Young Womens Leadership School (TYWLS)

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Near-perfect graduation and college attendance rates

The Downside

Only access is via elevator; small gymnasium

Our Review

The Young Women's Leadership School (TYWLS) in East Harlem is a safe and cheery school, where students get a lot of support from teachers and top-notch college counseling. Opened in 1996, TYWLS is the flagship program of the Young Women's Leadership Network, a system of all-girls public schools that aims to give students from poor neighborhoods a high quality education. The school boasts near-perfect graduation and college attendance rates.

The former Masonic Temple in which the school is housed is located on a wide, quiet street. Girls arrive on foot from the subway or emerge from cars after goodbye hugs from parents. They take an elevator to the 9th floor and then climb up and down five floors throughout the day as they attend classes.

Teachers are happy to be at TYWLS and work harmoniously with Principal Andrew Higginbotham. Many have been at the school for a decade or more, including the principal, who taught English and history there for 18 years. The rapport between students and teachers is respectful and warm; some teachers go by their first names, like the principal, “Drew,” and others prefer surnames, but lots of kids use affectionate shortcuts like “Ms. C” or “Mr. B” instead.

Most students start in 6th grade and stay on for high school. TYWLS admits a range of students, but serves mostly those with weak-to-average skills and does a good job helping them catch up. By the 8th grade, half the students are taking algebra, typically a 9th-grade course. By the time they graduate, roughly half the students have taken at least one Advanced Placement class. English language arts performance has improved in recent years but math has been up and down due to the loss of a couple of teachers, said co-director Colleen McGeehan.

Teachers strive to make lessons interesting and interactive. In a 6th grade English class students roamed the room responding in writing to quotes from a science fiction novel. In a 12th grade economics class, girls created games to demonstrate concepts such as inflation and structural unemployment. “They learn a lot more when they are talking to each other than when I’m talking to them,” said a 6th grade teacher.

One surprising feature of the school is the menagerie of more than 30 animals living in the science labs, including six guinea pigs (five born at school), six red-eared sliders, a variety of fish and a rat. The animals help the girls “learn tolerance of other species,” the teacher said.

All students study art and music, but Spanish is the only foreign language taught. Students may take Advanced Placement courses in Statistics, Biology, U.S. government, U.S. history, Spanish Language and English literature. Preparation for the SATs is built into the 11th grade English curriculum.

All high school students take a technology class as well as a traditional four-year sequence of science: earth science, living environment, chemistry, and physics. One girl said if she could change anything about TYWLS she would add more technology offerings. After school options include a program that meets twice a week called ScriptEd, in which pros from the industry teach classes. Columbia University works with students in a summer science field research program.  

An afterschool film class is offered at NEP Metropolis Studios, located in the same building. TYWLS girls take part in flag football, track, volleyball, basketball and more in the East Harlem Pride sports league.

Most graduates attend four-year colleges, including CUNY and SUNY schools, as well as private schools like Columbia, Brown and Williams College. A full-time college counselor organizes college trips and helps students and parents complete financial aid applications.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Team-teaching classes on every grade. English language learners receive individual and small group support in their regular classes and on a pull-out basis.  

ADMISSIONS: District 4 priority. Girls are encouraged to attend an open house at which they will be asked to do a short writing assignment and participate in a group interview. Priority goes to continuing 8th graders in high school and then to District 4 students for the remaining 45 spots or so. Strong candidates will have solid grades, good attendance and earned at least a “2” on their 7th grade English Language Arts (ELA) and math state exams. (Lydie Raschka, April 2017)  

 

 

 

 

 

About the students

Enrollment
482
Asian
8.9%
Black
23.9%
Hispanic
60.6%
White
4.2%
Other
2.5%
Free or reduced priced lunch
82%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
97%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
19%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
96%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
9%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
93%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
62%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.9
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
84%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
96%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
77%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
83% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
29%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
41%
35% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
68%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
68%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
69%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
95%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Young Women's Leadership School
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
100%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
30%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
0%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
76%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
66%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
97%
71% 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?
25%
7% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for self-contained students
1.9
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.36
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
67%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
83%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
96%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
100%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Young Women’s Leadership School
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

TYWLS offers an academically rigorous college prep program to all our students.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Spanish, AP US Government and Politics

Sports

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Golf, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, 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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