Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law, The

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

Lots of support for incoming freshman, early college awareness

The Downside

Limited course offerings, some teacher turnover and discontent

Our Review

The Urban Assembly Academy for Government and Law (AGL), delivers on its name, infusing law and civics into most areas of the curriculum. The school was founded with the help of Urban Assembly, a not-for-profit group that assists in the creation of small college preparatory schools.

The school has a traditional feel. Housed in the Seward Park Educational Campus, the schools stately blue hallways are lined with college banners; students wear preppy uniforms of khaki or blue pants and blue collared shirts. In classrooms observed, teaching styles were mixed and student-teacher interaction was relaxed. Some teachers rely on lots of hands-on learning, like in chemistry class, where students hovered over tin pans filled with water and splashes conducting oil spill experiments aimed at identifying factors - rain, waves, objects, etc. - that cause oil to disperse in a body of water.

In all grades there are themed classes, such as the 11th grade government class, where students sat quietly in rows watching a political cartoon connecting Occupy Wall Street to periods of economic unrest in the 1930s and 1960s. In Forensics, AGLs 10th grade science class, students were chatty, but on-task as they took measurements of each other as part of a lesson on anthropometry, the science of human measurement.

Most of AGLs students start high school performing below grade level. Some arrive with a history of massive absences in middle school, according to Assistant Principal Andrea Brand. To ease their transition to high school, 9th graders attend classes in a cluster of rooms tucked at the end of one hallway. They also attend a mandatory, extended-day program, and, with 10th graders, take separate classes for reading and writing instruction each day.

Students in all grades attend themed, small group advisories. Advisory in the lower grades focus on study skills and community service; the upper grade advisories address preparation for college. Graduate students in law and social work from New York University provide tutoring and counsel services to students.

Typical of small schools, Urban Assemblys course offerings are limited. Students can take Advanced Placement American History, Spanish and English as well as several College Now classes. Spanish is the only foreign language taught. Extra-curricular activities, such as the schools law and mock trial teams, are where students enjoy variety.

David Glasner has been principal of the school since July, 2009. Prior to taking the helm, he served for one year as the schools assistant principal and taught for several years at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics. [In 2014 David Glasner left to become principal of a middle school in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His successor Alison Breedy is an attorney and a former interim-acting principal at J.H.S. 218, a struggling middle school in Brooklyn.]

In the 2010-11 Learning Environment survey, teachers gave low marks to the administration. Brand said there is teacher turnover every year, and that the dissatisfaction expressed in the survey stems, in part, from some teachers leaving because theyre not a good fit for the school. Our students have a lot of needs and teaching them is a very demanding job, said Brand. Everyone has multiple responsibilities here. If youre not wearing five hats in this school, youre not doing a good job.

College admissions: Most graduates attend CUNY or nearby SUNY schools, but some have ventured further to schools including Howard University, Syracuse University, Virginia State and Wheaton College. In addition to college-focused advisories, students visit colleges and take an SAT prep course onsite.

Special Education: Roughly ten percent of students have special needs. There are ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes, each lead by two teachers and a student support team that includes two full-time social workers and several social work interns.

After school: Ninth graders have mandatory extended day instruction. Offerings range from student government and academic help to after school clubs such as art, drama, basketball and step team. Student athletes can participate in the campus-wide PSAL teams.

Admissions: Limited unscreened. (Laura Zingmond, October 2011, principal update December 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
316
Asian
5.1%
Black
36.7%
Hispanic
54.8%
White
3.2%
Other
0.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
81%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
5%
Male
42%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Seward Park Educational Campus with four other schools
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
78%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
86%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
44%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37%
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
84%
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
44%
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
2.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
95%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
95%
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
44%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Visual arts
This school has 1 licensed art teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
52%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
50%
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
51%
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
83%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
3%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
32%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
25%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
87%
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
0% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
63%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
84%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
85%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
91%
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
67%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

The Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Spanish, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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