Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem
Dedicated school staff with male role models for black and Latino young men
New school has growing pains
Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem aims to instill accountability and pride in young men of color. Each school in the Eagle network operates on the premise that an all-boys school with support and mentorship will foster positive livelihood outcomes for young men in communities where they are at high risk for incarceration. Modeled after the flagship Eagle Academy in the Bronx, Eagle Harlem uses rituals and rites of passage as tools to create cohesive bonds among students, staff, and the community. Many of the teachers are African American males, some alumni of Eagle Academy themselves.
The school day begins at 7:45 am with a school-wide assembly called “town hall.” Students and staff greet each other by last name and exchange friendly handshakes in the hallways. Each teacher has his or her own style–some wear t-shirts and jeans, others wear a suit and tie—but all are stern with a gentle touch. They maintain calm without raising their voices and encourage students to keep trying when they struggle. Teachers show uncommon dedication outside school hours: some male teachers take students on fishing trips, for example. A female teacher accompanied a student whose mother had died to the school’s annual mother-son dance.
"Parents want to know their child is safe and cared for, and that they can walk into a space and feel good about it, “ said founding principal and Bronx native Mahaliel Bethea. “We have positive male role models who nurture our scholars in a no-nonsense kind of way."
Despite the positive environment, the school, opened in 2013, has had growing pains. Academic achievement, as measured by state tests, is low and some teachers complain about problems with discipline, according to school surveys. Bethea says staff initially focused academics on students with special needs, who make up nearly one-third of the school’s enrollment. Now, he says, staff are working to provide more challenge for top students, by for example, offering 8th graders the chance to take algebra and Living Environment, courses typically offered in 9th grade.
Bethea says he and his staff work to make the curriculum relevant to their students. For example, in an 8th grade English Language Arts class, students analyze classical poetry alongside the music lyrics of Brooklyn rap artist and activist Yasiin “Mos Def” Bey. Students read excerpts from the Autobiography of Malcolm X in the 7th grade before reading the complete work in high school.
The school day ends at 2:11 pm, with extended day programs until 5:00 pm, according to the school website. Eagle Harlem offers a full slate of extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities, including basketball, track, wrestling, soccer and golf, the only school in the area with a team.
Through partnerships with organizations such as the Bridge Golf Foundation, the school’s golf team learns about the scientific and mathematical concepts connected to the sport. Students compete in citywide business pitch competitions through a virtual enterprise program. The school offers band instruction in the arts and drum line. “You can never get bored at this school,” a student tour guide told us.
The “Sheltering Arms” after school group organizes community events.
Special education: The school offers both “team-teaching” and “self-contained classes” with 12 students. Eagle Harlem has made considerable progress moving its special education students from Level 1 to Level 2 on state ELA exams, Bethea said.
Admissions: Limited unscreened. Contact email@example.com for more information. Upon acceptance, students are strongly encouraged to attend a two-week summer bridge program before the start of the school year where they participate in team-building activities. (Seaira Christian-Daniels, October 2017)
About the students
About the school
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Programs and Admissions
Eagle Academy will prepare scholars for their choice of colleges and careers. Our young men will not only leave our program academically sound, but culturally competent and armed with a strong sense of self.
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Manhattan NY 10030
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Manhattan, NY 10030