Manhattan Village Academy
MANHATTAN NY 10010 Map
Manhattan Village Academy
Buses: BM1, BM3, BxM10, BxM11, BxM4, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, M1, M101, M102, M14A, M14D, M20, M23, M4, M5, M7, QM21, X1, X10, X14, X17, X2, X28, X37, X38, X42, X5, X64, X68, X7
Manhattan Village Academy offers a demanding college-prep curriculum, imaginative projects and plenty of writing practice. It's an unusual blend of teaching philosophies: Like a traditional school, the kids wear uniforms, call teachers "Mr." and "Ms.," and study hard for Regents exams. Like a progressive school, they have plenty of hands-on work. They may explore themes such as "globalization" and "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" or work in a group on a physics experiment measuring and graphing the speed at which they walk.
Principal Hector Geager says he wants to make sure students get the breadth that traditional schools offer and the depth that progressive schools offer. His students take nine Regents exams—four more than the state requires. In addition, they must complete five "portfolios," which may consist of hefty term papers, projects and oral presentations. Twelfth-graders are expected to write term papers of 10 to 15 pages on topics like global trade agreements. Everyone takes four years of science, including physics. Ninth- and 11th-graders take two hours of math a day, so by the end of four years everyone has had the equivalent of six years of high school math.
The workload is heavy, and not all students can manage it. Geager says eight to 10 students typically transfer to less demanding high schools after 9th grade. (The school accepts a similar number of incoming 10th-graders) But for those who can do the work, the rewards are great. The principal says graduates have been admitted to top private colleges—including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia and Cornell.
The tone of the school is serious but not oppressive. There are no bells, and class changes are orderly. Students wear uniforms—gray pleated skirts or trousers and blue sweaters. Eleventh- and 12th-graders may leave the building for lunch, although many choose to eat in the pleasant cafeteria.
Kids say they typically do three hours of homework a night, but teachers are available to help during the day and after school. "They give you one-on-one attention," one girl said. "It's hard, but it's worth it."
On our recent (2015) visit we saw a small group that had failed the Regent's Chemistry exam working with a teacher during school hours for extra help. Teachers have incorporated SAT prep into all grades. The school also offers eight Advanced Placement classes.
It's a small school, with only 100 students in each grade, and the principal knows every student by name. A "no excuses" leader, he waits at the top of the stairs in the morning to confront tardy students. Manhattan Village seems to have a knack for taking kids who were only average or even below-average students in middle school and helping them succeed in high school. "If the kids have good attendance, we can work around the academics," Geager said. Most students come from Inwood, Washington Heights, the Upper West Side and the Bronx. (Although Manhattan Village Academy is physically located in District 2, it does not give preference to District 2 students.)
Gaeger is open to ideas new teachers bring but has little patience with those unwilling to change practice if needed. A young teacher said, "It's very structured, but that makes it better." Teachers have pioneered new ideas here, such as Delta Math, an online tool created by teacher Zach Korzyk.
The school has a full-time college counselor. Eighty-five percent of graduates enrolled in college within six months of graduation, according to the school's 2014 School Quality Guide.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers SETSS and ICT classes.
ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide who score at least Level 2 on standardized tests, have good attendance and have grades of at least 85 in academic subjects. More than 4,000 apply. Incoming students must commit to a four-week summer program in July. "Attendance is the number one factor" for admissions, said the principal. (Clara Hemphill, October 2011; Lydie Raschka, March 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 415
Average Daily Attendance 97%
Metal detectors? No
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.70 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Safety & vibe
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average english class20 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?
How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?53% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?58% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?
How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?95% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How Many Students are Chronically Absent?1% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Class of 2014
How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?93%
Is the guidance counseling helpful?
How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?67% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
Programs and Admissions
School admission priorities:
- Open to New York City residents
Manhattan Village Academy
Rigorous core curriculum based on four years of Math, Science, English and History.
- English (Scores 80-100) , Math (Scores 80-100) , Science (Scores 80-100) , Social Studies (Scores 80-100)
- Math Levels: Levels 2.0-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 2.0-4.5
There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information
AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus, Economics, English, European History, Psychology, United States History, World History
EXTRACURRICULAR: Art, Book, Chess, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Creative Writing and Journalism, Delta Club, Instrumental Music, Manhattan Village Academy (MVA) Spirit Week, Mole Day, Music Composition, Pi Day, Science Fair, Student Council, Tour Guide
BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball
GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Softball