Eagle Academy for Young Men
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Eagle Academy for Young Men
Eagle Academy for Young Men is an all-boys school in the Bronx designed to provide intense academics and a supportive environment to young men of color who may be at risk of falling behind or dropping out of high school. The school offers extra academic help after school and on Saturdays, as well as mentoring opportunities with One Hundred Black Men. The school does not screen applicants, but the ideal student is a “young man serious about his studies and serious about his future,” says Principal Jonathan Foy.
In 2010, Eagle Academy moved into its new $50 million building, which offers amenities such as a weight room, a recording studio, and a senate chamber that is designed to look like a courtroom. Foy, founder of the Urban Academy of History & Citizenship , hopes to strengthen the school's identity by incorporating more African American and Latino history and literature into the curriculum, while maintaining high standards and creating a culture of achievement. Students must wear smart uniforms of grey slacks, blue shirts and different colored ties that indicate their class year.
The young men we spoke with are proud of attending the school, and like the fact that their uniform makes them stand out outside of school. They feel a strong sense of brotherhood with their classmates, and told us that they felt peer pressure to do well in school and to seek out extra help when they need it.
Foy says that the single-sex environment means that the young men are more relaxed, and the students say they feel that they can be themselves and be respected. At the same time, the school can be rowdy. One parent complained of food fights in the cafeteria, and an article in the student newspaper described how students who were horsing around the locker room wrote graffiti, toppled some benches and broke a shelf. However, a group of seniors offered to clean up the locker room, the newspaper said.
The staff works hard to provide students with the support they need to get into college and do well. Incoming freshmen attend a popular Summer Bridge program, a three-week training session that builds community and gives students a first look at the steps they need to take to get into college. Juniors fill out mock applications and research colleges, and seniors take a required college class that helps them prepare their transcripts, essays and recommendations. Students at all levels go on campus visits and meet with representatives from colleges who come to recruit at the school. Ninety percent of recent graduates have gone on to college, including Howard, Morehouse, West Point and Wabash.
Students are offered tough courses, including “introduction to law,” as well as AP English, World History, US History and Biology. A few high-achieving students participate in CUNY's College Now program, taking college courses at CUNY campuses twice a week after school. Overall, students appear engaged and attentive, and we were especially impressed by a sophisticated discussion of race, poverty and manhood in Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man in a senior English class. Students who start to fall behind are identified quickly, and given extra support at lunch, after school and on Saturdays.
Special education: The school offers both self-contained and collaborative team teaching (CTT) classes for special education students.
Admissions: Priority goes to students who attend an open house. Students must attend an orientation day which includes a test and an essay evaluation. In recent years, there have been more than 900 applicants for 100 seats in the ninth grade. (Tom Jacobs, October 2010)