Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick

What’s Special

Supportive all-girls school offers lots of writing.

The Downside

No science lab; limited chemistry and physics offered.

Our Review

The Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice, an ethnically and racially diverse school for girls, aims to empower its students and prepare them for a college liberal arts education. It serves an increasing number of students from conservative Muslim backgrounds--girls who, school administrators say, might not attend public school, were it not for the option of single-sex education.

Founding Co-principal Mariela Graham says girls gain self-confidence, develop a voice and are more likely to participate in class than some students at co-ed schools. And says founding Co-principal Nathalie Jufer, “The girls actively play at recess-–even at the high school level.”

The small size, along with the fact that many students remain at Urban Assembly for 7 years, gives the school a warm atmosphere. Faculty and other staff seems to know all the students, and extra efforts are made to support students from challenging backgrounds. Test scores and graduation rates exceed the city average.

The school’s strength is English and history. Girls in 9th grade feminist literature-–a required course said to be almost everyone’s favorite class-– discussed the pros and cons of women who are not Muslim wearing head coverings to express their support for Muslims. Girls identifying themselves as Christians and as Muslims plunged into the debate, keeping their voices down and their tempers cool.

Students read extensively and do one short writing assignment a marking period in each of academic subjects, including math. Teachers stress the presentation of evidence, pulling information from readings and encourage students to help and challenge each other respectfully. On our visit, classes were uniformly attentive and organized.

Girls work in pairs or small groups on in class assignments, such as determining what factors affects body fat. A 6th grade math class used blocks to figure out averages. When a girl described how her group had solved it, another student gently corrected her: “I think you confused the median and the mean,” she said.

An 11th grade environmental science class had an animated discussion about whether homes made of empty plastic bottles could alleviate housing shortages in the United States. A downside: The school is still waiting for a long-promised science lab and does not always offer either chemistry or physics. Although the school has “criminal justice” in its name, it no longer offers classes related to that theme.

Graham and her staff believe the emphasis on presenting arguments and writing skills will enable girls to get to college and succeed once they get there. An overnight college trip open to all students is offered every year, as well as a mother-daughter college trip. A full-time college counselor works with students starting in 9th grade and teaches a mandatory college writing class for seniors. Most students go to CUNY schools, although some have traveled outside the city to SUNY colleges or private schools.

Urban Assembly offers one Advanced Placement exam in each major subject area and lets some 8th graders take the algebra Regents exam. In most grades there one class with both students who are proficient in English and English language learners (ELL), the largest number of whom speak Bengali, Urdu or Arabic. The ELL classes have a second teacher for at least part of the day.

The school shares its building with J.H.S. 223 The Montauk, with Urban Assembly occupying one and a half floors. Each school has its own full gym but some facilities are shared and space is tight.

Special education: Urban Assembly offers ICT classes with two teachers and a mix of students with disabilities and general education students in middle school and for much of high school. There are no self-contained classes

Admissions: Middle school admission is open to girls from Brooklyn. Applicants are selected at random. More than 60 percent remain for high school. There are about 80 seats for incoming 9th graders and a few for 10th graders. Priority goes to Brooklyn students who attend an information session. (Gail Robinson, May 2017)

About the students

Enrollment
558
Asian
46.9%
Black
18.3%
Hispanic
19.0%
White
13.6%
Other
2.2%
Free or reduced priced lunch
93%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
15%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with JHS 223
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
91%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
92%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
26%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
95%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
7%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
90%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
79%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
9.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
95%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
98%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
93%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
40%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
92%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
98%
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?
40%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
41%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

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

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?
79%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
83%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
24%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
94%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
94%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
12%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
5%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
51%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
49%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
82%
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?
22%
7% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
94%
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
1.89
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.27
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.15
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.09
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
38%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
92%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
100%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
100%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
77%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

The Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP US History

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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