Harbor Science and Arts Charter School

Grades 1-8
Staff Pick
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Location

132 East 111 Street
Manhattan NY 10029
East Harlem (District 4)

Contact

Phone
212-427-2244
Principal
Joanne Hunt

What’s Special

Nurturing atmosphere and solid academics

The Downside

No Regents-level classes for middle school students

Our Review

Harbor Science and Arts, which serves elementary and middle school students, is one of the oldest charter schools in New York City. It's tiny and doesn't offer many extras, but children are known by name and seem to thrive in classes taught in a mix of styles. The school enjoys better-than-average test scores and stable leadership.

Children lean into their supportive teachers, joke with them and eagerly raise their hands to talk. With only one class per grade, numbers are large (over 30), and space is tight, but kids are orderly and classes are often divided in half for instruction. There are two teachers in each room; one is an assistant who has education credits or is in school studying to be a teacher. Several of these assistants have become lead teachers.

Principal Joanne Hunt is a well-respected, upbeat leader. She also teaches 8th-grade humanities, a happy accident that occurred when the school lost a key teacher several years ago. The fact that she also teaches engenders a "different kind of respect," from teachers, she said.

Students participate in old-fashioned practices like standing to recite the times tables from memory. Memorization is not the only approach to learning new material, however: Children infuse art into timelines, posters and computer-generated brochures. We saw meaningful conversations about books and history in several classes. In a 5th-grade class, the teacher ran a lively back-and-forth debate as kids used phrases such as, "Evan made a stronger argument," or, "She used a generalization," to which the teacher replied, "How does that affect her argument?"

A couple of middle school teachers are former high school teachers and as a result they have their eye on what it takes to prepare kids for the next step, although there are no Regents-level classes yet. "Kids need writing and paragraphing skills," said a teacher from the well-respected Bedford Academy. The 8th-grade science teacher provides hands-on experiences for students and takes them on monthly field trips.

In 2013 the school split with its founding organization, Boys & Girls Harbor, which provides after-school in East Harlem. Since then, the school has been located in a cozy, worn building that housed the now-defunct Highway Christian Academy. As a result of the split, the school lost the expansive Harbor after-school program, but has been able to secure services from the Beacon program for middle school. Middle school lasts from 8 am to 3:10 pm; after-school runs until 6 pm. The lower school runs from 8:25 am to 3 pm with extended day until 4 pm.

As for special classes, the art teacher has been with the school for more than a dozen years and runs a popular bird watching club. Middle school students have gym five times a week and the younger ones visit the gym two to three times per week. Sports include baseball, volleyball, basketball and ultimate Frisbee.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Children with special needs are incorporated into general education classrooms and assisted by floating special education teachers. There is a guidance counselor and a part-time speech teacher. A few general education teachers are certified to teach special education.

ADMISSIONS: Lottery with preference to District 4. More than 800 students applied in 2014 with one-quarter from District 4. When children leave (typically three or four per year), the empty spots are filled. (Lydie Raschka, April 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
261
Asian
2.3%
Black
54.0%
Hispanic
39.9%
White
1.2%
Other
2.7%
Free or reduced priced lunch
62%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
3%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
91%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
21%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
3%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
99%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
100%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
60%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

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%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
100%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
66%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
78%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
83%
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?
39%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
49%
40% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
74%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
75%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
95%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
84%
87% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

Average math score for self-contained students
2.49
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.58
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.41
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.8
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
78%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
95%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
95%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
91%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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