New Heights Academy Charter School
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Personal attention; Japanese and Italian lessons
Little racial or ethnic diversity
New Heights Academy Charter School provides students in grades 5 to 12 a safe, structured environment and the chance to learn Japanese or Italian. While many students enter with weak skills, most graduate on time, and top students have been admitted to selective colleges such as New York University, Barnard, Colgate and Middlebury.
Like many charter schools, New Heights follows a traditional style of teaching, with teachers at the front of the class and desks in rows. Timers beep to instruct when to stop working on the assigned task. Students wear uniforms and the school has a no-nonsense attitude toward goofing off.
“Because it is small, the teachers are on top of you, in a good way,” a senior told us. “If you come in late one time, they call home.”
“There is a sense of community,” another senior told us. However, the school is almost entirely Latino, and students said they are disappointed they haven’t been exposed to different racial and ethnic groups.
The school is housed on several floors of a renovated former office building. High school students may leave the building for lunch. Middle school students have recess in a nearby park.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has several learning specialists and has expanded special education services in recent years.
ADMISSIONS: Lottery. Most students are admitted in 5th grade, but the school fills openings in the upper grades. Five to 10 students are admitted in 9th grade. (Clara Hemphill, school website, statistics and interview with students, June 2018)Read more