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A Historical Journey
100+ years of Excellence in Vocational Education

CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL is a small vocational New York City public high school. It is one of a few remaining schools that offers vocational educational courses. The school is located at 131 Avenue of the Americans at the corner of Broome Street, adjacent to New York City's historic SoHo district. The area is recognized as the heart of new media businesses, artistic galleries and cultural diversity.

The school is dedicated and committed to offering a challenging and cutting-edge education to all its students. We also offer workshops for parents.

Chelsea is a one-hundred + year-old, five story building that presently house about 927 students in grades nine through twelve. Students who enter the school are interested in pursuing careers in business, electrical, electronics, carpentry and building maintenance industries.

The cultural and racial make up of the school is approximately 60% Hispanic, 30% African American and 10% from areas such as Asia and Europe. Approximately 55% of the students are males and 45 % are females.

The current staff consists of the principal, four assistant principals, four deans, three guidance counselors, four grade advisors, fifty six teachers, six school based support team, five inclusion program personnel, seven school secretaries, eight school aides, three paraprofessionals, one lab specialist and four school safety officers; a total of 105 staff members.


Chelsea in 1929

This school was first erected in 1848 as an elementary school and rebuilt in 1858. It was remodeled in 1875. In 1912, the school moved to its new site at Public School 38 located at 8 Clark Street in Manhattan. In 1920, Mr. Charles W. Laffin organized The West Side Continuation School in a few unused rooms at Public School 41 located at 36 Greenwich Avenue in Manhattan. Due to increasing enrollment, in 1922, larger quarters were required. The school was moved to Public School 16 located at 208 West 13th Street where it was renamed the West Side Continuation School and became an established high school. Four years later, the first complete medical service in a Continuation or Industrial High School was organized in cooperation with the Public Education Association and New York City Department of Health. Six years later in 1932, a full-time vocational high school was established. By 1934, the West Side Continuation School was renamed the West Side Vocational High School and moved to its present location.

In 1936, the school had its first graduating class of boys and girls who had completed an intense four year vocational high school course. Due to the rapid expansion and enrollment of the Automotive Department, the school was once again renamed. Now it was called the Manhattan High School of Automotive Trades. In 1937 the principal transferred the school site to Queens Vocational High School while an annex was established at Public School 95 with William J. Fitzpatrick as Assistant Principal.

In 1938, William J. Fitzpatrick was appointed Principal and the school was once again renamed to CHELSEA VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL. Between 1938 and 1940, the school was redesigned to house an all male-student population until 1984.

Before the United States' entry into World War II in 1940, the school offered a new course, The New War Industries Training Program. This program was sponsored by the National Defense Department to provide training classes for adults.

In 1947, Mr. Joseph C. Driscoll, was assigned the new principal. He served as Principal until 1973. During his tenure as principal, the annex at 16 Clarkson Street was closed and all classes were held at the present site.

In 1974, a new principal, Mr. Bernard A. Foster, took the helm until 1991. In 1984, the school once again accepted female students. It remains co-educational today.

Mrs. Hannah S. Hess was assigned and served as interim acting principal from 1991 to 1992. In 1992, Mrs. Janice Medina was appointed principal. Four years later in 1997, Mr. Levine, was appointed principal. He recently retired from this position. While as principal, several programs were developed such as the Transit Program, Barney's Summer Program, Center For Arts Career Development Student Internship, V-Tea Interdisciplinary 9th Grade Program, Cisco, and C-tech. In 2002, a new principal was appointed. Major changes are currently underway as a result of new leadership. Welcome, Mr. Timothy Timberlake.