Frequently Asked Questions

 

How does the advisory program work at the iSchool?​

The iSchool believes that the role of advisor is the most important role that every adult in the building plays.  Each iSchool staff member has an advisory of between ten and fifteen iSchool students.  While most iSchool classes are mixed-grade, advisory is not and students stay with their advisory for all four years.  Advisory serves two main purposes at the iSchool.  First, it means that every student in the building has a pair of eyes on them who sees them holistically.  Their advisor knows what's going on in all of their courses and is their home to school connection.  Second, and most importantly, our advisory program allows every student in the building to know that they have an advocate here; someone who knows them well and is there to support them as they navigate through the high school experience.  Advisory meets three times a week.  On Mondays and Fridays students meet with their advisory for 15 minute check-ins and on Wednesdays they meet for a 45 minute lesson.

 

What AP courses does the iSchool offer?

As a school founded on rethinking high school, we see AP courses as a way to provide our students with more choice (one of our founding beliefs). We do not believe that AP courses are the only rigorous courses that the iSchool offers and we know that, regardless of whether iSchool students take an AP class, they leave the iSchool with the necessary skills to take on college and the real world. Because of these beliefs, the iSchool has made a conscious decision to offer five AP courses each year (one in each core subject area). We offer AP Language and Composition, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Environmental Science, and we rotate every year between AP World History and AP U.S. History. 

We see the 9th and 10th grade as exploratory years in the iSchool where students, through the classes they choose and the extracurricular activities they take on, are figuring out what their interests are and what they want to learn more about. AP courses are open to 11th and 12th graders and students are able to take, at most, two AP courses each year (if one of them is an AP math class). 

 

What is the average class size?

Class size ranges from four to twenty-nine.  We try to keep our math classes at less than twenty-five, but because students are able to pick their classes, there is no average class size.  Class size is based on student interest and eligibility.

 

What special education services does the iSchool provide?

The iSchool believes strongly in an inclusive environment.  There are four, full time Special Education teachers on staff at the iSchool and we offer ICT and SETSS services.  Our belief is that students need more supports in the 9th and 10th grade and then, in the 11th and 12th grade we begin to pull away services as our students become better at coping with their disability and advocating for themselves as learners. 

 

What supports do students receive when applying to college?

Our College Office offers a personalized and comprehensive college counseling program that focuses on helping every student apply to a range of "best fit" colleges that match his or her needs. We have a phenomenal College Counselor, Kate Beck, who works with students starting in their junior year.  While weekly advisory time is utilized to support our students through the overwhelming college process, our College Counselor also works closely with students on an individual basis.  Ms. Beck meets with students in small groups starting in February of their junior year and meets with each individual student and her/his family during the spring of junior year.  We host numerous, required, college workshops for our seniors to help them complete the Common Application, write their essay, and pick a diverse group of "best fit" colleges.  Ms. Beck also meets with each senior, again, in the fall of senior year and works to bring admissions representatives from close to thirty colleges in to the iSchool to meet with our students each fall.

 

How much homework is assigned?

The iSchool does not believe that students should be given four to five hours of homework every night, nor do we believe that homework equals rigor.  We want our students to have lives outside of school; to hang out with friends and participate in programs around New York City.  Our teachers are very thoughtful about the homework that is assigned and work hard to ensure that every assignment is meaningful and necessary.  How much time it takes each student to complete their homework varies by student.  What may take one student thirty minutes to complete, may take another student an hour.  Many assignments are not due the next day and so time management plays a large role in how much time students are spending on their homework.  A student can work on an essay for twenty minutes every night until it's due or s/he can choose to wait until the night before the assignment is due and then have a larger amount of work to get done.

 

Are students allowed to go out to lunch?

Yes, iSchool students are able to leave the building for lunch as long as they have parental permission to do so.  The neighborhood where the iSchool is located is safe, but expensive.  We do, however, have a list of places where students can get food for less than $5.00 listed in their Family Handbook.  All iSchool students must swipe their ID cards as they enter the school building in the morning, and students who swipe in after 8:59 am are marked late and are not allowed to go out to lunch on that day.

 

The iSchool doesn't have a gym. How do students earn Physical Education credit?

While the iSchool doesn't have a traditional gym, we do have a weight room.  All 9th graders must earn one Physical Education (PE) credit by taking classes in our weight room.  After they have shown mastery of PE standards, all iSchool students are able to earn their remaining three PE credits by continuing to take classes in the weight room or by joining two of the iSchool's PSAL sports teams (softball, baseball, basketball, track and field, cross country, bowling or handball).

 

How do standardized test scores factor into your selection criteria?

The iSchool looks at applicants' 7th grade GPA, attendance, lateness, ELA and math test scores, and our online admissions activity.  The online admissions activity is weighted the heaviest in our admissions process.  This activity can be found on our website.  Students who do not complete the online admissions activity will not be considered for admission.

 

How do you fare sharing a building with another high school?​

The iSchool shares the building with Chelsea High School.  We are housed on the 4th and 5th floor and Chelsea is on the 2nd and 3rd floor.  The 1st floor is a shared space with a small cafeteria, the weight room, and our auditorium.  We are very grateful that we have a wonderful relationship with Chelsea High School.  Our students have lunch at the same time, are dismissed at the same time, and play on the same PSAL sports teams.

 

What Foreign Languages does the iSchool offer?

The iSchool has two, full time Spanish teachers. We supplement students' time in class with a teacher-created online program. Students who wish to take French, Italian, or Mandarin are able to do so via the Rosetta Stone software without teacher support in the school building.

 

How does the scheduling process work?

The schedule process is intense, but, we believe, extremely worthwhile.  The work that we put in ensures that every iSchool student is getting what s/he needs when s/he needs it and, ideally, what s/he wants when s/he wants it.  The iSchool runs on a quarter system, and student schedules change every 9 weeks.  Students are sent a course catalog two weeks prior to having to pick their classes.  Then, in advisory, students go through an activity to help them pick their courses making sure that they are taking their required courses as well as courses that they choose.  Finally, each iSchool student is e-mailed their individualized scheduling link where there are able to pick their courses and design their program for the following quarter.  Seniors are sent their links first, then juniors, then sophomores, then freshmen. 

 

iSchool students are able to pick their courses.  Are there any courses that every iSchool student HAS to take?

Yes.  Though iSchool students are able to pick their courses, there are a few "core experiences" that every iSchool student must take. 

GRADE

CORE EXPERIENCE

9

Math (year-long)

iLearn: English Foundations

10

Math (year-long)

Analytical Writing (quarter-long)

11

Math (year-long)

Language and Composition (quarter-long)

Critical Thinking (quarter-long)

12

Math (year-long)

Research and Writing (quarter-long)

Senior Project (quarter-long)

 

Do students take online courses?  How does online learning work at the iSchool?

Yes, iSchool students do take online courses.  While the iSchool firmly believes that online learning will never replace the power of a teacher and classroom setting for the development of collaborative learning skills and social experience, learning online is - and will continue to be - a reality for the world in which students are growing up.  Most online learning happens for students in the 9th and 10th grade as they are preparing to take the Living Environment, U.S. History, and Global History Regents exams.  For all three of those year-long courses one to two quarters of the curriculum is presented online.  Students are expected to spend three hours outside of school per week on the online course and then they meet with their teacher once a week in school to discuss what they have learned and synthesize the information.

 

Do students need to bring their own computers?

There are laptops in every iSchool classroom and students should not bring their own computers to school with them.  We have more than enough computers for every iSchool student to use when they need them.

 

How much time is spent on the computer?

The iSchool does not believe that putting a computer in front of a student automatically makes learning better.  Our teachers use technology in the classrooms when it makes the learning more efficient and, frequently, the best technology is just a pen or pencil.

 

What clubs/after school activities do you have?

iSchool clubs are student driven and clubs can change from year to year. For the 2016-2017 school year we had a Model UN Club, iCare Community Service Club, Creative Writing Club, Yearbook Club, Black Student Union, Social Activism Club, Coding Club, Natural Hair Club, Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club, Film Club, Book Club, Chess Club, Theater Club, Chemistry Club, and Rock Band. Our school newspaper, literary magazine, theater program, and jazz band all take place during the school day as courses.