Emma Lazarus High School

Phone: (212) 925-5017
Admissions: Citywide, ages 16-20
new immigrants
Neighborhood: Lower East Side/ Chinatown
District: 2
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: JILLIAN RAMOS

What's special:

Supportive environment for English Language Learners.

The downside:

Limited sports, art and music.

The InsideStats



Our review

The Emma Lazarus High School offers small classes and a supportive environment for older students who are new to this country and still learning English. Most classes are taught in English, but many of the staff speak other languages. Many teachers are trained to teach English as a Second Language (ESAL) as well as history, science or math. Many teachers have taught outside of the United States.

"We have 18 languages spoken here," Principal Melody Kellogg said on our visit. The top three are Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese and Spanish. Students with different native languages are grouped together in class to encourage them to speak English. In a U.S. history class, Fulani-, French-, and Chinese-speakers discussed federalism and the U.S. Constitution. Most students in the class had been in the country less than 10 months. Many of the students have had low levels of education in their home countries, and face financial hardships as they adjust to life in the United States.

The transfer school shares a building with Pace High School and MS 131. Opened in 2009, Emma Lazarus has a young and dedicated staff and a safe and disciplined atmosphere. Attendance is high, and staffers check in with any student who is absent. In addition to their regular high school courses, students have a triple-period of ESL once a week. The classes we visited seemed to have a good mix of conversational English, grammar, and exercises in writing. Students seemed animated and engaged.

The school offers various internships and career exploration with the New York City Mission Society. After school activities such as yoga, dance class and henna workshops encourage community building and cultural exploration. However, sports, art and music are limited.

Admissions: The school accepts English Language Learners who are at least 16 years old. (Cassandra Lizaire, November 2010)

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