Academy of Hospitality and Tourism
BROOKLYN NY 11226 Map
Academy of Hospitality and Tourism
Students interested in careers in hotels and restaurants might consider the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, a small school that opened in September 2006 on the Erasmus campus. Students learn to cook in a fully-equipped professional kitchen. They spend days "shadowing" managers at hotels, accounting firms, radio stations and department stores to learn about the business first-hand. A few students even have paid summer internships at the Marriott Hotel.
The school has a partnership with the National Academy Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by former Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill to help develop a workforce for various industries and to offer career paths for urban youth. Freshmen take a class called "Strategies for Success" that introduces basic business concepts and study skills. Sophomores take a full year of culinary training that includes selling and delivering lunch to faculty twice a week. When we visited, we saw desks in clusters for group work and theme-based projects, some with strong connections and others a bit weak. Some students were actively engaged in discussions while others seemed disconnected. The school has a uniform policy of khaki's with a button down shirt.
All students also take a full academic course load during a nine-period extended day, starting with double periods of math and English in 9th grade as well as the theme courses. Class size is low, about 26. Most classrooms are bright, cheery and filled with student work, colorful posters, and books. Regents test prep is offered in Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry, Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry during school. Students can choose between two AP history classes and can also gain up to 12 CUNY credits through the College Now program.
Principal Adam Brier's homework philosophy is that it should be a summary of the day's work or take that lesson to a higher level of thought -- not used as prep for the next day's lesson. "Our students are sometimes picking up siblings or parenting siblings after school," he said. "They have more responsibilities at home than most." There is an effort to offer appropriate homework assignments that boost students learning and are not simply based on logging a certain number of minutes.
The Academy has struggled with a few problems. Rather than choosing the school and its theme, most students are placed at the school by the Education Department's Enrollment Office. As a result, it takes longer to spark their enthusiasm, which affects attendance. To address the problem, the school has implemented incentives, such as gift certificates to Old Navy or iTunes and trips for students who improve their attendance. Also, communication between the school and parents was weak initially. To combat both issues, the school has launched a small-group advisory program to give students a special connection with at least one adult in the building. School staff hopes this will help to build relationships between teachers and families. The parent coordinator has also taken a strong role in maintaining contact with parents.
While teachers reported on the 2011 Learning Environment Survey that order and discipline was improving, students told a different story. They were positive about the teachers and other adults in the building, but a significant number said they didn't feel safe in the hallways and bathrooms.
Special education and English language learners: ESL and one self-contained classroom. The rest are ICT classes with one special education and one general education teacher in the classroom together.
After school: Students may join several thriving clubs, including a dance club, gamers club, and the International Food Club. PSAL sports teams include students from the other four other schools in the building.
College: Most students who attend college go to CUNY. Some choose Johnson and Wales.
Admission: Unscreened with preference to students who attend a high school fair or open house. (Jacquie Wayans, April 2012)