Our Story


Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School was founded on the premise that education can help break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations in Inwood and Washington Heights. We opened in 2010 with 110 fifth graders, currently serve 840 students in grades 5–11, and are growing a grade a year and by 2017 will serve grades 5–12.

We are creating a unique, independent public charter school through an inclusive approach, setting high expectations, and privately funding the gap.

Students are admitted annually through an admissions lottery and in all grades when it has open slots. Many students come to the school years behind due to a variety of factors, including: emotional and/or learning challenges; English is a second language; the impact of poverty.

Fast Fact



  • We successfully lobbied for a change in the New York State law in 2009 to allow us to give preference in the lottery to students who speak English as a second language.
  • We seek to enroll children from our community and in all grades when we have open seats even if their test scores risk weakening the school's performance data.
  • We meet children where they are even if they are four or five years behind their peers.


  • We will graduate 100% of our students and ensure they have multiple pathways to succeed in life. This far exceeds NYC Public School five-year graduation rates, which are particularly low for the most vulnerable students: 45% for Special Education students, 48% for English language Learners, and 72% rate for General Education students.
  • While all of our students could go to college, we know it's not a good fit for all of them so we provide an education that is preparing students for college and career—not just one or the other.


  • We chose to serve the Inwood and Washington Heights community and therefore receive 16% less funding a year than NYC traditional public schools and the charters who share space in Department of Education buildings.
  • We choose to provide 4,788 additional hours of academic support each year to our English Language Learners who are not designated to receive Special Education services, even though these services are not funded by the Department of Education. See Ways to Give.