Innovative curriculum with a wide variety of courses
Though the school makes good use of space, it's housed in a cramped, rundown building
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 iSchool stands out from other small schools in the amount of choice and flexibility it offers students. Every nine weeks, students register for classes online with a wide range of options. 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. A recent example is a pop-up restaurant where students drafted a business plan and managed all the details for running a one-night restaurant that doubled as a school fundraiser. In the children’s bookmaking module, students visit an elementary school to interview 1st-graders about their preferences for books and then spend nine weeks writing, illustrating and making them before returning to the elementary school to present the children with their custom-made books.
Principal Isora Bailey, formerly a principal of Greenwich Village Middle School (renamed the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School) and director of school improvement for a network of city schools, sees the required Regents exams as hurdles for her students to jump quickly since the related curriculum does not allow teachers to dive deeply into engaging topics and projects. During parts of the year, students in Regents courses meet only once per week with their teachers and spend several 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.
The structure frees up time for students to take more interesting classes. For instance, in most high schools students spend two years studying Global History before taking the Regents exam. At NYC iSchool, it’s a one-year course that combines class time with an online curriculum, allowing students more time to take advanced classes such as China: Mao to Now and Women and Ancient History.
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, including Advanced Placement courses and College Now courses at John Jay College. All seniors must complete a final research project over the course of three quarters; it culminates in a multimedia presentation such as a documentary, exhibit or 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 student’s year. Many told us they appreciate how quickly freshmen acclimate to a high level of rigor and behavior when seniors are their teammates.
Advisory groups that meet three times per week help students make scheduling decisions and reflect on their academic progress. Each semester, students lead a conference with his or her advisor and parents about growth, struggles and goals.
A fulltime college counselor meets with each family to discuss college options by the end of 11th grade. Graduates attend a range of CUNY and SUNY schools as well as private and out-of-state institutions such as Syracuse, Cornell, Trinity, Goucher and University of Michigan.
The school makes good use of its space on the top two floors of an old, rather rundown building, which it shares with the Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School. Administrative offices open onto a common area, which also serves as a theater venue, cafeteria and meeting space for students and staff. Another large room is used as a quiet commons for students. There’s also a rooftop garden that students tend to during 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 or through participation on campus-wide sports teams.
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 serve both students with special needs and others recommended for extra support by their teachers.
ADMISSIONS: Admissions is based on a review of students' grades, test scores and records of attendance and puntuality as well as an online activity, which applicants must complete in order to be considered. The school is open to students citywide and typically enrolls students from all five boroughs. (Nicole Mader, March 2015; updated via interview, Laura Zingmond, April 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Calculus BC, AP Calculus AB, AP United States History, AP English Language and Composition, AP Environmental Science
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Softball
Contact & Location
131 Avenue Of the Americas
Manhattan NY 10013
Trains: , , , , , to Canal St; , , , to Broadway-Lafayette St; , to Spring St; , to Prince St
Buses: BxM18, M1, M20, M21, M55, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X17, X27, X28, X7, X9
This school shares a building with Chelsea CTE HS
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Manhattan, NY 10013
Manhattan, NY 10013