The Heritage School, now in its tenth year of life, is a partnership between Teachers College and the New York City Board of Education. Conceived by Professor Judith M. Burton, Director of the Art and Art Education Program, in 1996, the School has as its mandate education in the arts and culture at the core of the curriculum.
The Heritage School is set in a land-marked building on Lexington Avenue in East Harlem. It is presently a public comprehensive high school grades 9-12 soon to become a secondary school grades 7-12. All young people in the school take art, music, dance and drama, along with their academic subjects as part of their program of study. An important feature of the School is its openness to learning in cultural institutions as part of it curricula provisions. To this end, all youngsters follow a program of visits to museums, galleries, theaters, libraries, and concert halls, which frame interdisciplinary learning across subject boundaries.
The School follows an extended day curriculum, engaging youngsters in an extraordinary array of offerings including: extra tutorials in subjects like mathematics and Regents preparation; it also offers opportunities to learn karate, Japanese, mural painting, sports, and undertake community internships. The School has a thriving computer center, and scholarships are offered for students to attend studio courses at Teachers College in photography, drawing and ceramics.
An important feature of the School is its work with the artists of the Tailler Boriqua, who share the building. The artists are frequent visitors to the classrooms; working with students on the creation of murals, books, and computer generated imagery. The artists also run an exhibition series of artwork from South America in their Gallery in the School building. Like the artists, the community parents are also deeply involved in the school, organizing debates, musical evenings, and conversations about how best to support youngsters through their final years in public school.
The faculty and students of The Art and Art Education Program are deeply involved in the School in an array of capacities as professional development consultants, administrators, teachers, visiting artists, interns, and student teachers.