Girls Prep Bronx Charter Elementary School
BRONX NY 10455 Map
Girls Prep Bronx Charter Elementary School
Extended PK hours offered: No
In the life of a school, Girls Prep Bronx seems to have hit its stride. Teachers put thought, care, and training into their instruction rather than follow scripted lessons, and the school offers an unusual amount of science, plus yoga, choir and art. Girls may begin their schooling in one of three pre-kindergartens and continue through 8th grade. The best entry points are in Pre-k or kindergarten, and again in 6th grade when the middle school takes in about 30 new students.
Founded in 2009, it is modeled on Girls Prep Lower East Side, the first all-girls charter in New York City. Girls Prep differs from no-nonsense charters like Success Academy and Bronx Classical by favoring more input from teachers and a more relaxed atmosphere, according to administrators, according to Josie Carbone, who works for the Girls Prep network.
Teachers look for a balance in kindergarten between academics and play. Many kindergartens in the city lack blocks and dress-up areas, but Girls Prep has block-building and girls go on fieldtrips, but it introduces more writing and reading around these activities.
Children spend extra time in reading and writing lessons. The girls study phonics, vocabulary, and oral reading, but also enjoy fun-to-read books of their own choosing, as they sprawl on a rug in beanbag chairs. Fridays are reserved for handwriting and dictation. The elementary school uses CGI (cognitively guided instruction), a hands-on, problem-solving approach to math in which teachers pay attention to children's mathematical efforts and use them as a basis for instruction, rather than following by-the-book lessons.
Full-time math and literacy coaches help teachers choose a goal for math lessons or structure a reading lesson, the fine points of teaching that make a school not just safe and orderly but stimulating. Parts of 3rd grade and all of 4th and 5th grades are "departmentalized," like in middle school, where one teacher leads all the math lessons and another leads the language lessons. On the day of our visit, the 5th-grade math teachers were at a workshop on fractions and decimals at Metamorphosis, a math-coaching center. Math scores are beginning to rise. "Reading scores outperform district schools but are still not where we want them to be," said Carbone, who left her job as principal here in 2016 to work for the Girls Prep network. She was replaced by Sharon Stephens, formerly principal of Madiba Prep Middle School in Brooklyn. Stephens grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and taught English at Benjamin Banneker High School.
The girls have an unusual four days a week of science with a trained science teacher. Kindergartners observe, draw, and write about trees they visit in the neighborhood. Second-graders study the water cycle and simple machines with hands-on experiments and work up to lab reports based on collected data in older grades. "Science is incredibly important for girls and it's really difficult to make time for it in regular classrooms because of the preparation involved," said Carbone.
The middle school is at 890 Cauldwell Avenue.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers special education services in team-taught classes that mix children with special needs in general education classes.
ADMISSIONS: There are roughly 2,300 applications for 75 seats. In grades 2–5 fewer than ten spots open up. (Three 5th grade spots were filled in 2015.) Priority goes to siblings, NYCHA housing residents and the offspring of teachers. (Lydie Raschka, November 2015; updated by phone, August 2016)
At a glance
Number of Students 727
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?2% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?98% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?100% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?14% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
Does the school encourage family involvement?
How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?87% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?99% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:5% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:5% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:13% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:20% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?
How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?
How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?