Archimedes Academy for Math, Science and Technology Applications

BRONX NY 10473 Map
Phone: (718) 617-5046
Website: Click here
Admissions: MS: District 8 priority; HS: limited unscreened
Neighborhood: Soundview / Hunts Point
District: 8
Grade range: 06 thru 12
Parent coordinator: PATRICIA APPLETON

What's special:

Creative “house” system assigns students a single adult adviser guides their progress through graduation.

The downside:

Far from nearest subway

The InsideStats


Our review

Like the Greek mathematician for whom their school is named, educators at Archimedes Academy for Math, Science and Technology Applications believe that given a solid footing, anyone might move the world. That philosophy has led to a combination middle school and high school where a focus on math, science and technology goes hand-in-hand with a commitment to understanding students' needs.

"Every kid’s a known quantity,” said Miriam Lazar, Archimedes’s principal and founder. That’s partly because students in the small Bronx high school often have been at Archimedes since sixth grade. But it’s also because all students join a school "house" where they remain for their academic career (a concept familiar to any Harry Potter fan). Each house has adult advisers who get to know eight to 15 students well, teach them proper behavior, guide them toward graduation, and generally prevent them from falling through the cracks.

Lazar said teachers watch for early signs students aren't keeping pace and quickly help them keep up. "We say graduation starts now, in ninth grade." Archimedes's staff also tries to make school fun, and as a result boasts a high attendance rate. They'd rather be here than somewhere else," Lazar said.

Lazar, a 1984 graduate of Stuyvesant High School and a former chemistry, physics and math teacher, designed Archimedes to serve students from grades 6 to 12, but students can transfer in or out before ninth grade. Fifty-five out of 108 students in the inaugural class chose to stay in 2009, Lazar said, "and another 10 or so came crawling back" after a short time in a different school.

Classroom instruction favors projects "based on research that kids learn best by doing,"Lazar said. Educators work to incorporate math, science and technology into all subjects. In one Spanish class, advanced students studied on computers while beginners worked with the teacher, then after 30 minutes the two groups switched seats. However, during our visit we observed more teachers using dry-erase boards than computerized white boards.

The school inverts the typical science sequence, teaching physics in ninth grade, followed by chemistry and then biology. Physical education options include fencing, boxing and Latin dance.

Archimedes shares the Eugene T. Maleska campus with the Women’s Academy of Excellence and Bronx Mathematics Preparatory School. The building sits in a leafy but remote area of the Bronx some 20 blocks from the nearest subway (Lazar said some students need three buses to reach campus). Parental involvement is low, and students often "come with a lot of baggage," Lazar said. The school is 60 percent male.

Special education: Students who qualify for special education are mainstreamed into regular classrooms, with major subjects taught by teams.

Lazar acknowledges the school is a work in progress. During a visit in early October, school bells malfunctioned, headphones had yet to arrive for some classroom computers, and most students were not yet wearing their required uniforms. However, halls and classrooms seemed orderly, and most students appeared focused and engaged. The staff is young, but Lazar is confident they will grow along with the school. We're constantly looking and tweaking and adapting,Lazar said. "We try to constantly improve."(Skip Card, October 2010)

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