Grace Dodge Career and Technical Education High School
Grace Dodge High School, which trained students to make eyeglasses, to style hair or to work as nursing assistants, was closed in 2015 because of poor performance. The building houses three new small schools, Crotona International High School, The High School for Energy and Technology, and the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering.
Grace Dodge long served a very needy population, including a significant number of young mothers and pregnant girls. Nearly every student qualified for free lunch. A large proportion of students were learning English or receiving special education services. Teachers said many students arrived reading at a 4th grade level, making it extremely difficult for them to graduate on time. The proportion of students with very low reading levels has increased in the past decade; at the same time, the graduation rate declined from 63 percent in 2005 to 35 percent in 2011. The school had three principals the year before the Department of Education announced it would be closing.
A successful program in the school was its mock trial team which competed in the citywide moot court competition. But overall, the school had very low attendance and a very low graduation rate. Although the Career and Technical Education program was designed so students could be certified as hair stylists, many students failed the cosmetology licensing exam because their reading skills were so poor, a teacher said.
The building has tight security. Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building. Although students told us they generally feel safe, there are occasional fights in the building.
Situated across the street from the Bronx Zoo, the school is far from subway stops. This means that a lot of kids must take at least one subway and a bus to reach school. (Clara Hemphill, May 2012, updated September 2015)