Education For The Real World

Small Schools Huge Opportunities

In an ideal world, all students who are considered at-risk would be safely integrated into all NYC public schools. but in the real world, at-risk students need a place like the Harvey Milk High School. HMHS is one of the many NYC small schools that provide safety, community, and high achievement for students not able to benefit from more traditional school environments. HMHS offers the same curriculum and graduation standards as any other NYC public high school, with the same Regents and other rigorous tests, and highly trained educators.

Our Roots:

More than two decades ago, concerned advocates (including Hetrick-Martin's founders) and the New York City Department of Education imagined a public school where some of the city's most at-risk youth — those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) — could learn without the threat of physical violence and emotional harm they faced in a traditional educational environment. That place is the Harvey Milk High School.

A Place to Thrive:

The Harvey Milk High School (HMHS) is a four-year, fully accredited, inclusive voluntary public high school, named in honor of gay-rights champion and groundbreaking San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. The HMHS door is open for all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or physical abilities.

Hetrick-Martin's Role:

Every small public school in NYC adopts a community-based organization as lead partner. The Hetrick-Martin Institute is that host agency for HMHS. That means Hetrick-Martin manages the school facility and uses the facility for after-school programs and supportive services. But it is the New York City Department of Education that operates the school, and accepts applications for prospective students.

Why Do We Need The Harvey Milk High School?

According to a 2013 National School Climate Survey:

  • 55.5% of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression.
  • 30.3% of LGBT students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and over a tenth (10.6%) missed four or more days in the past month.
  • Over a third avoided gender-segregated spaces in school because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable


In the 2014 academic year at HMHS, more than 70 students were enrolled in 9th to 12th grades and nearly 60% of HMHS students went on to advanced programs or college.

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Harvey Milk High School: ENROLL TODAY