High School Education in NYC

High School For Language and Innovation

High school in New York City can be a very tumultuous time for young people. It’s a time when kids are becoming young adults, learning about friendships and relationships, and coming into their own personalities and discovering who they are. High school is the most important time in kids’ lives because they’re learning somewhat more advanced material and they are preparing themselves to go out into the real world. It can be especially challenging for kids that have migrated here from other countries and don’t know the English language. Immigrants come to the United States in hopes of a better life and future, looking to give their kids the best education possible. If you’re a parent living in New York City looking for the best high school for your child to learn English while working towards a high school diploma, then we’ve got the school for you!

Getting to Know Principal, Julie Nariman

My name is Julie Nariman and I’m the principal and founder of the High School of Language and Innovation in New York City. I was the assistant principal of English as a Second Language (ESL) at Long Island City High School, prior to starting Language and Innovation in 2011. I started teaching English in New York City in 2000, and have worked in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and now the Bronx. I’ve worked in middle school, high school, and transfer high schools for older students. I always had an interest in learning language and I’ve studied Spanish, Italian, and Korean. Being that my father is from Zaragoza, Spain and my mother is from Montreal, Canada, my interest in learning languages is also practical and studying Spanish as a teenager and adult has given me a stronger sense of how language-learning works so I can support my students. I’ve also always loved writing and have a blog called classroom325, where I share my experiences as a high school principal. In classroom325, my goal is to paint a picture of public education that inspires a sense of possibility for other educators, as well as readers from all walks of life.

High School Objective

At the High School of Language and Innovation in New York City, we serve newcomer English Language Learners from all over the world, who have been in the USA for less than four years. We help recent immigrants learn English while working towards a high school diploma. Our high school students are polite and supportive of each other with stronger English speakers helping beginning learners. Our team works hard in supporting English Language Learners in graduating on time and being ready for college. The High School of Language and innovation has exceeded district averages in math achievement, as well as graduation rates and college-readiness rates. In one year alone, the school’s college-readiness rates, which are based on student results in English and Math, skyrocketed from 17% to 43%, the result of strong teacher teamwork and strategic student programming. The High School of Language and Innovation is a highly diverse school with over 20 languages represented in its student population.

What We Believe In

At the High School of Language and Innovation in New York, we believe that students learn best when they’re given multiple opportunities to collaborate, express themselves, and work in teams, while also adhering to highly respectful norms and a strong work ethic. Classrooms are setup for collaboration, and teachers keep their lessons succinct so that students have time to work independently and in small groups to problem-solve, write, and engage in discussions. In all classes instruction incorporates skills development, and teachers follow a uniform set of practices.

High School Curriculum

In the heart of ESL instruction is the school’s use of unison reading. Each day, in every subject, high school students break into small groups and read aloud together from a magazine article or book. Whenever a student is unsure of the meaning or pronunciation of a word, the group stops reading. If no one knows the word, a student looks it up on an iPad or laptop. A brief discussion then follows, students recite the word correctly, and then they get back to reading in unison. This practice helps students expand their vocabulary rapidly while improving their reading and speaking skills. High school students participate in class-wide lessons and rotate through group and independent work. This standardized structure ensures that students, especially mid-year arrivals, don’t feel overwhelmed by having to learn a different set of rules for each class.

Multicultural Values

In recent years, high school students have led several multicultural assemblies in which students share their cultures with the entire school in a celebration, and has included the school’s Bangladeshi, Latin American, Albanian, African, and Yemeni populations. This is a high school In New York City, where students from diverse cultures, all speaking different native languages, get along.

School Location and More

Language and Innovation shares space with several small high schools inside the Christopher Columbus High School building. Monday through Thursday the school day runs longer, from 8:25 to 4 p.m. On Friday, school ends at 2 p.m. with students taking core academic courses until noon, and choosing other classes for the final two hours. Afternoon classes include art, graphic design, culinary arts, engineering and Korean language.
This high school in New York City not only specializes in teaching immigrants English, but it teaches them the value of team work, working along with other high school students who are also looking to improve their language skills.

Julie Nariman - Teen Goal Setting


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