Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy, a partnership of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, for students in grades 8–12.

Saturday Academy is a free six-session program for students interested in American History and SAT preparation. There’s no homework and all course materials are provided.

Spring 2019 courses meet on Saturdays March 2, 9, 23, and 30, and April 6 and 13. Students are expected to attend all six sessions and will receive a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the program.

Spring 2019 Courses include:

  • Bell Curves SAT Skills
  • PRO-TEST: Tracing 400 Years of Black Athletic Activism
  • Open to the Public?: Parks in 19th-Century NYC
  • Puerto Rico en Nueva York: A Boricua History of New York in Word, Sound, and Image
  • Freedom Now!: 20th Century Student Activism in New York and London

Students may enroll in one or two American History electives. Students who apply for SAT Prep must also register for an American History elective. Please see the course descriptions, class times, and information about the instructors below, and apply by Monday, February 11.


About Saturday Academy

The presentation of Saturday Academy at the Museum of the City of New York is made possible through the generous support of the Charina Endowment Fund.

The Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center is endowed by grants from The Thompson Family Foundation Fund and other generous donors.

Spring 2019 Course Offerings

Bell Curves SAT Skills

Instructors: Bell Curves Educators
Open to students in grades 10–12. Offered 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Please see note below about the two required practice exams on March 2 and March 30.

The Bell Curves SAT Skills course is designed to help students succeed on the SAT exam. The course will improve students’ understanding of the skills tested by the SAT and then teach them strategies for applying those skills in efficient ways. With the help of expert and supportive instructors, students will learn how to pace themselves and will become more familiar with the test format and question types. After taking two mandatory practice tests, students will leave the classroom prepared and excited for the big exam.

Students in the SAT class will be required to take two free practice SAT exams on the 1st and 4th days of the program (Saturdays March 2 and March 30 from 12:30 – 5:00 p.m.), directly after their regular morning classes. Please save the dates and times!

PRO-TEST: Tracing 400 Years of Black Athletic Activism

Instructor: Christian Waterman, MBA, Long Island University
Open to students in grades 8–12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 am – 12:00 p.m.

This course steps back from the current activism of Colin Kapernick and others in the NFL to view the full legacy of black American athletes who have fought both for their rights and on behalf of the broader black community. Students will spend the beginning of the course understanding the origins of black athletic history starting with sports during African enslavement. They will learn through the struggles of 20th-century pioneers in sports and activism like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, and Muhammad Ali. Throughout the course, students will use primary sources, including photographs in the Museum’s exhibition In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend, to understand the role that corporations and media have played in shaping and sharing the black athletic narrative over the years.. To connect their learning to contemporary events, students will play the role of creative director, diagramming and creating a PSA video starring a present-day black athlete based on a social issue of their choosing.

Open to the Public?: Parks in 19th-Century NYC

Instructor: Marika Plater, Ph.D. Student in History, Rutgers University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This course will look at the creation of parks in New York City and how clashing and evolving ideas about the role of green spaces in urban life have reflected larger social issues for the people of the city. Students will learn through case studies of notable city parks. They will explore issues around land rights and labor in the creation of Central Park, environmental activism and class conflict at Battery Park, and the pros and cons of Progressive Era reforms in Mulberry Park. To deepen their understanding, students will investigate primary sources including artifacts in the Port City exhibition related to New York’s built environment and the creation of Central Park. During the course, students will also participate in a walking tour of Central Park to put the history of the park into present day context.

Puerto Rico en Nueva York: A Boricua History of New York in Word, Sound, and Image

Instructor: Lauren Lefty, Ph.D. Student in History, New York University
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 9:00 – 10:20 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This course will explore the rich and intertwined history of New York and Puerto Rico from the 1940s, when tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans left the island in search of a new home in New York, to the present. Students will start by learning about how Puerto Rican life and immigration to New York has been affected by US policy towards the island. They will explore the influence of Puerto Rican people on New York, including the development of El Barrio, the central site of Puerto Rican life in East Harlem, and political and youth organizing in the Puerto Rican community, from Aspira Clubs to the Young Lords. Drawing on the Museum’s exhibitions, including Activist New York and New York at Its Core, each session will explore this history through different sources, from maps, oral histories, and student yearbooks to sound and video recordings. Students will gain important insight into historical research and thinking while having the opportunity to discuss key topics in Puerto Rican history and contemporary politics.

Freedom Now!: 20th Century Student Activism in New York and London

Instructor: Mae Miller, Ph.D. Candidate in Geography, CUNY Graduate Center
Open to students in grades 8 – 12; 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.

This course will examine the connections between student-led movements for racial and economic justice in New York City and London between the 1950s and 1980s. Students will learn how high school and university student activists in these cities learned from one another as they challenged discrimination, segregation, and police violence. Throughout the course, students will investigate connections between activist initiatives in both cities including strikes in Ocean-Hill Brownsville in 1968 and racial unrest in Notting Hill, London, in 1958; the development of the Black Panther Party in the US and UK; and the politics of Black and Asian solidarities. As a class, students will visit the Activist New York exhibition, engage in discussions of short documentary clips and primary texts, and work in groups to develop a curriculum inspired by these movements.

How to Apply

Applications open in early January. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED ONLINE BY Monday, February 11, 2019.


Enrollment is first-come, first served. Priority seating in all classes will be given to students who live and/or attend schools in East and Central Harlem (zip codes: 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10035, 10037, and 10039). Please apply early-space is limited! Accepted candidates will be notified by email, mail, or telephone by Wednesday, February 20.

Should you experience any trouble applying online, you may call 917.492.3387 or email

To receive information about the program and other opportunities, please sign up for our mailing list and check the Saturday Academy box at the bottom of the form.

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