Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School

701 ST. ANNS AVENUE
BRONX NY 10455 Map
Phone: (718) 402-0571
Website: Click here
Admissions: By application/Bronx preference
unzoned
Principal: Melanie Williams
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 7
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: ANITA BURGOS

What's special:

Friendly school helps low-achieving kids set their sights on college

The downside:

Not everyone graduates

The InsideStats

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Our review

Everyone seems to know each other at Mott Haven Village Prep. This very small school has a warm, comfortable feel and students seem happy to be there.

The school helps students who enter high school with poor academic skills set their sights on college. Not everyone succeeds, and the graduation rate is below average for the city. But top students have gone on to small private colleges including Daemon, Connecticut College, Wheaton College and Franklin and Marshall.

Nearly all of the kids and teachers who took the 2012 Learning Environment Survey said that they feel safe. “The neighborhood has gotten a lot better,” Principal William Doyle said. “Yeah, we’re South Bronx, but it’s better than it was.”

Doyle, who became principal in October 2012, seems to have quickly won the support of students and staff. One senior said Doyle brings “an even-keel” to the school. Doyle was a teacher and administrator at Samuel Gompers for eight years before heading to principal training at the Leadership Academy.

During our visit, students seemed engaged. In one particularly interesting discussion, students drew comparisons between the French Revolution, fascism in Nazi Germany and the trial of Galileo. Another plus: the teaching staff is racially diverse. On the downside: the school has few advanced classes. The most advanced math class is algebra II and the most advanced science class is chemistry.

The school has a loosely-enforced dress code of black or khaki slacks and skirts and white button-down or polo tops. Students may not leave for lunch but may run around in the schoolyard after they finish eating. The school has lockers but they’re in classrooms, so assignment is “slipshod,” says Doyle.

Mott Haven Village Prep occupies a corner of the fourth and fifth floors of the South Bronx Educational Campus. Doyle said the building was originally an elementary school and that’s why the hallways are narrow. The space is shared with University Heights High School. Purple trim on the walls indicates Mott Haven Village Prep territory.

The two schools share sports teams (with a beautiful new track and ball field) and a LYFE center, where young mothers who are in school there can drop off their kids for free daycare five days a week. Mott Haven Village Prep is fortunate to be one of a handful of NYC schools involved in the Summer Search program. A group of students chosen to participate in Summer Search take summer trips to visit colleges and, after Junior year, may go abroad to places like Peru and Thailand.

Special education: About one fifth of the students have special education needs and nearly 10 percent are overage. The school offers team-taught classes with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education certified. It also offers Special Education Teacher Support Services for extra help in small groups either in or outside the classroom. Additionally, they use APEX, an online learning program, which a special education teacher said makes it easier to monitor his students’ progress.

College: A college counselor and career counselor staff the school’s college office. Starting in 9th grade, all students meet for weekly college-skill building classes through East Side House’s College Preparation and Leadership Program, or CPLP.

Admissions: Limited unscreened. Priority to students who attend an information session. (Anna Schneider, November 2012)

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