Union Square Academy for Health Sciences

Grades: 9-12

Our Insights

What’s Special

School trains dental assistants and pharmacy technicians

The Downside

Friction between principal and staff

Union Square Academy for Health Sciences, founded in 2012 in the Washington Irving Educational Campus, offers students the chance to study to be a dental assistant or a pharmacy technician.

The school has a good track record preparing students for success in college; most graduate on time and more than half are ready for college-level work. Almost all graduates stay enrolled in college for at least three semesters, far higher than the citywide average.

The dentistry program is a three-year sequence; students who pass the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) test become certified Dental Laboratory Technicians. Students in the pharmacy program take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam in their senior year. 

The school welcomes parents to school shows, piano recitals, college workshops and on student-parent trips to Ramapo, an outdoor retreat center, according to the Comprehensive Education Plan. In school, older students are trained to mentor younger ones. 

The school shares sports teams with other schools in the building. The building has metal detectors.

One downside: only one-third of the teachers say founding Principal Bernardo Ascona is an effective manager, according to school surveys. Some teachers complain of problems with discipline and order.

Admissions: Educational option. The school seeks a range of academic abilities. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, November 2018)



School Stats


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
Average daily attendance
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide and 2019-20 NYC School Survey


Number of students
644 Citywide Average


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

How many students were suspended?
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
From the 2019-20 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
Years of principal experience at this school
7 Citywide Average
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
157 Citywide Average
How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2019-20 NYC School Survey, 2019-20 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more



Computer Science

Not offered in 2019-20


Not offered in 2019-20

Advanced Foreign Language


AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the class of 2019-20 provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2011-12 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

Pharmacy Technician

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students who are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician can acquire certification as approved by state. You will complete four years of courses, which include a Career and Financial Management course, and an internship in the pharmacy area. You will need to pass Pharmacy Technician Examination by senior year.

Dental Laboratory Technician

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students who wish to enter the dental field can acquire certification by completing the Dental Laboratory Technician program in high school, complete four years of courses which include Career and Financial Management, with 150 hours of internship time in the dental field. You will also need to pass the NOCTI Dental Laboratory Technician examination to get certification.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Biology, AP Statistics, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP English Literature and Composition, AP World History: Modern, AP European History, AP English Language and Composition, AP United States History, AP Psychology

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Handball, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


40 Irving Place
Manhattan NY 10003

Trains: 4 Line, 5 Line, 6 Line, L Line, N Line, Q Line, R Line, W Line to 14th St-Union Square

Buses: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, BxM10, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, M1, M101, M102, M103, M14A, M14D, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M23-SBS, M3, M34-SBS, M34A-SBS, M55, M8, M9, QM21, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X14, X17, X2, X27, X28, X37, X38, X42, X5, X63, X64, X68, X7, X9


Principal: Bernardo Ascona

Parent Coordinator: Tiffany Pitts


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Washington Irving Educational Campus with five other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? Yes

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