Bronx Design and Construction Academy

333 EAST 151 STREET
BRONX NY 10451 Map
Phone: (718) 402-7690
Website: Click here
Principal: Matthew Williams
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District:7
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: ROSAURA CRUZ
Engineering
Architecture
Vocational

Buses: BX1, BX13, BX15, BX17, BX19, BX2, BX21, BX32, BX4, BX41, BX55, BX6

What's special:

Hands-on training in construction trades and architectural drafting.

The downside:

Shared building, metal detectors.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Bronx Design & Construction Academy aims to prepare students for college while providing hands-on training in construction trades or architectural drafting. The school, opened in 2011, won’t graduate its first class until 2015, but early signs indicate it has the momentum, focus and dedicated faculty needed to succeed where other CTE (Career and Technical Education) schools have struggled.

Students follow either a CTE program or an architectural drafting curriculum (often called pre-engineering). Ninth-graders in the CTE program take classes in plumbing, carpentry, electric and the trade known as HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning). In 10th grade, they choose one of those trades as their major. Ninth-graders in pre-engineering begin with manual mechanical drafting classes, followed by computer-automated drafting (CAD) using the Autodesk Revit 3D software.

“We’re actually learning something that’s going to be put into use — majorly — in our future,” said Noel, a 15-year-old who was eagerly working to master the CAD software. “What high school student do you know who worked on CAD for four years?” Noel, who wants to be an architect, said the school has “a good environment, and it’s getting better.”

CTE classes we observed were led by knowledgeable teachers with calloused hands. In an electrical class, students paid attention to the hazards of severe shock as if their lives depended on it—which it just might. In an HVAC class, a discussion of electrical circuits was followed by hands-on work on circuit boards. Students studying drafting used computers to render mechanical illustrations.

Bronx Design and Construction (Also known as BxDCA) shares a building with Afred E. Smith High School, and Bronx Haven, a second-chance transfer school  The schools share a cafeteria, small library, auditorium, gym and an impressive outdoor turf-coated football/soccer field that BxDCA founding principal Matthew Williams said was a gift from the New York Jets. Varsity sports teams draw students from the whole building.

The East Side Settlement House offers counseling. Students meet regularly in small advisory groups. Girls, who make up about 13 percent of the student body, have their own advisory groups, offering them a chance to discuss issues they may be uncomfortable addressing in a room full of boys. But most BxDCA girls “don’t seem to be intimidated,” said teacher Veronica Fettig. “They’re outnumbered, but they stand up for themselves.”

Teachers seemed dedicated and optimistic. Science teacher Gwen Kehr arrived at BxCDA in 2011 after teaching in Africa with the Peace Corps. “I never want to leave,” Kehr said. “I love our kids. They’re good kids. Enthusiastic. A lot of energy.” Kehr said she also gets strong support from the administration plus feedback from a teaching coach who regularly observes her classroom technique. Science teachers often make use of a rooftop garden (the “Green Roof”) where students may study solar power. In a 10th-grade English class, students were studying “American Born Chinese,” an easy-to-read graphic novel that explores stereotyping.

Students graduate with a CTE certification that “shaves two years off a five-year apprenticeship,” putting them closer to journeyman-level construction jobs, Williams said.

Special education: About 25 percent of BxDCA students have special needs. The school has integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes that combine special-needs kids with general education students, and feature two teachers (one of whom is certified to teach special education). But Williams said his goal is to move students out of special education classes. “We really want to get these kids mainstreamed,” he said.

Admissions: BxDCA is a limited unscreened high school. Priority goes to students living in the Bronx who demonstrate interest in the school by attending an open house, taking a tour or inquiring about the school via e-mail. Students apply for either the CTE or the architectural drafting curriculums, so it’s possible to list BxDCA twice in high school applications. (Reviewed by Skip Card, October 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Alfred E. Smith Educational Campus

Number of Students 429

Average Daily Attendance 79%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
28%

Hispanic

  
70%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
92%

Special ed

  
26%

English Language Learners

  
16%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.60 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

21 24 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

67% 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?

86% 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?

53% 34% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of

How many -4 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

NA 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many -6 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?

0%

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

NA

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

NA

Are students ready for college?

How many -4 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

NA 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

NA
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA

SAT math scores

NA
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?

82% 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?

97% 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

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to Bronx students or residents who attend an information session
  2. Then to New York City residents who attend an information session
  3. Then to Bronx students or residents
  4. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Architecture and Design

Limited Unscreened

Building Construction and Technology

Limited Unscreened

Academics

AP COURCES: N/A

Online: N/A

Language classes: N/A

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Football, Model U.N., Soccer, Chess Club, Cross Country, After-school Tutoring, Bowling, International Construction Club, Basketball, Science Club, Gymnastics, Paint Club, Wrestling, Track, Baseball, Handball

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: N/A

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: N/A

Other schools sports: N/A

Source: High school directory

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