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Democracy Prep Harlem Charter Middle School

Grades: 6-8
207 West 133rd Street
Manhattan NY 10030

Our Insights

What’s Special

Korean culture, lots of trips

The Downside

Strict rules, high suspension rate

Democracy Prep Harlem Charter was the second in the Democracy Prep network of more than a dozen middle schools. The schools combine strict discipline and a long school day with out-of-state trips, political activity and exposure to Korean music and dance. (High school students take four years of Korean language.)

Democracy Preps founder, Seth Andrews, wanted to give his mostly African-American and Latino students a taste of Korean culture and Korean educational valuesrespect for teachers, education and hard work. At the end of each school year, the schools host a Korean Street Festivalin Harlem, with bibimbap (Koreas national dish of rice and vegetables), Korean games and traditional Korean dance.

In addition to core academics and gym, students take classes in health, theater, visual arts and music. They visit colleges in Washington D.C., Montreal, and Boston, and even go whale watching.

The Harlem school has roughly 300 students and most report they feel safe in orderly classrooms, according to school surveys. The day runs from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm (4:45 pm for kids who stay for tutoring, enrichment or detention). Test scores are average, compared to other middle schools in the city.

Children get involved in the community. They run a campaign to help New Yorkers figure out where to vote, hold election parties and debate pros and cons of charter schools. [see photo from school website] Parents are expected to register to vote and must agree to attend at least one civic event per year, according to the school handbook. Kids also help out at a food pantry, in a community garden and by writing letters to troops.

Democracy Prep has a culture of strict discipline. Students wear uniforms, pass in silent lines in hallways and must track the teacher with their eyes. There are consequences for tardiness, missing uniforms and other infractions. Students earn fake dollars for good behavior and grades, and use the dollars to earn special privileges such as college trips.

The schools suspension rate was almost 30 percent, far above the statewide average of 3 percent, in 2014-2015, when data was most recently available. While most students think discipline is fair, 40 percent do not, according to school surveys.

This school has had an unusually high rate of teacher turnover: in 2016-2017 more than half the teachers left, according to board meeting minutes, and this was attributed in part to teachers opting for schools with shorter hours.

The school year begins with an orientation week in late August. Most graduates go to Democracy Prep Harlem High School located at 212 West 120th Street.

ADMISSIONS: By lottery. Priority to District 5. (Lydie Raschka, school data, July 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 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
85%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81%
82% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
55%
52% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80%
81% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
26%
3% Citywide Average
Teacher turnover rate
33%
33% Citywide Average

How do students perform academically?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
59%
63% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
58%
49% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
29%
37% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
44%
42% Citywide Average

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
2%
32% Citywide Average
How many students graduate in 4 years?
79%
90% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
75%
73% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
92%
65% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
85%
88% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
1036
Asian
1%
Black
64%
Hispanic
32%
White
1%
Other
2%
Free or reduced priced lunch
87%
Students with disabilities
20%
English language learners
7%

From 2018 School Directories

Uniforms required?
No

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
25%
14% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
25%
15% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
15%
14% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
21%
6% Citywide Average


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

Contact & Location

Location

Harlem (District 5)
Trains: 2 Line, 3 Line, B Line, C Line to 135th St
Buses: M2, M3, M7, M10, M102, Bx33

Contact

Principal
Mia Backon

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No

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