NYC iSchool

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Wide variety of challenging and engaging courses

The Downside

Five flights of stairs up in the cramped, rundown campus

Our Review

NYC iSchool is a vibrant, challenging environment for self-guided and inquisitive learners. Creative scheduling and a dizzying array of course offerings allow students to pursue a variety of interests.

The school opened in the fall of 2008 and has since expanded to occupy the top two stories in Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School, a rather rundown building with no elevators constructed in 1848. iSchool makes good use of its cramped quarters. Administrative offices open onto a common area, which also serve as a theater venue, cafeteria and meeting space for students and staff. Another large room is used as a quiet commons for students. Some classes spill out into the hallways; we saw students painting sets and rehearsing for an upcoming performance of "Hamlet." A rooftop garden allows students to get their hands dirty both in class and after school. Although the building does not have a gym, it does have a weight room, and students can earn physical education credits there, in programs at a nearby recreation center, or through the sports teams they share with other schools on campus.

Every classroom is equipped with a full set of laptops, and teachers integrated them into nearly every lesson we observed, from students making history documentaries to lab groups submitting and comparing data on a shared Google spreadsheet.

iSchool stands out from other high schools of the same sizeabout 430 studentsin the amount of choice and flexibility it offers students. Every nine weeks, students register for classes online with a wide range of choice. Students who are passionate about science, for example, can enroll in the required living environment course and "The Physics of Superheroes" at the same time.

Every student at iSchool also takes a hands-on course called a module each quarter. Recent topics included "Call to Action: HIV," in which students work with a health clinic in East Harlem on a public awareness campaign; "iSchool to Wall Street," in which students invest $100,000, track their portfolios progress and then present their decisions to Wall Street investors; "Design-A-Zoo," in which students prototype a zoo habitat for an animal species and present it to zoologists; and "The Clean Water Crisis," in which students design low-cost water filters and manufacture them on the schools 3-D printers.

Principal Isora Bailey, formerly a principal of Greenwich Village Middle School (now the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School) and director of school improvement for a network of city schools, sees Regents exams as hurdles for her students to jump quickly, and most are offered online. Science and history classes aligned to Regents exams dont allow teachers to dive deeply into issues and projects that are captivating and relevant to students lives, Bailey said. During parts of the year, students in Regents courses meet only once per week with their teachers and are expected to spend at least three hours per week working through the online curriculum. Teachers for the online courses collect notes, give tests and provide extra help for those who need it. Languages are also taught online, allowing students to choose from Spanish (with teacher support twice a week) or Mandarin, French, German and Latin (entirely independent and online).

Advanced students have plenty of options at iSchool: environmental science, AB and BC calculus, language and composition, and literature. Any other AP course a student is interested in and qualified to take can be offered online. Several students participate in summer and after-school programs with universities like Johns Hopkins, and around 30 students are selected each year to work as teachers assistants, where they can help grade work, help struggling students and even sometimes teach lessons. All seniors must complete a final research project over the course of three quarters which culminates in a multimedia presentation such as a documentary, exhibit or an informative lecture to families and peers.

Most courses are open to all grades, so teachers offer a wide range of supports and grade students on a combination of skills mastery and work habits that vary depending on the students year. While this can mean more work for teachers, many told us they appreciate how quickly freshmen acclimate to a high level of rigor and behavior when seniors are their teammates. They believe allowing the students to work together on projects and push each other to learn prepares them for college and the modern workplace.

Advisory groups that meet three times per week help students make scheduling decisions and reflect on their academic progress. Every semester, each student leads a conference with his or her advisor and parents about growth, struggles and goals. Students also meet in small groups with the schools full-time college counselor starting as early as 9th grade, and in conferences with each family by the end of 11th grade. Graduates attend a range of public and private institutions such as Syracuse, Cornell, Trinity, Goucher, City College and Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Students are allowed off campus for lunch, but the neighborhood has few affordable food options.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes in several core 9th- and 10th-grade courses. SETSS, occupational therapy and speech therapy are offered mostly through small group courses known as labs that any student feeling the need can elect to take.

ADMISSIONS: Students are "screened" for admission. Preference is given to students who complete an online activity on the school's website, who score Level 3 or 4 on standardized tests and who have grades of 85 or above in their core academic classes. (Nicole Mader, March 2015)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with Chelsea CTE HS
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
37% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 0 dedicated spaces for the 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?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
36% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
37% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
60% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
59% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

NYC iSchool
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description


Language Courses

French, German, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish, Swahili

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus AB, AP English Language and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP World History


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Softball

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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131 Avenue Of The Americas
Manhattan NY 10013
SoHo (District 2)
Trains: 1, 6, A, J, N, Q, R, Z to Canal St; 4, B, D, F, M to Broadway-Lafayette St; C, E to Spring St; N, R to Prince St
Buses: BxM18, M20, M21, M5, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X17, X27, X28, X7, X9


Isora Bailey
Parent Coordinator
Johnny Lau

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