Our Approach to Education

Harriet Tubman Democratic High School is the only democratic educational institution for teens in the Capital District. We offer a supportive and personal learning environment for young adults from diverse backgrounds. Our staff strives to teach young adults how to think for themselves by encouraging critical discussions and respecting student input into their educational process. Our students learn self-motivation and, in the process, discover independence and self-reliance. We offer:

  • New York State Certified Diplomas
  • Small class sizes (fewer than ten students)
  • Low student to staff ratio (5:1)
  • Individual attention for all students
  • Community based program
  • College preparation
  • Direct to workforce preparation
  • Assistance with preparation for standardized tests including SAT and GED

In keeping with Harriet Tubman’s remarkable example of courage and conviction, the Harriet Tubman Democratic High School strives to teach young adults appreciation for peoples of diverse backgrounds and experiences.  HTDHS also teaches an understanding of the democratic principle of equality, with an aim towards carrying this community consciousness beyond our students’ participation in our school. HTDHS responds to the growing need of teens for independent, community-based learning. High priority is placed on the social and emotional learning of students, in addition to their academic development.

Our approach to academic skills is based on offering a variety of educational opportunities to meet the varying needs of each student. Choices include:

  • Scheduled Classes
  • Independent Study
  • One-on-one Instruction
  • Internships
  • Workshops
  • Field Trips and Excursions
  • Group and Independent Projects

At Harriet Tubman Democratic High School, students track their progress through individual learning plans, portfolios, and weekly meetings with an advisor. In place of letter or number grades, staff offers quarterly assessment each year (two narrative evaluations and two parent conferences).

Founded in 1969, The Free School in Albany is the longest running inner-city democratic school in the country. The Harriet Tubman Free School (HTFS) was formed in order to continue the alternative education traditions into grades nine through twelve. In 2010, we began to run as an independent school under the name Harriet Tubman Democratic High School.


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