Why do Families Choose Harlem Academy?

Why do Families Choose Harlem Academy?

Monday, March 7, 2016

A choice like no other in this community

HA students“I had my child in five schools before we found Harlem Academy. None of them were pushing my son to grow. The situation in my district, it was just sad.” - Fifth grade parent

All New York City parents know the stress of finding the right school for their children. In Harlem, the South Bronx, and Washington Heights, however, the challenge is even greater. More than 80% of local students are failing, and local public and charter schools must focus on moving those students to basic proficiency. City-wide gifted and talented programs take only students who already test in the top 1-2%. Private schools are out of reach and far away.

We spoke with current families about their experiences finding a school for their child, and what made Harlem Academy the right choice for their family. Their feedback highlights how the school meets the needs of high-performing students from low-income communities.

Rigorous, engaging academics for high-potential students

“I live in the Bronx. When I compared what Harlem Academy has to offer, it is way above what I could find in my area. The public and charter schools are not prepared for a student like mine, who reads above his grade level. At Harlem Academy, the curriculum is designed to be more challenging.” – Fourth grade parent

As an independent school, Harlem Academy has the flexibility to admit bright, motivated students and develop curriculum to help them grow. Along with a rigorous fast-paced program, we help them build skills and habits that position them for success. Harlem Academy serves communities where less than 20% of students achieve at grade level, and yet by graduation more than half of our students score in the top 10% in the nation for reading, math, or both. Sixty percent of our graduates matriculate to independent day and boarding schools on full-need scholarship. 

A nurturing community 

Students work with teacher“When there are 30-something kids in one classroom – like at my son’s last school in the Bronx – the teacher doesn’t have the patience or the time to dedicate attention to each student. At Harlem Academy, they have time for him. He is comfortable with his teachers. They know him.” – Sixth grade parent

“I always thought I was going to avoid private schools for my young sons. I didn’t want them to be the only boys of color in their class at such a young age. I wanted them to grow up loving who they are. Then I found Harlem Academy. It’s a challenging private school, and it’s a nurturing academic space for children of color. It’s a unique quality and it’s why I love this school.” – Third grade parent

We value a student’s potential and provide a holistic approach to their growth. Our school culture is anchored by four core pillars (initiative, integrity, compassion, and determination) and is expressed in our School Creed that begins with “I am bold and creative,” and ends with “I don’t give up.” From weekly community meetings to reflection and goal setting, we build this credo as a core value, empowering students to delve into who they are and how they can fully achieve their potential.

Access and affordability

“Harlem Academy does not discriminate against people for their economic condition, or their race, or religion. Children have to demonstrate that they are qualified, but everybody can try. If you don’t have the money, they help you. More children in New York City need this kind of opportunity to get the kind of education my child gets at Harlem Academy.” – Sixth grade parent

Unlike most private schools, Harlem Academy’s mission is to provide this extraordinary academic program to qualified students regardless of their family’s economic circumstances. Each family pays something, but tuition is set on a sliding scale based on a family’s household income and expenses. We commit a full-need scholarship to every student, every year, and we never turn families away for financial reasons.