Community Health Academy of the Heights

Grades 6-12
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Location

504 West 158th Street
Manhattan NY 10032
Washington Heights (District 6)
Trains: 1 to 157th St ; B, C, D to 155th St
Buses: Bx6, Bx7, M10, M100, M101, M2, M3, M4, M5

Contact

Phone
212-342-6600
Principal
Mark House
Parent Coordinator
David Falciani

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

What’s Special

Strong community partnerships, whole-child supports, enrichment and family engagement

The Downside

Scarcity of upper level courses, many graduates need remedial help at college

Our Review

The Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH) is a welcoming, 6-12 school that was founded to provide local students and families with the support they need to be prepared for college or careers. Local nonprofit CLOTH Community League of the Heights,launched the school in 2006, in partnership with New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. CLOTH maintains offices in the basement of CHAH's new six-story building in south Washington Heights, along with a community health center.

CHAH prides itself on its reflective and open-minded student body. "If you've ever been excluded, beat up, marginalized, this is the place where you can be welcome," says Principal Mark House, a former social studies teacher and assistant principal at West Bronx Academy of the Future. He feels that "school should be fun," but first, he believes, students need to feel safe and grounded. CHAH employs a full-time social worker and psychologist and hosts five social work interns from Hunter College and Columbia University; each student gets a mental health diagnostic exam each year, in addition to vision screenings and access to other health resources.

CHAH's health focus pervades the curriculum: Students learn about personal and public health in several classes and older students pursue internships in health careers. Classes are mostly traditionally structured, with desks in rows and teachers directing the discussion. Teachers use interactive SMART boards to guide students through the lessons, and students seem engaged in their work and well-behaved. House is proud of his "amazing teachers," who work together to improve instruction and develop their practice, even over the summer. Test scores for grades 6-8 are well below the city average, but they increased significantly between the first and second years of the new Common Core exams.

Many students enter 6th grade below grade level in reading or math, and some 80 percent are current or former English language learners. Students in the 6th and 7th grades receive an extra period dedicated to math and independent reading each day. This allows teachers to tailor instruction to each reading level, and gives students time to dive into books they enjoy reading. Starting in 8th grade, each student receives four years of Spanish-language instruction, beginning with either a native language arts class for Spanish speakers or a more traditional high school Spanish course.

CHAH has full-time music, art and dance teachers (one of whom, the principal was proud to admit, turned down a position at a prestigious arts school to stay at CHAH). Consistent with its health focus, CHAH prioritizes physical education: Students take four gym classes a week. The cafeteria and gym are clean and bright, but small. PSAL sports include baseball, cross country, volleyball, golf and soccer. Hallways and stairwells are wide and well-lit, with expansive views of Columbia Presbyterian hospital from several windows.

CLOTH helps provide a robust after-school program with activities ranging from homework help to the Grrrl Alliance which discusses gender and LGBTQ issues, bringing in guest speakers from the community. The Food Ambassadors Club put to good use lessons learned from reading Michael Pollen's The Omnivores Dilemma when they lobbied the city department of School Food to serve healthier menu options at CHAH. Working with CLOTH, students are planning to convert an abandoned lot across the street into a community garden, complete with a second-story greenhouse for use as a "living classroom" and a source for a "garden-to-cafeteria" menu at CHAH.

Both CHAH and CLOTH go out of their way to engage parents, bringing them in the building for adult education classes, free evening activities such as Zumba classes and resources including hosting a weekly "farm share" so parents can buy fresh, local produce when they pick their children up from school. The parents we spoke to appreciated these efforts, but were more excited about the growth they witnessed in their children, both academically and socially, since starting at CHAH.

All graduates enroll in two or four-year colleges like CUNY, SUNY, Syracuse and St. Johns. One student won a Posse scholarship to Wheaton College. CHAH provides transition help for graduates. There are few high-level or Advanced Placement courses at CHAH--pre-calculus is the highest math--and many graduates need remedial help when entering college.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: ICT is offered in every core class. Students receiving those supports come in early each morning to get organized and have a period together at the close of the day for extra homework help.

ADMISSIONS: For middle school, priority goes to students from Washington Heights elementary schools and other District 6 residents. Nearly all middle school students stay for high school; other students are accepted randomly with priority going to those who have visited or otherwise shown interest. (Nicole Mader, March 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
663
Asian
0.9%
Black
7.8%
Hispanic
89.4%
White
1.1%
Other
0.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
91%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
17%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
112%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
86%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
42%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
98%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
31%
45% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
60%
49% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.1
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
79% 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?
94%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
65%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
99%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
84% 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?
15%
29% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
30%
38% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, and Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Music and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
81%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
64%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
75%
69% 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?
90%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Community Health Academy of the Heights
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
78%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
1%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
4%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
19%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
60%
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 English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
3%
3% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
37%
43% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
65%
65% 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 ICT students
1.83
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.16
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.97
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.16
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
81%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
96%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
95%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
50%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Community Health Academy of the Heights
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Spanish, AP Studio Art

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Golf

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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