Julia Richman Educational Complex
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The Julia Richman Educational Complex houses an elementary school, a middle school, four high schools, an infant toddler center for children of teen parents, and a teacher center.
Service is an important feature of this diverse, multi-generational community, so students volunteer their time to help out in the other schools and centers. One of JREC's planners was educator Deborah Meier, who founded Central Park East, an alternative school for children in East Harlem. Each school has a different philosophy and targets a different kind of student but all have a progressive, alternative approach to education.
Urban Academy offers a refuge and personal attention to students including some high-achieving ones, who have been unsuccessful at other schools. To graduate, students must complete in-depth projects in six areas: creative arts, criticism, literature, math, social studies, and science.
At Vanguard High School students learn empathy for others by exploring different points of view. Juniors and seniors present portfolios of their work and oral presentations in humanities, math, science, and autobiography.
Manhattan International is for students who have been in the country for less than four years and require English-as-a new-language services. They learn to speak, write and read in English in regular high school classes.
Ella Baker is a small school founded on the model of Central Park East where children learn through play and discovery and are encouraged to work at their own pace. They take weekly trips. Two grades are taught together (K-1), (2-3), so students have the same teacher for two years.
Talent Unlimited combines a strong performing arts program with engaging academics, preparing students either to go to a liberal arts college or on to conservatory training in musical theater, voice, instrumental music, drama or dance.
P226M Junior High Annex is for teens ages 12-15 who have autism. If they are able, students may join Urban Academy classes.
Formerly an all-girls commercial high school, Julia Richman was redesigned in 1995. The classrooms are sunny and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming for those who like a laid-back feel. Metal detectors were removed when the building was revamped. Hallways are spacious and in some places set up so students can work in small groups.
Each school has its own space and in some cases its own entrance, and they share a theater, sports facilities, dance and pottery studios, a library, an auditorium and a cafeteria. A building council meets once a week to ensure that things run smoothly. Most of the high school students are allowed outside the building for lunch. (Lydie Raschka, May 2012)Read more