Harlem Link Charter School

Grades Pre-K, K-5
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What’s Special

Lots of creative projects; two teachers in each classroom.

The Downside

Test scores in English are low; no after school program.

Our Review

At Harlem Link Charter students have a chance to work on creative projects, and there is plenty of emphasis on fundamental skills and test preparation as well. Typical of many charter schools, students wear uniforms, are called scholars, learn cheers and follow rules that are standardized among classes and grades. Overall, the tone throughout the school is cheery and relaxed.

The school is in a gentrifying section of Harlem, steps from Fifth Avenue and a few blocks north of Central Park. It shares a two-building complex with PS 185, PS 208, and a small program for students with severe disabilities.

The school was founded in 2005 by a husband-wife team, Margaret Ryan and Steven Evangelista, who both started their teaching careers in New York City schools through Teach for America. Evangelista, whom students call Mr. E, became the sole director in 2010 after Ryan took a maternity leave to care for their first child. Ryan remains an integral part of the school leadership, overseeing curriculum development and teacher training.

In classrooms we observed, students were well-behaved and engaged. We saw a lot of creative work across all grades. In the younger ones, teachers balance the heavy academic lessons, like parsing non-fiction text or mathematical reasoning, with a little fun downtime, like singing along to music video. We saw a nice display of Revolutionary war diaries written by students--illustrated and stained brown to look old--as well as lots of art in the classrooms.

Two teachers are assigned to each classroom and struggling learners get individual help. Evangelista and Ryan are critical of their own experiences with Teach for Americawhich hires uncertified teachers right out of collegeand, as a result, hire mainly experienced teachers at Harlem link. When we visited there was one Teach for America member, the first the school ever hired. Now weve grown enough to handle a new teacher on staff, said Evangelista. We have experienced teachers on every grade to help new ones.

Test scores in English are low and as the state exam nears, the need to improve students performance looms large. During a school-wide gathering in the gymnasium, select students were honored for good attendance and achievement. Mr. E inducted some into The Grammar Hall of Fame (for consistent use of good grammar) and reminded their schoolmates that there was one more opportunity to earn the honor before the state exam. Teachers also honored some of their students for achievements including scoring level 3 or improving their performance on practice tests. A two-week Summer Academy is designed to counter an academic summer slump.

Many students here face serious concerns; in one class, on our 2015 tour, kids were discussing visiting brothers and fathers in prison. The suspension rate has been high at Harlem Link, but was cut in half, said the principal, when teachers adopted a new program called Responsive Classroom,to build a more positive school climate. Older students from Harlem Link mentor kids from the school serving children with serious special needs in the same building.

Space is tight and the school made trade-offs. To maintain two science rooms, administrative offices and support services are concentrated into two rooms divided into a maze of cubicle-size spaces. We came across a small group of students working with a teacher in a stairwell, and group of advanced students doing some independent work in the hallway outside their classroom.

Most students commute by school bus. To ensure their safety, Harlem Link staffs each bus with an adult trained in child safety and CPR.

Special education: There is one ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) class in each grade.

After school: There is no after school program.

Admissions: Priority to residents of District 3. Parents may contact the school to request an application or download one from the school's Web site. Pre-kindergarten is available starting fall 2015. (Lydie Raschka, May 2015)

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2016-17 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
34%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
40%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
66%
85% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
4%
2% Citywide Average
Teacher turnover rate
24%
36% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

How do students perform academically?

From 2017 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
26%
43% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
31%
42% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

Activities: Children explore art, music, sand/water, dramatic play and more
Language: Teachers talk and listen to kids in a supportive way
Interaction: Teachers ask kids good questions and invite back-and-forth conversation

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
437
Asian
1.0%
Black
64.0%
Hispanic
33.0%
White
1.0%
Other
2.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
87%
Students with disabilities
20%
English language learners
7%

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats
36

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2017 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
14%
21% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
18%
15% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school
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Location

20 West 112 Street
Manhattan NY 10026
Harlem (District 3)
Trains: 2, 3 to Central Park North-110th St; 6 to 110th St
Buses: M2, M3, M4, M101, M102, M103, M116

Contact

Phone
212-289-3249
Principal
Steven Evangelista/Margaret Ryan

Other Details

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with PS 185 and PS 208.
Metal detectors?
No

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