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Tag Young Scholars

Grades: K-8
Staff Pick
240 East 109th Street
Manhattan NY 10029
Phone: 212-860-6003

Our Insights

What’s Special

Engaging classes in citywide program for gifted children

The Downside

Very limited sports

The most diverse of the citywide gifted programs, Talented and Gifted Young Scholars (TAG) has a mix of black, Latino, Asian, and white pupils. The school also has a diverse teaching staff, so children have role models of different races. Neat red-plaid uniforms, cheery classrooms and engaging lessons are hallmarks of this warm and orderly school. Principal Janette Cesar knows every child by name, even down to who has which allergies. Children come from as far away as the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

Lessons are fast-paced and demanding. All children are expected to read at home for at least 45 minutes a night. In addition, kindergartners typically have a half hour of homework, 5th-graders have one-and-a-half hours, and middle schoolers have up to two hours each night. Homework packets are assigned on all holidays and during summer break. The quality of writing we saw was good: Children write long essays on topics ranging from Tom Sawyer to the history of the robber barons and civil disobedience.

It's long been a traditional school, with plenty of emphasis on grammar and spelling (1st-graders learn about nouns and adjectives), drills in the multiplication tables, and Latin classes (that teach children the roots of many English words).

But it's also a school where kindergartners create a restaurant in the class and learn computer coding. Everyone goes on class trips to pick apples in the countryside or to take a Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. The school is shifting away from teacher-directed lessons and toward more class discussions.

"Whoever is doing the talking is doing the learning," Cesar told us.

Rather than relying on one math program, teachers combine the best of a number of programs including Math in Focus (the American version of Singapore math) and Go Math. One 6th-grade math teacher we saw had children make up their own word problems as an exercise to see if they understood a lesson on multiplying fractions. Strong math students may accelerate: A 1st-grader may go to the 3rd grade for math. Children in grades 4-8 may take part in the American Math Competitions club after school.

Most 8th-graders graduate with four Regents exams under their belt, including English, American History, algebra, and living environment. Spanish is also an option. Children study art, as well as rhythm, movement and singing in music classes in grades K-3. In 4th grade they study recorder; in 5th, a band instrument. TAG has a Latin Jazz Ensemble and a middle school band. In recent years, 3rd graders studied dance.

Children in kindergarten through 8th grade may attend an on-site Y after-school program that also offers all-day activities during the summer, school vacations, and holidays. 

TAG middle-school teachers trained with Kaplan do test prep for the specialized high schools starting in the 7th grade. A vibrant PTA raises funds to supplement electives for a free and fee-based afterschool that changes year-to-year but may include chess, piano, debate, Mandarin and theater.  

With so much attention paid to academics and arts, however, some students (particularly active kids) may find there are too few physical outlets outside of gym class.

Many 8th-graders go on to specialized high schools, while others receive financial support to attend private institutions and boarding schools such as Little Red School House, Phillips Academy Andover (in Massachusetts), and the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Other popular choices are Talent Unlimited and Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics.

The school, which has long attracted some of the most talented black and Latino children in the city, was founded as a small alternative program in 1989 and became a full-fledged school in 2004. It had its own admissions test until 2008, when then-schools chancellor Joel Klein centralized admissions to citywide G&T programs. Since then, white and Asian families have enrolled their children in the school, which once served almost exclusively black and Latino children.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: TAG has Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS), and related services as needed such as speech and occupational therapy.

ADMISSIONS: To apply to elementary Gifted and Talented programs see the Department of Education's G&T page for guidelines. Only a handful of seats are open in the upper grades. Students apply to 6th grade via the regular middle school admissions process (they rank the school on the middle school application); students are randomly selected. (Jacqueline Wayans and Clara Hemphill, November 2013; updated October 2020; admissions update 2022)

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
32% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
84% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
82% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
42% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
43% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
34% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
56% Citywide Average

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
39% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
90% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
16% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
19% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
13% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
11% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


East Harlem (District 4)
Trains: 6 Line to 110th St
Buses: M1, M101, M102, M103, M106, M116, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M4, M96, M98


Jonathan Dascal
Parent Coordinator
Daniel Johnson

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with Esperanza Prep
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?

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