• 95% of Leaders' surveyed students said, "My teachers want students to become better thinkers, not just memorize things."
  • 96% of Leaders' surveyed parents believe that teachers and parents/guardians think of each other as partners in educating children.
  • 96% of surveyed Leaders students said, "I feel safe and comfortable with my teachers."

Performance-Based Assessment Tasks (PBATs)

PBATs, or Performance-Based Assessment Tasks, are in-depth analytical papers that students research, write, and revise in every class. In eleventh and twelfth grade, students must publicly defend their PBATs before a panel of teachers and visiting experts during a process called Mastery Passages.

PBATs offer students the opportunity to produce the kind of sophisticated, high-level work typically expected in a college course. They are an authentic and powerful measure of students' readiness for the challenges of college-level work.

In order to meet minimum requirements for graduation, Leaders students complete PBATs at the end of every semester in all classes and present a minimum of four Mastery Passages - in English, history, mathematics, and science - during their junior and senior years.

The New York State Board of Regents has approved the use of PBATs in place of Common Core exams, as is the case for all students in the New York Performance Standards Consortium. (To learn more about the consortium, visit Students at Leaders still take the English Common Core exam in eleventh grade.

EL Education

Through our collaboration with New York City Outward Bound Schools, Leaders provides student with innovative curricula and hands-on learning because we believe that education should be active, challenging, meaningful, public, and collaborative.

Some essential features of expeditionary learning include:

STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES (SLCs): Instead of traditional parent-teacher conferences, Leaders has SLCs. Twice a year, students present their strengths, growth areas, and goals to an audience of their families, teachers, and peers. SLCs allow students to take the lead in their own learning as they reflect on their progress towards Mastery Passages and graduation. 

INTENSIVES: For one week in the fall and one in the spring we suspend regular classes. For five days students select a topic to explore in-depth through visits from experts and fieldwork in the city. In the fall, all ninth graders participate in Crew Orientation, a free camping trip at the Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, NY where they navigate long hikes, tackle ropes courses, and develop teambuilding skills with their crews. Tenth graders take part in a College Intensive including visits to half a dozen schools with an overnight stay out of state. Other intensives in the past have included topics as varied as NYC Landmarks, True Detective, So You Think You Can Dance, and Game Design.

FIELDWORK: Leaders believes that learning should also happen outside of the classroom. Our students regularly go on fieldwork that enriches their education and allows students to be researchers not spectators. Through these opportunities, students meet with experts, make connections between the real world and their classes, and take an active role in their learning.

STANDARDS-BASED GRADING (SBG): Leaders knows that every student needs to learn at his/her own pace and believes that students should not be penalized if it takes them longer to master an academic skill. Instead of traditional grading structures which may be biased towards students who learn new material quickly, Leaders uses SBG, which tracks students' progress towards long-term learning targets. Students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate progress, and their grades reflect that growth rather than a one-time, all-or-nothing score.

Leaders is one of just 45 schools that has been accepted into the NY Performance Standards Consortium.

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A Different Way of Learning

Our model challenges students to think critically and take active roles in their classrooms and communities, resulting in higher achievement and greater engagement in school.

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