Our Place in the Education Landscape

Our Place in the Education Landscape

Friday, May 5, 2017

In 90% of the school districts that Harlem Academy serves, no kindergartner scored high enough in 2016 to be eligible for the citywide gifted and talented programs.  These opportunities are available only to students already testing above the 97th percentile.

Promising children from low-income communities don’t have the resources or preparation to compete for these spots, and the programs are dominated by children from more affluent communities.

At the same time, local public and charter schools in these communities must focus on the 80% of students not meeting basic proficiency. They have few resources left to help high-potential students thrive.

The result is that children in low-income communities rarely get to realize their personal and academic potential:                                     

  • By first grade, low-income children are only half as likely to be high achievers as their more affluent peers.
  • By fifth grade, only 56% of these high achievers maintain this status in reading.
  • During high school, they drop out or do not graduate on time at twice the rate of their higher income peers.
  • By college, only 14% of freshmen at the nation’s top 160 colleges come from the bottom half of the income distribution.

These are the students that Harlem Academy serves. Most enter with standardized test scores in the 70th-85th percentile.  On average, they improve 11 percentile points during their first year alone at Harlem Academy.  Last year’s graduates gained a cumulative 24 points on average from when they entered the school.

Instruction emphasizes core skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking.

Our goal is to prepare students to thrive and compete in secondary school, college and beyond.  All of them move on to strong college-prep programs, and most receive full scholarships – averaging nearly $43,000 per year – to independent schools like Chapin, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Riverdale, and more. 

Our earliest classes are now moving on to college.  100% have graduated high school on time (compared to 56% of their community peers) and almost all are enrolled at four-year colleges.

Only as a private school can we succeed at this.  We can identify and admit promising, low-income children who might otherwise be left behind. We can develop a program that engages and inspires them, building a love of learning with the skills and habits they need for success. We can prepare them to compete at the highest academic levels with their peers from more affluent communities. 

Harlem Academy is a pathway to realizing potential – academically, personally, and as contributing members of their communities.  We look forward to seeing how our graduates make a mark on the world.