Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International High School (Kappa)

BRONX NY 10458 Map
Phone: (718) 933-1247
Website: Click here
Neighborhood: Fordham
District: 10
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: JUAN CAAMANO

What's special:

An academically challenging school that kids call their second home.

The downside:

Sharing space in Theodore Roosevelt complex is a challenge.

The InsideStats


Our review

A hidden treasure, KAPPA International admits students with a wide range of skills and prepares them for some of the country’s most selective colleges. The school offers a demanding curriculum, including several foreign languages and music instruction, lots of class discussion and assignments that include long research papers. On the top floor of the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Complex, KAPPA manages to look bright and cheery despite the general gloom of the building that houses six small schools. Potted plants and comfy chairs line the hallways.

Teachers stick around long after the last bell of the day has rung, and both administrators and staff seem to be unusually willing to help students outside of regular school hours. For example, during our visit, a senior told Principal Panorea Panagiosoulis that she was undecided about whether to accept an offer of admission to the University of Vermont. “I’m going to the University of Vermont with my daughter over spring break,” Panagiosoulis, replied. “Want to come with us?”

Students told us the school feels like a second home and that their teachers inspire them to work harder than they imagined they could. “They push you to your limits and beyond,” one girl said, adding that she sometimes does three hours of homework a night. “The teachers care about you. They not only give you the best education, but also emotional support.” Another girl said the principal is “like a mother to us” and the school “feels like family.”

KAPPA offers an International Baccaulaureate diploma, a degree widely accepted at universities in more than 100 countries. More demanding than a standard Regents prep curriculum, the IB program requires students to show competency in a foreign language, write a 15-20 page research essay, make an oral presentation, and pass various subject exams. KAPPA students must take four years of a language: Spanish, French or Modern Greek. Students must also complete 150 hours of community service. In keeping with its international theme, students may take trips to foreign countries including Costa Rica, Egypt, Jordan and Italy.

KAPPA International High School was founded in 2007 and originally modeled on the KAPPA (Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy) middle schools, which were designed to prepare low-income students for demanding colleges. High school students wear a uniform of KAPPA polo shirt (light blue or dark blue) and khaki pants or skirt.

Sharing space with five other small school has its challenges: students must take physical education at 7:30 a.m. because that’s when the gym is free. They must pass through metal detectors at the entrance of the building. Still, students feel safe, according to the Learning Environment Survey.

The college counselor offers individual attention, including help filling out financial aid forms. Students have been admitted to selective schools such as Colby, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Skidmore, often with substantial scholarships.

Special education: Collaborative team teaching (CTT) and (SETTS) are offered. All teachers prepare slightly different lessons to accommodate the wide range of abilities within their classes, including advanced students, regular students, those receiving special education services and those studying English as a Second Language.

Admissions: Limited unscreened. Priority to students who attend an open house. (Clara Hemphill, March 2012)

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