Family Handbook

A User’s Guide to Harvest

Collegiate High School



34 West 14th Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 242-3384 Fax: (212) 242-4173

Kate Burch,  Principal



You are in the unique position of founding a school—an exciting position that comes with a great deal of privilege and a great deal of responsibility. Harvest is a special place, a new school where students from all different backgrounds have chosen to come together as a community for four years of education.  As you orient yourself to Harvest, the User’s Guide can provide you with information, details that are vital to your life here.


Doing well at Harvest, succeeding academically and socially here, are up to you.  We are committed to supporting you fully.  When you are alive to the world around you; when you are academically interested and involved, questioning and thinking; when you are happy and doing your best work—that’s when we know we’re succeeding.  While there’s no substitute for lived experience, we hope that this booklet will help you begin to understand how to be a successful student at Harvest.


And let us know what you think of this version of our User’s Guide:  How can we change it so it is even more helpful to you?  We look forward to your questions and responses.








Table of Contents:

  1. Mission and Vision: What is our purpose as a school?


  1. Academic Program
  2. An essential education: your Habits of Mind and Heart
  3. Authentic Intellectual Work, Gateways, Capstones
  4. Reading good books: Do it!
  5. An Embarrassment of Riches: Choosing your Courses
  6. Open Honors
  7. Extra Help: Writing Center, Tutoring. Help is available


III.           The Harvest Community:

  1. Advisory
  2. Morning Meeting
  3. Extracurricular activities: do something you love, twice a week. We offer an incredibly array of extracurricular activities.
  4. Awards, for academic excellence and community


  1. Policies
  2. Academic Integrity
  3. Attendance
  4. Bathroom
  5. Out Building, sharing it
  6. Bullying and Cyber-Bullying
  7. The Commons
  8. Conflict, how to address it
  9. Class Trips
  10. DOE Discipline Code, Rights and Responsibilities
  11. Dress Code
  12. Electronics
  13. Homework
  14. Inclusion
  15. Lockers
  16. Lunchroom Norms
  17. Respectful language, respectful actions
  18. Virtual Communication
  19. Visitors


And Consequences

  1. When the Ideal Doesn’t Happen . . . Ladder of Referral
  2. Fairness


  1. The Year at Harvest: Special Events to Mark the Year


  1. Who We Are and Who to Go to for What




What is Harvest Collegiate High School?



  1. Mission and Vision

Mission Statement: The Harvest School offers a rich and challenging intellectual education rooted in a natural growth cycle of compelling experience, inquiry and the pursuit of precision . . . We believe in cultivating students’ power to produce and reflect, rather than simply consume, as a fundamental way of being in the world. Our learning experiences are designed to stimulate immersion through disciplined habits of thought on topics of moral or aesthetic significance, while cultivating a powerful sense of competence, autonomy and belonging.  We aspire to being, and to contributing creatively to, a “sane society,” one of peace, growth, even joy.  We believe all young people flourish in conditions that challenge and support, so in our commitment to diversity and equity, we aim to serve the varied students of the city.  We prepare students for success in college and for participatory leadership that promotes The Harvest School’s values of active responsibility for mankind and our earth.


The Harvest School aims to achieve its mission through:

             Focusing on the challenging and engaging work of inquiry in preparation for college with the research, support and partnership of the Institute for Student Achievement

             Authentic intellectual work and authentic assessment, tied to clearly articulated Habits of Mind and Heart—Curiosity, Evidence, Perspective, Connection, Voice, Responsibility, and Creative Contribution—that promote a lifelong love of learning and using one’s mind well

             Core values of Commitment to Peace, Commitment to Diversity and Commitment to Growth in the recognition of fundamental human dignity and the cultivation of students’ belonging, autonomy and competence

             A system of distributed counseling where every student is known well receives a web of social and emotional support

             The enlargement of life experience through empowering opportunities:

o             The Harvest Spiral Growth experience: Urban Ecology in 9th grade (Where do we come from?), Service Learning in 10th grade (What can we do about it?), College Exploration in 11th grade (Where are we going next?), Career Internship in 12th grade (What might our future hold?)

o             Practical experience farming as a site for critical inquiry and action

o             Every student learning a musical instrument

o             A January Intensive for travel or immersion learning


So, how do we do this?


  1. Academic Program


  1. As a community we have defined what is most essential for our students to learn now, and ten, twenty, fifty years into their life. These are:


Our Habits of Mind and Heart

Habit of Curiosity: the ability to cultivate attention and openness, the desire to continually seek new knowledge and awareness.

o             Did I seek further information about the situation and people around me? Did I actively seek to listen and understand others? Did I express interest, or even passion? Was I willing to take a healthy risk, explore and try a new experience? Did I persevere, when the situation became challenging?


Habit of Evidence: the ability to bring together relevant information, to judge the credibility of sources, to find out for oneself.

o             How do I know what I know? Did I support my views and points with examples and evidence?


Habit of Connection: the ability to look for patterns and ways things fit together in order to use diverse materials to form new solutions.

o             What else does this connect and apply to?  Can I explain the context around this issue?  How are we all connected, to each other and our environment?


Habit of Perspective: the ability to address questions from multiple viewpoints and to use a variety of ways to solve problems.

o             How can I see this problem or situation from a different point of view? Can I put myself in someone else’s shoes? What if?—how could this be otherwise?


Habit of Voice: the ability to express oneself effectively in order to be understood and to understand others.

o             Did I organize present my work in ways that are clear and appropriate to outside audiences? Did I engage in dialogue and writing in order to share my thinking and deepen our group’s thinking? Does the presentation meet professional standards of the field?



Habit of Responsibility: the ability to manage tasks through organization, preparation, persistence and self-monitoring.

o             Did I take responsibility for myself and others by showing up, on time and prepared, fostering interdependence?  Did I make healthy choices, including asking for help? Did I reflect honestly? Can I learn from my missteps and consider what I would do differently next time?


Habit of Creative Contribution: the ability to give to, sustain, support or enhance lives and life systems.

o             What are we leaving behind?  How can I leave it better, more beautiful or just? Have I added something beneficial, sustainable, worthwhile?



Why Habits of Mind? We want students to love what they’re learning and use that love to push their minds to think deeply, critically and imaginatively.  Our Habits are also values, guidelines for the kind of world we want to live in—where people desire to learn and grow, ask questions and communicate, imagine different perspectives, reason with evidence, help each other and create works of meaning. To cultivate this as a way of being, it needs to become a habit.  To make it a habit, it needs continual promotion and reinforcement in language that is clear and consistent—to the students themselves, to their families and to school staff.  Since “what gets measured is what gets improved” every significant student assignment will be assessed according to these Habits of Heart and Mind.  This model provides powerful clarity and coherence for both teachers (focusing on the most college preparatory “power skills”) and for students by consistently communicating the high level of expectation for their thinking.



  1. Authentic Intellectual Work, Gateways and Capstones: How We Ensure We’re Cultivating Habits


The best place to show your habits is in your actual work—your historical research papers, science labs, literary analysis papers and complex math problems.  Our model of education is for students to be producers, not just consumers, in everything they do—their coursework whether investigating a lab, writing a research paper with an original thesis or playing a musical piece. To that end, Harvest Collegiate asks that you work on certain projects—called Gateways by the end of sophomore year (detailed information is available at and Capstones by the end of Senior Year.  Each discipline has its own particular Gateway and Capstone, which will be described by your teachers in lined with advancing thought in the discipline, but it will be a piece of work worthy of presentation to an audience in Symposium.

In order to pass you Gateways to the 11th and 12th grades (Upper House), you will need to work and revise until you meet the standards (the rubrics by discipline and for presentation spell these out in detail).   We will showcase and celebrate your work, the two of your choice, in public symposium presentations.  Symposium are where a small group of students present one at a time.  Then the whole group engages in a dialogue around their presentations before opening it up to questions from the audience.  Our first Symposium this February showed students making connections, pushing each other’s thinking, presenting with professional polish and all in all, doing great work!




  1. Reading good books: Do it!

Why? First of all, to an ever-increasing degree, our society is based on literacy. The goal of a Harvest education is not mere literacy, however, but attaining expertise at reading and understanding sophisticated texts, the kind of texts that college and the working world require. Great books can enlighten us.  We may disagree what a great book is but please consider these criteria:


  • Educated, even beautiful language.
  • Rigorous insights into human psychology, history, science, etc.
  • Recognition by serious readers and scholars; for example Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Shakespeare’s Othello: Huge amounts of material have been written about these books. They are part of every college curriculum. Educated people know them and can discuss them. You should too.
  • Withstanding the test of time. The staying-power of a book may be a good indication of the fact that its message is universal. For example, Plato’s Socratic Dialogues (ca. 600) or the Old Testament have been read for centuries, adding to the wisdom and knowledge of the world.


These are a few sample criteria. You may disagree with them, or create some of your own, and we hope that you will do both. The fact remains, that a good book is a privileged communication between you and another, highly insightful human being.

Colleges want students whose education has featured the reading of good books. We want you to love reading at Harvest, so we’re constantly trying to find good books that we hope are appealing and interesting. But even more, we want you to value, even to treasure books. Think about it.


Some books that we recommend your reading before you enter college are:


  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  • The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
  • Genesis, Exodus, Psalms
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
  • “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Macbeth, William Shakespeare
  • Narrative of the Life Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,  by Frederick


  • Night by Elie Weisel
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Poems of Rumi
  • A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
  • The Ramayana
  • Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
  • Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
  • The Stranger, Albert Camus
  • Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
  • Things Fall Apart, Chi Chinua Achebe
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee


This is just a sampling, but we think it’s a good one. If you’re “stuck” for a good book to read, our staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about books and we’ll always be delighted to suggest a good book.


  1. An Embarrassment of Riches: Choosing your Courses

A Harvest education starts with questions, questions that you ponder while living your life and questions that mankind has considered over civilizations.  Questions such as, “What is a meaningful life? How does musical harmony happen? Who is considered a ‘hero’ in history and why? How does life sustain itself on planet earth?” Different questions may speak to you more at different times. Therefore, within the state requirements, you have the privilege of requesting certain classes.  You will always take four years of: English, history, science, and mathematics.  You will have a choice of music or foreign language and as you graduate to Division One (11th and 12th grade), you will have an even broader array of electives.  While you may not always get your first choice of classes, and we can’t guarantee your course choices for logistical reasons, we will do our best to put you in classes you want to be in since we believe students do their best work when happy.


  1. Open Honors

Part of our mission at Harvest is to challenge you to the fullest extent possible.  In certain subjects, you may be ready and willing to tackle a more difficult assignment. At Harvest, we offer you the option to apply to our Open Honors program.  Honors in one class might mean reading an extra book which will be analyzed in lunchtime Socratic seminars, or doing consistently harder problem sets. Several weeks into each semester, you will apply to your teacher and select those courses in which to do this harder level of work for Honors credit on your transcript.  Honors courses are weighted 10% more than a regular course in your GPA and are highly regarded by colleges, who like to see you taking the initiative to fulfill your potential as a learner and thinker.


  1. Extra Help: Writing Center, Tutoring. Help is available


At Harvest, our model is one of high challenge along with high support.  Therefore extra academic help is available every morning at 8am at the Writing Center, as well as two days for mathematics.  Help is available afterschool Monday, Tuesday and Friday at the Writing Center as well as often in science and math; teachers are also generally available by appointment to find a time that works for you.  If you are every having trouble in a class, we encouraged to take responsibility for your learning by asking your peers and the teacher to clarify, seek extra help and study/practice more, that time-tested way to learn.  The pathway to understanding is there for you to walk it.



III.           Community Participation

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. –Carl Jung



  1. Advisory

“I am because we are . . .Ubuntu acknowledges that a person is a person through other people” –Archbishop Desmond Tutu



Purpose of Advisory.  Advisory is the “home” of every student; the Advisor is responsible for overseeing and proactively addressing the child’s overall well-being, particularly their academic progress, of which attendance is a crucial component.  This includes communicating with the advisee’s family, sharing positive updates and seeking further resources and support when necessary. The curriculum of Advisory includes four core components: 1)  community building, including knowing and connecting to one another as human beings and leading the community periodically in Morning Meeting 2) academic advising, including goal setting and progress monitoring and course selection 3) Collegiate Futures, including learning about college and career choices, along with some financial planning and 4) social-emotional Health.  Since Advisory is also a space for the cultivation of agency, rotating roles for students—leading discussion on a relevant article, leading Morning Meeting, reporting on current events, decorating the space, leading a teambuilding activity, etc—is also an integral part of Advisory functioning.


  1. Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting.  Each morning we have morning meeting as a whole school for 10 minutes.  Morning Meeting is a time to transition from the outside world to school, to connect with each other, to affirm and reaffirm our shared values and a space for quiet reflection, to cultivate mindfulness.  As with all we do, it is also used to spark an interest in learning.   Advisories will take a rotating role in leading the Morning Meeting.


Monday: reading (individual or choral), Word of the Week, announcements.   Moment of

Zen, Quaker-style connections, Mindfulness from research-based curriculum of

Mindful Schools for building concentration, changing impulsive reactions to

thoughtful responses and promoting increased student achievement.  Rainstorm

ritual.  Need other fun ritual—rhythm?

Tuesday:  individual Advisory time

Wednesday: Presentations of learning from classes. Science Times skit/ aesthetic experience or wonderment (math puzzle, art piece or educational video)

Thursday:  Speakers (student and faculty) on habit or theme of the month

Friday: Group sing or musical performance.  Community celebrations.


  1. Extracurricular Involvement: Do Something you Love at least twice a Week


We believe extracurricular activities are an ideal way to develop yourself—find new things that make life rewarding, deepen talents, and form friendships around common interests.   The expectation at Harvest Collegiate is that each semester you will participate in extracurriculars at least twice a week. (If you are involved with an activity or organization formally outside of school, that may also “count” for an extracurricular; inform your advisor). Living in a democracy, you will be asked to participate in civic life and extracurriculars are a way you can extend the life of the school.  College admission officers are often persuaded that students with deep and rich extracurriculars show leadership, maturity, initiative and other qualities they are looking for.


For the particular range of extracurriculars we offer this year, please see our Extracurricular Menu, available on our website and on paper around the school.  This year we have over twenty different activities to choose from!

  1. Incentives and Awards: Celebrating each others’ Success

At Harvest we believe in cooperation as the wisest and most effective route to knowledge. We feel that achievement and merit should be acknowledged and honored as well. Students who have distinguished themselves at Harvest because of the quality of their academic work or because they exemplify Harvest Habits of Mind and Heart, and Core Values, receive special recognition during End-term Ceremonies and at Graduation. Teachers within a department select students who have distinguished themselves in their subject work for an Outstanding Achievement and Most Improved each semester. Most unique to Harvest, your fellow students nominate you for lived demonstration of the Habits of Mind and Heart and Core Values, and each term students receive awards for “Commitment to Diversity” and the other core values.  Valedictorian and Salutatorian are selected through a process of GPA, demonstration of the core values, and reflection and growth over time that you show in written letters (see appendices).


  1. Policies


Our policies always connect back to our core values of peace, diversity and growth and serve to promote our habits of mind and heart.



Academic Integrity.  Integrity in academic settings is a fundamental component of success and growth in the classroom.  It prepares students for personal and professional challenges as well as providing a blueprint for future fulfillment and success (  As a student at Harvest Collegiate high school, you are expected to maintain the

highest level of academic integrity in all classes and at all times.  It is unacceptable to

present another’s work as your own, either on purpose or by accident.


Violating academic integrity includes:


1) Cheating- any attempt to give or obtain assistance in a formal academic exercise without due acknowledgement


2) Plagiarism- the adoption or reproduction of original creations of another author (person, collective, organization, community, or other type of author, including anonymous authors) without due acknowledgment


3) Dishonesty- lying or being deliberately deceptive (i.e. allowing another student to copy your work, giving your homework to another person to plagiarize, etc.) After an initial conference, if the academic integrity policy is violated, a letter will be placed in your file permanently.  When applying to college or any post-secondary institution this letter will be sent along with your transcript; this can truly harm your chances of being accepted into the college of your choice or any post-secondary institution.  It not only informs your actions of cheating, but also provides insight into the value you place on academic growth.


Attendance policy: When you must be absent because of illness or a family emergency, you and your parents/guardians are expected to call to inform us. At the same time, when you are late or absent, it is our policy to call you, if you have not already called us.  Of course, you will need to make up the work you have missed and you must bring an excuse note, certifying that your absence was an excused absence, from your parent or guardian or physician when you return to school.  The Chancellor’s regulations for all NYC schools state that attendance lower than 90% is grounds for non-promotion. Low attendance means a risk of summer school or even graduating after four years. Our expectation is that you should surpass this minimum, and only be absent once or twice a year, for a rare excused absence.


An excused absence is a day missed from school because of serious illness (not the sniffles), a family emergency or legal mandate (i.e., a court date). If you are absent from school for some other reason it will not be considered excused. Here are some examples of unexcused absences (i.e. reasons that are never legitimate to miss school): drivers licensing test; non-emergency medical or dental appointment; sports activity; baby-sitting for a sibling. In other words, school always comes first. We don’t believe effective education can take place unless school is the top priority.


This is the five-step policy we intend to follow, with specific consequences for unexcused absences:


  • First absence: a member of our attendance team will call you to remind you of our Attendance Policy, as well as inform your Advisor to speak with you. For an unexcused absence, there will be a consequence of either a reflective lunch or staying late with the teacher to make up the missed work.
  • Second unexcused absence: Your advisor will personally contact your parents in addition to a reflective lunch and afterschool make-up.
  • Third unexcused absence: Your advisor will set up a meeting including you, your parent, the Advisor and another school adult (such as Social Worker, Principal) to investigate the reasons for your absences. Consequences, including a setting contract, will be determined at this meeting.
  • Fifth unexcused absence: You will be asked to meet with the leadership either to determine radical strategies for coping with your truancy pattern, perhaps including investigating alternatives to Harvest.



Bathroom Policy.  One student at a given time is allowed to go to the bathroom with the pass. Permission should be asked of the teacher so whereabouts are understood.


Bullying and Cyber-Bulling. We take bullying extremely seriously at Harvest Collegiate and will not tolerate it.  If you or someone you know is being bullied—in or out of school, including online—you have the obligation to report it—to your Advisor, Dean, Social Worker or Principal.  We will take the necessary measures to make it stop and ensure the safety of all.


The “Commons.” Harvest Commons, the open space when you enter our school, is a shared space for the community to gather.  Students please sit with your Advisory for Morning Meeting.


Concerns.  We are open to hearing your concerns.  If something is happening that is not right, please bring it to your Advisor, Dean, Social Worker or Principal and we will work to address it. No one should suffer at Harvest Collegiate.


Conflict, a natural part of life.  We people are truly engaged with each other, conflict happens. When it does, it is essential that you use the skills you to resolve it: habit of voice (explain yourself), habit.  If you need help resolving conflict, you should speak to Atash (or your Advisor or Dean) who can help you and may organize a mediation, a process where a third party helps both sides hear each other and come to an understanding.  It is never okay to resort to violence and fighters will receive an automatic suspension.


Class trips.  We encourage learning beyond the classroom and have in fact, structured our schedule to include a near weekly field exploration (the Harvest Experience of Urban Ecology, community service, College Preparation, Internship) so as to be minimally disruptive to other classes. All school trips that take place during the school hours must have an educational focus and be viewed as an extension of the curriculum and learning environment.


Discipline Code of the NYC Department of Education.  The discipline code of the DOE, attached fully here, outlines all your rights, responsibilities and possible guidance and disciplinary interventions.


Dress Code. Students are at Harvest to learn about ideas, and one’s relationship to ideas, in a community. Everyone appreciates beauty and all students naturally shine but we also desire to help you to focus on your work without distraction. We therefore ask students and teachers to dress in a way that is appropriate, and not provocative, so that we are all treated with respect both in and out of Harvest.  Therefore, from just below your shoulder to 6” above the knee (about the length of a dollar bill) must be covered, and clothing should not be skin-tight. In short, the policy requires that we not see any undergarments, cleavage or rear end. No buts about it!


Furthermore, the content of all clothing must be appropriate at all times.  Vulgarity, violence or reference to any illegal activity is not in line with our core values.  Out of respect for the policy of the building we are moving into, hats and sunglasses must be removed upon entry into the building.  Students outside of the dress code will be asked to change or sent home while responsible for their work.



Electronics. Students: please put away all put away all cell phones, ipods and other electronic devices before entering the building. The Chancellor’s Regulations for the City of New York forbid any use of student electronics in schools; if not, schools have a right to confiscate them and send them downtown for parent pick-up weeks later. Out of school, new technologies can entertain us and enhance our communications, but in school they usually distract us from our educational work and so any electronic use needs to be completely out of hearing and sight (including headphones).  If a student is abusing our electronics policy, we reserve the right to confiscate the electronics device.

Research shows that incessant use of these devices may actually alter our brain’s attention patterns.  If no electronics use during school hours seems challenging at first, we believe it is worth doing; cultivating your focus will let you pursue your goals in life more deeply.


Homework.  Homework is used as a time to extend learning, prepare for classroom discussion and practice important skills.   Homework is an important occasion to foster responsibility and independence, vital attributes for college and for life.  In addition to our reading expectation of half an hour in the evening (ideally an hour), students should be prepared for about half an hour in each academic subject, or approximately two hours a night.


Inclusion.  In line with our commitment to Diversity, we have a philosophy of full inclusion for special needs students who will be placed in the least restrictive environment possible according to their Individualized Education Plans.


Lockers.  You will be fortunate to have your very own locker at Harvest, but for security reasons must only use the locker that is assigned to you.  Please bring in your own combination lock and register it with our Community Associate so that your belongings can be securely stored.   Appropriate times to go to your locker are before Morning Meeting starts (before 8:30) or after school at 3:17 so please organize your materials for the day so that you have what you need.



A few norms make lunch an enjoyable time for all:

  1. Lunch is a time to enjoy one another’s company, to be together, take a break and eat.
  2. “Don’t yuk my yum”: refrain from criticizing our sources of nourishment. Someone else might be enjoying it, and this food keeps us healthy.
  3. Speak softly and be friendly. Be respectful and thank all members of the community—this includes our cafeteria workers and custodians.
  4. Walk, don’t run. Cooperate.
  5. Clean up your own space. Please make the effort in keeping the lunchroom clean for everyone.




Respectful language, respectful actions. “Playfighting” is not allowed!  As they teach us in kindergarten, please use your words and not your hands.


Virtual communication. We ask you to avoid “friending” teachers in a social network until graduation. School announcements and communication can be posted through our official school Facebook site.


Visitors.  Visitors are not permitted except with explicit permission of the school (such as scheduled 8th grader visiting the school or parent volunteer).  Any other visitor must be approved in advance by the Principal.




  1. When the ideal doesn’t happen . . . Ladder of Referral

There are three kinds of infractions, which helps to think about our response and appropriate consequences.  You should also familiarize yourself with the DOE’s Student Rights and Responsibilities and ranges of possible consequences for each infraction.


Responding to Violations of Harvest’s Core Values


Level One—Disruption

Disrupting teaching and learning; disturbing the learning environment.



Disrupting teacher and/or classmates

Arriving to class late

Not returning to class in timely manner after leaving for the bathroom

Leaving class without permission

Use of electronics/cell phone anywhere in school.


Standard response:

Communicated TO ADVISOR (Teacher tells Advisor that day and Advisor calls home unless teacher prefers to call him or herself)

  • Phone call home and documented by Advisor

ELECTRONICS visible or heard CONFISCATED for duration of class by teacher (repeat offense or refusal to relinquish becomes Level II)



Level Two—Disrespect

Disrespecting self and/or classmates; instigating conflict.



Using attacking/derogatory language to another student

Not listening to/disrespecting an adult

Late to Class 3 times

Cutting class

Refusing to hand teacher electronics after being asked to do so

Refusing to wear appropriate clothing after being asked to do so

Disrespect of school property, gambling


Standard response:



  • Phone call home; family conference if necessary



  • Parents of repeat offenders must come in to pick up cell phone

INTERVENTION (Several teachers or adults attend conference)



Level Three—Threatening Safety

Engaging in “non-negotiable” behavior; endangering the school community.




Sexual harassment

Drug or alcohol sale, possession, or intoxication

Refusing to hand Principal electronics after disrespecting all previous levels

Vindictive destruction or defacement of school property


Standard response:


  • Separated and sent home immediately
  • Return with Parent/Guardian for family conference with Principal, Dean and Advisor




iii.            Fairness and our Philosophy of Restorative Justice

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”–Gandhi


The Fairness Committee (comprised of both faculty and students) is a non-traditional restorative justice model of school discipline. Fairness seeks to create, through structured dialogue and by consensus, appropriate “consequences” for those violations, rather than simply meet out prescribed “punishments.”  As a model of restorative justice the Committee endeavors to 1) inspire empathic and critical self-reflection, by confronting a member of the community with his or her actions and how they have effected others; 2) collectively determine how best to restore and mend the community in the wake of actions inconsistent with its values; and 3) how to reintegrate the member of the community who has violated our values back into the fabric and culture of the school.




  1. The Year at Harvest

Children grow into the intellectual life around them. –Lev Vygotksy


Please note all confirmed activities are shared on our google “Harvest Family Calendar,” which is always the most updated version, as this is our rough plan which may change.


September: Habit of Curiosity


Orientation for all students before school starts introducing norms, values, meeting Advisory and discussing summer reading

Welcome to Harvest Night for Families


October: Habit of Responsibility

PTA: Curriculum Night for Families

Princeton Blairstown Overnight Teambuilding Trip

College and PSAT Day

Student-led progress report conferences.  Students present their work so far to parents.


November: Habit of Voice

Autumn Theater production

Harvest banquet celebrating student reading and advisory spirit for Thanksgiving


December: Commitment to Peace

Urban Ecology family presentations

Math Team presentation

Submit final set of “warning” grades

Winter Solstice Concert, Dance and Potluck for Families


January: Habit of Connection

College Experience Panel (for freshmen on a Wednesday afternoon)

First Gateway presentations

“January Term”  Intensive


February: Commitment to Diversity

Winter Staff Retreat.  Review of first semester accomplishments and next directions.

Black History Month and Commitment to Diversity Celebration


March: Habit of Perspective

Student-led progress report conferences.  Students present their work so far to parents.

Formal hiring process for 2015 commences (posting, sorting, interviews)


April: Habit of Evidence

Quality Review (external DOE review of school practices)


May: Habit of Creative Contribution

Talent Show

Institute of Student Achievement Inventory (formal visit to review adherence to ISA principles)


June: Culmination and Celebration of all Habits and Values

Gateway presentations

Urban Ecology family tours


  1. Who We Are


Kate Burch, Principal and Founder

I come to school leadership with over a decade of experience in public schools, and a lifelong love of children, ideas and learning.  I previously served variously as a teacher, advisor, service and college coordinator, and Professional Development Director at Humanities Preparatory Academy, which was chosen by the Gates Foundation as a National Mentor School of the Coalition of Essential Schools, and in my last year in 2010 achieved a 95% four-year graduation rate.

I grew up in Manhattan and graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature magna cum laude.  I researched and wrote the travel guidebooks Let’s Go: Europe and Let’s Go: Roadtrip USA, as well as serving as a research-writer on a book about the history of women entrepreneurs Enterprising Women.   I have lived and worked in India, the Caribbean, France and in 2007 was a Yale University Fulbright-Hays Scholar to Ghana, West Africa.   I have given presentations on instituting the Common Core, designing theme-based courses, teaching about Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, and instituting Fairness, a panel for restorative justice, at professional conferences in New York and across the country. I hold a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in International Educational Development, with a focus on Peace Education. I am passionate about bringing these experiences to bear in a shared commitment to educate the diverse students of our city and to provide them with the powerful learning structures and opportunities they deserve to succeed.



Our faculty is exceptional — in its depth of experience, diversity of talents, and commitment to inspiring students.

All faculty emails addresses are the teacher’s first name  For example, Ted Sizer’s email would be

Link here for a list of teachers: Our Staff

In addition to our faculty, our staff includes:


Marita Franzman, part-time Assistant Principal


Denise Hernandez, Secretary


Tyree, Jackson, Community Associate and Parent Outreach


Madgaline Argyros, School Aide


Harry Cabrera, Paraprofessional


Edgewater Mighty, Custodial Foreman

Manuel Diaz, Custodian

Jay Ortiz, Assistant Custodian


School Safety Agents

Carmen Andujar

Leron Harry

Cafeteria Staff

Andre Bullock, Cook

Helen Sutherland, School Lunch Helper

If you have or need . . . Please see:

Admissions questions    Kate

Assessment or JumpRope questions      Steve Lazar

Attendance Records       Denise Hernandez, Secretary

Call home for illness or urgent matter     Denise Hernandez, Secretary

Computer, copier or printer fixing            Cynthia Douglas; Denise Hernandez to call the company

Condoms             Atash and Andy are certified distributors

Course Catalogue            Your advisor

Course selection              Your advisor who will bring your request to Paul and Kate for review

Fairness, behavioral concerns, incident reports  Jessica  Jean-Marie, Dean or your Advisor

Funding requests             Kate, Principal

Locker assignments        Tyree Jackson, Community Associate

Help with a conflict or Mediation              Your Advisor, Atash or Jessica

Idea to make the school better Student government

Metrocards        Denise Hernandez, Secretary

Morning Meeting presentation idea or Question              Advisory leading it & Kate

Musical request or idea Marc or Amy

Parent Organization        Shirlene Blake

Proposal or new idea for the school        Kate, Visions or committee chair who oversees it

Schedule or Program of Classes Paul-Michael Huseman, Programmer

Starting a Club   Kate Burch, Principal

Transcript            Advisor, then Paul

Translation Help               Denise, Laura, Faye or Randy for Spanish

Trauma, pregnancy, abuse, self-harm or suicide, homelessness, immigration issues         Atash Yagmaihan, Social Worker

Urban Ecology idea or question Faye or John

Website               Marc Beja or Steve Lazar

Working Papers                Denise Hernandez, Secretary




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