Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy Charter Schools

Harlem Children's Zone

Located in Harlem, NY, Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) Promise Academy Charter Schools serve more than 2,000 K-12 students. HCZ was a pioneer in the community schools model, and its schools are most widely known for their holistic approach to meeting student needs.

Both school sites offer state-of-the-art facilities and a wide variety of wraparound services, including a complementary afterschool program. The schools have an extended school day and year, allowing time for intensive work on core subjects as well as the arts and sciences. Students have access to a free health center with medical, dental, and psychological services and receive two healthy, freshly made meals each day and regular exercise.

HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools are part of a place-based, comprehensive network of programs aimed at creating a tipping point in a community grappling with the effects of intergenerational poverty. HCZ targets 97 blocks, working with children from birth through college, supporting them with academic, health, and character-developing programs. Along with its long-term work with young people, HCZ works closely with families and community organizations.

The administrators and teachers support students and the community with a “whatever it takes” approach. Data plays an important role to best understand where to direct resources and what interventions to provide students. By design, HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools adapt and change based on what will improve students’ academics and social-emotional health. For example, during the 2019-2020 school year, African American Studies teachers were hired for every grade level that includes a social studies class – an action implemented by staff members to ensure education is responsive to students’ needs.

Teachers have access to professional development throughout the school year. HCZ has developed the Practitioners Institute, a training center for professional learning that is available to teachers within and outside the HCZ family. HCZ teachers are known for their collaboration, resilience, and grit. Coming on board, new teachers will find many forms of support when they embrace the community schools model and the “whatever it takes” attitude.

Student population: Promise Academy I

80% Black
17% Hispanic
1% American Indian
1% Multiracial
1% White

Student population: Promise Academy II

81% Black
15% Hispanic
2% Multiracial
1% American Indian
1% Asian
1% White

96%

4-year graduation rate (Promise Academy I)

86% / 83%

Qualify for free and reduced lunch (Promise Academy I / Promise Academy II)

70% / 73%

Math exam proficiency (Promise Academy I / Promise Academy II)

Charter initiatives

  • Coordinated curriculum: The schools coordinate the curriculum so all students in the HCZ model receive the same high-quality instruction. Teachers focus on sharing best practices and elevating their lessons through this collective approach.
  • Character development and positive school culture: There is a new emphasis on programs that focus on social-emotional learning. The schools have counselors and social work teams to address mental health needs and promote wellness. Staff receive training on restorative practices and form community circles to share what restorative justice means to foster discipline and school community. Teachers also have access to behavior analysts who provide support and interventions designed to keep all students in the classroom.
  • Professional development: Professional development is a year-round priority at HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools. Teachers receive formal and informal evaluations, and regular professional development every two weeks. Each school has four administrators, a principal, two education directors, and an operations manager who not only help run the school, but also support teachers with professional growth. Additionally, staff are encouraged to identify external conferences and workshops that will help them in their career.

The details

  • 30-credit master of arts in teaching (MAT) program
  • Meet online with NYU Steinhardt faculty and peers twice per week in the evening for your course work ~15 hours/week
  • ~40 hours/week in classroom residency at partner location
  • Tuition subsidy and stipend or wage from partner school
  • Two-year commitment following residency required
  • Full-day cost details

During residency year

As a teaching fellow, you will work alongside a teacher mentor for the entire school year. Your responsibilities increase as you progress in your teaching abilities. This immersive learning is designed to assist you with understanding your students and their learning process, setting you up to have a class of your own the following year.

Estimated Stipend
$50,000
Health Insurance Full medical, dental, and vision benefits
Start Dates Orientation: End of June 2021
Residency: End of August 2021

After residency year

Job After Graduation Teacher (full time)
Estimated Starting Salary with Master’s Degree and Certification $73,000

The figures above are estimates provided by our partners for informational and planning purposes only. NYU Steinhardt does not guarantee these amounts.

 We built this program from the ground up, and [the faculty] all agreed on starting with the ideas of building community and understanding identity.

Heather Woodley
Co-Director of NYU Teacher Residency; Clinical Assistant Professor of TESOL, Bilingual Education, and Foreign Language Education,
NYU Steinhardt

 It’s clear our goals are to absorb material in one class at a time, build strong relationships, and get increasingly comfortable with eventually becoming the lead teacher.

Justin
graduate, 2018 cohort,
Syracuse City School District

 I have learned from my mentor myriad classroom management tips, useful restorative practice approaches, the essence of teaching, and amazing pedagogical ideas.

Xin
graduate, 2019 cohort,
San Francisco Unified School District