The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
10 SOUTH STREET, SLIP 7
MANHATTAN NY 10004 Map
Phone: (212) 458-0800
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide
Principal: Kimberly Swanson
Neighborhood: Governor's Island
District: 2
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: JENNY GONZALEZ
Science & Math
Vocational
Citywide

Buses: N/A

What's special:

Kids may build boats, farm oysters and go scuba diving

The downside:

Students and teachers must depend on the ferry to come and go

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School gives students the chance to build boats, sail boats, and even scuba dive as part of an imaginative curriculum designed to prepare them for careers on the water. The goal is to expose them to disciplines ranging from aquaculture (farming fish) to marine technology (being an engineer on a boat) whether they decide to attend college or to go to work as soon as they graduate from high school.

The day we visited, a handful of students had just returned from an early morning motor boat trip to the Bronx, where they had planted oysters in the bay as part of a school project to clean the city’s waterways. They learned that a single oyster can clean many gallons of water.

Housed in a beautifully renovated building on the leafy Governor’s Island, The Harbor School has plenty of fish tanks and pleasant sun-filled classrooms. Students and teachers take a ferry (which runs once an hour) from the southern tip of Manhattan – a trip which is both one of the school’s most charming features and its most obvious drawback: Students who miss the ferry by a minute or two have to wait for the next one and are therefore a full hour late to class. Another drawback: there is no gym or swimming pool.

The school serves a wide range of academic abilities, from struggling readers to kids who are ready for Advanced Placement courses. A few graduates have been admitted to top-tier colleges, including Cornell University and Middlebury College. It has a robust college office with a fulltime college counselor, a guidance counselor, and a social worker. At the same time, the school has a special mission to engage students who have not been academic stars; the majority of ninth graders enter reading below grade level. Most of the academic classes we visited were designed to prepare students for Regents exams, but we also saw a shop were students were building a 21-foot wooden sloop.

The school is reinventing the notion of Career and Technical Education, working with the state Education Department to devise certificates to demonstrate the mastery of useful maritime skills. For example, students may become certified as scuba divers (and may get jobs inspecting bulkheads or working on a rescue mission). Others may go on to the SUNY Maritime College in Queens to become a captain or engineer. One graduate went to work on a New York Water Taxi. Another became a deck hand on a tugboat.     

In 2012, the school's founding principal, Nate Dudley accepted a job with the schools network that works with Harbor. His successor, Edward Biedermann, served as principal for two years before accepting a job at College Board to work on developing CTE programs. Kimberly Swanson became the school's interim-acting principal in August 2014. Swanson worked previously at Columbia’s Teachers College managing a teacher certification program for returned Peace Corps members. She is also a 2014 graduate for the NYC Leadership Academy, a training program for aspiring principals.

Special education:  The school offers a wide range of special education services. We saw a small, self-contained class in which student were getting one-on-one attention from teachers trained in the Orton-Gillingham methods to improve reading skills.

Admissions: There are no admission requirements. Priority goes to students who attend an open house. (Clara Hemphill, October, 2010/upated November, 2014)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 439

Average Daily Attendance 89%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
29%

Hispanic

  
52%

White

  
15%

Free Lunch

  
67%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
4%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.80 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

26 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

56% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

41% 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?

31% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

30% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

71% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

71% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

88% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

17% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

80% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

2% 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?

6%

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

17%

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

23%

Are students ready for college?

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

24% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

386
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

59% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

413
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?

78% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

70% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 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 New York City residents who attend an information session
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

Limited Unscreened

Academics

AP COURSES: Calculus AB, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Maritime: Aquabotics, Fishing, Boat Building, Marine Systems Technology, Vessel Operations; Sustainability: Composting, Garden, Harbor Corps, Harbor Seals; Other: National Honor Society (NHS), National Park Service, Newspaper, Student Advisors Instilling Leadership (SAIL), Yearbook

Other schools sports: Fishing, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming

Source: High school directory

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