Aspire Preparatory Middle School
Aspire Preparatory Middle School was opened in 2006 in the MS 135 building with the hope that several small schools would be better than the large chaotic middle school they replaced. Aspire had some good teachers and a fun, energetic tone when we visited in 2007, but it never succeeded in boosting academic performance and the Department of Education closed it in 2014.
In 2011, Aspire was placed on the list of the state’s most dangerous schools, and students told The New York Post that fights were common. When the city decided to close the school, PTA President James Wetherington complained that the DOE set it up to fail. “It's unfair you're going to shut us down,” he told WNYC. “But yet you've lacked to give us the funding to do any type of after school stuff to help these kids, you haven't shown up to give us any inspiration, any hope, any ideas.”
On the positive side, the school had a good attendance rate, as well as a partnership with Fordham University to provide tutoring, peer mediation and professional development for staff, according to the 2011 Quality Review.
The school was replaced by Bronx Park Middle School and Pelham Academy of Academics and Community Engagement. (Clara Hemphill, DOE statistics, news reports, June 2012; updated August 2014)