Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School

433 W 204th Street
MANHATTAN NY 10034 Map
Phone: (646) 665-5570
Website: Click here
Principal: Ryan Mccabe
Neighborhood: Washington Heights
District: 6
Grade range: 5-8
Unzoned
Charter School

What's special:

Students study one theme in depth

The downside:

Cramped quarters, lack of play space and uncertain future location

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

A can-do energy permeates Inwood Academy for Leadership, a small, growing charter school located in a long, low portable behind PS 152. Bright blue trim offsets crisp white walls and matches the polo shirts worn by every student. An outdoor space where kids eat on nice days has the ambience of a garden cafe. A knowledgeable, racially diverse staff works hard to engage every student. The school opened with 5th graders in 2010 and will expand by one grade per year.

Principal Christina Reyes was a middle school teacher at a nearby parochial school, Manhattan Christian Academy. As an after-school tutor for local kids she noticed a lag in their skills and was inspired to offer a different kind of public school choice. She looks for experienced teachers familiar with her student population and cultivates leadership: a skilled communicator became the dean of students; an accomplished math teacher became a part-time math coach.

The staff–all “type A” personalities, according to Reyes–does pretty well with their limited space. During free periods, specialty teachers work unobtrusively behind dividers that separate them from students. The “Art Taxi” and the piano are on wheels so they can be pushed from room to room. Class and activity changes are swift. Skilled teachers draw on tricks of the trade, like “thumbs up if you agree!” and calling on students at random to keep them alert.

Concerned about below-average scores on state English exams in the school’s first year, Reyes and her staff regrouped. The school uses the Core Knowledge curriculum based on the work of E.D. Hirsch, author of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. It became apparent, however, that the curriculum was too difficult because it builds grade-by-grade beginning in kindergarten—incoming 5th graders were at a disadvantage. “We tried to push too far too quickly,” Reyes explained. To boost reading skills teachers adopted the 100 Book Challenge by the American Reading Company to get kids reading books according to their abilities.

New teachers will continue to receive three weeks of training in Core Knowledge in the summer and will overlap with experienced teachers who will return for an additional week each year. Core Knowledge themes will be followed. So if an English class is reading and writing about the Holocaust, they will also study religions in social studies and depict religious symbols in art.

Teachers still tackle challenging books but at a slower pace. An English teacher read portions of Eli Wiesel’s Night out loud to capture the spirit of the book, stopping to define words. “We never want to dumb it down,” said Reyes. “We want them to be exposed to all that’s good in the world.”

Kids are divided into “houses” of about 60 students each. Half spend 100 minutes in math/science while the other half is in reading/writing and then they switch. A Louis Calder Foundation grant helps fund teacher training, books, globes, maps and other resources. A free afterschool program is available.

The school’s future location is uncertain. In 2012, the school hopes to rent rooms from a local Catholic school, which means it will be in two locations. Eventually administrators would like to lease one space.

Special education: The school offers a range of special education services. To the greatest extent possible, children in self-contained classrooms join those in team-taught (ICT) rooms that have a mix of special and general education students.

Admissions: By lottery. Preference is given to children residing in District 6.  Check the school's website for more information. (Lydie Raschka, October 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 152

Number of Students 447

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
6%

Hispanic

  
91%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
78%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
16%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.43 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?

65% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

79% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

65% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

54% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

71% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

83% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

89% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

16% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

18% 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

42% 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:

17% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

16% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

NA 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:

0% 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:

2% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

2% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

14% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 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:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Comments

Please post comments

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't)
  • No profanity. No racial or ethnic slurs. No personal attacks
  • Criticism is fine but don't be nasty.
  • Flag inappropriate comments. (Hover your cursor over comments to see flag)