Non-traditional approach to learning
Working to improve attendance
Founded in 1997, Vanguard High School is a small, open-minded school where children do not receive letter grades or take the typical array of high school tests. Instead, juniors and seniors present oral presentations in four subjects, and submit an essay, and design a presentation such as a Power Point or video.
At Vanguard, students may wear hats in class, be openly gay or an enthusiastic chemistry whiz and nobody judges. Children who crave learning their own way will enjoy the school's open, liberal approach. Even shy teens often blossom here, say parents in our comments. Ninth graders take an overnight class trip to Alley Pond as a way to make new friends. The school has a reputation for not giving up on teens, even if it takes them longer to graduate.
Vanguard belongs to the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a network of schools that use performance-based assessments (PBA’s) to determine student promotion. While most other New York state high schools require passing scores on four Regents exams to earn a high school diploma, students at Vanguard must take and pass only one: English Language Arts.
“For those of you that think PBA's are easy, think again,” wrote a parent on our website. “The performances you must give in each of the major subjects are just as difficult as sitting down taking the Regents. You have to know how to explain what you are talking about.”
Former humanities teacher William Klann took the helm in 2011 and school surveys show he is a respected leader. Staff members make themselves available before school, during lunch, and as late as 8 p.m. Teachers are experienced and seem happy: on school surveys, 100 percent say they would recommend the school to other families.
In an effort to provide more variety, especially for faster learners, Vanguard offers an internship program. Three or four times a week seniors work in settings related to their interests, such as anesthesiology, fashion, business or teaching. Advanced Placement calculus is offered, as are college-level courses through CUNY's College Now program.
The school's four-year graduation rate is mediocre, however roughly 60 percent of graduates are ready to do college-level work, which is above the citywide average. Many children come in performing at a low level but the staff does not give up on them, even if it takes longer to graduate. "If students want to stay with us, we will help them,” said assistant principal Erica Doyle.
Students who read below 5th grade level take a small class where they get extra help, and struggling math students take a basic math skills course. Students who take these remedial courses (for elective credit) also enroll in regular grade-level courses, such as a workshop in reading and writing, which is required for all freshmen and sophomores. Some children are pulled out twice a week to work in "learning labs" with a special education teacher.
One difficulty in graduating on time is uneven attendance. Parents get a message when kids are late or absent and staffers make personal phone calls to families of the absentees.
Past college acceptances include Mercy College, Virginia State, Alabama State and CUNY and SUNY schools. Students have the opportunity to participate in about ten college campus tours. A handful of seniors have gotten offers from elite schools such as Princeton, Brown and the McCauley Honors program at Hunter.
The school shares the Julia Richman Educational Complex with five other schools.
ADMISSIONS: Educational option, a formula designed to admit a range of students of all achievement levels. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, phone call, May 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Students' growth in understanding and thinking is assessed by researching, writing, presenting, and defending portfolios in math, science, history and literary analysis and working on in-depth projects. Students also complete an autobiography portfolio, using oral and visual components.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English Literature and Composition, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Calculus AB, AP United States History
Boys PSAL teams
Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball
Contact & Location
317 East 67th Street
Manhattan NY 10065
Trains: , , , , to 59th St-Lexington Ave; to 68th St-Hunter College; to 72nd St; to Lexington Ave
Buses: BxM1, BxM10, BxM11, BxM3, BxM4, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, M1, M101, M102, M103, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M31, M4, M57, M66, M72, M98, Q101, Q32, Q60, QM2, QM20, QM3
This school shares the Julia Richman Educational Campus with four other schools