For First-Year Families

Note: We’re using the term “first-year” in place of “freshman” to use inclusive, non-gendered language.

First-Year Family FAQ

How does advisory work? 

Your first-year will be given an advisor. Advisory groups usually consist of approximately 15 students. Although some students ask to switch advisors at the end of first or sophomore year, many or most stay with the same advisor for all four years, and their advisory becomes a special group for them. Advisory meets three times a week—twice for 15 minutes, once for 45 minutes—and provides bonding activities, social-emotional support, help with soft skills like organization, information, and more. The advisor is the student’s advocate and the point of contact for parents. 

How do parent-teacher conferences work?

Because one of the key principles of the iSchool is student agency and ownership over learning, our twice-yearly conferences are student-led, and held with parents/guardians and the adviser. The student reviews their work in each class, and parents can ask questions and raise any concerns for the student and adviser to follow up on. 

How will attendance work in a remote learning scenario?

Students have to go online every morning and check in to be considered on time and in school. They will receive instructions for how to do this.

How do students create their course schedules? 

Before each quarter begins—so, four times throughout the school year—they receive an email from the office with course descriptions and instructions for how to register for classes. As the iSchool has some mixed-grade classes, priority goes to seniors on down, but some classes, like iLearn (the iSchool’s 9th grade English course), are for first-years only.

Are there electives? 

Usually, iSchool students take modules every quarter. Modules are offered on a wide range of topics and are often project-based. However, modules have been temporarily suspended due to the significant challenges posed by coronavirus-related restrictions.

Does the school offer AP courses?

The NYC iSchool offers a limited number of AP courses across the curriculum, dictated by student interest, and available only to 11th and 12th graders. Current APs on offer will be listed in the course descriptions. Sometimes students take AP courses online if the ones they want aren’t offered by the school.

Do iSchool students take Regents exams? Do they receive a Regents diploma when they graduate? 

Regents have been put on hold statewide due to the pandemic. NYC iSchool students do take selected Regents exams, and all receive a Regents diploma. As iSchool students take only the five required Regents exams, they are not eligible for an Advanced Regents diploma.

What is mastery grading?

It means that the focus is on achieving mastery of the content and skills taught in courses. If a student performs poorly on an assessment, they can work harder to demonstrate mastery before moving on.

Are there clubs my student can join?

Yes. iSchool clubs are student-driven. For the 2019-2020 school year, iSchool clubs included iCare Community Service Club, Vertical Farming Club, Rock Band, Model UN, Theater Club, Black Student Union, Women’s Social Justice Alliance, Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club, Social Activism Club, Aquarium/Marine Life Club, Conflict Busters, Identity Through Art, Mural Club, Tennis Table Club, Chemistry Club, Drawing Club, K-Pop Anime Club, Student Government, and Yearbook. Clubs will kick off in October this year.

Does the iSchool have sports teams?

The iSchool typically does have varsity sports teams, but all Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) sports are on hold due to the pandemic. 

Can parents volunteer? 

Yes! Watch your inbox for communication from the PA, which will include volunteer opportunities. 

How will we receive info from the school? 

Ms. Leimsider regularly sends out an email newsletter called iNotes with announcements, information, and opportunities for students. The PA also regularly sends an email newsletter about events, fundraisers, volunteering, and more for parents. Check this website often for updates too.