• 2015-2016 Blackboard Award Honoree: Harvest Collegiate High School

    Harvest Collegiate High School, Principal: Kate Burch

    By New York Family

    Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2015-2016 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

    Harvest Collegiate High School
    Principal: Kate Burch
    34 West 14th Street
    Award: Rising Star School

    Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.

    We say our “theme” as a school is our students. The purpose of Harvest is for all of our students to learn to think—deeply and well. We define this through what we call our seven habits of mind and heart: Curiosity, Evidence, Perspective, Connection, Voice, Responsibility, and Creative Contribution.

    Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.

    [Two of the programs we are proud of are] our Advisory and Morning Meeting. All students have a “home” at Harvest where they are well-known (advisories average about 16 students), reflect on their academic progress and step into leadership roles… We start each day with either a small group Advisory or a plenary Morning Meeting, where students lead skits on the habits of mind and heart, practice mindfulness, share weekly community appreciations (of each other and of their teachers) and sing a song together… Our biggest challenge is also our greatest strength in that we educate together a truly diverse group of students from across the city…it takes a great deal of skill and energy on our teachers’ part to design material that will reach and challenge all of their learners—and move everyone to at least the same high standard.

    Kate Burch. Photo by Karen Haberberg.

    Kate Burch. Photo by Karen Haberberg.

    What’s new?

    This past year, we launched our first ever Capstones presentations and had students presenting significant research papers, labs, and complex math problems to demonstrate their readiness for college-level work on topics such as the origins and consequences of Eugenics, the Cold War and its impact on today, [and] designing an original computer game for their classmates to test.

    What do you love about your school?

    I love coming to work every day to see our brilliant faculty doing things like leading an inclusion class of ninth and tenth graders as they perform a Freudian/Marxist/structuralist reading of “Romeo and Juliet,” passionately debate questions of immigration policy from personal and political perspectives, sing South African songs in harmony or play a Mozart melody on the piano, analyze data they’ve collected about how friction works from building and dropping parachutes…and become their best selves.

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