By Amélie Fauquenot
Although its students have been admitted to competitive schools from NYU to Swarthmore, Harvest Collegiate High School is graded a 4/10 for college readiness on Greatschools, a website designed for parents to help pick the best school for their children. The site says, “This school is below the state average in key measures of college and career readiness.”
However, principal Kate Burch disagrees.
“On a whole, yes, I think we do prepare our students for college,” she says. “About 60 percent of Harvest students take college preparation classes and we also introduce students to colleges since freshman year.”
Burch does admit having to work on time management along with teaching students to be more independent.
Harvest’s rating on Greatschools is based on multiple factors, including graduation rate, exam performances and participation. Greatschools describes itself as a nonprofit association made to provide parents with the best information possible about schools all over the US.
“I think it’s very hard to prepare anyone for college,” says upper house math teacher, Danny Ramos. He says that Harvest prepares students to be thinkers. But this doesn’t always mean they’re prepared for college.
Ramos says, “It’s just this weird dynamic where Harvest and other schools try and teach students the best way of learning and college does not.”
According to Ramos, colleges have a more traditional way of teaching which doesn’t correspond with Harvest’s spirit. Harvest tries to make students think by themselves instead of reading textbooks.
On Greatschools, Harvest is graded a 6/10 for the number of advanced classes taken per student compared to the state average. Graded an 8/10 for English and a 9/10 for social sciences, the problem would be Harvest’s science department, where the school is graded an 1/10.
Heather Lochridge, an astronomy teacher at Harvest, agrees that there is a possibility that Harvest’s science classes do not always prepare students for college as well as other high schools. However, she likes teaching at Harvest because of “the flexibility and freedom to teach whatever content I want to teach.”
Principal Burch also admitted that Harvest had to work on developing scientific concepts.
Still, according to the Department of Education, Harvest ranks better than many other New York City schools. NYC’s city average for college readiness is at 46 percent while Harvest is at 72 percent. Harvest also has a graduation rate of 86 percent.
“Harvest definitely did a better job than my old school did,” says Flo Joseph, a Harvest alum in her first year of college. “But I had to drop out of my chemistry class in college because it was too hard to understand.”