Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

Grades 9-12
Noteworthy
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What’s Special

Engaging hands-on programs both on and under water

The Downside

Ferries only run every hour, few electives and activities that are not marine-focused

Our Review

It's easy to forget you're in New York City at the Urban Assembly Harbor School on Governors Island, where kids trade subways and city streets for scuba dives and boat trips. Students may specialize aquaculture, underwater engineering, boat building, boat operation, or biology researchand receive certificates in Career and Technical Education (CTE) that may help them get jobs after high school. One student we spoke to wanted to be a science journalist, while another was doing an internship with a fiberglass company.

The main building houses academic classes, administration and some CTE labs. A smaller building by the water is home to other CTE programs, as well as offices for school's partner organizations, the New York Harbor Foundation and the Billion Oyster Project.

The enthusiasm at Harbor is infectious. Students gush about their research projects.Teachers gobble lunch standing up between meetings and class preparation. In this rather informal atmosphere, everyone is called by his or her first name.

Some of Harbor's strengths are also its weaknesses. The incredible location comes with an awkward commute, and students who miss the 8 am ferry must wait a full hour for the next one. The last boat home is at 6 pm, so Parents Association meetings are held at a school in Manhattan. Another downside: with such an extensive range of marine-related classes and activities, there's little money or time for other extracurriculars or electives. The school offers either music or art each year but not both. Only one year of Spanish is offered, and no other foreign language.

Freshmen take an introductory course that integrates marine policy, environmental stewardship and fieldwork, before choosing their CTE specialty in 10th grade. Students take Regent's exams, and academic classes follow a standard sequence.

Harbor had a revolving door of leaders after founding principal Nate Dudley left the school in 2012 to take up a job with the Urban Assembly network. In July 2015, Jeffrey Chetirko took the reins. Chetirko was principal at the Urban Assembly Institute for New Technologies in Harlem, but he jumped at the opportunity to move closer to his home on Staten Island. For his part, Chetirko says he's there to stay: "This will be my last principal position, because I never want to go anywhere else."

During the leadership upheaval, many staff members left, and discipline became a problem. Chetirko, who previously led a school classified as "persistently dangerous," made discipline a priority. He brought in a new dean and started to enforce rules, such as limiting how far students could go on the island. On our visit, students were calm and seemed happy to be there. A parent we met at the high school fair said she was optimistic about the school's future, and felt things were calming down after a few years of instability.

While the marine-focused activities are the school's centerpiece, core academic classes seemed less inspiring. Chetirko hopes to bring the excitement of the CTE programs into other classrooms. He also recognizes that the school has always been good at supporting students who need extra help, but needs to find more ways to challenge top students.

Special education: About half of all classes are team-taught.

Admissions: The school is unscreened, and admission is determined by lottery. Priority is given to students who attend an information session or open house. (Ella Colley, April 2016)

About the students

Enrollment
460
Asian
4.8%
Black
19.6%
Hispanic
44.1%
White
26.1%
Other
5.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
56%
Students with disabilities
24%
English language learners
2%
Male
62%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
95%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
89%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
30%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
72%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
40%
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
95%
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
67%
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
97%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
97%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
97%
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
59%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
87%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
91%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Dance (part-time), Music (part-time), Theater (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
85%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
43%
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
88%
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
81%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
10%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
3%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
29%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
44%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
61%
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
78%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
69%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
84%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
83%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
84%
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
76%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Marine Science
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Students choose from one of the following programs: Aquaculture, Marine Biology Research, or Ocean Engineering. Students may receive corresponding certifications for each program, such as Geographic Information System certification or US Safe Boaters License.

Marine Technology
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Students choose from one of the following programs: Marine Systems Technology, Vessel Operations, or Professional Scuba Diving. Students may receive corresponding certifications for each program, such as Open Water Diver or US Power Boating certification.

Academics

Language Courses

French, Latin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English Literature and Composition

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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Location

10 South Street Slip 7
Manhattan NY 10004
Financial District (District 2)
Trains: N/A
Buses: N/A

Contact

Phone
212-458-0800
Principal
Jeffrey Chetirko
Parent Coordinator
Ronni Ettinger

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