Landmark High School

Grades 9-12
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Location

351 West 18 Street
Manhattan NY 10011
Chelsea (District 2)
Trains: 1 to 18th St; 2, 3, F, M to 14th St; A, C, E, L to 14th St-8th Ave
Buses: M11, M12, M14A, M14D, M20, M23, M55, M7

Contact

Phone
212-647-7410
Principal
Caron Pinkus
Parent Coordinator
Owen Aquino

What’s Special

One on one relationships between teachers and students; sticking to its progressive roots.

The Downside

Too many students come late to school or not at all.

Our Review

Founded in 1998 as one of the first small, alternative high schools in New York City, Landmark has stayed true to its progressive roots. Teachers design and write much of the curriculum, students assemble portfolios of their work and take only one Regents exams. Staff and students are on a first name basis and each teenager is assigned an advisor who follows them closely.

In the past few years, however, graduation and attendance rates have dropped as the school has struggled to meet the needs of a more challenging population. More students are not fluent in English and a majority arrive not able to read at grade level. Some are parents already. We met one 9th-grade mother of a one-year-old.

In 2009, Landmark left its cozy, but inadequate home in a midtown office building and moved into huge Bayard Rustin where it shares the building with six other schools. Trevor Naidoo, principal at the time of our visit, said attendance issues got worse after the move, as some students who had been coming from Washington Heights gave up on the long commute.

There also has been pressure from the city to step up performance, and Landmark gets low marks on its annual Progress Report. The emphasis on high stakes testing is "forcing a level of standardization that is the opposite of innovation," said Naidoo, who after eight years at the helm returned to his native South Africa at the end of the 2012 school year. "We're still subjected to the metrics. They don't count our portfolios. We've done well on those." [Caron Pinkus, formerly a staff developer at School of the Future, and assistant principal at the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, became principal in 2012.]

Still, the attendance problems wear away at the school. We saw a steady stream of latecomers coming in the 19th street entrance where a school aide confiscated their student metro cards and gave them a choice of either after school or lunch hour detention. Landmark got low marks from teachers on "order and discipline" on the 2011 Learning Environment Survey. "It's not a dangerous school, [but] it's a tough crowd," said longtime history teacher Mark Ambrosino. "A lot of kids are learning their social skills." These skills are taught in 50-minute advisory sessions focused on team-building and bonding. "Every kid has one adult who is theirs. That's a huge thing," he said.

Once in class there are some interesting courses. Ambrosino, who has been at the school for 17 years, said because there is no pressure for students to pass state Regents exams teachers can "go in- depth and breadth. With portfolios they show us what they know and they learn how to find out what they don't know." He took his economics class to the Occupy Wall Street protest rather than just teach them a conventional supply and demand lesson.

In a course called NYC Experience, students take weekly excursions to places like Theodore Roosevelt's home on 20th Street and 5 Pointz, a mecca for graffiti artists in Long Island City. They do a final project of their writings and reflections based on these excursions. Students learn to play the guitar, drums, keyboard and bass from musicians from Midori and Friends.

Many students need more than four years to graduate. The school is proud that they can hold on to students who do eventually graduate. There was one 21-year-old senior. Students with significant attendance or academic issues may take credit recovery courses after school in conjunction with the Chinese American Planning Council.

The building could use a sprucing up. Dingy brown hallways on Landmark's floor are enlivened by illustrations painted by street artist James De La Vega prior to Landmark moving in. The building has two gyms but only one shared cafeteria. Some schools in the building allow "out" lunch but at Landmark students have to earn it, the principal said.

After school: PSAL sports teams are shared with other schools in the building. In addition, Landmark has several school teams such as a running club and a softball league for students and teachers. A basketball club meets at 6:30 a.m. Other activities include SAT prep and a drama club led by author Mo Ibrahim.

Special education: There are no self-contained classes "We got rid of those a long time ago, " said Naidoo. There are integrated co-teaching classes.

College admissions: The active college office, with a fulltime counselor plus a former counselor who comes back to volunteer, helps students apply to the HEOP program for low-income students. About 60 percent go to four-year colleges and 40 to two year. Popular choices include Long Island University, Brooklyn College, John Jay and SUNY Purchase. Some graduates have gone to Hamilton and Dartmouth. (Pamela Wheaton, March 2012)

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In a course called NYC Experience, students take weekly excursions to places like Theodore Roosevelt's home on 20th Street and 5 Pointz, a mecca for graffiti artists in Long Island City. They do a final project of their writings and reflections based on these excursions. Students learn to play the guitar, drums, keyboard and bass from musicians from Midori and Friends.

About the students

Enrollment
380
Asian
2.6%
Black
34.0%
Hispanic
58.7%
White
1.8%
Other
2.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
86%
Students with disabilities
24%
English language learners
7%
Male
45%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Bayard Rustin Educational Campus with five other schools
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
67%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
80%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
60%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
68%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
35%
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85%
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
50%
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
3.9
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
72%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
61%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
78%
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
78%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
60%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
87%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 5 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Visual arts, and Media arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Music (part-time) and Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
64%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
52%
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
69%
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?
61%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
18%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
43%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
35%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
59%
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 English language learners graduate in 4 years?
53%
65% 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?
64%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
100%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
100%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89%
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
39%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Landmark High School
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Academic Portfolio-based Assessment.

Academics

Language Courses

American Sign Language, French, Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Softball, 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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