Herbert H. Lehman High School
BRONX NY 10461 Map
Herbert H. Lehman High School
Lehman High School is slowly stabilizing after a tumultuous decade that almost led to closure due to poor performance and attendance. The once gigantic school is now divided into small learning academies each with a different focus: Technology, Nursing and Pre-Medicine, the Arts, the Law, and a selective program for high achievers called the Anne Hutchinson Academy for Engineering. By 2016 the population will settle at about 1000 students, reduced from more than 4,300 students in 2008.
For decades, Lehman was considered one of the best high schools in the Bronx: a safe school with an immaculate building, colorful murals painted by students and sophisticated level of work done by students in Advanced Placement classes. Enrollment grew by 500 students between 2001 and 2003 as the city closed other large Bronx schools and assigned extra students to Lehman, including many with special needs. Even though the graduation rate held steady, attendance began to decline.
This decline and the upset caused by scandals involving two principals in a row left Lehman on the state's list of failing schools. Rose LoBianco, former assistant principal of Columbus High School took the helm in 2011 and began to implement reforms aided by a small improvement grant. However more uncertainty about whether or not the school would close took its toll on the "emotional stability" of the community, LoBianco said at a public hearing, and many teachers decided to leave. "A lot of healing had to happen," a school counselor told Insideschools at the 2013 high school fair.
Students say the hallways are safer since LoBianco's arrival and there is more attention around social and emotional growth. Seniors are paired with freshmen in a peer leadership program and to address school safety, teachers have been trained in conflict resolution. Instead of detention, students participate in a behavioral support and intervention program, and a team of teachers administers on-call support to at-risk teens.
Attendance is inching up and performance has improved, from an "F" on the city's Progress Report in 2010 to a "D" in 2012. There is still a long way to go: only half the incoming freshmen graduate in four years, and only 16 percent are ready for college-level work.
The 2012 Learning Environment Survey shows a gradual improvement in safety, communication, academic expectations and engagement. Ninety-five percent of the teachers report that LoBianco is an effective manager. "The principal has dedicated herself to very long hours, very long days," said James Rodriquez, coordinator of student affairs, who has been at the school for 25 years. "We're on the upswing. Not where we should be, but we're getting there."
Lehman offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses and academic clubs, some in math, law and science. The law team has had good success in state and citywide championships, with the help of working lawyers. The schools impressive list of sports teams includes unusual ones like cricket, lacrosse, handball, bowling and flag football.
Lehman shares the building with four schools: Renaissance High School for Musical Theater and Technology, Westchester Square Academy, Pelham Lab High School, Bronx River and Schuylerville Prep.
College: Approximately 94 % of the students who do graduate attend two and four-year colleges, primarily in the City University system. Top students have been accepted to Barnard, Wheaton and Cornell, some on full scholarships. The school had a handful of Posse Scholars who won full tuition in 2012.
Admission: The Anne Hutchinson Academy will accept 60 to 85 students who scored a Level 3 or 4 on state exams and who have good attendance. This program include intensive research, digital academic portfolios, on and off-campus college coursework, internships, and field trips. (Aryn Bloodworth, March 2011, updated by Lydie Raschka based on web reports and interviews, April 2013)