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Our Insights

What’s Special

Small progressive school that welcomes both 9th graders and transfer students

The Downside

Shared building needs some TLC; few AP courses

Humanities Prep, a small progressive school in the Bayard Rustin Educational Campus in Chelsea, provides an academically challenging and welcoming alternative to traditional high schools. Humanities Prep enrolls both 14-year-old 9th graders and older teens who may have struggled in a typical high school. 

Instead of preparing for Regents exams, students focus on research and investigation and the rigors of writing. Students present PBATs (performance-based assessment tasks) in math, English, science and social studies. They choose a topic, write about it then present and defend their work in front of a panel of teachers and outside evaluators. English is the only required Regents exam.

Teachers and students call are on a first name basis. "Every teacher knows every student well," said Jeannie Ferrari, principal since 2013. Each teacher leads an advisory four days a week, following students throughout their time at the school. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable, students may wear hoodies and hats and there is a tone of respect throughout. Cliques are not tolerated.

"No one is really excluded," a student told us. "We get a lot of emotional support."

The graduation rate is high and most graduates leave ready to do college-level work.

Teachers have a hand in designing classes. Advanced math students may take "proofs", a course which allows students to dig deeper in a problem and find the justification, not just doing "drill and kill as in a Regents curriculum," said Robert Michelin, assistant principal and a former math teacher. In "Food Chemistry," kids analyze the chemicals in foods and look at related health and social justice issues. Students look at literature through a teen's lens in a course called "Awkward, Angry or Invisible".

Art is integrated into many core subjects. Algebra students studying linear equations made drawings of stained glass windows, and then wrote equations to show how the drawing could be replicated.

The school adopted a restorative justice program. Students who break one of the school rules may be called before a "fairness committee" of teachers and their peers to work out a resolution. For example, after meeting with a girl who regularly missed the last class of the day, the committee got her help for the personal issues that were impeding her studies.

Computer Science was the only AP course offered in 2017 although the plan is to add more, Ferrari said. Students may take College Now courses at CUNY. Students who want more challenge may have harder texts and more writing assignments.

Electives include Spanish, Japanese, music, yoga and meditation. Sports teams are shared with the other five schools in the building. Sharing space in the building can be tough, especially when it comes to gym access, Ferrari said. Instead of the large gymnasium, students typically use small dance and yoga studios. They don't each lunch in the cafeteria; they either go out or bring food trays from the cafeteria to eat in classrooms or at convivial round tables in the corridor.

"We intentionally do not use the cafeteria space," said Ferrari. "Anonymity isn't conducive to building a stronger culture."

The huge building is in varying degrees of repair: The 6th floor, where all schools share space, is beautifully renovated; the floor occupied by Humanities Prep and James Baldwin, a small transfer school, though clean, has some peeling paint and could use an upgrade.

There is a fulltime college counselor on staff; the 2016 valedictorian went to Dartmouth; the salutatorian to Bryn Mawr. Students from Vassar have tutored at the school and that's another popular choice. Most graduates go to SUNYs and CUNYs.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are two special education teachers and Integrated Co-Teaching classrooms. "Through integration every single student is lifted up," said the principal. "Kids with IEPs learn differently; we try to tap into their strengths." In one ICT math class, the special education teacher took a group of students into a different room to work separately on an algebra project without the distraction of being in a larger classroom.

ADMISSIONS: Half the students are admitted in 9th grade and half come in later as transfer students from all over the city. Incoming 9th-graders are screened for attendance and grades of 80 or above in core subjects. Most students who wish to transfer to the school are accepted, Ferrari said.  Transfer applicants should contact the school admissions coordinator, Hilda Oquendo at hilda@humanitiesprep.org or call the school. (Pamela Wheaton, January 2017; updated October 2018)

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey


Number of students
Citywide Average is 615


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

How many students were suspended?
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?
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
From the 2020-21 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
Citywide Average is 7
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
Citywide Average is 157

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2021-22 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 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


Not offered in 2019-20

Computer Science

Not offered in 2019-20



Advanced Foreign Language

Not offered in 2019-20

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2021-22 school year 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?
How many students who have graduated from this high school stay in college for at least 3 semesters?
From the 2020-21 and 2021-22 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2022-23 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by Visit Understanding FAFSA for help with the FAFSA and financial aid.
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2024 High School Directory

Humanities Preparatory Academy (M99A)

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

Develop intellectual and civic leadership through self-discovery and challenge, with an emphasis on writing, science and math, public speaking, the arts, technology, and community action.


From the 2024 High School Directory

Language Courses


Advanced Courses

Algebra II (Advanced Math), AP Art History, AP Environmental Science, AP Seminar, AP United States History, Chemistry (Advanced Science), Comp Sci/Math Tech (Advanced Placement), Physics (Advanced Science)

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


351 West 18 Street
Manhattan NY 10011

Trains: 1 Line to 18th St; A Line, C Line, E Line, L Line to 14th St

Buses: M11, M12, M14A-SBS, M14D-SBS, M20, M23-SBS, M55, M7, SIM1C, SIM33C, SIM3C, SIM4C


Principal: Jeannie Ferrari

Parent Coordinator: Dilyon Stanislaus


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Bayard Rustin Educational Campus with five other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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