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The Advisory System
Students seek out their advisors on a regular basis for academic and personal support.
Each student in the high school has an advisor who is a full-time faculty member. Advisory groups typically have seven to 10 students from the same grade. The group and their advisor will stay together throughout the each student’s four years in the High School. The advisor is the first and main conduit of information, in both directions, between parents and the school and acts as the students’ advocate in school.
Frequent communication is the key to promoting students’ personal and academic growth. Students seek out their advisors on a regular basis in addition to the regularly scheduled advisory meeting periods.
Why We Meet
The high school community meets together for assembly once a week. Students are strongly encouraged to organize activities for an assembly in connection to particular events and observances such as Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month or Lesbian and Gay History Month. Assemblies include Town Hall (student gatherings without faculty/staff present to discuss student issues), an annual World Music series, arts assemblies showing student performances and films, book talks, special speakers and programs from outside of the community, and presentations by students and faculty.
Recent Speakers and Class Visitors
Jay Asher, author, Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us
Fernando Bermudez, criminal justice advocate
Rachael Chong, founder and CEO, Catchafire
Andrew Dosunmu, director, Restless City and Mother of George
Amanda Hesser, co-founder and CEO, Food52
David Karp, founder and CEO, Tumblr
Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO, lover.ly
Creston Lea, author, Wild Punch
Rachel Llyod, author, Girls Like Us
Caren Maio, CEO, Nestio
Gabriel Stulman, restaurant owner, the little owl and Market Table
Jose Vargas, founder, Define American campaign
When I first learned that our feminism class was going to be sharing our intersectionality essays in front of the whole school for International Day of the Girl, my heart skipped a beat. It was not that I hadn’t been proud of my work, but rather, I did not feel comfortable sharing what I had written in front of the whole school; it was hard enough reading aloud to the class during our workshops.
But after watching a video introduced to us by our feminism teacher, Ileana Jiménez, I looked at sharing my poem on intersectionality in a whole new way. The video was about a girl named Malala, and as Jon Stewart put it when she was on his show, she is an “inspiration to all of us.” When Malala came on The Daily Show, she brought a sense of enlightenment. The love she transferred from the screen went into the hearts of many around the world. She is so proud of what she stands for: the education of girls and young women around the world.
After watching her video speaking at the UN, I was amazed. Her voice is so strong, even after the Taliban shot her last year. During her speech at the UN, the crowd was in absolute awe. Her confidence and maturity are truly magnificent. After learning a bit about Malala, and watching some more clips of her speaking, I had completely changed my mind about reading at our assembly. I realized how much change you can make by speaking up. By spreading awareness, change can happen.
When I was reading my poem in front of the school, I looked around and saw faces that had questions. People wanted to learn more about girls around the world, which was the best possible reaction we could have gotten as a class. I have been to assemblies during which people are dozing off and playing on their phones, but we received a completely different reaction. Turning language into action feels great, and I am now more encouraged to speak up. Here is the poem I read during the assembly:
Race, class, gender
What do they really mean?
Embedded in each other
While separated by a screen
Black white, rich, poor, boy, girl, even they
Straight, cute, ugly, pretty, fat, skinny, even gay
Why can’t we all just play
Why do transgender people get killed?
Why do people rape? I simply don’t see the thrill
You can’t be a slut if someone slipped you a pill
It’s time for us to take action, I’m done sitting still
During one of our feminism classes, I was introduced to Statistics Used In Girl Rising. One of the facts featured on this resource says: “66 million girls are out of school globally.” I asked my teacher about the source of these statistics and felt that it couldn’t possibly be true. What I soon found out was that these facts were all true, and that this was not the worst.
Other statistics included, “In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence” and “a girl with an extra year of education can earn 2% more as an adult.” I was shocked, confused, and speechless. The first reason was because I couldn’t believe some of these things were happening in the world, and second, that I had not heard these facts before.
As I have reflected on this class, I have started to realize that if I had not read these statistics before, then neither have a lot of people. If people do not know what is going on, there is nothing for them to change, and therefore there will be no change. People need to take action, but we have to spread the word first.
Even by writing this blog post, I am informing the public about certain problems that I believe need to be further examined and ultimately changed. In a piece called “The Transformation of Silence into Action” by Audre Lorde, it reads, in the cause of silence, each of us draws the face of her own fear, fear of contempt, or some judgement.
People are often scared to speak up because they are scared of being judged. In the past, I have felt that I act differently in different environments. When black feminist activist Jasmine Burnett came to our class, she asked us what we would do if we knew that no one would judge us. Some students said they would dress differently, but I think this question goes a lot deeper. I think she was trying to ask, what do you want to do?
I know that this question sounds simple, but doing what you want to do is not simple. When a gay couple walks down the street, they have to worry about people following them and being harassed. When an African-American walks into a store, they are often followed by staff to make sure they do not take anything.
Sometimes we let things go by, and we do not even notice them. I have made it my mission to act. From now on, when I see something I don’t agree with, I am not going to let it slide, but instead, by putting myself in their shoes, I can make a difference. I want to turn my silence into action.
Athletics at LREI
Our athletics program at LREI inspires students to challenge themselves while underscoring the values of cooperation, sportsmanship and responsibility. In keeping with our school’s philosophy, athletics at LREI aim to help students grow into well-rounded, confident individuals who are comfortable taking risks. Student athletes practice both on and off campus and compete in the Independent Schools Athletic League of Metropolitan New York.
Sports offered at the high school level include:
Cross Country- Varsity Boys and Girls
Soccer- Varsity Boys
Soccer- Varsity Girls
Volleyball- Varsity Girls
Basketball- Varsity Boys
Basketball- JV Boys
Basketball- Varsity Girls
Swimming- Varsity Boys and Girls
Track- Varsity Boys and Girls
Baseball- Varsity Boys
Softball- Varsity Girls
Track- Varsity Boys and Girls
Community Service & Outreach
The high school has a long tradition of fostering volunteer service to the community, service learning and social justice as a central component of the core curriculum.
Students are encouraged to perform community service during the school year and summer and develop their own connections with social service and philanthropic organizations throughout the city.
Service to the community and respect for others was one of the cornerstones of Elisabeth Irwin’s vision for LREI. Nearly a century later, LREI tenth grader Anna B. is bringing new life to that mission.
Throughout her time at LREI, Anna has been exposed to the ideas and actions of those working for social justice. Reflecting on these lessons gave Anna an idea, a class specifically devoted to community service. “We already go to a school that advocates the importance of community service and citizenship,” Anna says, “And I felt like I needed another outlet.”
She took her idea to the high school leadership team, and with their stamp of approval, a course devoted to service, philanthropy and helping those nearby in need called “LREI Cares” was added to the High School’s X-Block class offerings. The LREI Cares X-Block, advised by Director of Annual Giving Ryann Pointon Imperioli, now meets once a week and has 12 ninth and tenth graders as members.
Anna’s efforts and the creation of LREI Cares are smart ways to put LREI’s most recent Strategic Plan into action. The Strategic Plan commits to increasing connections to service organizations for students, staff and alumni. “Volunteering simply feels good,” Anna says. “It’s an extremely humbling experience to see that your time and effort can help others in need.”
In its first year, the group is focusing on three themes—women, health and homelessness. After nominating a dozen nonprofits and looking over their missions and financial statements, the students elected Housing + Solutions as the charity for which they want to raise funds throughout the year. They were especially taken by the work Housing + Solutions does for Drew House, the country’s first program for alternatives to incarceration focusing on women with children.
According to Anna and Ryann, LREI Cares represents what is most essential to all of us during this time of year, especially. They point to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words: “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
LREI Cares is already making a difference in the neighborhood community. They put on a bake sale to support Drew House and made Halloween decorations for the Greenwich Village location of Gilda’s Club, a support center for people living with cancer. LREI Cares members participated in the Avon Walk, put on a joint community service project with LREI alumni at the St. Joseph’s soup kitchen, and have run drives for various organizations.
As LREI Cares grows, the group hopes to build more relationships with nonprofits and use social media to share their progress with the LREI community. One of Anna’s biggest goals for the X-Block is that it carries on and becomes a part of high school life at LREI, even after the current members graduate. “High School is a really busy time, and students have a lot on their plates, but it’s nice to be able to take a little time out of our week to think about things beyond ourselves,” Anna says.
The Honor Board is a committee of teachers and students elected by other members of the community. It is an advisory group that represents the entire school’s conscience and sense of itself as a just and mature community. When an incident or pattern of behavior is troubling, harmful or demeaning, the principal or vice principal may convene the Honor Board in order to elicit representative perspectives from outside the administration and those immediately involved.
The Learning Center
LREI’s model of learning support, contextualized in the Learning Center, is a student-driven model that provides all students with access to support in academic subject areas whenever they need it. In addition, many students work with the learning specialists to overcome challenges of anxiety and social pressure, which often negatively affect their ability to produce their best work. Ultimately, the Learning Center model works to help students know themselves as learners, which benefits them throughout their high school life and beyond.
Offered between trimesters, minimester is devoted to a series of mini-courses — interdisciplinary, immersion experiences focusing on one topic. Each mini-course is open to all students. Members of the faculty have developed these courses around their own passions and experiences in areas that may or may not be part of the regular curriculum.
Minimester courses from 2014 included:
An Indian Experience
Artistic Expression: Graffiti
Crash Course Engineering
Fish Are Friends
Friday Afternoon Live!
If You Could Walk with Animals
Passion for Fashion
Other years have featured:
From Pictures to Print: History and Exploration of Publishing
Foreign Culture through Cinema
The Sikh Faith
Crafting Pandora’s Box: A Personal History
Finding the Self on the Page and Stage
NYU College Preview
Some eleventh and twelfth grade students at LREI choose to participate in New York University’s College Preview Program, a program that allows high school students at select schools to take regular college courses on NYU’s nearby Greenwich Village campus. The high school students are held to the same standards as the college students enrolled in the course, and must meet all course requirements. The courses are not eligible for college credit, but will appear as NYU course titles on the LREI report card. LREI gives students credit for the classes.
Learn more about NYU’s program and courses offerings here.
Peer Leaders are senior role models in the school. They work closely with the incoming ninth grade class to ease their transition to high school and to help teach them about what it means to be a member of the LREI community. To that end, they accompany the Ninth Grade on their orientation trip in the fall and they have regularly scheduled meetings with the grade throughout the fall and winter. Peer Leaders also help to set the tone for the year for the high school community.
Peer Leaders are chosen to serve at the end of their junior year. They must go through an application and interview process in order to be considered. Training begins in the spring and their first event with the incoming class is the Revisit Party for students who have chosen to matriculate.