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: Lower Manhattan
District:2
Grade range: 9-12
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Screened
Citywide

Buses: M20, M21, M5

What's special:

Imaginative and creative projects along with computerized test prep

The downside:

Rundown building with no gym

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

UPDATE DECEMBER 2012: Founding principal Alisa Berger left the school at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Replacing her as principal is Isora Bailey. She was formerly a principal at the Greenwich Village Middle School (now the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School) and the director of school improvement for one of the Education Department's Children First Networks that supports the city schools. She has a masters in education from Harvard and attended the NYC Leadership Academy, a training program for new principals.

2011 REVIEW: The NYCiSchool was founded as a way to offer both the creative projects that kids find engaging and the test prep they need to pass Regents exams.  Too often, schools offer only one or the other, says Principal Alisa Berger.

"There are test prep factories where kids get diplomas but don't actually learn anything, and there are places where they do creative work and ignore the tests, but then they struggle to graduate," she says. “We decided it was an irresolvable dilemma to do both in one class, so we separate them."

In the project-based courses, called modules, students learn both academic and real-world skills. In the one module, students performed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In another, they made a documentary about being 16. Students also learn to compose music, edit videos, and work with architects to design and seek funding for a green roof.

The Regents prep courses, separate from the modules, may be organized as a traditional class or a self-paced computer program.

The computer programs, which offer video clips of teachers lecturing as well as multiple choice questions, focus on "facts you need to know to memorize to pass the Regents," Berger said. Each student may work through the program at his or her own speed; a student may stop the lecture to take notes or repeat an unclear passage. Some students are prepared to take a Regents exam after just six months of study, while others may take as long as 18 months.  NYCi school also offers five Advanced Placement courses: Biology, US History, Government, Calculus and English Language and Composition.

Berger, formerly principal of Mott Hall II, a middle school on the Upper West Side, believes the transition to high school should be gentle, and offers as much support to ninth graders as possible. Ninth graders, she says, have more in common developmentally with middle school children than with older high school children.

The organization of the school and the use of computer-based instruction makes it possible to accommodate English Language Learners and children with special education needs because each child's program is geared to what he or she needs. Berger said a child who is too shy to speak in class, or a child with autism, might respond to a teacher's query by posting a comment on an online "discussion board" in the evening. The next day, the teacher may read that comment out loud to the class - allowing a child who might otherwise be excluded to take part in a discussion. A child who had "language processing issues" dictated an essay into a computer, which automatically-typed a first draft which the child then edited.

We also observed one classroom where the students interacted with their teacher by video conference. Students sat around a table reading aloud from a Shakespeare play, while the teacher’s face was projected onto a smart board in the classroom. Their interaction was just like any other classroom, with the principal sitting in on the lesson to make sure the students were well behaved.

Regular classroom teachers offer French, Spanish and Mandarin, and their lessons are supplemented by compact discs produced by the Rosetta Stone company. Students who want to study less common languages, including Polish, German and Swedish, may use a self-directed Rosetta Stone program. Similarly, two students who speak a language other than English at home were perfecting their English with a Rosetta Stone program, Berger said.

The NYCiSchool opened with 100 ninth graders in the fall of 2008 and has since expanded to occupy two stories in the Chelsea Career and Technical High School, a rather rundown building constructed in 1848. Relations between the two schools in the building are cordial. The building has a tiny cafeteria and a small auditorium, but NYCi school added a top-notch laboratory as they expanded. There is no gym; physical education classes are held in a nearby recreation center. Some kids take dance classes after school, others get phys ed credit by biking with their parents.

The school, just a few blocks north of Canal Street, is convenient to many subway lines including the A, C, E, and 6 trains.

Special Education: The school offers Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT), Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) and plans to open a self-contained class for special needs children.  The staff works to meet the needs of all students in the general classrooms, according to the principals, including a few who are on the autism spectrum.

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. (Clara Hemphill, 2009; Tom Jacobs, May 2011)

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 433

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
10%

Black

  
18%

Hispanic

  
42%

White

  
27%

Free Lunch

  
46%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
1%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.30 2.80 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

69 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 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

94% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

NA 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

95% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

NA 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

NA 11% 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?

25%

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

18%

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

15%

Are students ready for college?

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

82% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

517
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 0 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

NA

SAT math scores

540
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 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 starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

NA 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

NA 53% 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 starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

NYC iSchool

Screened

Selection Criteria

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

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

Academics

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

Online: N/A

Language classes: French, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Yearbook, iCare Community Service, Debate Team, Drama Club, Rock Band, Jazz Band, iNews, Green Roof Team, Model UN, Poetry Club, Book Club, 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

Other schools sports: N/A

Source: High school directory

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