Five HEAF students holding water balloons

High Expectations is HEAF’s middle school program that integrates virtual academic enrichment and experiential learning. This begins with the student’s preparation for acceptance into their best-fit high schools. HEAF focuses our students’ long term vision and gives them the tools, resources, and social-emotional support necessary to thrive in middle school and gain acceptance to New York City’s high schools.

All students in grades 6-8 receive Youth Development, interdisciplinary math and humanities classes, and electives. Tutoring will also be available for students year-round, as well as SHSAT prep and individual check-ins with staff. Cultural and career exposure will be conducted through LSI, virtual college tours, and career days. Students will also build community (HEAF-wide) through various cross-collaborative events & clubs.

Our High Expectations Middle School Curriculum Highlights


Engage in learning about other cultures and connect with teens abroad on the continent of Africa and select four countries (most likely South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya). Build your knowledge of history and geography through written works, cultural performances, and connections to other teens through a virtual teen exchange. 


Poetry is a powerful way to tell a story and express emotion. Throughout this course, students will study its form, devices, and read the poems of some of the greatest poets of all time. Students will also write their original work.


Express yourself! Students will develop drawing and coloring techniques and the basic concepts of animation.


Wonder what’s out there? Students will learn about our Milky Way galaxy and the conditions, properties, and motions of bodies in space.


Students learn the basics of chess, including rules, basic strategy, checkmate concepts, and end of game principles. Students will participate in a virtual chess tournament. (Partnership with Project Pawn)


In this course, students will be presented with the fundamentals of American Sign Language (ASL) and learn language skills through the learning of basic vocabulary, grammatical structures, and cultural awareness.


The impact of digital art and design is all around us, often in ways that you probably aren’t even aware of!  Explore this special genre of art found in everything from advertising to animation to photography and beyond. In this course, you’ll learn the basic principles of art and design, and the role of art in politics and society. 


Hackers welcome! In this exciting class, you will get a chance to explore the world of coding through social equity topics. (Partnership with STEM Kids NYC)

HEAF delivers impactful opportunities for students to grow personally and succeed academically.


One HEAF One Book is aimed to encourage our students to read one book for the semester, to foster community, and encourage extracurricular reading!


The purpose of the Youth Leadership Council is to engage in self-exploration activities to identify the unique strengths, interests, and leadership styles of students. Students will then apply this information to determine the best fit High School programs as well as potential career pathways.


A grade-aligned math computer game that has partnered with HEAF to give our students free unlimited access to the game. Students are given login information and can play the game to practice math skills necessary for success in their grade level. The program hosts tournaments with prizes at the end of the semester where students challenge each other’s math skills.


Offering students more 1:1 help in various subjects aimed at strengthening student’s understanding and improving grades.

Apply to HEAF

HEAF’s High Expectations program for middle school students begins in grade 6. Applications are currently closed but will reopen in Fall 2023.