Urban Academy has just 150 students and is one of six small schools in the Julia Richmond complex, New York. Ann Cook, co-director, explains how it operates and what they do to appeal to young people.
The school's small status enables it to pay special attention to its pupils and open up new opportunities. Each teacher knows the students well, so courses and timetables can be changed quickly and easily if need be.
The key word is respect; respect for each other, respect from the teachers, respect for the school.
The good relationship enjoyed between student and teacher extends beyond school, as teachers are seen as friends and therapists, as well as instructors. For teachers, it's a professional community, a place which tries to solve problems.
Students speak about their previous problems before the school was set up and what they enjoy now. William Pietri, an Urban Academy alumnus, not only liked the way the school challenged him to use his mind but believes it ultimately saved his life.
Part of the series: Human Scale Schools