Engaging hands-on work; prepares students for eco-friendly jobs; positive school culture
Student attendance needs to improve
The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers delivers on its theme: it prepares students for eco-friendly jobs in construction and agriculture.
In a program called Green Buildings, students study design, engineering, architecture, renewable energies and buildings management and maintenance. Among the projects they tackle, students build a “tiny house,” a one room structure fitted with all necessary facilities including a working bathroom, solar energy and insulation. All students work towards a professional GPRO (Green Professional Building Skills) certification by graduation.
In the Green Spaces program, students cultivate crops in the school’s outdoor garden, design outdoor spaces, cook in the kitchen classroom and develop eco-friendly solutions to problems such as pest control. Students study agriculture, botany, forestry, landscape architecture and green technologies.
Principal Madeleine Ciliotta-Young has been at Green Careers since it opened in 2009, starting out as a teacher and then an assistant principal before taking the helm in 2016.
The school gets mainly high marks for curriculum and environment in its most recent Quality Review. Its graduation rate has improved dramatically in recent years, though it has high rates of chronic absenteeism.
Many academic classes serve a mix of grades. In these, older students model good behavior for the younger ones; freshmen appreciate working alongside juniors and seniors.
In all classes students have a lot of self-paced work. In a mixed-grade English class, a senior may work with a freshman on a project and shared readings and then each will tackle an independent assignment and books tailored to their skill levels and interests. In math, students work at their own pace—some review concepts with the teacher or watch a lesson on Khan Academy, while others were plowing through problem sets or creating study guides.
The school’s tone is calm and friendly and teachers and staff have put in a lot of effort into creating a supportive environment. Students who exhibit learning or behavioral challenges receive peer mentoring and develop strategies to improve their skills and conduct. For instance, a student may promise to not sit next to a certain friend in class in order to fend off the temptation to talk rather than work.
Teachers also lead four sections of classes a day, which is less than the typical load of five. The manageable instructional schedule allows them more time to provide individualized help to students and to pitch in as a co-teacher in another class.
At the heart of academic instruction is the school's use of a program called unison reading where students read aloud together in small groups. In English and science, students choose from magazine articles or essays on topics they are studying; in math they may review a student-created study guide and discuss how to solve problems. Whenever a student is unsure of the meaning of word or passage, or wants to address something raised in the text, the group "breaches", meaning they stop reading, discuss, jot down notes, and then get back to reading in unison.
In English students select their own topics to read and write about and every two weeks students produce written papers that synthesize their readings. All take a separate class dedicated to writing.
Students take four years of science including a two-year course in applied physics that emphasizes hands-on work and problem solving. Math classes range from algebra to calculus. Statistics is a popular option for seniors.
Classes in each subject meet three times a week for 70 minutes each. This allows teachers time to incorporate discussions and group work into lessons as well as one-on-one counseling with students. Homework tends to be an extension of classwork; students have projects and tasks to complete and whatever they don’t finish in class, they work on at home.
Some seniors take a reduced class load so they may leave school early for internships or to take free courses for credit at CUNY schools such as Hunter and City College. There is a fulltime college counselor and a partnership coordinator, who manages internship placements at places such as the United States Forest Service, Siemens and the Sustainable Directions program. Juniors take an SAT prep class during the school day, where you’ll find groups of students working through practice problems in unison.
Jacob Pickles, a local eatery that supports urban gardens, helps raise funds for the school and provides paid summer internships for Green Careers students.
Green Careers opened in 2008 and is housed in the Brandeis High School Complex. All high school students in the building may participate in campus-wide sports teams and activities such as theater. Green Careers also offers their own range of clubs and activities
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS. The school has an above-average graduation rate for students with disabilities.
ADMISSIONS: The school does not consider grades or test scores. Priority to Manhattan students though there’s typically space for students from other boroughs. (Laura Zingmond, May 2016; updated via interview, August 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
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
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers
UAGC's CTE program engages students through both hands-on and academic exposure to the chief theories, and practices within both the urban agriculture and building science fields. Within this program, students learn directly from industry experts, engage in work-site visits, compete for industry-based paid internships, and have the option to earn industry certifications. All students select their major after 9th grade. CTE Endorsed diploma is available for Building Science pathway.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP United States History, AP World History: Modern, AP English Literature and Composition
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Contact & Location
145 West 84th Street
Manhattan NY 10024
Trains: to 86th St; , to 81st St-Museum of Natural History
Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M5, M7, M79-SBS, M86-SBS
This school shares the Louis D. Brandeis Educational Campus with four other schools