How to Choose the Right NYC Middle School

Students next to a sign that says "Lead"

If you have a fifth grader, it’s time to start thinking about middle school. 

You probably have a good idea of what kind of middle school experience you want for your child — a quality education that prepares them for high school and college, an environment where they feel seen and supported, and a safe space to take on more responsibility and grow up a little. 

In NYC, there are a lot of options when it comes to education, including …

  • 1,700+ NYC public schools, 600 of which are middle schools
  • 200+ NYC private schools
  • 250+ NYC charter schools 

How do you find a middle school that’s a good fit for your child? Here are a few things to consider.


While academics and environment are important considerations, you also have practical concerns when you consider the right middle school for your child. How far away is the school? How will your child get there and back every day? 

One of the many benefits of living in NYC is having access to an extensive public transportation system. At St HOPE Leadership Academy, a public charter middle school in Harlem, we enroll middle schoolers from all of NYC’s five boroughs. Scholars who commute to and from St HOPE receive free MetroCards through the MTA. If you’re curious about what commuting as a 6-8 grader might look like, check out our recent blog post, “What age should a child take transit to school in NYC?

Learn why scholars from NYC’s five boroughs choose St HOPE. 

Download our Parent Info Packet


Each NYC school has its own ideals for how it defines education. Knowing and understanding a school’s educational philosophy will help you determine if their values align with yours. 

NYC public schools operate under educational standards that are uniform across its sprawling system. Private schools are generally more mission-oriented, while charter schools like St HOPE are more community-focused with specific programming. 

We summarize our core values as H.A.R.L.E.M.Honor, Absolute Determination, Responsibility, Leadership, Excellence, and Mission. St HOPE scholars receive a rigorous high school (and college prep) curriculum alongside character development, which includes  leadership training and mentorship, extracurriculars, athletics, opportunities to serve the local community, and strategies to help scholars perform at or above grade level. 

We want our St HOPE scholars to see themselves as high achievers. We invest time and resources ensuring they recognize that a good high school and college are within their reach. Our scholars tour NYC college campuses; and, as they move on to high school, we support our graduates with free college planning workshops, social events, and scholarships.


Resources can vary widely from school to school so it’s important to do your research. Think about what your child needs and wants in middle school. Sports? Art? STEM? Extra help with academics?
St HOPE offers activities like Debate Team, Robotics Club, Plant Club, and several sports, including basketball, flag football, soccer, softball, volleyball, and more. And as a single location public charter school, we have the resources to work with individual scholars and families to ensure their academic, social, and emotional needs are being met. Dedicated teachers are available to meet with students to ensure they’re understanding the material and five counselors are on staff.

Every St HOPE scholar receives:

  • Free education
  • Uniforms
  • Laptops
  • Books
  • MetroCards

Would you like to see your middle schooler succeed at St HOPE?

Apply to  St HOPE today.