BRONX NY 10457 Map
Housed in the PS/MS 4 building, the Leadership Institute is a tiny high school that offers a safe environment and a sense of community. Social activism is part of the curriculum and students are expected to complete “community action projects” before they graduate.
The school serves a very needy population, including many overage students and students with very poor academic skills. Many students have strained family lives and little support at home, which translates into poor attendance. Unfortunately, only about half the students graduate on time.
The school was founded in 2005 at the urging of Sistas and Brothas United, a youth-led group of former New York City public school students who were discontented with the shoddy resources and impersonal education they said they encountered in their large, comprehensive high schools. Sistas and Brothas United is part of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. Students from Sistas and Brothas take part in demonstrations to protest school closings and lobby at City Hall in favor of legislation to report abusive behavior by school security guards.
Although students at the Leadership Institute come from different backgrounds and have different personalities, they form “a cohesive community where everyone steps up,” according to the Department of Education’s Quality Review. The report also said the school is safe. However, it said the quality of instruction is uneven.
Marta Colon, a graduate of the city's Leadership Academy, has been principal since 2007. (Laura Zingmond, April 2006, updated with DOE statistics and news reports, September 2012)