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Aquaculture Schools as an alternative to high school:

Focus on New York Harbor School

Students of New York Harbor School aboard the Lettie G.
If I had known about the high school programs that offer aquaculture in liew of a "traditional" high school education, I would have jumped at the chance to take part as a kid. Unfortunately for me, this was not an option years ago. Fortunately for today's youth, they have this choice as programs have sprung up in many locations.

Two interesting programs in the Northeast are the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School based in Black Rock Harbor at Captain's Cove and the New York Harbor School. We spent some time talking to the folks from the New York Harbor School and were so impressed, we had to share the story here.

New York Harbor School is a four-year Regents Curriculum maritime-theme based New York City public school. The school embraces four educational principles and applies them on the waters surrounding Manhattan and its boroughs as the classroom:

1) The marine world provides an ideal forum for an education based on excellence, discipline and interdependence
2) Hands-on, inquiry-based learning in a natural environment stimulates curiosity, critical thinking, and vision all of which lead to improved academic performance
3) All students have the desire and intellect to reach their highest academic standards when given the right opportunities and clear expectations
4) small schools allow students a larger stake in decision making, as well as increased personal attention, alternative assessments, and easier access to the staff.

As a result, the New York Harbor School strives to create an environment more conducive to learning, graduation, and student success.

The Harbor School uses maritime experiences, on the Lettie G. Howard and elsewhere, to teach math, English, and other subjects. Freshman year has the typical rounded curriculum of Earth Science, Math, English Lit, History, and English language workshops. It also includes Applied Marine Science and Technology, including boat building. This continues in year 2, with the addition of Spanish and job shadowing, where students pick a mentors from a water-borne professions and spend time learning what the profession entails. Junior year continues the core curriculum then allows students to choose advanced elective courses in one of the following areas: Marine Science, Marine Technology, Conservation and Public Policy, or Maritime Literature and History. The senior year rounds out the education with advanced classes combined with internships in maritime businesses and organizations.

The school was founded by The Urban Assembly, South Street Seaport Museum and Waterkeeper Alliance. New York Harbor School is a Brooklyn New Century High School, an initiative of New Visions for Public Schools, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Open Society, the New York State Department of Education, the United Federation of Teachers, and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators. For more information, contact 718-381-7100 x 5103.

For a link to a listing of many state aquaculture programs maintained by the University of Delaware, please click here.

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