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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, no-cost 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, HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools and Early Childhood Programs

Dr. Saskia Brown

Deputy Superintendent, HCZ 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 three distinct but interconnected schools in Central Harlem. 

  • Promise Academy I High, Middle, and Elementary School (245 West 129th Street)
  • Promise Academy II High School and Middle School (35 East 125th Street)
  • Promise Academy II Elementary School (70 East 112th Street)

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. We offer free tuition, access to technology, uniforms, and much more.

Scholars reach their full potential through a relentless focus on academic excellence. Scholars enjoy an extended school day and year, ensuring their success in core subject areas — math, language arts, history, social studies, and the sciences. Scholars are taught by leading educators in cutting-edge facilities designed for interactive learning.

Promise Academy teacher teaches scholars in classroom

From notebooks to calculators to backpacks — and even laptops! — we provide our scholars with everything they need to be their best at school. This also includes access to top-of-the-line learning technology such as science equipment, musical instruments, and media and broadcasting tools.

A young boy is working at a computer with headphones on

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 and after-school 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 school 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 College Success Office provides guidance on their journey.

HCZ Promise Academy scholar in white shirt giving a presentation during an event hosted by Center for Higher Education and Career Support.

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


HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools enrolls children in grades K-12, with preference given to those living in our 97-block Zone. There are no application or tuition fees.

Enrollment for 3-year-olds

Three-year-olds are encouraged to apply now so that they can start kindergarten at Promise Academy after they finish preschool.

Once you apply, your child has the opportunity to be entered into a lottery and assigned a random number. If your child’s number is called during the lottery (to be held summer 2023), they will be accepted into Promise Academy and will begin kindergarten at the start of the 2025-2026 school year. If your child is not entered into the lottery, or their number is not chosen during the lottery, they will be placed on a waitlist.

To find out your child’s number on the waitlist, call 646-539-5941.

Enrollment for 4-year-olds and older

Once you apply, your child is placed on a waitlist. If your child is accepted, they will join HCZ Promise Academy either in fall 2024 (for those born in 2018) or fall 2025 (for those born in 2019). 

To find out your child’s number on the waitlist, call 212-360-3230. 

Join the HCZ Promise Academy Team

Promise Academy social services team stands in front of colorful mural

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.