Recent Blog Postings

Recent Blog Postings

Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Harlem Academy mourns the loss of iconic middle school history teacher Sean Robertson, who died at his family home in Milford, Massachusetts last Thursday. Sean brought two important traits to every class he taught at Harlem Academy: love for his students and a passion for history. It was a powerful combination that made learning incredibly interesting and relevant for our kids. That was Sean’s mission from the first moment he set foot in a classroom – a place he was destined to be. Sean came...
Tags: staff, history, middle school
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Kia Turner with student
For Kia Turner, who teaches middle school English, teaching is about more than educating the mind. It’s also about nurturing the soul.     Why is Harlem Academy the right place for you? What I love most about Harlem Academy are the kids. My students push me to be a better teacher and person every day that I step into our classroom.  Small class sizes – which are hard to find in today’s education landscape – mean my students and I can grow deep relationships. It also allows them to...
Tags: English, middle school, staff, writing
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...
Tags: middle school, poetry, writing
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...
Tags: middle school, writing, poetry
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...
Tags: middle school, Shakespeare
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...
Tags: middle school, architecture
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...
Tags: middle school, math
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...
Tags: middle school, science
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...
Tags: middle school, trips
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...
Tags: science, middle school, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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...
Tags: history, middle school
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...
Tags: Shakespeare, English, electives, middle school
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...
Tags: chess, lower school, middle school, electives
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...
Tags: middle school, history
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...
Tags: middle school, STEM, college, trips
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...
Tags: middle school, Shakespeare, English
Posted on Monday, May 4, 2015
Tags: middle school, video, poetry, English
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...
Tags: middle school, architecture, science, STEM
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...
Tags: middle school, advisory