New York Harbor School photo

Official website:

Located in the heart of New York Harbor and accessible only by ferry, Harbor School offers a unique, on-water learning experience for all its students.

Students learn to build and operate boats; spawn and harvest millions of oysters; design submersible, remotely-operated vehicles; conduct real-life research; and dive underwater. Students go on trips, tour colleges, hear and learn from experts in science and industry, and participate in the school’s on-going oyster restoration research program.


To provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City’s maritime experience that instills in students the ethics of environmental stewardship and the skills associated with careers on the water.


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


  • All students should have access to New York waterways.
  • College should be a real option for all students.
  • Partnerships are key to providing relevant, on-water experiences.
  • The environment should be left better than it’s found.
  • A school is only as successful as its students.
Founded: 2003
Grade Levels: 9-12
Enrollment: 432
Faculty/Staff: 62
District:  New York City Department of Education
Network:  Urban Assembly
Public/Private:  Public School
Admissions:  Citywide Limited Unscreened

Public-Private Partnership

The maritime programs of Harbor School are supported through funding provided by New York Harbor Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the condition of, and promoting access to and education about, New York Harbor. New York Harbor Foundation seeks to achieve these objectives by conducting research and outreach activities, and designing and running services to improve the quality of the Harbor.