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PR- 415-10
October 4, 2010


Harbor School is the First Permanent Tenant on Governors Island

Groundbreaking Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency will Enhance School Curriculum and Teach Students how to Safeguard the Environment

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today commemorated the opening of the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School's new location on Governors Island. The New York Harbor School had been located on the Bushwick Educational Campus in Brooklyn since it first opened in the fall of 2003. This year, it moved to its new home on Governors Island. The school represents the first permanent tenant at Governors Island since the Coast Guard left in 1996, and the first New York City School to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop curriculum focused on preserving the environment. The Mayor and Chancellor were joined at the newly-renovated school by US Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Deputy Mayors Dennis M. Walcott and Patricia E. Harris, President of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew, US Environmental Protection Administrator Judith Enck, State Senator John Sampson, State Senator Dan Squadron, Councilwoman Margaret Chin, Councilman James Gennaro, Urban Assembly President Richard Kahan, Trust for Governors Island Chair Ronay Menschel, Harbor School Principal Nathan Dudley, New York Harbor Foundation President Murray Fisher, students and community members.

"Bringing life lessons into the classroom is what makes the Urban Assembly Harbor School special," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Over the last five years, New York City has spent more than $13 billion dollars on a school capital plan so students can learn in modern facilities that enhance curriculum.  And this school does exactly that.  It brings the students to the water and marine life into the classroom."

"I am thrilled to be here to celebrate the opening of this breathtaking facility. With this new space, the Harbor School can continue its mission of linking its curriculum to the waterways and natural resources of New York City," said Chancellor Klein. "The Harbor School is a perfect example of how you give options to students that both meet their interests and lead to long-term career opportunities in exciting fields of work."

The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, New York City's only maritime and environmental public high school was founded in 2003 as part of the Department of Education's high school reform effort. It opened in the Bushwick Campus where the large, comprehensive high school was phased out due to poor performance and a low graduation rate of 22 percent. That rate has continued to rise.  In 2009, 69 percent of the seniors graduated.

The school is the Island's first permanent tenant and is now surrounded by the very harbor that defines its program and curriculum. The new facility is located in a former medical clinic, and has state-of-the-art science labs, an aquaculture lab, fitness room, metal and wood working shops geared towards marine technology, art and music rooms, and an outdoor recreation area and garden. With its new location, the school hopes to attract students from all five boroughs who have demonstrated special interest and aptitude in all things related to water. Specifically, the school offers Career and Technical Education certification in marine science/aquaculture, marine technology, marine policy and scuba diving.

Today the school will be signing an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency that will assist the school in implementing best environmental practices in their facility and curriculum, and will introduce Harbor School students to career pathways working to safeguard the environment. The school has organized many of  these maritime-related programs around restoring the New York Harbor, and now Harbor School students are engaged in every aspect of a large-scale oyster restoration effort -  including setting spat-on-shell, diving on oyster reefs, and growing out young oysters in an innovative "floating upwelling system."

"The Harbor School is ushering in a new era of respect for and understanding of New York City's waterways among city public school students," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. "I applaud the school's efforts to instill the values of stewardship among their student population and I am proud to work with them to enhance the school's sustainable practices and environmental education curriculum."

"The UFT strongly believes in partnering with the private sector and community based organizations to make learning relevant for our students.  Our students here will be centered in one of the city's greatest natural and economic resources - our harbor," said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. "We're revitalizing Governors Island and helping create tomorrow's ecological workforce primed to take on the green jobs and innovations in the future. And there's no greater investment that we can make today than to ensure that our students will become competitive in the global marketplace and good stewards of our environment."

"I am so pleased to welcome the NY Harbor School to Governors Island.  As the first permanent tenant of the island since the Coast Guard's departure in 1996, the Harbor School will serve as a shining example of the best that New York City's schools have to offer," said Congressman Nadler. "The Harbor School will also help bring more visitors to what is without a doubt an undiscovered gem. I am proud to stand here today as a long time supporter of the school and island and know that the continued development of Governors Island will be a resource for New Yorkers for generations to come."

"It is my pleasure to be here today for the ribbon-cutting of the Harbor School here on Governors Island. This is such a beautiful school, and will provide excellent educational opportunities for children from across our City. In addition, I am proud to have such a great resource here on Governors Island, which I want to remind everyone is in Council District 1," said Councilwoman Chin. "Hopefully this school will be a step forward in educating our young people about the harbor and our water systems, but also in educating New Yorkers about the wonderful resource that this Island is for lower Manhattan and all of New York."

Governors Island sits only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan and is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through October 10th. Governors Island has welcomed hundreds-of- thousands of visitors this year and is quickly becoming a destination with great public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit and commercial facilities.

Classroom on the Water: The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School follows the Harbor School from its original landlocked home in Bushwick, Brooklyn to a new state-of-the-art facility on Governors Island in the heart of New York Harbor. Produced by NYC Media, the official network of the City of New York, the half hour special is available to watch online at


Stu Loeser/Jessica Scaperotti/Andrew Brent (Mayor)   (212) 788-2958

Natalie Ravitz/Barbara Morgan (Education)   (212) 374-5141

Elizabeth Rapuano (Governors Island)   (212) 440-2205

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