Harry S Truman High School

750 BAYCHESTER AVENUE
BRONX NY 10475 Map
Phone: (718) 904-5400
Website: Click here
Admissions: Zoned, ed opt & selective programs
Wheelchair accessible
Principal: Keri Alfano
Neighborhood: Co-op City
District: 11
Grade range: 09 thru 12

Buses: BX12, Bx23, BX26, BX28, BX29, BX30, Q50

What's special:

Pre-engineering, culinary arts, media and JROTC; eight gyms

The downside:

Tardy students & hard to reach parents.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

A large high school with a growing number of special needs students and English language learners, Harry S. Truman has done an admirable job of helping kids graduate on time. Truman offers decent academics along with specialized academies in media, law, business, pre-engineering, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and culinary arts. One of the few remaining large high schools in the Bronx, the big, sprawling campus offers an array of extras the new small schools can’t match.

“We want to stay large,” said Principal Sana Nasser. “It’s not the size, it’s what you offer your clients. I want them to have the full experience because that’s what the kids in the suburbs get.”

Students spend one period a day in their chosen academies, which seemed lively and fun the day of our visit. Media participants chatted comfortably as they worked on TV ads in three interconnected studios. In the kitchen, a girl sliced homemade mozzarella to top two large pizzas while a boy expertly doused pasta with olive oil from a squirt bottle. Teaching looked solid in English, math, science and social studies where students were calm, if a little passive, compared to the academies.

“Truman’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be,” offered a freshman on his way to school. “The academics are good, I’m not gonna lie,” said a sophomore.

Nasser has resurrected a long-dormant swimming pool (opening Spring 2012), and a planetarium; adding Smart Boards and computers. The impressive facilities include professional kitchens, a mock courtroom and eight gyms for basketball, volleyball, weightlifting, yoga, aerobics, wrestling and more. Lots of alumni stop by to say hello and volunteer in the culinary and media programs. “You know you’re on the right track when kids are coming back,” Nasser said.

The school shares an interconnected campus with Bronx Health Sciences and two middle schools, MS 180 and 181; PS 153; and a separate elementary program for autistic children. Initially designed for families from Co-op City in the 1970s, now most students commute from other parts of the Bronx and it can be a struggle to make it on time to their 8 a.m. class. Since 2011 students wear uniforms – a black or gray polo shirt and pants and some students resist. On our visit we overheard Nasser speaking in her office with a girl and her parents about the student's reluctance to wear the new uniform. “I want her to go back to class right now. I want her to understand she is going to college,” said Nasser in a warm yet firm tone to the parents.

Parent participation is a challenge. Roughly half of the families live at poverty level and some are very hard to reach. Students who have out-of-service home numbers are stopped in the morning and new numbers are dialed on the spot to make sure they work. One teacher at a time builds a relationship with families of at-risk teens to avoid alienating parents who would otherwise receive calls from many teachers. At-risk seniors get intensive small-group test prep and have mentors to keep them on track for graduation.

Enrollment has declined in recent years and staff grumbles that new small schools have been siphoning off top freshman. The staff has stabilized over the last five years and recruitment is not the issue it once was: over 90 percent of the staff has been with the school two years or more. Nasser is “extremely supportive” of first year teachers said a principal-in-training.

Lagging 9th graders get an additional literacy class and a double period of math. In a 9th-grade math class we saw both fast and slow learners working on the same problem at the same time – although each student was given time to work through the problem at his or her own pace. Bright 10th graders who score well on the Algebra or Living Environment Regent’s tests are tapped to be peer tutors through a program at Hunter College. A growing percentage of students graduate with college credits from places like Queensborough Community College and St. John’s University.

Special education: Over 500 students have individual educational plans and over 300 are in self-contained classrooms with a special education teacher. Special education teachers work closely with general education teachers on professional development.

There are more than 100 English language learners. Trained teachers “push in” to regular academic classes such as science and math. After school help is available.

College Admissions: The majority of students go on to two-year colleges with roughly 30 percent admitted to four-year colleges, mostly CUNY schools.

Admissions: Zoned school. Pre-engineeering and JROTC programs are screened. (Lydie Raschka, November 2011)


InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Harry S. Truman Educational Campus

Number of Students 1911

Average Daily Attendance 88%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
52%

Hispanic

  
43%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
68%

Special ed

  
18%

English Language Learners

  
7%

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

31 24 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

62% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

79% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

74% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

85% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

24% 34% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

58% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

66% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

63% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

5% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

69% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

22% 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?

3%

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

27%

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

14%

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?

11% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

397
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

41%

SAT math scores

399
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?

71% 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?

34% 44% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

48% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

43% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

79% 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
  3. For X25B and X25E only: a. Priority to Bronx students or residents who attend an information session b. Then to New York City residents who attend an information session c. Then to Bronx students or residents d. Then to New York City residents
  4. For Zoned Program only: Guaranteed offer to students who apply and live in the zoned area

Source: High school directory

Air Force Junior ROTC

Screened

Learn life skills with a military focus; discipline, respect, and service are the trademarks of our AFJROTC program

Selection Criteria

  • English (70-100) , Math (70-100) , Science (70-100) , Social Studies (70-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Multimedia Communication and Production

Limited Unscreened

Media students learn about human communication in a digital world through hands-on experience with video, web and radio production. Interniships and partnerships available with WABC-7 Eyewitness News, News 12, Fox 5 and BronxNET.

Pre-Engineering and Applied Mathematics

Screened

Focuses on Mathematics and science to prepare students for careers in Engineering and other technical fields. The curriculum is project based and includes Engineering Design and Production, Energy applications, Environmental friendly technology and Electricity. We have Partnerships with the Architecture, Construction and Engineering Mentor Program.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Culinary Arts

Ed. Opt.

Using professional equipment and trained by experts chefs, students receive intense instruction; students have opportunities to intern at high-profile restaurants throughout the New York area. Affiliated with C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program), inner HS competition at Monroe College.

Computer Technology

Ed. Opt.

Website design, Power Point, publishing, the Internet and word processing; customized learning individually paced to achieve mastery.

Law and Legal Studies/Law Enforcement Academy

Limited Unscreened

Experience law enforcement, mock trials, debates and internships in our state-of-the-art law library and courtroom; opportunities to network with law enforcement professionals. Affiliated with St. John's University and students may receive college credit.

Zoned

Zoned

Academic Comprehensive Program

Academics

AP COURCES: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, English Literature and Composition, Spanish Language, Statistics, United States History

Online: N/A

Language classes: Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Acapella Groups, After-school Tutoring, Architecture, Air Force Junior Officers' Training Corps (AFJROTC), Best Buddies, Chorus, Concert, Construction and Engineers Mentor Program for Future Engineers, Culinary Arts, Dance, Debate Team, Drill Team, Hip-Hop Dance, Jazz, Law Team, Marching Bands, Media Arts, National Honor Society, National Honor Society/Arista, SAT Preparation, Robotics-FRC, FTC League, Student Council, Swimming Club, Visual Art, Website Design and maintenance, Weight Training, Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball & JV Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Cross Country, Football & JV Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Cheerleading, Dance Team, Step Team, Girls Flag Football, Spinning, Swimming

Source: High school directory

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