Best NYC high schools 2015: The Renaissance Charter School

The Renaissance Charter School’s first valedictorian has returned to the fold as a social studies teacher.

José Mane, 34, was part of this Jackson Heights, Queens, school’s inaugural graduating class in 1999. Now that he’s teaching classes, Mane said there’s just as much focus on student success as when he was taking classes.

“There was something really special about what this school provided for me — it gave me direction and it allowed me to find my voice,” said Mane, who teaches ninth- and 10th-grade social studies.

The pre-K-through-12 school is one of the highest-ranking charter schools in the city, and has a 2014 graduation rate of 86% compared with the citywide average of 64%.

Teachers and administrators say the small size — there are fewer than 600 students total and only 205 in the high school program — lets them understand each student’s needs.

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