Signature Programs

Community Meeting

Community meetings are one of our most treasured traditions. Held weekly for each division, they are anchored by a message that examines an aspect of the School Creed, emphasizing the habits most critical to students' success. Our meetings also include commendations, where teachers share stories that recognize a student's demonstrated growth or other action that lived up to our pillars and creed.

Every Community Meeting begins with our School Thanksgiving and continues with a weekly message presented by a staff member that examines a part of the School Creed. These reflective messages bring our Creed to life in a different way each week, inspiring students to live as caring members of a community.

Another central component of every meeting is the giving of commendations. A teacher from each grade commends one or more students for a specific action they observed that connects to a line of the School Creed. This is an opportunity to put a stamp on demonstrations of growth that are replicable by all students. To close the meetings, everyone shakes hands, recites the School Creed, and then shares a quiet moment of reflection. 

Students in the highest grade in elementary and middle school have a chance to lead a Community Meeting on a topic of their choice, with subjects running the gamut from Latinx culture, to African-American inventors, to issues such as bullying. Working in small groups, students develop a message about how to incorporate the Creed and Pillars – initiative, integrity, compassion, determination – into our daily lives. They share the message with their audience through performances, selected readings, or guided discussions – an experience that develops leadership and presentation skills.

RayJon Grayson ‘16, Rabun Gap ‘20, American University ‘24

I was able to experience Community Meetings for seven years and they helped to instill leadership in me at a young age. What really stayed with me, though, was the strong sense of community I gained.
Harlem Academy
655 St. Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY, 10030

P (212) 348-2600
F (212) 348-3500

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Harlem Academy is an independent school (grades K-8) that drives equity of opportunity for promising students, guiding them to thrive at the highest academic levels and one day make a mark on the world.