Banana Kelly High School

965 LONGWOOD AVENUE
BRONX NY 10459 Map
Phone: (718) 860-1242
Website: Click here
Admissions: Ed opt
Principal: Charlette Pope
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District:8
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: MARGARITA GRAHAM BRICE
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Wheelchair Accessible

Buses: BX17, BX19, BX4, BX5, BX6

What's special:

Music program includes drum line and a capella group

The downside:

Poor attendance and low graduation rate

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Founded in the 1990s by the community organization from which it takes its name, Banana Kelly High School has long tried to provide a warm and nurturing environment for students in a neighborhood known for gang violence. The building has a new health and dental clinic. A popular music program includes a drumline and an a cappella group.

Despite its reputation as a place where children get lots of help for social and emotional problems, the school has long suffered from poor attendance and low graduation rates.

In 2012, the Department of Education attempted to change the name of the school as part of what is called a “turnaround” program—which would have allowed the DOE to remove half the staff and collect a significant amount of federal money. A judge blocked that plan, ordering the DOE to retain staff and keep the school open under its current name.

However, many of the best teachers, assuming that they would be forced to reapply for their jobs under the turnaround plan, had already left by the time the court order came down, school officials said.

In December 2012, there was a shift in leadership with Principal Antonio Arocho resigning after only a year on the job and Charlotte Pope, assistant principal at the Holcombe L. Rucker High School of Community Research, which shares the building, named interim acting principal. According to GothamSchools, Pope "oversaw safety and security at the school and helped institute a system for observing teachers." Arocho had replaced long-time principal Joshua Laub in 2011. Laub retired after the DOE first threatened to close the school. Supporters said the school’s graduation rate was poor because Laub had willingly taken in needy students whom other school rejected, according to an article in the Hunt’s Point Express. [See photo by Hunt’s Point Express on this page.] The school’s unusual curriculum was the subject of a piece on the PBS News Hour.

The Banana Kelly community organization, which builds affordable housing, is named for a banana-shaped block in the South Bronx. The high school shares a building with Holcombe L. Rucker High School of Community Research.

Admissions: students are admitted according to the educational option formula designed to ensure a mix of students of different levels of skills. (Clara Hemphill, interviews, July 2012; updated after principal change in December 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the former New School for Arts and Science building

Number of Students 364

Average Daily Attendance 73%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
36%

Hispanic

  
62%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
81%

Special ed

  
27%

English Language Learners

  
18%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.40 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

20 24 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

84% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

55% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

85% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

27% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

72% 34% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

42% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

61% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

50% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

57% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

21% 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?

1%

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

0%

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?

5% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

366
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

38%

SAT math scores

361
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?

85% 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?

48% 44% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

24% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

69% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

64% 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
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Banana Kelly High School

Ed. Opt.

Academics

AP COURCES: English Language and Composition, Human Geography, United States History

Online: N/A

Language classes: French, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: After-school Tutoring, NYC Explorers Club, Art Club, buildOn, Chess, Children's Aid Society, Chorus, College Now, Conflict Mediation Program, Drum line, Elevate NY& Mentoring Program, Fitness club, Latin and Hip- Hop Dance Club, National Honors Society, Office of the Bronx Borough President Internship Program, Regents Prep, SAT/ACT Prep, Saturday School, Senior Committee, Student Government, Student News Paper Bulletin, UNITAS, Video Gamers; club, Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Softball

Other schools sports: Baseball

Source: High school directory

Comments

Please post comments

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't)
  • No profanity. No racial or ethnic slurs. No personal attacks
  • Criticism is fine but don't be nasty.
  • Flag inappropriate comments. (Hover your cursor over comments to see flag)

New! Insideschools on your phone