Landmark High School

351 WEST 18 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10011 Map
Phone: (212) 647-7410
Website: Click here
Admissions: Educational option
Principal: Caron Pinkus
Neighborhood: Chelsea/ Greenwich Village
District: 2
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: SANDY GUZMAN
Humanities & Interdisciplinary

Buses: M11, M14A, M14D, M20, M23, M7

What's special:

One on one relationships between teachers and students; sticking to its progressive roots.

The downside:

Too many students come late to school or not at all.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Founded in 1998 as one of the first small, alternative high schools in New York City, Landmark has stayed true to its progressive roots. Teachers design and write much of the curriculum, students assemble portfolios of their work and take only one Regents exams. Staff and students are on a first name basis and each teenager is assigned an advisor who follows them closely.

In the past few years, however, graduation and attendance rates have dropped as the school has struggled to meet the needs of a more challenging population. More students are not fluent in English and a majority arrive not able to read at grade level. Some are parents already. We met one 9th-grade mother of a one-year-old.

In 2009, Landmark left its cozy, but inadequate home in a midtown office building and moved into huge Bayard Rustin where it shares the building with six other schools. Trevor Naidoo, principal at the time of our visit, said attendance issues got worse after the move, as some students who had been coming from Washington Heights gave up on the long commute.

There also has been pressure from the city to step up performance, and Landmark gets low marks on its annual Progress Report. The emphasis on high stakes testing is "forcing a level of standardization that is the opposite of innovation," said Naidoo, who after eight years at the helm returned to his native South Africa at the end of the 2012 school year. "We're still subjected to the metrics. They don't count our portfolios. We've done well on those." [Caron Pinkus, formerly a staff developer at School of the Future, and assistant principal at the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, became principal in 2012.]

Still, the attendance problems wear away at the school. We saw a steady stream of latecomers coming in the 19th street entrance where a school aide confiscated their student metro cards and gave them a choice of either after school or lunch hour detention. Landmark got low marks from teachers on "order and discipline" on the 2011 Learning Environment Survey. "It's not a dangerous school, [but] it's a tough crowd," said longtime history teacher Mark Ambrosino. "A lot of kids are learning their social skills." These skills are taught in 50-minute advisory sessions focused on team-building and bonding. "Every kid has one adult who is theirs. That's a huge thing," he said.

Once in class there are some interesting courses. Ambrosino, who has been at the school for 17 years, said because there is no pressure for students to pass state Regents exams teachers can "go in- depth and breadth. With portfolios they show us what they know and they learn how to find out what they don't know." He took his economics class to the Occupy Wall Street protest rather than just teach them a conventional supply and demand lesson.

In a course called NYC Experience, students take weekly excursions to places like Theodore Roosevelt's home on 20th Street and 5 Pointz, a mecca for graffiti artists in Long Island City. They do a final project of their writings and reflections based on these excursions. Students learn to play the guitar, drums, keyboard and bass from musicians from Midori and Friends.

Many students need more than four years to graduate. The school is proud that they can hold on to students who do eventually graduate. There was one 21-year-old senior. Students with significant attendance or academic issues may take credit recovery courses after school in conjunction with the Chinese American Planning Council.

The building could use a sprucing up. Dingy brown hallways on Landmark's floor are enlivened by illustrations painted by street artist James De La Vega prior to Landmark moving in. The building has two gyms but only one shared cafeteria. Some schools in the building allow "out" lunch but at Landmark students have to earn it, the principal said.

After school: PSAL sports teams are shared with other schools in the building. In addition, Landmark has several school teams such as a running club and a softball league for students and teachers. A basketball club meets at 6:30 a.m. Other activities include SAT prep and a drama club led by author Mo Ibrahim.

Special education: There are no self-contained classes "We got rid of those a long time ago, " said Naidoo. There are integrated co-teaching classes.

College admissions: The active college office, with a fulltime counselor plus a former counselor who comes back to volunteer, helps students apply to the HEOP program for low-income students. About 60 percent go to four-year colleges and 40 to two year. Popular choices include Long Island University, Brooklyn College, John Jay and SUNY Purchase. Some graduates have gone to Hamilton and Dartmouth. (Pamela Wheaton, March 2012)

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In a course called NYC Experience, students take weekly excursions to places like Theodore Roosevelt's home on 20th Street and 5 Pointz, a mecca for graffiti artists in Long Island City. They do a final project of their writings and reflections based on these excursions. Students learn to play the guitar, drums, keyboard and bass from musicians from Midori and Friends.

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Bayard Rustin Educational Campus

Number of Students 396

Average Daily Attendance 81%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
5%

Black

  
21%

Hispanic

  
71%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
88%

Special ed

  
23%

English Language Learners

  
17%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.60 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

20 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

63% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

79% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

84% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

57% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

48% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

50% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

59% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

51% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

71% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

32% 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?

0%

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

12%

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

NA

Are students ready for college?

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

27% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

377
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

51% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

373
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?

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?

28% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

45% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

77% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to Manhattan students or residents
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Landmark High School

Ed. Opt.

Academic Portfolio-based Assessment.

Academics

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: After-school Homework Help, Culinary Arts, Salsa, College Preparatory Workshops, Music, Visual Arts, Step Team, Student Council, Yearbook, Skateboarding, Chess, Dance, Fitness

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Indoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Indoor Track, Softball & JV Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Co-ed Intramural Softball, Flag Football, Cheerleading

Source: High school directory

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