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DREAM East Harlem Charter School

Grades: Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick Noteworthy
1991 Second Avenue
Manhattan NY 10029
Phone: 212-722-0232

Our Insights

What’s Special

Sleek, new facilities, free after-school and summer programs

The Downside

Too soon to tell about the high school

DREAM Charter is a popular option among East Harlem families looking for solid academics, a supportive environment and strong ties to the well-regarded DREAM organization, (formerly known as Harlem RBI), which founded the school in 2008.

Dream is a good neighbor, eager to serve its community: It reserves 50 percent of its seats for students living in public housing and, unlike many charters, it admits new students in all grades, space permitting. In 2017 the school opens its high school with a 9th grade and will graduate its first class in June 2021.

The school's main location is a sleek, modern building that opened in 2015, attached to a new residential building with affordable housing. DREAM's bright, airy facility includes a large gymnasium and outdoor space, and thoughtful features such as a small classroom on each floor to accommodate children who need extra help. The main building houses grades k to 8. Pre-k classes are held in the nearby PS 50. The high school is located roughly 15 blocks away at 443 East 115th Street.

The vibe throughout is sweet and calm. In classes we saw of range of teaching styles. Elementary and middle school science classes we observed were very hands-on with students tinkering with experiments in groups. In other classes students sat in rows listening to the teacher lead a lesson, with time set aside for students to work independently and with a partner.

Teachers connect lessons to topics studied in other subjects. For instance, 7th-graders read George Orwells Animal Farm in English while they study the Cold War and Stalinism in social studies.

There are two teachers in all elementary school classes, which allows for individualized instruction. After a class-wide discussion on the literary technique of flashback, 4th-graders were handed different packets of work to complete based on their skill level--some containing a few simple questions and others requiring extensive work and complex responses.

Students read a range of books of their choosing and at their skill level and write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. Teachers balance this with some class-wide readings that are at above grade level. In middle school students read at least 10 full-length novels a year (in addition to shorter texts) and get to keep the books to help them build their own library at home.

Math instruction emphasizes conceptual learning and multiple approaches to problem solving. In a 5th grade class we observed, students worked through problems with the use of manipulatives--small objects that help them count, measure and visualize their thinking.

DREAM students attend summer programs run by the DREAM organization that vary by grade-level, and the school reinforces the organizations belief in the importance of physical activity: Students get active recess (indoors or out) every day; swimming, tennis and rugby are part of the physical education curriculum.

All students have art and music instruction. A second language is not taught until high school.

The school day runs from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Thursday and 8 am to 1 pm on Friday. Students in all grades have after-school activities including sports, which start at 1 pm on Friday.

The school has a dental and legal clinic as well as a full-time family counselor to help parents get the services they need. Each year, staff pay home visits to every student. Parents volunteer to serve as family ambassadors visiting local public housing complexes to recruit applicants. Teachers also receive training in social-emotional support for children through the Child Mind Institute.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: The school accepts new students in all grades, space permitting. Priority is given to siblings of current students and then to District 4 residents. Fifty percent of pre-k and kindergarten seats are reserved for students residing in NYCHA housing located in District 4. (Laura Zingmond, January 2017)

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
32% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
84% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
82% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
42% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
43% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
34% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
56% Citywide Average

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
39% Citywide Average
How many students graduate in 4 years?
92% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
68% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
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 the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners
Pre-K seats

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
90% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
91% Citywide Average

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
16% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
19% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
13% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
11% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


East Harlem (District 4)
Trains: 6 Line to 103rd St
Buses: M101, M102, M103


Eve Colavito/Elizabeth Dodge

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

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