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  • High schools
  • Insideschools.org
225 West 24 Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: Fashion career training mixed with strong academics.
Downside:Old electrical wiring inadequate to meet computer demands; very low male enrollment.
Situated, appropriately, in Manhattan's bustling garment district, Fashion Industries High School offers its students three majors from the world of fashion: fashion design, merchandising, and art illustration. Standard factory sewing machines and mannequins are the training tools for design students, while merchandising majors get hands-on experience buying and selling in a school boutique. Even though they are being trained for jobs in a glittery industry, all the students are taught that success demands elbow grease. "It's not easy. There's a lot of work," says Sandra Manning, a teacher. "It involves math, history, and science. It's not all glamour. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
351 West 18 Street. Grades 9--12.
Manhattan Business Academy began as the International School of Business, a program created in 2004 when Bayard Rustin High School split up its 1,500-student population into four small "learning communities" in an effort to better student achievement and improve attendance. The Manhattan Business Academy will open as a school in September 2009 with a new class of 9th graders and will grow to become a 9-12th grade school in the building. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
333 West 17 Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: Chance to study at city's greatest museums.
Downside: Building is gloomy.
The NYC Museum School, where students spend one day a week at museums and other cultural institutions, has a good record for taking in kids whose academic skills are less-than-stellar and graduating them on time. In one recent year, two-thirds of the entering class was reading below grade level. Yet 92 percent of students graduate on time, and the majority go on to four-year colleges. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
34 West 14 Street. Grades 10--12.
What's special: An energetic and caring principal
Downside: Growing class sizes and student body
Established in 1993 as an alternative high school modeled on the Coalition of Essential Schools program, Legacy has since tried to preserve the advantages of a small school while adopting traditional methods and classes. With growing budgetary and testing pressures, the school has recently increased class size and moved to a curriculum that places more emphasis on preparation for Regents tests. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
351 West 18 Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: Large school is being reorganized into small learning communities.
Downside: Poor attendance, especially on Fridays.
Bayard Rustin High School will close due to poor performance, graduating its last class in June 2012. A statement issued by the Department of Education cited the school's low graduation rate, the F on its latest report card, and low student interest in attending the school as factors in its phase-out. According to the statement, at least one new small high school will open in the building in 2009. Two other small high schools, Humanities Prep and the James Baldwin School, are already housed in the building. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
351 West 18 Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: Small progressive school that welcomes both 9th graders and transfer students; consistent leadership.
Downside: Few after-school activities; spotty attendance.
Humanities Prep, a small progressive school housed in the Bayard Rustin High School campus in Chelsea, welcomes both 14-year-old 9th graders and older teenagers who have been truant or failed in more traditional settings. Founded as a program in Bayard Rustin, it became a school in its own right in 1997 and has grown so successful that virtually all of its graduates go on to four-year colleges. It has frequent visitors from around the country eager to see an alternative model that works. In September 2005, a group of Humanities Prep teachers and students cloned the idea and began their own sister school just down the hall: the James Baldwin School. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
351 West 18 Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: A clone of the popular alternative school, Humanities Prep
Downside: Building needs repair
The James Baldwin School seeks to replicate Humanities Preparatory Academy, a small and popular alternative school that successfully prepares students for 4-year colleges. Like Humanities Prep, Baldwin is designed to serve both students who just graduated from 8th grade and older transfer students, many of whom have had difficulty elsewhere. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
250 West 18 Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: Small school for new immigrant students
Downside: No auditorium or gym
Liberty High School, in the heart of Chelsea, opens its doors to young immigrants from all over the world, offering a small school setting to newcomers learning English and adjusting to life in a new country. The school was launched in 1986 as a one-year transition program for new immigrants, age 14 to 20, before they moved on to traditional American high schools. That changed in 2003, when Liberty became a four-year high school in its own right, granting diplomas and accepting mostly younger students who have an 8th grade education from their native countries. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
250 West Houston Street. Grades 9--12.
What's special: Haven for disaffected youth.
Downside: Access to gym is limited and the elderly building has cramped quarters.
Since 1972, City-as-School has been a haven for kids who are alienated by traditional classrooms. Students who could not thrive at their original schools including rebels, openly gay kids, kids who have been teased for their looks, and a good number of disaffected academic achievers find a welcome here. What's different, though, is the use of internships, which are City-as-School's core. All students spend a major part of the week out of the classroom and in museums, botanic gardens, local newspapers, corporations, art studios, zoos, city offices, theaters, hospitals, schools, and other venues to learn by engaging in real work. As its name implies, the city itself is the classroom. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
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