The High School For Language And Diplomacy
International trips; extensive language instruction
Students complain about the building's scanning system
UPDATE 2014:Amber Najmi-Shadid, a former assistant principal at Brandeis High School, became principal of the High School of Language and Diplomacy in 2013.
2010 REVIEW:The High School of Language and Diplomacy is designed to offer students four years of Chinese, French or Arabic; to give them a chance to travel abroad; and to introduce them to activities such as Model United Nations. In its first year, several dozen students traveled to Istanbul for a 10-day trip. The school is planning student exchanges with sister schools in India and China.
The High School for Language and Diplomacy is a partnership between the city Department of Education and the Asia Society, which has sponsored a network of high schools to foster international relations. The school opened with a ninth grade class in 2009 on the sixth floor of Washington Irving High School, a cavernous building that also houses Gramercy Arts. At the time of our visit, the halls were bare, apparently because teachers didnt want to decorate temporary quarters. The school felt new, and it is too soon to say whether it will succeed. Still, classes were filled with engaged and interested students. In both French and Chinese classes, students were speaking the languagenot working on worksheets or chatting in English. Principal Santiago Mayol seemed passionate and enthusiastic as he walked into classes, sitting next to students to help them individually.
The first period, Embassy Program, includes advisory, Model UN preparations, cultural diplomacy and college prep. Students have the same Embassy Program teacher for four years. Wednesdays are elective days and students take only elective classes, including human geography, psychology, photography and academic help, if needed, then finish the day at 1:05. The philosophy is not, Lets get you to pass the test, but lets prepare you for life, Mayol said. Students stay afterschool and they come early. It sets the tone that this is [their] space.
The new school had a rocky first year. The founding principal, responsible for designing the school, left in August 2009, just before the school opened. Staff complained that Mayol, who replaced him, did not make his expectations clear and that order and discipline were uneven, according to DOE surveys.There was a significant amount of teacher turnover the first year, but Mayolwas confident the school was on the upswing. [In October 2012, Mayol was arrested on charges of shoplifting from Home Depot. He remained at the school during the 2012-2013 school year andAmber Najmi-Shadid became principal in 2013.]
Special education: The school offers integrated Collaborative Team Teaching classes and additional studio classes for English and math, designed to target specific skills. Classes are scheduled in free periods before or after the normal school day and are required for some students but open to all who are interested.
Admissions: Priority to those who attend a school fair. Prospective students are encouraged to visit and sit in on a class. (Aryn Bloodworth, October 2010; updated December 2014)
About the students
About the school
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About the teachers
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Programs and Admissions
Arabic, French, German, Mandarin
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP U.S. Government and Politics
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Handball, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Softball, Volleyball
Manhattan NY 10003