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Finish Strong: Innovation students, staff, & community!

Innovation Athletics

Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, Soccer, and more!
Our JV Boys Basketball team won the championships in both 2013 and 2014!
Learn More!

Software Engineering

Innovation is one of only 20 schools in NYC offering the Department of Education’s Software Engineering Pilot to students in grades 9-12.
Learn More!

Enrichment Week

Innovation students get out of the classroom and out into the world for dedicated days of hands-on experiential learning

College and Career Readiness

Giving our Students the skills they need to succeed, in college and in the workplace.

Collaborative Team Teaching

Meeting each student’s needs with differentiated instruction

Project-Based Learning

A hands-on approach to student engagement and empowerment.

About Us

What is Innovation?

What is Innovation?

It’s no mystery what the problem is: In American education, we use certain achievement benchmarks to ensure that kids are really learning in school. These include things like graduation rates, standardized test scores, and college acceptance and completion.

In New York State the average graduation rate in 2008-2009 was 72%. For Latino students, however, that number dropped to 51.8% and for African American males it was 28%. For English Language Learners it was 39.7% and of the students with disabilities only 24.7% graduated high school.

In communities like East Harlem – where a high percentage of students have learning disabilities, struggle with literacy, and are English Language Learners – are hard hit by these statistics. Innovation High School provides a creative approach to the educational problems that many of our students face.

Our Instructional Model

Our Instructional Model

With the needs of our community in mind, we have developed a high performing instructional model to ensure that our student-innovators achieve academic excellence. We do this by supporting our students with setting self-created goals within a three-tiered educational model of core classroom instruction, portfolio-based annual individual projects, and hands-on, experiential learning.

School Schedule – Innovation’s school day for students starts at 9:00AM and ends at 4:00PM with each class period (College Bound, English, History, Math, Science, and Physical Education/Health) lasting one hour. Although we begin and end the school year at the same time as the NYC Department of Education schools do (and get the SAME number of days off!), we have adjusted the schedule to ensure the maximum number of continuous class days for students. The structure of our schedule allows us to take an intersession period during the school year. These intersessions are weeks when all classes are suspended and we work as a school or smaller groups on project or in-the-field work.

Individual Learning Plans – It seems obvious but we have to say it: Everyone learns differently. Right now, most schools have one curriculum for “most students” and a modified version of that curriculum for “other students” who are classified as disabled. The problem with this approach to education is that learning requires multiple approaches all the time for everyone, to really work. That’s why we are developing Individual Learning Plans for all of our students that allow us to track what works for our students and build from there. These Individual Learning Plans combine everything we know about a student from lesson plans studied in classrooms, anecdotals (notes of what happened in a class), assessments, homework, and records of staff interactions with students and their families. We keep all this data in one central location, our own Student Information System, so that we can spot trends and make decisions in real time to ensure that all students stay on track.

Integrated Team Teaching Model – Teacher empowerment and collaboration, to meet the unique needs of our students, is a core philosophy of our school. We use our Integrated Team Teaching model to ensure that our teachers feel supported and work closely to maintain a strong school culture, academic expectations, and a positive learning environment.

Here are some of the broad strokes:

For each of our core academic subject areas – Math, Science, History, and English – we have a certified Subject-matter instructor and a certified Special education instructor in every classroom. These teachers approach curriculum planning and development as well as classroom instruction as an ensemble.
Teaching Teams receive a minimum of 60 minutes of daily collaboration and co-planning.
Our Teaching Teams develop a holistic curriculum that is accessible to all students no matter what their disability, English-language-learning status, or differentiation requirements may be.
Because we have so much real-time information on student performance and a wealth of time for collaboration, the curriculum can be modified as needed to ensure maximum effectiveness

So how do we do it?

Our Belief

Our Belief

Where we differ is in the belief that at some point it becomes “too late” for kids to benefit from a great education. We’ve heard people say that the deck is so stacked against kids who have reached 9th grade and are still behind that they can never catch up. At Innovation, we couldn’t disagree more. We are passionate about high school and we have developed a powerful, individualized high school program that not only captures student interest and excitement but also provides the skills needed to graduate with a Regents Diploma and go on to a college or career of their choice. This is not to say that the job is going to be easy for us or our students.

Our Vision

Our Vision

Our vision for the school is inspired by and modified from our sister school, The Renaissance Charter School (TRCS) in Jackson Heights, Queens, one of the oldest and highest performing charter schools in New York City. While TRCS is a K-12 school, we focus on high school only.

Most charter schools start with a much younger population than ours. The reasons for this are both practical and philosophical. Charter schools are measured significantly by their performance on standardized tests. The more time a school has its students before testing is required, the better prepared students will be to take them. This makes sense.

Our Mission

Our Mission

“Leadership Through Innovation”

We nurture and develop academically successful graduates who are capable of leading self-directed, fulfilling lives beyond the gates of our school. Our fundamental strategy is leadership through innovation. We believe that in order for our students to rise above the myriad socioeconomic challenges and obstacles they face, they must develop the capacity to adapt and innovate. Over 80% of our students qualify for free or reduced price lunch and about one third have IEPs. Academically, they are diverse – from students with disabilities to accelerated learners. By instilling the core values of collaboration, tolerance, respect, activism and, of course, innovation, in all of our activities, we will achieve our goal of graduating students, on time, who are college and career ready.


Thank you for your interest in Innovation.

We are accepting applications for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. Please fill out the appropriate application below if you’d like to apply for this year and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.

Anyone is welcome to apply, but preference is given to students within East Harlem Community School District 4.

You may apply online or by printing and mailing a paper form.

APPLY ONLINE 2015-2016

APPLY ONLINE 2016-2017



Programs & Partnerships

Innovation's unique programming and partnerships really set us apart - these include the ReMix Project, the Software Engineering Pilot, the Culinary Arts Program and Enrichment Week programming around the City and the world!

Students and Parents

Innovation is pleased to provide the Parent & Student Portal communication tools to our Innovators and their families.  The parent portal connects parents/guardians to students’ data online, anytime, from anywhere there is Internet access. Once you create a secure username and password, you will gain access to information about your child’s progress. Again, this information is live and can be viewed on demand. The Parent Portal is a free service to our families, and an excellent resource for you to monitor your child’s progress.

STUDENT PORTAL : Innovation students can log in to see their grades, absences, and overall academic progress.

PARENT PORTAL : Parents can log in to check on their child's academic progress, and get updates on Innovation events.

INNOVATION ACADEMIC CALENDAR : View upcoming events at Innovation!

COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS RESOURCES : An entire site devoted to Innovation students and college supporters


Innovation Student / Parent Handbook

Innovation Student Code of Conduct

Innovation FERPA Policy

Innovation FERPA Directory Information Notice

Innovation FERPA Frequently Asked Questions


Drug and Alcohol Policy

Transgender & Nonconforming Students Policy


Work at Innovation

Hiring Teachers for 2015-16: Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation

Innovation High School is looking for instructional trendsetters to join our efforts to produce graduates who are ready for college and/or a career; and most importantly, students who are empowered to become agents of change in their communities. Our mission is to develop leadership through innovation and promote a culture of inquiry around teaching and learning by collaborating with relevant experts and practitioners in the industry. Leveraging our systems, tools, data, and a series of targeted programs, we have began to close the opportunity gap for our students.

Our success is dependent upon the persistent cultivation of exceptional teachers, support staff, and community partnerships. Working at Innovation, you’ll build a portfolio of effective evidence-based practices with a team of dedicated professionals to fulfill our mission. Your career with us starts with first class training designed to prepare you for success in our classrooms. You’ll work with a co-teacher and collaborate with a variety of teams to develop new standard-bearing initiatives that are globally recognized for exemplary teaching and learning.

Key Responsibilities

  • Work with your co-teacher to understand some of the toughest challenges kids are facing, and create ways that Innovation can help through innovative instruction, strategic programs and special projects you develop and execute.
  • Develop partnerships with community based organizations that leverage services and programs around critical learning needs at Innovation.
  • Lead professional development and learning, bringing key stakeholders together to help develop innovative solutions and strategies.
  • Work with other professionals that support youth development and growth with Innovation resources.
  • Work with teams across the school to apply, develop, and adapt Innovation's culture and practices to support success for all learners.



Check out videos of Innovation - made by our own students!

See all of our videos on our Innovation YouTube page!

Contact Us

Phone Main Number (212) 722-5871
Fax Number (646) 430-8555

For parents, email:
For general inquiries, email:
For press contact information and policy, email:

Staff Directory

School Management Team
Stephen Falla Riff, Executive Director
Terence Joseph, Principal
Pablo Torres, Director of Student Life and Community Engagement
Dru Collins, Vice Principal


In Person or By Mail
The Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation
410 East 100th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10029

Support Us

Thank you for considering a tax-deductible gift. Your support is essential to the work we do.

Make a general donation to the school:

Make a specific donation to one of our Enrichment Week Trip funds:

Which Enrichment Week group would you like to support?

Innovation’s baseline budget (used for staff salaries, benefits, and no-frills materials like text books) is covered by our state and federal per-pupil allocation. We have to raise funds for all the things that make our school great – trips, student enrichment programming, classroom materials and supplies, and teacher professional development.

You make it happen. The support we receive from friends and supporters like you directly serves our students through our successful experiential and project-based programs. Your gift makes a huge difference in the lives of the students and families we serve.

Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization and your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.
To make a donation, you may click the link above or send a check addressed and payable to:

Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation
410 East 100th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10029