University Prep Charter High School

600 SAINT ANN'S AVENUE
BRONX NY 10455 Map
Phone: (718) 585-0560
Admissions: Lottery
Principal: Ashish Kapadia
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District:7
Grade range: 9-11
Charter School

What's special:

Skilled teachers, good Regents results, small classes.

The downside:

No music and art until 12th grade, late lunch.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

June 2013 Update: Green Dot changed its name to University Prep High School, after ending its relationship with Green Dot Public Schools, the former parent organization. Students, parents and teachers selected the name “University Prep Charter High School.”  The new partner will be the United Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation.

March 2011 Review: Many charter schools operate under the premise that teachers’ unions are a barrier to good education. But Green Dot New York Charter High School is out to prove that well-paid, unionized teachers, when treated like professionals and protected from capricious firings, are fundamental to students’ success.

Opened in 2008 on the fourth floor of I.S. 162 in the South Bronx, this high school aims to replicate the success of a network of Green Dot schools in California. Teachers at the New York City school have a special contract that pays them more than other members of the United Federation of Teachers in exchange for a longer school day and year. [As of 2011 the school also shares a building with Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science.]

Green Dot emphasizes “respectful, responsible, and responsive” behavior. Students say their teachers are skilled and inspire them to success. “You are not set up to fail here,” says a 10th grader. So far, the vast majority of 10th- and 11th-grade students have passed Regents’ exams. Incoming 9th-grade students attend a four-week SummerBridge program that introduces them to the school’s “3R” behavioral code and reviews basic academic skills. Students have 30-minute advisory periods four times a week.

“Our push here is English, math, science, social studies, a foreign language,” says Principal Ashish Kapadia. Students take those subjects all four years, unlike many high schools in poor neighborhoods that offer only two years of a language and three years of math and science. Ninth graders learn to use the Excel, PowerPoint, and Word software programs. Students start gym in 10th grade. Seniors choose art and music electives.

Ninety-minute classes begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 4 p.m., except for a 10:15 a.m. start on Tuesdays and an early dismissal (1:20 p.m.) on Fridays. Students’ main classes meet only three days a week, making regular attendance particularly important. Following Green Dot principles, the school tries to keep classes (except gym) under 25 students.

We saw mostly traditional instruction, with teachers lecturing and questioning students. While several students said that the 90-minute periods were difficult to sit through, teachers appeared to mix the activities throughout the class period. The instruction was solid and engaging. An otherwise-positive Charter Schools Institute review observed that Green Dot may not tailor lessons to individual students’ skills as well as it might. However, in a 10th-grade writing class we watched, the teacher went from desk to desk to give feedback to each student while the other students wrote on laptops. (The principal replies that teachers do regularly adjust students’ work according to their skills.) Student projects cover the classroom walls in most classes. The 11th-grade area in particular displayed some creative student work. Each room has a SMARTboard.

Principal Kapadia says that he has not asked any students to leave for poor performance, but a few have departed out of discontent, mostly after the first year. Some students have been harassed in the neighborhood as outsiders.

Students wear a uniform of a white polo shirt (or sweatshirt), khaki dress pants, and dress shoes. (On the snowy day we visited, nine students received detention for not having the correct shoes.) The school has moderate parent involvement requirement.

After School: The community organization SoBRO helps with tutoring four days a week and runs art and dance clubs twice a week. English language learners (ELLs) and struggling students attend mandatory classes after school. Green Dot offers basketball, baseball and softball teams, plus volleyball and crafts clubs.

Special education: More than 10 percent of the students receive special ed services. Green Dot currently has SETSS (pull-out) classes, and has offered CTT/ICT classes. The assistant principal and two teachers are certified to teach special ed.

Admissions: Lottery, with District 7 and sibling preferences. (Matt Fleischer-Black, March 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the JHS 162 building

Number of Students 354

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? NA

Metal detectors? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
28%

Hispanic

  
66%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
92%

Special ed

  
14%

English Language Learners

  
12%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.90 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 24 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

65% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

92% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

NA 34% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

100% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many -4 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

NA 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many -6 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

NA 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

NA 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

27%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

35%

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

28%

Are students ready for college?

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

36% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

423
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 0 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

NA

SAT math scores

431
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

88% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

NA 44% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

NA 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

NA 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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