About the Schools

Julia Richman Education Complex

To view the Julia Richman Education Complex film, right-click here, and save the movie to your computer. To view the video you must have QuickTime installed on your laptop. Download the free player here. The video make take several minutes to download. See description below

EBC-ENY High School for Public Safety and the Law at 1495 Herkimer Street in East New York, Brooklyn, is a relatively small school for 9th through 12th graders. It was launched in 1993 with community support from East Brooklyn Congregations, a local advocacy group, that has since severed its ties. Chancellor Joel Klein announced in the Fall of 2007 that the school will be phased out over the next fourl years.

P.S. 24, Dual Language School for International Studies, K-5, Sunset Park Brooklyn. See description below

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, 9th through 12th grade, 30-20 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens, is a public school sponsored by Tony Bennett’s Education Through the Arts Foundation for students interested in pursuing dance, theatre, music and fine arts. Enrollment is based on auditions. The school will move to a permanent location in Astoria, Queens in the Spring,  2009. It provides a unique opportunity to report on culture and arts through teens and schools.

Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School at 1021 Jennings St., Bronx, is a small, innovative high school for about 500 9th through 12th graders from the surrounding South Bronx neighborhood. Teachers aim to turn its majority students who enter 9th grade doing work well below level into college-bound graduates four years later.

InsideSchools Listing


Julia Richman: The schools in the Julia Richman Education Complex (www.jrec.org) on East 67th Street in Manhattan have recently and generously agreed to become partners with Columbia J-School.

The Julia Richman complex houses six small public schools for children pre-k through 12th grade. Each school is small and autonomous. Each works with the other schools in the building to create a vibrant community of children of all ages. It’s an unusual example of how public schools can restructure themselves successfully, one school, one building at a time.

Our education reporters-in-training will spend one day a week in one of its six schools, learning how each one operates from the boiler room to the classroom. Students will devise an independent study plan with the principal. They will keep weekly journals, and will volunteer their service in their school as a writing coach, newspaper advisor, an after school tutor, or whatever may fit the schools’ needs.

Julia Richman schools are hardly the typical, traditional schools reporters will likely encounter on the education beat. Still, in depth knowledge of a small, successful school will provide an invaluable frame of reference for reporters to fairly assess schools and districts elsewhere in the United States.

The schools are:

  • Urban Academy—an inquiry-based, college oriented high school
  • Vanguard High School—high school for students with special needs
  • Talent Unlimited High School—high school for the performing arts and choral music P226M Junior High Annex—middle school for children with autism
  • The Ella Baker School—pre-k through 8th graders
  • Manhattan International High School—for students newly arrived in the United States

In addition, the complex houses a toddler center and a health clinic.

A little history:

Like many New York high schools of yore, Julia Richman was designed in 1923 with grandeur in mind. It was grand in structure, taking up a full city block on the East Side. And it was grand in promise – providing a premier public education for New York City girls, an education that represented the soul of America’s democratic purpose. Named for an early female education pioneer, Julia Richman remained a stellar example of the best America had to offer in public schools.

And then came the decline. In 1968, all single-gender schools were required by law to mix the sexes. By the mid 1970s, the city’s fiscal crisis severely gutted every school’s budget. With its 3,000-plus students, Julia Richman became known more for failure than scholarship. The city closed it down in 1993, and reopened it two years later with a collection of smaller schools serving the same population of students. The schools had been incubated elsewhere.

More than a decade later, the complex is a thriving example of how successful small school restructuring can be when it is coupled with building a larger community. Our lab work comes at a time when Hunter College is making a bid to buy Julia Richman and demolish the building, forcing this school community to plan for what may be a disrupted future.

Clips on Julia Richman Complex:

P.S. 24 Sunset Park Dual Language Elementary School

Principal Christina Fuentes has agreed to take on one J-School student this spring who expressed a particular interest in doing her lab work in a dual language school. We hope this partnership will grow in the future as well. P.S. 24 in Sunset Park Brooklyn is a successful Spanish-English elementary school for K-5 that is bucking the odds imposed by severe overcrowding and the high poverty rates of its students. It is one of what will soon be 75 dual language schools in the city, with programs ranging from Creole to Korean to Russian.

Clips and data on P.S. 24