Academics


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Academic Philosophy

York Prep School was founded in 1969 with a clear vision: a school offering an outstanding education in a warm, yet challenging atmosphere. The York Prep philosophy is to combine a progressive environment with a traditional-values approach to education. It’s what makes us one of the best alternative high schools in NYC. At York Prep, we serve students in grades 6-12.

We are blessed with teachers who go above and beyond by giving a great deal of personal attention to every one of their students. We emphasize the quality of the relationship between student and teacher as part of the high standard of learning taking place. That includes the administration at all levels, the vast majority of whom also teach.

We believe students succeed when they are taught at a level appropriate to their age and their aptitudes. We place all students in environments where they can succeed and must work to do so.

York Prep Philosophy

Our Approach | Made Possible by Outstanding Teachers

York Prep offers personalized education for every student, making us one of the best high schools in NYC. Our goal is to enable middle and high school students to reach beyond their comfort level and achieve real academic success. We pride ourselves in accomplishing this goal with a nurturing, structured environment where students are not afraid to take positive risks. At the same time, we are dedicated to academic excellence and strive to instill the work ethic inherent to that pursuit, as good grades without a challenge are meaningless.

Central to this pursuit are the faculty members at York Prep, a caring and intellectually rigorous group of individuals. They prod, nudge, coax and do whatever it takes to awaken the curiosity and motivate the desire to learn in every one of our students. It’s something that sets us apart from other alternative high schools in NYC: we effectively balance intensive academics with an atmosphere of support.

Individual attention at York Prep is possible because of our faculty’s dedication. Class sizes, which average about 15 students, create an intimate yet lively atmosphere where ideas, thoughts, and feelings can flourish without bounds.

Communication between parents and the school is actively encouraged. Teachers send parents a brief report on their child’s academic and social progress on a weekly basis. Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for fall and winter quarters. The annual Curriculum Night gives parents a chance to meet faculty members and get a good overview of coursework. Parents are strongly urged to get involved with the school through the Parents’ Association.

The Grouping System | Appropriate Challenge in Each Subject

We believe that students progress best when their work is appropriately challenging to their skill level. In the York Prep philosophy, we use a system called “grouping,” which we feel best serves the needs of the individual student.

Through the Grouping System, we place students in classrooms where they can find success in each subject. We carefully consider what learning environment is best and which is teacher is most qualified to meet the variety of learning needs represented at York Prep, and place our students accordingly. The flexibility of our placement system allows students to focus on areas of strength while receiving support in other areas. If a student is gifted and needs an accelerated schedule in one subject and are more challenged in another, we can provide an appropriate setting for that student to grow and learn in both of those courses. As a result, our graduates are well rounded and thoroughly versed in what it takes for them to succeed.

The Curriculum | Strong Core, Outstanding Electives

York Prep’s curriculum is designed to develop the academic skills necessary to excell anywhere. The curriculum provides a strong foundation in the traditional ‘core’ subjects of a liberal arts education — English, mathematics, social studies, science, and world languages. In addition, students can choose from a wide range of specialized electives, which continue to grow as we expand our STEM and Business .

For a small private school, York Prep is able to offer a wide range of courses with electives in most fields for qualified students. Seniors for example can choose among classes such as Constitutional Law, Marine Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Utopian Societies, Ethics, and Psychology. In the visual arts, advanced students are offered portfolio development where they design individual projects and compile portfolios for college admission including digital photography, animation, and studio arts.

On the recommendation of the Headmaster, seniors and advanced eleventh graders may take courses at New York City colleges–e.g. Columbia, New York University, and Hunter College. For those who qualify, independent study and Advanced Placement courses are offered. Juniors and seniors who achieve superior academic standing are nominated and recognized by membership in the National Honor Society.

In addition to these elements, York Prep is well known for Jump Start, which provides personalized academic support before, during, and after classes, as well as the Scholars Program, designed to offer enhanced, challenging academic opportunities beyond the range of core and elective classes.


Learn More About Jump Start Learn More About The Scholars’ Program

Graduation Requirements

Eleventh and twelfth graders choose from a number of course offerings in every subject area. In addition to selecting one course from each required category, a student must choose an elective from a variety of options that range from the creative and performing arts to the analytical sciences.

York Prep students in grades 9 through 11 are required to carry at least five major subjects each year plus physical education. In senior year, students may carry 4 or 5 major subjects. Independent study courses may be offered. When it is appropriate, students may graduate early or enroll at local colleges for specific classes.

Library and Research Resources

The goals of the York Prep Library are to ensure that students are effective users of ideas and information and to provide a space for our community even after regular school hours.

The York Prep Library is open to students Monday through Thursday from 8am to 7:30 pm, and on Fridays from 8 am to 2 pm.

We offer services that are focused on information literacy, as well as reinforcing pleasure reading. At any time of the day, students are in the library to collaborate on projects, meet with teachers or simply read.


Online Research Resources (Edline Login Required)