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Welcome to Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) Promise Academy! We are a top-performing K-12 charter school within HCZ’s cradle-to-career pathway of comprehensive services. 

When young scholars join our community, we promise to do whatever it takes to get them to and through college. Everything we do — from quality instruction to exceptional extracurricular activities to healthy, home-cooked meals — is designed to keep that promise.

Since the opening of HCZ Promise Academy I in 2004 and HCZ Promise Academy II in 2005, we’ve made an enormous impact on our young people. We’ve enrolled nearly 100% of our scholars in college; we’ve closed the Black-white achievement gap; and we’ve helped our graduates build successful careers and become conscientious citizens.

At the same time, we’ve transformed the landscape of education in our country, redefining what’s possible for communities like ours.

We hope you’ll consider joining the Promise community — whether as a family who dreams of sending your scholar to college; an educator who’s passionate about empowering young people; or a donor who wants to fuel our work and mission. Together, we can build on the success of our scholars, our school, and our Promise community for years to come.

Dr. Achil Petit smiling in blue suit

Dr. Achil Petit

Superintendent, Promise Academy Charter Schools and Early Childhood Programs

Dr. Saskia Brown

Deputy Superintendent, Promise Academy Charter Schools

Our Schools

Promise Academy scholars smile
Promise Academy scholar reads in library
Promise Academy scholar next to microscope in classroom

HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools constitute two distinct but interconnected schools in Central Harlem.

They are Promise Academy I, situated in the heart of St. Nicholas Houses, and Promise Academy II, located in the vibrant commercial hub of 125th Street. Within each school is an Elementary School (grades K-5), Middle School (grades 6-8), and High School (grades 9-12). HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools are free to attend and have approximately 2,000 children enrolled.

Our Approach

We address the “whole child” — doing whatever it takes to ensure our scholars get to and through college, build successful careers, and reach their true potential.

Scholars reach their full potential through a relentless focus on academic excellence. Scholars learn from leading educators in key subject areas — math, language arts, history, social studies, and the sciences — and in cutting-edge facilities designed for interactive learning.

Promise Academy teacher teaches scholars in classroom

Our scholars’ experiences both inside — and outside — the classroom are key to their academic and personal growth. To that end, they enjoy a range of extracurricular activities, from athletics and the arts to civics and wellness, along with access to the vast cultural opportunities New York City has to offer.

Promise Academy teacher and scholar play chess in classroom

Proper nutrition is key to fueling healthy minds and bodies. That’s why our scholars enjoy nutritious, home-cooked meals served up by our executive chef and exceptional culinary team.

Promise Academy scholars hold a bowl of soup and smile

Social-emotional learning is steeped in our school culture and drives our practices and policies. Scholars learn about self-awareness, responsible decision making, conflict management, and other critical life skills. Trained social workers and guidance counselors provide individualized support to scholars, and they share expertise with parents and staff to ensure coordinated support to scholars at home and at school.

Promise Academy scholars in classroom

Our scholars leave Promise Academy ready to thrive in college and their careers. From the time they’re in kindergarten, scholars learn the importance of college; as juniors and seniors, they prepare for their post-secondary journey with advanced placement courses, college exposures, and internships with leading companies. Our Center for Higher Education and Career Support provides guidance on their journey.

Promise Academy scholar in white shirt giving a presentation

Promise Academy exists within HCZ’s pathway of comprehensive, cradle-to-career services. As such, scholars benefit from nutrition education through our signature Healthy Harlem program, social services, foster care prevention, and after-school support, with additional opportunities that put our scholars on the same playing field as children from more affluent communities.

Promise Academy staff and scholars juggle in gymnasium

Data drives everything we do. Armed with real-time data on our scholars’ academic progress and social development, we design actionable plans tailored to the unique needs of each child and confront any challenges that might hinder their success.

Promise Academy scholars hold trophies

We will go to college. We will succeed. This is our promise. This is our creed.

Promise Academy Creed

Our Impact


Classes have graduated from Promise


Promise scholars are currently in college


Promise scholars have graduated from college

Enrollment & Lottery

Enrollment at HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools is based on a lottery system.

Our lottery gives preference to residents of our 97-block Zone to ensure that we support children and families with the greatest needs. All eligible applications submitted are automatically entered into the lottery and no further steps are needed.

If your child is not accepted during the initial lottery (as determined by his or her random lottery number), he or she will be placed on our waitlist. We update the waitlist regularly and will notify you if your child becomes accepted.

Join the Promise Academy Team

Promise Academy social services team stands in front of colorful mural

At HCZ Promise Academy, you’ll help to ensure that every one of our scholars enrolls in and graduates from college. In the 2020-21 academic year, 100% of our graduating seniors were accepted to college.

Our team is relentless in the pursuit of our scholars’ success. Everything we provide our scholars — from world-class instruction and extracurricular activities to social emotional support and healthy meals — is designed to fulfill the promise that they will graduate from college.