The following collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) comes from conversations with prospective students and their parents.  We have divided their questions into six general categories:

  1. Admissions
  2. Travel/Commute
  3. Learning Environment
  4. School Culture
  5. Clubs and Sports
  6. On-Water Activities



Is Harbor School a public school?

Yes. Harbor School is a public high school in New York City serving grades 9-12.



Is the boat safe?

Yes. The Governors Island ferry, named the Lieutenant Samuel S. Coursen and called the Coursen for short, is a diesel-engine, 869-ton passenger and vehicle ferry. It has the ability to hold up to 1,200 passengers or carry a maximum of 30 automobiles. The Coursen began her service on January 10, 1957. She holds a Certificate of Inspection by the United States Coast Guard and is operated by licensed captains.

Where do I wait for the boat?

The ferry to Governors Island departs from the Battery Maritime Building, called the BMB, which is located at 10 South Street in Manhattan. Students sign into school when they arrive at the BMB and wait in the boarding area for the ferry to arrive.

What happens if I miss the boat?

Students who miss the 8:00 a.m. ferry to school will have to wait in the Battery Maritime Building for the 8:30 a.m. ferry. Missing the 8:00 a.m. ferry will cause students to be late to Period 1, which may negatively impact their achievement. Students are encouraged to allot an additional 15 minutes of travel time to their morning commute in anticipation of unscheduled delays in public transportation.

Ferry Departs BMB at: 7:30 and 8am (8:30 Late)
Period 1
Period 2
Period 3
Period 4
Period 5
Period 6
Period 7
Period 8
8:45 – 9:25
9:27 – 10:07
10:09 – 10:49
10:51 – 11:31
11:33 – 12:13
12:15 – 12:55
12:57 – 1:37
1:40 – 2:20
Tuesday – Friday
8:45 – 9:31
9:34 – 10:20
10:23 – 11:09
11:12 – 11:58
12:01 – 12:47
12:50 – 1:36
1:39 – 2:25
2:28 – 3:14
Ferry Departs GI at: 3:30, 4pm, 4:30, 5pm, 6pm(Last Boat)

How far is the school from the ferry dock?

The Coursen lands at Soissons Dock on Governors Island, which is an 8-minute walk to the school.

Can I take my own boat to school?

No. Private vessels are not permitted to dock on Governors Island. (Principal’s Note: Only two students in the school’s history have made this request, but it’s a fun question, so we have included it here. No student is expected to own or know how to operate a boat prior to enrolling at Harbor School.)

When is the last boat off the island?

The 6:00 p.m. ferry is the last ferry to depart each day from Governors Island.  Harbor School closes at 5:45 p.m. so that all faculty, staff, students, and visitors have enough time to catch the 6:00 p.m. ferry.



Do I take traditional academic classes?

Yes.  All students are required to complete a standard program of study in the four core content areas — English language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science.

What is the average class size?

Class size varies by subject and grade level.  The smallest class enrolls 16 students.  No class is larger than 34 students.  The average class size is 25 students.

How long are classes?

Most classes meet for 48 minutes.  Upper level CTE classes meet for 152 minutes.

Will I have to take Regents exams?

Yes.  All students enroll in New York State Regents-based core academic courses.  To graduate with a Regents diploma, students must pass Regents examinations in Comprehensive English, United States History and Government, Global History and Geography, at least one math Regents (Integrated Algebra, Geometry, or Algebra II/Trigonometry), and at least one science Regents (Earth Science, Living Environment, or Chemistry). Students who enter grade 9 in 2013-14 or thereafter will be required to pass the new Common Core-aligned Regents examinations in English and mathematics.

Do I get to choose my CTE program?

All freshmen are asked to rank CTE programs in order of preference, and are placed in a CTE program based on their preference and faculty recommendation.  Most freshmen are placed in a CTE program of their first or second choice.

Are classes held outside?

Teachers are encouraged to use the local environment on and around Governors Island to enhance student learning.  Classes are held outside when relevant to the curriculum and at the teacher’s discretion.  Physical education classes are typically held outside.

Can I see my grades and assignments online?

Yes.  Harbor School uses PupilPath as the online platform for students to access their homework, grades, attendance, progress reports, class handouts, and upcoming assignments.



What are the options for food on Governors Island?

Students have full access to the school’s Mess Hall, which serves a DOE-approved menu prepared by the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services.  Meals are served four times each day:  Hot Breakfast for students who arrive on the 7:30 a.m. ferry, Grab & Go Breakfast for all students arriving on the 8:15 a.m. ferry, Lunch for all students, and Dinner Snack for students who stay after school to participate in extracurricular activities.  There are no restaurants, delis, or corner stores on Governors Island so students should plan to eat food from the Mess Hall or bring food from home.

How do I know what will be served?

Menus prepared by the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services are sent home at the beginning of each month.

Do students wear uniforms?

Yes.  Students wear a Harbor School t-shirt, polo, or hoodie.



What clubs does Harbor School offer?

Students participate in a variety of clubs, most of which focus on marine science or technology.

What sports does Harbor School offer?

Students participate in rowing, sailing, and swimming.

Does Harbor School have a PSAL varsity basketball team?

No.  Students who are interested in playing basketball with their classmates are permitted to use the school’s court before school, during lunch, or after school.



Do you need on-water experience prior to enrolling?

No.  We will teach you the skills and knowledge you will need to enjoy the on-water experiences that Harbor School provides.

Do you need to know how to swim?

No.  About 50 percent of the students in the freshman class do not know how to swim prior to enrolling at Harbor School.  We will teach you how to swim.  Some of our best swimmers learned to swim while at Harbor School.

How much time do students spend on the water?

Our goal is for students to spend as much time as possible on the water.