The Metropolitan Soundview High School
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The Metropolitan Soundview High School
Metropolitan Soundview High School offers students a calm and closeknit environment, intensive instruction in English and math and lots of attention from teachers. It is modeled after Metropolitan High School and embraces the “Metropolitan” mission of serving poor students from neighborhoods where low achievement is the norm. Metropolitan Soundview opened in 2011 with 96 freshmen and will expand by one grade each year.
Founding principal Michael Langhan taught social studies for six years at the flagship Metropolitan High School before leaving to open Metropolitan Soundview. He is joined by several teachers who also began at the original school.
The school admits a range of students, but many arrive ill-prepared for high school level work. Some struggle to read at a middle school level and need at least another year of math instruction before tackling algebra. Organization and study skills are a challenge for most. To address the broad range of skills, students get lots of attention from teachers through daily advisories, smaller math and English classes for the lowest performing students and lots of emphasis on character development.
The tone is calm and orderly. In hallways, students are at ease speaking with their teachers and Lanaghan. In classes, most students stayed on task thanks to the presence of at least two adults, typically both teachers, in the room. Students are taught to present themselves in a respectful manner. Visitors to classrooms are greeted at the door by a student who introduces herself, identifies the class, describes the lesson in progress and welcomes the guests into the room.
All students take two periods of English and math classes each day, which are organized according to skill level. Those with the weakest skills are assigned to classes as small as 8 or 10. In English, struggling readers start off with books geared for the middle grades, such as Sherman Alexie’s "The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." Students with weak math skills start off with pre-Algebra.
English and math classes for stronger students run larger, ranging from 15 to 32, and tackle a traditional high school-level curriculum. Among stronger 9th graders, most take Algebra, but a few start off in Geometry, having passed the Algebra Regents in 8th grade.
History and science classes are not broken down according to skill level. To help all students keep up with instruction in these subjects, the school maintains multiple sets of text books. Stronger students are assigned high school level text books, while struggling readers use easier-to-read versions that cover the same content taught in class, though at a more simple level.
The school day is dedicated to academic classes with very few elective classes. Students take a technology class in the 9th grade and start their foreign language instruction in Spanish or Italian in 10th grade. In the upper grades students will take Advanced Placement classes and College Now courses at Lehman College and Hostos Community College, Lanaghan said.
All students must complete 20 hours of community service each year.
Students take nine periods of classes Monday through Thursday, which is roughly 45 minutes longer than the standard 8-period school day. There are shortened days on Fridays. All students are required to wear the school uniform of light blue polo shirts and black or blue pants (other than jeans).
Metropolitan Soundview is housed inside the Monroe High School Campus Building, which it shares with Monroe Academy for Visual Arts & Design, Pan American International School and High School of World Culture. Metropolitan Soundview is replacing The Monroe Academy Academy for Business and Law, which is being phased out because of poor performance. Overall, the Monroe building is bit dingy. Many of the science rooms have old fixtures and the cafeteria, auditorium and outdoor field need renovation. There is a health clinic onsite as well as a LYFE Center that provides daycare for children of students.
Special education: There are ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.
After school: Students can participate in campus-wide PSAL sports teams and a campus-wide leadership program that emphasizes community service. Tutoring is offered after school and students can participate in school-based clubs including art, dance, flag football, and fitness.
College: The school will graduate its first class in June, 2015. All 11th graders take a college advisory class focusing on SAT preparation and college search and applications.
Admissions: Priority to Bronx students or students who attend an information session. (Laura Zingmond, September, 2012)