Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE)

2474 CROTONA AVENUE
BRONX NY 10458 Map
Phone: (718) 733-6024
Website: Click here
Admissions: Limited unscreened
Principal: Benjamin Grossman
Neighborhood: Fordham
District: 10
Grade range: 9
Parent Coordinator: Leonore Mezquita
Computer Science & Technology
New School
Vocational

Buses: Bx12, Bx12-SBS, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx36, Bx9

What's special:

Students learn computer programming; emphasis on design-thinking

The downside:

Too soon to tell; lop-sided boy-girl ratio; metal detectors

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE) opened in 2013 with the goal of teaching students computer programming at a high level. Students learn programming languages like Java and Python, and related skills such as web and game design.

Like its sister school, Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE), BASE was founded with the support of venture capitalist, Fred Wilson and NYU computer science professor, Evan Korth, who chairs the advisory board for both schools. BASE’s active advisory board is composed of community and tech industry leaders.

All BASE students complete a 4-year computer science sequence. In 9th grade students learn about data structures and basic coding. On our visit, 9th-graders were designing advertisements for a project tied into an English unit on identity. In 10th grade, students take a semester of web design as well as a semester learning Python and Java coding languages.

In the 11th and 12th grades, students choose between two tracks: Computer programming, which will lead to a Career and Technical Education (CTE)-endorsed diploma, or web and game design. The CTE sequence in computer programming will be the more academically challenging of the two tracks, requiring students to take Advanced Placement computer programming and higher level math.

While computer programming is the school’s specialty, design-thinking goes to the core of the school’s mission. “We see the school as a design challenge”, said founding principal, Ben Grossman. A former transfer high school teacher and schools network director of achievement, Grossman believes that design methodology bolsters academic stamina in students who may have the ability but lack motivation or tolerance for frustration. “It pushes kids very hard to fail well and fail often”

In every class, students complete four design challenges per year. For example, 9th-graders’ first challenge project in Global History was to design a survival kit for primitive people. These regular challenges culminate in a capstone project in senior year where students propose and implement a project using design-thinking methodology.

Traditional science instruction—living environment, chemistry and physics—starts in 10th grade to avoid overloading freshman grappling with the challenge of learning computer programming, BASE plans to offer language instruction beginning in the 11th grade and provide arts instruction when the school grows to capacity.

Ninth-graders who arrive with solid algebra skills can progress immediately to algebra 2, which puts them on track to take calculus before graduation. Others spend one or two years learning algebra, depending on their skill level. Geometry is not a required course, but the school offers it as an upper grade elective class. Additional math electives planned for the upper grades include statistics and discrete math.

Teachers lead small group advisories called “seminars”, which meet twice daily: A quick 12-minute check-in session at the start of each day, and a full period seminar that delves more deeply into a range of topics. Through a partnership with iMentor each student is matched with a mentor from the tech or related industries. Students develop strong relationships with their mentors through email correspondence and monthly mentor/mentee events at the school.

BASE uses a restorative justice approach to discipline that minimizes suspensions. Student misbehavior is addressed through mediation and conversation circles with classmates. Grossman said he doesn’t mind some students’ dislike of conversation circles because it leads them to be proactive in quelling bad behavior. “Stop it or they will make us do a circle,” some students say when a classmate starts acting up, according to Grossman.

When we visited, the school was roughly 85% male. The gender imbalance reflects similar trends in the male-dominated technology industry—something the school wants to change. To help girls feel comfortable and confident at school, BASE matches them with female mentors and offers them access to girls-only activities and internship opportunities.

The school is located in the Grace Dodge Educational Campus along with Crotona International High School, The High School for Energy and Technology and Grace Dodge High School, which is being phased out due to poor performance. Campus schools share access to an onsite medical clinic, auditorium, gym, cafeteria and newly constructed fitness and dance rooms. Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building. BASE provides free storage for students’ cellphones.

There are campus-wide PSAL sports, intramural sports run by the school and well as a range of activities such as robotics, girls and boys math clubs, 3-D printing, business start-up workshops and student government.

College advisory is built into to the seminar program and includes trips to colleges. The school plans to hire a college counselor when they have their first class of 11th-graders in 2015.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes and Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).

ADMISSIONS: Limited unscreened. Priority to students who demonstrate interest by attending an open house or meeting with school representatives at a high school fair. The school hosts a girls-only open house. (Ella Colley and Laura Zingmond, October 2014)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Grace Dodge Educational Campus

Number of Students 112

Average Daily Attendance 91%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
10%

Black

  
28%

Hispanic

  
49%

White

  
5%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
27%

English Language Learners

  
13%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.43 2.40 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

27 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

77% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

63% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

96% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

14% 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 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

NA 10% 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
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

NA 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

NA
426 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 513 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

75% 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 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 54% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 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?

37% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to Bronx students or residents who attend an information session
  2. Then to New York City residents who attend an information session
  3. Then to Bronx students or residents
  4. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE)

Limited Unscreened

Academics

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Robotics, Computer-aided design, Gaming, Anime/manga, 3-D printing, Business start-up workshops, Individual- and small-group Tutoring, Student Government, SAT prep, Crafts, Community Service, Flag Football, Running, Music, Women in Computer Science

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Softball, Volleyball

Source: High school directory

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