Strategic Partnerships

East Harlem Pride School Collaboration

We supported a strategic partnership between three schools in East Harlem—Park East High School, Central Park East High School, and The Heritage School (which has now expanded to a fourth school, The Young Women’s Leadership School)—for a three-pronged approach to school improvement and college readiness. The schools, which are close to each other and serve predominantly low-income youth, had historically pooled athletic resources into one sports team under the name “East Harlem Pride.” Our funding seeks to expand the collaboration into areas beyond athletics.

Each school has a particular strength: Park East has a successful math program, Central Park East has an outstanding college guidance program, and Heritage has an art focus. We support each school in meeting its own identified needs while also investing in shared professional development and teaching techniques so that the strengths of each school can be leveraged by the other two.


Heckscher’s support has made it possible for us to collaborate on a whole new level. We are now building off the strengths of each school to push the limits of what is possible. Together we are stronger, smarter, better—and that yields great learning outcomes for our students.
Kevin McCarthy, Principal, Park East High School

Each school is taking the lead on one component of the collaborative. Park East is focusing on cross-school teacher and academic programming development, especially in algebra instruction. With its help, Central Park East’s Algebra2 pass rates increased from 69% to 82% and Heritage’s Algebra1 pass rates increased from 26% to 38%. Increases in ELA and History Regents were also recorded at all three schools.

Central Park East is partnering with College Access: Research and Action to develop a working group to share best practices from its college access program and organized two college trips for students from all three high schools. As a result of its work with the other two schools, Park East’s 18-month college persistence rates increased from 77% to 89%, and the percentage of its graduates enrolled in a four-year college increased from 48% to 68%. At the same time, Heritage’s college acceptance rates increased from 35% to 100%, and its college matriculation rate increased from 30% to 91%.

Heritage is engaging its existing partner, Urban Arts Partnership, to aid in establishing unified systems and routines for after-school extended learning opportunities. Urban Arts Partnership, which we have supported for many years, uses arts to positively influence student academic outcomes.

Through this collaboration, each of the high schools has shown extraordinary gains in math regents, college readiness, and arts education.