Promise Academy Charter Schools

The Promise Academy Charter Schools were created as a partnership with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc. to directly impact the centerpiece of a child’s educational life.

The mission is to give children in Harlem a high-quality, well-rounded education. To do so, the schools have assembled talented, loving staffs that create safe, enriching environments where children know they are cared about and that there are high expectations of them.

The children at the two Promise Academy schools have an extended school day and year, giving them the time they need to master basic skills as well as explore the arts and sciences. To make sure they are ready for the rigors of the school day, the students receive healthy, freshly made meals and participate in daily physical activity.

The school staff works hand-in-hand with the after-school staff, which offers the students academic help, as well as various classes - from chess to music; from photography to web design. There is also a Saturday Academy for children who need additional help with their English and math skills.

Results have been encouraging. At Promise Academy II, 100 percent of the third-graders were at or above grade level on the 2008 statewide math test. At Promise Academy I, 97 percent of the third-graders were at or above grade level in math.

At Promise Academy I middle school, where the students entered at sixth grade and were two and three years behind grade level, there has been some great progress. The eighth-graders scored 87 percent on or above grade level on the latest statewide math test, whereas they had entered the school with only 40 percent at grade level.

In its citywide progress reports, the New York City Department of Education gave HCZ Promise Academy an “A” rating for its performance.

The venture began in September 2004 with the opening of Promise Academy 1 elementary and middle schools, followed in September 2005 by Promise Academy 2. Both PA 1 and PA 2 will both eventually run from kindergarten through 12th grade, taking on a new grade each year.

In 2006, a health clinic opened in the middle-school building so the students could get free medical, dental and mental-health services. The Harlem Children’s Health Project is a partnership of the Children’s Health Fund, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and HCZ. In addition the clinic works with the elementary schools to identify children’s unmet health needs and to facilitate necessary care.

With many of the students spending 10 or more hours a day at the school, they are immersed in the school’s culture of achievement and intellectual growth. Today, many of the Promise Academy students feel it’s “cool” to be smart and firmly believe they can and will succeed.

The Promise Academy charter schools are provided free of charge, which is made possible by generous donations from people like you.

Support the children at Promise Academy


Learn about the bestselling book, "Whatever It Takes," which profiles Promise Academy
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