MS/HS 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology

An Insideschools pick
360 EAST 145 STREET
BRONX NY 10454 Map
Phone: (718) 585-8202
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 7 choice
Principal: Dr. Ramon Gonzalez
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 7
Grade range: 6-10
Parent Coordinator: Wanda Hill
Computer Science & Technology
ESL Focus

Buses: Bx1, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx2, Bx21, Bx32, Bx33, Bx4, Bx41, Bx41-SBS, Bx4A

What's special:

South Bronx school where students excel academically and enjoy a safe community

The downside:

School offers visual arts, but others like music and dance are limited

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Laboratory School for Finance and Technology has a dynamic administration, energetic teachers and lots of interesting projects and class trips. Begun as a middle school in 2003, MS/HS 223 opened a high school in the same building in 2013 to provide students with continuity and better preparation for college.

Founding principal Ramon Gonzalez, who grew up on welfare, attended public schools in East Harlem and went on to win a scholarship to Cornell University, is determined to offer the children of the South Bronx the same educational opportunities that allowed him to rise from poverty. The school has a cheerful, welcoming feel, and the children seem happy to be here.

True to its name, MS/HS 223 offers computer-programming classes where kids learn Javascript, HTML and design their own apps. An animation robotics program exposes 6th-graders to careers in technology, and there is also a math team. In April 2010, MS/HS 223 was named a finalist in the Intel Schools of Distinction Awards for implementing innovative math programs and serving as a model for other schools. In 9th grade, students may take electives like economics where they learn cost benefit analysis; while the finance program has a virtual business course that teaches students to develop business plans and economic plans with social give-back components.

High schoolers are expected to earn 16–20 credits by the end of 9th grade to keep them on track. “When kids don’t graduate with their cohort, they are more likely to drop out,” Gonzalez said. Eighty percent of middle schoolers choose to continue on to the high school, the principal said, noting that conversations about college begin as early as 6th grade.

All classes have two teachers with kids of mixed abilities. Special needs children are fully integrated into classrooms, and teachers try to honor different learning styles. For example, during independent reading time in an 8th-grade English language arts class, we saw some children reading at their desks while others were sitting or even lying on the floor, but all were on task.

The entire school now participates in the dual language program designed to help students write and speak fluently in English and Spanish. Traditional language arts are taught in both languages, math is taught exclusively in English, while science, social studies and technology are taught exclusively in Spanish. The dual language program here is very strong and doesn’t sacrifice academics.

Students we encountered were well-spoken and polite. Seventh-graders in a Civil War class were extremely verbal and clear when relaying their perspectives on the lesson and used examples from the text to support their ideas. They worked at tables in mixed ability groups, evaluating each other’s writing and offering feedback. Most important, the students we saw seemed genuinely invested in their own learning. After ELA students took self-assessments on a computer, we noticed kids doubling back to go over questions they had missed and taking the test again in the hopes of doing better, even though they had passed the first time.

In an 8th-grade algebra class, students engaged in a fun hands-on exercise on epidemiology, or the ways in which disease spreads. Children holding zombie masks were the “infected,” and tried to touch, or “infect” others. Each time the ratio of “infected” kids changed, the teacher asked the children to rewrite the algebraic formula representing the spread of the “disease.” The exercise was impressive, both for its creativity, and the fact that kids remained focused on the math throughout.

Within class, there is a system of consequences for poor behavior, but if a child is overly disruptive, she may be asked to leave and go to the main office. Even so, teachers must make up academic time lost with each student. For all its focus on rules and academics, however, the school isn’t without a sense of spirit. The bathroom pass that students carry through the halls is an actual (though unused) toilet seat.

MS/HS 223 was one of 40 middle schools chosen to have a special two-and-a-half hour “extended learning day,” beginning in 2013 as part of the Department of Education’s Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI). Extra resources and supports help the school target reading and vocabulary, giving MS 223 students about 400 extra hours of learning each year. Kids are divided into three tracks: Wilson, the largest and most advanced group; Word Gen, the middle group; and Razz Kids, in which students—many with special needs—work with a special educator and are able to use iPads and audio equipment to enhance their learning. To make room for the program, the day is divided into 12 periods.

The building, shared with another 6–12 school, South Bronx Prep, has a new state-of-the-art science lab, library and media center. On Saturdays the school building is open from 8 am to 6 pm to students, parents and community members to partake in various activities, including sports fitness classes in the gym, quiet reading in the library and ESL classes for parents.

Special education: The school offers team-teaching and self-contained classes.

Admissions: District 7 choice for middle school. Limited unscreened for high school. Native speakers of Spanish may apply for high school dual language program. At the time of our visit, the school had children enrolled in 6th–9th grade. (Jacquie Wayans, March 2014)

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with South Bronx Prep

Number of Students 451

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
23%

Hispanic

  
76%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
98%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
8%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.87 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

73% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

88% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

68% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

69% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

91% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

29 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

17% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

35% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

27% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

58% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

53% 21% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

85% 85% 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:

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

5% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

23% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with South Bronx Prep

Number of Students 451

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? NA

Metal detectors? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
23%

Hispanic

  
76%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
98%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
8%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.45 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Middle school students reading at grade level:

2% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

2% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

73% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

89% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

94% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

NA 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

NA 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

NA 11% 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?

NA

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 students 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 students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

NA 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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?

79% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. 1. For Y72A only:
  2. a) Open only to heritage Spanish speakers and students who attended Transitional Bilingual Education or Dual Language middle school programs
  3. b) Priority to continuing 8th graders
  4. c) Then to Bronx students or residents
  5. d) Then to New York City residents
  6. 2. For Y72B only:
  7. a) Priority to continuing 8th graders
  8. b) Then to Bronx students or residents who attend an information session
  9. c) Then to New York City residents who attend an information session
  10. d) Then to Bronx students or residents, e) Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Dual Language Spanish Program

Screened: Language

The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology

Limited Unscreened

Academics

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Art Academy, Chess, Debate Team, Drama, History, Math Team, MOUSE Squad, Peer Tutoring and Mediation, School Orchestra, School Yearbook, Student Council

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Soccer

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Flag football, Golf, Lacrosse, Swimming

Source: High school directory

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