NYC iSchool

An Insideschools pick
131 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS
MANHATTAN NY 10013 Map
Phone: (917) 237-7300
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide/selective
Principal: Isora Bailey
Neighborhood: SoHo
District: 2
Grade range: 9-12
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Screened
Citywide

Buses: M20, M21, M5, S1115

What's special:

Wide variety of challenging and engaging courses

The downside:

Five flights of stairs up in the cramped, rundown campus

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

NYC iSchool is a vibrant, challenging environment for self-guided and inquisitive learners. Creative scheduling and a dizzying array of course offerings allow students to pursue a variety of interests.

The school opened in the fall of 2008 and has since expanded to occupy the top two stories in Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School, a rather rundown building with no elevators constructed in 1848. iSchool makes good use of its cramped quarters. Administrative offices open onto a common area, which also serve as a theater venue, cafeteria and meeting space for students and staff. Another large room is used as a “quiet commons” for students. Some classes spill out into the hallways; we saw students painting sets and rehearsing for an upcoming performance of "Hamlet." A rooftop garden allows students to get their hands dirty both in class and after school. Although the building does not have a gym, it does have a weight room, and students can earn physical education credits there, in programs at a nearby recreation center, or through the sports teams they share with other schools on campus.

Every classroom is equipped with a full set of laptops, and teachers integrated them into nearly every lesson we observed, from students making history documentaries to lab groups submitting and comparing data on a shared Google spreadsheet.

iSchool stands out from other high schools of the same size—about 430 students—in the amount of choice and flexibility it offers students. Every nine weeks, students register for classes online with a wide range of choice. Students who are passionate about science, for example, can enroll in the required living environment course and "The Physics of Superheroes" at the same time.

Every student at iSchool also takes a hands-on course called a “module” each quarter. Recent topics included "Call to Action: HIV," in which students work with a health clinic in East Harlem on a public awareness campaign; "iSchool to Wall Street," in which students “invest” $100,000, track their portfolios’ progress and then present their decisions to Wall Street investors; "Design-A-Zoo," in which students prototype a zoo habitat for an animal species and present it to zoologists; and "The Clean Water Crisis," in which students design low-cost water filters and manufacture them on the school’s 3-D printers.

Principal Isora Bailey, formerly a principal of Greenwich Village Middle School (now the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School) and director of school improvement for a network of city schools, sees Regents exams as hurdles for her students to jump quickly, and most are offered online. Science and history classes aligned to Regents exams don’t allow teachers to dive deeply into issues and projects that are captivating and relevant to students’ lives, Bailey said. During parts of the year, students in Regents courses meet only once per week with their teachers and are expected to spend at least three hours per week working through the online curriculum. Teachers for the online courses collect notes, give tests and provide extra help for those who need it. Languages are also taught online, allowing students to choose from Spanish (with teacher support twice a week) or Mandarin, French, German and Latin (entirely independent and online).

Advanced students have plenty of options at iSchool: environmental science, AB and BC calculus, language and composition, and literature. Any other AP course a student is interested in and qualified to take can be offered online. Several students participate in summer and after-school programs with universities like Johns Hopkins, and around 30 students are selected each year to work as teachers’ assistants, where they can help grade work, help struggling students and even sometimes teach lessons. All seniors must complete a final research project over the course of three quarters which culminates in a multimedia presentation such as a documentary, exhibit or an informative lecture to families and peers.

Most courses are open to all grades, so teachers offer a wide range of supports and grade students on a combination of skills mastery and work habits that vary depending on the student’s year. While this can mean more work for teachers, many told us they appreciate how quickly freshmen acclimate to a high level of rigor and behavior when seniors are their teammates. They believe allowing the students to work together on projects and push each other to learn prepares them for college and the modern workplace.

Advisory groups that meet three times per week help students make scheduling decisions and reflect on their academic progress. Every semester, each student leads a conference with his or her advisor and parents about growth, struggles and goals. Students also meet in small groups with the school’s full-time college counselor starting as early as 9th grade, and in conferences with each family by the end of 11th grade. Graduates attend a range of public and private institutions such as Syracuse, Cornell, Trinity, Goucher, City College and Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Students are allowed off campus for lunch, but the neighborhood has few affordable food options.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes in several core 9th- and 10th-grade courses. SETSS, occupational therapy and speech therapy are offered mostly through small group courses known as “labs” that any student feeling the need can elect to take.

ADMISSIONS: Students are "screened" for admission. Preference is given to students who complete an online activity on the school's website, who score Level 3 or 4 on standardized tests and who have grades of 85 or above in their core academic classes. (Nicole Mader, March 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with Chelsea CTE HS

Number of Students 442

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
8%

Black

  
20%

Hispanic

  
40%

White

  
29%

Free Lunch

  
44%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.96 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

28 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

78% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

96% 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?

23% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

96% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

97% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

94% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

3% 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?

33%

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

5%

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

19%

Are students ready for college?

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

63% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

508
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

90% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

517
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?

88% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 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?

100% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

86% 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. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

NYC iSchool

Screened

Selection Criteria

  • English (85-100) , Math (85-100) , Science (85-100) , Social Studies (85-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Comparative Government and Politics, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, United States Government and Politics, United States History

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Yearbook, iCare Community Service, Debate Team, Drama, Rock Band, Jazz Band, iNews, Green Roof Team, Model UN, Poetry, Book, Student Government; additional clubs will be formed based on student interest

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Outdoor Track

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Outdoor Track, Softball

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

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