Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics

501 WEST 165TH
Phone: (212) 928-1202
Website: Click here
Admissions: Spanish-speaking new immigrants; Manhattan priority
new immigrants
Principal: JUAN VILLAR
Neighborhood: Washington Heights
District: 6
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: JESSICA RIOS JONES

What's special:

A beautiful building; students feel inspired to learn

The downside:

Many students with low skills need to catch up

The InsideStats


Our review

Founded in 1994 to serve Spanish-speaking students who are new to this country, Gregorio Luperon is a safe and welcoming school where students feel inspired to learn.

In 2008 the school moved to a new building in the heart of Washington Heights [see photo]. Flooded with light and cheery colors, the school boasts science labs, a large gym, and a library with good-sized worktables, computers and windows overlooking trees and a church with a round stained-glass window.

By the time students graduate, the goal is that each be able to speak fluently in both English and Spanish. When they first arrive, most are behind in academics for their age, according to the Department of Education. "There is a lack of preparation across the board," the principal told us on our 2008 visit to the school. "Many of them do not know how to read or write properly in Spanish."

In their first year, students take Regents exams in Spanish, but by 10th grade they are expected to take most of their state exams in English. Advanced classes are offered in Spanish, Spanish Literature, Music and biology. Top students may take college classes. Extra help is available after school and on Saturdays in science, math, English and social studies, along with Regents test preparation.

Lessons expand beyond the classroom when teens take trips to museums in New York City, and explore U.S. history by visiting Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Government teacher Saulio Tuero created a bilingual unit called "Social Justice & Latinos in NYC: 1913-2013," using articles from the century-old newspaper El Diario. At the end of the unit students create a newspaper of their own according to a Gotham Schools article.

SAT reading and math scores, which are needed to gain entrance to most colleges, are below the citywide average. However, the school does a better than average job of helping kids graduate from high school in six years.

School surveys show that teens feel safe and their teachers inspire to learn. The school tries to support families by offering classes and discussion groups.

After school activities include student council, journalism, student government, yoga, karate, HIV/AIDS awareness, drama, video production and peer mediation. There is a baseball team for boys and a volleyball team for girls.

The school has ties with local organizations, including the Washington-Heights Inwood Coalition, which plans events such as poetry writing with seniors; Dominicans 2000, an award-winning college prep program; and an arts program called Working Playground.

Admissions: Priority to Spanish-speaking Manhattan residents who have lived in the US for fewer than two years. (Lindsey Whitton Christ, September 2008; Lydie Raschka, updated with DOE data and web reports, November 2013)

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