe and supported. CHAH employs a full time social worker and psychologist and hosts five social work interns from Hunter College and Columbia University; each student gets a mental health diagnostic exam each year, in addition to vision screenings and access to other health resources.

CHAH's health focus pervades the curriculum: students learn about personal and public health in several classes and older students pursue internships in health careers. Classes are mostly traditionally structured, with desks in rows and teachers directing the discussion. Teachers use interactive smart boards to guide students through the lessons, and students seem engaged in their work and well-behaved. House is proud of his "amazing teachers," who work together to improve instruction and develop their practice, even over the summer. Test scores for grades 6-8 are well below the city average, but they increased significantly between the first and second years of the new Common Core exams.

Many students enter 6th grade below grade level in reading or math, and some 80 percent are current or former English language learners. Students in the 6th and 7th grades receive an extra period dedicated to math and independent reading each day. This allows teachers to tailor instruction to each reading level, and gives students time to dive into books they enjoy reading. Starting in 8th grade, each student receives four years of Spanish-language instruction, beginning with either a native language arts class for Spanish speakers or a more traditional high school Spanish course.

CHAH has full-time music, art and dance teachers (one of whom, the principal was proud to admit, turned down a position at a prestigious arts school to stay at CHAH). Consistent with its health focus, CHAH prioritizes physical education: students take four classes a week. The cafeteria and gym are clean and bright, but small. PSAL sports include baseball, cross country, volleyball, golf and soccer. Hallways and stairwells are wide and well-lit, with expansive views of Columbia Presbyterian hospital from several windows.

CLOTH helps provide a robust after school program with activities ranging from homework help to the Grrl Alliance which discusses gender and LGBTQ issues, bringing in guest speakers from the community. The Food Ambassadors Club put to good use lessons learned from reading Michael Pollen's The Omnivores Dilemma when they lobbied the city department of School Food to serve healthier menus options at CHAH. Working with CLOTH, students are planning to convert an abandoned lot across the street into a community garden, complete with a second-story greenhouse for use as a "living classroom" and a source for a "garden-to-cafeteria" menu at CHAH.

Both CHAH and CLOTH go out of their way to engage parents, bringing them in the building for adult education classes, free evening activities such as Zumba classes and resources including hosting a weekly "farm share" so parents can buy fresh, local produce when they pick their children up from school. The parents we spoke to appreciated these efforts, but were more excited about the growth they witnessed in their children, both academically and socially, since starting at CHAH.

All graduates enroll in 2 or 4-year colleges like CUNY, SUNY, Syracuse, St. Johns. One student won a Posse scholarship to Wheaton College. CHAH provides transition help for graduates. There are few high level or Advanced Placement courses at CHAH—pre-calculation is the highest math—and many graduates need remedial help when entering college.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: ICT is offered in every core class. Students receiving those supports come in early each morning to get organized and have a period together at the close of the day for extra homework help.

ADMISSIONS: For middle school, priority goes to students from Washington Heights elementary schools and other District 6 residents. Nearly all middle school students stay for high school; other students are accepted randomly with priority going to those who have visited or otherwise shown interest. (Nicole Mader, March 2015)

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 629

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
6%

Hispanic

  
92%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
90%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
24%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.23 2.60 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

71% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

89% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

45% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

73% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

26 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

10% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

8% 26% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

12% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

62% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

5% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

87% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

11% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

4% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

1% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

17% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 629

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
6%

Hispanic

  
92%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
90%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
24%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.12 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Middle school students reading at grade level:

12% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

8% 28% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

32 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

71% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

92% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

32% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

62% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

80% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

59% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

3% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

5% 10% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

19%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

15%

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

9%

Are students ready for college?

How many students graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

9% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

384
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

63% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

373
426 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 513 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

80% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

50% 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 54% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

92% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

97% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

37% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to continuing 8th graders
  2. Then to New York City residents who attend an information session
  3. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Community Health Academy of the Heights

Limited Unscreened

Academics

AP COURSES: English Language and Composition, Spanish Literature and Culture, Studio Art: 2-D Design, United States History

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: After-school Music and Art Groups, After-school Tutoring Program, Community Service Program, EATwise, Freshman Leadership Initiative, Student Government, Swimming Club, Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country

Other schools sports: Baseball, Basketball

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

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