High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice

Phone: (212) 501-1201
Website: Click here
Admissions: Ed opt.
Wheelchair accessible
Principal: Doreen Conwell
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District: 3
Grade range: 09 thru 12

What's special:

Lawyers teach classes in English and history.

The downside:

Metal detectors; few advanced courses.

The InsideStats



Our review

The vision: Lessons in English and history incorporate legal concepts.

The reality: At this small school, housed in the Martin Luther King Educational Complex, students may discuss legal concepts in the Greek play Antigone or consider whether cyberbullying is a crime. Several teachers are also lawyers, and we heard some interesting class discussions the day of our visit.

The legal theme isn’t as strong as it was when the school was first founded in 2002: there is no longer space for a mock courtroom, for example. Still, there are courses designed to teach students about public affairs, such as a course in community issues that explains how city government works. Students may visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of a global history unit on Ancient Greece and Rome. The school offers calculus and Advanced Placement English but it does not offer physics or many advanced courses.

Students may take part in the many sports teams on the Martin Luther King campus.

While most students say they feel safe in class, there are some complaints about fights in the building. About one-quarter of students say they don’t feel safe in bathrooms or locker rooms; about half the students complain about the cleanliness of their school, according to the Learning Environment Survey. The school seemed calm the day of our visit. Students must pass through metals detector to enter the building.

Doreen Conwell, a long-time assistant principal, was named principal in 2011 after her predecessor, Miriam Nightengale left to lead Columbia Secondary School.

Special education: The school offers self-contained classes and Special Education Student Support Services (SETSS).

College admissions: While most students attend CUNY and SUNY schools, teachers encourage them to apply to their “dream” schools and some graduates have been admitted to Cornell, NYU, PACE and Penn State, teachers said.

Admissions: Educational option formula designed to ensure a mix of low-, average and high achieving students. (Clara Hemphill, January 2012)


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