Harlem Village Academy Charter High School
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Challenging International Baccalaureate program
Few seats available; teachers and students grumble about discipline and bullying
Harlem Village Academy Charter High School (HVA) is a progressive charter school that is committed to serving the Harlem community.
HVA uses restorative justice, which encourages students to work through problems together to find productive solutions that help the school community. Deborah Kenny, the founder of Harlem Village Academies, describing the school’s mission, says: “We want to raise children to be leaders, not followers; to be independent, not obedient.” Although the school emphasizes conflict resolution, teachers and students report lack of discipline and bullying at rates higher than the citywide average, based on their responses to the NYC School Survey.
Students have the opportunity to take advanced classes through the International Baccalaureate Program, which provides a challenging curriculum that emphasizes discussion and research.
Most students feel the school offers enough extracurricular activities to keep them busy and engaged, according to the school survey. An example is Project Performing Arts, a dance organization, which has formed an after-school program for HVA where students can learn various dance styles, including West African dancing/drumming, hip-hop and ballet.
Throughout their time at HVA, starting in 9th grade, students will visit at least eight college campuses. The school hosts mock admissions fairs and visits from college representatives for students to fine-tune their applications and learn more about what kind of college is best for them. All 11th-graders take an SAT or ACT prep course, and 12th-graders participate in Senior College Prep, which is designed to help them navigate the admissions and financial aid process. Graduates attend a range of colleges, including some highly competitive ones such as Stanford, Yale, NYU and Carnegie Mellon.
Once students are in college, HVA continues to check in on them and their families every quarter. The school has events for alumni on topics like financial aid renewal and hosts career/internship fairs.
ADMISSIONS: By lottery. Priority goes to continuing HVA middle schoolers, and there are few seats available for new students. (Isabel Corpus, web reports, July 2018)