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Recent Blog Postings

Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
At Harlem Academy, being smart is cool. Our students don’t shy away from challenging academics; they opt for more. Take Shakespeare, one of the most difficult texts students will face at any grade level, let alone in sixth grade. Harlem Academy middle schoolers develop such love and appreciation for the Bard that studying his plays in class isn’t enough for many of them. One quarter of them choose Shakespeare as an elective, too. “The students are drawn to the challenge the language presents...
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018
Knitting can create more than beautiful patterns. It can create enthusiasm for math too. On a recent visit to the National Museum of Mathematics, students in Harlem Academy’s fiber arts elective explored how math and the art of crafting intersect. Students creating symmetric patterns at the Museum. As avid knitters, our fiber arts students already know the importance of math to their craft: counting stitches, calculating gauge. After attending the presentation, The Fabric of Symmetry:...
Posted on Thursday, February 1, 2018
The proud students posing before their big presentations. Will plants grow if they are “watered” with coffee? Is the five-second rule true? Do snacks affect a student’s memory? These were just a few of the questions answered at Harlem Academy’s very first science fair. This week, our eighth-grade class presented their projects to proud parents and teachers. Harlem Academy’s science program focuses on teaching children to think creatively and understand the scientific method; our students’...
Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Harlem Academy students’ poems were among 12 selected by celebrated author Jacqueline Woodson for display at the New York Botanical Garden’s Chihuly sculpture exhibit. Chosen from a pool of more than 150 Tri-State area submissions, the poems were evaluated using no identifying information, so each had to stand on merit alone. Winning poems came from independent schools, charter schools, and traditional public schools, but HA was the only school with multiple winners.           The New York...
Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017
Seventh grader Adonis Beckford was one of four Harlem Academy students selected among just twelve poems included in the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden.Standing among the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden, Harlem Academy seventh grader Adonis Beckford approaches the podium and recites his poem, “Sapphire Star.” He and three other Harlem Academy students had been selected as winners of a poetry competition pairing young voices with the artist’s glass...
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Vocabulary deficit is a hallmark of poverty, and a major challenge for promising students trying to compete with their more affluent peers. Harlem Academy’s focused instruction guides students to grow their vocabulary, positioning them to access top high schools and colleges. Our last three graduating classes gained an average of 14 points in vocabulary test scores during middle school, putting them in the 96th percentile of the nation. "We get the students to do the legwork to gain an...
Posted on Monday, July 31, 2017
Harlem Academy has an extended school day running from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, which allows flexibility to accommodate working parents and ensures students have a safe place to maximize their learning each day.  We recently sat down with the two passionate teachers responsible for opening Harlem Academy bright and early every school day.  You both arrive at the school before 7:00 am every morning. What does HA look like that early? Mobley: I like to get here when it’s calm, and I can ease into...
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Students performing Shakespeare
  The strength of our students' performances comes from the confidence they develop by interpreting Shakespeare in their own way. Seventh grader Delali is not your typical theater kid. In class and with friends, she is soft-spoken and shy. At the recent Shakespeare Smackdown, however, she commanded the audience, delivering her lines in a clear, emphatic voice and making the crowd laugh as she threw herself across the stage with two classmates. This citywide competition with the Classic...
Posted on Sunday, April 9, 2017
Eighth grader Herby references his diagram in response to the critique. Eighth grader Herby pinned his blueprints to the wall of the conference room at Rafael Viñoly Architects and picked up his model. His classmates sat watching him as he presented the details of his design.  A jury of professional architects from the firm listened, and then peppered him with questions.  “What community need is it filling? How will the design complement the existing buildings in the neighborhood? What...
Posted on Saturday, April 8, 2017
Math coach Jeff Newman teaches a course on financial literacy to the seventh grade. One by one, math coach Jeff Newman pulls the eighth graders into the hallway to share their individual scores with them.  This is their first meeting since the rigorous MathCounts competition.  His discretion proves unnecessary as each student returns to the classroom and blurts out their score to the rest of the group. They are competitive, but also supportive of each other. When Arielle and Caden step back...
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Misa and Kyle practice their emergency medicine skills. 
Should you find yourself stranded on a desert island choking on a coconut, or lost deep in the woods with a gash in your leg, you’d better hope that you’re with Harlem Academy students. Misa and Kyle practice their emergency medicine skills.“Our human biology curriculum pushes them far beyond a typical middle school course with engagement around anatomy and physiology,” says science teacher Meredith Philbin. “Most students don’t see this until high school or college.” A semester-long...
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016
zSixth graders kicked things off by working together to build a group marble run.
Each October, Harlem Academy middle school students head to Princeton-Blairstown Center for a 3-day overnight trip filled with team-building exercises, physical challenges, and outdoor educational activities. It’s a chance for students to get out of the city they know so well and into the wilderness. For many students, it’s their first time doing something like this. But by eighth grade, they take pride in growing familiar with all that nature has in store. Through the experience, they...
Posted on Saturday, July 9, 2016
Led by Dr. Farrell, RayJon inspects a water sample under a microscope from Lake George to identify various forms of plankton.
It’s 2 p.m. on Thursday in Troy, New York. A group of Harlem Academy fifth and sixth graders are coding a robotic car to navigate the angles, turns, and distances needed to exit a maze. A group of seventh and eighth graders are using laser thermometers to measure the effect of different insulation methods in models they built. Another group is aboard a boat on Lake George testing water samples for zooplankton and sodium under the supervision of leading freshwater scientists. These are just a...
Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Mr. Robertson developed a unique two-year curriculum on U.S. history.
Mr. Robertson researched and developed a unique two-year curriculum on U.S. history.Harlem Academy’s middle school history teacher, Sean Robertson, was named New York State History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He was selected by a panel of teachers, administrators, and scholars for his use of primary documents in the classroom, the level of inspiration he provides to his students, and his career achievements in education.  “It is an honor and truly...
Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2016
Taneyah and Misa perform in the 2016 ShakeSmack
Taneyah and Misa perform at the 2016 ShakeSmack. For the fourth year in a row, Harlem Academy’s Shakespeare troupe was recognized for their outstanding work, this year earning both first and second place honors at the Classic Stage Company’s annual Shakespeare competition. Dubbed the “Shakespeare Smackdown,” the competition featured twenty-five middle and high school teams from across New York City, each performing short scenes from Othello. Their success is no accident – Harlem Academy...
Posted on Monday, March 7, 2016
“Chess improves my focus,” says eighth grader Miles. “Also my problem solving and time management.”Even for beginners, chess is more than just a game. It requires critical thinking, composure, and sportsmanship. Studies show that chess strengthens core academic skills.1 ”Chess teaches them to slow down and think before they do something,” says Alexis Viele, third grade teacher. “They consider the consequences before taking action, and have to deal with any mistakes that they make. These are...
Posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Mr. Robertson leading a discussion with the Class of 2015.
Mr. Robertson leading a discussion with the Class of 2015. Harlem Academy’s U.S. History course begins with “The Boston Massacre,” the famous etching by Paul Revere. From the image students understand the story – the slaughter of citizens, the abuse of power, the massacre that triggered a revolution. But then they read the first-hand accounts from local leaders, the British commander, and other witnesses. Suddenly the story is less clear: soldiers accosted by the locals and a two-sided...
Posted on Friday, June 12, 2015
Students work on building an automated watering system for plants out of discarded computer parts.
Students work on building an automated watering system for plants out of discarded computer parts.  The Harlem Academy middle school recently traveled to Troy, N.Y., to spend three days on campus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The annual visit, called Collaboration for Innovation, is intended to inspire students in the STEM disciplines. Students have the opportunity to work with professors, visit the Hirsch Observatory, stay overnight in college dorms, and hear current Rensselaer...
Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015
Harlem Academy students at the Shake Smack
Last week, three groups from Harlem Academy performed of scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the 2015 Shakespeare Smackdown (ShakeSmack) hosted by the Classic Stage Company out of Greenwich Village. Most of the teams were from high schools, but Harlem Academy teams of sixth through eighth grade students took both first and second place. In preparation for ShakeSmack and as part of our electives offerings, our 12 students worked hard over the past 4 weeks rehearsing their...
Posted on Monday, May 4, 2015
Posted on Tuesday, April 7, 2015
3D model build by a Harlem Academy student
Yesterday, the grade-eight class visited the Rafael Viñoly Architects studio to present projects to a panel of architects. During the past five weeks of science class, students have been working on creating architecture projects with professional architects. Each student was tasked with designing a 400 square foot building for an existing open lot at 110th Street and Fifth Avenue that could serve the community. First, students developed a concept design, then they created perspective...
Posted on Monday, January 12, 2015
middle school girl writing
Recent research at Stanford and NYU shows that just the fear of being stereotyped can have a measurable impact on student performance. In his groundbreaking book "Whistling Vivaldi," Stanford professor Dr. Claude Steele shows that introducing students to a diverse group of adult role models can moderate the negative effects of these anxieties. Last spring Harlem Academy introduced a unit called “Mitigating Stereotype Threat” into our advisory program. Drawing on the experience of successful...