Monroe High School Educational Campus
Historic James Monroe High School closed in 1994 because of poor performance and was replaced by several small high schools. The building is now known as the Monroe Educational Campus. Unlike newer small schools created under the Bloomberg administration that partner with outside organizations and receive extra start-up funding from the Department of Education, the original Monroe Campus schools opened with little vision and even fewer resources. The original small schools floundered, unable to overcome the same challenges that led to the demise of Monroe High School: high numbers of students living in poverty, unable to read at grade level and learning English as a second language. Today, only one of the original Monroe Campus schools is still open and accepting new students: Monroe Academy for Visual Arts & Design. Another, the Monroe Academy of Business / Law is closing in 2014 after years of low attendance and graduation rates.
The High School for World Cultures offers a safe and welcoming environment for recent immigrants who have been in the country for less than two years. Pan American International School also serves recent immigrants, mainly from the Dominican Republic. Metropolitan Soundview High School’s mission is to serve poor students from neighborhoods where low achievement is the norm. Metropolitan students receive intensive instruction in English and math and lots of attention from teachers. Monroe Academy for Visual Arts & Design offers some options in the arts including fashion design and theater, but not enough to qualify as an arts school, as its name suggests.
The Monroe Annex is a large, modern building located next to the main building and houses The Cinema School, Mott Hall V and a small, District 75 program for students with severe disabilities. The Cinema School partners with Ghetto Film School, a non-profit organization, which provides instruction in film and production. Mott Hall V serves students in grades 6 through 12. It emphasizes math, science and technology and is modeled after the successful, flagship Mott Hall middle school in Harlem.
High school students attending any Monroe school may participate in campus-wide PSAL teams and several campus-wide clubs such as Student Leadership.
The main building is dingy. Most of the science labs have old fixtures and the cafeteria, auditorium and outdoor field are in need of renovation. The building schools share use of the cafeteria, auditorium, library, gymnasiums, weight room, dance studio. There is a nicely maintained swimming pool, which is used by the swim team. Students and visitors must pass through metal detectors.
The annex has its own gymnasium, auditorium and cafeteria and shares the outdoor field with the main building. Typically, students attending Monroe Annex schools only enter the main campus building for after school activities. There are no metal detectors in the Monroe Annex. (Laura Zingmond, October 2012)