Essex Street Academy is a small public high school in the Lower East Side. We serve a diverse population of 350 students from all 5 boroughs. 


  • We offer core and elective courses that challenge students to develop their own ideas.
  • We cultivate our students to be active learners, not passive, who will graduate from our school confident in their ability to tackle any problem they encounter.
  • With an emphasis on project-based learning, students complete Performance Based Assessment Tasks as their graduation requirements in lieu of the Regents exams.  Students learn the skill of making an argument supported by evidence by: designing and conducting experiments, developing a historical thesis, analyzing works of literature through a critical lens, developing mathematical solutions and proofs to problems encountered. Read about some of our current course offerings.
  • Our average class size is 22 students, enabling teachers to develop an individual relationship with each student. Small class sizes make a personalized approach to education possible.


Being a teenager has never been easy. At ESA we understand the importance of feeling safe, cared for and part of a connected community. We believe everyone needs to feel comfortable and relaxed to have their minds fully available to the ideas they are encountering. The ESA staff is aware of what is going on in the lives of our students and provides the social support network they need to be happy and successful at school. We offer:

  • safe learning environment where students’ needs are our number one priority
  • staff that prioritizes students above all else
  • Advisories of 12-15 students and one teacher
  • Access to four social workers


Every teacher offers academic support in every subject during weekly office hours. Teachers and volunteers run a variety of clubs based on student interest. We are always open to new activities that students are interested in, and because our faculty staffs the program, it is easy for students to let us know what they want. ESA students can also join the Seward Park campus teams in a variety of PSAL sports, such as basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, wrestling, and much more.


Interested in applying to our school? Please see the Admissions page for more information.