Young Women's Leadership School (TYWLS)

Grades: 6-12
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed

Our Insights

What’s Special

Near-perfect graduation and college attendance rates

The Downside

Only access is via elevator; small gymnasium

The Young Women's Leadership School (TYWLS) in East Harlem is a safe and cheery school, where students get a lot of support from teachers and top-notch college counseling. Opened in 1996, TYWLS is the flagship program of the Young Women's Leadership Network, a system of all-girls public schools that aims to give students from poor neighborhoods a high quality education. The school boasts near-perfect graduation and college attendance rates.

The former Masonic Temple in which the school is housed is located on a wide, quiet street. Girls arrive on foot from the subway or emerge from cars after goodbye hugs from parents. They take an elevator to the 9th floor and then climb up and down five floors throughout the day as they attend classes.

Teachers are happy to be at TYWLS and work harmoniously with Principal Andrew Higginbotham. Many have been at the school for a decade or more, including the principal, who taught English and history there for 18 years. The rapport between students and teachers is respectful and warm; some teachers go by their first names, like the principal, Drew, and others prefer surnames, but lots of kids use affectionate shortcuts like Ms. C or Mr. B instead.

Most students start in 6th grade and stay on for high school. TYWLS admits a range of students, but serves mostly those with weak-to-average skills and does a good job helping them catch up. By the 8th grade, half the students are taking algebra, typically a 9th-grade course. By the time they graduate, roughly half the students have taken at least one Advanced Placement class. English language arts performance has improved in recent years but math has been up and down due to the loss of a couple of teachers, said co-director Colleen McGeehan.

Teachers strive to make lessons interesting and interactive. In a 6th grade English class students roamed the room responding in writing to quotes from a science fiction novel. In a 12th grade economics class, girls created games to demonstrate concepts such as inflation and structural unemployment. They learn a lot more when they are talking to each other than when Im talking to them, said a 6th grade teacher.

One surprising feature of the school is the menagerie of more than 30 animals living in the science labs, including six guinea pigs (five born at school), six red-eared sliders, a variety of fish and a rat. The animals help the girls learn tolerance of other species, the teacher said.

All students study art and music, but Spanish is the only foreign language taught. Students may take Advanced Placement courses in Statistics, Biology, U.S. government, U.S. history, Spanish Language and English literature. Preparation for the SATs is built into the 11th grade English curriculum.

All high school students take a technology class as well as a traditional four-year sequence of science: earth science, living environment, chemistry, and physics. One girl said if she could change anything about TYWLS she would add more technology offerings. After school options include a program that meets twice a week called ScriptEd, in which pros from the industry teach classes. Columbia University works with students in a summer science field research program.

An afterschool film class is offered at NEP Metropolis Studios, located in the same building. TYWLS girls take part in flag football, track, volleyball, basketball and more in the East Harlem Pride sports league.

Most graduates attend four-year colleges, including CUNY and SUNY schools, as well as private schools like Columbia, Brown and Williams College. A full-time college counselor organizes college trips and helps students and parents complete financial aid applications.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Team-teaching classes on every grade. English language learners receive individual and small group support in their regular classes and on a pull-out basis.

ADMISSIONS: Open to female-identifying students. The middle school accepts Manhattan students and residents only. The high school is open to students citywide with priority to continuing 8th-graders and then to District 4 students. Admission to both the middle and high schools is based on a review of students' grades, test scores and record of behavior as well as a writing assignment and group interview.  (Lydie Raschka, April 2017, admissions information update October 2018)










School Stats


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


Number of students
611 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 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 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
8 Citywide Average
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
226 Citywide Average

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2020-21 School Quality Guide, 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




Advanced Foreign Language


AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 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?
From the 2020-21 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
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2014 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

Young Women's Leadership School

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

TYWLS offers an academically rigorous college-prep program to all our students including opportunities to take higher level math and science classes and a range of AP courses. All students participate in a robust college advising program, The College Bound Initiative, beginning in the 9th grade.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

Italian, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP United States History, AP Statistics, AP English Literature and Composition

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Football, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Golf, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


105 East 106th Street
New York NY 10029

Trains: 2 Line, 3 Line to 110th St-Central Park North; 6 Line to 103rd St

Buses: BxM11, BxM2, BxM3, BxM4, M1, M101, M102, M103, M106, M116, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M4, M98


Principal: Colleen Mcgeehan

Parent Coordinator: Vivian Hercules


Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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