Legacy School for Integrated Studies
Legacy High School for Integrated Studies was designed to give a second chance to students who were far behind in their studies. But it had a poor record of academic performance and a poor attendance rate, and The Department of Education closed it in 2015.
Students, parents and teachers rallied behind the school in 2011, saying it improved dramatically under the leadership of Joan Mosley, who was named principal in the summer of 2010. Mosley worked closely with the local police precinct to improve the school’s safety and discipline, and most students say they feel safe at the school. Nonetheless the DOE decided to phase the school out by not accepting new 9th graders in fall 2012 while permitting current students to stay until graduation. Arleen Liquori, who was the final principal at Brandeis High School when it closed, was brought in to be the principal at Legacy.
Housed in on the 4th and 5th floors of an office building on West 14th Street, Legacy welcomed students other schools shun. Some started 9th grade reading at a 2nd grade level; the strongest students read at a 7th grade level, teachers told us. About one-third of the 360 students are either learning to speak English or have learning disabilities. Some missed more than 100 out of 180 school days in their 8th grade year. Half were overage for their grade. Many arrived mid-year; in 2010, a dozen students enrolled after being released from juvenile detention facilities. Another dozen came from homeless shelters. Three brothers, ages 21, 19 and 16, were living on their own after the death of their foster mother.
The school had a social worker to help students deal with emotional problems and a drop-out prevention program that uses drama as therapy. A sailing program sponsored by the Hudson River Community Sailing uses trips on the river to teach math and science. On our visit, we saw a class in which a teacher showed kids how to fill out financial aid forms for college; another where kids discussed the abolitionist movement; a third in which kids learned basic math skills like adding fractions. Student artwork was on display.
A new small high school, Harvest Collegiate, opened in the building in 2012. (Clara Hemphill, December 2011; updated September 2015)