Urban Academy Laboratory High School

Herb Mack
317 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065

SOME HISTORY: Urban Academy is a small progressive public high school that focuses on inquiry learning. Urban Academy was founded in 1995 by co-directors Herb Mack and Ann Cook, both nationally recognized for their pioneering work in developing performance-based assessment. The school is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools and the New York Performance Standards Consortium. Urban Academy is a rigorous academic setting serving a diverse population of bright, but often previously unchallenged students. All classes are college preparatory.

AWARDS AND HONORS: Urban Academy has received many city, state and national awards recognizing its unique and challenging program. Urban Academy has been designated a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. New York City’s Public Education Association awarded the faculty of Urban Academy the Maurice B. Hexter Award for Excellence in Teaching (the only time this award has been given to a collaborative group, instead of an individual). Urban Academy was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a New American High School National Showcase Site. Urban Academy is featured as one of New York City’s “Best Public High Schools” in a parent’s guide published by Teacher’s College Press. In recent years, Urban Academy students have been awarded numerous scholarships including scholarships from the Posse Foundation, the New York Times Foundation and the Gates’ Millennium Scholarship Fund.

URBAN ACADEMY STUDENTS: Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds: some come directly from junior high; most come as transfer students from a range of high schools, including some of the city’s most competitive. The school’s aim is to create a diverse community where students from all walks of life and all parts of the city study together in a culture of vigorous debate and mutual respect. Urban Academy’s student body is approximately 30% African-American, 30% white, 30% Latino, and 10% Asian. The school seeks to produce independent thinkers who are invested in their own education.

TRANSCRIPT: Our transcripts are comprehensive and include information from any schools the student has previously attended. Community service placements and college courses taken while in high school are also documented on the transcript.

CLASS RANK AND G.P.A.: Since our school is small and focuses on collaborative learning, we do not rank our students. The grading policy at Urban Academy is rigorous and demanding.

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS: In addition to coursework, students at Urban Academy graduate by demonstrating proficiency in six major academic areas: Literature, Math, Social Studies, Science, Creative Arts, and Criticism. Each proficiency grows out of the classes, but includes components that must be completed independently, outside the framework of the class. For instance, to fulfill the Science Proficiency, a student must complete at least two hands-on science research classes. Then, working with a faculty mentor, the student plans, executes and then defends to a visiting scientist an original experiment of their own design. A similar combination of coursework and independent research, writing, and presentation is required for each proficiency. Proficiencies are designed to prepare students for college work. Students who fulfill the six proficiencies and graduate from Urban Academy are granted a Regents-level diploma.

COLLEGE CLASSES: Urban Academy has agreements with Eugene Lang College at the New School University, which allows our students to take authentic college classes while in high school. Urban Academy students have been consistently successful in these college classes, and the response from the faculty at Lang has been enthusiastic. Any college courses taken, and the grades received, are reported on each Urban Academy student’s official transcript.

COLLEGE ACCEPTANCES AND ENROLLMENT: All students at Urban Academy are college bound. On average, 95% of our graduates enroll in degree programs the first year after graduating. For the past five years, 95% of Urban Academy’s graduates have been admitted to four-year colleges. A longitudinal study, published in Phi Delta Kappan have shown that Urban Academy and other Consortium graduates have significantly higher rates of persistence and retention at the colleges they attend.

Recent graduates have accepted admission at the following colleges and universities:
Colby College
Cal Arts
City College of New York
CUNY Brooklyn College
CUNY Hunter College
CUNY John Jay
College of Santa Fe
DePauw University
Earlham College
Eugene Lang College
Fordham University
Hampshire College
Howard University
Knox College
Mills College
Morgan State
Occidental College
Penn State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rochester Institute of Technology
Sarah Lawrence College
School for the Visual Arts
Skidmore College
St. John’s College (Santa Fe)
SUNY Albany
SUNY Purchase
SUNY Oswego
SUNY Stony Brook
Syracuse University
University of Honolulu
Virginia State
Wellesley College
Wells College
Wesleyan University

Past Urban Academy students are currently enrolled (or have recently graduated from) the following schools:
American University of Paris
Bard College
Barnard College
Baruch College
Bates College
Brooklyn College
Brown University
Clark University
City College of New York
Connecticut College
College of New Rochelle
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Eckerd College
Emerson College
Eugene Lang College
Evergreen College
Fordham University
Franklin & Marshall College
Goucher College
Hampshire College
Haverford College
Hofstra College
Hunter College
John Jay College
Knox College
Marymount College
Massachusetts College of Art
Morehouse College
Mt. Holyoke College
New College of Florida
New York University
Oberlin College
Pace University
Parson’s College
Sarah Lawrence College
Skidmore College
SUNY Binghamton
SUNY New Paltz
SUNY Purchase
Syracuse University
Temple University
University of Chicago
University of Massachusetts
Utica College
Warren Wilson College
Wesleyan University