Harvest Collegiate High School offers a rich and challenging intellectual education rooted in a growth cycle of compelling experience, inquiry and the pursuit of precision, culminating in the collaborative construction of meaning, action and reflection. 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 excellence through 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.

Harvest Collegiate aims to achieve its mission through:

  • Focusing on the challenging and engaging work of inquiry in true preparation for college with the research, support and partnership of the Institute for Student Achievement
  • Authentic intellectual work and authentic assessment, tied to Habits of Mind and Heart that promote lifelong love of learning and critical thinking
  • A system of distributed counseling where every student receives a web of social and emotional support
  • The enlargement of life experience through empowering opportunities:
    • Experience and analysis of the seed-to-plate process on the farm, in the classroom and in partnership with community, business and governmental organizations
    • Every student learning a musical instrument
    • Experiential Half-Day a Week for Spiral Growth: Urban Ecology in 9th grade, Service Learning in 10th grade, College Exploration in 11th grade, Career Internship in 12th grade
    • A January Intensive for travel or immersion learning


Challenging and Exciting: How We Create a Love of Learning

All of your classes will focus on what makes learning most interesting, the kinds of thinking required by scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, doctors, designers, lawyers, journalists, project managers, professors—any of the different things you may choose to do over the course of your life. We think this also fosters strong relationships. We know it prepares you for success in college and to help shape our changing world.

We want students to love what they’re learning and to use that love to push their mind to think rigorously, critically and imaginatively. 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; therefore every significant assignment students have will be assessed according to these habits of heart and mind:

Habit of Evidence: How do I know what I know?

Habit of Connection: What does this connect and apply to?

Habit of Perspective: How does this look differently from someone else’s shoes?

Habit of Effective Communication:  Do I strive to understand others and to share my understanding?

Habit of Curiosity: Do I continually seek the “why” and “how”?

Habit of Responsibility:  Did I take responsibility for others and myself?

Habit of Creative Contribution:  Did I add something beautiful, original, worthwhile?

Underlying all of our Habits is recognition of fundamental human dignity, expressed in the unwavering core values of Commitment to Peace, Commitment to Diversity and Commitment to Growth.


What courses can I take at Harvest Collegiate?

Genetics; Statistics and Probability;  Fantasy and Reality (literature);  Jazz; The American Dream; Art;  Calculus;  Horticulture Research; Foreign Policy; Women and Men; The Middle East; Spanish; College Now and more!

How does learning extend beyond the classroom?

Half a day each week to explore:

  • The City in 9th grade
  • Service in 10th grade
  • College in 11th grade
  • Career Internship in 12th grade

A January Intensive for travel or immersion learning

And experience the seed-to-plate process at the beautiful Stone Barns Center

What other extracurricular activities do you have?

  • Productions with Improbable Theater, a professional theater company in residence.
  • Sports: Basketball, Baseball and Softball, Soccer, Volleyball, Handball (all for boys and girls). PSAL sports through Washington Irving Campus.
  • Robotics
  • Mock Trial
  • Music of all kinds
  • Girls Group
  • Fairness Committee
  • Photography
  • SAT Prep
  • Sailing
  • GSA
  • Outdoors Club
  • Cooking
  • And others…


All of our academic work—the regular labs, readings, discussions, debates, essays, role plays and presentations—are designed to stimulate essential habits of mind: curiosity, evidence, perspective, connection and voice (see more about this in “Philosophy”).  Students are expected to formally present their work to demonstrate mastery of these skills in exhibitions at the end of 10th grade, and at the end of senior year.   We have established our own benchmark system to continually track growth and ensure every student is truly prepared for college.  Within this system, we allow students some choice in their course topics and, as they progress to junior and senior year, to choose an area to specialize in for advanced coursework.


Every student is expected to read a book of their choice for at least an hour a day—half an hour is built into the school schedule, and half an hour or more after school. Developing a strong and independent love of reading is an unmatched priority.   Our expert teachers carefully monitor each child’s reading to make sure each student is continually advancing and finding the right level of challenge.

In addition, students take robust and creative English classes such as “Growing Up,” “Beginnings” and “Literacy and Justice.”   Students read, discuss and write about great works of literature by Shakespeare, Homer, Sophocles, Frederick Douglass, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Ramayana and The Bible as well as more contemporary works by Maya Angelou, Sherman Alexie, Julia Alvarez, Rudolfo Anaya, Junot Diaz, Seamus Heaney and Walter Dean Meyers.


Instead of the usual string of events found in a textbook, history at Harvest Collegiate pushes students to critically evaluate historical sources at pivotal moments in history.   History is also an imaginative springboard for students to fully imagine the past and consider alternatives for the future. In courses such as “Heroes and Villains” students read key primary sources and the works of contemporary historians, role-play, research and debate the merits of Hernan Cortes, Martin Luther, Galileo Galilei, Catherine the Great and Elizabeth I–in their time and ours–while in “Design Your Own Civilization” students look to the ancient world to understand why some societies fail, and some succeed. All students take our core course of “Looking for an Argument” which builds reasoning muscle in a weekly cycle of listening to two adults debate, reading a variety of different short viewpoints, debating as a class and culminating in a Friday in-class essay on questions like “Should parents ban their kids from Facebook? Should the NYPD continue its stop-and-frisk policy?”


We think of mathematics as “the music of reason.  To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture; intuition and inspiration; to be awed and overwhelmed by an almost painful beauty” in the words of mathematician Paul Lockhart.   Therefore our program focuses on building student’s mathematical reasoning through compelling problems–students may propose and compare various solutions to find the most elegant.  Depending on their math background, students will follow a course sequence of either Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry and AP Statistics OR Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Precalculus and AP Calculus.


Every student learns a musical instrument at Harvest Collegiate.   In partnership with the renowned Third Street Music Settlement, we have teachers who specialize in a discipline of the student’s choice: Chorus, Piano and Percussion (we will next year add Guitar and build up to Orchestra, Jazz and Rock Band). In line with our school philosophy of students as creative producers, making music is a regular and joyous part of school life.


Our science program concentrates on how to actually do science, learning the core ideas of the scientific method through experimental design, critique and analysis.  Students start this approach on the first day of school by plunging into a Physics lab, and proceed to design experiments about motion with impact cars and catapults. Physics continues in the spring with a course on Electricity, building and testing circuits and reconstructing machines.  From this foundation of physical science, students move on the Biochemistry in 10th Grade and proceed to a full understanding of life processes in Biology in 11th grade. Senior year students may choose AP Biology, AP Physics or AP Chemistry depending on demand, or take an elective such as Environmental Science.

Spanish and Foreign Language

Our language program offers linguistic and cultural immersion in Latin American and Latino studies with the goal of improving reading, writing, speaking and listening fluency. We currently offer Spanish and plan to expand our language options as the school grows.

“Spiral Growth,” and Experiential Learning Half-Day

Half a day each week takes students outside the building: to explore the city in 9th grade Urban Ecology class, to do community service in 10th, to understand the college landscape, prepare for the SAT and visit colleges in 11th and a capstone Career Internship in 12th.

Physical Education

We think of physical education as a vital part of a student’s well being.   This year we have an energizing program of Zumba!, Hip Hop and Kickboxing two days a week in our new dance studio, while one other day a week all students learn Yoga.   As they advance, students will have greater options for exercise including a weight/fitness room, Sailing and participation on shared campus sports teams including soccer, volleyball, basketball, handball and baseball or softball.


Harvest Collegiate is a school based in honest intellectual relationships. Advisory is the “home” of every student over years; 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 personally at least once a month, communicating with the advisee’s teachers, sharing positive updates and connecting the student to further resources when necessary. Since Advisory is also a space for the cultivation of agency, rotating roles for students—leading Morning Meeting, reporting on current events, decorating the space, leading a teambuilding activity, or leading discussing on an interesting article—is also an integral part of Advisory functioning.


At Harvest Collegiate we expect every student to develop and pursue a special interest or talent and we have worked hard to offer a great range of activities for a small school in its inaugural year.  It is a required part of our program for every student to be involved in an afterschool activity at least two afternoons a week.  If you already take part in an extracurricular activity through an outside organization, great, that also counts.

After School

Theater productions (with a professional theater company in residence, Improbable Stage Company)

We are thrilled to be the only public school with the honor of working with the professional theater company, Improbable Stage Co.  There will be three plays a year: Fall classic drama of realism, an experimental play for January Intensive, and a spring comedy or creative draft.

After auditions, a particular schedule with times according to role will be given. Stage managers and tech hands also welcome. 

Sailing and Boatbuilding (with Hudson River Community Sailing)

On a pier off of the Hudson River learn to navigate a boat on the water, while learning the science and math behind it.  During the winter time, you will use carpentry skills to actually build a boat you will take out on water.

By application. Twice a week Monday-Thursday (either Monday and Wednesday)

Robotics Team (with Google’s Robotics First)

Play, experiment and build with a kit of Robotics equipment in a team, while learning valuable engineering skills: How can you make a robot that will throw a ball?  Reach above human height?

Fridays, 3:30-6:30, September-mid March.  Culminating in a school wide competition. 

Mock Trial (with the NYS Bar Association)

Interested in law, justice or just like a good court room drama?  Learn to present your case (as a lawyer or witness), cross-examine and get your point off.  Competitions against other schools in winter-spring.

One hour a week throughout fall, January Intensive


How can we make a tasty, healthy, attractive and economical mean? Form teams to compete in a Teen Iron Chef challenge—and eat your winnings.

Girls Group

A small group of girls get together with a wonderful social worker to support each other and talk about issues in their lives such as relationships, family, acceptance and self-esteem building, dealing with anger and stress,  healthy coping skills.

Tuesday evening and various times during the day also. 

PSAL Sports Teams

  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Baseball and Softball
  • Handball

These teams play in citywide competitions.  Harvest Collegiate students form teams with the other small schools from the Washington Irving Campus a few blocks away.  You can download the required medical forms here:

During and After School

Student Government 

Senators will be the organized body to hear concerns about school issues and to help lead the school forward.


Learn techniques of videography as you design and shoot your very own Public Service Announcement.

MOUSE Squad (Tech Team)

Mouse Squad prepares and supports students to be the leading technical support help desk—to a professional, industry standard—in their schools.

Gay-Straight Alliance

The goal of this group is to provide a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their straight allies.


Ambassadors will host visitors to the school, either prospective 8th grade students, adults who wish to learn more about our community and future Orientations.  Ambassadors should be informed about the school (or willing to learn more) and present professionally.

Principals’ Book Club

Each month Kate will invite students to read a book together and discuss it over snacks.  Come be part of the issue everyone is talking about!

The Lorax, Environmental Guardians

Become fierce protectors of the environment in possibilities that range from monitoring recycling to making the school more sustainable to taking daylong excursions into nature.


An opportunity to create art projects in various media with the young artists of Harvest Collegiate.

Want to create a new club?

We encourage it!  Please speak to your advisor or Atash and we will strategize ways to make this possible.


1. How can I obtain an application to Harvest Collegiate High School?

Applications are made through the NYC Department of Education High School Admission process. If you are a student currently attending 8th grade in a NYC public school, you will receive an application from your middle school counselor before the deadline (Round 1 this year is December 3rd, 2012).  If you attend a private or parochial school, or if you have just moved to NYC and need to apply after the deadline, please contact the Office of Student Enrollment at the NYC Department of Education at 212-374-0291 or 212-374-6769 for information on obtaining an application.

Please code your application with our Admissions Code, A53A.

2. Can students who live outside of Manhattan apply?

We accept students from all five boroughs, so you do not need to live in a certain borough or district to apply; however, we do give preference to students who live in Manhattan.  This year HCHS has drawn students in almost equal measure from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

3. What is the selection criteria for admission to Harvest Collegiate High School?

We are a limited unscreened school, which means we do not select students based on academic criteria but you must demonstrate informed interest in the school to be given preference.  Therefore your desire to be in our school is the most important criteria for your admission. You can show this by ranking us first on your high school preference sheet and meeting us at an Open House or Fair.

 4. When are the Open Houses?

Harvest Collegiate Open Houses are Tuesday, October 23 and Thursday, November 15 from 5:30-7pm.

You may also visit our booth at the Citywide High School Fairs Saturday and Sunday September 29-30th (10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m). as well as Saturday and Sunday, October 13-14th (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Thank you for your interest in Harvest Collegiate High School

Our Founder

I come to school leadership with a decade of experience in public schools, and a lifelong love of children, ideas and learning.  For the past nine years, I have 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 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, 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.

~Kate Burch

Contact Us

Harvest Collegiate High School

34 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011

Phone: 212-242-3384

Fax: 212-242-4173

Email: info@harvestcollegiate.org


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Please note:  The school is closed over the summer so please only come to visit there if you have an appointment.  If you do, call us when you arrive, and we will come downstairs especially to let you in. 

Support Us!

We are thrilled that you are interested in supporting the students of Harvest Collegiate High School. Working primarily with students from low-income families, your offer to provide enrichment is all the more vital in creating life-changing opportunities. Your contribution helps to build our library, to surround students with engaging and attractive readings, to offer robust musical, theater and technology programs, and to build a strong college going culture.

Please send checks to:

Institute of Student Achievement for the benefit of Harvest Collegiate High School
c/o David Walker

ISA is a 501(c)3 and all contributions are fully tax-deductible.