Strong emphasis on research, writing and public speaking; students learn American Sign Language
Student attendance needs to improve
At Landmark High School, students learn to speak up, reflect and tackle challenging work. Rather than taking Regents exams in most subjects, students conduct in-depth projects and complete research papers, which they present before a panel of teachers for review. The school is very small, and teachers and staff get to know students very well.
Landmark is part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of schools exempt from administering all but the English Regents exam. Eleventh- and 12th-graders must complete PBATs (performance based assessment tasks), which involve extensive research and reading as well as writing and presenting papers in English, math, history and science on topics of their own choosing, such as “Sunshine Across the United States: Using Trigonometric Functions to Analyze Sunrise, Sunset and Daylight Dates” (math); “How Do Gender and Age Affect Prism Adaption” (science); and “The Journey to Happiness in Capitalist Societies” (English).
Overall, Landmark students take the same range of courses as those offered at most city schools, but teachers delve more deeply into topics and encourage students to be flexible thinkers. Projects, presentations, reading, writing and rich class discussions are emphasized in all grades and subjects.
We visited the school in late January during “mini PBAT week,” a time when students in most other high schools are taking Regents or end-of-semester exams. Instead of sitting silently in classrooms taking tests, Landmark students across the school were presenting their work to peers and completing tasks on their own and in groups to demonstrate what they learned to date. In a 10th-grade English class, students were delivering speeches they drafted, getting feedback on both the style and substance of their presentation. Elsewhere, 12th-graders taking statistics discussed the formulas they used to analyze and identify relationships among a data set.
Some upperclassmen were completing their full PBATs. During the lengthy oral defense portion of an English PBAT, a 12th-grader fielded lots of challenging questions and pointed feedback after presenting an analysis of A Farewell to Arms through the Marxist lens, as well as a literature review of her four favorite books read during high school.
Despite Landmark’s strengths, some challenges persist such as student attendance, which is improving, but has a ways to go. Likewise for the school's overall graduation rate, though it is rising steadily, reaching 75 percent for the 2017-18 school year.
To serve the broad range of students in the class, teachers tend to pair students with similar skill levels together. So it’s typical to find different groups of students working on different level texts and assignments—all geared toward the lesson of the day.
In addition to studying algebra 1 and 2, geometry and trigonometry, all students learn statistics, a very handy skill for college-bound kids. Pre-calculus is offered as an elective.
All students learn American Sign Language for their foreign language. “We have a lot of students who are already fluent in Spanish, so we wanted to teach a language where everyone started at the same place,” said principal Caron Pinkus. “And knowing ASL is a great skill.”
[Susanna Tenny became principal in fall 2019. A former assistant principal and teacher, she has a masters degree in mathematics and finance from Columbia University.]
There are elective classes such as journalism, creative writing, music production, drumming, film appreciation, anime, SAT prep and computer programming. Beginning in 10th grade, students may take college courses for free at Manhattan Borough Community College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice or Baruch College.
Each teacher serves as an adviser to a group of students, meeting with them in small groups several times a week and keeping tabs on their attendance and academic progress. One parent said she appreciated the level of communication she has with the school, such as being able to text her child’s adviser whenever she has a question and getting up to speed on the college admissions process.
There’s a college office lead by a full-time college adviser who has a good record of helping students obtain full-tuition scholarships. Students who are not college-bound get assistance finding jobs post-graduation. “We put together a plan for everyone,” said the college adviser.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes and SETSS. The school also offers a class to help students with special needs prepare for the PBATs.
ADMISSIONS: The school admits students based on the educational option formula, which is designed to admit a mix of low-, average- and high-performing students. (Laura Zingmond, January 2018, principal update Aug. 2020)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
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 ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Landmark High School
We are a small, college-preparatory school that offers a challenging academic curriculum with an emphasis on reading, collaboration, and project-based learning. All students have the opportunity to graduate with 13 college credits through our College Now For All initiative. We are part of the NY Consortium, and students present 6 PBATs (performance-based assessment tasks) before a committee in order to graduate. Our advisory program supports a close-knit, positive learning culture.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
American Sign Language, Spanish
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Contact & Location
351 West 18th Street
Manhattan NY 10011
Trains: to 18th St; , , , to 14th St
Buses: M11, M12, M14A, M14D, M20, M23-SBS, M55, M7, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X17
This school shares the Bayard Rustin Educational Campus with five other schools