Strong community partnerships, whole-child supports, enrichment and family engagement
High chronic absenteeism, below average math scores
The Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH) offers classes about personal and public health, and older students pursue internships in health careers. Local nonprofit Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), launched the school in 2006, in partnership with New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. The school's new six-story building in south Washington Heights has wide and well-lit hallways and stairwells, with expansive views of Columbia Presbyterian hospital from several windows.
CHAH prides itself on its reflective and open-minded community. "If you've ever been excluded, beat up, marginalized, this is the place where you can be welcome," says Principal Mark House, a former social studies teacher and assistant principal at West Bronx Academy of the Future. He feels that "school should be fun," but first, he believes, students need to feel safe and grounded. CHAH hosts a School Based Health Center through Community Healthcare Network, where a psychiatrist, social worker, and nurse practitioner are housed. Each student gets a mental health diagnostic exam each year, in addition to vision screenings and access to other health resources.
House is proud of his "amazing teachers," who work together to improve instruction and develop their practice, even over the summer. Almost all of them said they trust the principal’s leadership and would recommend this school to other families and teachers on the most recent NYC School Survey.
CHAH has struggled to improve its attendance, with a higher-than-average share of students absent at least a month of the school year. Test scores for grades 6-8 are well below the city average, but have increased steadily in recent years. Most students enter 6th grade below grade level in reading or math, and many students are current or former English language learners. The percentage of 8th graders earning high school credit is far higher than the district or city averages, according to the School Quality Report. High school students may take several Advanced Placement courses, and many graduates go on to two or four-year colleges like CUNY, SUNY, Syracuse, St. Johns, and Trinity College in Connecticut.
CHAH has full-time music, art and dance teachers, as well as a dance studio and fully equipped visual arts and music rooms, according to the Arts in Schools Report. The cafeteria and gym are clean and bright, but small. Other after-school activities include homework help and the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance alliance, which covers gender and LGBTQ issues. Both CHAH and CLOTH go out of their way to engage parents, bringing them in the building for adult education classes, free evening activities such as Zumba classes, a food pantry, and affordable housing access.
ADMISSIONS: For middle school, priority goes to students from Washington Heights elementary schools and other District 6 residents. Nearly all middle school students stay for high school, but others may apply to the Ed. Opt. program for 9th grade, which takes a range of low-, middle- and high-performing students. (Nicole Mader, March 2015; web update, May 2019)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Community Health Academy of the Heights
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP English Language and Composition, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP English Literature and Composition, AP 2-D Art and Design, AP Environmental Science
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Soccer
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
504 West 158th Street
Manhattan NY 10032
Trains: to 157th St; to 155th St
Buses: Bx6, Bx6-SBS, Bx7, M10, M100, M101, M2, M3, M4, M5
This school is in its own building.